Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday Haikus: Endless Winter

After a long final week of training before my Boston taper starts next week, it's Friday! This weekend I'm traveling to Boston with a couple teammates so that we can do our final long run on the course. I've made this trek four of the last six years and have generally had pretty good weather for it. In fact, in 2012, I remember wearing shorts to dinner the night before my run because it was so nice out. Of course, we remember how that heat wave played out on race day...

Given the winter we've had, perhaps I shouldn't be surprised that it's supposed to snow all day tomorrow in Boston. Nevertheless, after running in near 60 degree weather last night, it's hard to accept that Old Man Winter is again rearing his ugly head. That sentiment inspired today's haikus. Hopefully you enjoy them more than I'm enjoying the weather.

I hope it's not this bad on Sunday. Source:
Melted ice and snow
Reveal four hundred meters

Tights are packed away
Shorts and tees at the ready
Spring weather is here

False alarm it seems
Cold is back with wind and sleet
I'm so over this


Monday, March 23, 2015

One Weekend -- Two Great Runs

Those of you on the East Coast know we had one more taste of winter on Friday when NYC and the rest of the Northeast were hit with several inches of snow. This necessitated a quick re-think of the route I'd planned for Saturday's long run since I knew part of the route would covered in slush. The easy thing to have done would have been to have headed to Central Park or the West Side Highway, either of which would have been cleared, but after weeks of being confined to the same stretches of pavement because because of the weather, I wanted something different.

Saturday's route
Before heading out the door Saturday to meet the two teammates I had talked into a 7a.m. long run, I checked my favorite winter resource: PlowNYC. This site shows how recently each street in the city has been plowed. Since I knew we'd be doing most of our run on city streets, I wanted to make sure they'd been serviced in the last several hours.

Thankfully, it didn't end up being that bad out and we got in a great 18 mile run. We started at the Manhattan Side of the Queensboro Bridge, ran across it and then north to Astoria Park, before heading south through Woodside, Maspeth, and Blissville. Then it was over the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge into Brooklyn, where we ran through Greenpoint and Williamsburg before taking the Williamsburg Bridge back to Manhattan.

By the end of the run my legs felt pretty shot, but it was great to get out and see some different areas of the city. I also managed to get my weekly Trader Joe's shopping trip out of the way early which was great since it saved me from having to battle the epic Saturday afternoon lines. I spent the rest of the day doing chores around the house and running errands in the neighborhood so I was happy that I'd covered some different territory during the long run.

On Sunday I joined my wife on her long run. She's training for Ironman Lake Placid in July so her long runs aren't in the double digits yet which meant I could still tag along with her the day after my 18 miler. We ran west along 59th Street and took the West Side Highway down to Chambers Street, right at the top of Battery Park City, before heading inland.

I loved the second part of our run, taking various city streets up through TriBeCa and the Village, scoping out new or unfamiliar restaurants and bars to try now that it's actually warm enough to go outside. We ended the run at a gym on 14th Street so we could shower and change rather than head all the way home since we had errands to run around Union Square. These are the best kinds of runs, the ones where you get to kill two birds with one stone. Hopefully spring will stick around so we can do more of these runs in the coming weeks!

Friday, March 20, 2015

My 2015 NYC Half Race Report

After last Friday's post, I'm sure you've been waiting with bated breath to learn how the NYC Half went for me--that is, unless you already looked up my time on or, perhaps more likely, you just don't care.You're here, though, so I might as well tell you about it.

Last Sunday proved to be near perfect racing weather. Although it rained all day Saturday and I got soaked on my shakeout run, the weather gods saw fit to close the heavens sometime around midnight. The temperature also cooperated, hovering around 40 overnight and holding into the early morning hours.

Even though I live very close to the start, I still set my alarm for 4:45 a.m., almost three hours before gun time, to give myself plenty of time to eat and digest my typical pre-race bagel with peanut butter.

In addition to the bagel, I tried something new this time--and yes, I know you're not supposed to try new things on race day--I took a Red Ace concentrated beet juice shot. In the two weeks before my last several marathons I've had one to two glasses of beet juice a day, but stopped the day before the race. This was the first time I actually took one of these shots pre-race, as the bottle directs.1 I was a bit worried about possible GI issues, but I seemed to do fine. In other words, I did not see an increase in the half-dozen trips I already make to the port-o-potty pre-race.

I left my place at 6:30 a.m. to make it to Central Park South before baggage closed and bumped into a couple of Whippet friends who were also running. We chatted as we passed through security but split up when it was time to "do our business." I made it my corral several minutes before its 7:10 a.m. closing time and made my way to the front where I'd arranged to meet up with a few teammates--Steve, Jonathan, and Will--looking to run a similar pace. In the corral I also bumped into one of my good non-Whippet running friends, Helen, a member of Athena New York. Having folks to chat with definitely helped to pass the twenty minutes of idle time.