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I haven’t posted in a bit. I drafted something about a series of back-and-forths with cg9m in some comments, chiefly on She’s Gone, but I decided it wasn’t worth posting. I’ll just note that I found her accusations misplaced (I think she was in a post-election spiral) and troubling and the whole thing sad, as it came from someone who I had coached and of whom I thought highly.
But what of running? Today I did two laps of Twin Lakes. 3.2 miles in 26:06. I got to 3 yesterday and in both cases the final stretch was painful. I’d gained weight and have tried to cut down on some of my eating and get more walking in. I then threw in some running, at first walking hard for 20 minutes, running a mile or so, walking hard for 20 minutes. Then just running. So far no injuries to report.
In any case, here’s a short post-run video from this morning:
Thirty-three years ago was wet and a bit chilly in New York. Ed Koch was the Mayor and his was not among the several names for the 59th, or TK’s, Bridge. I took the subway from my apartment on West 85th Street — just off the Park — and headed to a Warren Street mate’s apartment in the teens or twenties. After some mingling, we boarded a small bus/large van and drove across the Verrazano Bridge and were discharged near the start.
Things were different in those days. We used the “world’s longest urinal” and jogged in a parking lot south of the start. And we were told the race was to begin shortly and headed to the start. I had a very-high number, this being my first marathon, but I had convinced NYRRC that I indeed meritted starting near the front, and so had a blue dot on it. (This is why Geoff Smith had a very high number with an initial letter; it was his first marathon too.)
I had joined Warren Street the year before, and at my first race Tracy Sundlun had unceremoniously pulled a red singlet from a bag in New Rochelle for that city’s half-marathon and handed it to me. It said “Manufacturers Hanover” on the front — a bank that would ultimately be part of Chase — and “Warren Street” on the back. Tracy had now gotten us proper singlets, and shorts and other paraphenaila. In Raider black-and-gray, “Warren Street” dominated the singlet’s front.
I stepped in to perhaps the eighth or ninth row, and the cannon erupted. We were off. I had just gotten my first digital watch. When we hit the mile mark mid-span I checked it and to my shock read “00:00:00”. Oh well. Tracy’s instructions were clear: go out easily. And I did. I have no idea what my splits were, but from when we hit Brooklyn until the Bronx, no one passed me. I felt great.
I remember climbing the afrementioned TK Bridge and how quiet and spooky it was and then the hairpin turn onto 59th and lefthander onto First and going beneath the bridge to the sudden cacaphony of noise upon hitting 60th. I saw family members cheering at mile 17. It was wet and rainy, but not too much.
I felt good. I passed Grete at 19. She had a group of men with her, as was the tradition when the lead women started with the men, and I just cruised past. And then the Bronx.
Heading on that stretch that goes beneath Metro North’s tracks and to the Madison Avenue Bridge, I caught a group of guys and thought, maybe I’ll run with them for a bit. I was getting a wee bit tired. This was just past 20 so I was thinking to ratchet things down a tad. And down they went. As I got out of my rhythm, I started to fall to pieces.
I don’t recall much from then. In those days, we entered the Park at 103rd Street. While this cut the long hill to 90th, it added a steeper hill at the entrance. I remember cheering picking up as I reached the southern end of the straight stretch along the Resevoir, just before Mile 24 and the Met. It was not for me. Grete went storming past, having rid herself of her escort. My wife was there — we were newly-weds at the time — and has a photo.
Things became a bit surreal. With the first woman having passed, there was a let-down among the spectators, which would disappear when they started cheering for everyone. But for a brief interlude, they quieted.
It didn’t matter of course. I didn’t care who passed me at this pont. I hadn’t blown-up. I was just really tired and wet. And I felt betrayed. Running on the part of the course on which I ran nearly every day and expecting that this would be my strong stretch, I felt that it had betrayed me because I felt horrible.
I soldiered on, passing the one-mile-to-go sign. Turning onto Central Park South and looking west to Columbus Circle, it dawned on me that this was a long, slight uphill. This was depressing news to me. I saw someone stop, and I thought this was a good idea. I stopped. I had been keeping track of my time and realized that I had a shot at sub-2:30.
So with encouragement from the crowd, I started up again. Not a shuffle, but a run. Not that fast, but a run.
And so I ran the less-than-a-mile to the finish. And I did get there in under 2:30. For perspective, though, Grete covered the last 2+ 2:13 faster than I did.
And I was tired. Looking at the ABC tape later, it cut to the end of the chutes between interviewing Grete and Smith (who was passed by Rod Dixon at the 26-mile mark). There I was, fifteen sseconds of me being escorted by two EMTs trained to look for the struggling. They asked me some basic information and let me continue to get my bag. And there I was on national TV, with CPTC’s Fritz Mueller right behind, very tired and very happy.
On Thursday I did what was perhaps my slowest run ever. 4 miles in 32:28, for an 8:05 pace. I ran around the neighborhood, and felt great. It’s the type of run that boosts enthusiasm.
I ran into Yonkers yesterday and made it back, for a tad over 5 and this one hurt a bit, but I was determined to make it and did. I needed to add a bit of distance (to get to 5), and the most-convenient way is to run to the end of Stuyvesant Plaza and back, which is just south of my street. The problem is that there is a slight but formidable hill coming back. I decided that I wouldn’t wuzz out on it, and it was done.
The “45” is a reference to today’s run at Twin Lakes/ Nature Study. 45:04 for 5.6, and what was noteworthy is that I was hurting through 36. There is a long slight uphill to the end of a lap of Twin Lakes (heading clockwise), and I hoped that I would feel better when I had crested it and would do 40. But with each stride I felt better and decided, what-the-hell, go for 45. Rejuvenation indeed.
So runs on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
Since the Mamaroneck Turkey Trot, things have been going well. Most important, I seem to have gotten to 6 as a standard run. Before this morning, I last ran last Sunday. I had dental work done on Wednesday and was told no-exercise-for-three-days. Today, Sunday, was designed to be a five-miler; around the B’ville Lake and back. But I felt good and decided at 2 to go to Scarsdale Road, which is right at 3 and that’s what I did and I did not have much of an issue in finishing. 6 in 46, and it seems that 7:40 seems a good pace for running relaxed.
As to 50, that was last Sunday, a beautiful run at Nature Study/Twin Lakes.
So my plan is really to have no plan. Just try to get out 4 or 5 times a week and gradually build up. Maybe even run my age one of these days.
I did come upon a fine, short piece by Scott Douglas, which reminded me of the importance as one ages of some speedwork. It seems that we are seeing study after study and story after story that says that the starting point for fitness is intensity as opposed to the view of building a slow base and only then ratchet it up. So I’ve taken to doing 4 strides after my runs when I can. Just to open things up and put some quickness into my legs. I’ve long viewed speedwork as important for form.
As I put it in a rplty post on the Maters Running in New York Facebook page, “Speed work, even forcing yourself to do 4 strides after a run but especially fast repeats, is largely about grooving and maintaining and strengthening form to hold it together in those late-race or -run moment when things start going bad. If you can maintain your form while those around you are losing theirs, you will be able to pick off a bunch of people before you are done”.
Since my last report, I’ve done pretty well, notwithstanding a sore-foot interruption over the last few days. Solid run on Oct. 14, but then on the next Saturday I felt as quick as I have for quite a while, getting in a sub-7 and the next day found me doing 2 laps of Twin Lakes in the afternoon after working at the Yonkers Marathon and having a band rehearsal and those laps were fast, with a 24:19, again with a sub-7. I elected to only do the two laps as I was going at a quite solid tempo and decided to try to hold it to the end.
A good run on Tuesday, but Thursday’s ended after about 3 when I felt a pain in my left foot. It reappeared on lap 7 on the track on Friday, so I took Saturday off. Today, though, I decided to give it a go, thinking I’d push through if necessary. Twin Lakes yet again and when the foot did not bother me, I soldiered on. At first I’d have been happy with two laps, which I passed in 25:20, but decided to go to 30 and then to 32 and then, what the hell, lets do three laps. My left achilles ached a bit on the third lap, but it was not a major issue and I finished in 37:25, feeling relaxed and not under strain (unlike last Sunday when I felt and pushed through a good type of strain, of running hard and fast).
So, there we have it. Progress appears to be being made. And the dreaded dead-leg syndrome not an issue.
I also re-recorded “Gotta Go to New York”, I like it.
A copule of weeks back I identified my short-term ambition as getting a 40-minute run. This past week I was on vacation in Berkshire County, Western Mass., and the difficulty with where we were was the hilliness. So while I got in one run with which I was happy, I stopped on a number of others.
Back home, I had a nice trail run yesterday. I decided to just see if I could get to 40.
This morning, the strategy — yeah, I need a strategy — was to see if I might find some folks doing the Paine-to-Paine preview run. The race is next week, and a bunch of folks going at varying paces did the course this morning. It finishes along my normal trails. I timed it well, and after a couple of minutes heading against the course, I came upon three runners who were in the final stages. It wasn’t quite fair in that they had some 10 miles of trail running in them while I was just starting, but I stayed behind.
They pulled me through 21 minutes, when they exited and I turned. And I felt pretty solid heading back on my own. There were a few moments of concern, but I really had no trouble, ultimately finishing in just over 41 minutes. So a small milestone, but a milestone nonetheless.
It will seem fanciful to the runners I know to write of aiming to run for 40 minutes. For me, alas, I’ve not reached that mark in well over six months. It seems, though, that with my ups and my downs the trend line is moving up. On Friday, I got in 20 laps — including getting cut by thorns in lane 6 — in 38:24. It felt good, but I don’t know that I could have gone further.
And today on the roads I made it around the Bronxville Lake. This is the lake at the south end of the Bronx River path and the run is a little south of five miles. I kept things under control and had no more than the usual struggles but finished strongly in 36:12. (Yesterday, on the other hand, I worked at my wife’s estate sale in Irvington. Since it was just up the road from the OCA, I headed there. You don’t appreciate the strain of something like that is and often I am too spent to go for a run afterwards. But I figured something was better than nothing and headed north but I ran out of gas, turning at 10 minutes and then stopping twice on the home stretch to get in 20 minutes. I chalked that up to tiredness and did not view it as anything.)
Musically, apart from the No Cover Band in the City, I’m trying to get something together here in Westchester. I’ve had a good experience with a pianist and we’re meeting with a guitarist today. I like playing the guitar for this but will revert to the bass as needed. The objective is to do original things or have fun with covers. I find doing covers gets boring pretty quickly unless you do something to make them your own.
The problem I have with my stuff, in addition to not knowing whether it is any good, although I think it is, is finding a singer. I am trying to modify my approach to make it more singing/speaking and thus less jarring. Cause I like to do my own stuff. One of the benefits of this new group-effort is hearing a better pianist filling out my own melody/progressions, which tend to be pretty basic.
Today’s run was the best I’ve had in ages. It did not start out that way.
On most of my runs-from-home, I head to Route 22 and down Locust Lane past the Bronxville Field Club and into Bronxville, hitting the one-mile mark a bit before hitting the library. When I can get that far, I’ll head through the village to the Bronx River Parkway and do an out-and-back totaling 5, 6, 10 or more. Well I haven’t been able to get that far in a while. But, as I say, today was my best run for a while. A bit over 3. Which is progress.
It didn’t start out that way. It was a bit chilly but very humid after overnight rain. As I hit Route 22 and headed north I felt horrible and I think I managed to get to the half-mile point only because Locust starts as a slight decline. By the time I hit Pondfield, though, also a slight descent I began to feel relaxed and my thighs did not feel like the tree trunks they’ve felt like of late. So I decided to push on and go nearly to the train station and did a loop before heading back (now slightly up) Pondfield and then (slightly up) Locust. I didn’t die. I felf kinda, sorta relaxed and added about .25 to the end.
It appears that my shoulder issue actually dates back to 2000. Way back then, I tripped and landed on my left shoulder. Initially, I was in a sling. About four years later, I felt pain when I lay down on my left side. An MRI showed a torn labrum, from the fall. So arthroscopic surgery and it was good. So I didn’t assciate my recent pain with that ancient event. But my ortho did, and said that they’ve learned it is a not uncommon injury that follows well after the initial impact. It’s a strained bicep.
So I was ordered to minimize the front-to-back movement of my left arm plus lots of Alleve. On Tuesday, I was given the OK to run and see what happens. If it continues to be an issue, he would go with cortisone. (Both of the orthos I’ve had do not like to go that route unless absolutely necessary.)
So I drove down this morning to the Bronxville track with much trepidation. I awoke early likely because of it.
I was able to do two laps, at which point I died. Actually, I was pretty dead from about 200 meters, but I soldiered on. After stopping, I jogged another lap. I think the shoulder was OK. A slight “feeling” there, but not pain and I don’t know the extent to which that was nerves.
Perhaps a bit more tomorrow.
I haven’t posted in a while because, well, things have not been going so well. Nothing apparently to do with the surgery. A couple of weeks back as I was building up (albeit in slight increments) I suddenly had a pain in my shoulder. It hit me only when I ran. And it hasn’t gone away. So I’m seeing an orthopedist tomorrow to find out what it is. It just came out of nowhere.
Hence the silence. I’d hoped to be up to five laps of the Lake. But it was not to be. Yet.