Saturday, April 1, 2006

Had a very nice run this morning, with SSRMC. The typical Larchmont Manor run, chiefly with Guillermo, although Gregg hung with us until past the half-way point, where he dropped into another group. Came through the finish in 38:03, 30 secs. faster than last week. Did an additional 9:20 afterwards, but that hurt. 47:24. Then had a nice brunch, sitting outside at Cafe Mozart on Mamaroneck Avenue. We started out inside, 8 of us (including a couple of new-comers, Erin and Odile (from Bedford)), but a woman complained that we were making too much noise, so we headed out, which was much nicer anyway. Gregg pulled out the Westchester Road Runner’s Racing Schedule, and we picked races where we hope to have a large club presence.

The first of these races is the
Rye Derby
, on April 30, a 5-miler that I’ve never done, but is pretty fast, with Eamon Coughlin bringing a bunch of his Irish friends for the race. (I did a Sunday morning run with Eamon in Dublin years ago through trails by his house. That was fun.) So I may do the Scarsdale 4-miler(PDF) tomorrow morning, to get the legs used to going at a decent clip.

I missed reporting on Thursday. I did a wonderful 7:00am run at Twin Lakes/Nature Study. No watch, but out to Webster Avenue and around the lake. Beautiful, with a morning chill, but no problem in shorts and a t-shirt. I later attended a meeting on the Colonial Greenway. In a sense, the trail is there. The only big item to be done is the sidewalk connection between Leatherstocking and Saxon Woods, but you can make that connection now. It just isn’t as safe as it will be. But I did it last Sunday. The group is still trying to figure out where the money is to come from.

I also did a non-timed run to the track and 8 laps and back, including up the Crows Nest Road hill, which took a bit out of me. That was yesterday. I&8217;ll also mention that on Tuesday did a run near Siwanoy that included another underrated hill, up Northway. It almost killed me, although I was not going that hard, but I recovered.

Tuesday, April 4, 2006

I wussed out about racing on Sunday. The race went off at 9 and we turned the clocks ahead, so it was really 8. I just couldn’t get up for it. Instead, drove to Tibbetts and did the Putnam Trail to the OCA South but died when got to the Van Cortlandt golf course parking lot. Had a hard time getting up the stairs to the Degan, and stopped at about 27:30. After about 30 seconds, decided to go for another 6 minutes, but when I got back to the trail I felt much more relaxed and ended up finishing at the Midland entrance in about 40 minutes. So I was pleased with that, although disappointed in having to stop. But I was really dead.

It rained on Monday, and decided to take a day off after four on. Tuesday, I thought about doing a tempo run at the track, but had a tough day so decided to pass. Instead drove from the train to Twin Lakes at Highland. Decided to do clockwise laps for a change. Pretty tired early on, but picked up the pace throughout and was going pretty hard in lap 2, after not thinking I could get much farther than one lap. Concentrated on pushing it to make it a tempo run, and held it all the way through the third lap. The hard part this way is the very start, which is a slight climb up towards the stable. If you get past there, you can keep things under control. Was hurting, but going at a good pace. The trail had some wet spots from the overnight rain, but aside from stepping into a few large puddles, and once you do that it doesn’t much matter if you do it again. It was getting dusky, but beautiful. A bit of a chill, but plenty warm enough. Completely spent at the end, so I think I got a useful work-out, the hardest in a while.

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Saturday, April 15, 2006

Been a while, and been doing a fair share of running things. Since making the formal switch to South Shore, I’ve been thinking of getting more involved in the Club’s racing. I am the editor of the Club’s Newletter, and wrote about it there, in an article entitled “Who Are Those Guys” (a Butch Cassidy reference). Basically, I would like to have the Club make an impression as an alternative club for southern Westchester. Alternative to the Westchester Track Club. I have nothing against those guys, and each of its members I’ve met have been very nice. But it has become the go-to club in southern Westchester. Indeed, several Sound Shore members work-out with WTC.

Maybe it’s a reflection of my old Warren Street rebel days — in 1983, Tracy Sundlun had our uniforms in Black and Gray to emulate the Oakland Raiders — and maybe it’s the hassle of getting to White Plains to train and mostly it’s feeling comfortable running with and hanging with Sound Shore members and finding that it’s not as hard to get to Mamaroneck as I thought, but I want to build on what Sound Shore has to make it a club that runners in the southern part of the County will think of.

In light of that, we have picked some target races where we hope to have a good presence. I think it unlikely that we will be competitive on an Open level, particularly in NYC races. But there are some pretty decent 40+ and 50+ runners. (I turn 50 in 6 months.)

But, of course, getting serious means getting serious. So I suggested that we try to have organized track work-outs. Gregg suggested the Mamaroneck track, which is square. (In high school, I remember an indoor meet against Mamaroneck in which we ran through the hallways of the high school, flying past lockers and stuff. It was fun.) But this also required focusing on what I would do. So I picked up a copy of Jack Daniels’s training book, Daniels’ Running Formula. So I’ve gone through it, and realize that I need to be more focused on my training. Moving forward, then, I’ll try to be, with each work-out being for a reason.

That said, here’s my most recent training:

  • Thurs., Apr. 6: Morning run from the stables up along the Hutch to the hill before Pinebrook. Just a beautiful morning, and a comfortable run, finishing around the Lake.
  • Fri., Apr. 7: Home early enough for the trail. So did Twin Lakes to Webster Avenue and back around the Lake. No watch, and very relaxed.
  • Sat., Apr. 8: With Sound Shore, in the rain. Finished the normal run and added about 8 minutes. The normal run was the fastest I’ve done it, 37:47. No problems.
  • Sun., Apr. 9: Some problems today though. From the stables to Webster, but really dragging coming back. Headed up across Mill Road, but completely dead, and only got to Wilmot. But then felt much better on the way back — there are a couple of short uphill headed to Wilmot — and finished fairly strong, in 47:57.
  • Tues., Apr. 11: Took Monday off, with a bit of knee soreness. But Tuesday was the first day on the track for a while. Only Mark T. was able to show up, but he was going to be running his normal WTC work-out on Wednesday, so I had him take it easy and concentrate on form and relaxtion. As for me, I wanted to get some speed in the legs, so decided to do 3 1200. The track, as I said, is weird. It has four 100 meter stretches, with maybe 75-meter straights. There is also a fence a couple of meters on the infield all around. There’s a baseball field in the middle. I went out much too fast for the first 1200 (74.4), but got into the groove. First 1200 was 3:54 followed by a 4:02 and a 3:55. Had about 4 minutes break between, and felt pretty good throughout, even if I was pushing things. I hope we can get a bigger turn-out moving forward.
  • Wed., Apr. 12: On the streets of Bronxville (and Tuckahoe). Clock was 42 flat, for 6:41 pace on the 6.27 miles. Nice run.
  • Thurs., Apr. 13: So I have to do some tempo runs. I decided to go to the Bronxville track. Using the Daniels forumla, I was targeting 5:54 miles, or 88.5 laps, for 20 minutes. Didn’t happen. It was very windy, but I was just dead. First lap was too fast — 82.9 — and was followed by 87.1, 89.1, 89.0, 89.0, and 88.1. By Lap 4, knew I was in trouble, so just wanted to make 6 laps, which did, barely. But then did 4 laps with 200 strides of each. I think I was too ambitous as to pace and was too confident about my conditioning. Next week, will slow it down a bit and see what happens.
  • Fri., Apr. 14: It was raining, but went to Twin Lakes. Standard run at a relaxed pace to Webster and then around the lake. Finished in 30:55, wet and happy.
  • Sat. Apr. 15: Not so happy today. Too foggy for Sound Shore run, so got up a bit late. Headed to Saxon Woods. Hadn’t run the rocky side in a while, so did that. It was a lot of fun, but it took a lot out of me. Dead at about 22 minutes, and stopped at 24:55. But I’ll go back and tame the beast. In the past, I have been able to do 2 laps, but normally I only do 1.

Here’s a trailer for a new Al Gore movie. After some thought because it is beyond what I normally put there, I posted it on the WestchesterTrails homepage. I figured it relates to, well, nature.

I also find myself listening to the new single from the Dixie Chicks, Not Ready to Make Nice.

Sunday, April 16, 2006, Easter

Some Easters ago I ran from home and did four laps of Twin Lake and back in about 1:20. I tend to start my trail runs after driving, although not far. Decided to run to the trail, but to keep the pace easy. I have a problem keeping it slow even for easy days. A bit tight to the trailhead, which I reaced in about 9 minutes, and forced myself to relax. Had some tough stretches, but got to the Lake in 22:05, around (up the hill at the bridge) in 9:28, and then started back, but Left quad started to ache. No point in pushing it, so stopped at 33:02. After 15 mins. of walking, OK enough to go a real easy 9 minutes, and stopped near home. On the whole, satisfied, but wish I could just slow it down more easily. Perhaps I should start wearing the HRM again to keep track. I did go out on my road bike yesterday afternoon. Nothing too hard, just a nice ride to Scarsdale and to Hartsdale and back.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Took yesterday off because of left quad. Tonight was track work at Mamaroneck’s track. One other person, Rebecca, showed up, who had seen it scheduled on the SoundShore calendar. Since this was the second week of the work-out, I had no idea it was there. She is not a member of the Club, but I hope she becomes one. Someone young and interested enough in doing track work is someone who could develop.

My plan was to do a tempo run of about 20 minutes, so I suggested that she do the same. My goal was 6:16 miles, or 94 laps. But started a little too quickly. But then got into a nice rhythm, albeit faster than wanted. Each 200 was 44 or 45 and I kept the form relaxed. But a little too hard to go the full 20. Stopped at the end of 12 laps: 76.8, 84.8, 88.5, 88.6, 89.5, 91.2, 91.0, 91.00, 90.8, 91.1, 88.6, 86.8, 17:38 (5:56 or so, not accounting for the first lap). As to Rebecca, I told her to come to the Saturday run. We’ll see.

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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Beautiful day. Went to Twin Lakes after work, and ran up to Mohegan, taking it easy, turning at 15, and then back and around Lake, in 35:30.

Got the SSRMC Newsletter out. I am the editor. (There is a link for it, but it is not working properly.) The theme of this issue was what I’ll call a manifesto. It encapsulates some of my thinking and reads:

Winter has come. Winter has gone. It’s cut-to-the-chase time. Spring. On April 1, Gregg Rubin pulled out a 2006 schedule of races and over brunch went through candidates for Club target races. For the Spring, there are three. The Rye Derby on April 30 and the Larchmont 5K whenever they get around to having it. The third is a new relay race from Bear Mountain to New Rochelle, in which the Club is going to have not only a team but also will be providing volunteer support. We have more on each of these below.

The Club has grown to the point where it can make its presence felt in Westchester races. It’s a suburban club and that means that it doesn’t have the young legs of some other clubs. But it has the legs-of-experience, and the race results that have passed through this Newsletter show that it has the potential to perform quite well in the Masters and Veterans race categories.

So in addition to those races, this means a few trips to NYC, where clubs race not only in the Open category but also in the various age-groups. While Gregg was going through his list, we mentioned and the group agreed upon two other races in which we expect to have a large contingent and a strong performance.

Dave and Jerri Lynn notwithstanding, City-races are not the easiest to get to, particularly when compared to the ease of getting to races in Westchester. So for 2006 we decided on 2 NYRR-club races. The Club Championships on August 19th is a 5-miler. It is the fastest, deepest race of the year, limited to members of clubs. There are no T-shirts. (It’s also the race after which clubs traditionally hold their club picnics and take their club photos.) That other Westchester club, Westchester Track Club, usually wins with its “elite” runners. Other city-based clubs – Warren Street, Central Park, and the West-Side Y especially – will do well. While it probably won’t score well in the Open categories, Sound Shore can make an impression on the Tier-2 clubs in the others, i.e., Masters and Veterans. That is the objective.

We also picked a second Club-race. The Great Grete Gallop is a half-marathon on October 1. We hope to have a full team for that as well.

What is the point of all of this? These NYRR races provide an unusual opportunity for Club solidarity. We are not going to be competitive season-long because we are only covering a couple of races. But these races provide a focal-point in which we compete as a team, in which however you feel you realize that passing one more runner means one fewer point – low score wins – which can make the difference for the team. And so when the Club develops rivalries, you find yourself trailing someone from the hated Westchester Track Club, as I found myself trailing Warren Street’s rival Central Park, and deciding that that guy was not going to beat me. We want to get a few points and we want people to ask, “Who are those guys?”

When did Westchester Track Club become hated? It is now. It may officially be “The” Westchester Track Club, but from now on it is “The Other Westchester Track Club,” or TOWTC. After all, it doesn’t even have the name let alone its web-site of the club on its shirts. Don’t get us wrong. We’ve met members of TOWTC, and they’ve been nice. But it’s Gimbel’s to our Macy’s. (And we know which one still exists.) I’m – really – listening to Lee Ann Womack as I write this. And Lee Ann’s saying:

Inside her head may lay all the answers
For curin’ diseases from baldness to cancer
Salt of the earth and a real good dancer
But I really hate her
I’ll think of a reason later

Well, we hate ’em. And we don’t need no stinkin’ reason!

So we want folks in our sphere-of-influence to think of us, not TOWTC, as a place where good training and good training and racing companions can be found. It’s a Hobson’s choice no more.

This brings us to the next point. On April 11, we began what we hope will become a regular event. In the past, a number of Club members have done speed work on their own. A number have also signed up for and are working out with TOTWC in White Plains.

We intend to change that. Each Tuesday night at 7:00 there will be a Club work-out at the Mamaroneck Track. It is for all ranges of speeds and events. We are using Jack Daniels’s Daniels’ Running Formula as our guide. Each work-out starts with a warm-up and then three-to-five minute intervals ranging from 400s to 1600s. It may be a bit late to jump-start things for the Spring, but the idea is to develop work-outs that will combine general speed needs with some specificity, for those running from the 5K to the half-marathon. What about the Marathon? It has more specificity than the shorter stuff, but we’ll try to include that as well.

Daniels’s essential point is that every work-out should have a reason. He divides them into five types: (1) easy-pace; (2) marathon-pace; (3) tempo; (4) interval; and (5) repeats. Pace for them determined by a figure based on recent races. So if you’ve done a 19:57 5K, your “easy” pace would be 8:32/mile and your time for a 1200 interval would be 4:41. Each week has a combination of work-out types, with the components varying based upon where one is in the season.

But for each runner, you also need to go through phases of preparation for target races. So we hope to integrate the interval work into a broader training program, which in turn creates a thought-out structure to one’s entire training.

I also signed up at Frappr.Com’s Website Runners site.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

First really hot day: 80+. Went to Mamaroneck Track for repeats. Plan was Repeats: 8 X 400 at 79, with full recovery. Did 6 1/2; stopped when left quad started to ache, so stopped. 78, 77.9, 80.5, 80.2, 77.5, 78.0. Felt very relaxed throughout, with a jogged lap between each, each at about 2:30.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Took yesterday off because of the left quad. Temperature dropped dramatically. Today, Saturday, it got colder, with a steady rain. Headed to SSRMC workout, and it seemed to get colder and colder as I drove over. So ran with Warren Street jacket. Nice and easy, 41:43. Guillermo overslept, so he met us halfway, and I finished with him. It was his first post-Boston run. Pierre-Antoine said that the new mayor of Larchmont wants to save money, so the Larchmont 5K will be held on the July 4 weekend. That was a major Club race, so we’ll try to come up with another.

Right now, it looks like SSRMC will have a fair number of folks in the NYC Marathon. Guillermo, Pierre-Antoine, Dave B., and Jerri Lynn are in, and there may be others. So I think we’ll try to get organized structure for people.

So I’m looking at potential May races. Possibilities include a NYRRC 5K on May 17, a Wednesday evening and a NYRRC 10K the next Saturday, May 20, which is also a Club race.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Boy did it rain. And rain. Park clean-up was today, but figured there was no point. It was raining pretty hard. But things cleared at about 2, so went out, heading up to Crestwood up the BRP (7.42). (GMap has just gotten seriously-improved satellite images.) Nice and easy, out in 25:15, back in 24:53, for 50:08, with 19:12 from Scarsdale Road.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Monday was a nice run down to the Bronxville Track and a bunch of laps, about 20 mins. worth, and home. Although didn’t time the run, the laps were all at about 6:40 pace, and felt very easy. Tuesday was track day. Planned on 4 X 1200 at 5:40 (85 laps, 4:15), but left quad started to hurt on number 3 so pulled up. The first 2 were on schedule, and pretty relaxed, with a 3 min. jog between.

Also had several SSRMC women show up. I’m still trying to get that organized, and I wish more came. I had them do 20 min. tempo runs, but they were all doing different paces, so there was a bit of a circus atmosphere as we had all these folks running at differnt paces. Eventually, I hope that we will have more groups. On Wednesday, I was concerned about the quad. It was a beautiful day, so went to Twin Lakes. Very nice and relaxed to Webster Avenue, and around the Lake.

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Thursday, April 27, 2006

Another beautiful day. Rode home from the train, changed, and headed out to the trail. I love that I can be in my office and on the trail an hour later. Ran down to Nature Study. The trees that were down are gone. Saw one other runner. Also checked out the entrance on Bon Air in New Rochelle for mapping purposes, and came back. No watch, but didn’t want to push it because the left quad is still sore. I hope it holds out through Sunday’s race.

I found a nice little video from John Pfeil on YouTube (which is apparently blowing the roof off of bandwidth demand).

Sunday, April 30, 2006: The Rye Derby

One is always nervous by the first race after a long lay-off. The Rye Derby was such a race for me. It was my first race in exactly six months – I did the Runnin’ Scared 5K in October – and it was my first race for SSRMC, including with my new singlet.

The race has long had a good SSRMC turnout, and this year was no different. But I’d never run it. Guillermo and others had given me a head’s up on the course. It is flat with a couple of well-placed up-and down-hills. It has one tough hill about which I had been warned. But, as we’ll see, it was tougher than I expected.

The race has an unusual afternoon start – 1:45. The day was warm, in the upper 60s, with plenty of sun. It was a day in which early recklessness would be rewarded with late misery.

There was a nice crowd at the starting line on Purchase Street. Several ringers – one male and several women – were announced. They had single digit numbers. At the line I saw Gregg Rubin, Mark Thompson, Tom O’Brien, and Patrick Kaufer. I told them all to go out easily and in control Particularly on a day like this, a conservative start is important.

The horn went, and so did we. I did a quick few strides to get clear of other runners, and then settled in as we headed down Purchase Street. By the time we crossed the Post Road, the front of the field had pretty well established itself. I don’t know in what place I was, but from say the 800 on, I would pass three runners and be passed by one, all by mile 2.

The course gave a slight roll in the first mile. We all tried to keep to the shady side of the street whenever possible, and the course had a nice little downhill into Mile 1, which I passed at a too-fast 5:40. By then, I had settled in, and would hold a rhythm. There was a slight uphill near the 2 mile mark, which I hit in 11:42. By then I was completely on my own, with a group of four a little ways ahead, and nothing to be heard from behind. Grabbed a cup of water and doused myself, and then a second one and took a drink. This is something I always try to do when it is warm. You can pour water over yourself pretty quickly so do that first, and then use the second cup for drinking.

But I was starting to hurt. When could I stop? Would it be OK if I got to the half-way point, say 15 minutes? This would be a recurring thought for most of the rest of the way. Is my quad starting to hurt? My knee? Anything that would give me a reason to stop. My body betrayed me. Nothing was hurting. Except for the struggle I was going through to go forward. But the folks ahead of me weren’t opening up any distance, and no one was closing on me.

Someone said the 3 mile was just where we turned, and it was. 17:44. I’ve got a bit of a cushion for sub-30, and the miles are pretty consistent. And I had done a 4800 tempo run on the track, that’s a bit shy of 3 miles, in 17:39 a couple of weeks back, so I knew that the pace was maintainable.

At about this point, of course, I’m wishing it was a 5K. But it’s not. I do another douse-and-drink at the next water station. The shirt is sticking to me. We turn onto Playland Parkway. I sneak a glance behind me after the turn, and there’s someone, but he’s not too close. Of course, by this time, my struggle is entirely with myself. I’m not sure what to expect from this hill people have told me about. But then I see that the road passes under a bridge, it’s Route 1 I guess, and starts inclining up. We go under another bridge, and the incline continues. 4 miles – 23:46 – is just as the ramp turns 180 and then we turn left, and the hill is done. I start to feel not good but OK. Last mile. This is doable. I look at my watch. I’ve been doing that more than I normally do. Now it reads 25:09. I’ve gone about 400 meters, and have 1200 to go, which is doable.

But then I start to have problems. I’m moving at the same pace, but the legs start to get a bit wobbly. This is a 5-miler and that shouldn’t be happening. No panic. By the watch, I figure I’m in the last half-mile. A truck pulls behind me, but I’m hugging the double-yellow line and I motion with my hand that he is to stay back. He does. I am entitled to the road, and I’m taking it. A traffic light. I’m through it, and I see another one. Please be the turn to the finish. As I get closer, I see that it is. Right turn. The group of runners ahead has splintered in this last stretch, but I am in no condition to do anything about it. It would be 6 positions gained if I could, but it is academic now because I don’t have it.

Turn right, check watch. It reads low 29. I can see the finish, and it’s a slight downhill that feels much steeper than it is. Hold form, and you’ll be sub-30. I know I will make it, both finish and get the time. I cross in 29:46. I’m pretty tired, but I must check on the others. Guillermo come through. Mark, and I tell him to relax his arms. Gregg. Then Patrick, with Tom (in shorts that, let’s face it, are a cry for help) right behind. Then several others, but I’m afraid I don’t recognize them all, even those in our new jerseys. Lisa passes and so does Carla, and I’m embarassed because I think it’s her, but I’m not sure, so I don’t say anything.

My post-mortem? I don’t have any pop, but I quickly put myself in a groove and ran very consistent 6-minute miles for the entire race, after getting a little discount in mile 1. Mentally, I wanted to quit, but didn’t. I was hurting, but able to hold it together, except for the weird stuff that happened in the final mile, and even that was worked through. Nothing ached, nothing fell off. On the whole a satisfactory return to racing and to racing for SSRMC.

Results are in. I was 14th overall and 6th in the 40-49 age group. SSRMC has pictures, but I think they make me look fat.

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Monday, May 1, 2006

Yet another beautiful Spring day. Headed out to Twin Lakes after work. Nice and easy up to near-Pinebrook and then back and around the lake. Nice easy 36:56.

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Track. Repetitions: 8 X 400 with lap jog recovery. Target of 79, but a bit off. 77, 81, 82 (confused about the correct pace so consciously picked it up), 74, 75.0, 73.0, 71.4, 71.7. No aches or pains, and relaxed throughout, even if had to concentrate for the final 100s of the last ones.

Thursday, May 4, 2006

Took yesterday off. Feeling rather tired. Tonight’s plan was a tempo run, at 6:12. Jogged down to Bronxville Track and did some straights. 83.34, 88.88, 90.63, 90.72 (5:53.57), 92.15, 92.34, 92.75, 91.16 (6:08.40), 91.46, 90.49, 89.28, 90.62 (6:01.85), 88.59, 88.16 (21:00.59). Some laps were a little quick, but got into a groove and while had to push it a little, not too uncomfortable.

Sunday, May 7, 2006

A little chill in the air, but a beautiful morning. Had thought of going to Rockefeller, but there was not alot of enthusiasm at the Club, so decided to bag it. Instead, ran from home to Twin Lakes/Nature Study. Did one lap of Lake at easy pace, and met up with Club members who were doing the hole Greenway, so went with them back towards New Rochelle, and then added some more, for a total time of 1:08:53, which is the longest I’ve run on my own for a while.

Saturday was the typical Club run in Larchmont at 38:53. Friday evening, ran Twin Lakes/Nature Study, but took the camera and stopped periodically to take pictures. I have put them up as a group on Flickr (the first shots in the group, with an iced-over Lake, are not from Friday’s run). Trail is in good condition, and it was nice to go easy through it.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Vacation planned for Sag Harbor, but the weather was lousy, so we came home. Not before had a great run on Monday afternoon, the day we drove out. Ran the Northwest Trail in East Hampton. The trail head was just 2 miles from my sister’s, and ran back at a nice pace, although it was slightly uphill most of the way. The trail itself is wonderful. On Tuesday, wanted to do some intervals, but they didn’t work out as I hoped. Went to the trail. First one was a struggle and stopped at 3:01. But came atarted the one back and stopped at 1:27. Then decided to start again and had a very nice 3:51. But too spent to go farther, and baled after 30 secs.


So came home this morning. Went out for an easy run, and made it to Scarsdale Road pretty easily. Came back up Crow’s Nest hill.

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Saturday, May 13, 2006

Loucks Games 5K, White Plains (course). Never run this race before. Starts at WP HS and finishes with 1.25 laps of the track. Nice flat course, with a downhill final bit onto the track. Ran pretty relaxed and with WTC’s Jay Duggan (he is the one who just beat me in the 2004 Tarrytown Pilgrim 4-miler) for much of the time, but he opened up in the last half. Jill Vollweiller, also of WTC, also finished just ahead of me, having caught Jay and me with about 3/4 to go. There were no mile markers, but felt fairly even throughout, with 17:58 or so, 4th overall. May have been able to pick it up, but wasn’t up to it. In part, this is an issue of mental toughness. Next race test will probably be Bronxville.

Had a great tempo run on Thursday. Ran down to trail in Chester Heights. Ran from 10 mins. to split in trail before bridge, at 10:24, then back at 10:02. Very smooth, but hard. Happy about that. Then ran very easily on Friday, down to Bronxville track, where did 4 100s.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Nice and easy run down to Nature Study. Pretty slow to the trail, but then picked it up, but not much. Did 2 laps of the Lake, altough for time reasons ran up the hill after the wooden bridge on second one. Finished in 1:06:41. Almost ran into a couple of deer. Also, Joe Golden, webmaster for WTC, posted pictures from Loucks. Because of where I was at the finish, there were none of me at the finish, although I can be seen in 4th here. But the one to the right shows me with a very strange smirk on my face.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Nothing yesterday; had been a long time since an off-day. To Mam’k track for repeats, 5 sets of 2 X 200 and 1 X 400 Repeats:

  • 36.7, 40.3, 80.6
  • 36.7, 37.5, 75.1
  • 37.1, 37.3, 77.2
  • 38.2, 41.4, 76.5
  • 35.3, 35.3, 73.3

Each workbout was nice and relaxed. Had a decent turn-out, with 6 others coming at one point or another.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Club meeting last night so missed a run. Received an e-mail from Devon M. about whether the NYRRC was ever going to have meets at Icahn this year. The scuttlebut on LetsRun was that they were not, that a new regime at NYRRC was re-thinking the idea. A number of SSRMC members — Erin, Mark, Greg — have expressed an interest in running those meets, and I probably would do a few myself (notwithstanding last year’s fiasco (one last and one DNS after getting hurt during warm-up). So Devon tells me that Conor O’Driscoll of WTC suggested writing to Mary Wittenberg, NYRRC’s new president, which I did. Mary got back saying it is “finalizing the schedule.” Hope they do. It would be a shame not to take advantage of what is a great facility, albeit one that can get a little smelly if the wind is blowing in the wrong direction.

Today was beautiful. Did some work in Bryant Park. But thunderstorms were predicted, and a storm hit at about 5:45. I had ridden my bike to the train. So I switched to shorts and a T-shirt I had in my office, ran through the rain to Grand Central, and rode my bike home. Although my right quad hurt off-and-on during the day, decided to try a tempo run at Bronxville. Because of thunder-threat, drove down, so I could make a quick getaway. Rain let up during warm-up. One clap of thunder right when I was getting started, and it started to pour after a couple of laps. After 15 mins., though, the sun was out again.

Pretty even splits, although a good deal quicker than wanted. But felt very relaxed. Went through 5K at 18:31, all of 32 seconds slower than Saturday’s race. I think I left far too much on the course on Saturday. I mean, I was able to joke around with 1000 meters to go. That’s why I think I need a little mental toughness work, to push through at a higher pace. Anyway, splits, except for lap 1, were incredibly even. Each 200 in 44 or 45; each lap between 87 and 90. Total for 14 laps: 20:41. 84.20, 88.04, 89.58, 89.75, 90.93, 90.14, 90.36, 89.98, 89.62, 88.44, 88.01, 88, 88, 87 (watch memory was filled at 11 laps).

Friday, May 19, 2006

Rain on-and-off, but stopped in the afternoon. Took a nice easy run to Crestwood up the parkway trail, turned at 24:49, finished in 49:39, but included the Crow’s Nest hill on way back.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Yesterday was regular SSRMC group run, a relaxed 40:34. There was another member whose form is awful. But when you have major form issues, you wonder whether making changes will result in injuries. In his case, it is not the major right-left twist I see in some members, but a bit too much tightness up-top and too much jumping instead of running. A little work, and I think he’ll be quite quick.

Today, the Club had a 7:30 trail run, but my plan was to leave later and head up the Hutch and meet them. Got all the way (nearly) to Pinebrook, but had to turn, and never saw them. Got to that turn-around in 41 and finished in 1:20:49, which is as long as I’ve run in a very long time. Google gives the approx. mileage as 11.3 (map), so a 7:04 pace. Felt pretty tired at the 30 min. mark, but kept it relaxed and was fine coming back, although started to lose it over the last mile on the trail and through Chester Heights. A bit de-hydrated as well, but finished, and very happy about that. More long-runs is one thing that I think can really improve my performance. No pains on this run, so happy.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Today off. Last night did intervals (1000, 1200, 1000, 1200, 1000), which worked out pretty well, although I was a bit quicker than I wanted to be (sub-5:20 pace). Although the last one was a struggle, my form held throughout. Only Mark made it to the work-out, and he did easy 800s to work on his form. He has a track workout with TOWTC tonight. I think people feel obligated to go to those workouts because they’ve paid. Maybe we should charge for SSRMC. Nah. Monday was a nice easy run down to the Bronxville Track, a few laps, and then home. Had to get back for the 2-hour finale of “24.” I don’t know if I’ll watch the next season, by which time Jack Bauer will be in China (he’s on a slow boat).

Monday was a run in which things flowed so smoothly, and is a sign that my form is coming around. Let’s see if I can translate that into racing. But it is the visceral feeling that makes the running itself its own reward.

I decided against the Bronxville 5-miler. I run those streets all the time (and the course passes 100 meters from where I grew up), but I just don’t feel like doing it. I love the Tuckahoe Challenge, but not this race, which I did back in 1999. That said, I plan on doing the first Van Cortlandt 5K X-C of the season tomorrow. I also put up a new link for a new blog, Runs Like a Girl, who linked to me.

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Thursday, May 25, 2006: X-C is not as easy as it looks

I love cross-country, and tonight was the first of the summer series of the Van Cortlandt Track Club’s Thursday series of 5Ks. Nice night, but had the normal struggles that cross-country running is heir to. 5th, in 18:23. No changes in position from the first bridge-crossing but right on the heels of no. 4 at the top of the hill, and he beat me by 17 seconds, opening up a nice gap on the downhills, which he held on the final straight. My finishing speed is not there. Still, ran a tempo run last Thursday, and came through the 5K at 18:31, so there was an obvious drop-off for running at Van Cortlandt. Maybe it’ll get quicker with more of these races. Won age group and got a bit of carrot cake!

Sunday, May 28, 2006: Nice & Easy

Sunday was time for another long run. I get nervous on the night before, lest I not be able to complete it. But no problem this morning. Ran from home up the Hutch, and ran into Eric and Guillermo north of Wilmot. From that point, a bit easier, which is a more appropriate pace, and then turned back for about 8 minutes after leaving them at Webster. A little struggle coming home, but not too much. Not nearly as dead as last week. Took a fair amount of water before leaving.

Saturday was the Club-run, but a low turnout. Went with Dave Burgess, in 42.33. Friday was another nice run. Planned on just going around the BRP lake, but felt good enough to stretch it to Scarsdale Road. Finished via the Crow’s Nest hill, a good test on the way home. It is short, about 120 yards, but very steep; I breathe very heavily afterwards, and need to recover. Reminds me of Blacktop at VCP.

Thinking of Thursday’s race, I wonder about my lack of finishing speed. In the old days, I would never lose ground in the final stretch of a race. I don’t think I was passed in the last half of a race. But recently (at VCP, at Loucks, at Tarrytown) I do not seem to have it. I don’t know if there is anything to be done about it, i.e., I don’t know if there is any particular work-out that can deal with this.

Monday, May 29, 2006: Memorial Day

Drove to OCA Central in Hastings-on-Hudson with camera. Nice and easy 35 minutes, but carried camera. Whie I stopped for some shots, I did a number of others on the run. Some were really blurry. But I put the rest up on Flicker here.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Took tonight off. Last night did Club workout of 2 X 200, 2 X 400, 2 X 600, 2 X 400, 2 X 200, plus 2 laps of straights. Consistent pace throughout.

Word is that the NYRR is going to have 3 track meets at Icahn, on June 6, 13, and 20. I hope to get to some of them. Speaking of track, found (via LetsRun) some nice running videos on, including El Guerrouj’s mile world record and <a href="’s 10K record (although it cut-off before the end).

Saturday, June 3, 2006

It started raining at midday yesterday and pretty well continued until early this afternoon. But I ventured out with the Club this morning, but stopped at 14 minutes out of concern for my left knee. It has been bothering me for about a week now and then when I walk, but not when I’ve run. No problems during Tuesday’s Repeats or last night’s tempo run. But after a break it seemed OK, and jogged/ran back.

Raining last night, with a chance of lightning, so drove down to Bronxville and loops on the track. Got into a 100-second laps, and decided that going a little faster would let me do a tempo workout. I did not run on Thursday out of concern for the left knee. So picked it up and ran decently hard for 10 laps, the last 8 of which were at 90 or a little faster. A bit spent at end, but felt pretty good, although not quite as good as doing the 6:40 pace of the earlier laps.

Thursday, June 8

Haven’t posted in a few days. Did a 5K at Van Cortlandt tonight, finishing at almost exactly what I did two weeks ago. The start was a little different and the time was 18:20. I ran this one more relaxed than last time, and while I had someone breathing down my neck to Freshman Hill, he was not heard from again. I was in third and the guys in 1 and 2 were out of sight by the Cow Path. The Cow Path was a little eerie because it was a bit overcast and its was strangely dark going through there.

Had the normal Van Cortlandt struggle and was dead going up Black Top, but once crested the hill, it was clear sailing home. Unlike last time when there was someone right ahead of me who opened up a big lead in the second half, I was alone, so I don’t know whether I did that stretch any better. I was happy. Third, and first in 40-49.

Saw Otto H., a one-time CPTC teammate. He did it as a fartlek (3 min. fast/2 min. easy) and I passed him at the start of the Cow Path. Afterwards, he gave me some advice about Reach-the-Beach, which he has done a few times. He said that you really have to be in shape for it or the last (of three) legs will kill you. I said that they say you should be in marathon shape, but you look at the distance of the legs, and it doesn’t seem that bad. He said it is.

Speaking of marathon-shape, I’m beginning to think of doing one in the Fall. New York is out, although presumably I can qualify for it next year if I want. I was thinking of Philadelphia in late November, which a number of SSRMC members did last year, but the saw a banner ad for the Cape Cod Marathon on October 29. I posted something on LetsRun, and got a nice response, to the effect that it is a tough but fair course where lots of guys go out too fast. If things hold together, maybe.

For the record, Sunday was much the same as last Sunday, 1:30 on the Nature Study/Twin Lakes trail. Relaxed and easy, even if the last stretch home on the road was a bit of a struggle. Tuesday was a run up the hill at Paine Avenue. About 0.2 mmiles, kept them in the 68 to 71 range. Last stretch of each hurt, especially on the last few. But a nice change. And Wednesday was a nice run to Scarsdale Road in the rain, 41 mins.

Saturday, June 10

Normal Saturday-morning club run on a beautiful morning in Larchmont. Some great views across the Sound, and I added 10 mins. to the end, for just over 49. Yesterday another relaxed run to Scarsdale Road and back, including the Corw’s Nest hill. Started out very slowly and sore from Thursday’s race, but relaxed pretty quickly. It was fine, but a little humid, when I went out, but then we had a classic lowering sky and then thunderstorms at about 10. So this morning had the nice post-storm feel, although it is a bit chilly.

Watched England beat Paraguay 1-0 in the World Cup, although I missed the goal (which was an OG in the 4th minute). I’m no soccer guy, but England seemed much the better team. But neither side had many chances. And the broadcasters kept going on-and-on about how wonderful David Beckham is (except when they said he spent too much time just hanging out on the outside, not doing anything), and at one point calling him the best player in the world. I’m no soccer guy, but at least I know that’s not true.

I got a nice note from someone about Westchester Trails, and he then posted a link to that site on So I signed up for that site. It is a community running site. It is similar to the Frappr: WebSiteRunners site, to which I was directed by BuryBlue, a runner in England who I came upon on Flickr.

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Sunday, June 11: Long Sunday

The first training objective is Reach-the-Beach in September, for which you’re supposed to be in near-Marathon shape. It’s a 12-person relay from Bretton Woods to the Atlantic in New Hampshire, totaling 200 miles or so, with each person running 3 legs. So Im using a marathon-training program, from Jack Daniels’s Daniels Running Formula. I am thinking of then doing a fall marathon. I am not in New York, so I’m thinking Cape Cod on October 29.

This means I have to start doing long runs. I’ve never been a runner who did a lot of long-stuff, but now that I understand the concept and recognized that an easy pace (about 7:40 for me in my current condition) is all that’s required, I’m doing more and more of them. So today was a 1:49 on the Nature Study Trail. Except for a slower trail run a couple of years back, this is the longest I’ve run in 20+ years. I’m going to have to start either carrying water or finding places with water — although today was not so warm that it was an issue — because I tend to start and not stop until I finish.

I was a little too quick going out, but ran into some Club-members coming down the trail. There is a regular Sunday morning run, and I’ve been meeting them on the way down, after I leave from my house. Today’s group, however, was a bit too slow, so I ran with them for about a mile and a half and then continued on my own. The last stretch was quite a struggle, not helped by the fact that I run the last (and first) 1.5 miles on the road, and today there was a brutal headwind for a long stretch of that on the way back.

Still, the last 3 miles were a bit quicker than the first. I ran three laps of the lake, at 11:21, 11:16, and 11:21, which I mention because of the consistency, even with having to go through several muddy spots.

Home and showered and having had breakfast, I am still pretty tired. I have a bit of an ache in my knees, but I hope that wont grow into anything.

Wednesday, June 14: Icahn 3K

New York Road Runners Summer Track Series at Icahn. Had never run a 3000 on a track, but decided it would be easier than a 5K next week. So off I went to Icahn — train to 125th, walk across bridge — and got myeself in the first heat. They asked for times, and lined up runners accordingly, and asked what I was hoping for, and I said 10:00, and so was told I could go first or second. I decided to go first, notwithstanding my experience in a 1500 last years.</aP

Of course I knew this, so although I was in the pack through 200 but I let them get away, because the pace was too fast. I got through the 1500 in 4:57, and thought I had no chance for 10. I was last for a while, but passed someone just past 2400. I felt much better for the final 600, and felt strong, if not fast. As I came down the final straight, I could see the clock at the finish read 9:5x, but I was just too far out to make it. Finish in a 10:01.9. Of course, now I have to run the one in two weeks to see if I can get under 10.

My right knee hurt a bit afterwards, but it seemed OK today. We had three other club members run the meet, Erin, Greg, and Mark. Mark ran all three races (1500, 400, 3000) and Greg did the first 2. Erin did the 3000. I think everyone was pleased with the meet. By far the largest portion of runners were from Nike CPTC, including many of my old track teammates, and I said hello to a bunch, and Devon.

Tonight, did something nice and easy. Was headed to the Bronxville Track, but it is gone! It’s to be rebuilt for the Fall. Then my left foot hurt, so I stopped and walked for it bit. But that pain disappeared and I was able to finish it off.

Monday, June 19: Taking it easy

Today was a day off because yesterday was a real struggle, and afterwards, I was dead tired. I also stopped early, because I could go no farther. But that led to a discovery.

For years and years, there has been a real bad spot on the spur that I use to enter the nearest trail, Nature Study Woods. It is very low and floods easily but, worse, it has a false bottom, and I have fallen there twice. Over the last few weeks, work has been done to fix it. I assumed it was being done by the County. Today, I faded in my long trail run, and barely made it to 1:30. It was a miracle that I made it that far. I didn’t think I could get past 50, then 60, then I did one more stretch a few times. I finally stoped at 1:32. It was hot (although not so hot in the trails), and I was dead.

So I walked towards home, and as I got to this stretch, I ran into people working. Turns out that a kid in the neighborhood had picked fixing the trail as his Eagle-Scout project. He was there with his folks and some relatives. They had gotten donations of supplies and some equipment and were fixing the trail. Excellent stuff.

Saturday was a nice club run, with a meeting for those of us doing Reach-the-Beach Relay in September. I volunteered for the first leg, so now I have to worry. It is only 3.1 miles (and the shortest of the race) but it is straight up and then straight down a ski-slope. I’m not so w<orried about the climb, but am about the coming down part. So I will have to do work focusing on this stage alone.

Also had a very nice tempo run at Twin Lakes on Friday, 2 laps in just under 20 minutes, running pretty evenly.

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Monday, July 3

Have not posted in a bit, but have done 2 races since. First was the every-other-Thursday cross-country at Van Cortlandt. This was on June 22. It was very humid. I managed to leave my race singlet in the car, so ended up running without a shirt; first time I’ve done that in a race. Because of the humidity, went out easy and there was a bunch of people ahead as we hit the cow path. But I passed a good number of them by the time we got to the back hills. Felt pretty good and tried to push the downs. Ended up in fifth overall in 18:35, with which I was happy given the weather.

The other race was the Larchmont 5K, which was finally held on Saturday, July 1. At 10, so it was getting warm. The day was in the 80s. PAB mentioned that his son, who is going to be a senior at Iona Prep, was in the race so that I might still win the verterans. Edouard is a nice kid, and I chatted with him at the start. Asked how fast he planned on going out, he said, “I’ll go with the lead pack,” to which I said he might be the lead pack. In the event, a bunch of kids took off, but very quickly it ended up being Edourd and me. This is a very nice course, and we run much of it on our Saturday morning runs. (SSRMC had a number of people in the race.) I was tired, but relaxed and pushing it. With a mile to go, I wanted to just give in, but Edourd sounded as though he was hurting more than I was. The course finishes on a slight down-hill, and when we turned for home, he immediately picked it up a notch, to a gear that I no longer possess. He was gone, winning in 17:26 and I finished in17:28, which in McMillan’s calculator is just about exactly the same as my 10:02 3K. I was very happy with the result. A club member had a GPS-watch, and got the course as just over 3.1 miles, so it is a legitmate time.

Otherwise, I’ve just been putting in some miles and some speed-work. I did have an issue at last Tuesday’s interval workout when I had a spasm in my upper back, so I stopped early in the workout. But it did not bother me later (including in the race), so I assume it’s OK. I also finally ran with Charles M., who is impossible to nail down for a run. He has a friend who is turning 50 this year and is thinking of running New York. He’s German and has a 2:09 PR, so he can get into the race if he wants, although he would be looking for a sub-3. Charles, who has a 2:14, said he might be interested in training for it. Although my thinking is Cape Cod in late October, maybe I’ll see if I can do New York with these guys.