Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Although I guess I did not run that hard last night, I still am taking an easy day. From Chester Heights to bridge on Nature Study w/o watch. Figure about 30 mins. Trail in good shape, and felt comfortable.

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Easy to Scarsdale Road. New shoes (1100s). They blistered by about half-way, but kept going. Through first mark in 6:00 and turned at 18:40 and came home in 18:03, for a 36:43. Relaxed and a pretty nice pace.

Friday, June 3, 2005

No run. Coach’s orders.

Saturday, June 4, 2005

Hot and humid. Because of Tuesday’s race, intervals at Columbia at 11 this morning. 6 X 400 @ mile pace. Devon is concerned that a number of us are getting stale. For me, of course, it’s the opposite, given my long lay-off. Been aching to get back to a track since Tuesday’s disaster. Felt pretty good. Glenn C. took each one out and I let him, but it was good to have someone to work off of. Each was pretty even, although the last 200 on the last 2 (especially the last) were strains. Came through each 200 at about 33-34. 67.78, 67.09, 68.25, 67.34, 67.87, 69.63. 2:30 rest. That last one hurt. Devon wants me to run a Masters Mile in NJ next week-end. I asked whether she thought I could do OK. She said yes, so I guess I’ll go.

Sunday, June 5, 2005

Easy at Saxon Woods with Guillermo and Eric, who are mapping the course. I was pretty tired, and peeled off, for about a 40 minute run.

Monday, June 6, 2005

Very hot and humid, so took it relatively easy via Devonia around Lake and back, about 5.5 miles, at 37:06. Tired towards end.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Work being done at Columbia, so went to Van Cortlandt Track. Devon wanted to emphasize leg turn-over, so 6 X 200 @ 800 pace, with 2 minute rest. Was a little quicker than probably should have been, but felt good (except for final 30 meters of last 200, when right hamstring ached; no problem in warm-down. 30.80, 30.38, 30.72, 29.98, 31.09, 31.41. (Note the sub-30.) A couple of weeks back, on May 20, had to struggle (albeit on the last effort) for a 31 at the end of the work-out. So this was nice.

Wednesday, June 8, 2005

Twin Lakes/Nature Study. It was warm today, but comfortable on the trail. From parking lot clockwise to Webster Avenue and back the same way. 33:28. Comfortable. Saw a couple of lone runners, and 2 deer.

Thursday, Friday, June 9, 10, 2005

Right hamstring a little sore, so no run. Race on Saturday, I hope.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

New Jersey International Track & Field Meet, Colts Neck, NJ.

In the event, the hamstring was not a problem. Went through the quarter at about 72, in second, and through the half at 2:30. Two guys blew by on the back-straight of lap 3, and the gap to 3rd opened a bit, but I closed it. Tried to pass on the final straight, but he reacted and took off. Fourth in 4:59.08. Satisfied with the result under the circumstances. Afterwards, Devon asked whether I felt lacking in speed or strength. Or both. It is both. Going away for a few days, to Sag Harbor. Will run on the great trail there, do some speedwork on Wednesday. Devon has me running down ladders.

There are a lot of marks on a track. You notice this during an interval work-out. You really notice this during a track race. For each lap, you have 320, 310, 300, and 290 to go. You’ve got the same 4 intervals around the 200 and the 300 meter marks and the finish line. Add 400, 800, and 1200 for your 4 lap race, and you’ve got a lot of “only ___ meters to go” moments.

This occurred to me during a recent mile race, my first in, well, ever. I ran a 1500 (no comma, please) 2 weeks back, and did poorly. The last serious track race before that was while Richard Nixon was president, in 1974. When tracks were 440 yards and Americans ran mile relays and not this 4 X 400 stuff.

Which brings us to that June 11 mile race. There are not that many outdoor track meets, so you have to take advantage of those you can find. This one was in Colts Neck, New Jersey. It’s up the road from Asbury Heights, and is an annual event put on by the Shore AC. My running team, the Central Park Track Club, sent a fairly large contingent. I was entered in the Masters Mile.

It was hot, over 90, and fairly humid. On the plus side, not a lot of time required for warm-up. But given that the track is metric, the start is a bit ahead of the finish line, marked by two pieces of tape designed to mimic a “waterfall” (the description of a track’s curved starting line). I wear no. 99, and am assigned lane 6. For the first time I get one of those numbers that are worn on the left-hip. (I had to see where the others put their numbers to make sure I had it right.)

Gun goes off. A bit of a scrum at the start, but it clears through by the 100 mark, and Mike McAleer of Westchester Track Club takes the lead, and I’m in second. The PA is describing the race, and me in second. Try to relax and stay on his heels. In my 1500, I was in the fast heat and I was on my own by the 300 mark and simply drifted back in no-man’s land, out of contact with everyone. Not today. Devon, my coach, is on the infield urging me to keep contact. I am trying to relax through the first lap, and the heat hits like a slap as we turn into the head-straight. I don’t remember the quarter split, and it is a struggle. That’s when the mind starts calculating how far to go. Half-way through lap 2 and I’ve got 1000 meters to go, wishing I was one lap further along. But I’m not. I holding steady and hearing my name over the PA. The doubts. Can I do it? I’ve run 10 miles in under 5:15 pace, but that was another world ago. Just keep it together. Through the half at just a tick under 2:30. No world-busting here. But the objective is to run what I am capable of running. When you get to 700 to go, this is the work-out we did a few weeks back. 700s to keep focus on the key, third lap. Then, boom, two guys go flying by me and McAleer ahead. They get clear of him. Devon imploring me to keep focused and keep contact. I don’t know it, but there is a big gap to 5th. If I slip back, I’m done. A slight gap to third, but I don’t let it open. I hear other teammates urging me on. Glen on the infield after his 800.

600. I can do 600. It may not be fast, but I can do it. Through the 3/4 and within sound of the gun. 400 and just hold it. Keeping contact all the way around, to third. First and second are, as they say, up the road. But I am close enough through the final turn to give third a go. I know that one of two things would happen. He would be finished. Or he would take off. McAleer took off, but I worked the arms in lane 2 and ran through the finish, but cannot catch him. The clock says “4:59,” but who knows what the official time is. But for the way that the race played out, I am happy. Devon’s happy, although she would ask what I felt is lacking, speed or strength. When she adds, “or both,” I quickly agree, and we would talk about doing a downward ladder to combine the 2. I don’t have the work I would like to have after my December-to-March layoff for sciatica (which still lurks below the surface except for brief, annoying-but-not-disabling appearances), but I feel it is coming along. My right ham-string was a bit strained at last Tuesday’s work-out (confessed to Devon only after the race (who also was not happy that I had run those 200s as quickly as I had)) but it did not appear at all during the race. (It would on Sunday.)

I hear the official results. I hear that third was 4:58, so I know I’ll be sub-5. And I am. 4:59.08. Not only did I get to wear the hip-number, but I have a time in the hundredths of a second. I feel like a real track guy.

The time is no great sakes, perhaps, but it gives me a frame of reference. It is something to work from.

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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Intended nice and easy trail run. Ran to Chester Heights and to Nature Study. The dangerous area is a bit trickly. Wet and requiring much care. But just as I was about to turn, the right hamstring started to hurt. So stopped, and walked home. Give it a few days.

Monday-Friday, June 13-17, 2005

Nothing for the week, out in Sag Harbor, to give the hamstring a break.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

To minimize trouble, drove to B’ville Track. Not too smooth and a little fast (timed some laps at 6:10 pace), and struggled, but finished 10 laps, 16:32accommodate. But no pain, so very happy.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Repeat of yesterday. Still not very smooth in the run, but did 16 laps in lane 3, 27:44. Timed a few laps, and running about 6:30 pace. Very slight sense of hamstring towards end, but not enough to be concerned. Also, bought a new pair of Nike Waffle Trainer Spikes, and did some straights without the spikes.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Drove to B’ville Track. Did 20 laps, and although didn’t have a watch, was going pretty hard, likely under 6 min. pace for the last mile plus. Felt quick over last couple of miles.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

No run. Intervals tomorrow. Tired from yesterday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Workout at VC Track. All at mile pace. 400, 400, 600, 800, 400. Skipped last 400 because sciatica appeared in the last 400. 68.9, 72.1, 1:50.00, 2:29.1, 73.00. Tried to keep thinks under control.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Drove to OCA in Yonkers. Decent pace around the bottom and back, but a little ache in hamstring so stopped when crossed McClean.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Ran down to B’ville Track, with 10 laps, not too hard, no hamstring issues. But tired, and stopped at third line on Pondfield.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Race tomorrow. Right hamstring a little tender, so no run.

Sunday, June 25, 2005

Got up and right hamstring sore. Decided not to run race. But while walking tonight, my left achilles tendon suddenly got really sore, and it was hard to even walk. There was nothing that precipitated it. Age?

Monday, June 26, 2005

Day off in anticipation of tomorrow’s race.

Tuesday, June 27, 2005

Supposed to race at Icahn Stadium, the 1500, but while the warm-up was fine the left tendon got very sore when I did strides, so withdrew. Not sure where that leaves me. There are 2 more races on my schedule, the first the USATF Club Championship on July 15. I obviously won’t be ready for it, but I hope to be able to do it and have some fun.

Wednesday, June 28, 2005 to Tuesday, July 5, 2005

After Tuesday night, not running for a few days to see if the tendon eases up. Still giving it a rest on Saturday, and probaly a bit longer.

Wednesday, July 6, 2005

Patty and Clio have their birthdays today, 2 years apart. Decided to see what happens, so drove to B’ville Track. No problems with tendon. Did about 10 minutes, including a 1600 timed at 6:18, and was pretty tired. Stopped and did some stretching and then did another 6 laps, at about 6:30 pace, which felt much easier. It was pretty humid. No problems. Entered the USAT&F 1500, but the plan is to just run it for the experience.

Thursday, July 7, 2005

Drove to track. Did 22:18; pace was 6:45 and dropped to 6:30. Fairly relaxed, unlike yesterday. Not sure how many laps; probably 13.

Friday, July 8, 2005

Drove to track. Did 15 laps clockwise in about 26:30 (doing 6:40 pace, consistent 1:40 laps) when left hamstring got sore enough, and so just stopped. No reason to push it.

Saturday, July 9, 2005

Drove to Hastings for the OCA Central. 15 mins. down, 15 back. (Actually, final time was 29:58; turned at about 15:10.) Nice to be on trails again. A bit tired after the turn-around, but held it together and felt smooth. Left hamstring a bit sore at start, but nothing serious and it eased up.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Brief interval work-out at Bronxville. Boy is this a lousy track for speed work. It really needs to be resurfaced. Anyway, assignment was 2 X 00 @ mile pace and 2 X 200 @ 800 pace. Went a bit quick. 67, 69.6, 33.6, 33.15. No problems. But very tired on jog home.

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Monday and Tuesday, July 11 and 12, 2005

Drove to OCA South and headed south. On Monday, go to weir and turned, but ran out of gas, and just made it to the tunnel. On Tuesday, felt relaxed, and so did the whole lower loop. Did not have a watch on either day.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Towards the end of the wonderful A Fish Called Wanda, Archie Leach (John Cleese) gets walloped by his wife (who has just learned that Archie has become obsessed with Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis)) in a courtroom, to which Archie responds, “Well, that’s it then.” After a series of injuries that knocked out the winter season and caused me to miss most of the outdoor, I hoped to run the USA T&F Club Championships as an experience and then start to build for the fall by engaging in a stretch of trying to strengthen what was weak and correct mechanical imbalances. I did not make it to the first turn of the 1500. On Thursday, I did some strides after 10 track laps and felt a bit of an ache in my right knee. But it did not bother me again. It appeared with a vengeance when I tried to get up to speed in the race, and I nearly collapsed when it locked up. I struggled to the medical tent and got ice. Now, everything’s on hold. It seems clear that there is some imbalance that is resulting in an injury that is causing me to alter something in my stride, which is causing a different imbalance, etc. I am not one who has had knee problems in the past. But the next step will be to see someone and get some instructions on what to do next. So I won’t be posting for a while as I try to get it straightened out.

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Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2005

It’s been quite a while since I posted. I’ve been going to physical therapy, and working largely on my posture, to get better alignment. We’ll see how it goes. I still cannot run, but I can ride my bike, and I’ve done that several times, getting in an hour on my road bike on Sunday and 45 minutes tonight. I can pull but I can’t push, so I can&#8217t get out of the saddle. That pushing motion is what is preventing me from running; the right knee can’t take it.