Thursday, October 4

I have to admit that for now I’m enjoying taking it easy. Last night I actually skipped a run to go out to dinner with my wife. Figure I’d score brownie points with that, but it was also nice, even though I had taken the day before off as well.

Sometimes I walk downtown from my office for meetings. Weird sight: bunch of people lined up against a wall in SoHo waiting for food at a cart. Must be good. It’s Mexican, tacos and burritos and the like. So I’m looking at the menu and the guy there, definately not Mexican, says, “You should know that it’s a 30 minute wait.” Thanks but I’ll pass. A 30 minute wait for a street-stand buritto. Struck me as a real New York thing.

With the Mets gone, I decided to go for the Padres, because an RTBer is from San Diego and is a fan of the Padres and the Chargers. That didn’t work out. So then I must go with the Sox, because I hate the Yankees. And the Phillies, with their fans and their hankies or whatever it was they were twirling over the week-end. Hate them too. But not as much as the Braves, but that’s another story. It is a relief not to worry about whether I should stay up watching baseball in October.

I plan on running the Scarsdale Fall Foliage 5K on October 14. I did it three years ago. It’s a nice course that begins and ends where I was batized some 50+ years ago. Afternoon start.

Sunday, October 7: Just Trying to Help

The one workout I regretted not doing before the NYC Marathon was one in which you finish with a long stretch at marathon pace. So this year I volunteered to help a Club runner do it, since it can be brutal on its own. So a bunch of people running the Marine Corps Marathon in a few weeks got together at 7:15 and headed out for a 6-mile loop. I joined in the second. Several backed off a little, and I was with Chris. I found that I was a particularly bad pacer. My Garmin was all over the place as I tried to find an Easy pace for my teammate. But when we hit the last lap — his 13-18, my 9-15 (I had run a little beforehand) — I found it easier to maintain a consistent 7:20-7:30 pace. He’s a first-timer and I think he was being too conservative in his race goal, 3:30. He’s too fast for that, even if he is a big guy. So while he was hurting, he came through. Now we’ll see what happens. He said he’s running it because it’s on his list of things-to-do, but he may be hooked. Who knows?

Today was the Chicago Marathon, and a scorcher it was. They shut it down early. We had one Club member, who has moved to Chicago, in it. PAB finished in 4:10. Not bad under the circumstances.

Today was also the third Westchester Marathon. This is a run along the Bronx River Parkway — the oldest parkway in the USA — for 2 loops. I actually ran this course as a 20K way back in 1979, in the pooring rain. Longest race I had ever done up to that point, and almost the longest run I had ever done up to that point. Anyway, I’ve always felt that the entry fee — $80 for the marathon, $50 for the half — is too high. We had another rookie running Westchester. Don’t know yet how he did, but he too was in good shape to post a nice time.

As I was coming home from a workout some weeks ago, The Clash’s “I Fought the Law” was on the radio. I included one line — “I Guess My Race is Run” — on the back of the Club shirts I got for Reach-the-Beach. (I also included a more obscure reference from “Blazing Saddles” — “Dazzling Suburbanites from Westchester, in New York”). But no one on the team got any of the references. They pretty much all hated the shirts.

Ran into Charles in Bronxville on Saturday. He was walking. Best runnre I know (a 2:14 PR), but he’s always kind of in shape. I told him I was focused on NY 2008. He might. It would be good to be able to work out with him. He’s half-Brit and a rabid CFC fan. I always enjoy running with him. Plus he turned me on to parts of the OCA as well as to the Rockies many, many years ago.

Wednesday, October 10

As I was coming home on the train on Monday, my wife asked me point-blank: “Would you have run in those conditions,” referring to Chicago. I had given it thought, and told her that I might have started, but I wouldn’t have finished. I know this because I didn’t finish New York in 1984, when it was brutally warm. I stopped at 19. In New York, once you’re in Manhattan, stopping isn’t so bad. You just walk west to Central Park. That’s what I did. My wife was waiting on the Park Drive, and I jogged up to her. She asked why I stopped and I told her I never got to the Bronx. That was my second attempt at a marathon, and my last until 2006. I have a back-up marathon set up for December 1984, but my back went out and that was that.

The decision, as in Chicago, of whether to go and whether to finish is an individual one. Pierre of Sound Shore (that’s him in the picture) soldiered on and was very happy with it. Pierre dropped me a line. “Very happy” is not quite right. And he’d know. I was thinking more in terms of satisfied that he finished, as opposed to jumping for joy about the experience. So he was satisfied with having finished — how could he not be? — but quickly determined to give it the marathon another go so he would not end matters with a “bad impression.” My apologies to Pierre. For me, the reality is if I’m not going run a time close to what I want and can recover to fight another day, the better part of discretion is to DNF. But I can understand those who are focused on the mass run — New York, Chicago, London, etc. — and who have finishing as their goal continuing on.

There’s a local reporter who has posted general running stuff and has published articles referring to Sound Shore. I asked whether she’d be interested in doing an article about headlamps. I’ve been using one for years. Once you get over the nerd/geek factor, it’s great. We had to wear them, of course, at RTB, but I’ve been doing that for a long time. I think I would have avoided a spill that led to a broken collarbone and a torn labrum (and surgery) had I been wearing one some years ago.

She decided to do a story. So last night I went to Paine Avenue for a hill workout. I wouldn’t have done it in hiatus-mode, but anything for publicity. Only Eric showed up. The story, if it runs, will be in Sunday’s Journal News.

The Tour Prologue, from London. I raced on part of this course in April.

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Sunday, October 14: Scarsdale Fall Foliage 5K

Although I’m in hiatus mode, there are a few races I plan on doing. One was the Fall Foliage 5K in Scarsdale. It starts and finishes right by where I was baptized many years ago. Small race, with a 3pm start. So the day is a little weird, about things like what to eat, etc. Small group, running the residential stretches of Scarsdale. There’s a slight downhill early, and I found myself alone going down it. First mile, 5:34. Too quick, and I was struggling through a second mile at 5:37. With a half to go, I was passed, and went through 3 at 16:54 or so. Finish at 17:34. Second.

Yesterday, a nice trail run up in Litchfield, CT. We go up there every year to an art show of local artists at a firehouse. This year, we got a nice painting of a trail.

I’ve long been an advocate of wearing headlamps while running after dark. I mentioned this to Jane McManus of the Journal News, and she did an article, Runners’ safety a high priority as days grow shorter. I think many don’t wear them because they think “real runners” don’t. Part of my pitch was that I’m a real runner, and I wear them. I like the article.

Wednesday, October 24: Nothing to Report

I realize that for me to say nothing to report means there really must be nothing to report. Just normal running now and then. Had a great run up at the Rockies on Saturday. I want to try to get in a run up there once a month, and Sunday was a good 1:20. The Garmin was off at times — I went from a 6:50 pace to a 9:30 pace and back. Felt good. As I was going up the switchback at Rockwood Hall (to the right is an old shot from the top of the hill, Hudson in the back), I felt the strain on my legs that is unique to hills, and it brought me back to Leg 3 of RTB. Unlike when you’re just tired, hills seem to hit you in a different way. They can suck the life out of your legs, even if you don’t otherwise feel bad. It sent me back to the moments when I stopped during Leg 3. But at the Rockies, where I had a good 4 large hills, I felt a strain, but held it togetda aher.

Here’s another of the Chasing Kimbia videos. This is “Baba,” Stephen Kiogora, who finished second in New York 2006 with a 2:10:06. This is described as a “hard” 30K; the 10K split is mid-32:

Sunday was the first Sunday in I don’t know how long when I voluntarily did not go for a run. A couple of months back, I was dreaming of not having to go for a run, although that mental-freeze period is over. But I decided to go out on my bike. It’s an old, heavy Pinarello (red). I sometimes take her out on Saturday afternoons after a run, but this was the day’s workout. It almost killed me. I did 23 miles about 1:18 at about 17.6 mph, but there were times on hills in which I felt I could run up them faster. I almost blew up — and blowing up on a bike is different from blowing up on a run; the simple act of turning the pedal becomes incredibly difficult. Often it’s for want of energy, bonking. But this was a want of bike fitness. That’s further proof of the specialization of sport. Great running shape does not translate into great anything-else shape.

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Saturday, November 17: Ryan Shay Memorial Run

Like a number of clubs throughout the country, Sound Shore’s normal 5.5 mile run was in memory of Ryan Shay. Much has been said about his death at the Olympic Trials, and I don’t have anything to add. I did feel it highlighted the extent to which we are all part of a larger community. Through places like LetsRun, CoolRunning, Flotrack, and The Final Sprint we see more and more inside the world of elite running and we see that it’s not so different from what we do. Only faster. It shows us to be part of a universal community of runners.

I attended the Olympic Trials. My plan was to go down, perhaps throw in a run, and run back and forth from the West to the East Drive. But Erin C. (formerlly Erin H.) had an extra VIP pass, so I took her up on her offer to use it. After a bit of trouble parking — I ended up at CPW and 104th Street — I got down to Tavern on the Green, although not before seeing the race go by twice. I was at 5K, and saw the clock for the pack was in the high 16s, which meant they were going very slowly.

Of course, that didn’t last. There was a tent at Tavern with breakfast and big screens showing the race. As they approached the south end of the park, we’d get up and head to the bleachers to cheer them buy and then go back in. But when they came by for the penultimate time, we just hung out at the bleachers and watched the race — which at that point was for third — on the monitors. Everyone cheered wildly as they came through, with the biggest cheers for Ryan Hall (who was my favorite), Ritz, Brian Sell, Khalid (who everyone recognized ran a gutsy race for fourth), and Meb.

After he finished, Hall was right in front of me with his wife Sara, and he enthusiastically cheered in Ritz and Sell. I got some photos.

The next day, of course, was the marathon itself. I just sat in the basement and watched. It made me anxious about next year’s race. Here’s something I found from the London Marathon:

Sunday, November 18: Mamaroneck Turkey Trot

This has long been one of my favorite races. Went to bed wondering whether it would be cold and wet on the course. What to wear? In the morning, though, it was chilly but not raining. Weather radar had “rain” but it was not reaching the ground.

So up to Mamaroneck Harbor. See lots of SSRMC folks. Tom and Dave as greeters outside and Ilsa inside. Erin the Tall at registration. Mark and Greg Stern arrive. We’re hanging with Dave and Tom when Miwa appears and the Greg Stanton. Arthur-who-runs-for-Taconic. I would later see Alice heading in for her number.

This race, which I’ve now down for the fifth time, is tricky in that it is always much colder at registration than it is on the course. I warn a few people. I was planning on my singlet, compression shorts, gloves, and arm warmers, but decide to skip the last. I send Greg Stern to lose the long-sleeve shirt he has on.

A bit of confusion at the start. For the first time, cones have been set up to separate the lanes of Route 1. I figure they’re for the finish and not for the start, so I kind of ignore them, but others stick to the right side of the cones. So I cut the angle at the very niturn and pass some people. I feel guilty, being with a sponsor and all, but my view is if you’re not told otherwise cut the tangents.

Way ahead is Connor McKee, who won last week at 3.83 race in Tarrytown. He won this race back in 1998, and as with last week, he was quickly gone.

I’m in third as we hit Orienta and will stay that way for the balance. The guy in front of me is a youngster but he holds the gap on me most of the way. I hear someone behind, breathing heavily.

It’s chilly, but not cold. I feel pretty good. I have no speed but am concentrating on holding my form. Trying to emulate Ryan Hall; arms low and relaxed. Keep a rhythm. Pass Gregg and Ilsa at mile 2, then up the slight hill. A few stretches of iffy road near the country club. Through the club. No water for me. Keep the rhythm. We hit Hommocks, and then on Route 1. There’s a bit of a wind, but the flags tell me it’s not much of an issue. Route 1, passed Paul G. at the 4 mile mark, and then can’t hear the guy behind. So I’m fine in third. Not close enough for a move on second. Now this is familiar territory. Think of the runs we’ve done from the HS to Orienta. A slight up hill and then a down.

See the Harbor. Still feeling strong. Tom tells me I’m safely in third. But it’s taking longer than I’d like. Some church spires, which are past the Harbor. There’s the light at Mam’k Ave. Right and downhill then right again to the finish. 28:40. Feel very good about it.

Now it’s time to relax for a while. Last race for a bit.

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November 24: Once A Runner

It’s crazy, but I had the book “Once A Runner” by John L. Parker, Jr. for years before I read it earlier this year. It turns out that the book is out of print and is now the subject of a feeding frenzy. So I’ve posted it on eBay. The next copy to be sold is going for $160. Not one to buck capitalism, my copy is to be sold in a couple of days. High bid now is $122.51.

In the meantime, I finished “Strides” by Ben Cheever. Ben is a local runner, and the book is a wonderful journey through the history of running generally and of him in particular. There&#8217s a great trip to Kenya and a wonderful one to Iraq. He gives out medals at the 2005 NYC Marathon, and runs the 2006 race. (He tells us his time because, as he acknowledges, we can look it up anyway.) While he annoys me by constantly referring to a marathon as 26.2 miles when we all know it’ 26.21875 miles, he gets points for properly spelling the name of the 33rd president as Harry S Truman, without the period.

Talk about a change in the weather. On Thanksgiving it was in the upper 50s for my run. Today, it was 23.6 when I got up and headed for the Rockies. It warmed up a bit by the time I got there, but it was still chilly. But comfortable and very nice in the sun. The trail was a bed of yellow leaves in many spots, but the footing is such that it’s not a problem. I ran with Herb, who did New York and is supposed to be taking it easy, for a bit and then was on my own. Goodly number of hills, but I felt pretty good, and was actually going at about a 6:30 pace for the last 5 miles or so.

Saw a fair number of people running and walking. A great place, and I hope to get up there about once a month for the winter, as an opportunity to get in a long run. Today was 1:27, but I want to be able to regularly put in a solid 2 hours (probably at an easier pace overall) by late January and use that as a base for the Spring and ultimately for New York. I’m also thinking of including at the end of these runs 4 or 5 miles at MP, just to get used to it.

Some nice workout videos I came across: <a href="Dathan Ritzenhein (who I’ve been calling “Ritzenheim“ for a while). And Ryan Hall (from a religious site; I find him much less staid when he’s not reading. There are a bunch of interviews on Flocast as well as his sub-1 hour half-marathon at Houston. In one of his post-OT interviews, he said that towards the end of the race he was visualizing running a long tempo run with Sara on her bike alongside. It’s a great image.) When I speak of trying to emulate Hall, it’s recognizing the relaxed way he holds his arms, which is not that much different from the way that Ritz does. Here’s a 15 mile run:

December 8

I ended up getting $177 for my copy of “Once A Runner.”

For the past several weeks, my runs have been fast. Today’s 1:20 was no exception, with an average pace (per my Garmin) of 6:34. I felt no strain until about mile 9 and the last 3 miles were about 6:20. I’ve been running workouts relaxed and well under 7 for a while. I hope it means that I’ve ratcheted up in my condition, but we’ll see. The next test will be the Manhattan Half on January 27, although I may try to do a shorter thing between now and then.

I got into a debate on CoolRunning regarding whether it’s OK to get water other than from the official spots. My view was that it’s assistance and thus illegal under USATF rules. I don’t have big problems with those who disagree, at least for those not competing for awards. But some of them were unnecessarily demeaning.

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