Tuesday, April 25, 2006


I've been busy at work (with interesting cases I can't tell you about), and I keep pushing off this post.

Unfortunately, this Sunday's race did not happen for me. I lost my cell phone on Friday, and since I was on call Sunday, I didn't feel comfortable being without a phone for so long. It would have taken a few hours to drive to the race, register, run the race, and drive back.

Of course in the end, I stayed home and didn't get paged once. But on the bright side, I "missed" running in this weather:

(Can you believe that 3,647 people finished the race in that weather?)

Whenever there's a big rainstorm, my landline seems to go out for 24 hours. (I report it, and then when it comes back, Verizon leaves me a message on my machine that the line is fine, and that it must be my fault. I hate them!) Anyway, with this rainstorm my phone was out from Saturday to Sunday. Even though I wasn't on call Saturday, I still got a patient overnight. My pager went off after midnight, when I was already in bed. Normally, that's not a problem. I just flip on the light, and dial from the phone right next to my bed. This time, I had to get out of bed, put on shoes and and a jacket, go outside and drive to a nearby gas station. I went to the payphone - in the still pouring rain - and it was just as dead my own phone! Fortunately, the guy behind the counter in the store let me use his cellphone. The first thing the resident said was "Sorry to bother you..." I don't think he realized how much of a bother it actually was!

Anyway, I still haven't found my cell phone, and I'm slowly coming to grips that I have to buy a new one. I just hate the whole 2 year commitment thing. (That's longer than some marriages!) I've been thinking of switching to Sprint. I keep getting wooed by all the fancy features. In the end I'll probably use none of them, but I think bluetooth and a camera would come in handy. The fact that I have to take my cell phone with me when I run, holds me back from getting something really cool like a Treo 650.

Oh, and for the record, I did go out and run those 4 miles yesterday. On the way out of the hospital one of the residents said she was going for a run. I was actually tired, but she inspired me, and I went out for a quick run before it got dark. It was a pretty good run actually.

The cycling and the swimming seem to have fallen by the wayside. I probably wouldn't care at all had I not spent the money on gym membership. Maybe I'll make my way over there again one of these days.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Mmm Pizza!

Passover's over, and I'm finally back to a normal schedule. (Well almost. After this weekend it will be back to normal.) It was good to have Pizza again today. All the kosher pizza shops had long lines today...

I've really been limited by all the holidays in terms of exercising. I didn't want a whole week to go by, so I went out for a quick run today. I have a 4 miler (again) on Sunday, so I wanted to see if I could get some fast miles in. I had a vague plan in mind, but I didn't really stick to it. Instead I ran one pretty fast mile (7:50), and one medium fast mile (8:52). By the end of those two miles my lower shins were burning, and I decided to call it quits. Considering that my PR pace for 4 miles is 8:13, it doesn't look like this Sunday is going to be a record setting Sunday. I think I need to take a few pounds off before I can get faster.

(I definitely need to start slower though, and I will. I really like being able to speed up as the race goes on.)

In other news, I've finished another tractate of the Talmud. It took me 17 weeks, which is about how long I trained for the marathon. So that's kind of cool. I'm going to have a little celebration by bringing a little food to Synagague this weekend, and then start the next one on Sunday. (Have you noticed the constant emphasis on food in this religion?!) I've got grand plans to finish the whole thing by the time I'm 50.

Anyway, that's it for this week. Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Grand Island

Thanks for all the well wishes for the holiday. I spent the first few days with my family at a hotel in Grand Island, which is about 10 miles from Niagara Falls. It was actually really nice. Unfortunately I've eaten enough food to cover my allotted calories until September! (Which is when the next set of major holidays start.) It was seriously non stop eating.

I took a few pictures there. Most of the picture opportunities came over the holiday itself, when I'm not able to take pictures. Seeing a room with a few hundred people having a seder is pretty amazing. To some people this is normal, but it was my first time in a hotel for the holidays, and it was quite interesting.

Just after sunrise from my hotal room

Watermelon art. This was left over from the holday. The watermelon on the right had these flowers carved out of them that made this even more impressive.

This "tea room" was open almost 24 hours. All part of the problem...
(For the record all those cake and cookies are made with potato starch and not flour!)

Another one of my "watch" pictures. Here's everybody stuffing their faces just before 1:00 - in the morning!!!

Just so you don't think I was a total sloth, I did get in some exercise. Saturday night I hit the pool there. It was kind of funny shaped, and the lanes were set up in lenghts of 15 yards. I swam 40 lengths, or 600 yards, but I found it pretty tough. I've been slacking on the swimming lately. The beeper thing is part of it. But the other thing is that it's just plain tough, and I'm not that into it. Anyway, I had wanted to run the next morning, so I thought a swim would be good.

Sunday morning, I got up for the 6:00 prayer services so I could get out for an early run. Total attendance at those services: 1. (Some people showed up around 6:30 or so.) I wanted to go to Niagara Falls later, so I had to head out early. By 7:15 I was on the road.

I ran the first part of the run along the river road, and it was pretty nice. I had mapped out a course to the falls, but decided it was too far, and I wasn't sure I'd get a ride back. So I instead planned for a loop back to the hotel. I didn't measure it, but looking at the little map in my hotel room, it looked about 4 miles. I figured I'd do it twice.

Well at 4 miles I hadn't even got to the turning point yet. I turned at the next road, and headed back to the hotel using the city streets. It's not much of a city, and there were pretty wide shoulders on the road. My achilles were really tight almost the entire time, and I stopped to stretch several times along the way. (On a positive note, my shins bothered me a little in the beginning, but once the achilles started up I totally forgot about them!) Anyway, by the time I got back to the hotel, I had run about 9.3 miles. Wow. It's a good thing I brought that water bottle!

As an aside, I've recently been trying to push myself to be ready for the Broad Street Run in a few weeks. Even though I was able to get in the miles on Sunday, I don't think I'm ready to run a 10 mile race. I took a lot of breaks here, and really went nice and slow. I don't see the point of travelling to Philadelphia for a race, and then to run it like a slow training run. (Sorry, ShoreTurtle.)

That's Niagara Falls in the top left of the big picture.

In the afternoon I went with my brother and my mom to Niagara Falls. I'd seen it before, but not in quite a few years. It's really amazing how powerful the falls are. This was the first time I went on the Maid of the Mist, and it was really amazing. You really get an incredible perspective on the power of the falls.

VIDEO: Niagara Falls from observation deck. American Falls in foreground, Horseshoe Falls in the distance.

VIDEO: At the edge of Horseshoe Falls.

VIDEO: Panoramic view of Horseshoe Falls from the Maid of the Mist.

I got back Sunday night, exhausted. Although I've managed not to starve, I haven't been eating at the same pace. It's possible that has something to do with what my fridge looks like after cleaning it for Passover:

Pretty sad, I know. But I was only home for a couple of days, and as it was, I had too much stuff.

Finally, my pictures from last Sunday's race in Central Park finally made it online. Most of them aren't great, but here's one from the finish line. I cropped it a little so that finishing time isn't in the picture anymore!

That's about it for now. I've got another 2 days of the holiday left, which I'll be spending with some friends in Long Island. I think it will be fun, but I should be ready to get back to normal life after that. (And normal food.)

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


I've been busy at work, and getting ready for Passover, but the holiday's here now. (It seems to come faster and faster every year.) I'm off to Niagra Falls (or at least close to them) to spend the first few days of Passover with my family. If you're celebrating a holiday with your family this weekend, I hope it's a good one. Even if you're not celebrating a holiday - have a good weekend.

I'll be back Sunday.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Thomas G. Labrecque Classic

I was on fire this morning. Well, not all of me. Just my shins.

My legs haven't felt right all week, so I didn't expect much for the race this morning. I planned to just go slow, without any thoughts of a PR or anything. I figured a 9 min/mile pace was a good goal to shoot for. (That would get me to the finish more than 3 minutes slower than my PR.)

For once, I got there early. I had told ShoreTurtle I'd meet him a half hour before the race at the registration tent. (I figured that was the latest I could tell him. He was there a half hour before that!) Anyway, I'm used to showing up in the last few minutes, and the registration area being pretty empty. I guess when you show up at a normal time, that's not the case. It was mobbed! I picked up my bib and chip, and somehow was able to spot him in the crowd. It's a good thing I did, because he would never have found me. For one, I'm shorter and tougher to spot in a crowd. And secondly, as he pointed out, I was wearing black like everyone else in New York City!

Anyway, we got all set and headed towards the back of the starting area. I think he was shocked at how crowded it was. They kept announcing that there were over 7,000 runners, but according to the results there were 5,368 finishers. Still, it was pretty impressive. Especially considering how cold it was this morning.

At the start it was pretty packed as usual, and there wasn't much room to run. I didn't particularly care, since I wasn't going for speed at all. Both of my shins were bothering me by a few minutes in, and part of me felt (and still feels) it was because I was going slow. It was annoying, but not too surprising. I kept on going.

When my Garmin told me I was at 1 mile, some event staff person was announcing "almost at 1 mile". I couldn't even see a mile marker in site. I was pretty sure the marker was off, but it was demoralizing anyway. I crossed that first mile marker at about 10:40. As I approached the second marker, I could see that there was no "correction factor" in its placement. I was at that marker at about 20 minutes. I wasn't feeling great, and I had to go to the bathroom as well. When I saw the portapotties there, I knew I wasn't doing well on the clock anyway, and used them as an excuse to rest. The pitstop ended up taking between 4 and 4 and a half minutes.

The second half of the race went a lot better. I didn't feel amazing, but I felt slightly better. I still wasn't pushing too hard though. The sun came out, and that waas nice. The view coming South on the West Side was really stunning. I've run there tons of times before, but having the sun come out at the right time made things look really great today.

I eneded up finishing at 41:17. I was sure the whole time that I was going to set my PR, as in personal record for worst time. But I actually beat it by 2 seconds! So that record still stands.

I really consider this race just another trip for my chip from the start line to the finish line. That's 6 of the 9 I need to have guaranteed entrance to the 2007 NYC marathon. I was a little down during the race, because I'm not sure I'll be able to do the Broad Street Run next month. I hope to run long this weekend, and see how it goes.

Somehow the total mileage seemed to work out in the end. After editing my GPS data, I ended up with 4.03 miles. You can see that my splits were a lot better than I had thought. I was actually doing pretty well up until my bathroom break at the beginning of mile 3. Taking that break into account, I'm going to say that I ran negative splits, and that my last two miles were about 9:00 and 8:49. Nowehere near my PR, but closer to what I had expected.

Now back to cleaning for Passover. I ran into flygirl after the race. She's even less excited than I am about the upcoming holidays. Although I'm sure I'll be sick of it a week from now, I must admit I am looking forward to that hand made matzah. Truly the "bread of our affliction" at $19 a pound, but that first piece at the seder is really great.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Not much running

I haven't really been doing much of anything exercise related since my last run Tuesday. My leg is still bothering me, so I didn't want to run yesterday. Then I was too lazy to go to the gym.

They posted pictures from last week's race. One is from the start line, and one is just before the finish. Not bad.

I've got another 4 miler on Sunday. I'm still a bit sore, and I don't think I'll be setting any PR's this weekend. (Also my 4 mile PR is much better than my old 10K one used to be.) ShoreTurtle is supposed to come up to run this one, so we've got plans for a little brunch afterwards.

That's it for now. Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Preemptive running

I knew I had plans for dinner at a nice steakhouse yesterday, so in order to eat guilt free, I planned to run beforehand. Unfortunately (fortunately?) I was getting a lot of good work done at the office, and stayed there later than planned. So I delayed dinner slightly, for a quick 4 miles in the neighborhood.

Considering the warm weather we've had lately, it was quite chilly yesterday evening. I'm not complaining too much: today we had a snowstorm! But I had to wear gloves.

The run was ok. Not great, just ok. My legs felt a little tight, and I could see that running a PR takes a toll on you. I don't forsee another PR this weekend in my 4 miler. In fact, I'm a little concerned right now. (Not overly concerned, just my chronic level of concern.) My right leg in particular has been bothering me today. I did some extra stretching today, with an extensive icing session as well. My original plan had been to do another 4 tomorrow, and the 4 mile race on Sunday. Tomorrow may have to be substituted out.

Speaking of substitutions, I should really be doing more of the swimming and cycling. I can tell though, that I really don't like them as much. Maybe it's the "indoors" aspect, but I'm just not excited about doing those activities. I somewhat dread them, and get very lazy when it comes to getting out of the house. (I was supposed to leave work earlier yesterday, so I could run and swim. Then I pushed off the swim until today. And now I'm too tired. See?) I'm not sure if I can keep them up. We'll see...

The restaurant. That little U with the circle around it is a subtle kosher sign.

Why do all fancy restaurants have these ridiculous fish tanks? Is that supposed to justify their exorbitant prices?

Some NYC landmarks. The Chrysler building, and Grand Central Station. The restaurant was nearby.

Empty train station. I told you I got home late. I generally drive, but midtown is a real pain so I took the train. (And paid for it on the way home.)

1:23 4/5/06

I was pretty sure I'd be sleeping for this. Unfortunately, I missed the last 5 train back to the Bronx, and had to take 3 trains to get back home. Not fun.

I ended up getting home one minute before this momentous occasion of great cosmic significance. Don't worry if you slept through it, it will be almost as cool this afternoon. Almost.

(Besides which, they both pale in comparison to what's coming up in a little more than two years. 1:23:45 on 6/7/08!)

I'll post more tomorrow. I mean later today.

Sunday, April 02, 2006


As in Personal Record, Baby!

Today was another fantastic day for running. I wore shorts and a long sleeve tech, but it was hot enough that I should have worn short sleeves. I was on call so I had to take my beeper and phone to the race. (I also let the residents know where I'd be, and told them to check in with me early in the day if anything was "brewing".)

I think I'm going to have to get one of those fuel belt type things, as the current solution is kind of annoying.The beeper's on vibrate, and I'm constantly checking it. The phone is in the amphipod, which I don't really like. I find that I have to tie my shorts really tight, to prevent the phone from dragging them down. But anyway...

I left my house really early today so I wouldn't get there late like I usually do. I got to the Central Park area around 9:15 and as usual I couldn't find parking. After trying for a while I finally gave up and parked about a mile away. I meant to take a cab from there, but I kept walking and actually got there pretty quickly. I was at the registration tent at about 9:45, which was 15 minutes before the race. I registered, put on my bib and chip, dropped off my bag, and used the port-a-potty. Only then did I realize the race start was quite a ways off. I was walking towards on it and they kept announcing "four minutes left", "three minutes left". As the guy was announcing "two minutes left" the runners were already running on the course behind him. Oh well. There I was again, still stretching after the race had already started. (Looking at the results I can tell I crossed the start line at 4:44.)

I was really hoping to PR this race, and for once, I had actually looked up my previous PR. My previous best was 55:43, which was an 8:59 pace. My plan was to start out at about 9 minute miles, and as the race went on, try to pick up the pace.

Well as you can imagine, starting so far back, the beginning was very crowded. (Did I mention there were over 5,000 runners?) I had no room to move, and I didn't feel like going crazy on the weaving either. I kind of took it in stride, and accepted to myself that this would not be a fast run. "Another training run", I thought. Well at the first mile marker my time was 9:25 and I was pretty surprised. I was pretty comfortable, and knew that I had been going much slower for the first half mile. "Hmm..." I thought. The second mile went by in less than 9 minutes, for a total of 18:18 by that point. Now I started to get confident about the PR again.

As each mile went by, I felt I was getting faster and faster. (Actually, there's a blip on mile 4. But as Derek points out, that mile has the hills on it.) Granted I've only run two 10K's before, but it was really cool knowing I was setting a PR.

(I'm not sure about that slowing down at the end. There is a slight hill there, but it may just be GPS innaccuracies.)

I crossed the finish line with a net time of 53:04 - 2 minutes and 39 seconds better than my PR! I was really psyched about this. Especially since all my times have been getting slower lately. So today was really nice.

As an aside, I've organized all my race records together, so I can see my PR's at various distances. (I'm working on getting those into my sidebar.) With the exception of my 5 mile time, my PR's are now coming into line with each other. My half marathon PR is still the best (relatively), and I feel like I can get faster with my shorter distance races. I'd really like to break the 8 min/mile barrier for the 5K and 4M races. I think it will be tough, but it's definitely within reach.

The race today was in the clockwise direction. That meant two things. Firstly, the hills are much easier in this direction. Secondly, it meant that the last few miles are essentially the same as the end of the marathon. Running those miles, especially with legs starting to cramp, brought back a lot of great painful mixed memories. I really hope to run NYC again, and finish stronger next time. (If I ever get those PRs up, you'll see my marathon time is way out of whack from the other distances.)

Update: I actually figured how to do it a relatively neat looking fashion. (Thanks A. Maria - I kind of "stole" your chart code.)