Friday, May 19, 2006

Thank You!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes yesterday. I felt like a blogging superstar for a day!

Not much to report on running since then. I've been busy at work, and it's been on and off (and on) pouring today. I hope to do some slow miles on Sunday, maybe 4. We'll see.

I do have an update on Wednesday's run. I checked back on the results page to see if there were any pictures posted. I'm not sure how I even noticed this, but they changed the distance to 2.9 miles. There wasn't any mention about it on their website, but sure enough, it's changed on all the pages. In fact, when I searched for my own results, my pace has been changed from 7:48 to 8:21 - which seems more accurate.

Fortunately, I didn't really care about the time in this race. But I amagine this would be annoying to some people. On the other hand, now I have a new PR for 2.9 miles....

(Just to be safe, I looked back at Sunday's race. That distance is still recorded as 3.1 miles, or 5.0 kilometers. So that PR is still safe!)

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Wall Street Run

Today was the Wall Street Run. It was a 5K down in the financial district, which was pretty cool. The only trouble was getting there on time. I had a really tough time getting out of work, but fortunately the subways ran really well for me and I got there with time to spare. A friend of mine came down to cheer, and we met ShoreTurtle downtown.

There seemed to be about a million runners roaming around. The final count was 4433, but that didn't include the walkers. (It was a run/walk.) There was probably close to 8 or 9 thousand people participating. There were also a lot of corporate teams, which was also cool, since they all had on matching team t-shirts.

The race was cool because of its location, but not really good for racing. It was way too crowded, and very difficult to navigate. There were also a lot of turns. I hadn't planned to run too fast, but I did pick up speed as the race went on. I wasn't really worried about my time, but it felt good.

One annoying thing was that the course was short. ShoreTurtle mapped it out on Gmaps beforehand, so I know it was supposed to be a full 5K. There was this one part of the course where everyone cut through the courtyard of some building. Nobody ran on the road. I'm wondering if that was part of the problem.

Here's the race mapped out beforehand.

Here's what my Garmin came up with. (Obviously it doesn't work so well surrounded by skyscrapers!)

ShoreTurtle's footpod came up with around 3.0 miles. In any case, these were my splits:

Mile 1 - 9:05. Given the crowd, that seemed faster than expected.
Mile 2 - 6:50. Yeah, right. I knew it was short, but I figured mile 3 would compensate.
Mile 3 - 7:37. So much for compensating.

Net time - 24:13.
Net pace - 7:48.

I'm glad I didn't break my PR with this short course. I would have had to mark up my race history records with all sorts of asterisks.

The baggage area was right on the river, and I snapped a great picture of this (almost) sunset after the race.

Afterwards, we went out to dinner. I don't have the greatest sense of direction, but we eventually made it there. I more than made up for any calories burnt with that dinner. Check out the "homemade onion rings".

When I came home, there was an email saying the pictures from the Mother's Day's Race was ready. I was looking forward to those, because there was a spot where I was totally in the clear, and I saw the guy take a good picture. It didn't show up, so I'm guessing my number was obscured. When I have time, I'll look through the "lost and found". In the meantime, here's the official "finisher's photograph".

By the way, these last two races were my last two as an M32.

As of tomorrow, I'll be an M33.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day Indeed!

First of all, thanks for all the comments on my last post. As everyone kept telling me how fast that 6:38 mile was, I started to doubt myself. Using my previous race times, all the race converters I looked at had me running a much slower mile. So I started to think that maybe I screwed up with my watch, or maybe that mile course is more downhill than I thought, etc. I was thinking I'd have to do it again just to be sure. (And I was not looking forward to that.)

As an aside, I've been meaning to say this for a while. I wish everybody had an email address attached to their comments. I recognize people want to stay anonymous, but even a made up gmail address just for blogging would be good. It's nice to be able to respond to people's comments or questions.

Anyway, today was the Mother's Day Co-Ed 5k. I was looking forward to this one, as I was really planning on racing it. The weather was overcast and in the low 50's this morning. Perfect for racing. I also got there early for once, so I had no last second portapotty issues. Things were going well.

Although the crowd was relatively small (2514 finishers), the start area was tough to navigate since it was right next to a fence. There were two breaks in the fence, one by the 11 minute mile mark, and one by the 9 minute mile mark. I chose the front one, but as you can imagine it was pretty crowded there. When the horn sounded, it took me 66 seconds to get to the starting line.

The first part was really congested. I remember feeling annoyed, and thinking that I'd have to wait for the (less crowded) winter to set any PR's. But then after about a quarter of a mile, things started to open up. I found myself having room to run, with only a couple of areas where I had to slow down. I was breathing hard but it was under control. I crossed the first mile marker at 8:15.

I'm pretty sure that's the fastest first mile I've ever run. And I knew I had more in me. The race course had a turnaround at mile 1, so the next mile tracked back towards the starting line. I sped up a touch, but still left some in the tank. I had plenty of room to run here, which was really nice. I think I looked at my watch every 30 seconds, just willing the time (and therefore distance) to go by. I ran the second mile in 7:42.

I was now under that 8 min mile pace. Now this was exciting! I pushed it up just a little more, with plans to push through and finish hard at the end. That third mile really seemed to go on forever. I was breathing pretty hard, and my right shin was kind of throbbing. Towards the end, the sole of my left foot was bothering me as well. I was suffering, but at the same time I was excited because I realized I was pushing myself more than I've ever done in the past. I finished the third mile in around 7:33. (With the finish line in site, I tried to ramp it up slightly, and don't remember my exact split.)

That last tenth of a mile seemed really long to me. I tried to sprint it, but I knew I had beaten my PR anyway, and I was hurting. Some guy ahead of me really surged at the end, and maybe if he had done it earlier I would have tried to follow suit. But as it was, it was right at the end, and there was some traffic there as well.

I ended up crossing the finish line with a net time of 24:11, for a 7:48 pace. I smashed my 5 year old PR by 1:11. My shins were throbbing in the finish area, but I was pretty psyched to have crossed the 8 min/mile barrier.

The funny thing is that I know I can go faster. I definitely worked hard today, but I wasn't totally spent. I'm certain that with some dedicated speed training, and maybe getting in better shape, I can really get that time even lower. I think this might be it for 5K's this season, but I'm thinking about next season already!

(Actually, I'm scheduled to run another 5K on Wednesday. It's in the Wall Street area, and ShoreTurtle's supposed to come up for it. Maybe it's a little too early to say this, but I don't think I'll be shooting for another PR in three days.)

So anyway, I'm in a good mood. I hope everyone else is having a Happy Mother's Day as well!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Trying to get faster

I've been surprisingly sore since Sunday's run. I didn't push hard then, but I guess I did run quite a bit. I think my lack of training during the week makes those long runs tougher.

Anyway, I ran two miles at a relaxed pace yesterday. My plan was to run two miles today, with some bouts of speedwork thrown in. Meaning I'd try to run a few stretches of my run at a fast pace. Somehow, that plan morphed into running one mile as fast I could. (Don't ask. I'm not really sure how it happened.)

It turns out, that after a short warmup, I can run my usual 1 mile stretch in 6:38. I was impressed with that. Of course it meant I couldn't run back home, and I took 10 minutes to catch my breath.

I'd really like to work on my speed. There's definitely a thrill in going really fast. The downside is that it's tough and it hurts. I could not wait for that mile to finish this morning!

I have a 5K this weekend, and another one the following Wednesday. I know I'm not in the best shape of my running career, but I'd like to see how fast I can run this thing. I've said before that I'd like to get my 5K pace down to below 8 minutes. I may not be there yet, but with a 6:38 mile I'm confident that I can get there.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sunday running

After being lazy most of the week, I took advantage of the beautiful weather again, and went for a nice long run today. I had once planned on running the 10 mile Broad Street Run today, but I didn't think it was in the cards. Although I ran almost as far (8.4 miles) it really wasn't in racing conditions. I actually ran faster than I had planned to (about 9:30 miles) but I didn't push myself, and I took a 10 minute break halfway through.

During my run, somebody stopped to ask me directions. I'm usually really annoyed, but today I was only mildly annoyed, since there really wasn't anyone else on the path to ask. Funny thing is that as I'm answering her I realize she's one of my patients! I'm sure she never would have recognized me in my shorts and technical shirt, as opposed to the suit I'm usually in. I called her by name, and she figured it out. But I didn't stop to chat, as I didn't want to stop running. Small world.

About 5 minutes later, I raced to catch a light before it turned red. In the front car waiting at the perpindicular road was my barber. Another smile and wave. Really small world.

I know many of you in small towns don't think this is a big deal. But this is New York City! It just doesn't happen that much.

Anyway, I hope to get out there a few times this week. I'd like to get some "speedwork" in as well. (I put that in quotes because all I mean is running fast. I don't really go to a track and run set intervals or anything.) Next week is my first 5K in a while. My PR for that distance is pretty good (for me), and set a long time ago. I'm not sure I can beat it, but I'd like to see how close I can get.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Getting busier

I've been really bad about updating this site. Work has gotten busier. Not crazy busy, but enough that I don't get around to posting here as often.

(As an aside, I've become even worse about posting comments on other people's blogs. I still read all of them, but I generally do it through bloglines. Unless I'm not doing it right, in order to comment I have to open up the blog in another window, and put in my comment. I used to put in that effort, but now I often don't have the time. I do feel bad though, since I know how much I appreciate the comments on my own blog. Sorry...)

I'm still running, though I need to put more time in during the week. This past Sunday I had a beautiful run in Central Park. The weather was beautiful, and I think there must have been about a million people in there.

I've posted similar pictures before, but I just love that I can get this off the Garmin. Central Park is my favorite place to run, and I think that aerial view is just awesome. I did the loop (~6.1 miles) in 55:46, which is about a 9:08 pace. I was surprised at the speed. The run was a little tough, but I wasn't pushing that hard.

In other news, I did get a new phone. It's a Samsung MM-A920, and it does everything. It came with a free bluetooth headset, so that's pretty cool. It also has a 1.3 MP camera, and some other cool features including an mp3 player. I have to buy a card reader in order to get music on the phone, but I'm thinking that I'll be able to run with the phone as an mp3 player, and answer pages that way as well. The only issue is that I had to switch to Sprint, so I'll have to see how the service is before I start buying accessories. So far it's ok, but it's not perfect in my apartment, and I may have missed one call. The trial period is 14 days, but it would be a pain to return it, since I got it online.