Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Back in Training

Yes, it is true, I am back in marathon training.

After a 6 1/2 mile run on Friday on some new trails (compliments of another runner here at work) at an 8:27 pace, a day off on Saturday, and another 12 mile run Sunday morning (about a 9:00 pace), I have begun another marathon countdown.

And which marathon is it that's 18 weeks away? (cue drum roll...)


OK, that's gonna be cold, isn't it?


But maybe not as cold as you might think. In the last 6 years, they've had one race with temps in the low 20's, two in the low 30's, and three in the 40's (three years ago it reached 49 degrees). Sure it's a dicey proposition, but the alternative - Austin - had an ice storm last year, was almost 80 degrees a prior year, and has a lot more hills in it. I'm stayin' local for this one.

So after building a pretty solid base of about 35 miles per week, I've started my training.

Monday was cross-training (after Sunday's medium/long run) -- rowing, cycling, abs and weights.

Today was an 8-mile medium (aerobic) run (8:37 pace) with ten 100m strideouts.

I feel a little tired this afternoon -- and that feels GREAT!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Why Haven't I Posted Since Sunday?

I have no idea. Here's the summary so far this week.


Cross training day. Felt just a little sluggish after Sunday's 12 mile run. 1 mile warm-up (treadmill), abs/weights/rowing, 1 mile cool-down (treadmill).


Medium paced 8-mile run (out to Concord and back). Felt very good. Pace was 8:45 going out 4 miles. Pace was 8:41 coming back in (with more uphill). Average pace 8:43. Feeling strong.


An easy 4 mile run on the trails. It's so beautiful out with the Fall colors that I finally did something I've wanted to do for about a year. I took my camera out on my run. I will post a special link to the pics once I get them uploaded. It was actually almost warm again -- mid to high 60's and humid.


Another cross training day. Just like Monday (same stuff), but felt much better.

I am finishing up my last week of base conditioning. Next week I will be starting my marathon training program. Stay tuned for more details...


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Relaxing on Sunday (Mostly)

Apart from a few miles of my run this morning, it's been a pretty relaxing day.

This morning I did 12 miles around the Charles River. Everything was going fine until I got to the B.U. bridge. It was there that I realized my run was not going to be the relaxing medium/long run that it usually is. It was that time of year again. The weekend of one of those walks/strides for the cure (I'm guessing Komen breast cancer).

It wasn't too bad along the Cambridge side of the river. Apparently that was because it hadn't actually even started yet. The walkers I saw were just walking to the start on the Boston side. By the time I rounded the Science Museum and was running back along the Boston side, the paths were totally filled up with people. They had just started the walk and I was attempting to make my way through these thousands of walkers.

Don't get me wrong. I thing what they're doing is great. I just wish they would at least stay on the paved paths and at least leave the little single track dirt paths to the runners and bikers. We could have dealt with it. But no, they've got to fill up the entire space between the river and Storrow Drive. They seriously slowed me down and at one point I just had to hop over the guard rail and run on Storrow Drive. This was not the safest move but the traffic was light and I didn't feel like walking for a mile in the crowd.

It was kind a chilly when I started (wore a long sleeve shirt for the first time this Fall), but I warmed up adequately within a couple miles. Despite being slowed down by the walkers (reduced to walking several times), I still averaged 8:58 for my 12 miles. I figure without the walkers I probably would have averaged about 8:54 (guessing I lost about a minute to them). It was still a very good run and an average pace a good 15 seconds per mile faster than last week.

Early this afternoon then, we had Audrey over for brunch. She was a good sport and didn't complain about my huevos rancheros. We had a very nice time, and good conversation, until she had to head off to study. Every RBF'er I've met has been so nice and she is no exception.

Tonight will be our normal routine of soup, salad and popcorn.


Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday Update

Update for the week.

Wednesday was an easy 4 miler. I have no idea how fast I ran it. Remember, I'm not wearing my watch on my easy/recovery runs. It was a great run on the trails around here (Minute Man National Park) as the Fall foliage is really beautiful now. It's nice to just run and enjoy my surroundings -- and the amazing Autumn transformation. Maybe on next weeks easy run I'll take some pics.

Thursday was cross-training. Mostly rowing, weights and abs (with 1 mile warmup and 1 mile cooldown).

Ah, but today...

Temperatures are a little bit cooler -- in the 50's. There is a little breeze. And I pushed the pace a little bit on my 6 mile run. Everything was clicking. About halfway through mile 3, that old familiar runner's high just flooded through my body. It lasted for almost a mile. I did have to push a bit to maintain pace in the last couple of miles, but ended up running the 6 miles in 49:50 (about an 8:18 pace). It felt REALLY good. I am so ready to begin marathon training again (but that will wait for one more week).

Tomorrow is a day off, then 12 miles Sunday morning.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Few Pics from NYC

As promised, some pictures from our activities this last weekend in NYC (apart from running in Central Park with thousands of runners doing the NYC marathon 18 mile tune-up race).

NYC had a city-wide event going on this last weekend called Open House New York. All sorts of buildings, design centers, museums, etc. were open and conducting tours this last weekend. We did Brooklyn on Saturday and Manhattan on Sunday.

We got a tour of Urban Glass in Brooklyn. Here I am picking out a birthday present for myself (birthday was yesterday).

After a tour of BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), we went out to a cemetary for a performance piece called "Angels and Accordians". It was really kind of cool. Accordianists playing music and angels (dancers in white) dancing around the cemetery.

On Sunday, after my run (followed by a jazz brunch in greenwich village), we checked out the Chrysler building. Here's daughter pointing out the art deco elevator.

As we left the building, I took this shot of a reflection of the Chrysler building in the building across the street. The flag is mounted on the Chrysler building above my head.

Next we walked over to the United Nations. Inside is one of my all-time favorite works of art -- the Chagall Window. The work was done by Marc Chagall (of course) and was dedicated to Dag Hammarskjöld on his death. Chagall dedicated the monument in 1963:

"To all who served the Purposes and Principles of the United Nations Charter, for which Dag Hammarskjöld gave his life"

Outside, this sculpture pretty much says it all.

From there we walked back to Grand Central Station. It's really too big to capture without a very wide angle lens, but here's some of it.

We finished our tour of NY architecture and design at the New York Public Library. If any of you recall the movie "Ghostbusters", this was the site of the lions who come to life. The lions' names are "Patience" and "Fortitude". I don't know which one is which.

On a running note, today I did 8 miles from work out to Concord and back. Pace was 8:47 per mile. Temperatures are still on the warm side. Felt great.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Too Cold; Too Hot; Just Right

OK, so in my last post when I flippantly asked if anyone wanted to join me for a run in Central Park Sunday morning, I wasn't expecting so many of you to show up. Wow, such a big response!


Apparently, there was a NYC Marathon 18-mile tune-up race in Central Park. They started about 20 minutes before I did. The leaders passed just as I started (20 minutes into their race). The racers were doing 3 6-mile loops around the park. I did 2 loops (12 miles). I got lapped by the winner just a bit before their finish line (I was about 2 miles into my second loop). The guy went by me so fast -- amazing.

This One Is Too Cold

The first time I went to NYC I tried to run in Central Park but they had a record blizzard that weekend. Something like 27 inches of snow. I didn't even make it out to the park.

This One Is Too Hot

The next time I went to NYC, I got to the park. It was freaking hot. This was last July. I did 15 miles and it really wiped me out.

This One Is Just Right

Yesterday morning was just right for running. A nice and cool Autumn morning. I ran outside the race course markings and didn't even drink any of their gatorade (there are sufficient water fountains in the park).

I averaged 9:14 pace for the 12 miles. I had hoped I would be a little faster, but the park does have its hills and they did have some impact. But I felt very good after the run.

Interestingly, my split for the first 6-mile loop was 55:24. My split for the second 6-mile loop was 55:24. Don't think I could do that again if I tried; but glad to see I ran consistently.

Will post again with some pics from other activities of the weekend.

Friday, October 06, 2006

An Autumn Haiku

cool zephyr
animates sanguine leaves
-- imminent change

It's Autumn and the leaves are changing. It really doesn't get any better than this. Temperatures in the 50's, a cool breeze, and a 6-mile trail run through the woods. And yes, I passed some blood-red colored leaves fluttering in the cool breeze.

OK, maybe the diction is a little esoteric in that haiku. I don't usually do this, but to save you the time looking them up: zephyr = gentle wind; animate = give motion to, but also to give life to; sanguine = blood-red color, but also hopeful, optimistic. So there is this implication of hope and life in a season symbolic of the end of life. But you can interpret it any way you want. Whatevuh.

The run was wonderful. I averaged an 8:43 pace (again!) for the 6 miles of trail with gentle hills. Stretched afterwards in the sun. Feeling really good. Fatigue gone. Rebuilding going very well. One or two more weeks of mid-30's mileage and then the marathon training starts up again.

Heading to NYC tonight. Tomorrow is a day off from running and we'll hit some of the Open House New York sites. On Sunday I plan to run Central Park again. Two loops -- 12 miles. Any NYC RBF'rs out there running Sunday morning?

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


My 4-mile "recovery" mile this evening. That's about 8:42 per mile.

"Recovery" my ass. It's that damn watch.

I guess it's kind of a good news/bad news thing. I got a new battery today, installed it, and now as soon as I'm running with the watch, I'm pushing myself. The first two miles were actually at an 8:30 pace. I slowed down a bit in the second half.

Was it a good run? Yes -- the weather was beautiful and I was running strong. No -- I should have run more slowly. Yesterday was a medium pace 6 miles. This was supposed to be a recovery run. You eejit!

Recovery runs and watches don't mix. Unless you're running for time and not distance. So here is my oath for my upcoming marathon training session:

{hand upon a stack of marathon shirts}

With the family of running bloggers as my witness, I, [state your name] "Kurt in Boston", do solemnly swear that I will not wear a watch, or record my time, on any recovery run.

My recovery runs will be relaxed and easy, and I will not push myself to keep up with the young turk who just passed me, or to pass that old geezer who has no business running faster than me, or to impress that attractive runner who just flashed a pretty smile at me.

If I keep this oath faithfully, may my tempo runs be strong, my intervals fast and on the mark, and my long runs consistent, may my muscles, with the proper nutrition and rest, recover quickly and rebuild to a stronger state, and in my races may I be fleet of foot, running at my true potential; but if I swerve from it, or violate it, may the reverse be my lot.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

What Time Is It?

I have no clue.

Within the last three months, the batteries in every single watch I own has died. I suspect mysterious electromagnetic radiation from some sort of top secret project at M.I.T. has drained the energy out of every watch battery I own.

This has not been a bad thing.

I have been unable to time my runs for the last several weeks. And since it has been a rebuilding time, I think it is good. Even (or especially) on my "easy" runs, I too easily become a slave to my watch. Too often I listen to my watch rather than listen to my body. But this rebuilding phase has forced me to just go out and enjoy my runs.

On the other hand, it was nice to find that last week's 8-miler with DGC was at an 8:45 pace.

But since then, my runs have been chronograph-free. Tuesday and Thursday were 6-milers. Wednesday and Friday were cross-training days -- although they each also added 2 miles. Saturday was a day off.

Today (Sunday) I did a 10 mile loop around the Charles River. It was overcast with only a couple intermittent sprinkles (this was between 8 and 9:30). It felt like I was running 9 minute miles (but who knows). My legs were getting a little tired around the end of mile 8, and so I just started pushing it a bit harder. It felt good. Very good. (And no complaints from the hamstrings.) Total miles: 26.

This next week I'll be adding another running day and upping the weekly mileage to about 32. My plan is to hold my mileage in the mid 30's for two or three more weeks and then begin the marathon training (for either Hyannis or Austin).

And I think the chronograph-free runs have run their course. It's time to start making some self-assessments. See where I am as I get close to starting my training.

What time is it?

Time to replace the batteries in my watches.