Oct 31, 2006

3000 words

18 miles

(I actually wrote this on October 24th)

I ran 18 miles in 4 hours today. it was the hardest run I have ever done. i ran through three hours of pain, and now I can barely walk. it was just a really hard run with a lot of pain and it took a ton of mental perseverance to get through it.

The problem, of course, is that I am a moron.

Life has been getting in the way a lot, lately - and I've actually not run a single step since the staten island half marathon nine days ago. I told myself that as long as I get in my long runs, I'll be fine. Well, that turns out not to be true.

Today, at mile 13.1, I felt much worse than at the end of the half-marathon, even though I was running 30 seconds/mile slower. But lets back up. I run at Rockland Lake - about 15 miles south of west point - which is a great place to train. A lap around the lake is three miles, is completely flat asphalt, no traffic, plenty of others out exercising, and I can park my car next to the trail and drink gatorade on each lap. I set out to run 20 miles, five miles longer than my previous long run - in fact, 5 miles longer than any run I had ever done in my life.

Laps one and two went ok, but were painfully slow. I started feeling physical pain late in the second lap. I don't remember when the pain came in each particular place, but I do know that I felt a distinct pain in just about every muscle in my legs during the run, usually lasting about ten minutes before it either subsided or I didn't notice it anymore.

By mile nine, I knew this run was going to be extremely hard. I dealt with a lot of psychological despair starting in miles seven and eight, because it seemed like I had run sooo far, yet I had 12 or 13 miles to go - and with no music (i can't find my ipod), boredom was really setting in. when I finally reached ten miles, the halfway point, I felt a little relief, but the next lap went so slowly that I had to consciously remind myself that building mental endurance is as important as building physical endurance. Still, I knew something was wrong when the end of the fourth lap felt just like the end of the fifth lap one my previous two 15-milers. I stopped at my car for about a minute, drank a whole pint of gatorade, and started running again - and I couldn't believe how painful it was just to start running again - at mile 12. I remember thinking that starting to run again at that point may have been the most physically painful thing that I had ever done on purpose. and I knew it would be worse at the next lap.

lap 5 was hard for all the reasons stated above, but worse. By now, it was encouraging to think that I only had 8.. 7.. miles to go, but the pain in my legs had slowed my pace even more and I noticed that I was taking a long time to catch up to walkers.

Starting lap 6 actually didn't seem as hard as lap 5 - but I didn't run a half-mile into lap 6 before I felt a new, overwhelming sense of exhaustion, which added to the increasing pain. I desperately wanted to start walking - so much so that at about mile 15.5 I decided to cut my run short to 18 miles - just so I could get through this lap without walking. When I hit mile 16, I told myself, "Just two miles to go", yet the mile before 17 was the longest, hardest mile of my life. I was breathing like I was running a much faster pace, my legs were throbbing in pain, and I just wanted to give up on the whole marathon idea. When I finally got to mile 17, the "1 mile to go" mentality took over and I knew I would make it - not that the pain improved, but the idea that I had less than 10 minutes left to endure it really helped.

I sat in a picnic table with a bottle of gatorade, a can of pure protein. After downing both of the drinks in 30 seconds, I stretched for about 15 minutes - which was also very painful because I was really tight. When I walked back to the car, the wind had chilled me to the bone and I noticed a tight pain in my calf, as though I pulled it.

I had to stop at the grocery store on the way home, which sucked because I was actually shivering in the parking lot between my car and the front door, yet I could go no faster than my limp would allow. The calf pain was really bad.

When I got home, I drew an ice bath and posted the above message while the tub was filling. After ten minutes in the tub, my legs felt much better but my left calf was still feeling tight (albeit much less). I was still limping, but not nearly as bad.

that's my story..

i'm very sleepy now. zzzzzzz....


Oct 23, 2006

the politics test

i have long been a fan of the worlds smallest political quiz, but here I found a test that is certainly more complex and maybe a bit more accurate. i'd be interested to see if others agree.

You are a

Social Liberal
(65% permissive)

and an...

Economic Conservative
(91% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on OkCupid Free Online Dating
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

this is why myspace sucks

This was taken from overheard in new york, (which does not suck):

Hispanic teen #1: Oh my God girl! You're such a fucking bitch!
Hispanic teen #2: Pshaa... Nigga please, I got like 300 friends on MySpace and you only got like 100, bitch.
Hispanic teen #1: At least I didn't sleep with all my 300 friends.
Hispanic teen #2: You are so off my top 14.
Hispanic teen #1: You aren't even on mine, so I dont give a shit.
Hispanic teen #2: Bitch

--Union Square

'nuff said.

Oct 17, 2006

a tale of two half-marathons

March 10, 2001. Brooklyn Half-Marathon. 35º, sunny and chilly.

First Name STEVEN
Sex/Age M24
Bib 8387
State NY
Overall Place 2882 (2894 finishers total, no word on # of starters)
Gender Place 1823 (1827 men)
Age Place 330 (330 in my sex/age division)
Finish Time 3:11:43
Net Time 3:09:30
Pace/Mile 14:27
AG Time 3:09:30 (Time adjusted for age)
AG GenderPlace 1823 (places adjusted for age)
AG % 31.4% (age-adjusted ratio to world-record time)

October 15, 2006. Staten Island Half-Marathon. 44º, 63% hum., wind 3 mph

First Name STEVEN
Sex/Age M30
Bib 7823
State NY
Overall Place 3557 (3667 finishers total, no word on # of starters)
Gender Place 2187 (2229 men)
Age Place 833 (842 in my sex/age division)
Finish Time 2:45:32
Net Time 2:40:55
Pace/Mile 12:17
AG Time 2:40:55 (Time adjusted for age)
AG GenderPlace 2215 (places adjusted for age)
AG % 36.7 % (age-adjusted ratio to world-record time)

My wife (girlfriend at the time) walked the entire brooklyn half-marathon in 2001.. that was nice of her.

Sex/Age F39
Bib 4303
State NY
Overall Place 2892 (2894 finishers total, no word on # of starters)
Gender Place 1067 (1067 women)
Age Place 419 (419 in her sex/age division)
Finish Time 3:53:18
Net Time
Pace/Mile 17:48
AG Time 3:47:07 (Time adjusted for age)
AG GenderPlace 1067 (places adjusted for age)
AG % 28.9% (age-adjusted ratio to world-record time)

You know those biscuits they serve at Red Lobster?

From 72twenty over at TGR:

They are like crack.

We just found a recipe for them and made them at home!

What you need:

2 cups Bisquick
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 tsp. garlic salt

What to do:

Mix Bisquick, milk and cheddar until a soft ball forms. Beat vigorously for 30 seconds (huh huh). Make ball shapes a little bigger than golf balls onto a greased baking sheet and bake at 450 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes. While they are baking, melt the butter and add garlic salt to the melted butter, mix it up. Brush the melted buttah and garlic onto the bisquits right when they come out of the oven while they are still on the baking sheet.

Muy bueno.

Oct 16, 2006

October 15 - Staten Island Half-Marathon

finished right around 2:41:00 (net) - about 5-10 minutes faster than what I projected. I'm pretty happy with the result.
gotta complain about the ny road runners club though.. let me tell ya - they have no luv for the back of the pack. they advertised that the race would have services for anyone who completes in under 3 hours - they didn't. at least two aid stations were shut down as I passed, and solid refreshments (fruit) at the finish line were completely gone. my wife overheard another back-of-the-packer (an old-timer) say, "the club hasn't been the same ever since fred lebow died."

still, I am very happy with the way this half-marathon went. I had about a 12:30 pace in a 13.1-mile run with some killer hills (another complaint about the nyrrc is the advertised this course as flat - it wasn't even close.) I'm not sure that I could have maintained that pace for another 13.1 miles - so I'll really have to get some training in for the full marathon in december, and also try to back the pace off to about 13 minutes/mile.

I ran the entire race, even the hills. Never stopped to walk, not even once.

official results:

First Name STEVEN
Sex/Age M30
Bib 7823
State NY
Overall Place 3557 (3667 finishers total, no word on # of starters)
Gender Place 2187 (2229 men)
Age Place 833 (842 in my sex/age division)
Finish Time 2:45:32
Net Time 2:40:55
Pace/Mile 12:17
AG Time 2:40:55 (Time adjusted for age)
AG GenderPlace 2215 (places adjusted for age)
AG % 36.7 % (age-adjusted ratio to world-record time)

Highlights of the race:
I beat Larry the Lighthouse

Looking good before the start:

Not looking quite as good at mile 13.07:

October 7 - 15 miles

After buying new shoes because the cushioning on my old pair had worn out, I set out to do at least 15, hopefully 18, and just maybe 21 miles on this long run. I ended up doing 15.

Lap 1- I felt great.
Lap 2- started to feel a little foot pain, no biggie
Lap 3- still feeling the foot pain in my arches, a little discomfort in my legs
Lap 4- arch pain is getting worse, a little discomfort in the rest of the legs
Lap 5- arch pain unbearable, legs feeling like I just ran 12-15 miles on them.

I stopped after 5 laps, mostly because of the arch pain, but also because I was short on time. The arch pain was alarming - what if it was plantar fasciitis? The symptoms didn't exactly match that - so I figured it must be something else. The new shoes were the exact same model and size as the last pair, with the same custom footbed. Upon closer examination, I noticed a very subtle difference in the way I laced them. It was so subtle that I hardly believed it, but that was the only difference I could find. So I relaced them, and hoped that my next long run would be fine.

As it happens, I'm writing this a week after the event, and I just completed a half-marathon with no pain. It must have been the way I laced them. such a small, subtle difference. amazing.

October 5 - six miles

Of course, the day after the stress test, I set out to do a LSD run of at least 15 miles at rockland lake. After the first 3-mile lap, however, I decided to do only two laps, because I was really feeling the impact - a clear indication that the cushioning layers of my shoes have worn out. So I ran fartleks for the second lap (it's a type of speed work, where I sprint arbitrary distances based on landmarks, eg, "I'm going to sprint to where the path curves out of sight, then easy-jog to recover.")

The total time was 75 minutes, mostly because I ran the first lap as though I were going to do 15-18 miles total.

October 4 - Stress Test

After my 15 miler a few weeks ago, I had an incidence of chest pain. I didn't think anything of it, because it felt to me like windpipe irritation. Still, a reader of my weblog who happens to be an internist from iowa read my description of the run and said that I should really see a specialist for a cardio-vascular stress test before doing any more long slow distance runs. I took his advice.

I first had togo to my normal clinic - mahwah medical- where a nurse-practitioner administered an EKG and a PFD. Everything looked normal to better-than-normal, and she complimented me on my very-low resting heart rate - below 60. That was about two weeks ago (before October 4). She then told me, "Now you're going to think I'm crazy, but I'm going to refer you to a cardiologist just to be safe, so you can get a stress test." I basically told her that was why I was there, and got an appointment.

Fast forward to Oct 4th, and I'm sitting in an examination room of hudson heart associates. the cardiologist walks in and the first thing she says to me is "steve, you're 30 years old. What the hell are you doing in my office?" SO I explained the situation, and after she palpated the hell out of me, I headed for the treadmill.

The treadmill test was kind of fun. It is basically an EKG while you're running. After determining that she didn't need to shave me (heh), the nurse attached about a dozen probes to my chest and told me that I need to go to 85% of my theoretical maximum heart rate, but I can go as long as I want after that. Basically, the treadmill starts out slow and gets increasingly harder every 4 minutes by speeding up and elevating the incline. The first stage was a total piece of cake. I made it to 85% in stage 3, powered through stage 4, and started stage 5 (5mph, 18%) before telling her to stop the test. I forgot to ask if I was made it to 100%.

The doc then came in, looked at the results, and declared me conditionally safe for long runs (surprise!), but then said that I really oughta get an electrocardiogram just to be 100% safe, and - wasn't it my lucky day - the machine happened to be free.

That was kind of neat. During my wife's pregnancy, they used an identical machine to look at the baby during the ultrasound. This was the same exact thing, but they call it an electrocardiogram. I got to see my own beating heart on the monitor, and watched them make measurements. It was pretty wild.

So then the cardiologist came back, looked at the machine, declared me healthy, and sent me on my way.



i've not posted in a while

but I had posts to do that I've been procrastinating about - so I'm going to do them all right now.


Oct 4, 2006

6.5 miles on saturday, goal achieved on monday

Woke up in Vermont on Saturday morning and ran 6.5 miles through Ludlow. Very cold and brisk morning - and I think the cold helped me. I also had a running partner, someone who has run three marathons, who surprised me when she said that she needed to walk the last half mile. She hadn't run in a couple of months - but still, I guess I am improving.

That sentiment was confirmed on Monday when I did my standard 3-mile lap around rockland lake. For two years, I've been trying to finish this lap in 30 minutes. Last year, I got down to about 30:20 and was probably only a couple of weeks away from the goal when I turned my ankle on a run, which knocked me out for a few months. By the time it healed, I was into winter.

I didn't resume running again until June, and I began at a point where all I could jog, even at a slow pace of 13-14 minutes per mile, was about 1.5 miles. It took about 3 runs before I could slow-jog the entire 3-mile lap. After that, I tried increasing the speed, and it was another few runs before I could complete the lap at lactate threshold pace. After that, I started lengthening the distance of my runs, and did not focus on speed.

However, among all those 6 and 9 mile runs were a bunch of 3-milers, and each time I'd do one, I'd run it as fast as I could because it was a pretty good benchmark of my improvement. Predictably, my times went down - and before long I matched last season's time. However, improvement after that seemed slow. Overtraining and life got in the way, not to mention summer heat, and times fluctuated around that 31-minute mark. Then, about a month ago, I ran while they were setting up for a marathon that was to be held there the next day. The Self-Transcendence marathon consists of almost 9 laps around rockland lake, and they have markers at every mile. Turns out that the track around the lake is actually about 100 yards short of a mile - and so all my times I mentioned above have to be adjusted accordingly. So I never ran 30:20, but instead I ran 31:00. Fortunately, the marathon has permanent markers painted, and now that I know what they are, I now have accurate mile measurements. I can run from mile 12 to 15 and say I ran an honest three miles.

Anyway, I had one intention with monday's run - breaking that mythical 30 minute barrier. Alex was there with me and she walked the opposite direction as me. I started at mile marker 18 and went out very fast, and was pretty tired at the end of the first mile. Since my time at that point was 9:40, I slowed down a tad to conserve energy for the second mile, which seemed to last forever. Alex and I passed each other at the end of mile 2 for me (mile 1 for her), and I was at 19:40 - a 10 minute pace for that split. I just had to maintain that pace and I'd have 20 seconds of leeway. I was very tired though, and I couldn't help slowing down just a little. Doubts started creeping in that third mile because I'd disappointed myself so many times in the past. As tired as I was, however, it went by quickly and I automatically entered a finishing kick. I crossed mile marker 18 where I started in 29:15 - and if it was only this that I completed in under 30, I would have been thrilled. But I wanted the honest three miles - so I really dug deep and maintained the pace. Crossed marker 21 in 29:45. I made it! 3 miles in under 30 minutes! It was very gratifying.

I don't have any 5Ks coming up, but I'd really be interested in seeing if I could complete the 3.1 miles in under 30.. the race setting tends to have you run a little faster than you would otherwise. Maybe I'll enter one.