Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Pura Vida!

Quick update from beautiful Costa Rica: Miles for the last week 15...I planned on 50 but given the circumstances agreed on another week pretty much off from running. We have been having such an amazing time though. This is one of the most biologically intense places on earth. We have already encountered a tame costa rican turkey, called a pava, named chippy. The owner of the ecolodge we stayed at nursed her from a chick when she was abandoned by her mother. Many monkeys, mostly whiteface, but have heard the howlers wherever we go. Scarlet Macaws and numerous other birds, lizards, and insects. I had one of the most memorable time two days ago as I sat in a kayak and at least half a dozen bottle nosed dolphins started jumping all around me! It got my heart rate up to probably like 170 bmp! We've been on some absolutely amazing hikes and visited the tide pools today! I've already been ramping up some miles on the rocky roads of the southern tip of the Osa Peninsula.

More will be revealed...

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sharing the Road

I had a bizarre thing happen to me yesterday as I was finishing a nice ten-mile run just a mile or so from my apt. I was running in the middle of a long straight road (Oakcrest Rd. coming up from Cayuga Heights) and I kept looking back every few seconds to make sure there were no cars coming behind and I could see zero cars ahead of me. Then about a half-mile ahead a SUV turned onto the road (from Triphammer Rd.). I continued to run in the middle (because there was so much snow on the side) until the truck got like a quarter-mile from me and then I simply moved off the road to let the beautiful Lexus Land Cruiser go past. When he got close to me I could see some movement inside the vehicle. I thought that it could be a customer of mine from Watercress waving to me which sometimes happens. Then as I focused in I could see a very elderly man holding his prune-like hand up with the middle finger extended! I couldn't believe it! I was shocked because, first of all, I wasn't even on the road and, second, there weren't any other cars coming. I turned around and put my arms in the air asking, "Why?!" and then I yelled, "Happy Holidays!"

This isn't the first time I have had minor altercations on the road. I usually try to not take it too seriously either and try to "kill them with kindness" if approached.

Any other runners, walkers, or cyclists have any funny stories along these lines? Let's hear em!

I had a good week getting back into training even though I was also fighting off a cold that still won't seem to let go.

Miles for the week: 40

Monday= Rest/hot tub
Tuesday= Speed work 8.5 miles total- Ran to and from 800m horse track off of Hanshaw Rd. and did 3x (800,600,400,200) at a 5:32 /mi. pace- 1-minute rest in between intervals and 3-minute rest in between sets-- Tough work out!
Wednesday= Rest/ lifted weights at Island for an hour in evening
Thursday= Rest/ feeling sick
Friday= 8.5 miles- middle 2.68 at a 6:15/mi. pace
Saturday= 10 miles-hills- ran downtown via Cayuga Heights and back up Remington Rd.
Sunday= 13 miles- ran from apt. to Etna and back

I will have a little reprieve from the slush, ice, and snow for the next few weeks but realize that I will be returning for at least two of the nastiest months weather-wise in the Ithaca, NY area. Hey! the way I look at makes you tougher right?!

Quote of the week: "If one can stick to the training throughout the many long years, then will power is no longer a problem. It's raining? That doesn't matter. I am tired? That's besides the point. It's simply that I just have to."----Emil Zatopek

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Recap

Since starting this blog in May of 2008 I have been able to document many thoughts, memories and goals and I have found it to be an effective tool, not only in monitoring my own actions, but in learning from and connecting with amazing people all over the world.

2008 was a roller coaster ride in a few different personal areas but one thing that remained consistent was stellar personal race times. Let's take a look back at some of the most memorable races:

  • Being at the starting line at Disney Half-Marathon and seeing the Hanson's-Brooks Team show up just before gun time and realizing that my top 3 prediction was gone.
  • Running about 20 feet away from Lance Armstrong in The Boston Marathon hearing him chat with his buddies.
  • Battling with Michael Wunsch in many of the local trail races including Highland Forest 30-mile, Forest Frolic, and Monster Marathon.
  • Chasing Leigh Schmitt and Jack Pilla all day at The Finger Lakes Fifties 50-miler and having my brother Jamal run the last 3.5 miles with me.
  • Finishing my Associates Degree with a 3.44 GPA and transferring into a Physical Education Teacher Certification program (K-12).
  • Breaking the course record at Green Lakes 50K, meeting Brazilian world-champion and Badwater course record holder Valmir Nunes, and eating some birthday cake and hanging out with Todd Baum and company.
  • Winning my first 100-mile run at Iroquois Trails 100 in Virgil, NY. Definitely a vision quest! Thank you to my awesome family and crew/pacers. I could not have done it without you! Raising $5,600 for Lupus with the help of the other Lupus Runners. Awesome job guys!
  • Getting talked into running a two-person 50-mile relay at Can Lake and recording the second fastest relay time ever with Michael Wunsch.
  • Working hard to break the 50K course record at Mendon Ponds in Rochester and a personal record to finish the year in The Philadelphia Marathon.
  • Being named Western New York Ultra Runner of the Year and being asked to join Team Inov-8 for 2009.
I tallied up all the miles I ran for 2008 and with races and training combined I came up with 2,900 miles for the entire year...Solid!...I'll take it...and trust me... I did think of going for 3,000 but realized it wasn't worth getting injured over.

Also this year Erica and I have decided to make our move to the Portland, Oregon area in early August of 2009. She took a professor position at Portland State University teaching Information Systems and I will finish up my schooling out there to then look for a teaching/coaching job.

I would like to take this time to thank everyone from the Ithaca area and The Finger Lakes Runners Club, Ithaca Triathlon Club, High Nooners, Enclave, all the people associated with The Western New York Ultra Series and all the people that I met and became friends with at local races. This is such a great community for running and endurance sports and we will definitely miss everyone and also be back to visit somewhat regularly. I would also like to give a big thanks to my family and friends that have supported me so much throughout the years. Finally, Erica thanks for being such a great partner! I love you much. Watch out...she's registered for Skunk Cabbage Half-Marathon and training hard! ;0)

I don't know how much blogging I will be doing over the next month with us being in Costa Rica but am looking forward to another great year to come in 2009. Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Easing Back At It

This past week involved some light running and exercises but the temps have been less than inviting in the northeast. I have been happy to slowly get back into training and to also finish my semester. We have been enjoying lots of good sleep, cooking and eating, and visiting with friends and family.

Miles for the week: 25

Monday= Rest/Stretch/Hot tub
Tuesday= 4 miles on Tri-for-the-Y course
Wednesday= Ran 5 miles from Island Health Club up Buffalo St., Cornell campus, Vet School and back; swam 200m w/zoomers and 200m without; light core workout in gym
Thursday= easy 6 miles down Warren Rd. and back
Friday= 3 miles around Cass Park; one hour of light weight lifting at Island Health Club
Saturday= 7 miles in Kane, PA. from mom's house to Lamont and back

Quote of the week: "If you feel like eating, eat. Let your body tell you what it wants."
~ Joan Benoit Samuelson

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Week Two of Rest

My body has no idea what has been going on lately. This is the second week in a row that I have not even run one mile. I feel that this rest and rejuvenation is very important and much needed and, from what I have read, I'm hoping I will come back even stronger. It is that same feeling that you get when you go from high mileage into a taper. You feel that you are losing fitness and should be doing more.

It has been a challenge to hold back but I'm happy that I have been disciplined to not give in to the cravings of even just a short run. One day last week I ran from my car into the building where I have class (not even a quarter mile) and when I entered the building I just wanted to keep going down the hallways. I felt like a puppy dog getting ready to play! I could definitely notice a spring in my step. I bumped into one of the cross-country runners that I know and revealed to him my status. He said..."Hey, maybe you should race in the open men's track meet at Cornell this weekend". I'd be lying if I said I did not think about it but I quickly abandoned the idea.

Speaking of SUNY Cortland Cross-Country---- Congratulations to the men's team for winning 1st place at Division III Nationals (1st time in school history!). They had such a loaded team this year and many of them are returning next year. The women's team had a very respectable year too. I'm sure Jack is proud for what he got started.

Someone once reportedly asked Jack Daniels, former coach of Div.III women's cross-country powerhouse Cortland State, about what kind of training was currently most popular among distance runners. Daniels simply responded: "Overtraining. In my dictionary, the word 'Overtrain' falls just a page away from 'Overkill', defined as 'to obliterate with more nuclear force than required.' Consider the connection: If your target is top running performance, then to overtrain means to apply more force than is required to hit that target. In fact, overtraining may literally obliterate your target, or at least leave you without the will to pursue it."---Jack Daniels

I figure two weeks of quality rest with zero running is sufficient but just for good measure I will ease back into it this week with active recovery (swimming, stretching) and light-low mileage running. Then I will start back training in the beautiful country of Costa Rica. Erica and I are kind of doing our honeymoon before the wedding since we are moving to Portland, Oregon this upcoming summer. Who said that it has to be after the wedding anyway! We make the rules!

Good job to everyone that ran this weekend at The North Face Endurance Challenge! Leigh Schmitt took sixth place in an extremely competitive field. Way to go!

I have my last two finals on Monday and then I'm completely finished for the semester. Woohoooo! ;0)