Sunday, February 22, 2009

HMRRC Winter Marathon

Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Club put on their 36th annual winter marathon at the SUNY Albany campus this past Sunday February 22, 2008. I originally intended to use it as an up-tempo long run while I simultaneously visited my friend Frank (who moved there a few months back) and his girlfriend Karen on Saturday. Coincidentally they live just two miles from the campus and we had a great time catching up on Saturday afternoon and carb-loading Saturday night at a great Italian restaurant.

I wasn't sure how I was going to feel in this race because I have never run/raced a marathon as part of a 104-mile week with no taper! I was a bit nervous because of this but kept telling myself that if I feel any type of abnormal discomfort that I would simply just back off, possibly walk, and ultimately finish the 27 miles I had planned on for Sunday regardless of time. Basically I was just going to play it by ear and see how it was all going to unfold...sooooooo here goes...

I arrived at the Physical Education building at 8:45am for a 10am 37 degrees, light wet snow, wind about 10mph...not bad conditions for what it could have been and what has happened in the past.

Immediately I saw some usual suspects... Jim L., Donny A., Joe H., and a good friend that came up from Cortland (who has won this race in the past) named Eric M. I took a couple laps around the 400m track to warm up and made my way to the starting line.

Joe H., Eric M., and myself agreed that we would take it out and just see how we felt. Also, Joe warned us to be careful as relay runners would be starting at the same time.

Off we went... 6:30/mi. pace for the first mile as we talked, caught up, shared racing plans for the new year, etc. We continued at a pretty quick pace, faster than Eric wanted to, and probably faster than Joe and I expected as well. It was a multi-loop course that offered just enough incline and decline to use different muscles periodically. I loved how I was able to stretch out my stride on some of the long downhill declines.

So we were 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place from the get go and the first place was way ahead. After ten miles we pretty much accepted that he was gone and we were just content not having to worry about him. We were all running really strong and wondered how long it would last. We came through the half-way point in about 1:23 and we were joking about how we were the "Three Amigos".

As the race progressed conversation became fewer and far between. At around mile 16 or so Eric M. dropped off and Joe H. and I continued pressing on as the wintry mix sprayed us and the roads. My fingers got pretty cold at this point from continuously spilling Gatorade on the gloves but I managed to warm them up again in order to have enough dexterity to get the little chunks of Clif Bars I had stashed in my Race Ready shorts. Joe and I passed 30K and reminisced about how we duked it out to the end last year in Wurtsboro Mountain 30K finishing 1st and 2nd place.

At about the 20-mile mark I noticed some normal fatigue setting in but I ate a little and drank a nice big swig of Gatorade. Right after that someone yelled to us that the 1st place guy was dying. I don't know if it was the food and drink kicking in, the new information, or both combined but something inside of me just said, "Go!" I kicked it into another gear that I was surprised to have given the circumstances and quickly lost Joe.

I continued to put more space between Joe and I and wondered how true the observation was about the leader. Mile 22 was a sub 6 minute effort and as I turned a corner I could see something, somebody off in the distance as I squinted from the spitting rain and snow. I was able to identify him by his bright green Brooks Racers that he wore.

Next we came upon the last aid station before the finish (Mile 24) and I noticed he was stopping to take a GU and drink. This is where I would stroll right on by as I quickly grabbed an out stretched hand of Gatorade. He looked at me as if he saw a ghost and said, "Good Job."

I didn't look back the entire way home and was honestly quite surprised of myself. I pushed moderately hard to ensure I had it wrapped up and came into the finish with a time of:


I cheered in Joe H. for a stellar 2nd place and Eric M. for a strong 4th...We did it..."The Three Amigos!" click here for results

I would like to thank all the wonderful, friendly volunteers that came out to direct traffic, hand out drinks and just be there for folks were awesome!

We shared some laughs and stories afterward, ate some vegetable soup, got massaged and just had some good clean fun. I left with a huge apple pie as one of my prizes and headed back to Ithaca with a feeling of pride and satisfaction as I am sure Joe H. and Eric M. did as well.

Miles for the week: 104

Monday= Easy 5 miles on treadmill at SUNY Cortland
Tuesday= 10.5 miles total (Speed workout) mile repeats (5) on treadmill at Island Health Club at a 5:43/mi. pace...(Yes, I gave into the treadmill finally due to inclement weather)
Wednesday= 12 miles in afternoon from Cortland campus, Gracie, to Rt. 13 and back; 5.5 miles at night on treadmill in apt. fitness room
Thursday= 9 miles in afternoon running from SUNY Cortland campus to Lime Hollow and back; 9 miles in evening on treadmill in apt. fitness room
Friday= 9 miles in morning on Warren Rd., Asbury, Farrell loop; 9 miles in evening running the Black Diamond trail with Cass Park add on with Max.
Saturday= 4 miles in morning on treadmill in apt. fitness room; 4.25 miles in late afternoon in Albany
Sunday= 27 miles running HMRRC winter marathon (warm-up included)

Well I got my racing fix that I was craving after about 2 1/2 months...Time to get ready for another week...Cheers!

Quote of the week: "Never really give in as long as you have any earthly chance, and above all don't allow yourself to fancy that you are in this predicament until the gruesome knowledge is absolutely forced upon you. For however bad you may be feeling, it is by no means impossible that the other fellows may be feeling quite as much, if not even more, distressed.~~~~Alf Shrubb

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Time for a Massage?

Those of you who have had a quality full body massage know how good it feels afterward and what a healing touch can do for your body and mind.

As a runner, having a sports massage on a somewhat regular basis will help your body to recover from the aches and pains of your long runs, improve suppleness, and the kneading and stroking motions of a deep massage will improve your circulation, help to flush out waste products and improve your flexibility. Also, a sports massage will not only tackle physiological problems, but the psychological advantages such as reinvigoration and the reduction of stress and mental tension will be beneficial as well.

OK… so we have listed some of the pros of getting massage...let’s take a look at some cons: First off I must say that I think the pros largely outweigh the cons…The biggest and mo
st popular con is MONEY$...however, it is money well spent and I have found some ways to be economical in this area:

1) Most private massage therapists (not in a spa or establishment) will work out some sort of deal with you if you buy a package of treatments. For example…instead of purchasing one massage at $75 you can buy five for $300 or something along these lines.

2) Look for a massage school in your area and find out if they have clinics where the students can practice on you! I have been a "practice test dummy" many times and, although you often get mediocre massages (offer positive feedback and constructive criticism), it is very inexpensive. Once in a while you will get the massage you have been waiting for. The only other con that I can think of is finding a massage therapist that knows the body well in terms of being a long distance runner. If possible try and find a massage therapist that also runs. I definitely treat myself to an hour massage once a week or once every two weeks during periods of high mileage…(like right now!)

If you are in the Ithaca, NY area I recommend Dominique Fry. She is very experienced in a few different areas of massage therapy, also teaches yoga, and is a casual runner. Dominique will get you back on the good foot and does it right out of her cozy studio in Fall Creek. Wow…after all this talk I am really looking forward to my appointment next Monday!

If this is all too much for you there are many ways to get similar benefits by self massage…go ahead and You Tube it…you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Most health clubs have a foam roller that you can manipulate to get into tight spots in your iliotibial band, quads, and hamstrings. All right that’s my spiel…good luck!

I had another great week of running amidst the school work starting to pile up.

Miles for the week: 95

Monday= easy 6 miles in morning on Tri-for-the-Y run course; 1-hour massage in afternoon

Tuesday= Speed work-10 miles total- 2.5 mi. warm up- one mile @ 5:44, rest/jog 3 min.- two consecutive miles @ 5:54 & 5:38, rest/jog/walk 5 min.- one mile @ 5:48- cool down 2.5 miles
Wednesday= Lifted weights at Island Health club in morning; easy 8 miles in evening downtown Ithaca through Stewart Park and Fall Creek
Thursday= 15 mile run from apt. down through Cayuga Heights, Cornell, downtown, Buttermilk Falls, Bostwick, 13A to finish at Finger Lakes Running Company
Friday= 9 miles in morning running Warren Rd., Asbury, Farrell loop w/ add on; 9 miles in evening (3miles w/ Kandace’s dog Max- check him out snoozing after our run!) on Black Diamond Trail and Cass Park
Saturday= 18 miles-tempo work- first six miles at a 7:03/mi. pace- next six miles at a 6:18/mi. pace- recovered for two miles- two miles at a 6:28/mi. pace- two mile cool down
Sunday= 10 miles in morning over Mt. Pleasant to Mineah w/ Bruce R., Brian T., and Molly; 10 miles in evening running Ithaca 5&10 course with Mark T.

I have been very pleased with how I have been feeling and running but I am making sure I listen closely to my body. The next two weeks will take me into the 100’s mileage-wise with a winter marathon training run included next weekend in Albany. Then I will start my taper for H.A.T. 50K. in Susquehanna State Park, Maryland. Until then we’ll see you on the roads and hopefully the trails real soon!

Quote of the week: “I wish chiefly to impress on all athletes who may read this that if they wish to excel at any branch of sport they must train. Train steadily, consistently, and constantly, and always bare in mind that however well they may be doing it is still possible for them to do better.”---Alf Shrubb

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Punxsutawney Phil's Prediction

According to Punxsutawney Phil and the foolish tradition that continues in rural Pennsylvania every year we are going to see a few more weeks of winter here in the northeast. I missed Bill Murray this year in one of my favorite movies of all time: Groundhog Day. I read some of the cold hard facts about this strange holiday and the little marmot has only been correct about 50% of the time! Might as well just flip a coin eh?! No I guess that wouldn't be as fun.

I'm getting antsy as far as the racing goes especially after seeing results from Rocky Raccoon 50 and 100 mile races this weekend in Huntsville, Texas. Fellow Inov-8 team member AJW took first in the 100 and Kevin Sullivan flew threw 50 miles for the win in that race...killer times guys!

I am heading up to Albany in a couple weeks to visit a friend and run a winter marathon as an up-tempo training run. It should get me back into that racing mode and the event is always known for unpredictable weather.

After this morning's run my confidence has shot up as far as my fitness and training goes.

Miles for the week: 86

Monday---> Rest; easy 6 miles down Warren Rd. and back
Tuesday---> Speed workout= 9 miles total (7 X 1000m @ 5:40/mi. pace) on back roads of Cortland with 1-minute of recovery in between intervals
Wednesday---> lifted weights in morning at Island Health Club; 6 miles in evening with Kandace's dog Max plus add-on in Cass Park
Thursday---> 11 miles running to Etna and back
Friday---> 7 miles in morning running Warren Rd. to Benson and back; 7 miles in evening with Max and Black Diamond Trail add-on
Saturday---> 16 miles up Connecticut Hill with Finger Lakes Trail add-on with Michael W., and Nancy K. What a beautiful run! and great workout
Sunday---> 24 miles running from my apt. to Flat Rocks to meet Michael W., Boris D., Mark T., Maureen D., Jeff D. for the infamous Triple Hump route--- Thanks for a fantastic run y'all!

I was very satisfied with my month of January making the transition from tropical climate to sub-zero temperatures and starting a pretty demanding semester. I ended up with 294 miles for the month with all runs done outside. I'm bumping the mileage up even more over the next few weeks pending no major discomfort and really raring to go for 2009.

Quote of the week: "Most men take the straight and narrow. A few take the road less traveled. I chose to cut through the woods."---Unknown

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Jack Daniels

And No!...not the Tennessee whiskey in a square bottle with a black label that causes you to lose inhibitions, slur, and forget things...we're talking about the legend that used to coach at the university I am currently attending.

Jack Daniels
was a professor of physical education and cross-country coach at State University of New York at Cortland . He received his doctoral degree in exercise physiology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Named “The World’s Best Coach” by Runners World magazine, he led Cortland runners to eight NCAA Division III National Championships, 31 individual national titles, and more than 130 All-America awards.

He is famous for writing Daniels' Running Formula, a 1998 book detailing his unique training philosophies. Dr. Daniels resides in Flagstaff, Arizona where he mentors and coaches some of America's top distance runners.

It's so cool to be in some of the same classes that he used to teach and hear the professors talk about Jack this, and Jack that. There is even a famous area (that I run at often) dubbed "Jack's mile". Besides the cross-country and track team members I am probably one of the few people that are always asking questions about what he used to do, and how he did it, etc. etc.

Even though I am training for different distances I tend to lean towards a lot of his philosophies and have found them quite helpful. I have another friend that used his build up to a 100-mile week training guide for a 5K last summer and it also served him well. It still gets me though when out on campus and somebody comes into a conversation half way through and can't figure what the hell we're talking about...running or booze!

I had another feel good week as far as running goes. I dropped back a bit and let my body recover and did a little cross-training.

Miles for the week: 65

Monday: Rest/ hot tub and steam room
Tuesday: Speed workout at SUNY Cortland track-- 3 X (800, 600, 400, 200) at 5:30/mi. pace--45 second rest in between intervals---2 min. rest between sets. Nice day and was lucky to have two lanes clear on track.
Wednesday: unexpected day off...major snow and ice storm and other obligation
Thursday: 12 mile snowshoe run in Hammond Hill w/ Eric M., Matt A., Scottie J., Joel C., Boris D., Earl S., Eric S.---very tough workout--snow shoe running is fun but difficult-good strength builder
Friday: 8.5 miles on Warren, Asbury, Farrell loop in morning; 5.5 miles in evening around Cass Park with Kandace's dog Max.
Saturday: 6 miles in morning with Jeff D., Derrick C., and Jason C. from Finger Lakes Running Company around Stewart Park, Cayuga Heights, and back to store; 8 miles in evening running Warren Rd. to Benson and back
Sunday: 16 miles from apt. w/ Brian T. to Wildflower to meet ITC crew to run around Ellis Hollow and bike path--great to see everyone!

Okay...drop back week is over....vacation is long gone...It's time to get down to business! Buckle up because we're gearing up for another full power year!

I got a couple race applications going yesterday, taxes done, and picked out some new shoes from Inov-8. Getting ready to roll!

It's Super Bowl time!

Quote of the week: "The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." -- Juma Ikangaa, 1989 NYC marathon winner