Dooster!

I’ve heard about these Doosters.IMG_9517They make amazing films. I’ve seen them around, mostly blending into the sidelines, capturing random footage that I’m never sure what it’s for or where it will end up.

Recently I got to spend some quality Dooster time, and it was pretty rad. And while I don’t know what they are using it all for and how it will turn out, I am pretty excited to be a part of it.

interview

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photo by Dooster

GRANT PARK TURKEY TROT RACE REPORT 2015

This was my second go at the Grant Park Turkey Trot on the weekend after Thanksgiving. Last year’s race was great, and the location is right outside of the in-laws’ place, so this year we got the whole family involved.

We had a busy afternoon the day before. We got our race bibs and great hoodies from the running shop, a Christmas tree from Home Depot, a bunch of groceries for our night party from Whole Foods, dropped off my wife’s mom at work, and then put up the tree. After that, it was off to dinner. We had a night out at Kiki’s Bistro (same as last year) where I again ate a pizza. Last year’s pizza incident was remembered (it sat in my stomach like a rock) so I only ate ¾ instead of the whole thing. Haha!

We left the restaurant early and went to a bar to see a friend, and returned to the house around 10:30. We were sleeping around 12 or 1 am.

Race MorningIMG_7408

We got up around 8 am. The crew was myself and my wife, her mom, and her two cousins. After getting dressed and pinning on our race bibs, we set off to Grant Park, just under a mile from the door. The wind was blowing, making it a little cold to begin. On the way over, I told my wife I was going to just have fun today. My last serious running was the Chicago Marathon, and I had done just a few fun runs since then. Nothing serious, very little speed work, and definitely no 5k race pace miles. I let myself off the hook on the PR – I felt I was not in a position for a PR, and acknowledging this was a good way let myself have fun.

The Start

We walked to the start and arrived about 10-15 minutes before the start; just long enough to not freeze, but with just enough time to use the bathroom one last time. I ran back toward the start, said goodbye to my wife, and went to line up near the front. The corals were full, but I made my way to about 3 rows back from the line. In front of me: a family wearing jeans. I politely pushed past them in the last minute and ended up starting with maybe the first 20 folks.

The Race

The race starts with a slight downhill and turn under a bridge, and then a very short, somewhat steep hill. It levels out for a mile out on the sidewalk and a mile back along the lake, then back under the bridge. The last miles is the perimeter of a chunk of park. Last year, I made the mistake of kicking when I saw the finish line … about a quarter mile too early. This year, knowing the course, I settled in at a strong but not exhaustive pace and let it rock. I didn’t push too hard. After the first mile, I got passed by the number two woman, but no one else.

There was a lot of goose poop on the straight stretch from mile one to two along the water, so that stretch was dodging piles, which added a little fun. I was wearing my new Nike flash vest over a long sleeve Nike hoodie and a tech shirt, which was perfect for the first two miles, but a little warm in the final mile. Awesome for running, and plenty of compliments after, but it was one layer too much during the run, so I was running with it open and draping off of me for the final .75 miles.

It was a good run. Basically, a strong tempo run, with no pressure. I IMG_7388finished, put my medal in my vest pocket, and ran back on the course until I found the rest of the group at about the 1.5 mile mark. My wife was wearing THE MOST AMAZING OUTFIT (everyone else in the group – along with 80% of the rest of the field was wearing the race hoodie) and was running up and then running back to walk with her mom for a bit, so we ran up and then back, and then I walked with her mom for the last mile until about 200 meters to the finish, when I ran up on the outside of the course so I could get finisher photos for them.

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Post Race

After the family finish, I checked the awards tent. Even with the easy cruising, I felt like I did okay, but I ran without a watch so I couldn’t tell the pace. I ended up with second place in my age group, with the first place guy smoking me.

After I got my award, I found IMG_7409the fam in the apple cider line. Then, cold walk home. Very cold walk, once the sweat froze. Very happy for the vest! We went to breakfast and had a great warm meal at Eggy’s.

After we got back, my wife and I went to the gym with her cousins. We met two little boys – probably ages 8 and 12 – and played an hour of 3 on 3 basketball, boys vs girls. We didn’t keep score, but it was a lot of fun.

 

By The Numbers

Temperature: 31 start, 32 finish
Weather: clear and beautiful, very sunny
Number of times I hit the bathroom before the race: 3 in house, 1 at race
Big burps I let out on the run: 1
Number of people who passed me: 8
Number of people I passed: 3

Nutrition consumed in race: 0
Hydration consumed in whole race: 0IMG_7419
Hydration consumed after race: 1 cider

Layers of shirts: 3
Layers I needed: 2
Layers on legs: 2

Song playing when I finished: “What Do You Mean” Justin Beiber
Number of medals I got: 2
Number of miles I ran: 5.5
Miles in the race: 3.1
Number of 5Ks I’ve ever raced: 2
Number of Grant Park Turkey Trot races I’ve raced: 2
Seconds slower than last year: 17

Number of times someone got hit in the face with a basketball: 3

Finish time: 19:29Screenshot 2015-12-25 22.22.50
2nd place age group
17th place overall out of 1886

Brooklyn Half

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It’s Brooklyn Half time again! Last year I volunteered at the event, which got me guaranteed entry into this year’s race. I was excited to sign up because I was leading the New York Running Company Half Marathon Training Program for the race.

Training was going well, until about five before the race, when I started to have intense knee pain on my right leg. This has been a bit of a lingering injury; sometime in the fall, I tweaked my knee taking off too quickly at a November Project Destination Deck workout (City Hall, to be exact). That specific moment made me say ouch, and there was a bit of difference in my knee through my winter training. This year, it was feeling better, even through my Spartan Race on Saturday, where I did a lot of stairs without pain.

This might have done me in. Early in the week I was fine, but Wednesday I started to have high calf pain in my right side (not a spot I typically have pain) and then pain above my knee at my quad. I picked up my bib anyway, thinking I might be able to feel better by the weekend. The pain moved to the outside and then under my knee, and there was a popping that happened each time I moved my knee. Stairs were out of the question both up and down.

I saw Brynn on Thursday and decided to rest. This is not my A-race and I want to be able to really push it there, so I skipped Brooklyn Half.

My athletes did great, with new PRs for our NY Running Co participants and people I’m coaching privately. Real race day is 3 weeks away, so I’m resting until it feels better.

The NYC Half

nychalf15_racehead_4For the last 10 weeks, I’ve been coaching the New York Running Company and Empire Tri Club Half Marathon Training Program, working toward this weekend’s NYC Half. Few half marathons in the country are so iconic – this one, with an excellent pro field and a course that puts runners through Central Park, the heart of Times Square, and along the West Side Highway, is quintessential NYC.

Here are tips I have for my runners:

Get to the expo early. The expo looks amazing this year, on par with marathon expos and featuring great interactive course maps. Take advantage of all the expo has to offer. If you can get there before peak time (after work Thursday and Friday or mid-day Saturday), you’ll be better off. Download and print your registration form from your NYRR profile (instructions here) and bring your photo ID to pick up your bib.

Get your bib on your gear. Make sure you aren’t searching for your race bib or timing tag on race morning. Set everything up when you get home from the expo.

Bring “throw away” layers. Race morning will be a bit chilly. Bring items to donate to Goodwill (donation bins will be located in your corral) when you want to shed your layers. Don’t bring that fancy new jacket – you won’t get any of your items back.

PLAN AHEAD.
Plan your travel. Figure out how to get to the race – all runners must enter at the bottom of the park along 59th Street, and will be subject to search before entering the park. The race is a point-to-point race, meaning you’ll be heading home from the bottom of Manhattan, not from Central Park. Bring your MetroCard.

Plan your nutrition. You should have been practicing with your nutrition to know what works for you (you did that, right?). photo 1Make sure you have your gels or food on hand before Saturday so you aren’t rushing to find it. Also plan your race day breakfast and make sure you have that as well. Not much will be open on race morning at the time you head to the park.

Position your people. Having friends out there to cheer you on is awesome. Make sure they tell you specifically where they will be, like in front of ____ store, on the east/west/north/south side of the street. Have your pals download the United NYC Half Mobile App to track you so they’ll have an idea of when to expect you.

Make a clear post-race plan with any spectators you’re expecting. The finish line area can be difficult to navigate for both finished runners and family/friends. Choose a designated location to meet, and make it specific, like the Northwest corner of ____ and ____ streets.

IMG_2090BE STRATEGIC.

Know your start. There are three waves and multiple corrals. Know where you need to go and when you need to drop off your bag.

Know where the aid stations are. Water and Gatorade are located at almost every mile. Gels are located about halfway through, once you leave Central Park. Bring your own nutrition that you trained with, but know that you can grab a gel here if you drop or forget yours.

Know the route. Check out the route map. The expo has an interactive map and course instructions. You can also see step by step below:

Mile 1: Start on East Drive in Central Park, just north of East 72nd Street, and head north.
Central Park, up Cat’s Hill. Hold up! Save it – you’re just getting started.

Miles 2-3: Continue north, and bear right at the Lenox Avenue exit from Central Park. Turn left at 110th Street/Central Park North. Run counter-clockwise around Central Park West Circle and return on 110th Street/Central Park North, then turn right at the Lenox Avenue entrance to Central Park. Bear right at East Drive and continue south on West Drive.
Back into the park and up Harlem Hill. You still have the West Side hills as well. Be conservative here. It’s going to be crowded; resist the urge to dart through and around packs. Run patiently and run smart, because there’s a lot of race left.

Miles 4-6: Continue South on West Drive. Turn right at the Seventh Avenue exit from Central Park. Continue south on Seventh Avenue through Times Square.
Resist the urge to light it up through Times Square, which is awesome to run through. Focus on a steady pace while dropping your pace per mile slightly once leaving the park.

Miles 7-8: Turn right at West 42nd Street, then right at the West Side Highway. Run north in the northbound lanes, make a U-turn at West 43rd Street, and run south in the southbound lanes.
Get into a good rhythm here. Flat and straight, basically, after this. Be confident – if you were smart in the park, you will be able to negative split this race easily.

Miles 8−12: Continue south in the southbound lanes of the West Side Highway.
Smooth sailing here along the West Side Highway. This is a good place to stay in that rhythm and focus on a strong finish.

Miles 12-13.1: Bear left at the Battery Park Underpass entrance. Run through the underpass and continue on FDR Drive North. Bear right at the South Street exit and then turn right at South Street. Turn left at Maiden Lane, and left at Water Street to finish at Wall Street.
Make it uncomfortable. This course is a great one to push on the second half – focus on a really strong finish.

Post race. Medal, photos, bagels, bags, find your friends, have a mimosa, chill. Be sure to stretch, rest, and recover.

Have fun. You’re worked hard for this. Have a great time! Race hard, race smart, and believe in yourself. And let me know how it goes!

IMG_6099High five or hug a volunteer. I’ll be out there at the start line at 4:30 am setting up, and then volunteering with Wave 2 until 10 am. I won’t get to see my friends and athletes after they take off, but I’ll be tracking them, and look forward to hearing all the recaps after!

Go get it!

Blockhouse trail run

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Tuesday, December 16, was my first try at “trail running.” The quotes are for how I would describe this run before going – because I live in NYC, more specifically Manhattan, and where are there trails around here? The Bridle Path?! I have no idea. But when I met Will, a New York Running Company person, at the Grant Park Turkey Trot in Chicago, he told me about his trail runs he leads on Tuesday mornings at 7 am. I brushed him off a bit, explaining how a 7 am run doesn’t give me enough time to get to work.

Fast forward two weeks, and a Facebook event invite shows up in my feed for the Blockhouse Trail Run, starting at 7 am on Tuesday, hosted by Will. I clicked YES, although it was unclear of the distance or the pace or the path we’d actually be on.IMG_0024

I revisited the event listing a few times to try to figure out more information. I also considered not going, but being of high moral standards, I thought it rude to RSVP yes and then not show up (because six other people said they were going, and surely he’d see I wasn’t there). So I basically guilted myself into going to this group run.

I’m happy I did! This was THE. MOST. FUN. I’ve have on a run in a long time.

I left my place at 6:40 am and ran the 1.5 miles to the Time Warner Center, where we met in front of the NY Running Co. It was myself and employees of the shop to begin with – I had seen all of them before, as our Empire Tri Club runs meet there on Tuesday and Thursday nights. Ten of us left the shop to start the run, heading up through the holiday market to the south drive inside the park, and then to the east. Will’s only rule: “anywhere you see pavement? Don’t run on it.” So we didn’t. We ran in the grass, and over rocks, freely through the lawn where there were no paths or trails.

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We made our way through parts of the park I had never seen, up to the Great Lawn and onto the Reservoir path. We crossed to the westside, bounced back to the east side, and then ran up above the 102nd Street cut off to the Blockhouse, where Mary (one of my FAVORITE run buds!) took off. After running up and down the rocks around that area, we cut through small trails between trees and zig zagged our way back down the Westside, through trees and brush, up/down/around rocks and stairs, and back toward the Running Co.

I cut out at 72nd Street to get to the Eastside and my place at 8:25. I jumped in the shower still sweating, ended my shower still sweating, and was out the door by 8:40 am to attempt to make it to work on time. It was tight – I loved the run so I’d like to try to find a way to do it and still make it to work. I may need to set out my bike before, and iron the night before.blockhouse

The run was 8.8 miles in total for me (with my commute there and back), reasonably paced (although the group did split), and a ton of fun. I always enjoy the NY Running Co people, and it was a nice way to explore parts of Central Park I had only wondered about (which was one of my goals for the coming year – see ALL of the park).

Thanks to Will and NY Running Co for putting this on!

 

 

Grant Park Turkey Trot Race Report

headerSaturday, December 1, was the Grant Park Turkey Trot 5K in Chicago. I was in town for Thanksgiving, and knew I would be close, so I couldn’t pass up the option to take part in another Windy City race. I was staying in a hotel on Michigan Avenue with my wife, her cousins, and her mom. The hotel had a grand pool, where I got in a quick 600 m the night before – my first swim since the Poconos. Shhh….IMG_0790

I ate a huge dinner at Kiki’s Bistro, where I had a super cheesy pizza the size of a plate and various desserts. I was still feeling full when I woke up on race morning – never a good sign – so I didn’t eat anything. My wife and I were sharing a room with her cousin, so I got dressed in the bathroom and snuck out of the room at 7 am to get to packet pick up in Grant Park.

Pre race 

I ran just over a mile to get to the packet pick up. It was about 31 degrees, with a wind chill to make it feel like 25 degrees. I wasn’t sure what to wear, because it was expected to warm to 40 by the end of the race. I ended up in my typical winter ninja outfit: black tights, a tech t covered by a long sleeve covered by my black Nike jacket, hat and gloves, and my Rev3 buff.

I was nicely warmed up by the time I got there. But I also had 45 minutes to wait until race start. I got my packet, pinned my bib. I took trip to the porta potties, and tried to stay warm near a wall by the bathrooms. I did a little active stretching and lunge matrix warm up, and with 10 minutes to the race start went to drop my bag. I took my jacket off and checked it, and went to the start corral.

This was a Turkey Trot and a family-friendly event with some children and many walkers. I intended on running, and knew I wanted to line up near the front. I saw the 10 or so guys who I expected to win and lined up by them.

The startIMG_0792

With four minutes to the start, I decided another bathroom trip would be a great idea. I ran to the porta potties and back with a minute to spare. That was a good warm up.

The race

The race was one mile up, one mile back along the lake to the aquarium, into Grant Park, and a loop to the finish. I kicked too hard when I saw the finish line without realizing there was still about .15 miles left. I hit the 3 mile sign when I thought I was going to be at the finish. Rookie mistake to not know the course! Still, no one passed me. I expected to average about 6:20/mile with my foot injury and not really running since September. I was surprised to run 6:12 averages. I was definitely racing it, but felt untrained and slower than my potential. I also felt my pizza for about half the race.

The Photos

I had one photo from an old NYRR race that looks like all of my skin is falling off my face. I’ve always said it was my worse photo. But the photographers had to have a field day looking at the photos of me from this race. The photos look like it hurt more than I remember it hurting. It was a 5K! It was not this serious!!

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After the race, I saw a guy in a New York Running Company shirt. turkeytrotI asked if he was a NYer, or just ran the marathon. He actually works at the Running Company, so we talked and took a photo. I drank some hot cider, gathered up a few protein bars and cookies (but didn’t eat any – still wasn’t hungry) and did my deck a day while waiting for awards. I knew I did well, but wasn’t sure how many people ahead of me were in my age group. I didn’t win anything (5th in AG) but I would have won the AG I’ll be in next year – something to consider for next November. Then I walked back to the hotel.

By the numbers

Temperature: 31 start, 38 finish
Weather: clear and beautiful, very sunny
Number of times I hit the bathroom before the race: 4
Number of times I did that because it was warmer than outside: 3place2
Big burps I let out on the run: 1
Number of people who passed me: 2
Number of people I passed: 3

Nutrition consumed in race: 0
Hydration consumed in whole race: 0
Hydration consumed after race: 2 ciders, 2 coffees

Layers of shirts: 3 before, 2 during, 1 for photos
Layers on legs: 2

Number of 5Ks I’ve ever raced: 1

Finish time: 19:12
5th place age group
15th place overall

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