The article also has a picture of my nemesis; it's shot from a different angle from my picture.
Having spent a lot of time in the park this year, I've not personally noticed a biker vs. runner dynamic. The only time I see problems is on weekend mornings when there are just way too many people in general - no matter what they are doing - to expect free and easy movement around the park loop.
My original goal for the day was to do a full loop of Central Park with some fartleking around the reservoir. I've got a head cold though, and quickly realized it's hard to run when you can't breathe! I tried all the positive visualization exercises I could (thanks Amanda!), but even that didn't work, so midway through the run I decided to drop the reservoir loop and do the fartleking in the Central Park loop. After just two speed segments I felt woozy and lightheaded and decided not to push my luck. I will try again next week....
My favorite lines of the article, which I think speak more broadly to how people choose their media outlets....:
By now, it should be obvious why no one but me is likely to be reading both these books. You, reader, have undoubtedly already decided which author is a sage and which one a lunatic, which advice is sound, worthy of reading and re-reading, and which is simply misguided.
And that is the final thought-provoking lesson. Our health beliefs are so deeply ingrained that data, admonitions, guidelines and oceans of ink on reams of paper will seldom dissuade us from believing what we want to be true.
I had the chance to go out with our CT neighbors on their boat last night. We enjoyed a takeout pizza, some drinks, and this great sunset.
If you are interested to know exactly where we were, check it out on this map.
I ran into Central Park and started with a loop of the Reservoir. At that point I was feeling pretty junky and thought about whether I really, really wanted to do such a long run given the weather.....but then I remembered that conditions this morning are probably as good as they are going to get for my long runs, given that the longest of those runs will take place in August and September leading up to the race in October.
I kept going, and my next big milestone was reaching the point where I enter the park from our apartment (77th Street). That's the place where it's easy to say - oh, I don't really feel like running another loop of the park. Given a detour for a bio-break, I had already run 9.5 miles - nothing to be ashamed of, but not really a long training run. It feels great mentally to make the decision to keep going (which I did) and to know that there's just one more loop to go.
By the time I finished back at our apartment, I'd run 16.1 miles, a new personal record by a 1.1 miles (I ran 15 in Houston in January, but it was much cooler and much flatter. I weighed myself before I left and when I got back and in spite of drinking what I estimate to be 5 pounds (!) of water while exercising and eating electrolyte chews and gel, I weighed 2 pounds less than when I started.
The run means all kinds of new PR's: longest run ever, most time running ever, most miles in a week (39.1), longest run in New York. Those records will fall as the training progresses, but it still feels great to have reached the milestones.
The race last night was quite an experience. I'd not run in the Corporate Challenge for many years, and for the first 1.5 miles last night, I was pretty sure I'd never run in one again. Having grown accustomed to New York Road Runners Club's top-notch management of their races, I was a bit put out by the chaos of this event (though I should not have been surprised: every person who heard I was doing the Challenge said something like - ooh, I hear that's a madhouse), and the weather didn't help. It started sprinkling a few minutes before the start and rained heavily the entire race - until about 2 minutes after my finish! Here are a couple of pictures that will give you a sense of the sheer number of people doing the race:
For another runner/blogger's (funny/snarky) take on the experience, check out: Run. Rinse. Repeat. over at Pigtails Flying.
What redeemed the whole thing for me was running the race with my friend Kirk (who is off to get married this weekend - congratulations Kirk!). Kirk is one of my running inspirations, having taught me some of the ins and outs of running in Central Park and being a source of marathon training advice given that he has several marathons under his belt. We had a nice time running together. Here are some pictures of me and Kirk before the race and then during the race (by my nemesis in the park).
It was also fun seeing other colleagues from work outside the office and checking out the custom t-shirts from all the other participating companies.
I walked (squished) home after the race and was rewarded with an unusual New York City sunset view:
One of the community features is the ability to set up challenges with other runners. I've recently joined a challenge called Run Like NYC Nike+ Challenge where runners from different neighborhoods log their mileage to see which neighborhood can do the most miles. The logging starts in the next few days, and I've put a cool tracking widget (also included below) on the blog web site. I'll be interested to see what it's like to participate in a challenge. If any of you readers are also Nike+ users, let's go for a one-on-one challenge!
The sensor tracks your mileage, which is quite useful, but I've found the accuracy to be just a bit spotty for my taste. When your ipod is plugged in and synced with your computer, data on your run (time, distance) go to Nike+ and are logged in your account; if you're participating in a challenge that's how the information is accumulated.
Another feature of the Nike+ community is the ability to 'share' runs (see below). Cool graphics but not a lot of there there beyond that.
All in all a fun product.
Lots going on here: baking and family traditions, working with fanatical customers, history, food science, managing change, etc., etc.
Check it out!
Way back in 2002 I had a physical exam and learned I was up to 192 pounds, good for a BMI of 29.2 (well into the overweight range). The doctor told me I needed to lose some weight, so I started exercising and trying to eat better. Nearly 6 years and 1,250+ exercise sessions later (an average of 4.3 sessions per week), I'm down almost 25 pounds and have seen marked improvement in my blood pressure and my cholesterol. Aside from the obvious health benefits, I feel the exercise helps me reduce stress and maintain my sanity - always a good thing.
Today is beautiful - it's a bit below 60 degrees with moderate humidity. Just back from a 7.1 mile run which I was able to do pretty comfortably at 8:18 per mile. I was just shy of a PR for this route - missing by about 10 seconds.
I'm running in the Chase Corporate Challenge later today - 3.5 miles in Central Park. Planning to take it easy.....
While it's fresh on my mind I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Cape Cod places and activities. Since our friend Phyllis lives in Chatham most of the activities are centered around the southeast portion of Cape Cod, but it's easy enough to get to other parts of the Cape.
In no particular order.....
While a portion of the Cape Cod Rail Trail runs through Chatham and is a great place to run, I've grown comfortable enough with the area to venture farther afield. Chatham's streets are very well marked so it's no problem at all to navigate. On my most recent trip I went for this 12.75 mile run:
It's a route with great views of the water, a trip by the Chatham lighthouse, beautiful houses and some very tough hills. If you link over to the full map you should check out the route on Google Earth - it's very, very cool.
No vacation is complete without ice cream - well... no summer vacation in any case. When we are in Chatham we pretty much go to Buffy's every day. Favorite flavors include Oreo, Coffee Oreo, and Chocolate.
Our friends Jim and Betsy originally told us about Marion's Pie Shop. Strange as it may sound, the savory clam pie is to die for; the sweet pies are fantastic as well. We usually bring a clam pie back to New York with us for the freezer.
This past trip we ordered pizza from a new restaurant just down Crowell Road from Phyllis' place: Sweet Tomatoes (the link is to some locations near Boston). I can confidently say the pizza from Sweet Tomatoes was better than any pizza I've had in 10+ years living in New York City. Check out the user reviews on Fodors.com - it looks like many others agree.
Our favorite place for fried seafood (clams in particular) is Cooke's (in Orleans on Route 6 near the Bird Watchers General Store (a great place for birding enthusiasts).
The clam strips, lobster rolls, fried scallops, and fried shrimp are all excellent.
Though Cooke's has been in the rotation for several trips and we usually go at least twice per trip, we branched out last trip to Captain Cass Seafood in Rock Harbor (Orleans). As you can see from the pictures it's pretty down and dirty, but the food is terrific, particularly the fried scallops (direct from Chatham and incredibly sweet).
Skaket Beach in Orleans is our all time favorite.
It's a great beach for kids given a low tide that goes out half a mile (or more). Great tidepool exploring and terrific for sunsets as well.
After visiting a bookstore in Wellfleet on Sunday, we explored some of the beaches on the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Our favorite was called Duck Harbor Beach. As you can see from the pictures it was a stark gray day, which for me really brought out the beauty of the rocky desolate beach. I also liked that you could see the Pilgrim Monument in Provincetown off in the distance.
I've been to a number of sunrises at the Chatham Lighthouse and have never been disappointed.
Sunrise comes awfully early at this time of year - the sky starts getting light well before 5AM and official sunrise is around 5:15.
Finally - last but not least, Provincetown and the Pilgrim Monument. We've only been to Provincetown once but really enjoyed it. The highlight was walking up to the top of Pilgrim Monument on a beautiful day and enjoying the terrific views.
If you're intrigued by Chatham and the Cape and want to see some absolutely incredible pictures, check out Chris Seufert's photos on flickr; you won't be disappointed.
Have I left anything out? What are your Cape Cod favorites?
Though the knees are good I am fighting a new challenge: blisters. I'm hoping it's a phase that will pass as my feet get used to running in the hot weather. The blisters aren't so bad I have to stop running - yet - but it's something to watch and manage carefully. Fortunately the New York Times ran an article (At Trail’s End, There’s Nothing Like Happy Feet )recently on caring for blisters, so I've got some new remedies/protective measures to try. I'm also experimenting with different socks and Bodyglide on my feet for long runs. If you've got any other ideas, please let me know!
We had a 5 hour drive yesterday from Cape Cod to New York City. For really long car trips, we bring a portable dvd player for the kids. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Yesterday we had just the right thing:
The Brady Bunch - The Complete First Season
The kids were very, very happy.....and very, very quiet - for the entire trip. Thanks to Bob for the recommendation!
I went out this morning to shoot sunrise pictures, taking only 18-200mm and a 12-24mm lenses with me. I came across some birds hunting for breakfast with perfect morning light and still water. I was able to get some pretty decent pictures, but without the kind of detail (what exactly is the bird eating?) that would make for great pictures. Next time I will bring the whole camera kit.
And here are two sunset pictures from Skaket Beach (our favorite beach among many great beaches in/near Chatham):
Just back from a great vacation visiting a dear friend in Chatham, MA. In spite of living in Boston for five years, I never really spent time on Cape Cod until Phyllis moved there a few years ago. We're now up there a couple of times a year and really love it.
I was up VERY early this morning and got out to shoot some sunrise pictures by the Chatham lighthouse - a really beautiful spot. Managed to fit in a few self-portraits as well.....
In contrast to last week's failed attempt to run up to the George Washington Bridge, I successfully finished the job today. It's about 5.5 miles from our apartment up to the bridge, and it was tough; though the recent heat wave has broken, it was very sunny, humid, and still pretty warm.
Sadly, I encountered a lot of downed trees from heavy thunderstorms in the city last night and last Sunday night.
The book is full of interesting before and after shots, where 'before' means the way people typically take a kind of shot (for example, photographing a kids birthday party), and 'after' means the picture taken according to the author's suggestions. The photos in the book are taken with a point-and-shoot camera, so high-end gear is not required!
Working through a backlog of pictures from my garden in Connecticut to process tonight and came across these two pictures. Interesting to look at them together as they were taken only thirteen days apart; it's amazing how quickly the plants grow once the weather warms up.
There are some great flowers blooming right now; I'll post some more pictures soon.
The best news is that I've now done 35.4 miles for the week - a new peak - and that I've logged some good miles in the kind of uncomfortable conditions which lie ahead.
Who out there hasn't heard the lament of the typical New Yorker magazine reader? You love the magazine but find it impossible to get through issues within a week's time; back issues pile up and lead to guilt and cognitive dissonance until you come to your senses and throw away the pile.
Well, it's Friday night, and with one daughter at a sleepover and the other hosting a sleepover here in our apartment, it's clean up the desk night. In 'processing' old issues of the magazine, I came across Idolatry, an article from the May 19th issue on the American Idol phenomenon.
Having missed the show a lot since the stunning conclusion a couple of weeks back (go David Cook!) it was nice to have an excuse to revisit some of the highlights of the season.
While on the Scientific American site I came across an article which takes the reader inside the Amazon Kindle; very interesting if you are interested in e-books. This piece also has a good sidebar called Inside the Kindle E-Book Reader [Interactive].
Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.
Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.
As a result of the weather a race that would otherwise have had 5,000 runners had fewer than 2,000, but still a large number given the time and the conditions.
I jogged down to the start of the race in front of Tavern on The Green, timing things so I'd end up at the start line with as little time as possible before the race got under way. After spending about 5 minutes huddled under some tall trees with fellow runners, I moved over to my starting corral for the pre-race announcements. The rain tapered down to light sprinkles as we got underway, which was obviously a big relief. There was a bit - and I emphasize a bit, not a lot - of a festive air given that the run was to commemorate an anniversary and that people were a little giddy to be out running a race at 5:30 in the morning.
I set out hoping to improve on the time of my last 5 mile race, the Fred Lebow classic, which was my first NYRR race of the year - way back in January. I finished the Lebow in 41:51 (8:22 per mile) and figured with all the mileage I've put in of late that improving would not be a big problem. I ultimately finished in 38:16, good for a 7:39 pace - just slightly slower than the 7:32 per mile pace for a recent 3 mile race.
Here's how I'd sum up the race:
Mile 1: ran it in 7:15 (the benefit of being cold and wet). Imagined I would not be able to maintain that pace for the duration.
Mile 2: Cat Hill on the east side of the park (see previous post on My Nemesis for further details). Slowed down to 7:42, what with the big hill and all.
Mile 3: shoes started to make squishing noises. Finished in 7:32.
Mile 4: crossing the park on the 102nd street transverse from east to west. Got some water at the 'Fluid Station' and walked while I drank. Slowest mile at 8:17. Spent time wondering thinking about my goal for the Chicago Marathon in October: to finish or to achieve a specific time. Most of the books say first-time marathoners should just aim to finish. Don't know about that. One of the guides says you can project your marathon time by taking 2x a half-marathon and adding something like 10 or 20 minutes; that would put me in the neighborhood of 4 hours, which would be a cool goal.
Mile 5: Spent most of this mile wondering why I put myself through all of this and trying to get a good breath. Felt like I was in home territory being on the west side of the park. The end came sooner than I expected and I was pleasantly surprised to finish mile 5 in 7:27.
I felt like junk (physically) when I finished but was pleased with the result and felt great to have finished a hard race before 6:15 in the morning. I did the typical post-race routine - got the ChampionChip clipped and grabbed water, a banana, and some wet(ish) bagels to take home.
On reviewing the results posted to the NYRR website, I saw that in spite of the pretty decent pace, my showing overall wasn't so great. I finished 463rd out of 1,789 runners overall; 385th out of 1,001 males; and 65th out of 168 males over 40. My thinking is that given the weather, many of the less serious runners did not show up and therefore the overall level of competition was higher than it would otherwise have been. I did manage to improve my age-graded performance percentage to 59.4%, which is the best result yet of all 7 races I've done this year. The age-graded performance percentage is an indicator of how your time in the specific distance compares to an age and gender-specific world record performance. 70% is considered regional class, 80% national class, and 90% world class. My previous best was 59.2%. Since 70% for a 41 year-old male is about 6:30 per mile, I probably don't have to worry about that any time soon!
All in all, a great way to start a day.
P.S. Here's another runner/blogger's take on the race: Pigtails Flying.
I was dismayed to discover one day last year that woodchucks had dug a tunnel which conveniently exited in the middle of the main garden bed in our yard. A number of plants were destroyed, including a unique liatris I've only recently been able to replace. The woodchucks snacked on all sorts of plants, leaving us with far fewer vegetables (primarily beans) and flowers (primarily purple coneflower) than we'd have otherwise had.
I first tried filling the hole, but within a day the hole had been reopened. We then went the humane route; the company which mows our grass put out a havahart trap, the plan being that they would release anything we caught at a nearby nature preserve. We trapped a variety of animals - first a possum, then some skunks, then some woodchucks (pictures to come)! Things got quiet after that, but once there were signs of activity again this spring, I resorted to final sanctions: a package of The Giant Destroyer, and we haven't seen a sign of anyone since. Meanwhile, the garden flourishes.
Hot off the presses from the Blue Heron Farm blog: looks like we're not the only ones with a critter challenge - see Varmint Cong.
Update: here's a link to a subsequent post with pictures.
Not knowing how far it is from our apartment up to the bridge, I did a quick check of a map on MapMyRun; notice I said quick check. It looked to be about 3 miles up to the bridge, making the round trip around 6, and I figured with the cool weather and an easy pace it would be no problem. Since I know it's 20 blocks to a mile in Manhattan, that distance seemed a little light but not out of the question. Brimming with confidence, I set out close to 7AM and took my camera with me; the kids have always loved the GWB (it's a really beautiful bridge, after all, and we drive by it regularly on the way to and from Connecticut), and I was excited to have a picture in front of the little red lighthouse depicted in The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.
My first hint of trouble came when I arrived at the waterfront, as depicted here: You can see the bridge in the far right and corner of the picture, and though it's hard to tell for sure, it looks like a bit more than 3 miles....
It was great running along the river and through Riverside Park, and I saw a lot of things I'd not seen before and saw other things from a new perspective; for example, I came across this beautiful perennial garden with some gorgeous peonies in full bloom:
I kept running and running, and after registering 5 miles (according to my Nike+/iPod sensor), I still wasn't at the bridge. Even before that point, I was worried both about the total distance - since I'd not set out to make this a long run - and getting home in time to help take the kids to school. I ultimately decided to turn around and leave my meeting with the bridge and the lighthouse for another day, hopefully in the not-too-distant future. You can see in the pictures below how close I ultimately got to my objective......