The Young Artist

One of the daughters makes lists, the other one makes art. Here are a couple of samples:

Wicked Cool.

Nikon announced a new DSLR yesterday - the D90. It's the first DSLR to offer a movie mode, which looks like it's very high quality. Check it out at Nikon's sample page.

Weekly Training Update - 7 Weeks To Go

Here's the week 10 training update:

Week 10 target mileage: 45 miles
Week 10 actual mileage: 45.3 miles

Target cumulative miles through last week: 376 miles
Actual cumulative miles through last week: 370.4 miles
Variance: (5.61) miles

Training miles to go: 250

Last week's training was helped by what may have been the best stretch of August vacation weather I've ever experienced - cool and dry every day; this week looks like more of the same. Average pace was 30 seconds per mile faster than the last 45 mile training week.

I feel like the end is in sight - just four more weeks of training (two weeks of 42 miles and two weeks of 45 miles) before I begin my two week taper.....

A Little Water Bug, Take 2

In case you didn't get the link for yesterday's video, here it is again.....

A New Take On A Photo


Tweaked IMG_4718 from aweber9
Originally uploaded by robertg6n1

Someone on flickr took one of my reservoir photos and tweaked it. Pretty cool result, if you ask me. Tweaks are courtesy of robertg6n1.

According to Robert, he 'used a few Picnik tools, especially HRDish to get this visual effect'.

I posted a photo similar to this one back in February.....

A Little Water Bug

Wow.

So.....two long runs down, two to go!

Slightly different course for today's 20. Rather than running the full - and very hilly - length of Candlewood Isle as I have before - I added extra loops of Ball Pond.

You can see the route at this link or check it out in google earth.

I felt good pretty much the entire time and finished in 3:06 - good for 9:06 per mile - more than a minute per mile faster than my last long run.

At Least It's Organic.....

In the department of strange products, check out what I found at the grocery a couple of days ago:


I don't know for sure, but somehow I doubt that canned pancake/waffle spray isn't exactly what the founders of the organic movement had in mind.

Strangest thing of all - the pancakes are actually decent!

Something Else To Aspire To

Ingredients For A New PR (personal record)

Take 2 Clif Shot Bloks (margarita flavor with salt - pretty gross), temperatures in the low 50's, lots of sunshine, a light breeze, new shoes, and run after a day off.....and you get a new PR. I ran my 5.5 mile loop of Candlewood Isle in 45:06, beating my old PR by more than 2:30.

I talked a few weeks ago with my friend Amanda about using positive visualization as a tool during running, and while it's not exactly the same thing, I spent time today thinking about inspiration. Two things which helped: thinking about Michael Phelps and what he did en route to winning 8 gold medals and thinking about CRUSHING my former PR (rather than just beating it).

I was in the final half-mile and a song from the soundtrack of the most recent Rocky movie (yes, I did see it, and yes, it was pretty bad) came on - a remix of 'Gonna Fly Now'. Silly as it may seem, Gonna Fly Now, Eye of The Tiger, and the Theme From Rocky have always been great workout songs for me.

My favorite part of the remix:
It ain't about how hard you hit...it's about how hard you can get hit....how much you can take and keep moving forward...that's how winning is done.


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Weekly Training Update - 8 Weeks To Go

Here's the week 9 training update:

Week 9 target mileage: 41 miles
Week 9 actual mileage: 36.8 miles

Target cumulative miles through last week: 331 miles
Actual cumulative miles through last week: 325.1 miles
Variance: (5.93) miles

Training miles to go: 295

I took it a bit easy last week, reducing my mileage even more than what the training plan prescribed. The run last Monday was a little short given that I'd run 20+ miles the day before, and I cut Sunday's run short by two miles to have more time to spend with some friends who had stayed over Saturday night.

This week will be another 45 miles, including a 20 mile run on Saturday. I'll be on vacation in Connecticut so it will be a tough, hilly training period.

Looking for Clam Shacks


_DSC8438
Originally uploaded by aweber9


One of our favorite things to do when we visit Cape Cod is to check out clam shacks. On our last trip to Chatham we tried a new place called Captain Cass Rock Harbor Seafood; the fried scallops there were so sweet they were like candy. The outside of the restaurant is pictured above.

A couple of days ago while out near Bantam, CT, I encountered a seafood place called West Shore Seafood (creatively named for being near the west shore of Bantam Lake). While the food doesn't even begin to compare with what we've found on the Cape, you've got to love their sources of inspiration (pictured below).

Happy Birthday Chris!


Happy birthday to my father-in-law - it's his 70th birthday today. I hope to be skiing like this when I am 70!

The Halfway Point

With today's 8.7 miles in the park I am exactly halfway through my training program for Chicago. Very cool.

Feeling Bad Does Not Equal Bad Result

I've mentioned before that I've had what I think is a runner's high on several of my recent long runs. Given a late dinner, a couple of glasses of wine, and a short night of restless sleep, I set out yesterday morning for a 7-mile run. Though it was in the low 60's, the combination of high humidity and all the factors I described above left me pretty uncomfortable; in fact, for most of the run I felt like my stomach was somewhere around my throat.

I ultimately finished the 6-mile loop in the park at a pace of 8:24 per mile - quite zippy for me these days. Though I really pushed at the end I missed my record time for the loop by just 1:33; I'm hoping to improve that PR sometime soon.

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Cats

Our cat George, as you can see in the video below, loves to shower. Strange, no? Even stranger is that his brother Henry prefers the tub.



George has this routine where he runs into the shower, walks a quick loop, and runs out to lick himself off under a chair. Henry will periodically join him, but lately has figured out an even better method - wait by the chair to lick the water off George once George has been in the shower. Even stranger.

12,000 Calories Per Day

Michael Phelps consumes 12,000 calories a day. Wow.

Good Reasons To Run

From US News & World Reports: 3 Myths—and 1 Truth—About Running and Your Health.

See also: Run For Your Life, which has a bit more background on the study used to set out the 3 myths and 1 truth.

I love these quotes:
Running delayed the onset of disability by an average of 16 year.....It's so important to be physically active your whole life, not just in your 20s or 40s, but forever.

Weekly Training Update - 9 Weeks To Go

Here's the week 8 training update:

Week 8 target mileage: 45 miles
Week 8 actual mileage: 45.7 miles

Target cumulative miles through last week: 290 miles
Actual cumulative miles through last week: 288.3 miles
Variance: (1.72) miles

Training miles to go: 336

A couple of 'firsts' for last week - my first run over twenty miles and my first week running more than 45 miles. This week is a stepback week - no long run (just 13 on Saturday) and a total mileage target of *only* 41 miles. With tonight's run, it's 6 down and 35 to go!

Finally, a short shout-out to Chris (with whom I'll run Chicago) on his first half-marathon race last weekend. His finishing time of two hours and change indicates we should be well matched on October 12.

Feeling Great!!!!

I felt surprisingly good after yesterday's 20.75 mile run around New Fairfield, CT. Not sure exactly why but I do think the three-hour nap I took yesterday afternoon certainly played a part. (For that, by the way, I need to thank Mrs. Longest Run for her support. Making the commitment to run a marathon involves a lot of time, some money (to buy gear), and lots of talking (sharing injuries, details of long runs, etc., etc.; it would be impossible to pull it off without a supportive spouse - so thank you Mrs. LR!).

Anyway....I felt great this afternoon and headed out for a run in Central Park with my friend Amanda. The weather cooperated - it was clear and cool after some impressive thunderstorms earlier in the day - and we had a great loop of the park. Our final time was 57:33 (9:33 minutes/mile), which isn't super-fast, but a great time considering yesterday's run.

I was also pleased to find at this morning's weigh-in (I weigh myself once a week on Monday morning) that I am down to my lowest weight in the two and a half years I've been really focused on fitness. It seems lots of things are coming together - the training (especially the recent hill work), cooler weather, weight, and diet - and I'm feeling strong and confident. Here's hoping it continues over the 61 days between now and race day.

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My First 20

My training schedule for the Chicago Marathon includes three runs of 20 miles each and one run of 22 miles; starting this weekend I've got one of these extra-long runs every other week before beginning my taper (easing off the mileage to be fresh for the actual race).

I got started at 6:15 this morning while it was cool (around 60) and very, very foggy; there were periods of time during the first 6 or 7 miles where I couldn't see more than 10 or 20 yards in front of me. Overall the run went very smoothly, though the last 4 miles were really, really, really, really tough. The pain and tiredness in my legs was like nothing I've ever experienced before and I also found it hard to concentrate - for a while I couldn't remember whether we live on Lake Drive North or North Lake Drive....

I'm very pleased with the final results: 20.75 miles in 3:30:54 - good for a 10:10 minute/mile pace. The pace of my long runs has gone from 10:36 to 10:24 to 10:10 in the last month, so I am definitely making progress. Previously, the longest distance I'd ever run was 18.35 miles; the new record is very satisfying but I know I've got to set a new one at least twice more before this process is over.

One more thing to note: on each of my three long runs now I've gotten this sensation that I guess could be what people describe as a runners high. It's a moment in a run where all of these feelings come together at the same time - tiredness, pain, exhilaration, a sense of progress, rhythm, and above all, the confidence you're going to finish what you set out to do in spite of the hurt. Anyone else ever have that experience?

Picking Up The Pace


Pictured above is a chart with my pace in minutes/mile over the past 10 weeks. The good news is that I'm on a slow but steady path of improvement, particularly since the longer runs I've been doing would tend to push the overall average minutes/mile higher.

Had a great run in Central Park this morning before an hour of strength training. Did the lower loop - which is 1.72 miles - at a pace of 7:07. One thing that helped a lot - some new music. I'm really enjoying Simple Plan's new album - which you can check out below. Favorite songs: Save You, No Love, What If, Take My Hand, and I Can Wait Forever.

Ick.

To think I thought Heath Ledger was terrifying in Batman: Dark Knight. If you have a strong stomach, check out Something Bad Is Going To Happen Here - a marketing site for a book being published by Doubleday called The Gargoyle.

There's a famous (in our family, anyway) story of me burning my foot on a stove when I was a kid. My parents had left us with a babysitter who decided late one night (long after what should have been bedtime) that she wanted some tea. After heating her water she was looking for the tea or sugar or something, and I very helpfully jumped up on the counter to find it for her...stepping right on the heating element in the process. Ouch. Rumor has it I screamed all night long.

This is pretty funny....

From today's NY Post: Embezzler Led John Dough Life

Fear & Inspiration

Courtesy of Steve (thanks!), check out this slideshow of one man's marathon story:

Update: Year-to-date Stats

On the occasion of passing the 800 mile mark last week, here's an update on the full year-to-date stats.

These were the figures from the end of April:

Days in 2008: 117
Runs in 2008: 63
Total mileage: 361 miles
Total time running: 55 hours
Average pace: 9:07 minutes/mile
Races: 4
Runs >= 15 miles: 1
Runs between 10 and 15 miles long: 8
Runs between 5 and 10 miles long: 21
Runs less than 5 miles long: 33

And the latest figures (current through yesterday's run):

Days in 2008: 216
Runs in 2008: 132
Total mileage: 830 miles
Total time running: 127.2 hours
Average pace: 9:11 minutes/mile
Races: 8
Runs >= 15 miles: 4
Runs between 10 and 15 miles long: 17
Runs between 5 and 10 miles long: 55
Runs less than 5 miles long: 56

I've been really fortunate so far: no injuries (though plenty of aches and pains) and no major weather-related interruptions (though plenty of unpleasant heat and humidity). Here's hoping the good fortune continues!

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Weekly Training Update - 10 Weeks To Go

Here's the week 7 training update:

Week 7 target mileage: 37 miles
Week 7 actual mileage: 41.1 miles

Target cumulative miles through last week: 245 miles
Actual cumulative miles through last week: 242.6 miles
Variance: (2.39) miles

Training miles to go: 381

Last week was a great week; it was my first week of over 40 miles and I felt strong throughout the whole week. The only downside is that I'm still feeling a bit pooped from Saturday's long run - last night's 7.5+ mile run in Central Park was pretty tough.

I've settled into a habit where I run once a week after work with my friend Amanda; it's been AWESOME to have running partner for at least some of my weekly mileage.

For the rest of this week I've got runs of 7, 7, 3, and 20! Talked with Amanda about whether to move/skip the 20 given last weekend's 17. I'll see how I feel later this week.

Oops!

Set out early this morning for the week's scheduled long run, planning to do 16 miles. I felt great for the first 12 miles or so and figured my pace would be pretty good as a result. I reached a point in the route where I knew exactly how much distance I had remaining, but my total time at that point seemed kind of high. When I finished and sat down to calculate the exact mileage, it turns out I'd actually run 17.3 miles. Oops!

Overall, the pace was about 15 seconds/mile faster than my last long run, so I wasn't imagining things after all; I was a full 30 seconds/mile for the first 12 miles. While I expected to be slow given that this was my fifth day in a row to run, I suspect I benefitted from attacking the hills of Central Park earlier this week.

Two other notable items: I completed the workout with only two stops - one time to fill my water bottles and one time for a pit stop at the gas station. Also.....I almost had my first experience throwing up from exertion/exhaustion; in the last half mile I felt the need but couldn't quite get it done. Not exactly something to look forward to.

I'm On A Hot Streak!

On Tuesday night I ran into Sarah walking up Broadway.

During my run Wednesday morning I saw my boss (twice) and my friend Jordi (they were both running in Central Park).

During today's run I saw a coworker in the Park (at 5:45!), ran into my good friend Ellen on the subway, and then ran into the head of our Spanish-language division on my way home (turns out he is staying in the Lucerne hotel right across the street).

Who will it be next?