Thursday, December 30, 2010

2010 - The Year of the Record Blazer

Every year I keep saying what an amazing year I’ve had. I’m truly grateful for everything that I’ve been able to accomplish thus far. While my level of commitment to my running may be unreal to imagine for some, for me it is still not enough. I guess I’m like that artist that is never satisfied with his rendition. For me it’s my life’s work.

This year was no different than any other year. I was fortunate to accomplish much, even if not everything went well. Two doctors, two negative MRIs, and plenty of analgesically-prescribed crème, and my nagging right shoulder is still nagging. I’m getting tempted to spend money and go to a super-sports doctor in Manhattan in 2011. I definitely cannot swim unless I get this fixed, and I can’t do triathlons, if I can’t swim.

First of all, 2009 ended with a masochistic 21.19 mile run on a treadmill at a spa in the Vermont resort of Mount Pico. What a finishing touch to a year that had seen several personal bests, including my fastest marathon ever (3:51:45) and in New York of all places, which was ranked by Runner’s World as one of the toughest five marathon courses in the world.

How could I possibly top 2009?

Well, 2010 did just top ’09. It actually blew it away.

I started off by running outdoors in what was one of the coldest Januaries on record. My first outdoor run on the 5th had a temperature of 5 degrees. And while, Karen would normally accompany me, even she thought I was nuts.

Nuts? What about perseverance? After having my medals stolen from my first three marathons back in the 80’s, I kept searching and searching, and finally, I found someone who was selling NYC Marathon Medals from 1986 and 1991. The 1991 marathon was one that I ran renegade to be alongside my then friend, Gerard. But it was the 1986 Medal that was extra special. I’m still looking to replace my stolen medals from 1984 & 1985, and hopefully, with God’s help, I will find them one day.

Before January was over I did two big races, the Manhattan Half Marathon, and the first Marathon, I’ve ever done that didn’t have the word New York City in front of it. Typically, the Manhattan Half-Marathon, or the "Unwanted Bastard Stepchild" to the NYC Half Marathon, as I call it, is boring as all hell. Just a couple of full laps around Manhattan. And to boot, there are other races with the same course, like the Grete Gallop. For me, it's one snoozefest, but as you can see on the right, I was hustling for 'gold', and just missed my course record for the Unwanted Bastard Stepchild Half-Marathon by just 18 seconds.

The second and much-ballyhooed event was the Miami Marathon. It was my first non-NYC Marathon ever. I completed the Miami Half Marathon in just 3:56:13, the second & consecutive time in my life that I broke the 4 hour mark for a Marathon.

Perhaps the greatest of all was seeing my parents there at the finish line, something for which I sorely miss every year that I do the Marathon in New York. It was great seeing Carmen (and Jim), and awesome to see my Dad there.

It was truly a memory that I will never forget. I can still also vividly recall one of the most memorable signs I’ve ever seen at a race, “Embrace Life and Keep Running.” Very uplifting.

2010 marked the first full year in which I had the pleasure of working from home a couple of days per month. Without wasting any time, I made sure to take full advantage of my lunch hours, or even to be able to start running as soon as quitting time came around, out in Central Park. I did very well in handling the cold weather elements, even more this year than any. I also think the added winterized garments I had purchased/accumulated into my running arsenal/repertoire has not hurt either.

There were times this year when non-running events help to shape, or misshape the athletic portion of my life. The first was on the night of Saturday, February 20th. The Forest Park Road Runners Club was holding their annual awards dinner. I had come close to winning the year before, but despite the improvements in 2009, I’d didn’t want to believe that I would win, just in case. Well, when they not only announced that I had won, but handed me a really nice glass trophy in front of everybody, you can only imagine how overwhelming it was for me. I proudly held up my 2009 Forest Park Road Runner’s Male Runner of the Year Trophy, and thanked everyone. I wish my son had been there at that moment, but instead he was in the arcade section of the restaurant that we were at. Stephanie saw it though. And Karen gave me a big squeeze and a kiss. It was really cool (and so was the kiss too!)

Unfortunately, the kids in that arcade were spreading germs left and right, as I got really sick and was out of work a few days consecutively, the first in such time.

The second such watermark came shortly thereafter and on March 1st, 2010. After being out sick for the majority of the previous week, I was called into a conference room at my job. Unbeknownst to me, I was one of the last people to be called in, also unbeknownst to me it was to question me about an unfortunate event that had pitted a lot of innocent people including myself, into a needless and unwanted precarious situation.

I wish I could say that this sort of thing only happened here, but if there is a market just for private corporate investigative firms, then I guess these kinds of things happen more often than I knew about or would care to believe. I had never been subjected to an ordeal like this before, and my naivete made the impact of what I was forced to endure all the worse.

In the end, and only about a month later, we were told that they found out who it was that had commited the ultimate in stupidity. The person was immediately terminated but not before I had to go some of the most undignifiable moments of my entire life. I love my company, and knew they had to do what any company would've to have done, but I have nothing but disdain (and that's putting it mildly) for the firm that they employed to conduct the investigation. We even received a public apology for what we had to undergo, but considering the unfortunate situation of where I was and when, and how I had to endure, what I belived was so much more hardship than anyone else had to, I am still reeling over what that apology should have been. It took awhile before I could even face my normal day to day tasks, and my running suffered as well for a while. It was the sort of thing that could have broken any man. Thus, what I accomplished this year was even more incredible than anything that I could possibly imagine.

Between the flu that I had gotten shortly after the awards ceremony, and that dark moment that I had to endure at the beginning of March, it was a miracle that I even raced on March 7th. However, there was nothing that was going to stop me from doing my 7th consecutive Coogan’s Salsa, Blues race, one of my favorites races. Not only did I do the race, but I beat my course record (if not personal record) by nearly a full minute. In face, with all the zig-zagging I did, I actually ran 3.22 miles and my pace was 7:01.

The turbulent weather really began in March. It had warmed up quickly in New York, but we had a horrific rain-swept wind storm that devastated New York. In particular, Forest Park, whose destruction was not unlike what had happened to Central Park the previous fall, was something else. Running through there with the club one Saturday, there were trees whose diameters of 12 feet just tossed over completely blocking Forest Park Drive. It was a sad yet memorable sight to witness.

On March 18th, I had one of my best training runs, blasting out 7.57 miles in 57 minutes or a pace of 7:37 per mile. Little did I know that was the beginning of my killer year.

Three days later (March 21st) was the NYC Half Marathon. Despite some lofty goals to break my Personal Record of 1:43:32, I had nothing to be ashamed of when I crossed the finish line with 1:43:15. For one, the course is nothing flat like the Staten Island course is, since the first 7 miles are in Central Park. And secondly, and most important, I absolutely obliterated my previous NYC Half course record by six and a half minutes from that which was set in 2009.

Still, it was bittersweet to not have a new personal record. Yet there was going to be no quit in me.

Only 1 week later, and back at it I was. This time it was the 15K Colon Cancer Challenge. A 9.3 mile race involving a five plus a four mile loop around the park. My finish time of 1:12:38 for a pace of 7:48 was actually an assault against my previous best. I nearly beat my personal record for a 15K by almost 5 minutes. It was my first personal best for the season, and it would not be my last either. I still remember feeling a bit winded, but cheered on by a fellow runner who urged me not to throw in the towel so close to the finish. Both of us sprinted across the finish line at the same moment. Thank you Jessica Purcell, wherever you may be!

My right shoulder was still hurting me, and I finally decided to get an MRI. The MRI showed nothing wrong, which to me is wrong, and they sent me for physical therapy. Huh? How can you apply therapy when you don’t even know what is wrong? It’s just another shining example of how lousy our health care system in this country is.

At the beginning of April, I did my first race in Queens since the HM last September. Only this time it would be in Flushing Meadow-Corona Park. Not sure why I stressed out over it, but between the lack of sleep and or other variables, it was a difficult race. The Meadow Swamp was a back-breaker as they say for me, and despite the flatness of the overall course, I could no longer keep up. The stress of getting there early, proved to be too much, and by Mile 7, I was fighting just to stay alive. I still had a cough, remnants from that nasty cold back in February, if you can believe, and perhaps the Zyrtec made me too sleepy to get the killer instinct in me. In any event, it was a nice event, but it was also a forgettable one as well.

Despite being locked out of the 5-Boro Bike Tour, I did nonetheless do some biking here and there, and finally completed the nemesis of all tours, the Montauk Tour. For me it was a dreadful tour, because that is the tour where I had wiped out and nearly gotten killed (no lie-almost run over by the SAG mobile) the year before.

Acting challenged at the Run4-1 challenge.............Karen and kids at the JFK run. She came in 3rd!

Despite a pesky injury that I sustained on top of my foot a week later at the Labrecque Classic Race, I ran the following weekend again on the 18th. The JFK Runway race, as it’s called, was one of the first races I ever did back in 1984. It was fun then, especially then when I came in 1st place in my age category, and it was almost as fun now. This year however, and due to some problems on the runways, the race was held predominantly on the service roads of JFK airport. And despite the fact that I finished even better than my Coogan’s Run, and that I finished in 4th in my age group, it was Karen who finished in 3rd and got a medal. Go Karen! I guess it helps to walk to the front of the starting line….especially when there is no net-time bands to keep an accurate measurement as to when you cross it.

By April 20th, I had to write a blog about Alberto Arroyo. Alberto was a fellow New Yorker who ran Central Park for 75 years. And though this "Year in Review" is to showcase what it was that I did this year, nothing would be more wrong than to not mention him one more time. His passing a few weeks earlier in April had meant a lot to me and to the New York Running world. He was an avid runner, and on a very modest budget, the Jackie O’ Reservoir, was his gym. So much so, in fact, that Mayor Bloomberg even had the city present a posthumous merit naming him the "Mayor Of Central Park".

One of the best parts about running, is finding new routes to run through. 2010 marked a year of many new routes. One of the first new routes came at the end of April when Karen and I finally ran over the Ward’s Island Bridge and continued onto the Triboro Bridge. It was really great to run from our house to Queens and back and be able to do it in less than 9 miles.

One day after that sunny run into Queens, came a cold and rainy run in Alley Pond. It was the second time doing this run, and the second time it rained and was cold, as well. It was nice seeing Debbie Pesa and some of her clan helping out, and I love their race for all of the goodies that they dish out at the finish line. They too, had lost someone, Alberto Arroyo-like who ran Alley Pond for many years, as we all paid our homage to him.

Despite the foul and cold weather, I ran my ass off.

Result? No personal record, but, I ran my ass off, and came in 3rd place which means….hardware!

My assault on the records continued in May. After a decent showing in the RBaby Mother’s Day run, where I finished 2nd to Tom in the team’s results, I came right back at it 6 days later on the 15th to do the Healthy Kidney 10K. Result? A personal record! With a finishing time of 47:11, I destroyed my personal best, and came in 1st in my team, which showed a strong showing with 9 people. It was a points race as well, so I represented well.

My main squeeze.......................................................................................My main kidney.

And yet May wasn’t over quite yet…. Only 1 week later, and here I was do to a race again. This time called the Covenant House 5K run. Odd race name right? Well perhaps it was odd because it wasn’t even in New York. That’s right. I was in Fort Lauderdale. Karen and I had initially preferred to do the Brooklyn Half, so, as to why we were there, you’ll just have to keep reading….

Anyway, that morning Karen and I were at some state park near A1A. The race started at 7am. And for me, it was over by 7:22. I destroyed, and I mean DESTROYED my 5K personal best, posting a 21:38, which paced out at 6:58 per mile. Incredibly, I finished in 11th place in the entire race. Perhaps even more incredibly was the fact that I didn’t win any medals as my age category was “top flight”. There were 4 people in my age & gender category that finished ahead of me. And this was in a field of over 300 people.

So, why I was running in Fort Lauderdale, Florida? It would be for what was the 3rd hallmark moment in my non-running life for 2010. For May 22nd wasn’t only the day in which Karen and I ran a 5k. It was also the day where we both exchanged vows and became happily married.
Time for everyone to say “awwww”……Oh All right! Stop getting mushy on me. Enough Already! I actually took a short break from racing, but not from training. After returning from our wonderful honeymoon in the Canary Islands and Madrid Spain, I began an unrelenting assault on the roads of New York beginning with the week of June 7th. In fact, I would average 45 miles per week over the next 17 weeks.
My first race back from the Honeymoon was the Father’s Day run. Though unspectacular for me, what was notable was my son’s first race ever. And he did fantastic too, coming in 3rd place in his age group! Their distance was about a 1/3rd of a mile, but still it was all uphill and I was very impressed. Amazing what a child will do for two bucks, hahahaha!!!

Me, Matthew and Stephanie as we all volunteered for the NYRR Mini Marathon run on June 16th.

The following Thursday was supposed to have been my 9th qualifying NY Road Runners race of the year, which would allow me to automatically qualify for the 2011 NYC Marathon. The Wall Street Run is one of my favorite races, although it does suck that its all the way in downtown Manhattan while I’m working all the way in Suffolk County. However, I do have an understanding boss, and with all of the extra work (off hours and all) that I normally provide, he allowed me to leave at 3 o’ clock that day .

Perhaps he should have let me go at 3pm the day before….

What will go down as the worst commuting nightmare that I have ever been through, I will tell you that the Wall Street Race was never run. Let alone not even making it to NY by 5, how about just getting home from work….by 11:30pm? In an incredibly frustrating series of unfortunate events that were strung together, it took me nearly 9 hours to get home that day. It started with my car overheating. Then again for a second time, followed by waiting forever for a tow, thanks to a nasty storm that blew in. That was then followed by the shutdown of the LIRR, which took me exactly 1 stop west. This was followed by a chartered bus driven by a senile old man that didn’t know his way out of a paper bag. It continued on with an MTA bus ride, a subway ride, and finally a cab. The story is one for the ages, so much so that it deserves its own link here à

So, the 9th race would have to wait until the Gay Pride run which took place a few days later. Still feeling’ bushed from Thursday may have contributed to just a “decent” showing, but I did nonetheless place in 2nd overall for our team.

Rather than slowing down however, the races just start coming now one after the next. Karen and I were like running junkies, as we scoured for non-NYRR events to fill in the void. I did the Dash & Splash 10K the day after my birthday, and because of the hot temps, I decided to go all out. After 3 miles I was averaging a 7:33 pace, but the heat got the better of me, and I couldn’t hold onto the pace any longer. Despite the lackluster back half of the race, I could not contain the grin on my face when I saw a woman wearing what I think is still, to this date, the funniest shirt ever. It read, “You want to stick what in my butt?”

With the exception of July 8 and my birthday July 9, I ran an average of 10 miles per day from July 6 through to July 20th. 136.5 miles in 13 days of running. For ultra-marathoners, yeah okay, you can laugh at this. But for me, this was the largest destruction of mileage I have ever done in one span.

During this span, I ran in the NYRR Run for Central Park, and placed in 2nd within my Forest Park Running group.

The destruction of mileage was not only on the roads, but my IT band began to kill me. Alas, I did not run for 3 days before the start of the next race, which was…

The Queens Half Marathon on July 24th was an interesting race. First of all, the NYRR’s club had changed the course from where it used to be in College Point. I hated those hills over there, so this flat course was a nice change of pace. Unfortunately they looked like they copied this course from the 13.1 organization for whose HM, I had run a couple of months earlier. In that aspect, I’d have to give the NYRR club an F-.

The race result was even more interesting. With the temperature in the lower-to-mid 90’s, the humidity of 85% at the start of the race was extremely dangerous. Between Mother Nature and my nagging IT band, I didn’t even think to try and do well. So, I started very, very slow. So slow in fact, that I was averaging nearly 10 minutes per mile thru 4miles, however as the humidity began to decrease, my speed began to increase, allowing me not only to do a negative split, but increasing my speed for every single mile since mile 2! Even more impressive was that I came in 2nd in my club, and 1st among men, which included my first ever out duel of my friend Tom Brogan, who in my mind is an amazing runner.

After the race I caught up with Marilyn Charles and Tom and also saw Jack and Pauline too. There was an ice cream truck in the vicinity but unlike the 13.1 run, the Mister Softee truck was NOT for free!

The summer was quickly upon me, but it did not stop me. In fact, July, not only was the hottest month on record but in that month I ran for 219.6 miles, which was also a record for me!

And without any let up from July, I started off August 1st with the NYRR Long Training Run. Tom was there and we started off together. I did great after the first lap, maintaining to stay just slightly ahead of the 8:20 pace group, but I started dying out in the second loop. As I approached the pit stop after loop 2, both I and Tom were ready to hang it up. Tom left, and I was about to leave, but changed my mind. If I were to quit now, what would that say about me when the Chicago Marathon would come around?

So I started up again, and halfway through my lumbering, I got a ‘second wind’ enough to push me to do the full 4 laps and complete the 20miles. Additionally, and with the jogging to and from my home it turned out to be close to 22 miles.

But Central Park would not be enough to satiate my monstrous appetite. New routes were being drawn up to feed my insatiable need to tear up the road this year. A newly formed website called NYCRUNS advertised of a run utilizing Mayor Bloomberg’s summer Saturday closure of Park Avenue. They were meeting in Park Row, but we did one better, as we trained it to the Brooklyn side of the Brooklyn Bridge. We ran over the bridge, met up with runners from NYCRUNS, and continued uptown through Park Avenue. I met a nice guy named Chris and we ran into the Central Park. I exited the park at 102nd street and ran toward my home, but I had no intentions on going home just yet. I ran past it to the East River Esplanade and then headed south and did not turn back until I got to the 59th Street Bridge. Again, this was another 20+ mile run.

Although I had not been able to break my PR just yet for the HM, or even break 8 minutes flat, I was feeling good in the Bronx (that’s odd, right?) And while I did neither in the Bronx, I did set a personal course record of 1:48:19, which was a full five plus minute performance improvement over my previous best achieved last year. I passed an ailing Tom Brogan around Mile 11, and came in second overall, behind Marilyn Charles again for the FPRR.

The end of August saw me participate in the 2nd Long Training Run by the NYRR club. This time, I insanely refuse to take a break at any of the three pit stops. Instead I started and never stopped running from start to finish. 20.5 miles and it was done in 2 hours 48 minutes and 38 seconds, good enough for a 8:29 pace.

One could have called what I already did through the first 8 months enough to last a lifetime. But for me, I was just getting warmed up. September kicked off with Karen and I joined a class in the fall to prep us for the Marathon. The class met up on Wednesdays (marathon training runs) and Thursdays (speed work) after work. The classes were headed up by some notably fast runners, like Dan and Gert, but also Bob Glover and Shelly Florence as well. Shelly proved to be a taskmaster, but her influence helped me to toughen up, I will admit.

Tough enough to do three more 20+ mile training runs.

The next big run came that Labor Day Sunday, where Karen and I did our 2nd consecutive (my 3rd), Manhattan Long Training Run, which spans from the most northern point in Manhattan, all the way to the most southern point in Battery Park. Except that I had a modification prepared. For after I stopped at the finish line to drink and have some orange slices, I continued up the East Side Riverwalk and went north all the way home. Basically, I had almost entirely CIRCLED the island of Manhattan! 22.5 miles and done in 3 hours 4 minutes and 9 seconds. Pace? 8:12. And that's an unbelievable pace considering how many photos I was snapping off like a few below:

The following week (Sep 13th), Karen was itching to bike ride. I decided to join her…but not on bike. I ran after her all the way from our apartment in Manhattan over two bridges and to Flushing Meadows Corona Park. It was nice to see the fountains working at the Unisphere. Between that, the US Open going on and the Ice Cream truck, I felt like a little kid again. We opted to take the 7 train home, but not before Karen rested her head on my lap as we rested up a bit on one of the green park benches, all while I watched some ‘locals’ playing soccer. I ran nearly 11 miles there, and when we got back to 42nd Street and Lex, I decided to run home taking the long route along the Esplanade. All told? 15 miles.

The next day I did a 24 mile run. It started in Coney Island and I ran an entirely new route all the way home. The entire time it was raining, but I didn’t care. Nearly 40 miles ran in less than 24 hours. My legs were throbbing when I took my tub that night. Incidentally, my run coincided with Karen’s NYC Century Tour that day as well. And as always, whenever doing a new route, bring a cameraphone, and take a lot of pictures!

Without any letup, the following week was the 18 Mile NYRR Tune Up Run. 3 full loops around Central Park. That meant 3 times around Harlem Hill, and 3 times around Cat Hill. If Masochism could be defined any better than that, I’d sure would like to know how. And yet, I annihilated my previous best 18 mile race by over 15 minutes, and with a pace of 8:02, I came in 1st place in my group beating a real talented group that included Max and Tom. I actually went ahead and ran a couple of extra miles right after my run, thus making it my 6th long training run of over 20 miles or more, in the last 7 weeks.

At this point I thought that endurance-wise, I would be ready to break the 3:30 mark that I needed to qualify for the Boston Marathon, at the Chicago Marathon in October.

Now all I needed was some speed and extra confidence (or cockiness?)

Upon the advice from Marco, a fellow running pal that I met at the classes that I signed up for, I decided to run the Liberty State Park HM. It was 2 weeks before the Marathon. It’s so funny how we always smoke the races that we’re supposed to relax on, and vice –versa. They said that this was a flat course. It was. They said that it would be a good chance that I would have a personal record. And I did. And boy did I ever.

I was on complete overdrive, even having the time to act like a ham!

I did something, which I may never be able to do again (although, I’m going to fight like heck in 2011 to see if I can outdo myself again). How about 1 hour 39 minutes and 59 seconds for a Half-Marathon? At a pace of 7 minutes and 30 seconds per mile, I easily came in first in my running group, I obliterated my previous best by 2 minutes and 33 seconds, and it was undoubtedly one of, if not my best running performance, of my entire life.

I was ready for Chicago!

But Chicago was ready for me as well. Uh Oh?

Mother Nature decided to derail a magical year that I had up till now. The temperatures were soaring. And as each day approached, and as the mercury got hotter and the forecast for the 10-10-10 run got worse, my nerves got more and more frayed. I even had to get an in-room massage to calm me down (no funny jokes please!), but it didn’t help. I didn’t want to stray from my race plan, but I know how I get when I run in the heat, and that is not good. I remembered my ordeal at the Queens Half Marathon, but I should have thought of my performance at the Dash N Splash, where I had jumped out to a very fast start to try and finish before the rise of the mercury. Just like I faltered there, I did so here as well. It was an absolute shame, because for the first 16 miles, I actually had an 8 minute flat pace. But by the time I got into the abandoned sections of Chicago’s lower west end, the bottom just fell out. It got so bad that I actually started walking during part of the way. And yet, with all the disillusionment of a failed objective, I still managed to somehow post a 3:53:46, besting my previous Miami marathon earlier in the year, my 2nd best time ever, and my 3rd consecutive sub-4 hour marathon. And I came in 1st in the Forest Park Road Runner’s group as well. Overall, not a home run, but in the end it was a double.

Now, you would think that I would have skipped the NYC Marathon. I mean, after all, it was only 4 weeks after the Chicago Marathon, and for most people, even most runners, the thought of doing 2 marathons in a four-week span is borderline moronic. Well Karen and I both did it, so go ahead and tell us now that we too are in a league of morons! :-P

To make matters even juicier, we actually did a 10 mile race in Eisenhower State Park just two weeks after the Chicago Marathon. And to be even more insane, I shattered my personal record for a 10 mile race by over six minutes! I came in 1st place in the age division for the race, got a medal, and then was stunned to find out that Karen herself placed in 1st in her division and got a medal as well (ha-ha, she was the only one in her division…hahahahaha!)

2 weeks later on, and the final stage was set for what would be my 2nd marathon in a month, my 3rd marathon of the year, my 6th consecutive NYC Marathon, and 9th NYC Overall, and my 11th Marathon ever. To sum it up in one line here it is. It was the most consistently ran race ever. During all 26 miles, with the exception of Mile 1 because of the congestion over the VZ Bridge, I never ran any one mile more or less than 40 seconds of any other mile. And amazingly enough, I felt good the whole way through, never stopping, never feeling ill. The weather, which was in the low 40s (nearly 50 degrees less than that of Chicago) was a huge factor for me. It was a race where I finished and where Haile Gebreselassie could not. It was a race where I came in 2nd place (just seconds behind Mr. Chi runner, Vince Vaccaro) with the Forest Park Road Runners Group. And it was in a race of over 45,000 finishers were I came in the top 24% overall. and most notably it was a race where I had posted not only my 4th consecutive sub-4 hour marathon, but at 3 hours 50 minutes and 53 seconds, it was my best Marathon time ever.

A great end to a great year?

Well, there’s still one mark left to beat, and with less than 10 miles to go, and with today and tomorrow remaining, the 1500 mile “HI CLUB” mark will be met amongst my teammates.

In addition to marrying my sweetheart, 2010 was a year loaded with memorable moments in running that I will never forget. Whether or not I did enough to repeat as Male Runner of the Year in my club, I will say that 2010 was truly a blessed year for me.

On Your Mark......Get Set.......GO!!!!

I am comparing now 2009 when I won Forest Park Male Runner of the Year, to this year (2010).

(1) In 2009, I ran 1171 miles. In 2010? Over 1500 miles.

(2) In 2009, I finished twenty races. In 2010, I completed Twenty-six, which is also the record for the most races I’ve ever completed in one year.

(3) Also, and like 2009, hardly any race distance was spared.
Here was the breakdown;
(3)5k, (3)4m, (3)5m, (2)10k, (1)15k, (1)10m, (6)Half-Marathons, (1)14.2m, (1)18m, (2)20m, (3)Marathons.

Now below, was how I did, comparatively speaking, within the male gender of our team.

Forest Park Road Runners: (How I Placed Against My Peers)

First Place Men’s (15 times , not including the 2 training* runs listed below)
01/31 – Miami Marathon
03/07 – Coogan’s Blues & Shamrocks
03/28 – Colon Cancer 15K (PR – 15K – 1:12:38)
04/03 – Inaugural “13.1” NYC Half Marathon in Queens.
04/11 – T.Labrecque Run As One
04/18 – JFK Runway Run – (came in 4th in Men’s 40-49)
05/15 – Healthy Kidney (PR - 10K – 47:11)
05/22 – Covenant House 5K (PR - 5K – 21:38) (came in 11th out of 313 runners)
07/24 – Queens Half Marathon
08/01 – Long Training Run* (PR- 20M – 3:03:04 …. was broken again on 8/28)
08/15 – Bronx Half Marathon
08/28 – Long Training Run#2* (PR – 20.5M – 2:49:38)
09/07 – Manhattan 14.2 Run
09/19 – NYC Marathon Tune-Up 18Miler (PR – 18M – 2:26:49)
09/26 – Newport Liberty Half Marathon (PR – 13.1M – 1:39:59)
10/10 – Chicago Marathon
10/24 – Haslett Hambletonian 10 Miler (PR – 10M – 1:17:31) (Medal-1st Men’s 45-49)

Second Place Men’s (6 times)
03/21 – NYC Half Marathon
04/25 – Alley Pond 5 Mile Challenge (Medal– 3rd Men’s 40-44)
06/26 – Gay Pride Run
07/10 – Dash n’ Splash
07/17 – Run For Central Park
11/07 – NYC Marathon (PR – 26.2M – 3:50:53)

Third Place Men’s (1 time)
01/24 – Manhattan Half 3rd Men/Overall.

NOW FOR MORE: (continued from the top)
In 2009, I ran three ‘twenty plus’ mile training runs. In 2010, I ran six, ‘twenty plus’ mile training runs, another record.

(5) In every other year, I never did more than one marathon, In 2010, I ran three marathons, and did all of them in less than 4 hours. A new record.

(6) I set 5 personal records over various distances in 2009. I set nine personal records in 2010. Basically, every personal distance record except for the 1, 3, 4, and 5 mile was busted at least once by me in 2010. And, in almost every personal record that I established this year, I beat my previous record not by seconds, but by minutes.

(7) I achieved getting my first ever sub-1-hour-40 minute half marathon!!!

(8) I placed 3rd or better in overall race categories and got hardware twice this year!

(9) I ran 224 times over 192 days, a record. I also ran an average of 6.60 miles per run event, and 7.81 miles per day, also a record high average and way up over previous years.

(10) I ran over 30+ miles for 28 weeks this year, a record.

(11) I ran over 40+ miles for 9 weeks this year, also a record.

(12) I ran over 50+ miles for 5 weeks this year, and that’s also a record too.

(13) Plus I ran over 60+ miles for 2 weeks this year as well.

(14) In the month of July, I ran for 219.6 miles, and that was a single-month personal record.

(15) Also in the month of July, I ran 10 miles or more for 10 straight days.

Not to continue my incessant shameless self-promotion but when you add all of this up, and how all of this was done as I was 45 years old, I would have to say that’s one hell of a royal blue finish-line ribbon on what’s already been one heck of a career in running.

If it were all to end today, I wouldn’t deny how disappointed I’d be, but overall I’d say I would have had one heck of a career in running. Here’s hoping to a blessed 2011!

When the 2011 New Year rings in, it will be my 8th consecutive year of running. And if I count the 500 miles or so that have not yet been logged into, my stats would be even more prolific than they are already. 8,500 miles and 1,440 times for which I ran in over 52 consecutive days, since 2004. Hopefully, by the end of next year I will have exceed the 10K mark as in 10,000 Miles.