Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sometimes a little anger can do the trick...

Let's just say that tonight's run had nothing to do with my personal family life at all, but more with what happens before 6pm, and leave it at that.

All good MACHINES know how to convert shit into energy.  Why just look at that pretty shiny DeLorean in Back To The Future.  It literally used garbage to convert that into the needed 88 Gigowatts required to take off.   That is me.

Without walking much today,  I thought I had close to 6,000 steps when I got home.  I was wrong.  I actually had more like 3,600 steps.  This only made me more determined than ever to do a long run.  The humidity appeared to be low.  The heat was not as oppressive.  It was time.

As a person who loves to try new things, I also love to try new routes.  I spent a few minutes on, and built a new route that would take me near to where Karen and I nearly bought a house 4 years ago.  In the end, we skipped it, due to the-not-so-great-school-system there, plus there is some crime in that area.  The house was phenomenal though.  I still think about it to this day.

Originally, I had planned to do an 8 mile run, but with an extra turn here and an extra one there, I suddenly found myself in front of my home at about 8.5.  For me, 10 miles is considered a long run, and since I hadn't actually done one since the Brooklyn Half Marathon, a week shy of Memorial Day, I felt it was time, so I did loops around my block until I finally reached my goal.  I also felt a little relieved, just for having the sonogram done on my belly earlier today, y'know, to rule out anything other than lower back issues (I should know the results in a few days, 'prolly early next week).  So, that helped me psychologically too.

Other than my back nagging me, slightly less today, than in previous days, I was in primetime mode for a positive response on the pavement tonight.

The odyssey begins again!
Had to wait a little while to get my phone & ipod charged, leading me to believe that I would probably need to wear my LED shoe lights (I am such a dork, Yep, I admit it, I am).  But any Eagle Scout like me is always prepped with the best in gear, to account for any potential maladies along the merry way.

We almost moved in this area.

I am blessed that no matter where I run, I am in the crotch of luxury.  Alas, perhaps all the hard work, tragedies, and tough luck have paid off in some way, even if subtle....

Despite not the correct Spanish spelling, how can a Gonz├ílez run past this street sign without yelling out "Ayyyyyy Papi!!!  LMAO!!"

Could my hair be any more of a fucking mess?

Tolerance.  Oh boy could I go places with that......
I can think of another tolerance center about 24 some-odd klicks from here. LOL!!!

I love wide and deserted roads.  To me,  this is like an asphalt trail that was built just for me, myself and I.

So I was REALLY sad when I saw this.  The new movie theatre which was barely 3 years old....Has closed???? NO WAY! Please let it be that it's under renovation else that would really suck.

Unaltered view from my house.  Bella Vista indeed.

The foot lights of justice!  Had to turn these babies on at around 8:40pm tonight.  As you can tell I was determined and prepared for tonight's planned assault!

Had my friends on Facebook and Nike follow me.  Hi Friends!
I finished up banging out over 22,000 steps for the day.  Impressive considering I did more than yesterday and more than the day before.  I still haven't opened up my can of whoopass.  I will wait and see what next week's "results" are from both our office and the one in Davidson.

Lastly, the boring stats. (Eventually, I will figure out something to make me better from all of this).
One thing for sure.  I need to work on my core.  I need to reduce the diameter of my girth in the stomach region to be no more than 1/2 of my height.  I am 5'8" so it needs to be 34.  I think it's probably closer to 38.  Not good for my back.  Have to get my ab muscles to contribute to the back.  This must be done.  Many races come down the pike.  And big ones too.  Two 20 milers, Two Marathons, several half marathons.  The shit's gonna get seriously real soon.  Need to HTFU and ger moving!!!

Good night all.  :-)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

RACE REPORT # 316-Long Island State Parks Summer Series #1 - Hecksher State Park

What an incredibly hot day it was today.  Compared to the extremely cool spring, this was a real slap on the behind.  Today was the start of our "step" competition between our site and our co-HQ site in Davidson, and despite the two cutovers, the back, the race tonight and the heat, I wasn't about to get off on the wrong foot.  Many feet instead were had during the 92 degree parking lot..

Driving out to Hecksher State Park was uneventful 'cept for the traffic just getting onto the Long Island Expressway,  Once there, we learned that the race had been shortened from the original 5 miler due to poor air quality.  Poor air quality in NY?  What a surprise!

As this was a circular race course (see photo above) I had been hoping the nice tailwind we had during the first mile would come back for the end.  A very flat course, with over 2,000 people running it.  I lined up after the 7 minute milers close to the 8 minute marker.  I ran hard out the first mile, posting a 7:30 something, and had to slow down for mile two to make sure I had some gas left in the tank to post a good strong sprint.

The heat was pretty bad.  There were no clouds in sight.  Fortunately, the 7pm start had the sun at our backs, so that by the time we passed Mile 1, it was a little further down the horizon as we turned to face it.

For my musical playlist I decided I wanted to throw down to some throw backs, and decided to go with the often offensive, often impressive rap group from the Nineties, called 'Public Enemy'.

I dug hard the last quarter of a mile or so, finishing up the grass, with my tongue, inches out and flailing like some thirsty bulldog.   What do you expect when you do a sub-8 in 88 degree weather?

I walked back to the camp area after the race, got my beers, and found a park bench to sit down on.  The Garmin watch had auto-updated its software, and I was having trouble finding my lap time.
Eric Miller, my colleague also did well too.  We were both spent.

I was absolutely getting eaten alive by gnats now.  Damn fucking gnats!

I went back to my car, had my little post-race snacks and drove home.  Too tired to do much of anything, I just relaxed on the couch and watched Banshee.....until I noticed I was about 1000 steps shy of 20k.   'That's unacceptable!', I thought.  I needed to break that threshold.  So into the basement I went, to finish off my steps on the dreadmill.

And now....How did I exactly do?
Well let's start with the bio's

As you can see, it was a flat race.  As you can also see, I kept the pace pretty close at all times until the end where I really killed it to the point that I was averaging my last .15 in a 5:57 which went as fast as a 4:55 !!  My performance condition rating was as high as a +14, and I was able to keep over 10 for the first mile.  My stride was 1.2 meters on average, but again, took in super long strides at the end, nearly 1.6 meters during the 'kick'.   My cadence didn't do as well however.  I managed a 182 spm but as you can see on the chart that degraded over the course of time due to exhaustion from the heat and keeping the pace up, I imagine.  Interestingly though, my vertical ratio went drastically down.  This coincided with my stide lengtening at the end.  My GCT was up, and again , it too came down.  But my heart rate stayed high. 70% in Zone 5.  Jeeeeeeeeeez!!!

What was the net result of all of this you ask?????
Perhaps the best stat of all was the PowerRank Score...

Even if you exclude the ColorVibe 5k, which was an absolute joke as no one was competing but me (and hence the 1st place finish across the board), I have had an "Incredible" rating for two consecutive races.  Plus, I've raised the overall 2017 bar to 189.45.  I won't rest until that fucker is clearly in the 200s.

My next race is a New York Road Runners' 5-boro Grand Prix race, the Queens 10k, on Saturday, followed by yet another Long Island State Park Summer Series race on Monday.  Both are 10k's and both are brutal (especially the latter one where there is a 200 foot hill made of sand. BRING IT THE FUCK ON!)

Lastly, if you take a look at my Boston (Race #314,) you will finally see the photographic evidence showing how I was robbed!!!

Monday, June 12, 2017

RACE REPORT #315-Rave On, Have Fun, Win Some

RACE#: 315
Name: ColorVibe 5k
Distance: 5k
Location: Eisenhower State Park, East Meadow NY
Date/Time:  Saturday, June 10 @ 12pm
Weather: 81 degrees, 42% humidity  winds out of the west at 10mph

This is not your usual blogpost. For 1, I am typing as I'm walking outside. And it's 91 degrees out here (don't worry. Water bottle tucked under my arm).

The Color Vibe 5k took place on Saturday. It was a fun run that took place at Eisenhower State Park. There were so many people that they had waves leaving ever 15 minutes at 8am  and again at 12pm.  I did 12pm and it was toasty, but not too toasty.
The Color Vibe race is a nationwide offering that features having your body beaten by different colored paints . Beside self-painting, racial officials "cannon"ize you with paint at each of six check points.  Oh and it's not like Actual paint that you'd buy at Home Depot, but rather a dry paint that washes off.
So the big news? I won! Yes yes I know. It's an untamed fun run, but I had a chance to lead my wave (which, from the looks of it was more like 1000 runners really), and took control around Mile 2. The only scary part was following the cones as there was no one to follow and felt like I could have gone off course at any moment!!
To my surprise, they gave out finisher medals, except they were made of rubber. Finally, after siring five children, I decided to wear it. The rubber. LOL.
After the "race" there was a rave. Cause you know, at age 51, I'm all about that...

And after the rave the kids and Karen came over. Kayla had a blast getting paint all over her, lol, as the average age of this run has to be like 14.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Been A Short While

I've been absent for a week or so, and it would be easy to assume that I've given up the blogging kick.  Not so.  Truth is, I've been nursing a back injury, so there's not much to write about.
Yesterday, however, and a few days removed from a pretty good PT session from my son, I decided to take my suddenly-better-feeling-lower back out for a test run.

I decided I would do a 5k down Frost Pond road and back.  And I will say, while there was some pressure a few hours after I finished last night (even with 500mg of Naproxen in me), I actually feel a little bit better.  I don't think it is that I've gotten accustomed to the pain either.  I really think that this is getting better.

This Saturday I have the Color Run in Eisenhower State Park.  It should be crazy, because first I'm driving Karen to her race in Central Park, and then coming back in time for my race.  Should be stressful (the driving part/getting to my race on time), lol.

Anyway, if I'm still feeling well, I may do another "little" 5k tonight.  Baby steps, and all of that stuff....

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

RACE REPORT #314. Boston's Run To Remember

Race #: 314

Bib #: 10885
Name: Boston’s Run To Remember
Location: Boston’s Back Bay, Seaport Blvd.
Date/Time: Sunday, May 28, 2017 @ 7am
Distance: 5 milers
Weight: 173
Weather: 57F, Cloudy Hum:88%, 4mph f/South

This blog actually begins where the last one ended.  It was 1am in the morning, as I’m putting my head under the covers in Adina’s bed with Karen at my sister-in-law’s home in Newton, Mass.  I knew that I it was going to be a late night, even without the after-party.

My iPhone went off at 4:58am, which stirred me awake.  The first thought in my head was ‘WHY?’  Why on God’s green Earth, would I subscribe to getting out of bed 3 hours and 53 minutes later, to leave in darkness to go and do a race???

1)     I hadn’t seen my friend Scott since his mom had passed away.  It was going to be the first time that we would race together since the time, Scott and I had done the Hartford Half & Full Marathon.  That was back in September of 2008.
2)     They give out a finisher’s medal.
3)     It really wasn’t dark outside.  Ah yes, Spring has sprung!
4)     Did I mention that they gave out a finisher’s medal?

Then there’s the other alarm clock, Scott himself.

Of course, Scott was right.  But this was a situation that also required me to almost be in two places at once (give or take 4 hours).  I got to Northeast Baptist Hospital at 5:31am, where I found Scott in front of his place of work.  He tried to convince me to not check a bag.  I appreciate his need to be a ‘minimalist’, as that’s what I usually try to persuade Karen into being, whenever we travel for a race, but with car keys, cell phone, etc., it just wasn’t going to happen this morning.

Scott had the uber arrive within minutes after.  There was a girl named Cynthia, another runner, already in the car.  A few minutes later, we drove to another home to pick up some young guy named Carlos, also running the Half Marathon.  We did an Uber pool, as it is more inexpensive that way.

We got to Seaport Boulevard near the start of the race and went inside the building to drop off baggage.  It was interesting that I had forgotten that bag check was inside the building, at the end of the expo, in the back.

It was really great to not only do a run with Scott, but a race, and in Boston, no less.  My back was still a mess, but I was happy to be looking at thousands of others who were there to race, and that I was one of those participants.

The strategy for the race was a simple one.  First off, we agreed to run together rather than me running fast ahead of him.  This was more than fine for me, considering my back and the lack of sleep.  Secondly, we compromised on the music, so we each had 1 ear piece with music, with the other one out so that we can converse with one another during the race.  Lastly, we  agreed to start out slow, and build up speed as we approached the finish, with a kick at the end (like at the last 200 meters or so).

Scott and I lined up at the 7 minute pacers.  I thought he was crazy at first, but just mentally envisioned that a lot of people would pass us and that we’d be okay with that. 

The PA reminded me a lot of Peter Ciaccia from the New York Road Runners Club.  Among the things he said, was about this special girl named Blanca Ramirez.  She is from La Puente, California and her claim to fame was that she has run marathons in all 7 continents, and 11 in total.  She is also fourteen years young too.

The announcer then went on to say that she was here on hand to run the Half Marathon.  Up until the announcement, Scott kept mentioning what a bunch of wimps we were for doing the 5 mile race. After that announcement, Scott looked at me incredulously, and just said, “At this point, we should drop out!!”

The PD heliopter did a fly-by and moments later the gun had gone off.  We were moving.  It was a crowded run, as we stopped close to the starting line before restarting again.Scott and I kept tabs of our Garmin watches.  His was showing a faster pace than mine, but even my watch seemed a little quick.  We wanted to do, for example anywhere between an 8:30 and 9 minute per mile pace.  After the 2 mile, it became evidently clear that we had a good shot at doing an 8:30 pace overall, much faster than either of us had though possible.  

There were several section of this race that somehow reminded me of the NYC Half & Full Marathosn.  For example, the moment in which we circle around the Boston Common, was a striking resemblance to when NYC Marathon runners would nearly circle Marcus Garvey Park at about mile 22.  And also prior to that, when the streets seemed to narrow enough that one felt as if they were running through wall street, resembling closely to the final half mile of the NYC Half Marathon.

Overall, it was a nice and mostly flat course.  And since it was an out-and-back, and the last half mile was a straightaway, we could see the finish line well in advance to prep for a final kick strategy.

I kept asking Scott when he wanted to kick it into high gear.  He kept delaying.  Finally, with about 100 yards to go, and without saying anything, he started charging.  I did the same.  True to his comic form, where he mentioned how he had planned to beat me at the very end, he was not waiting for me.  Naturally, this kumbayah of fellowship, dissolved quickly, and I was out to eek him out.  We were but a few yards from the finish line, where he suddenly elbowed me to get out in front, yet, I still had my foot (I feel, anyway) cross the finish line first.  

We walked back into the expo after the finish line to collect our medals.  They were beautiful, especially for a 5-miler.

While I went to grab my bag, Scott went to the results booth to get his final time.  As I came back, he had a big grin on his face to suggest something was off.


I immediately threatened to report this to the Boston Police Department.  It was clear to me that this could not have been correct!  The photos should be ready by tomorrow and I will be posting them along with edits to this blog.  Stay tuned!!!   (UPDATE!!!! PHOTOS DON'T LIE - LOOK AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS POST!!!!!!!!)

In the meantime, here were my results (in depth):

Not sure what to make out of a max heart rate of 184.  According to Scott, without the heartband, these watches are about 7 beats per minute faster, on average.  Even still, 177 bpm is quite high. Especially for such a sustained period of time.

Finally, comes the ranking.  And here I was both tremendously surprised and pleased.
First of all:

In Overall:  269th out of 2639 finishers.  Top 10.1%
In Males:  173 out of 1219 finishers.  Top 14.2%
In Males, Ages 50-54:  10th out of 79 finishers.  Top 12.7%
This gives me a PowerRank score of:265.96 which puts me deep in the 'Incredible' (Silver) rating!!!

The Photos:
Check back in this blog, when action shots of this event are made available.  Should be within the next day or two!
In the meantime, here were some of the after-race shots:

The day, however, was far from over.  After we uber'd our way back to the hospital, Scott's home, and then Kimberly's.  Kim dropped us off at the T line in Newton Centre.  From there we would make our way to Fenway Park.  I had never been, and now I can cross that off my bucket list.

Steve "Psycho" Lyons.  Actually dated Kimberly recently.

The big year for Boston.

And just when you'd think the day was over.  It wasn't!  We got back to Kim's (Karen picked us up at the T) and did a nice BBQ for everyone.
I was his sous-chef at this 'function'.
Just like Daddy!

Family portrait.  Does Kim see the horns yet??????

"Uncle" Scott enjoying his little ones!

The whole family playing 'Headbanz!'
Seeing my friend Scott was a great way to end the trip to Boston.  Karen had a lot of memories, and saw so many of her childhood friends.  The kids did fun stuff everyday.  And I needed the rest from work (FINALLY).  Now, if my back would only get better!