Training Totals Week Ending 8.3.2014

Run Miles for the week: 25 in 3:44:24
Run Miles for the year: 619.3
Projected total miles for the year: 1046.5
Run Streak: 7
Number of runs that were one stupid mile: 0
Number of days until I beat my old run streak: 107
Prospect Park loops for the week: 2
Prospect Park loops for the year: 55
Average weight: 178
Total Exercise Time: ~3:45:00
Hebrew: 00:00:00
Books Finished 1 (Armed Struggle: The History of the IRA, Richard English)
Total Books Read for the year 20

 

Notes: Race the New York Road Runners Club Championships this weekend. Five miles in 39:24. A new PR. Maybe there is some hope for me in the running game after all?

 

Goals for the coming week: 1 work out, 40 miles.

On Running Everyday

Yesterday was a tough one.

Monday night, the little dude refused to sleep.  He woke up at midnight, and again at three, and again at four thirty.  Object permanence, they say. When my alarm went off at 5, instead of getting in a quick mile before heading out to travel to D.C., I hit snooze.

That was stupid.

Logically, I knew another ten minutes of sleep wasn’t going to make any difference in my day, but in that moment, my sleep deprived brain would accept nothing other than another ten minutes in bed.

So, 5:15. Up, shower, shave, coffee, suit, and out the door to catch the train to D.C.  All day in our nation’s capital in meeting after meeting. Ended up in a bar in Du Pont with an old friend watching the U.S. lose.

Back on the train.

Cold sandwich, beer, spy novel. If only I could sleep in public places. Into Penn Station at 10:40.  Fuck it, cab it home. Back in BK at 11:15.  Kiss the sleeping wife. Kiss the sleeping baby. Change and head back out.

“I’m going for a quick run” I tell a sleeping E.

“You’re insane” she replies.

Yes, maybe I am.

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What’s the point of dragging my exhausted ass to run a mile at 11:30 at night? There are no health benefits. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’d be better off, physically, if I just went to sleep.

But this isn’t just about the physical, is it? It is about running as a refuge, as a thing you can control and do for yourself. It’s a place to reflect — even if its just for eight and a half minutes. Hell, you can do it everyday if you want to.

And its about more than that, too, right? Its about wanting something, and playing tricks with yourself to make sure to get there. Its about ensuring that because no excuse is good enough, the training always gets done.  The miles always get logged, and you get where you’re trying to go little by little, day by day.

Its obsessive, sure, and many runners better than me don’t need to run everyday. But here’s what I’ve discovered – to get what I want out of running, both psychologically and physically, I do.

So there I was, at nearly midnight, with the people leaving the bars, and the guys on delivery bikes, and black cars circling for fares.  There was no place I’d rather be.

One point four miles. Eleven minutes.

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Friday Inspiration: More Run Streakers

Still thinking about running streaks, still working on my own (3 days!).   Here’s a couple fo videos of people who’ve been at it a bit longer:

Charles Holmberg who, when they filmed this cheesy short for a local TV station had also been at it for thirty years. According to the USRSA website his streak is now 35 years old.

Harvey Simon, who at the filming of this short for the Wall Street Journal, had been running everyday for 30 years. Simon retired from streaking in 2013 having run every day for 34.5 years. 

What strikes me about these men is how ordinary they seem, and how simple the task they do is. Its a pretty incredible thing to run every day for thirty years.  Yet there is no glory in it, only odd looks, judgmental stares, and the occasional lame video.  I love that these guys just do this, day in, day out, for no other reason than it is what they do. There’s something to be said for consistency for consistency’s sake. I’m not sure what it is exactly, but its something.

Extra-Ordinary Effort

I had it all planned out.  I’d quit my job, start a foundation to fund the political projects I believe in.  finally get to take structure Hebrew classes, run a hundred miles a week, go out and spend a month in Hueco climbing every day.  Get another degree for fun.  It’d be great.

But alas, it didn’t work out.  I did not win the lottery.  Instead, I worked another seventy hour week.  Such is the life of a working stiff.  We try to find time for the things that bring us fulfillment, but the boss always wants more.  We carve out time where we can and fight a rear guard action against bourgeois normalcy.  We get up before the sun to fit in a run, we stay up late, with Nimet Habachy on WQXR keeping us company, and try to puzzle out the logic of Hebrew vowels. We take a sick pride in being really tired and we tell ourselves over and over that if you want an extraordinary life, you’re going to need to put in extra-ordinary effort.

So far this month, I’ve held on to my running streak, but hit another bump in the Hebrew study.  Without a structured class , Hebrew will continue to an uphill battle.  But with my insane work schedule, a class is pretty much out of the question.  Running is easier –just do it a lot and you will get better.  I don’t need anyone to correct my grammar when I run; I just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

It’s a struggle to try to fit all this in, and sometimes I feel like a crazy person setting these personal goals all the time.  But that’s who I am.  And I’ll carry on, writing when I can, studying and running when I can, and trying to stay interesting and alive in a world that seems desperate to bring my personal ambitions down to size.

A Plan for the Holidays

Eighty hour works weeks, buying a condo, traveling for the holidays. Excuses, excuses, excuses.  E-fucking-nough.  I’ve got to get a regular running and studying routine going, and its got to happen now.  To help that along I’m taking a page from Runners World and doing a little holiday streak challenge.  I’m committing to running and studying Hebrew everyday* from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.

I’ve had a lot of success, and some failure, with run streaks in the past.  When I first got semi-serious about running I developed a run streak which lasted a little over 100 days.  During that streak I set PRs at every distance.  Eventually, I got a nasty case of the flu and ended the streak.  Next time I started a streak, I stubbornly ran while injured just so I could keep the dumb streak alive.  That was stupid and hindered my performance for quite some time.

With this little streak, I’m hoping to find some middle ground.  Since the streak has a set end date, I don’t anticipate injury being an issue.  If it is, I’ll stop.  The point of this is to get back in the swing of running regularly, not to end up injured again.  I’ve been smart and cautious with my training for a while.  Now I think it is time to take it up a notch, to start banking consistent miles, so that I come out stronger and faster in the spring.

The Hebrew study is a more clean cut case of just getting my lazy ass to focus.  Its way past time to make studying a habit and a priority.  There’s really no physical or intellectual downside to studying everyday.  It’s not like I’m going to hurt my brain or something.  I’m just going to have to find the time.  I say it is important to me, now it is time to prove it.

It’s going to be a busy 41 days.   I’m looking forward to it.

Anyone else out there interested in doing a holiday streak? Join me, it’ll be fun.!

*For running, the minimum will be three miles.  For Hebrew, I’ll be studying for at least fifteen minutes everyday, but the total time of study must average out to a half-hour a day over the period of the challenge.  Got that, dork?

100 days and a marathon battle plan

100 days

I got up this morning, and like I have done every day for the last 100 days, I ran. It was just three miles in a muggy Washington D.C. morning, up the 16th street hill and back down. I didn’t went without headphone and thought about my race this weekend, about the time I have put in, and about how to approach the race.

With this marathon, I wish I had run more and done some speed work, but fearful of getting injured again, I kept the training to just light miles. Still, I had eight weeks over thirty miles a week and three of those were over forty. I have focused on nutrition on my long runs and think I have that locked down. My hip is for some reason sore, but I am hoping a couple of days of very light running, plus stretching and massage will help with that. Regardless, I will run this race as smart and as fast as I can, and here is how I plan to do it:

The Plan:

Perhaps the reason it has taken me so long to write up my plan for this race is that I’m just not sure what the best strategy is for doing my absolute best. Currently, here is what I am thinking.

The night before will be a traditional pasta dinner with E and family, I’ll probably have a single glass of wine and drink a ton of water. Before bed, I will lay out what I will wear the next day and ensure that I have everything I need: bib, shorts, sunglasses, singlet, shoes, socks, gels.  I’ll attempt to go to bed early, but will probably toss and turn most of the night.

Morning of: Coffee, toast and eggs at five am. Lots of water. This has been my breakfast before all my long runs in training and I think it has worked well.  I’ll try and use the john before I head out of the house around 6:00. I’m staying almost an hour from the race start, and I want to make sure I give myself plenty of time before the gun goes off.

Race: The race begins at 8:00 am. I plan on lining up with the 4:45 pace group, and will stay with them through the fifteen mile point at least. I WILL NOT GO OUT FAST. I WILL BE SMART.  I WILL LET PEOPLE WHO ARE CLEARLY IN WORSE SHAPE PASS ME.

Regarding nutrition, I’ll take the cliff shot blocks I have used in training; the first one 1 hour in and then 1 every 45 minutes after that. I’ll drink water, and not Gatorade, as often as feels necessary.

If after fifteen miles I feel like I have something more than 4:45 in my legs, I will try and pick it up. Ideally, I’d like to run this thing in closer to 4:30 than 4:45, but what I really don’t want to do is blow up and end up crawling the last part of the race. Under no circumstances will I let the 4:45 pace group get ahead of me. I KNOW I can finish this marathon in less than that, I just know it.

This race will be a learning experience for me. My last marathon, was a disaster, an I hope that by being properly trained, starting off slow and replicating the nutrition plan which worked for me in training, I can avoid major problems. I expect to make mistakes, but hopefully none which are too serious. My hope is to finish somewhere between 4:30 and 4:45 without injury or major incident. I’ll lay everything I have on getting this done in less than 4:45.

50 Days

First, I over slept. Then, I had to work late, but finally, late last night, I headed out the door for five miles and reached little mini milestone. I had run fifty days in a row.

I know streaking is a controversial topic in the running community. People think running distances of less than three miles is a waste of time, or people think it may increase your risk of injury. Maybe both those things are true, but for me, building this running streak and making sure I get out the door and get at least a mile in no matter what happens has immensely helped my running.

It is only fifty days, nothing compared to the kind of streaks you see on runeveryday, but I feel stronger, lighter, and faster. I feel prepared for my spring marathon and I feel certain that, barring some really calamitous event, there really is no excuse to not get out the door. For me, this has been a real revelation. I can’t wait to see how I am doing at 100 days.