I feel it coming together – NOT

So this week did not go so well for my weight loss and fitness plans. I talked about some goals in my last blog ( *** ). Basically, my biggest problem is willpower . . . or my lack thereof. The BF went grocery shopping and bought all of this fun junk food. I‘ve never seen a Cheeto that I never liked. I damn near ate an entire big bag of Cheetos, as a matter of fact, I think that I may have eaten the whole bag. Also, I was not very good a logging my food during the week. Pretty much I failed at everything. Well . . . I did manage to fast stick with my 14-hour fast. That’s something, I guess. 

So, this upcoming week will be a reset. 

Although I did not have anything to train for, I decided to make a training plan to run a “virtual” half marathon on the first Saturday of March. I thought this could be an easy goal that I could incorporate into my new training plan. Honestly, I had fitness block (yes, I made that up) because I could not think of an obtainable three-month fitness/training goal. A half-marathon seemed like an easy enough goal to do. Plus, it is “easy” enough for me to run 13.1 miles without having to participate in a race. I even figured out the route that I was going to run for KOS’ Half-Marathon (yes, I made up that race’s name too).

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Random: Is it me or has Mapmyrun become so user-unfriendly? Maybe one has to upgrade so there is not all of that shit that makes the map too small for mapping a route. 

For the KOS’ Half-Marathon. I decided to use Hal Higdon’s Intermediate Half-Marathon Training plan ( *** ). This is a 12-week plan that has 4-5 days of running, with plenty of speedwork and X-training. Like I did for NYC Marathon 2018, I entered the entire training plan, day-by-day, into my Google Calendar, which took about 30 – 45 minutes. I was all set to start the training plan today.

The day after I entered my training plan into my Google Calendar, this happened. 

Half Marathon

I was completed caught off guard because I never expected to win the lottery (again) for entry into the United NYC Half-Marathon. Here’s the damn problem, for two years in a row, I had some back issue that prevented me from running this race ( *** ). 

  • 2017  – My back injury caused me to defer to 2018’s United Half-Marathon.
  • 2018 – My fucking luck. I had another flare up with my herniated disc, but I could not defer again. That was $130 down the drain. 
  • 2019 – Fingers crossed.

I was really sad that I could not run last year’s half-marathon because NYRR introduced a brand new course for the race.

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Since there is a clear trend of back injuries that happen sometime between Dec. – Mar., I definitely will need to take some precautions and incorporate more stretching into my training plan for the upcoming half marathon. Perhaps, I should dial back my running schedule to include 3-4 days or running. 

This Half will be held on St. Patty’s Day (March 17th), which is like the Superbowl for us “drunks” (even though the parade will be held on March 16th). Perhaps, folks will pass out beers and/or Irish whiskey along the route. 😉

Ok, this is getting long.

Oh, one more thing. I picked up my bib for my last 9 + 1 race for guaranteed entry to TCS NYC Marathon 2019. Hopefully, all will go well and I’ll complete the race so I will not have to run the Midnight 4 Mile on Dec. 31st. 

Ted Corbitt 15K

Ted Corbitt 15K

Questions for y’all:

Do you have any major races planned for 2019?

What type of offseason or base training do you plan to do during your downtime?

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I Feel Like I’m in Quicksand

Like Rihanna says “Work, Work Work, Work, Work”

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It’s been a minute since my last post, but work has been entirely way too intense. Just a little bit about what I do (I do not think that I have really talked about my main job). I work for a startup biotech company and the company  is trying to partner with a larger pharmaceutical company that is interested in our cancer therapies. Often we I have to make slide decks for these partnering conferences/meeting. Making the slide decks is not the problem, the problem is making the decks (with someone breathing down your back) and doing 80 million experiments at the same time. Many times, I get word on a Monday that we have to send out a deck by Friday and that we need X, Y, Z experiments for it. Typically, these are experiments that I suggested to run weeks or months ago, but told not do them. Some people think that experiments and data analyses can be done within a matter of minutes. For example, one of my assay takes ten days complete and that is if EVERYTHING goes right. In science that often is not the case. Ok, this is getting long.

Long story short: I have been super stressed and have not had time to run or do much of anything. This week, I have been working close to 12 hour days and I even worked 15 hours on Wednesday.  As of today, there is are only 22 days left before the big day.

Basically, if I do not complete my 20 mile run this weekend, I do not think that I will run next month’s  marathon. Originally, I planned for a 3:50 finish; but at this point, I would be lucky just to finish the damn thing before the city reopens the streets. I’m really bummed because this was going to be MY marathon, but I am really afraid that I will not be able to complete it. Even with my plan to my 20 mile run this weekend, it is going to be tough because:

  • I’m going to Philly tonight to meet some friends after the Enrique/Pitbul concert.
  • I have a ton a papers and exams to grade for my Saturday and Sunday biology classes.
  • Of course, I was told that we are submitting the slide deck next week (instead of today) and that we “need” another slew experiments by then. That’s annoying, because I could have spread out the experiments, not worked so much this week, and got in a couple of runs.

The funny thing with being this busy is that I have not posted on Facebook. If I do not post something on Facebook for a day or two (I post quite a bit on Facebook), I start getting phone calls and text messages from my family asking if I am ok or dead.

Well, that’s my life for this week in a nutshell.

Cool News!!!!

Some interesting news for anyone running the United Airlines Half Marathon in 2018. There is a new course!!!! (***). Now, the race will begin in Prospect Park and runners will run across the Manhattan Bridge, up the East River (FDR Drive), pass the United Nations, through Times Square, and finish in Central Park. I’m so excited. I guess this is one time an injury can work out for you. I really screwed up my back in January (it was so bad the bf had to help me put on my pants and I spent 14 hours in the ER), so I had to defer my 2017 entry to 2018. I guess the intense back pain and expensive ass ER bills really “worked out”. 😉

Ok, back to work. Y’all have a great weekend.

TCS NYC Training Update Week “I don’t know”

I am glad to see that everyone is still, since that Christian numerology amargeddon turned out to be a hoax. For these doomsday prophecies, is there specific time zone that is linked to the end of the world?

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So, I am back to training for this damn marathon after my slight hip injury. The giphy
marathon is so close (40 days away), and I’m nowhere near where I would like to be with my training, but one must push through, right?

It was kind of nice to get back into training mode this week. I hope that there will be no more hiccups before November 5th. I did not realize how much I missed running. Maybe I have become jealous about reading about everyone else’s training progress, PR’s, and race pictures.

MONDAY: Rest

TUESDAY: Zumba and 3 miles

In addition to jumping back on the running wagon, I also got back on my Zumba grind. In my absence, the instructor added a couple new songs/routines, so class was a pleasant surprise. I think going forward (and even after the marathon) that I will run from work to Zumba.

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I will have to bring extra socks though. Normally, I only wear socks on my feet for Zumba; however, running makes my socks sweaty, which makes me slip in class.

I didn’t burn as many calories as I normally do (probably because of the three mile run before) but I had a blast, like always.

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I randomly found a somewhat new ramen restaurant (Nana Rame) in my neighborhood of Bed-Stuy. I liked the restaurant, but two things kind of annoyed me – cash only and no Diet Coke. In this day in age, there should be no reason for a cash only restaurant if they serve beer, wine, and/or liquor. Nothing will ever change my option about that. The Diet Coke only was a thing because I really was craving one after Zumba class.

Even though the place has two strikes in my book, I will go back because the ramen was delicious and I really want to try some of the restaurant’s appetizers.

WEDNESDAY: 20 min elliptical, strength, and stretching.

For strength training, I focused on the back and shoulders.

One thing that I love about NYC is you can go to so many restaurants and bars that you forget where you have been. We visited One Mile House (***), a pub and craft bar on the Lower East Side, for dinner and some beers. The food was just ok; I only had beers the last time I visited. No wait, the truffle oil fries were really delicious.

I even tried this random ass beverage, the Mango Beermosa – a combination of Bell’s Two Hearted IPA (one of my favs), mango sector, Jack Daniels, simple syrup, and lemon juice. Since I do not like drinks that are super sweet, I ordered my beermosa without simple syrup. At first it was kind of gross, but you get used to it. Matter of fact, I think that I had three of those beverages, so I really must have liked them. I am still a little confused about the name, “beermosa,” because it would imply the presence of champagne.

THURSDAY: Rest and date night.

I really tried to go to the gym in the morning, but that clearly did not happen. The boo (or “bu” in espanol) and I hit up our favorite seafood restaurant in Astoria.

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I am sure that I have written about Astoria Seafood Market many times on this blog.

FRIDAY: 8 miles

I’m trying to ease back into my longer distances (although 8 miles is not that long at this point in training). I ran from work (Flatbush, Brooklyn), over the Brooklyn Bridge, and  back into Brooklyn via the Williamsburg Bridge.

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*I know that I have complained about this before. NYC really needs to ban cyclists from riding their bikes across the Brooklyn Bridge, because the Bridge is way too congested.*

It was kind of cool running through the city at night; however, I did experience major FOMO. I was out running and other folks were out drinking, partying, and starting their Friday evening social plans. The run was a little struggle, but I enjoyed it. It was a struggle, because I ate lunch kind of late, so my food was not completely digested. During the run, I was quite gassy and I really needed to poop. I held strong, because I did not want to be like the poop-n-run jogger from Colorado Springs (***).

SATURDAY: Stretching

I really wanted to strength train and stretch, but I did not have enough time. I had to go to the lab job and squeeze in a workout before teaching at 12:30. I find that I have to go to the gym before teaching, because I’m either too tired or hungry after class (my class goes from 12:30 PM to 3:30 PM). I figured stretching would be more important/productive to my overall training plan, since I did a run the night before and I had a race the next day.

After class, I met up with my beer club (Yes, I am in a craft beer Meetup group) at Lucky (***) in Alphabet City and saw a friend’s band play at Arlene’s Grocery (***) on the Lower East Side.

I was smart enough to leave somewhat early in the (around 10, which is early for KOS), because I had a very early wake up call for the Bronx 10-mile race. Plus, I knew that I had drank way too much booze and smoked way too many cigarettes during the day.

SUNDAY: Bronx 10 mile race

The last of the NYRR outer borough race series gives you a little taste of the second-most forgotten borough, the boogie down Bronx. I’ll write a race report about the race later.

ETCETERA:

In addition to working a full- and a part-time job, having an active social life, and watching too much TV, I decided that I have too much free time ;). To fix this “problem”, I am going to be a mentor with iMentor.

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iMentor builds mentoring relationships that empower first generation students to graduate high school, succeed in college, and achieve their ambitions. Students work with their mentors one-on-one, in-person and online, to develop strong personal relationships, nurture a college aspiration, navigate the college application process, and build critical skills that lead to college success. Since 1999, iMentor has connected 11,000 students with mentors, through our partnerships with public high schools in New York City, Chicago, the Bay Area, and nonprofits nationwide.

I actually volunteered for this program waaay back in the day, around 05/06, when it was based only in NYC. Now, the program has expanded to several cities in the US. Oh: NYC peps, the program is looking for more volunteers, especially male volunteers.

There was one more thing that I wanted to put in this section but I forgot. Oh well … feet smell

What have you done outside of your training, this week, that you proud of?

Defer or not?

Ok. I have gotten the official go ahead to continue running. Here’s the question, there are only 50 days remaining until the NYC marathon. Let’s subtract 1.5 weeks for a very basic tapering regime. That brings us to 40 days. So far my longest run has been 15 miles.

Is it still possible to train for this thing coming off of an injury? Or would it be better to defer to next year’s marathon?

Running – A Year in Review

Since we are in the last days of 2016, I figured that I would do a “quick” recap of the highs and lows of my running year, which is based on my New York Road Runners race calendar. Most of these recaps will be short, because I do not remember most of these race,

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My 9+1 races for 2016

Race 1: United Airlines NYC Half (13.1mi) Mar. 20th, 2016 – 1:48:59; 7:31min/min pace

Last year, I remember being so excited for winning a spot in the NYC Half. This race made me feel so alive running in and, more importantly, living in NYC. It was such a great honor to have run through Times Square, which is closed to traffic only two days a year – this race and New Years Eve. I had a great experience running this race and I ran a personal best. However, I did not meet my goal of a sub 1 hour 45 min, because I had to stop and poop during the race and I took a lot of pictures running through Times Square.

Because of all of the love that we runners received from the crowds, this race was one of the reasons why I wanted to do the  9+1 marathon entry. I wanted to give the NYC marathon another shot.

Race 2: City Park Foundation Run for the Perks (4mi) Apr. 10, 2016 – 30:03; 7:31 min/mi pace

I do not really remember this race. It’s kind of interesting that I ran the same pace for a 4 mile race as I did for a 13.1 mile race. Perhaps I was hungover that morning.

Race 3: Run as One (4mi) Apr 24th, 2016 – 30:09; 7:31 min/mi pace

I do not remember this one. I do remember that I really like the technical T-shirts that we received.

Race 4: NYRR Queens (5K) Jun. 18th, 2016 – 23:01; 7:25min/mi pace

Signing up for this race, I was a little annoyed because I wanted to run the 10K but it was sold out. However, I do love running this outer borough series, because Queens will always have a special place in my heart. I believe the organizers held this race earlier in the summer but I remember that it still was hot as hell. Also, it was really tough for me to make it to Corona Park from Bed-Stuy by 7:30 am.

Race 5: Achilles Hope and Possibility (4mi) Jun. 26, 2016 – 30:42; 7:41 min/mi pace

Don’t remember.

Race 6:NYRR R-U-N (5K) 

TOO DAMN HOT TO RUN!!! I remember receiving an email stating that it was too hot and for our safety and that the NYRR was canceling this run. I was kind of happy that the race was cancelled, because some work buddies and I were going to get sloppy drunk that evening. However, NYRR gave us the option to either have a free race entry or get credit for this race. I went with the credit.

Race 7: France Run (8K) Aug. 21st, 2016 41:30; 8:21 min/mi pace

Yucky run. Rain is one thing that I hate while running. The rain is all I remember from this race. . . and not winning the raffle for a free trip for two to Paris. Oh, yeah. There were a lot of post race goodies (cookies, mini cakes, weird tasting tea, massages, etc.) that I really enjoyed.

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Race 8: Race to Deliver (4mi) Nov. 20th, 2016 35:46; 8:57 min/mi pace

Oh man, I partied too hard the night before this race and did not feel like running it but I knew that I had to for my 9+1. Hell, I still may have been drunk. I even vomited during the race. The most annoying part of this day is that I had to take a cab from Bed-Stuy to Central Park . . . almost 24 bucks!!!! The transportation to the race cost more than the registration fee.

My pace probably was slow because this was my first race after running the Montreal Half-Marathon. I am one of those people that when I finish a major race (half- or full-marathon), I do not want to have any association with running for at least a month.

Race 9: NYRR Ted Corbitt (15K) Dec. 10th, 2016 1:27:52; 9:26 min/mi pace

The last race of my qualifying program. This was a tough one, because I overslept and missed the race previous to the Ted Corbitt. So, I had to run this race, as it was getting close to the end of the year and I did not want to do the New Years Eve Run again. This was a tough race for me,  because I did not run too much during the months of November and December. That said, I ran a lot better than I thought that I would. Although my pace was 9:26 min/mi, I had to stop twice during the race – once to pee and once to poop and the lines for the porta potties were pretty long. However, I ran a 8:3o-something min/mi pace for the second half of the race.

There you have it my brief recap of my races for the year 2016. I have a few suggestions that I would recommend that the NYRR carry out. Keep in mind these suggests are being given without a whole lot of though concerning logistics.

  1. Make all of the outer borough races half-marathons. I would love to run 13.1 miles through the Bronx and Queens. Doing this would make it a little easier for people to run the Brooklyn Half, because more half-marathons will be spread out throughout the year. This suggestion may be a little tough because the Bronx and Queens races typically are held during the summer.
  2. Since it is too much work to get into the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, NYRR should make it lottery based (similar to the NYC Half). Last year the race sold out in about a couple of hours. Honestly, I know many people work hard at their jobs (eventhough I’m writing this at work)and cannot sit around their computers waiting to register for this race.
  3. Have more evening races. It is a shame that the one evening race this year was cancelled because of the heat. I think that it would been a different running experience to have a race around 6pm in Central Park. Oh, or have some night races . . . besides the NYE race.
  4. Crap there was one more thing that I thought about but I forgot because of dumb work.

Enough out of me. I’ll proofread this later, because my PCR has finished and I am ready to enjoy the weekend.

Why do I run?

Running for me was a bit of an accident.

Back in the day, the late 90’s to be exact, I used to run track and cross country in high school. In high school I did the long distance races, 1600 and 3200 meters. I liked running track and cross country but I was no elite athlete by any means. I mainly did these sports to become a well-rounded student that everyone says you need to be in order to give you the competitive edge for your college applications. It is kind of interesting that now it seems that colleges are interested only in the academic aspects of a high schooler’s application. But, that is another story for another day. Matter of fact, once I received early admissions for one of my top choice school in October of my Senior year, I pretty much did not participate in any extracurricular activities for the rest of the year.

Pretty much from Senior year of high school to my first year of my postdoctoral fellowship (a good 12-year span), I did not run at all. Actually . . . I lie. I think that I may have ran five miles once in graduate school.  Too be frank, I used to get quite annoyed hearing about friends rambling about training for half- and full- marathons. Also, the NYC Marathon used to be a big thorn in my side, because of all of the street closures.

So what caused the change in feelings towards running?

In 2010/2011, I used to ride my bike to work everyday. It was a short commute  (about 4 miles from Roosevelt Island to the Upper East Side) but I had to cross two bridges, so it was a decent 25-30 minute workout.  However, my road bike has very thin tires, so I would get flat tires constantly, which are a pain to change. One day in February 2011, I get up, put on my cold weather (it gets cold in NYC in February) gear to ride my bike, and I see that I my bicycle had flat tire. Since I was ready to go, I  rolled my eyes and grabbed my allen wrench to start changing the flat. Then, I thought to myself “Screw this, you can just run to work”. I may have used other choice words than “screw”.

After that day, I became a runner . . . again. I started to run to work almost every other day, unless the weather was below 32F. I am a scientist in Academia, so I really did not have to dress too nicely . . . jeans and a T-shirt is appropriate dress code in my line of work. My coworker, a runner, noticed that I was running to work and suggested that I participate in some of the races that the New York Road Runners (NYRR) sponsored. Then, I was really hooked. My 5K races became 10K races and my 10K races became half-marathons. Then, I was a like if I can do a half-marathon, why not train for NYC’s marathon. It is interesting that while training for the NYC marathon, I told myself that I would never to do another marathon again. However, when I finished the marathon I made a bucket list of running marathons in  other states and other countries.

It is kind of cool for someone who was not that interested in running became more involved in the running community all because of a flat bicycle tire. The interesting thing is that I think that I am a better runner as a 36 year old man than when I was a 17-year old “kid”.

#UnitedNYCHALF Completed!!!

Like many people (well over 20, 000), I ran the NYC half and had a wonderful time!!!! I am so glad that I was able to participate in this race. A few years ago, I qualified for it (through the outer borough series) but I had to drop out because of a herniated disc in my back.

The brief:

  • Was it cold:  Yes
  • Did I have fun: Hell yes.
  • Will I do it again: Fuck yeah
  • Did I PR: Yes 1:48 BUUUUUUUUT. Can I subtract  4 minutes off of my time because I had to use the bathroom during the race? If I do that then I would have met my goal of running a 1 hour 45 minute Half. Hey, I am not complaining. It gives me a reason to run another and blow this time out of the water.

Pre race jitters:

Central Park was dark, gloomy, and cold. Plus, it is well known that I am NOT a happy early riser, so I was not too cool with waking up at 4am and commuting from Brooklyn. I was so glad that I went to Kmart and bought some disposable clothes (they were donate) to stand in the cold. I got a pretty decent fleece jacket and pants for 15 bucks a piece. I am kind of sad that I had to lose it because I got too hot while running.

 

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No Sleep In Brooklyn – a 4:25am departure. 

Running 

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Prerace selfie

The beginning of the race was nice; NYRR assigned me a bib with an 8:55 min/mi pace, so I was a little disappointed. But, it gave me a reason to fight and early a better slot for future races. The first mile was tough because it takes a while for the herd to spread out. Eventually, it did and I was moving. However, at 110 street my bladder (and another organ) was like “Fool, you better release us” and I had to stop to use the rest room. I was sad because at that point I knew  that I was not going to make my goal 1:45 or even my second g0al a 1:50. However, I do not know that happen in the Park but I made really good time with the Harlem hills. *I am so glad that I did a practice run and incorporated that part of the course a couple weeks ago.*

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I really love how inventive the spectators can be with their signs. 

Running through Central Park was great, but everyone was anxious to get into Times Square. I was surprised about how congested the race was in the west side of the Park.

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Running through Times Square was a Blast. 

I will say much like automobiles, it was kind of difficult to maneuver in Times Square but it was really an amazing experience. The crowds, the bands, the sights and the jumbo tron.

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West Side Highway running selfie

The West Side Highway portion is considered the ‘boring’ part of the race because the views are the same (seriously how long does one want to stare into Jersey) and the crowd is sparse. I actually found it be best part in terms of running. I was able to put my head down and focus on the race, aside from taking random photos ;). Also, it was during this part that I put my interval training to use with intervals of:

  • Easy/recovery 0.5 miles.
  • Fartlek 0.5 miles using light posts.

I think that the interval runs from mile 8 to the end kept me the range of my second goal. Usually, I  die out during this portion of the a half marathon but I am glad that my training pulled me through. Plus, it did not hurt that it was a very nice day (sunny and clear) with mild headwinds.

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The light at the end of the tunnel – literally. 

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A Maroney face after the race (throw back to the 2012 Summer Olympics). 

Musica:

I am one of those people who must listen to music while running, and here are some of the tunes that really got me through the race. Well . . . the ones I remembered to make a screenshot.

 

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NYYR updated the final time to 1:48:53. 

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It look like the interval runs on the west paid off. 

I concluded the day by having:

  1. a nice stretch at Crunch gym on John St.
  2. some relaxation in the steam room at Crunch.
  3. a boozy brunch at French Roast.
  4. a boozy after party.