Archive for December, 2010


Running Goals for 2011: Looking Forward

In my last post I performed a retrospective of my 2010 running goals that I set in December 2009. For the most part these goals were failures, largely due to injury. I don’t want to dwell on these failures, so I’m moving onward for 2011.

  • Distance Run: 1500 Miles
    This is the same goal as what I had for 2010. It’s a feasible goal especially if I plan on running a trio of marathons.
  • Marathons: 3 (Grandma’s, Chicago, NYC)
    Last year my goal was two marathons, Big Sur and Chicago. I might have added in another late fall marathon if I was healthy, but I wasn’t. In 2011 I’ve already qualified for the NYC Marathon, and I still want to do Chicago, even though they’re stupidly close together. For Chicago training I’ll run Grandma’s marathon in June.
  • Weight: 170lbs
    I ballooned once I stopped running this year. I even crossed that dreaded 200lbs mark once I stopped exercising and stopped cooking. I’m setting some other goals outside of running that deal with junk food consumption that should help me actually reach this weight.
  • Fastest Mile: 5:50
    I managed to do a mile on little training in 6:26 this year. I was thrilled. I’m pretty certain that if I push myself I can make it under 6 minutes.
  • Marathon: 3:30
    A huge stretch goal. I’ll need some help, but with training, motivation, and most importantly, a coach to help me out, I might be able to pull this off in Chicago.
  • Half-Marathon: 1:40
    Last year I managed a 1:43:44 in the NYC Half Marathon. I’m not certain what half marathons I’m going to run this year, but if I run one on a decently flat course I think I can make 1:40.
  • Cross-Training: 2 days a week
    This is what killed me and probably led to my injury. I need to work more on core exercises and cross training. Maybe I’ll even see about taking some swim lessons.
  • Barefoot/Vibram a race of 10k or more
    I bought myself a pair of Vibram Five Fingers for my birthday last year and have run about 30 miles in them. I’m not certain if it’s better of just different. It makes running a little bit more fun and exercises some different muscles, so I’d like to try these in an actual race.
  • Bench Press My Own Weight
    I have no idea how much I can bench right now. The buildings for both of my apartments have workout rooms, so I really have no excuse to continue to ignore my arms. This could be really hard.
  • Run to and from Work at Least Five Times
    By the shortest route it is a little over six miles to work from my apartment. If I take the scenic route it’s about eight miles. This requires me planning ahead and bringing an extra lunch and clothes the day before, but I think I can do this.
  • Post at Least 50 Blog Entries
    I’m not going to do a long-time-no-blog post, but let’s just say that it was hard to continue to post about running when I couldn’t run for a good chunk of the year. I’ve also got about a half dozen race recaps that I never fully completed. Maybe I’ll do some long term recaps on those. This is basically the PostAWeek project that is promoting.

Some of these are certainly stretch goals, such as the 3:30 marathon and 1:40 half-marathon. I fully intend on joining the Westchester Track Club and getting some better training, which should help out. The mile is a bit of a stretch, but I did the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile without any training and slightly injured this year and still managed a 6:26. I’m looking forward to incorporating some cross training and possibly doing a sprint triathlon this summer. Most importantly, I’m positive about 2011 and putting this last year behind me.

So, how was your 2010? What are your running goals for 2011?


Running Goals for 2010: Looking Back

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that I regard 2010 as a big fat failure when it comes to running. Something went wrong in my right hip and lower back in May and it took me four months to finally see the doctor. Since then I’ve been in therapy and haven’t exactly made wonderful progress. My hip still hurts, but at least I can run. I’m optimistic about the next year, which means that it’s time to set some goals for 2011.

However, before setting goals for 2011, I’d like to take to some time to go over my successes (few) and failures (lots) of my 2010 goals:

  • Distance Run: 1500 miles
    Nope – injuries limited me to 676 miles this year. Since September I’ve run under 60 miles. I didn’t run at all in June and only ran twice in July. That’s a huge disappointment and has cascaded to other aspects of my life.
  • Marathons: 2 (Big Sur and Chicago)
    Nope – I ran Big Sur and registered for Chicago, but I made the decision to pull out of Chicago in early September because I hadn’t trained enough and was in some serious pain. That was the point where I finally decided to see a doctor. Not like that helped any.
  • Half Marathons: 2 (NYC and ???)
    Yes! – I started out the year with Manhattan Half Marathon in Central Park, followed it up with the NYC Half Marathon in March, and closed the year with a very painful Grete’s Great Gallop in October.
  • Other Races: Enough to qualify for 2011 NYC marathon
    Yes! – I did 10 NYRR races and volunteered at one. I’ll be running the 2011 NYC Marathon!
  • Weight: 165 lbs
    Nope – Utter failure on this one. Not running made me FAT. Seriously FAT. Next year I need to really watch what I eat.
  • Fastest Marathon: sub 3:50:00 (Chicago)
    Nope – I didn’t run Chicago. Big Sur was brutal on me, but I was still happy with my 4:22:49 time on a challenging course.
  • Fastest Half-Marathon: sub 1:50:00
    Yes! – I managed this twice, both for the Manhattan Half Marathon at 1:48:26 and then two months later clocked a 1:43:44 for the NYC Half Marathon. AWESOME!
  • Marathons ran with friends: 1
    Nope – I was hoping to run Chicago with some friends. That didn’t materialize.

It’s refreshing to see that I managed to complete some of my goals, but I’d still say that this year was disappointing. It’s really difficult to say what 2011 will hold. I’m still injured, but I’m getting a better idea of how to deal with my injuries and what I need to do to ensure that I stay healthy. Primarily this requires taking a more holistic view of running and my personal health.


2010 NYRR Jingle Jog 4M

Let me start out by saying this: I did not want to do this race. I don’t know why in the world I registered for this race. I don’t know why in the world I schlepped all the way down to Brooklyn to run it. Maybe it had something to do with the long sleeve tech shirt that came with it. I can always use more of those.

Anyway, my calves were still killing me from my barefoot run last weekend. I could barely walk at the beginning of the week and even on Thursday it was hard to move around. Stretching seemed to help out quite a bit and I felt I could walk again by Friday. That means I can run on Saturday, right?

Thanks to crappy timing of the trains, I had to either drive into Brooklyn or catch the 6am train. For some reason I chose the 6am train. This, of course, got me to Prospect Park around 7:30am. It was still brisk — not a horrible day for a run, but a little uncomfortable for standing around. After picking up my shirt and bib — I’m still a red number for some bizarre reason — I had a long time to wander around the park. By 8:20 the race area was starting to get filled out with runners stretching and trying to stay warm. It looked to be a good turnout of a couple of thousand runners.

We lined up in the corrals and went through the usual pre-race ceremonies. There were some school kids from NYRR’s youth programs that thanked the crowd followed by a speech from Brooklyn borough president Marty Markowitz, a little pep from the excellent Mary Wittenberg, the national anthem, pre-race instructions and the start. The first thing I noticed, even being in the red corral, it still took me about 45 seconds to cross the starting line.The next revelation was how long we actually had to run along Nethermead Arches until we got onto the main loop. I vaguely remembered the distance from the Al Gordon Classic in February, but seemed much worse this time.

Coming out onto the main loop RunKeeper chimed in and told me that I had gone about 0.52 miles in the first 5 minutes. Subtracting out the 45 or so seconds to cross the starting line had me on around an 8:30 pace. Perhaps a bit too much for my injured and out of shape self, but it felt okay. At this point I realized that the big hill was ahead of me. Ughh.

Somehow I managed to keep a nice pace, partially because I was following a couple who seemed to be taking easier than they otherwise could. Using the couple as unwitting pacers turned out to be a great idea. As RunKeeper chirped in my ears every five minutes I could easily hear that I was on a consistent pace. Turning the final corner for another hill my thighs, hips, and calves were killing me. Somehow I managed to finish. I hurt, but I finished. Final time was 32:57, just a little bit under 8:15/mi.

Official Reults from the Jingle Bell Jog

Results from RunKeeper

After finishing the race a lot of things were running through my head. The main thing was wondering why I was so stupid to do the race in the first place. I’m injured and need a chance to heal.  The second thing that hit me was just how much fun the race was. A great crowd of people, a great location for a race (not nearly as many incidental people as Central Park races), and a great holiday spirit made this race overcome even my injuries and turn it into a great morning.


Well, That’s Not It…

I’ve been basically sidelined from running since the beginning of May.  I think that I’ve run about 180 miles since then.  It’s been really disappointing.  Back in September I finally saw a doctor and the preliminary diagnosis was bursitis in my hip caused by the IT band.  I believed him, he’s the doctor. But the diagnosis didn’t address all of the injury, I had pains in my lower back after about 7-8 miles of running too. Nevertheless, I proceeded with physical therapy.

Today, after about 10 weeks of physical therapy and a lack of response to the anti-inflammatory drugs I was on it became clear that if I do have an IT band related injury, that’s probably not the root cause of my injury. So, possible diagnosis number two is…

Nerve Damage in the Lower Back!

I had a bunch more x-rays shot through me and nothing was immediately visible.  Now it’s time to think about getting an MRI.  That should be fun. Well, in theory if it’s a nerve, then it’s not like I’m doing damage if I run, right?


Barefoot Hippie Running

It’s no secret that this year has been incredibly frustrating from a running point of view. I only ran one marathon, although I had hoped to run two or three. Nevertheless, I’m positive for future running. By the end of the year I’ll have 10 races with the New York Road Runners, the Big Sur Marathon, and a handful of other runs. Not too bad.

I’ve been in physical therapy for my IT band injury since I was diagnosed in September. I haven’t made a ton of progress, so I’m thinking that it’s not actually the IT band. We’ll see when I visit the doctor tomorrow.

In any case, it’s been killing me that I haven’t been able to do longer runs, so I’ve been sneaking in shorter runs. One way to ensure that I don’t go too far is to do the runs in my hippie shoes, err…Vibram Five Fingers.

My barefoot hippie shoes

My Vibram FiveFingers KSO Remix

The main that they keep my mileage and thus additional pain down, is the fact that it’s really hard to run really long distances because of the difference in impact. When barefoot running you strike with the ball of your foot instead of the heel. This, in turn, gives your calves one hell of an exercise. Unfortunately, when you live at the top of a 220 ft hill that you climb in 0.3 mi you’re going to be in serious calf pain. I can barely walk today.

Any tips for barefoot hippie running?

Recent Tweets

Error: Please make sure the Twitter account is public.

Marathon Times

2011 NYC Marathon3:57:45
2011 Hartford Marathon3:58:17
2011 Chicago Marathon4:20:16
2011 Grandma's Marathon4:07:43
2010 Big Sur International Marathon4:22:49
2009 NYC Marathon4:37:05
2009 Twin Cities Marathon4:43:28
2009 Pittsburgh Marathon4:14:38
2008 Erie Marathon5:11:40

Upcoming Races

  • Nov 6 - New York City Marathon, New York, NY
For previous races, check out my Race Log