Runsketeer run at the Massapequa Preserve

Me, SIOR, virtual KWL, JC & TPP

Today’s run (Massapequa Preserve trail): 3.1

The Runsketeers got together today (at the Massapequa Preserve) for the first time since late November. We almost ended up at SUNY Old Westbury out of concern that yesterday’s snow would make the trail unrunnable. SIOR, who is training for Boston in April, had a long run planned today and got to the Preserve early to gain miles before we arrived. She texted us that the trail was fine so we all met there at 9:00 AM.

We had a complete crew today that included me, SIOR, KWL, TPP and JC. We were glad to see each other but quickly hustled onto the trail. There was a guy standing with his barking dog that SIOR said had been in that spot all morning. Better a dog on a leash than some of the other weirdness that goes on at the Preserve these days. I took it slow for two reasons. One because it was slippery. Two, because I’m slow. TPP and JC took off ahead of us, KWL eventually caught up with them and SIOR and I carefully made our way through the snow and ice covered sections.

I’m still coming back from a couple of weeks where most of my aerobic activity consisted of coughing and not running. I’d run about 6.5 miles since Friday, but today’s weather and trail conditions discouraged me from going more than 3.1 miles today. SIOR and I were able to chat easily through our out-and-back. We took refuge in her monster truck to stay warm until KWL joined us after completing 5+ miles. The three of us hung out until TPP and JC returned from their 7 mile journey.

Unfortunately KWL needed to leave earlier than planned and couldn’t join us for aprés run coffee. The four of us made our way to Starbucks and commandeered a long table where we exchanged holiday gifts. I think this counts as the Runsketeer holiday party. SIOR gave me two ways to keep my hands warm – an awesome pair of UA running gloves and two packet hand warmers. Both will be well used. TPP gave me a couple of Daily Burn CDs which will finally force me to pay attention to my upper body.

The four of us talked a lot about running and TPP and I compared our PBs for 5K, 4 miles, 10K, and half marathons. She beat me by either a little (3 seconds on the 5K) or a lot (3+ minutes on the 10K). I wished I’d mentioned 8K, because I may have won that one since she probably hasn’t raced that distance.

We talked about endurance events and I asked JC what part of a triathlon is the hardest. He said none of it is hard. In fact he said an Iron Man is a piece of cake because you have 17 hours to finish. Actually he said SIOR could do it in less than a day and I could do it in a week. I wonder if I should be insulted by that. I always thought a week was more than 17 hours. Maybe triathlon math is different than regular math.

We missed KWL, but I put him in the picture above. That was his picture from the last time the Runsketeers got together. This picture was the best of about five that I took today. SIOR was making faces in one (big surprise) and my phone distorted at the edges and made TPP (who is extremely fit) look like a candidate for the Biggest Loser.

It was great getting to be with my buddies all morning. I’m excited that I’ll get to see them again soon when we all go to see the movie Patriot’s Day. Due to the icy roads, I’m probably going to stay inside and do my fourth weekend run on the treadmill tomorrow. If I’m feeling ambitious I will take a crack at the Daily Burn vids. I really hope we have a thaw this week so I can run outside and use my cool new running gloves on Friday.

Awesome holiday running gifts

ER posterized

Today’s run (street): 2.5 miles
Yesterday’s run (street): 3.2 miles
Thursday’s  run (street): 3.2 miles
Last Sunday’s run (street): 3.8 miles

It’s the first day of Chanukah,  Christmas Eve and of course Holiday, the arbitrary period of time of celebration for Pastafarianism. I finished up business for 2016 on Thursday and worked from home which allowed me to get out for a run in the morning. The day before, when I was still in the office, one of my managers gave me a very thoughtful holiday gift – an Under Armor hat and running gloves. I wasted no time trying them out and wore them on my Thursday morning run.

I was off from work as of Friday and out until January 3rd. That should give me an opportunity to get in some extra running miles. Yesterday’s run was similar to Thursday’s. I mixed up my route but ended up covering about the same distance as the day before. We were expecting overnight visitors, so I had to be finished up and presentable before they arrived.

Winter running gear makes me happy

This morning I got out early  so I could get in my run before our guests woke up. I dressed for 43° weather and clipped a flashing light to a pocket in my running pants in deference to the still dark skies. I was almost out the door when my daughter mentioned that it had started raining. I took a quick peek outside and confirmed that she was correct. I added a running rain jacket, switched my Zantes for my Cascadias and went out into the dark, wet morning.

I don’t love running in the rain but with good gear it’s not really a big deal. My jacket kept my upper body dry and I was careful to avoid the puddles that form where streets intersect. I wasn’t feeling particularly ambitious and, as the conditions for running weren’t particularly good, I ended up cutting it short. I felt that 2.5 miles was more than enough today.

Later in the day we had a family holiday lunch. That included my drinking a Guinness that (surprisingly) didn’t put me immediately to sleep. Gifts were exchanged and I was very excited to see that my wife had made me an awesome Emerging Runner collage. She took many photos and images from my posts going back to the start of the blog in 2008. It includes a lot of artwork I’d made, as well as pictures of friends and family. It will go up in our guest room / office / “fitness center” to inspire me, along with the other bibs, pictures and other running mementos.

We have a lot planned over the next eight days and I’m looking forward some rest and relaxation. I’m wishing my friends and family great holidays and great running as this weekend.

2016 Hangover with the Runsketeers

Mini photo bomber, SIOR, TPP, ER

Today’s run (Hangover Fun Run): 4 miles

2016 has arrived and the Runsketeers rang in the New Year this morning with the LIRRC Hangover Run at Eisenhower Park. After so many days of unseasonably temperate weather, the cold returned for real. I arrived a little after 9:00 AM and met up with TPP. She and I walked over to the staging area where we signed the waiver doc and tucked into a corner to avoid the the chilly winds. SIOR texted that she was delayed and would join us after the start.

The Hangover Run is a perfect running event for me, because it has elements of a race like a formal start and timing clock, but no individual tracking of runners. Running distance is at the discretion of each participant although most people run five 1-mile laps. I normally do that as well, but I wasn’t feeling great this morning and elected to run only four.

There’s a lot of construction work going on at Eisenhower Park and today’s route differed a little from the previous four times I’d done the Hangover. The old route was basically a half circle. This year it looked more like a giant comma. I actually like the new course better,  even though you still end up looking at the same scenery, mile after mile.

Comma course

TPP and I took off, she was the hare and I was the turtle. The course allows you to see runners coming back in the opposite direction and I was able to monitor her progress. TPP seemed to be running half a lap ahead of me but she covered five miles in almost the same time as it took me to complete four. I watched for SIOR and I think I saw her once along the way. She did a lap after TPP and I had finished and we took pictures and videos of her as she came around at the end.

SIOR showing her signature maturity

Once done, we made our way to the lot. SIOR started a conversation with a random runner who was walking ahead of us. She complimented his running tights and told him some websites that have good running gear bargains. The guy said to TPP and SIOR that they probably shop on-line a lot. I thought that was a sexist thing to say. I stood up for them and told him that SIOR prefers stores because you can’t shoplift on a website. He left quickly after that.

As tradition dictates, we headed to Starbucks. Our timing was perfect because a motorcycle gang was just leaving when we arrived. We practically had the place to ourselves until some guy SIOR knows showed up and sat at the end of our table. To her credit, she didn’t talk to him about his pants.

The Runsketeers exchanged holiday gifts. SIOR gave me a runner’s headlamp and TPP gave me a framed picture of the Runsketeers that also included KWL and NIMC. Knowing them as I do, I gave them red wine and homemade chocolate truffles. As usual, we talked about everything and I was shocked when I looked at my watch and saw it was almost noon.

We said our goodbyes and talked about our next run which we hope will happen in January. Once again, the year started out great, with a bracing run and the company of good friends. Happy New Year to all.

Be the first on your block to have a running Interocitor

L to R: Alien, Tom Servo, Mike, Crow, Interocitor

Today’s run (street): 3.2 miles

Black Friday will soon be here, and it’s time for the barrage of holiday catalogs to land in our mailbox. I ignore most of them because I don’t really care about kitchen tools, home furnishings or women’s sportswear. However, I came upon something called Hammacher Schlemmer, America’s longest running catalog. This is not a running catalog, but rather a social experiment to see if people will pay $129 for a cotton bathrobe just because it’s described as “Turkish.”

As I read through the pages, I became increasingly appalled by these products that looked like Dollar Store rejects marked up 5,000 percent. That is, until I reached page 41 that featured the “Exotic Virtual Adventure Run.” This item looks like the Interocitor from “This Island Earth” (a film famously mocked by Mystery Science Theater 3000) attached to a treadmill. The description states that the system will provide a “virtual adventure in some of the world’s most exotic locales.”

Operators are standing by

The treadmill in the picture was a Matrix, so I wasn’t shocked to see the $8,000 price. I was surprised to see that this silly looking product does not even include the treadmill. Assuming you have an iPad, that money would buy 2,000 different runs (assuming that many are available) for the Outside Active Virtual Runner app. This catalog also offers a $25 cheap looking plastic tire gauge with “digital readout” and an incredibly spindly looking Elipti-Go knockoff for $999.95.

I had no special gadgets on this morning’s run, unless you count my Garmin. I went with short sleeve shirt under long sleeves along with running shorts, because the local news station was showing 50° in the lower right corner. I was afraid I’d overdressed, but once I stepped outside and felt the 14 MPH wind, I was grateful for the extra layer. It wasn’t raining, but there was a lot of mist in the air, making for a cold and gloomy experience.

Today’s run was a bonus for me, made possible by the Veteran’s Day holiday. Due to the miserable conditions, I decided to cap my run at around 3 miles. I was glad to get in the workout and happy when I finished. I suppose I could have accomplished the same thing in the comfort of my own home, had I purchased the Exotic Virtual Adventure Run.