Labor Day morning run

Today’s run (street): 4.2 miles

Today is a Monday that feels like a Sunday because it’s Labor Day. Normally my kids would be celebrating having an extra day added to their weekend, but today represents their last day of summer vacation. We have plenty to do today, so I got out early to get my run in, before our day got started.

Although the hot days of August are behind us and the skies were mostly cloudy, the combination of heat and humidity made for uncomfortable conditions. I adopted a moderate pace and followed a different than normal route. I covered a little more than four miles, providing a nice start to this week’s mileage total.

I’ve exceeded 20 miles in each of the last two weeks and hopefully I’ll do that again this week. Tomorrow is a vacation day for me, but with some scheduled work calls, a doctor’s appointment and the process of getting my son and daughter ready for their first day of school, it doesn’t feel much like a day off. I plan to take Tuesday as my rest day and I think I’ll need it. I haven’t taken a day off from running since last Monday.

Running relief from my vacation

View of the Capital from the Newseum building

Today’s run (street): 4.8 miles

The idea of needing a vacation from your vacation held true this week. After three days of visiting the sights of DC, including Arlington National Cemetery, the Smithsonian, the Spy Museum, the Newseum, Ford’s Theater, the Senate and Capital buildings and Chinatown, I was exhausted. Following that was a day at Williamsburg Revolutionary City and then a day at Busch Gardens. After all that, we still had the long ride back to Long Island. I’m happy to have the weekend to recover!

In the past, I’ve tried to incorporate a little running tourism into my vacations. However, I didn’t feel comfortable being alone on the streets of DC at dawn, so my only choice was to use the hotel’s treadmill. Williamsburg offered a safer venue, but the streets didn’t have sidewalks so, once again, I chose the treadmill. I didn’t run every day but with all the ground we covered walking, I got a good week’s workout.

This morning was my first opportunity to run outside since last Sunday, when I covered three miles before we left on our trip. It was no surprise that the humidity was high this morning, but I thought the low cloud cover would keep conditions tolerable. I think the miles of walking this week paid off, because I felt good from the start and covered my distance with little trouble.

Although it will be a low mileage week for running, it was great for conditioning and fitness. With the Dirty Sock 10K coming up in a couple of weeks, I may head to the Bethpage trails tomorrow morning to kick off my race training. That is, unless it rains. In that case, it will be back on the treadmill…

Rest and celebration on a hot summer’s day

It’s been quite a week off between vacation, Father’s Day, and my daughter’s middle school graduation. On top of that, today is my daughter’s 14th birthday, so the celebration continues. In between all that, I’ve already run 19 miles this week. That should help push me past 80 miles for the month.

This morning my daughter received an award for achievement at her school. The ceremony started at 8:00 AM so I decided to take a rest from running today. I have the whole weekend to get in more miles. It’s brutally hot and very humid right now and I am hoping that conditions will be better by tomorrow. Most of today’s activities will be held indoors, except for some fun and games by the pool.

TGIFAIRICP*

*Thank God It’s Friday and I’m Running In Central Park

Some work weeks go by so fast that you almost wish for another day to get everything completed. Not this week. By Tuesday afternoon I was half-asking if tomorrow is Friday. I felt terrible on Wednesday and recovered through Thursday, although the day seemed to go on forever. TGIF indeed!

After a light morning schedule, I’m planning to head over to Central Park for a run. It’s been a long time since I’ve run there and the conditions are perfect for it. I was on the fence last night about whether I’d do today’s run in the morning by my home, or run in the park. My wife said, “Tomorrow’s weather will be great and next week you’re on vacation. A run in the park will be a perfect way to kick off the weekend.” She’s smart.

My plan is to run the eastern side loop below the reservoir and, depending on how energetic I feel, continue around the water and come back along the western side. That’s about a 4.5 mile run. Otherwise, I’ll follow the route I used to take when I ran with JQ, Steve, Adventure Girl and others. That run involves cutting over just north of the Great Lawn before heading south. It’s about 3.1 miles in total – a nice low key 5K.

It feels a lot like summer already, with empty trains and few people in the office. The sounds from the Today Show concert is reaching me a couple of blocks away. The sun is shining. I can’t wait to head for the park.

Another windy day run

Today’s run (street): 4.4 miles

Any hopes I had for calm conditions this morning were dashed when I looked outside to see the lid of a trash can go skittering by the house. The blowing air was chilly, but at least the sun was out. The winds weren’t as strong as they were on Saturday, but they were still substantial. I headed off prepared to face another windy challenge.

When the wind wasn’t blowing I actually felt comfortable. I wore a light jersey under a heavier quarter zip along with my favorite track pants that were insulated with my Zensah calf sleeves. I also wore my Grid Tangents that I like as much as the Mirages, if not more.

It was my last run of this vacation and I hoped to end it on a high note. I had great energy from the start, even when managing inclines with the wind at my face. Near the end I encountered a jolting crosswind that made me feel like it was 15 degrees outside, but happily realized that the wind would be to my back for the rest of my route.

I finished today’s run feeling like I could have gone a few more miles without much trouble. I’d pushed my pace when I could to make up for the resistance from headwinds. I was pleased with my mid-9:00 overall pace and I’m happy to report that I hit a total of 25 miles for the week. It’s back to work tomorrow and the challenge of covering that many miles will be greater next week. I really need to maintain my plan for distance runs on the weekends.

Grinding it out on Day One

Today’s run (street): 3.8 miles

Day one of vacation is usually an invitation to go out for a long run without thinking about schedules or other restrictions. There’s a certain energy that seems to come with a clear mind and deferred business pressure. Today is my first day of vacation, but that energy has thus far eluded me.

As I’d said in prior posts, last week was busy, with lots of meetings and presentations. I looked forward to getting a good night’s sleep last night so I’d be fresh today, but I had some trouble getting going this morning. It wasn’t until my wife had started her treadmill run and advised me that I needed to be back by a certain time that I put myself in gear and went outside to start today’s workout.

Last Saturday I preloaded on carbs, first with a gel, and then some dark chocolate. Subsequently, I ran a pretty good race. I figured what worked then would work today, so I tried the same thing before I went out. But instead of feeling a boost, I just felt draggy.

My first half mile was a struggle, what I’d call a grind, where the purpose of the workout is simply to get through it. I wore a pair of Saucony’s (Grid Tangents) that I’d shelved last year in favor of my Hattoris and Mirages, but last Saturday’s freezing toes inspired me to make a change. The shoes were fine, but the laces were not. Twice during today’s run they came untied.

I followed a route similar to my daily 4:00 AM run but added another mile because I had a little more time. After a while the run became less arduous, but it never felt fun. I was glad to finally finish, pleased that I did my run, but not particularly happy with the experience. My performance wasn’t bad, a solid mid-9:00 pace. However, I wouldn’t call it great.

Some runs surprise you. You go out expecting trouble and end up experiencing your best run of the week. Other times it’s the opposite and you return feeling disappointed. Today was a grind but tomorrow it may be better. I’m hoping that’s the case. After all, it is vacation, and the running should be fun.

Reality check: back to work and 13.1 training

Today’s run (treadmill): 25 minutes

As I walked through mid-town this morning, I detected the acrid odor of a cigarette. It reminded me that being on vacation had shielded me from that toxic smell for almost two weeks. Well it’s back to work for me today. I’ll miss being on vacation but at least I like work.

The alarm jolted me awake at 3:45 and I debated whether to ease back into work mode by skipping today’s run. With temperatures in the 20’s, it was easy to justify staying indoors. But when you have a treadmill and an elliptical machine, there’s really no excuse not to exercise. I did an easy indoor run for 25 minutes which actually helped both mind and body.

I’m trying to decide an approach to training for the half-marathon in May. Last year I think I misunderstood the amount of base training I would need to meet my expectations for a 13.1 mile race. It was the most difficult run I’ve ever done, but I still felt I that could have done better in terms of finish time. I’m hoping that with a reasonable plan, I can realistically target 2:10. To do that, I’m going to need to do a lot of 10 to 13 mile training runs between now and May.

My 2012 racing calendar is already filling up!

All vacations end, and when they do, the hope is to be fully relaxed before returning to the office. For this vacation, I’d say mission accomplished. I even remained healthy throughout the week. For some reason, over the years, this winter holiday break has coincided with illness. It’s mostly been bouts of the flu, but two years ago I was hospitalized  with pneumonia. So far, so good!

I usually rest on Mondays to recover from the prior week’s training. I considered doing a run today since I’m still out of the office. I ultimately decided to forgo this workout in favor of today’s busy agenda.My only running related activity was snagging two pairs of compression shorts at Marshall’s for about $10 each. It was a very good deal.

I’ve signed up for the RXR Long Island Half Marathon that takes place in May. My friend TC, who planned to run it with me last year but got injured, has also signed up. In the meantime, I’m planing to run the Long Beach Snowball 4 mile race in February and the Marcie Mazzola 5K in mid-April. I may also try to fit in a 10K race as a tuneup before the Half. I need to restart my long base training soon, so I’m hoping for some snow-free weekends this month.

An unexpected sprint

Today’s workout (elliptical): 36 minutes

It’s day one of my year-end break and I started it with a longer than usual elliptical workout. It’s a busy day today so I started early. This allowed me to extend past my standard 25 minutes. I put on the TV and picked one of the music channels on the cable box. Before I knew it 36 minutes had passed and I needed to move on.

I felt so good during that workout that I could have easily gone for an hour or more.  When I came downstairs my kids were about to leave for school. I said goodbye but after they’d left, my wife discovered that my son had forgotten his phone. He is getting together with a group of friends after school so we felt he needed to have it. Since I was still dressed for a workout, I grabbed the phone and ran to the school. I caught him just before he and my daughter went inside.

That sprint to the school provided a nice second workout and I sprinted home because I was cold. The temperatures were in the 40’s and I was wearing shorts and a short sleeved jersey, already sweat-soaked from my elliptical session. I’m looking to cover some quality miles this weekend and throughout next week. Vacation running is the best.

My workouts by the numbers

Today’s run (street): 3.5 miles

I did my last workout of this vacation today; a mid-morning run around the neighborhood. It was the thirteenth day in a row where I’ve either run or cross-trained on the elliptical machine. A check on Daily Mile showed that I’ve done 24 workouts over the last 27 days. You’d think I’d be in better shape!

Although my activity frequency is high (90% days per month), my running distances have mostly stayed under 5 miles over the last few weeks. I blame the heat and some exceptionally busy weekends this summer for that and I know I’ll need to get my base back up to 6+ miles as I prepare for the Dirty Sock  and Great Cow Harbor 10K’s.

This morning the sun was less intense than yesterday and that helped me move briskly over a route that took me around, and then through, my local streets. I tried to focus on my form and to notice if my arms crossed my chest, which I now know is a sign that I’m reaching the point of fatigue. All systems seemed to be working well today and I finished up with a sprint on the final quarter mile that left me panting and soaked by the time I reached home.

Tomorrow means a return to the train, the subway and lots of meetings. My vacation has been great and, with a diversity of activities that included our visit to New Hampshire and Maine, it felt endless. But there is, of course, an end and I’ll experience that when my alarm jolts me awake at 4:00 AM tomorrow.