Thursday, June 30, 2011

Journey to the HALF Marathon

As you may already know, I've decided to challenge myself with the task of completing my first HALF MARATHON this year!  I'm signed up for the Hershey Half Marathon on October 16th.  I will have 2 Goals for this race, A) To Finish B) To finish in 3 Hours

In order to prepare myself for this race I have decided to follow Hal Higdon's Novice Plan and I will be incorporating the Galloway Run-Walk-Run technique.

The plan is a 12 week plan Mon-Sun which I will be starting the week ending July 31st.  Each week consists of 3 short runs and 1 long run.  The long run progressively gets built up along the way.  Also during the course of training, there will be a few races as well.

I will be blogging after each training run with details of how it went and how the training is coming along, so I hope you will stay tuned!

I do have a couple races in July to work on before the half marathon training begins, July 16th 4M run in Central Park and July 30th 5K in Prospect Park, both of which are on the event calendar on the site.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Pride! 5 Mile Run Race Report

Yesterday I ran my first 5 mile race, and also my first attempt at the hardest course in Central Park, the top loop with Harlem Hills.  This was another NY Road Runner race in honor of Pride Weekend, celebrating the gay and lesbian community, and it made it even more exciting given the fact the the NY State Legislature passed the Marraige Equality bill the night before!

Before the race I met up with some friends from the Runners World forums: From L to R - Dahlia, Amy, Me, Rebeca, Jennifer

When we got to the corral, my beautiful wife Gail (aka my photographer and #1 cheerleader) had a surprise for me!

Then yet another surprise, when I met another friend from the Runners World forum, Beth!

Race started at 9AM, it wasnt too hot, around 70 degrees, but was VERY humid out.  Since I had never run this course and it included the most difficult part of the park, Harlem Hill which ive never run before, my ONLY goal besides finishing was to finish in under 1:15:00 or sub 15:00 miles.

Mile #1 - This first mile included the Harlem hill, so my strategy was to run a 45/30 run walk interval till I get to the hill and then switch to a 30/45 interval and told myself not to push it TOO hard up the hill in order to make sure I didnt kill myself before the rest of the 4 miles.  Harlem hill wasnt as bad as I expected it, it was long and just kept going, and then when i thought i had reached the top, it still went on, but after reaching the top, the downhill to the west side of the park was nice.  My strategy worked and Mile #1 was my fastest mile in the race @ 13:37!

Mile #2 & #3 -  These 2 miles were along the West Side of the park which is basically a series of rolling hills, Ive ran these before and knew what to expect.  I did make water stops twice since I was feeling a little dehydrated. Mile #2 - 14:29 Mile #3 - 14:25

Mile #4 - Cat Hill which is another big hill, but one that Ive run before, so again I knew what to expect. I also stopped again for water after the hill. Mile #4 - my slowest at 15:11

Mile #5 - After Cat Hill, I was pretty much done with the hills, and there was some downhill as well.  I knew I had the energy to speed up after my last mile a bit and by the time I got to the last half mile, i ditched the intervals and ran the rest of the way.  Final Mile - 14:58

Finish Time - 1:14:28 - Goal Accomplished!!!!!

Some interesting Pics my wife took:

Me and Amy post race, Congrats to my friend Amy for finishing 9+1 which guarantees her entry into next years ING NYC Marathon!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Corporate Mayhem!

Last night I participated in the JP Morgan Chase Corporate Challenge.  I knew going in it was going to be a large crowd (15,000 to be exact), bigger than any Ive dealt with.  I guess I'm spoiled with how well organized the NY Road Runner races are organized and ran that i ASSUMED that even though it would be a large crowd, i would be somewhat organized..  I WAS WRONG..

Got to my company's tent area at around 6:15 and didn't see anyone I knew, so I just grabbed a couple snacks since I hadn't eaten dinner (bag of peanuts and a banana with a Gatorade G2) then headed over to the cattle call, i mean start area around 6:40.

This was the only pic that was taken during the race, because my wife had a hard time getting to the finish area and I certainly didn't want her anywhere near this mayhem!  People were bottle necked into the area, people kicking down fences, runners supposed to be in the front corral trying to squeeze their way thru the mass of people, not to mention some of the foul odors coming from some of the folks in the area.

As far as the race was concerned, this was my first time running a 3.5 mile race so I knew it was gonna be an auto PR, and since I was a little tired coming into the race and being aggravated from the start, I didn't expect my finish time to be all that great.

The course was pretty much a  reverse course of the 4 milers I ran in central park, and I prefer the course the other way.  This time you start out on the west side rolling hills and it just seemed like there was a lot more Uphill then when running the other way.  

Also since many of the people participating doesn't consider this competitive there are a lot of people who walk the entire thing, which isn't all that bad, but then you get 5-6 people walking together and getting around them sucks.

Anyways, not gonna drag this RR out much longer, my finish time was around 52:30 and almost a full minute off my best pace.

After the race they gave out finisher t-shirts, I was so aggravated with the whole thing I just wound up getting one for my wife, cause I didn't even want it!

Definitely NOT running this next year.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Birthday, Time for Reflections and Appreciation

Today is my "official" birthday!  Like I say on my site, I was born on June 11, 1977, but I consider May 9, 2009 my birthday.   That day is the day I decided to take charge of my life and do something about my health and fitness, the day I actually finally decided to LIVE my life.

So what better way to celebrate my "official" birthday than to go out for a run at 6AM this morning.  The 4 miles I ran this morning was spent reflecting back on my life and how far Ive come in just 2 years!

I just really wanted to take the time out today to just let you know that all the hard work and accomplishments Ive achieved over the past 2 years wouldn't have been possible if it wasn't for my awesome support system.

I want to thank first and foremost my wonderful and might i add BEAUTIFUL wife Gail.  I sometimes feel bad that my accomplishments over shadow hers, and I want everyone to know how proud I am of her.  Gail has lost over 50lbs and is now on Lifetime with Weight Watchers since she has reached goal and is now maintaining her weight.  Having her do this with me, and being at all of my races has been so important to me, and just another reason why my love for her will always outweigh anything a scale will say!!

Secondly, my family and close friends..  They are without a doubt a critical part of my success. They are with me to cheer me on during my proud times, and there to help lift me up when I'm down.  I am blessed to have such wonderful people in my life.

Finally, all of you who are following me here on my blog, or on facebook and twitter.  Even though I will probably never meet most of you in person,  you truly touch my heart with your words of encouragement and support.  When I read about those of you whom I have touched in someway or have inspired to become healthier and more active, it just really makes me feel even more fulfilled.  I have truly finally found my calling by doing this.  I hope to one day be able to inspire as many people as I can.  If I can help other people get more fit and healthy, I will feel as if I had done something meaningful with my life, and that you certainly cant put a price on, its priceless!

Again, thank you for your continued support, I look forward to celebrating many more years of successes with you all!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

It's Hot Out!!! SO WHAT?????????

Today in the city during lunch the temperature outside was 96 degrees with a heat index of about 103!!

Yeah, it was hot out, but SO WHAT???  I wasnt about to let that stop me from getting out there and walking!

The 2 miles that I walked today were probably two of the best feeling miles I have ever walked.  People may never understand why, but I will try to explain the best I can.

Try and imagine what it feels like to walk in these conditions at 476 lbs.  I have and let me tell you, it isn't fun, not even close!  When I tell you at 476 lbs, if i stepped outside and walked a few feet, Id be miserable.  I couldn't breathe, Id be achy, it was not a good experience.

So today, yes, I was hot and I was sweating, but I didn't care!  I had my water with me and my ipod, and I walked without hesitation!  I walked with my head held high and a beaming grin on my face. 

The reason I'm writing this blog entry is so that maybe to some, they may use the heat as an excuse not to get out there and get some exercise in, and that shouldn't be the case (unless for medical reasons you cant).  Go ahead, get out there, even if its just for 30 minutes.  Don't let the heat be an excuse, be smart and use sunscreen and bring some water, but when you are done, YOU TOO will be holding your head high and proud that you went out there and did it!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Celebrate Israel - Mission Accomplished!!!!

Today was the Celebrate Israel 4 Mile race, which was run by the NY Road Runners.

Woke up bright and early had my toast with coffee and headed out to Central Park via bus.  Got into the city around 7:45 which gave me plenty of time to check out some of the pre-race stuff going on.  Also gave me a chance to meet up with my friend Dahlia and chat a little bit before heading to the corral.

Then I made my way to the back of the pack corral, which at least wasnt colored $hit brown like my last run, I can handle purple! lol

Here I am getting ready in my corral

Race started at 9AM, but I didnt cross the start line till about 9:09 AM, there were about 6000 runners participating at this run.

Mile 1:  East side of Park / Cat Hill

I went in with a Gallowalk plan of 2 min run/1 min walk, and stuck with it for most of the first mile, including Cat Hill (Named hill in central park because of the Cat Statue at its peak).  My last time running this course in Central Park, i took it too hard up Cat Hill which aggravated my quad, so I learned from my mistakes and took it easy on the way up, and it paid off!  I made it past this hill with no pain!  And was also rewarded with my fastest mile of the run!

Mile 2: East Side/North End of Course

This is where things got interesting for me. There are several rolling hills along the course that start here, and luck have it that my Run intervals seemed to start as the Uphills were starting.  At this point I figured that I should just make up my own intervals to get thru these hills.  Id slowly run uphill, make up time on the downhill and then do a short recovery walk before the next hill.  And this strategy worked!  I recorded another fast mile, and after checking my GPS data, I was hitting about a 9:00 pace on the downhills!!

Mile 3:  North end/West Side

More of the same with the hills, and I decided since I was making decent time to take it easy a little bit and save my energy for that last mile.  Nothing special during this part of the course.   This was my slowest mile.

Mile 4:  West Side / Finish Line

After passing the 5K mark with a PR pace, I felt energized from taking it easy during mile 3 and just gave it my all the last 8/10 of a mile.  Turned the corner to the finish, I knew I had set a PR and hit my goal coming in!

Coming in I had 1 goal only, and that was to break the 1:00:00 mark which I missed last time by 3 lousy seconds!

Here I am coming thru the finish line

14:11 Pace!

Here is the breakdown by Mile:
Mile 1 - 13:30
Mile 2 - 13:39
Mile 3 - 14:47
Mile 4 - 14:09

I definitely think that my last 2 mile training run on Thursday helped me.  I ran 2 miles in 28 minutes and knew I was capable of 14 minute miles.  Im also glad I learned from past mistakes and did a better job tackling the hills which really helped my time alot.  Also enjoyed using a hydration belt for the first time, was nice having both hands free during the race!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

National Run Day

Today is National Run Day!!!!

Unfortunately, today I'm feeling a bit under the weather and unable to run :(

However, that doesn't mean I cant do SOMETHING to honor the day!

Today I put up a Giveaway on my site!  I will be giving away a Walk It with Walgreens Kit which includes a Pedometer, Walking Journal, and Drawstring Pouch.

Why give away a Walking kit for Run Day???  Well for me it all started with walking!!!  Even today I still incorporate plenty of walking in my runs..  I truly believe that for me to get started in running, I needed to know that I could walk a distance comfortably.  Also getting out there and walking is a great way to exercise!

So be sure to visit my site, check under the FREE STUFF tab for more details!