There’s a new club points series in town

Loyal listeners of the New York Running Show (all 81 of you) will have heard the distinctly distressed aural hand-wringing that four of us engaged in on Sunday afternoon as we discussed NYRR’s unveiling of the club points races for 2011. “No more Healthy Kidney 10K? Hey, a spring half — in Brooklyn! But WTF is Fifth Avenue Mile doing there?!”

But, as we like to say here in New York, “Whaddya gonna do?” It is what it is.

One of us at least is doing what any sensible person does in such cases: go west. And east. And north. And south.

That sensible person would be Steve Lastoe of NYCRuns.com who, along with a few other ambitious New York area runners, is attempting to supplement NYRR’s offerings (but not supplant them) with a new series of races in which clubs can chase points (and prizes!). The NYCRuns InterClub Challenge consists of races that are off the beaten path.

Here are the deets about the race series (still being created, but a few races are on the official roster) and the still-being-designed scoring scheme. Since I am now an “insider” (which gets me nothing of commercial or negotiable value thus far, although I’m scoring big on the personal satisfaction side of things), I know of a few other races — impressive ones — that are in the works. But I’m not allowed to talk about them yet.

These races are going to happen whether or not teams choose to exploit them as a competitive opportunity. But I hope they do make that choice, even if it means doing something incredibly adventurous — like taking a train or subway to an exotic new zip code — because it would be fun to carry that extra dimension of racing motivation and excitement to other venues around the area.

Patience. Endurance. And more patience.

It’s been surprisingly difficult to get back into a regular running routine, considering how much I missed running from August through October. I had a rough goal of achieving 40 mpw over the past few weeks. But then I found myself skipping planned runs. Or, rather, I had no plans. So not running was easy to do on many days.

Coach Sandra is still traveling and that’s fine. I told her a few weeks back that I was dropping plans for a spring marathon and that I just needed to get injury-free before I could think about making any significant training or racing plans. Building mileage and getting rid of my remaining adductor problems have been the only goals on the horizon.

Still, one needs a plan. In my case, a specific one. “Run 40 mpw” isn’t enough structure for me. So I’ve mapped out runs for the next five weeks. Two of those weeks consist of the “pre-race” schedule Sandra had put into my original plan over the summer. The others include one tempo or fartlek session midweek and a long run on Sunday. Mileage is 35-45 mpw. I have one doubles day. This at least resembles real training, and it’s reasonable to think I can stick to it. I’m giving myself a day off from running about every 7-10 days.

I have races penciled in, despite my better judgment. First, the NYRR Gridiron 4 Miler in early February. That’s completely dependent on how the tempo/fartlek efforts go. If I still have adductor pain, forget it. But if not, I’ll probably go for it. Then, in very soft, highly erasable pencil, the Cherry Tree 10 Miler a couple of weeks later.

That one is probably not practical, based on my run today. I did 11.2 miles in Central Park, although I’d planned to do 12. I ran a bit faster than the previous run two weeks ago (and it was very windy today), and four of them were well under 8:00 at a not ridiculous effort. But I don’t have real endurance yet. I was cooked at 10 miles and made my way out of the park via a shortcut.  I’ll try for 12 next Sunday, down from my original planned 14.

It drives me crazy not to have something to work toward. So I’m going to loosely train for the NYRR Colon Cancer Challenge 15K. That’s 10 weeks away. My best time in that race is 1:07:18 in 2009, and that was doing it as a tempo effort training run with 6 miles tacked onto either side of it. Incidentally, I have no fucking clue how I was doing runs like that two years ago. It seems impossible now.

Running a decent 15K would give me opportunity train for endurance and speed, which training for these 4 milers won’t give me. But I figure I can punt if I’m still struggling with longer distances and just do the Colon Cancer 4 miler instead as a measuring stick against whatever I do next month.

I’m not ready to jump into marathon training yet, physically or otherwise. I need to feel like I can run 50 mpw consistently without getting reinjured. But, looking a bit farther ahead this season, I’m thinking a run at the half distance in Long Island in May (and hoping we don’t have another freak heat wave) is not a terrible idea.

In totally unrelated news, we had a good New York Running Show episode this evening, in which we (Joe, Amy, Brenn and I) covered all things related to training in Central Park (and some racing tips), as well as a discussion of whether men should wear shorts over their tights. We had 83 downloads of the show last week. That’s up from around 50 a few weeks ago. Explosive growth!

Hump day update

I’m on Day 10 of The Cold. This one’s a nasty strain. Oh, it’s nasty, people. It starts with an incredibly sore throat, blocked sinuses and feeling run down. That goes on for about six days. Random bouts of upset stomach are thrown in just to keep things interesting. Then you get a few hours of total fakeout, where you think you’re getting better. That happened on Saturday afternoon and evening. And then, overnight, the cold migrates to your chest, turning into a bad cough and overall wheeziness and heaviness. The rundown feeling is replaced with an “I drank too much and then someone hit me in the head with a sledge hammer” sensation. In the meantime, your sneezes are in Technicolor.

I’ve managed to go running exactly twice during this time. The first run was on Saturday, when I thought I was getting better. That was a six miler at 9:30 pace, windy, with some stopping and walking. I tried again on Monday, another try at six miles. I forgot my watch, which is probably just as well.

I visited my doctor yesterday to confirm that I don’t have something bad brewing (like pneumonia). In the process I got an Rx for a hydrocodone-based cough syrup. I was warned that it’s habit forming and that I am not to take more than the recommended dose (1 teaspoon twice a day — it’s like the nitroglycerin of cough syrups), and then “wean myself off it it.” That won’t be hard. A half an hour after taking a teaspoon I am an idiot. Five minutes after that I’m out cold for three hours.

I am feeling better, finally, now, although I don’t trust it. But I’d better feel better by tomorrow because it’s going to be a big day! Jonathan goes in for something called “platelet rich plasma” therapy (otherwise known as “PRP”). His foot, in which he tore the fascia clean in half back in August, is not getting better, so this course of treatment was recommended. What they do is take some of his blood, extract the platelets, whirl them around for a bit and then reinject the substance back into his foot. He won’t be put under (or down, fortunately), but will be anesthetized into a state of “conscious sedation.” This means that he won’t be out cold, but he also won’t remember anything that happened. Kind of like when I take Ambien with a beer.

This has to be done in a facility rather than in Ortho 1’s office. I don’t know if it’s an actual hospital, but there are pieces of hospitalish equipment required, along with the services of an anesthesiologist. We’re bringing in our own boot and crutches, since this procedure is going to cost a significant amount and we may as well economize where we can. I was tempted to get an additional boot from the facility because a pair of them would help complete a really good Frankenstein costume.

He’ll be recovering for a few days. Then I think he can start running early next week and see if that fixes the problem. Edited: No, he can start non-impact cross-training in three days, then elliptical in 10. No running for a month — this was news.

The start of my cold coincided with my visit to The Nutritionist. I’ve been following her instructions, although, having done next to no exercise, I’m not expect a whole lot to happen. At least it’s been easy to stick to as I’ve had no appetite. Quitting drinking cold turkey was easy too, since I have no desire to drink when I’m sick.

Tomorrow I’ll also try to pick up my bib and chip for Sunday’s Ted Corbitt 15K, since we’ll be in the vicinity of NYRR’s offices. I had hoped to get up to at least a 10 mile run prior to this race, but this cold has thrown everything off. The longest run I’ve done since I started back roughly a month ago was eight miles. Unless I’m still ill or the weather is really bad, I’ll run it. Racing it seems a folly given the last four months of running crapitude.

What I may do is just spend the first few miles testing out my adductor on the hills. If it’s okay, I may try to “race” for a few miles just to see what speed I can get up to (and gather some heart rate data). Then either drop out or jog the rest. Yes, the stupid adductor still hurts. I did some reading up on osteitis pubis and see that for some people it can take 7-12 months to go away completely.

2011 has to be better for both of us. It just has to be.

There were some bright spots this week:

My blood pressure at the doctor’s was 112/70; resting pulse was 52 — so I have not lost fitness.

I am finally resuming work on Houston Hopefuls this weekend, with my first interview in two months. A third will follow in January. I’ve got two new Hopefuls joining up too.

I just got another assignment from Running Times, an article for their site, not print (“Web Exclusives”), about winter cross-training alternatives. That was as a direct result of the latest Khannouchi-based opus, even though it was rejected. I’m sure the print work also helped establish me as someone who isn’t a total flake. I also got a new lead on some corporate writing work for the new year to add to the irons I already have going there, from a “potential client” that I’d all but written off. I am feeling fairly confident that we won’t starve, at least not in the first quarter.

The resurfacing of our front walk is almost done and it’s looking really good. Our mason is a perfectionist. That was a nice surprise. But his guys had to stop working because of the sudden cold snap. Work resumes on Friday, probably. No word on when the new windows are going in.

Friday is our 20 year anniversary (of sorts; we’re not married, at least not that I know of). We, uh, “officially became a couple” 20 years ago. We’ll probably celebrate with some cough mixture and gimp boot dancing.

NY Running: The Club Scene

Last night Joe, Frank, Amy, Steve and I yacked for well over an hour (1:23:18, to be exact) on the NY Running Podcast. We chatted mostly about clubdom — what are clubs all about? What’s in it for you? And why won’t NYRR recognize the Inwood Hill Runners as a club? Steve also plugged a few upcoming races. This episode should get you through a 10 mile run if you’re running an 8:20 pace.

Listen to or download the show at Talk Shoe. Learn more about the NY Running Podcast.

Impossible. Possible.

The Joe Kleinerman 10K is closed. I wouldn’t be able to run it anyway. Still, damn, even the winter NYRR races fill up quickly now.

The next possibility for me is the Ted Corbitt 15K. This used to be call the Hot Chocolate 15K, but I like that they reclaimed this one to honor the father of ultrarunning.

I am in no shape to race, but I need to run like a normal runner again soon. I am running 2-3 times a week around a soccer/baseball field right now. It takes about 2 minutes to circle it. Running for 30 minutes, well, do the math. I’ll run Tuesday and Friday of this week, then move to every other day starting next. Provided I have no lingering pain or other obvious problems, I want to be back running every day by around December 12th.

I just want to throw on some tights and run around the park on December 19th. No racing because, frankly, I’m afraid of recracking my pelvis or reinflaming my adductor tendon with 9.3 fast miles on hilly pavement. But an easy run around the park, with people, not caring about pace but just running because I can — I would like that very much. This is truly all I want for Christmas.

NYC Marathon Photos: The banquet and the elites

I took lots of shots from the finish line banquet, and got nearly all of the male and female elites coming in. As a teaser, here are two of the better pictures. View the whole album here > NYC Marathon 2010 on Picasa.

Edna Kiplagat

Gebre Gebremariam

Legit.

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