Friday, December 30, 2005

Colorado visit: Glorious to ski, yet difficult to run

Here's a look back at the last few days spent visiting my family in Colorado for Christmas...

Mon, 12/26

I ate a ton on Christmas Day. Sometimes, I just can’t quit eating and drinking. We ate at 2:30 PM on Christmas. I shoveled it in to the point that I did not eat again until the next day. Thankfully, we had a brisk walk in the evening to help offset my feast.

On to Monday - As a nice break from running, we went skiing at Arapahoe Basin, or “A-Basin”, as it is called in the area. It was gorgeous weather and the conditions were outstanding. I love to ski. It is simply something I do not get to do enough. Downhill skiing in the Rockies is definitely a different kind of workout than banging out mileage.

What was fascinating is how a runner in my condition can be rendered breathless at 12,500 feet of mountain elevation in a matter of seconds. Seriously, we exited the chairlift on a couple of occasions and had to work up an incline to get to the run we wanted to ski, and I was completely winded after 10 seconds of work. What gives?

Tue, 12/27

For my first run in the Denver ‘burbs, I was planning to do between 5 and 6 miles to try to get adjusted to the altitude. The weather in Denver seemed perfect – better than perfect. In fact, the high hit 60 degrees and the sun was beaming. As I got going, however, I was surprised by the high winds. I ran locally around the main roads in Littleton and completed just over 5 miles.

TIME: 39:38 -- DIST: 5.13 – PACE: 7:41

Wed, 12/28

For this day, I had planned to knock out a tempo 9-miler, as my Intermediate Training Plan called for. I used to plan a circuit around the Littleton area. It really is a beautiful place to run – and to live, for that matter. Surrounded by mountains, the sun has an intensity and brightness that you cannot get on the East Coast. The town of Littleton is just developed enough to have nice, wide sidewalks – yet underdeveloped in that the congestion does not exist in the residential sections.

For the first six, I was doing quite well and had believed that I was getting into form in Denver. Then, I hit some sort of wall. I turned onto Wadsworth Ave to head back toward my sister’s, and “crash”… the wind was 20+ MPH and I was climbing uphill. I started to chug and slow. It was brutal. I was out of gas. The first six miles, I did at 7:32. I did my last two miles at 8:49 per minute, if that’s any indication of the struggle.

When I hit my sis’s subdivision again, I wasn’t even worried about completing the full 9 miles. I decided it was an off day and turned in slightly early.

Factors, reasons (or excuses, if you please) for my difficult finish on Wednesday:

(1) Elevation – Like or not, running at 5,000 feet is not the same as running at sea level if you are not used to it.
(2) Diet – I was eating like crap and drinking a lot of beer. My habits are fairly poor during holiday times. For the prior evening’s dinner. I had two chili dogs topped with onions and cheese, and washed that down with a half of bag of chocolate covered espresso beans – not to mention the 5 or 6 beers I crushed. How’s that for a champion runner supper? On Monday night, I polished off a bunch of pizza after skiing and (of course) several more beers with my bro-in-law.
(3) Fatigue – I think the skiing on Monday and run the day before took more out of me than I realized.
(4) Wind – It was gusting 20-25 MPH as I hit the major incline back. It was really ridiculous trying to battle Mother Nature.
(5) Poor sleep – Jen & I crashed in the basement on an overly firm queen.

The ending of this run sucked my confidence. I pouted privately with the usual remarks to myself… “I need to take better care of myself”.

TIME: 1:05:24 -- DIST: 8.27 – PACE: 7:54

Interesting upon reviewing my two runs was that my average heart rate for my two runs was in the range of 160-165 bpm. I am typically in the 153-155 range with prior runs in Connecticut.

In closing, I decided to rest on Thursday morning – as opposed to trying to squeeze in a run before heading to airport to return home. I needed it.

Fri, 12/30 – Six miles
Sat, 12/31 – Easy 3-miler
Sun, 1/1 – Hard10-miler – Try to push toward race pace when possible

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Long 14-miler - A Rocky Mountain Christmas


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas Eve!

Today was my long run day. I cranked out a total of 14 miles in my town of Norwalk, CT. I had a great night’s sleep. I was amazed when I woke up at 9:00 AM after going to bed at 11:00 PM. I needed the rest for this run.

WEATHER REPORT – UNBELIEVABLY WARM AND BEAUTIFUL! At 10:30 AM, it was about 45 deg and sunny when it kicked off my run. It was great to wear shorts again. I think it hit about 50 when I was mid-way through my run.

FIRST 7-MILES – TIME: 53:19 – PACE: 7:37

Route overview: Wolfpit - Partrick – Cranbury – Newtown – back way up to Mohawk – south on Grumman to Toilsome – Sherwood – Grumman – Newtown south to Dry Hill – Princeton – Mark – Then added on 1 mile to Murray past Overbrook – and then back home

BREAK – I needed to head into the house to re-hydrate, use the bathroom and replace the dying battery of my Polar footpod. Not sure if the new battery is all the reliable, since I noticed on the second half that the watch was having trouble maintaining the signal. As a result, my back half mileage was slightly off.

SECOND 7-MILES -- TIME: 53:39 – PACE: 7:40

Route overview: Wolfpit to Rte 1 – Dry Hill – Newtown – Grumman all the way up over the Merrit to Bayne St for .5 miles – then back down to Grumman – Toilsome – Sherwood – Overbrook – Surrey – Add on Silwen Ct – Wolfpit – Add on past the house and back in.

TOTAL: 14 miles – 1:46:58 – EST PACE: 7:39

The hillly incline up Bayne St was a killer. I deserve some credit for elevation on this run. Overall, I felt pretty good. I probably had another 2-3 miles in me at this pace. Progressing very well this year considering it’s week 7.

MILEAGE WEEK-TO-DATE: 33 – Not sure if I will run tomorrow on Christmas. May try to sneak in a short 3-miler to keep the legs warm.


Later in the day, we drove to Hartford and caught a plane to Denver. We will be spending Christmas at my sister’s.

A day of black diamond skiing is lined up for this next week’s cross-training!

That’s right, my bro-in-law and I are hit the mountain on Monday. I am psyched. I am willing to bet the serious marathoners out there will tell me I am crazy and risking injury to do some serious skiing mid-training. Sorry guys, I can’t pass this up. Wish me luck.

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Cranked out a 9-miler in the midst of a workday

Do you know what I realized today? My life is easy. I mean, seriously, what major problems do I have in my life? Virtually none.

It was in the midst of my 9-miler at 12:30 PM that these thoughts hit me over the head. It's not like I have not realized I am blessed before, but I think about this a lot lately.

I work for a major consumer products company -- in the adult beverages industry. Yes, that's right -we make alcoholic beverages. It's a great gig. I am doing pretty well there for my experience level. I love what I do. I work in a fun company. Somehow, I have been able to balance my running, job, interests all without any major difficulty.

Today, for instance, I left my office -- really with no announcement to anybody -- to go to down to our gym and prepare for long 9-miler over my lunch. Why not? It's marathon training, right?

The kicker is that I had a 1PM meeting. So, at around 11:25 AM, how would I drop everything, get dressed for the winter weather, run a 9-miler, catch a shower, and appear for a 1PM meeting?

I pulled it off. OK, maybe I came up slighltly short. My Polar tells me I hit 8.77 miles, but that's no big sweat.

The point is I am 30 years old, happily married, in good health, in a good career, in a good financial situation -- and overall, life could not be better.

By the way, I did my "almost" 9 miles after a late night hockey game last night. I arrived home at 12:10 AM after a 7-5 win. I even pulled off a hat trick.

I need to express the amount of hills that I ran today over lunch. It was crazy elevation here in Norwalk, CT. It was the hardest run I have done in a long while.

I did my run in just over 1:06 -- quite a rapid pace -- given the elevation challenges.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Countdown to Tampa: 68 Days

We're approaching the new year, which is a time of change and resolution. So, I am changing things up. I changed my blog template. This is a new font (Verdana, thank you very much).

And Jen and I are planning to embark on yet another major change. We are planning to re-locate to the Chicago suburbs. It's going to be a sweet deal. I get to keep my plush job with my current company, and just move on over and work from the office there.

So I am trying to keep up with work, celebrate the holidays, keep up the running mileage and begin to sell our house. No sweat, right?


Do you know anyone running this marathon?

As to the running, I managed to escape right in the middle of each of the last two work days. I literally drop everything I am doing, head down to our corporate gym, change into my winter gear and head out.

MON 12/19 -- Yesterday afternoon, I knocked out an easy 3 miles near the office. I learned that it's not a good idea to try to run near the Route 7 connector onramp. I also did some nice stretching.

TUE 12/20 -- Today was a good one. I am estimating my total was 7.2 miles. I ran from work through the back neighborhoods from East Rocks/Caddy area. Quite hilly but pleasant.

My friend, Steve, told me about a cool website called mapmyrun (see my links). It's great. If you want to plan your run in a new area, you can enter your start point and plan your adventure.

It also works out handy if you are running an unknown distance and your Polar distance monitor freezes up (like it did for me today).

Do you know anyone else who cross-trains for marathons with hockey games? I really am curious...

I am going to take a rest from running on Wednesday. BUT, of course, we've got a 10:30 PM hockey game. We're due for a win.

Here's the remainder of the week plan:

  • Wednesday 12/21 - Rest / Late hockey game
  • Thursday 12/22 - 9 miles - Tempo
  • Friday 12/23 - 3 Easy - OPTIONAL - Make a judgement call - May need to rest
  • Saturday 12/24 - 14 miles - Long run - Then fly to Denver
  • Sunday 12/25 - Merry Christimas!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Marathon Training - Week 6 of 16 - 35 miles


Mon, Dec 12

3:20 PM -- Busted out of work for an easy 4-miler. I did an out-and-back to Silvermine.

DIST: 4.0 -- TIME: 29:34 -- PACE: 7:25

Tue, Dec 13

[Note: It is now Mon 12/19 and I am trying to recall this run; I just know I did it because my Polar running computer tells me I did!]

6:33 AM -- Don't remember much about this run. I know it was cold. I know I ran on my usual neighborhood roads.

TIME: 54:51
DIST: 7.0
PACE: 7:50

Thu, Dec 15

11:32 AM - I knew I had to get an 8-miler in today to keep on track this week. I had an appointment at 1PM. I was really proud of myself for this run. I busted out of work to get started around 11:30.

My game plan was to run towards home, dump off any unneeded layers, get a drink and run back to work. It worked out quite well.

It was a bit nippy and I had set a bit of a torrid pace. I ran down Main Ave to Ward St. I took Ward to Cannon to Newtown and then snuck through the back neighborhoods toward my place. I was really pushing the pace on this run. I felt like I was moving quite fast. It was a combination of the cold and the fact that I knew I had to get back to work on time.

After my shower, I had 8 minutes to eat my lunch before my guests arrived. Of course, they were early. I inhaled 1/2 my lunch and then went onto my meeting at 1PM.

EST TIME: 59:00
DIST: 8.0
PACE: 7:22

The pace on this for 8 miles seems a bit agressive, but I was running really fast. Need to continue to monitor accuracy of the Polar's distance calculator.

Sat, Dec 16

11:12 AM - Spontaneously broke out to catch a 4-miler. Out and back to toilsome via Grumman. Nothing special. Kept me on track for the week.

TIME: 29:40
DIST: 4.0
PACE: 7:25

Sun, Dec 17

10:52 AM - I broke this 12-miler into two pieces. The first was a 7-mile trek that took me up to Grumman toward my all-too-familiar training area. However, to change it up a bit, I decided to cross the Merritt and head over to Half Mile and Granite roads. I then came back to Grumman and turned onto Mohawk to complete Mohawk's peak.

The last 5-miler portion was a random route in which I just kept running around the back neighborhoods onto Newtown and Grumman until I could estimate a distance to head back home to get me to 12.

I felt pretty good for most of the run. However, I did get a bit fatigued toward the last couple of miles. I guess it's not surprising to feel tired after about 9-10 miles. However, this was my third time doing this distance in the last few weeks and I had hoped to feel stronger at this point.

TIME: 1:31:20
DIST: 12.0
PACE: 7:41 per mile


  • Mon - 4
  • Tue - 7
  • Thu - 8
  • Sat - 4
  • Sun - 12
  • TOTAL: 35 miles -- GREAT JOB!

    This was a successful week. I even went to a holiday party with Jen. I am doing all the things that I want to be able do while training. Great work/life/run balance!

    Sunday, December 11, 2005

    Week 5 of 16 Recap - 28 miles


    Mon, 12/5

    Had an all-day meeting in Plainfield. My flight was delayed 2.5 hours making me late for my own meeting with a huge number of participants. Way to make a first impression on the President of one of our core suppliers. It was a disaster and I didn’t even have a run today.

    Tue, 12/6

    It was probably about 10 degrees in Burr Ridge at 5:45 AM. I bundled up for this run – to the extent that I was nearly overdressed. I felt like Randy, the kid that gets dressed by his brother, in that movie A Christmas Story.

    However, I got it in. It was cold, but I was warmly dressed.

    TIME: 46:53 -- EST DIST: 6.0 -- EST PACE: 7:48

    Wed, 12/7

    It was –10 wind chill in the Chicago suburbs and my throat was killing me. I had a terrible night’s sleep. I didn’t run. I caught the 2:53 flight back to NY.

    Thu, 12/8

    Had a 9+hour sleep last night. I figured it would be good enough to ease the cold and knock out 7-miles. So I did. It was almost cold as it was in Chicago this week. I nearly underdressed. I definitely had a cold, but I was fighting through it.

    Jen needed to take the train to the city. So I had her drive to the E.Norwalk station. I planned to run a 4-mile distance and meet her there. Well, I took a route up Wolfpit to Murray; then curled down Sylvan North. I cut across Rt 1 and went onto

    It ended up being 5 by the time I got to the train station. I drove the car home and then added on two .

    TIME: 53:04 -- EST DIST: 7.0 -- EST PACE: 7:35

    Fri, 12/9

    It was a productive day at work. I continued to fight through the congestion, the coughing, the flem and the sneezing. I even mustered up enough for a 4-miler in the early evening before our Company party. I got the run in and prepared for the party. By the end of the night, I couldn't even speak. My voice was shot.

    TIME: 31:09 -- EST DIST: 4.1 -- EST PACE: 7:30

    Sat, 12/10

    I took the day off today from doing anything. The plan was to rest up for the long run on Sunday and shake off the cold. It was a great day to do absolutely nothing. It felt good.

    Sun, 12/11

    10:30 AM - I was ready to kick off my 12-miler.

    I decided to break it up into 2 sixes. I did Mohawk's peak. I'm thinking after all these runs that the Mohawk is slightly less than 6 miles. I am thinking it's around 5.9. I was overdressed for the first 6. The sun beat down and the temp pushed close to 40. I had to lose my under-tights and long-sleeve shirt when I arrived back.

    For my second half, I ran thru the back neighborhood to Overbrook then onto Grumman. I took Grumman striaght up almost all the way to Cranbury Park. When the Polar told me I had hit 3, I turned around and went the same exact route back.

    It was a very cool, clear day. I felt better the second six than I did the first. Mission completed.

    EST TIME: 1:31:36 -- EST DIST: 12.0 -- EST PACE: 7:38


    I only had 4 runs this week, but it was a still a decent week. I traveled and didn't let a harsh cold get me down. There was 0 degree weather, 7" of snow, icy conditions and a holiday party.

    12/12 WEEK #6 PLAN

    Mon - 4. Tue - 7 AM / Hockey game at night. Wed - REST. Thu - 8-Tempo. Fri - 4EZ. Sat - REST. Sun - 12.

    Saturday, December 03, 2005

    Week 4 of 16 - 30 miles


    OK, I admit it. I am cheating again. I am finishing this POST on Friday 12/9. It should have been posted by last Sunday. Anyway...

    Monday, 11/28

    6:45 AM -- Had an interesting start to the week. We arrived back from Pittsburgh at around 8PM on Sunday night. I was disciplined to get up on time for a nice 5-miler.

    Only problem was that when I went out to the garage to leave for work, my car was not there! Jen had already left for work 45 minutes earlier. I realized that it had been sitting at work since Wed when Jen picked me up. We had totally forgotten to stop and pick it up on the way home on Sun night. SO... I had no ride to work. Luckily, I had no meetings scheduled and I was able to work from home.

    TIME: 37:56
    DIST: 5.0
    PACE: 7:35

    Tuesday, 11/29

    3:41 PM - Escaped from the office - Ran in Silvermine. That's all I remember.

    TIME: 38:43
    DIST: 5.1
    PACE: 7:35

    Thursday, 12/1

    1:40 PM - AGAIN, Escaped from the office - Ran in Silvermine. I took a different path on this day. I ran up and around the Silvermine Tavern. That's where we had our Procurement Holiday Dinner. Nice commitment after a bit of a late dinner last night.

    TIME: 46:23
    DIST: 6.1
    PACE: 7:35

    Friday, 12/2

    6:45 AM - I decided to try the "repeats" thing. I went to the Norwalk HS track. I also wanted to take the opportunity to recalibrate my watch.

    I think I counted a total of 15 laps on the 400m track. It was hard to keep track as I kept trying to recalibrate the Polar. Note that the fast pace laps averaged around 1:35.

    TIME: 29 - DIST: 4 miles - EST PACE: 7:15

    Saturday, 12/3

    I needed to get this long run in on Saturday as we had plans all day on Sunday. Surprisingly, I didn't feel that well at the beginning of this run. In fact, I had run a solid two miles to check the calibration of my watch. After I reset my watch to start up again, my next 3 miles were rough. I felt really fatigued and had to walk a bit. It was a really busy week of work and maybe yesterday's speedwork was catching up with me. I got back to the house after about 5 miles; re-hydrated and felt pretty good the rest of the way.

    TIME: 1:17:13 -- DIST: 10.0 miles -- EST PACE: 7:45

    Sunday, 12/4

    No running today, but it is worth noting that after a trek to NYC, and doing some major beer drinking in the bars - I was still able to muster a strong 4-goal performance in our 7-1 hockey game victory. Not a bad week. Not bad at all.