Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: The Running Year In Review

"2007: A Day At The Races".

2007: A Running Year In Review:
What a Year 2007 was!

The year starts slowly with plenty of walks out in the cold. Goldmine Discovery #1: And from this moment on all my running logs are going to be entered in there.

Goldmine Discovery # 2: . It is here where I decided to start journalizing my running life, and what a better way to do it than by advertising it on the world wide web? My first entry was dated January 1, 2007 entitled, “Welcome To My Running Biography”, but in reality it was created on February 7th. My first blogs took me as far as my insane run down and up a tremendous hill in Vancouver, some 3000 miles away to as close as my own backyard when I re-discovered Forest Park, and all it’s charm.

I discover Forest Park, located less than a mile from me, and take full advantage of its trails, and wonderful athletic oval. In fact, I ran around that oval 30 times in recognition of my sister Vanessa, who also turned 30 as well. The LA Fitness Gym became part of my regimen as well for those cold days, or just for cross-training. I successfully introduce my first “You Tube” video on March 30th and travel again, to Cleveland on a work related assignment.

Having learned painful lessons from years gone by with many an injury, I decided to adopt a new philosophy about running, and realized that gradual increases in distances, coupled with gradual speeed increases is the best recipe for not getting hurt. Although, I would still get hurt this year, I do finally embrace something that I should have embraced long ago…”EZ Does It”.

My first embedded MP3 makes it way onto my blog on Easter Sunday, April 8. At this point I’ve also joined the 1000 Kilometer Mileage Club off of RunningAhead.Com, and issued dire warning to its pace bunny. Shelby Siegel becomes my real & imaginary challenger all at once with a gutsy back n’ forth battle during the Brooklyn Half Marathon race on April 14. I lost to her, but got a PR in the process posting a record 1:45:39 finish in the first Grand Prix of the season.

The Boston Marathon is nearly cancelled for the first time in its 111th year due to storms. And my diet is cancelled for the 111th time as well. It is confirmed, I am an Eating Ho.
On April 22, I connected with my past, by running the JFK Runway Run, a race I had not done since 1985. Not only did I connect nostalgically, but I really connected! I finished that run with a pace of 6 minutes and 41 seconds per mile!!!

April also marked my ending of training at the gym and instead went all outside. I had another race, the Thomas Labrecque Run on April 29th, and boom, the 4 miles was done at a pace of 7 minutes 20 seconds, another PR.

May was a tumultous month for me. Full of intensity. I ran my second Long Island Half-Marathon. Not only did I do well, but I finished 1 hour 45 minutes and 39 seconds, making it the first time I have ever run a race of that length under 8 minutes a mile. A new PR. The very next day was the six month countdown to the New York City Marathon. It also marked the first time I ever drove my grandmother in my car. Long Story. On May 20, I finally race in Forest Park, and do great. I finish third amongst my age group of 40-44 and was poised to win a trophy. Too bad, the age group was actually 40-49, which landed me in 4th place and out of trophy contention. This would be as close as it would come. Two days later, and I was back at it again. Another race. This one down on Wall Street in the Big Apple. I do great again finishing with a pace of 7:20 per mile. But Shelby, who had lined up in the front line (when should not have) did even better and posted a finish of last than 7 minutes a mile. Tumultous usually means a high variety of outcomes. May proved it. The last race only 5 days later, proved to be too much for me to handle. Having 4 races in 1 month, and three in one week, took its toll on me. The last of the four races was the Long Beach 10 Miler. I had every intention on overcoming the normal nausea and headwind I usually battle on this course. But again, it proved to be too much. Whereas I was doing great in the front 5 miles, I totally collapsed, and walked most of the last few miles. I also had a major spat with my girlfriend over something stupid right before the start of the race, and that did not help matters at all.

As it turned out, I was more than out of gas when I ran in Long Beach. I was at my physical limitation between running and injury. And now the injury was taking over.
My left tibia which had been fractured two years ago, was acting up again, although this time it was my upper tibia that was doing the talking. All the racing that I did, coupled with tempo runs and long runs which were done at excessive speeds counted for all of the mishap. I guess I wasn’t ready to lay down my bad habits just yet after all. As such June was a lousy month for me. I wound up cancelling all my races, and I didn’t run once between June 20th and July 10th. 30 days off. Ugh.

I started the “run machine” back up mid way through this month with much more planning this time around. I built new courses, and put together new regimens to ensure that I would not injure myself again. My first run on July 15th took me all the way to Brooklyn, where I ran along Shore Parkway. It was a magnificent run. Six days later and after an incedible display by Mother Nature, where the roads were so badly flooded that my senior manager’s car was totalled in the parking lot at work, I was at it again. This time my “long” run had me run around Port Washington, New York. I did a nice job mixing it up between concrete, asphalt, trail, and even beachsand running. I did another new run the very next day, exploring the northern side of Forest Hills and Kew Gardens, north of Queens Boulevard and the County courthouse. I continued my month of exploration with another interesting twist of running through different parts of Forest Hills. 4 days later on July 28, I ran would I would describe as a brutal run along Metropolitan Avenue. It took me through some of the worst parts of New York. Between the burnt down buildings, the desolated areas, the truckers mowing down the roads, and the dangerous people lurking everywhere, none of that was as bad as the foul smells that eminated from an area called The English Kills. The run was brutal but the very next day, I made it up by doing another inaugural run that took me through the very heart of the Forest Hills Gardens section of Queens, a run that would be repeated quite often since. At that time I had been posting my weekly runs on the web, and had instituted the “Speedy Gonzalez” logo. Finally, I capped a comeback of sorts with my first race on the last day of the month. It was the Workplace Challenge 5K run in Jones Beach. The race went well, as I came in 3rd in my company.

Nothing could have stopped me this month. It was one of my better months this year. Following the advice of “trishierunner” a RunningAhead.Com member, I followed her advice and did an 18 mile out and back run along a abandoned railroad trail. It was beautiful. Of course, with every Ying there is a Yang too. A few days later, back in New York, I was sucker punched by a low-life punk and his gang as I was running through Forest Park. My glasses were all screwed up after I found them an hour later or so, but I never let that get my spirits down. In fact, it only propelled me. Just a few days later, I did a another long run through all of Queens, and then went back to Forest Park, with a stick in my hand this time, and re-did my route there. I hit 50 miles that week. The first time I had ever done that in a week (and it would not be the last for sure). And there was more. A 21 mile run. From my house all the way to Flower Hill and back to LA Fitness. Insane right?

I got off to a good start again doing another “new” route along Utopia Avenue and headed north to the residential areas of Flushing (like 199th street….ahh the memories…)
On Labor day, I ran with a pair of screwdrivers from my place to my grandmother’s apartment. It was hot as heck. A few days later and just before we left for Spain, I did another long run. This time it was from my girlfriend’s job in Long Island City, over the Queensboro Bridge to Manhattan, and then a full loop around Central Park. It was a great run. Unfortunately, my vacation was not so great both weather-wise and health-wise. I got sick with a real bad cold and not soon after we got back, I had to jump on another plane to head off for sunny Mexico. Guadalajara to be exact. By then I started feeling better however, and was able to pull off what was then, the longest run I had ever done on a treadmill in one day, 16.7 miles. I am beginning to realize that I am doing more and more long runs, and that I am adjusting nicely and not injuring myself anymore. Thank heavens!

Thank God that I did not decide to do the Chicago Marathon. What a fiasco it was. Besides the heat and the poor planning by the race marshalls, it’s amazing that more people didn’t die. This is the month were I needed to stop tapering, but with the recent cold and the sore upper tibia in June, I still needed a few long runs in to insure an improvement in time. Nearly three weeks prior to my BIG race, I ran around Central Park. And then I ran around it again. And again. All in all with the different loops I did, it all measured out to 17.2 miles. My tapering began on Oct. 21st, when my long run became 12 miles long (only). Then, and finally, I did another race on the 24th. It was the Poland Springs race. Now all that stood between me and GOLIATH of GOTHAM was time….

During this month I had a blast with my blog. I put a countdown showing pictures for each day. I was all “Madison Avenue” with my damn self, and really enjoying the hype. And in the immortal words of Broadway Joe, I guess I was just getting my “cool” on. And as for the race itself, well, what can I say? I would like to keep stats out of this, but I really can’t. I improved at this years’ NYC Marathon by almost a full half-hour over last year. And it was the second fastest marathon I have ever done, even beating my time when I was 19 years old. I was extremely proud of myself. The race was handled excellently, except at the end when they packed too many of us after the finish and some of us wanted to just die.

After a much deserved rest, I began to run again in earnest. On November 17th, I did a half marathon training run between LA Fitness and Flower Hill, Port Washington. And then the insanity began….. 61.3 miles between Nov 19-25…..another 60 the following week…. Suddenly the idea of possibly breaking the 1500 mile mark threshold was a remote, remote possibility. By the end of the month I had racked up 185 miles, most ever by me in a month. But I would need even more to reach my goal…….

It is December 1 and with a daunting 201.8 miles standing between me and in the way of my reaching my goal, I did everything known to man to run, have fun, and not be done…by injuries. The week of Dec 3-9th was a let down. I did only 39.5 miles (a letdown???), but the following week (Dec 10th – Dec 16), I really buckled down and achieved a 69 mile week. Another record. With 14 days, I now had 83.3 miles to go. And although averaging 6 miles a day seemed an easily attainable, I did not want to go to my father’s for New Year’s having to worry about this goal. So beginning on December 18th and running through December 22, I ran 9 times. On the 19th and 21st I ran over 20 miles in total. My legs are dead, but no sign of injury thankfully…

Overall this has been a very memorable year. I did not race as much as I did in either 2005, or 2006, but I got faster at the shorter runs, and was more durable on the longer runs. My training regimen, compared to previous years has really improved, but there still is a lot of room for improvement. My dieting was atrocious, so I hope to do better next year. Of course, more time spent on the road means less time spent with loved ones, so I will need to be a bit more judicious as to when I decide to run, but having adopted lunch hours to sneak in 3-5 miles, is a great way to stay in shape and not sacrifice time with anyone that is important.

And now for junkies like me……THE STATS

Easy Runs: 69 runs 310.7 Miles 48hrs 48min 01.9seconds
Fartlek: 13 runs 74.2 Miles 11hrs 01min 36.0seconds
Hill Work 6 runs 33.2 Miles 4hrs 54min 10.9seconds
Injury: 3 runs 8.0 Miles 1hrs 30min 29.0seconds
Interval: 18 runs 90.4 Miles 14hrs 04min 53.0seconds
Long: 49 runs 529.2 Miles 77hrs 11min 35.7seconds
Race: 15 runs 116.4 Miles 16hrs 47min 28.3seconds
Tempo: 31 runs 143.4 Miles 20hrs 46min 24.5seconds
Very Easy: 17 runs 84.3 Miles 15hrs 07min 43.0seconds
Walk: 31 runs 112.0 Miles 5hrs 57min 39.0seconds

Most Miles, Day: November 04, 2007 = 30.2 Miles
Most Miles, Week: Week 51: Dec 17 – 23 = 81.7 Miles
Most Miles, Month: December, 2007 = 203.5 Miles
Most Consecutive Days Running: = 8 days
Fastest Mile, Race:
JFK Runway Race April 22, 2007 = 6min 27sec
Lowest Weight: May 20, 2007 = 152.2 Pds.
Daily Performances, 2007

Weekly Performances, 2007

Yearly Performances, 2007

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