Sunday, December 25, 2011

As predicted


As predicted NYRR raised the price of the entry fee to the NYC Marathon.  What might you think the price they raised it to would be? Well some might say ten to twenty dollars might be fair, after all it is the NYC Marathon.
Well forget that, how about $60! Oh yeah I know what some of you are thinking because heard this all before. "NYRR does a great job and blah blah blah" Shut up, please just shut the F**** up because you know you are that same person that complained about your taxes coming out of your pay check and the price of gas going up, your rent and so on but because you have a hard on for running NYRR races so they get a free pass to rape you and everyone you know and we'll just call it inflation.  But think about it, sixty bucks a person by forty thousand runners is twenty four million dollars! That's a lot of "not for profit."
Hers a few things That were shared with me through North Brooklyn Runners that I would like to share:

Guidestar.org has a lot of basic information available for free. For instance, I've already learned that NYRR shelled out $ 11,324,727.00 in "salaries, other compensations, employee benefits" compensation in 2010, vs $ 9,915,302.00 in 2009; that the total number of individuals receiving compensation of $100,000 or more was 12; that Tavern on the Green received almost $484,000 for the pre-Marathon party, and that Robert H. Glover Associates in in Sleepy Hollow made off with $328,000 for "running classes" in 2010. Oh, and in Section B: Policies: I learned that this organization does NOT have either a whistleblower policy, nor a "written document retention and destruction policy".In "Part III- Statement of Program Service Accomplishments", they justify the tax-exempt status of their marathon revenues by citing the number of people they reach via televised broadcast and live spectatorship, and further state [all CAPS are theirs, not mine]: THIS MASS PARTICIPANTS [sic] AND WIDELY-VIEWED ANNUAL EVENT ALLOWS AND INSPIRES PERSONS OF ALL AGES AND ABILITIES TO ADOPT AN ACTIVE AND HEALTHY LIFESTYLE THROUGH RUNNING, WALKING, AND RELATED FITNESS ACTIVITIES"
hm. Maybe if they had a "couch to marathon" outreach program that included babysitting services.(Don't laugh: community colleges such as BMCC offer babysitting on premises. Many of their students would not be able to study otherwise.) Regarding inspiration: I grew up in Greenpoint and came out to watch the Marathon every year, but all it ever served was to perplex and awe me---I never imagined it to be a physical accomplishment that could be ever be accessible to me. Kinda smells like BS to me.



But the plot thickens.  Here's a  story in the New York Times last February about the NYPD raising fees....

Race Directors Raise Concern Over Proposed Police Fee

In an effort to generate revenue to cope with the city’s budget deficit, the New York Police Department wants to charge the organizers of the New York City Marathon and dozens of other races the full cost of controlling traffic and other services.
By charging a new, separate fee, the police are trying to offset the rising costs and increasingly burdensome job of shutting down traffic for popular athletic events. ...
The Road Runners, which last year paid more than $850,000 to city agencies, including $107,000 to the police, is willing to reimburse the police for more of its costs, Wittenberg said. But because many race fees are set months ahead of time, they want the police to put off changing the rule until at least 2012.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/10/sports/10running.html?pagewanted=all
Thanks NBR for keeping me informed.
You know either way this is bullshit. This is a day at the parade for police officers minus the rowdy drunks. Let's be honest they're out there cheering with the rest of the us and getting paid to watch cute girls run by in tight clothes all day. Sure as hell beats working the night owl shift in the South Bronx on a Saturday night.
 As for NYRR not sharing any of this information on their website only goes to show their lack of concern when it comes to their paying customers.  Because thats what we are as runners paying for these races, customers. You know it's beyond me why they don't even mention why prices keep going up the way they do. Hell they might even have a good answer as to why in 6 or 7 years races in the park have more than doubled while giving the runners less than they had before. But in case you want to be reminded of what your paying for when you run the NYC Marathon here's a photo.

This and a medal are the reason they need so many porto johns on the course.

 As of yet I haven't made up my mind if I want to run the Marathon again in 2012. Because even with all the B.S. that comes with running this thing it's a really cool event when you're in top condition. But running a marathon can be like "chasing the dragon."  Sometimes the best way to slay that dragon is to forget it till you get your mojo back. Only then can you sneak up on it and cut it's head off. Right now I have to forget it for a while.

--





New York City Marathon Week 2011 Pt. 2


The day of the New York City Marathon wasn't as eventful for me as it has been in the past. As I mentioned in my previous post the week leading up the race was way more fun.

Marathon day started out with The Beatles singing "Come Together" at 4:00am on my radio alarm.  I thought, “yes, come together beat up
body and lets run this bitch.”

This is my 7th NYC Marathon in a row and I would have liked to have
had a better feeling going into this than I did. Instead I was somewhat apathetic. I got dressed and ready in no time, called a cab and
contemplated taking a hit of my roommates’ pot pipe before I left.
"Maybe that will make this more interesting. Naaah, I might leave
my bag on the ferry if I do that" I thought.



So, off to the ferry I went where I ran into my friend John from North
Brooklyn Runners. John was a few pounds heavier and a much slower
runner than me at his best and my worst a little more than a year ago.
John lost about 20 to 30lbs and is kicking my ass all day long without
even trying. Me? I can't even work up enough leg power for speed
training without an injury acting up these days. In fact, I trained for
this marathon without so much as one tempo run or speed work of any
kind. I am officially in the worst shape of my life which, by the way,
is still much better than most Americans even if I'm not a happy
camper.

The ferry ride and the bus after the ferry had me running into a few
more key members of NBR including it's founder Aja. Aja is my guidance
system and unknowingly my pacer for most races we run in together. She
runs a steady even pace throughout her races and her form is great. We
used to finish within seconds of each other or at the same time. This
of course is no longer the case so it was just a bitter reminder of
what was to come.

   Sleeping 3 hrs is never a good look for me.

By the time we got to Marathon Village we all split up except for John
and myself. John gave his predicted race time (I had a healthy dose of
reality after he accomplished it) and I half jokingly said I'll see
you in five hours.

   On the ferry with North Brooklyn Runners

          Our fearless leader 

             Fun times                                           

As the race began to the usual sound of the gun and to the tune of New
York, New York I got going. This year I had the uneventful start
which is under the bridge. I could tell from here how it was going to
go as people passed me by as I wobbled myself through the first 2
miles.

When we entered Brooklyn I looked down at my feet and was happy my new kicks I never ran in before (NB 860 taxi cab NYC marathon edition) were holding up. Yes, a straight up rookie move I know but I wasn't racing.
I was practically speed walking and it was the only thing that inspired me to get out there that morning.

A few miles later at 6 miles I did my “how do I feel” check in. I felt
like I was dragging to be honest and I knew it was going to be a long
race. By the 8th mile I started seeing familiar faces cheering me on from
North Brooklyn Runners. At mile 12 the team volunteers at the water
stations, so I got another round of high fives there. It was a great
feeling coming in to this area from mile 11 through 13. Bedford Avenue is
packed with loads of crowds screaming "NBR!!!’ People later said they
saw me on Manhattan Avenue in Greenpoint, but I didn't notice them.

I was doing a blistering 12 minute mile here

As I plodded over the Pulaski Bridge at the halfway point I decided
to eat the Pro Bar which I was carrying. I knew this was going to be
a long one for me so I approached this race much like I did with
Ultras in the past, meaning I carry portable food and anything that will
help me get though. I can't tell you what a help it has been for me
through previous trail runs and training. They are packed with 400 wall
crushing calories with all natural goodness that won't leave you
running for the porto john. Check it out - http://theprobar.com/.

The Queensboro Bridge. For some it’s the worst part of the race but for me
it's my favorite part. The quiet sound of hundreds of runners’ feet hitting
the ground at 16 on the bridge is down right meditative. If you're
having a good race, you're in the zone. If you’re having a bad day, you're
already walking, I was going so slow I could hardly tell if I was
walking or running. Coming off of the bridge the silence turns into
cheers from onlookers waiting on First Avenue. By 63rd Street I saw my
Special Someone waiting for me with a sign. It was the best part of the
race and I ran over to give her some love right back.


From here on out, First Avenue was all up hill (as is most of the race) and is about the longest three miles of the race for me. In fact by mile 18 I
was seriously considering dropping out. "What, another eight miles to go?
I am so freaking bored, what is the point of all this? I'm going to
finish in five hours? Ugh." Then there it was, a woman holding up a
sign with a picture of a badger on it that said "Honey Badger Don't
Give a Shit!" In case you don't know Nasty Ass Honey Badger is a
nature video on Youtube narrated in a way I can only describe as
"fabulous." I was laughing at this video for two months prior to the
marathon and it was just the thing to shake my mood. I thought yes
"honey badger don't care about marathons, he don't give a shit,” and
with that I was off.


In the Bronx my leg started to give out. My piriformus again. I went
to the med tent to see if they had anything to give me, ben gay or
whatever. You know most marathons carry stuff like that, but not the New
York Marathon. "I just ran a marathon last month and they had all
sorts of stuff, including free packets of Biofreeze they were handing
out." Then it hit me, I have that free packet of Biofreeze. So I ducked
into the nearest porto palace (shit house on wheels) and poured this
packet all over my leg and butt and wouldn't you know it worked. I was
able to pick up my pace a little and keep going. On 5th avenue I saw
my manager from the running store where I work cheering me on and he gave me a power bar. I was again grateful and ashamed at the same time (for my slow pace)

   I had to stop and pose for this one                                      

During my run in the park I was again bored shitless until I
spotted another coworker that dressed like Steve Prefontaine for
Halloween and he was still sporting the mustache.  I wasn't sure at
that point if it was because of Pre or not but I was re-energized again as he
paced me for a mile and I shouted "Stop Pre!" the whole time. Coming
down the stretch I looked for my pretty girlfriend but instead spotted
yet another coworker cheering me on. I didn't expect to see him
there and it threw me off guard. Distracted as I was I missed Kristy
shouting for me.

When I came through the finish line I heard all the congratulations
but I was grateful just to be done. New York Road Runners puts
on this race. This year it was $160 and next it will be much more I'm
sure. Here's what we got at the end:

The last thing anyone wants after a marathon is more gatorade BLEH!

As a result of this race and lack of funds I bailed out on the Las
Vegas marathon and as of right now I don't even feel like running
another marathon. To do well in a marathon you need to be 100% fit and
then you need a good training program to follow. I've been injured for
way too many races and decided to take the winter off from running. In
a way I feel like I'm over it. I ran for fitness originally and now
its led to injury which is affecting every other area of fitness in
my life. This is going to take some time to heal, probably more time
than I expect. Till then I'll keep my fingers crossed and cheer on my
fellow runners while I practice yoga and continue stretching all
winter long.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New York City Marathon Week 2011

The New York City Marathon 2011. This makes seven NYC’s for me and overall almost twenty. This year wasn't any less difficult than it was last
Year, That's not a good thing since I was in pretty bad shape last
year injury-wise. Anyway, I signed up for this beat and decided to
listen to my guru god Nike and just do it. Last year I was pretty bad
because of my injuries but somehow I managed to get in around 4:11.
The non-injured me would have scoffed at the idea of coming in over four hours but my last couple of marathons had me running injured resulting in a very bruised ego. This year my injuries have not let up or allowed me to run any sort of speed work resulting in much slower times (not to mention more excuses) than usual.

The marathon itself was sort of dragged on for me but the build was nothing short of awesome. Since I work with runners in a running store I got the benefit of soaking in the energy from hundreds of tourists that stop by work every day during the week leading up to the big day.  On top of that many cool, new shoes were unveiled and special
editions came out that week as well, which meant lots of free stuff
for yours truly.  Let me not to forget to mention celebrity runners that stop in to appease their sponsors. This was Christmas for runners.


Look what I scored marathon week!

I also had the opportunity to run with Ryan Hall who proved to be a pretty cool guy. Foot Locker’s RUN was sponsoring this run and I made it on my
dinner break at work toward the end of the event.  When I saw the group running with Ryan I noticed a few people hanging on to his every word. A couple of guys running behind him were drooling over his calves (I kid you not) and others were running ahead of him and that struck me as funny. So I used it as an ice breaker,  "Hey Ryan, you think those guys are running ahead of you so those can post on Facebook  that they were faster?" It got a laugh out of him. He replied "You wouldn't believe how many people post pictures saying just that." I was satisfied. We bonded over my sarcasm. I got to run with him for a little over a mile. He asked me about my marathon and I told him my sob story (whaah I'm injured, whaah I haven't run like a normal person in 2 years whaaaah). I also asked him if he ever heard of Phil Wharton and I was pleased to receive a very enthusiastic yes. He asked if I had been to Phil’s studio. I mentioned that I had his DVD on stretching and it was a big help so far. I told him about a friend who went to their studio and was impressed at the amount of Olympic and pro athletes they work with on a daily basis. Ryan said they were great there and suggested I make an appointment. If you're interested in learning more about Phil Wharton, you can visit the website at http://www.whartonperformance.com/. The DVD has been a tremendous help so far and I also bought his book on stretching to get a little deeper into it.

After my run with Ryan 

I also had the opportunity to meet Desiree Davila at Paragon Sports. In case anyone has forgotten, Desiree ran the 2011 Boston Marathon, finishing in 2nd place by two seconds and setting a 4 minute PR. Her time of 2:22:38 is the fastest time ever run by an American woman in the Boston Marathon. In my opinion had the race gone on for another 400 meters she would have won. I came to this opinion because the winner passed out at the finish line while Desiree hardly seemed out of breath.
I had a little fun with Desiree too. I asked her if she thought Meb
Keflezighi was a sell out for sponsoring those god awful Sketchers.
She smiled and gave me the politically correct answer which was "if a
company like sketchers wants to sponsor an athlete like Meb I'm sure
they are going to custom make an great shoe for him."

I got to meet up with Ryan Hall a second time and asked him the same question and he let out a little laugh and gave a similar answer. I then told him when that story came out all the runners and I at work "laughed our asses off” and wondered if he was going to run in Shape-Ups.  With that said, I can not begrudge Meb for trying to make a buck. He won New York in 2009 and that may be the only time he wins a marathon so he should cash in now before it’s too late. I always say it is not the shoe that makes the runner but the genetics and training.

Desiree and Ryan were good sports
Ryan getting my autograph

Marathon Day to come in Part 2…the race recap you wouldn’t want to write but don’t want to miss.


Friday, October 28, 2011

Born To Sleep


I was thinking of cashing in on all this minimalist crap. How to begin
you ask? Well, first you must think outside the box and ask yourself what
else did cavemen do besides walk around barefoot? Answer:  A whole lot.
So, with that information I can write a series of "Born To" books. My first will
be “Born To Sleep.”  Think about it.

Actually, the idea came to me as my four year old pillow top bed started
to cave in the center leaving me with lower back pain in the
morning and aggravating my already bum leg. Since I couldn't (and
still can't) shell out a grand and change for a new bed that is much
firmer, I opted to take the minimal route. I put down my vibram mattress  (A.K.A. a
yoga mat)  and set out for a good nights’ sleep and that bare back
ride.

I have to admit the first couple of nights were shaky, but my back and
leg weren't hurting so I stayed with it. Then at work I thought of all
the minimalist hypocrites buying vibrams and complaining about
racing flats having too much heel and so on, as if wearing the silly
toe shoes were going to instantly label them authentic runners. When a newbie
runner asks me about vibrams, I ask them right back if he or she
would sleep without a mattress or pillow because I'm sure there are
tons of people online who would promote the benefit of doing so.  That
pretty much  puts things in perspective and gives them a laugh.


Save money on that chiropractor, forget back surgery and tell your
physical therapist to jump out a window, because you were born to
sleep without a bed, mattress, pillow, blanket…and outside in all variations
of weather. It’s totally natural and don't let anyone tell you
otherwise.

What’s next? Write a book, of course. I'll call it "Born to Sleep" and I can cash in. I'll
give the same line that “Born to Run” uses,  we weren't born with mattresses and comfy
beds and pillows. In fact we are the only primate to actually do this sort of thing. What I
suggest is give up your bed, pillow, blanket and go minimal. You'll love the way the ground feels.

How silly are we listening to those robber barons at department stores and mattress and bedding retail
shops.  What a complete waste of money. Then I'll reference a bunch of people who would agree with
It will make perfect sense. Then I'll transform my yoga mat into a minimalist bed by putting
a vibram tag on it for street cred with the barefoot crowd.

After this occurs, I will make a whole series of “Born To ...” books.  My follow-
up will be called "Born To Bone"  and this will be a book on having sex the
natural way. After I give all the data on how men are meant to spread
their seeds and  how much better it is for Mr. Happy to go raw dog (and
I'm sure there is data on it), imagine how guys will eat this up
and then spit out to data to potential sex partners. Sure, some people
will get hurt or pregnant but this is what we were born to do and isn't
that the most important lesson?

Monday, October 24, 2011

The simple life


Ahhh...life. I'm taking a break from life and the grind and replaced it
with a new kind of grind. One that is less demanding in an environment which I can
relate.

So, after "fun-employment" ran out and realizing that being a personal
trainer meant still being a sales person, but now I was liable for the
well-being of unmotivated masses that were only interested in getting
thin rather than working out, I decided to take a job that was
offered to me in a yoga studio. Around the same time I also took a job in a running store
selling running shoes. Now, these may not seem like glamourous jobs to most
people but they are my two passions in life right now, running and
Yoga, and it only makes sense that I want to be closer to them any way possible, 
even if it means taking an enormous pay cut.

I often wonder how many people are judging me when they see me selling
running shoes or wonder why I'm not the yoga instructor but rather
the person behind the desk signing in their names. It doesn't really
matter to me and I don't care so much. I like what I do right now and the
people I surround myself with are spiritually beautiful. I used to
spend most of my working days stressed out and depressed and now the
only things that seem to bum me out are my running injuries.  Yes, they
are still here with me and they get in the way of both yoga and
running.

Not to go on and whine about this and that but I really thought I
would but done with this piriformis syndrome by now. I have signed up
for three fall marathons hoping for the come back of Ultra Mega Mark (my
former myspace tag, in honor of my ultra races and a Soundgarden
album.) Everything seems to be going wonky now, even my foot pain from
last year has returned. And then the last straw...my knees. My Knees?
WTF?? Isn't that the excuse for every non-runner out there? Thankfully
I have resolved the knee issue with the use of a DVD from Phil Wharton -
http://www.whartonperformance.com/. I won't go into what they do but
all I can say is that it works as a warm-up and a stretch. Phil has worked with
Olympic athletes for over 25 years. I'm sure this will aid in my recovery from my 
other injuries too once I stop running for a couple of months and give my body a break.

In the meantime I've just run the Steamtown marathon in Scranton, PA
in over 4hrs (4:28.) I said it was going to be a long slow run for me
and not a race but I have to tell you it sucks coming in and seeing
the clock at 4:30, especially when I would get upset over coming in at
3:45 in the past. But I'm putting my ego to the side for now. I'll run the New
York Marathon next week and probably do worse since the course is much
harder. But I will take a page from last year and remember to be in
the moment and enjoy the experience. Because in the end that is what it's
all about.

My last adventure this year will be in Las Vegas. This would be a lot
more fun if I was fit. I hear the course is nice and it starts at 4:00pm
which makes sleeping a lot easier. I may switch and do the half marathon
instead but we shall wait 'til after the NYC Marathon to make that decision.

Until my next post, adios!  Good luck to all the runners out there. Do
your best but more importantly, enjoy the process and remember you're
only running this because you want to. Peace.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

CHA CHA CHA CHIA.

Chia seeds. Once only thought of as a way to grow hair for your chia pet, or in this case 'chia Obama' has turned into the new superfood of the last 2 years.

Most of us were told about the wonders of chia through every vibram owners bible, 'Born To Run.' You know the the book I mean? The one I have that love/hate relationship with because it's a great story that focuses on Scott Jurek who was just about invisible outside the ultra running world. The hate part is all the half truths you read that has every reader who never even had a hang nail buying vibrams and jumping on the shin splint band wagon, among other things. Now don't expect to run like Tarahumara after chugging chia all night because after all the secret might be in something else they do, for example, before those long distance runs, they consume large quantities of corn beer which is very high in carbohydrates. Funny how no one jumped on that idea, maybe because we know it would leave us dehydrated or puking three miles into a marathon. Maybe certain things work for certain people because they were raised for generations doing it.

As for chia seeds, I have no problems with this little member of the sage family. One thing that is never mentioned is that chia seeds can have a wild effect on your stomach resulting in frequent port-o potty stops during your next race if you're not careful. Only take less than a teaspoon per consumption.

Health Benefits:
Chia seeds have been used by native Americas and the now famous Tarahumara Mexicans as an endurance food. Today we know chia is the highest source of Omega -3 fatty acids, next to the flax seed. Chia seeds are also more versatile than flax seeds as you can mix them in all sorts of food and drinks and chia (unlike flax) doesn't go bad. In water chia expands and becomes gelatinous. As I said it relieves constipation, lubricates dryness, treats insomnia, and improves mental focus.

I like to add chia seeds to lemon water and add a teaspoon of xylitol, also known as birch sugar. It's refreshing in the summer and makes me think of a healthy version of bubble tea.

Monday, March 7, 2011

10 facts you should know about barefoot running and Vibrams

“People who don’t wear shoes when they run have an astonishingly different strike,” said Daniel E. Lieberman, professor of human evolutionary biology at Harvard University and co-author of a paper appearing in the journalNature. “By landing on the middle or front of the foot, barefoot runners have almost no impact collision, much less than most shod runners generate when they heel-strike.

Yes, Professor. I understand your point and the point of every 'barefoot' runner that has made many marvelous claims since they read 'Born To Run'. But I've been saying all along that I'm not buying into it. Here are a few reasons.

1. The Lance Armstrong of ultra running and seven time winner of the Western States 100 Scott Jurek, who went to Copper Canyon in Mexico may not have won that race against the Tarahumara as depicted in Born To Run, but did you know that he went back the next year and kicked some Tarahumara butt, wearing Brooks Cascadia running shoes?

2. The Tarahumara do not run barefoot, they wear inch thick rubber sandals.

3. Christopher Mcdougall himself said he only runs barefoot for short distances and only when he needs to correct his form (as if he can't do that in running shoes.)

4. Runners love a quick fix. Hey, we run because we don't want to be still we want to keep moving. But this won't make you any faster, it won't cure all your running injuries and....

5. Changing your running form while going barefoot or minimalist can lead to shin splints, fractures, Morton's neroma, and metatarsal problems. I still have a lingering injury from changing to light weight trainers while trying to improve my form.

6.There's more to the Tarahumara than minimalist shoes and barefoot running. They are known as "the people who run fast." Running fast is not something you accomplish be running barefoot, it's genetic.

7.Kenyans also run barefoot at a young age. They run to school getting in at least 10 miles a day. When they are old enough and if they are lucky they get running shoes. If barefoot running was faster for them, why don't they run marathons barefoot?

8.The name of Vibram five fingers bikila shoes come from Abebe Bikila who was the Olympic Marathon Winner in 1960 and 1964. In 1960 he ran barefoot as he trained, and as he ran his whole life. He won in 2:15:16. When he ran in 1964 he set a new world record of 2:12:11... wearing Pumas.

9.If we were meant to run barefoot then why is it every culture on this planet has decided to cover their feet. Society on a whole has decided that walking and running with shoes of some kind is much more beneficial to them then being barefoot.

10. And finally my moment of validation. In regard to the the quote above and similar claims in "Born To Run." Here are a pair of Vibrams that are worn in very suspicious areas:

Remember it's not the shoe that makes you a great runner or gives you great form it's you.
Just ask Paula Radcliffe, she doesn't have the greatest running form, never grew up running barefoot and has to wear orthotics (which make your shoes a few ounces heavier) yet she's still holds the world record in the womens marathon. Something to think about.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fartleks, Shalane, and the 5K

Thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,thud,
What is this sound? I keep asking myself while I'm running fartleks with my local group in north Brooklyn. This is the sound of a slow heavy runner, a clydesdale right? That's what they call them in those running magazines I read. Who's doing that?
Surely it's not the runner ahead of me with the perfect stride, gripping the ground with her Lunaglides and pushing away effortlessly. Certainly it can't be the guy closest to me because he's not all that close. Then I realize it's me! I have some how morphed into this clydesdale, like something out of a horror movie. Suddenly these fartleks are beginning to stink.
So how did this happen, how have I become so damn slow? Last year around this time I was getting faster. I finished a rather hilly 5K in 22 minutes (5 minutes faster than the previous year) and my pace for the 4 mile was even better still. Yet here I am with my lingering injuries from before the summer. My piriformis is so tight they had to give it a name (piriformis syndrome) and then there's my partially inflamed foot that hates any kind of speed work.

Well what's a runner to do, I've tried just about everything so now I'm back to running.. slowly, even when I try to pick it up it's still slow ( for me anyway.)
Next week I will return to the 5K I ran last year in 22 minutes and run as well as I can. Let's hope this won't be too crushing for my ego. Until then I will gallop thru the streets of Brooklyn with the speed of one of those horse drawn carriages in Central Park.

And for anyone who thinks a 5K is no big deal because maybe like thousands of other people you run marathons, consider this. Most pro runners consider the 800 meter to be the most challenging. Why? Because unlike marathons and ultra marathons you are giving 100% speed a 100% of the time, and by the time you're finished you want to die, that is if you're doing them right. ;) Here's Shalane Flanagan talking about the 5K.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Boston Marathon qualifying rant


 On one of my long runs in central park I noticed a girl running in the opposite direction, and though she was not what I would call fat, but she wasn't what I would call exactly fit either and I'm sure no one was mistaking her for a runner in her street clothes.
So why is that annoying? She was doing what I like to call the Boston brag. That's when you wear the famous blue Boston Marathon jacket that brags about your running prowess, maybe you're even sub elite fast. I don't know about you but I know zero men wearing that Boston jacket that don't at least look like they're fast runners. But I've seen one too many female runners qualifying for Boston that don't look all that fit. "But Mark Boston has qualifying times and chubby or not she qualified"
Qualifying times, just what do they mean anyway? The qualifying times are harder for the New York Marathon but no one seems to care about those qualifying times, and who's wearing that jacket? But Boston seems to be the holy grail for runners, a right of passage, as if qualifying for the Boston marathon and wearing that blue jacket makes you a 'real' runner. What's worse is that once runners get a taste of that Boston cred. They want to keep on proving it and showing others year after year "yeah I got into Boston" And my answer to that is, congrats, and so what? Now you're going to show me your medal?



Now don't get me wrong Boston is a fun marathon to do but there are 100's of other fun marathons to do as well and unless you actually live in Boston I see no reason to want to do it year after year considering travel and expenses and so on, why not do something completely different? Oh wait I know, your ego.
Now I'll admit I never officially qualified for Boston but that didn't stop me from running it any way. Every year Boston expects hundreds of people to bandit the race and in 2008 I was one of those bandits "oh no not a bandit, that’s so wrong you must qualify.." let me cut you off before you start screaming at your computer. The head of the BAA ran his first Boston Marathon as a bandit. And like I said they are well equipped for it anyway I only ran the last half to pace my friend Cara and had probably the most fun I had at any race, mainly because there was no pressure and that only happens when you bandit races, so much fun.


A Boston Bandit in 2008

Well that's my Boston marathon and I'm fine if I never do it again even if I do qualify. Question is do I even want to qualify? The answer.. Of course, I want to qualify and then some but only because it'll mean I'm getting faster but I tend to run multiple marathons and sometimes back to back and that’s probably the worst way to try and qualify for Boston.. Unless you're a girl.
Oh no you didn’t! Oh yes I did, Most men I know that qualify for Boston are running about 60 to over 100 miles a week and not just running but training hard and being obsessed with the process, not only because they have to but because they want to PR. Here's a shameful fact. To qualify for Boston, Men 50 to 54 has to have posted a time of 3:35 or better. That time is five minutes faster than the time required for women 18-34. Well if that still seems OK to for you think about this. To make Boston, a 54-year old man has to run faster than the nation’s youngest and fastest women.
Now I'm not sure but I think if I suggested to a female athlete in her early 20's that she's not as fit as a 54 yr old man I might get a punch in the head. But when I mentioned this on facebook it stirred a vicious debate with women fighting for the 3:40 even some that could crush a 3:40 marathon thought it was OK because "women are just slower" What happened to the women’s right movement? I thought women wanted to be equal and didn't want to be treated as the lesser sex? I'm from generation X and we grew up being taught women and men were equal, so when I see this kind stuff it makes me nuts, and to make matters worse there's no proof women are slower!


Cara qualified by running a 3:30 marathon for Steamtown in 2007, she had no training plan, in fact she hardly even trained.


Before Katherine Switzer ran her first Boston Marathon as K. Switzer, why? Because women were didn't run marathons, in fact it was believed that if a woman ran more than 6 miles her uterus would fall out, (wha, wha, waaaat?) maybe you want to read that again because in the 60's it wasn't just here say, it was fact, or at least they thought so.
Now I've heard the stories about women aren't as efficient runners as men because of their hips and so on. But I'll tell you about the fastest runners I know. Both men and women are far from chubby and they train like animals. The goal is always a PR not getting into to Boston by a few seconds. I know a 46 yr old female runner who ran a 3:10 in New York last November her fastest marathon yet. I know a long time runner but first time marathoner, a 25 yr old female who ran a 3:06 she was 2 minutes off her goal of 3:04. These are runners to be admired, not because they are some how born fast, but because they train like most fast runners I know, hard. They know how to train they have their goals and will do anything to get there many I know even hire online coaches. Anyone running a 3:40 marathon in there 20's are just not training hard enough, period.
Here's an article from the Wall Street Journal that backs up what I'm saying
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703673604575550133914934718.html
Honestly who cares if you ran Boston? If you had a jacket from Berlin or London I'd be more impressed. Prove how fast you are by running fast, nine out of ten times you're going to be asked how fast you did your marathon in anyway. Why worry about Boston?
It seems that Boston are raising their qualifying times for 2013 but not just for women for everyone. My guess is everyone will just get faster if they really want to run this race. But it still won't change the fact that BAA thinks a 54 yr old man is more of an athlete than the fastest women more than 1/2 his age.
http://www.baa.org/Races/Boston-Marathon/Participant-Information/Qualifying.aspx

Cara may never know her true potential as a runner because she doesn't like speed work and she's not concerned with a PR, she just wants to have fun. And that's just fine with me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

another NYRR rant?

History is repeating itself. When Fred Lebow bragged about how much money NYRR was making in his book (enough to buy that fancy brownstone they wk out of) the city decided they needed to pay up. With membership increases, races selling out and significant price increases (at the height of the recession no less) NYRR is making more money than ever and the city once again wants their cut.

If they had club revenues of $39. Million in 2008 think about how much more they are making now since price increase for races membership running classes and everything NYRR jumped up in January 2009. For those who don't know all races besides the NY Marathon and the NY half were $11.
The sad fact is that many runners I speak to are fine with this for what ever reason, this means you should expect prices to go up in a big way next year.

This post is a response to the link below from the NY Times.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Crowding Out

The crowding out theory says that if you fill your body with healthy, nutrient-dense foods, it is only natural that cravings for unhealthy foods will diminish.

Think about it. It's hard to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and still have room to binge on ice cream later that evening. The body can only consume so much. By eating and drinking nutritious foods earlier in the day, you will naturally leave less room for unhealthy foods later on.

This method is most evident when you increase your intake of water. Fill a water bottle or pitcher with clean, filtered water and sip it steadily throughout the day. As the day progresses, you will have less room for coffee, sugary juices, 'vitamin' waters (which is basically Kool Aid) and other soft drinks. It's really that simple!

Forget strict diets, there's no guilt or denial associated with the crowding out method. Start this week by increasing your intake of nutritious foods -- such as dark leafy greens and whole grains -- and you'll begin to notice that your body has less desire for processed, sugary, and nutrient-deficient foods.