Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Year in Review

As I did last year around this time, I though back over a year's worth of rides (and runs!) and picked out a few highlights.

1. Thw Wineglass Marathon
Number one on the list has to be running my first marathon. This is something that had been in the back of my mind since I was a kid and my Dad took us over to stand at the side of the Wantagh Parkway and watch the runners of the Long Island Marathon go by. In those days it went all the way to Jones Beach. Later, in high school, some of us from the band would bring our instruments to the side of the road and play songs to encourage the runners. I always thought that was something I would do one day.

2. Catskills Cycling Trip
A fantastic 6-day cycling immersion with great friends from EECT, SBRA, and the Early Birds. Beautiful country roads, challenging hills, and quality hours on the bike with friends. Will never forget it!

3. 2010 Highlander Cycle Tour
Such a hard day on the bike, but so great to do it again!

4. Transitioning
Finally, very much enjoying some North Shore winter rides with Mike and Rob from the Brands group.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Pounding the Pavement

Continuing my weekly regimen of alternating pre-work runs and rides. Really enjoying the weekend North Shore bike rides with Mike and Rob, and a special one last week with Dan and the Mineola Bike Club. New chain and brake pads on the Specialized two weeks ago has the bike running nice and smooth. Would love to get in some longer rides but its starting to get colder. Maybe we'll get lucky with a couple of warmer days here and there.

I took the opportunity to sign up for two short running races to close out the season. Last Saturday, I did the Seaford Hot Chocolate 5k after getting back from a nice getaway to Lake Placid with Linda for our 20th Anniversary. Was pleasantly surprised to run it in a 7:21 pace, a PR for me. This morning, had another nice run at the Snowball Run 5-mile race, at a 7:29 pace. I guess the 3-4 days of running each week is paying off.

Snowball Run 2010, I am #255.

Looks like tomorrow might be a trainer day if the rainy forecast hold true.
In a couple of weeks, the marathon training begins...again!

Sunday, November 07, 2010


Now that the the big push for the marathon is over, I've started transitioning into winter "maintenance" mode. Trying to get into a routine for a couple of months before I decide where the next cycling/running focus should be. Probably will be the Bratwurst Century in April or May, and possibly taking another shot at the LI Marathon in early May. There is plenty of time to decide.

For the past few weeks I've been getting my 45 minutes of running or cycling in before work, then some longer efforts on the weekends. Did a couple of 13 milers running and some 50-60 mile rides. I've really been looking forward to some early morning Sunday rides to the North Shore with Mike and Rob. Great workouts! We met Jimmy today and went out to Centre Island, somewhere I've never been before.

Mike took this photo of us at a short nutrition break in Centre Island. From left, me, Jimmy, and Rob.

Here is the route from Mike's Garmin.

Signed up for the Snowball Run 5-miler in December. Hopefully a little warmer than last year's 23F!

Monday, October 04, 2010

Wineglass Marathon 2010

After the seed was first planted about a year ago, everything finally came together so that I could run my first marathon. There have been lots of obstacles along the way, the biggest being a recurring calf injury that first struck a week before my first planned marathon attempt, back in May. I took three weeks off of running after that initial setback but it had come back to interrupt my training plans two or three more times since then, requiring one or two week gaps without being able to run, or several days of reduced mileage.

Besides the threat of injury, I also wanted to maintain my cycling proficiency and do my usual handful of races, several centuries, regular group rides, and my traditional big goal of the year, the Highlander Cycle tour.

There is no need to go into the day-by-day recount here, but I’ll summarize by saying my marathon training buildup and taper deviated significantly from what I planned. That said, I did get myself to the start line this past Sunday morning, ready to give it a go. Here’s how it played out:

We drove up to Corning on Saturday morning after I ran one last 2.2 miler to loosen up the legs. As I got my things together on Saturday night in preparation for race day, I decided to go for a 4 hr 15 min race goal, which is 9:44 pace. The Wineglass was offering pacing this year and I figured I would start out with the 9:44 group and see how I felt. If it was too much, I could drop back with the 10:18 pace group (4 hr 30 min marathon time). The weather report was calling for morning temperature of 39F, with 30% chance of showers, so I elected to start off wearing cap and gloves, three layers on top (short sleeve thin base, long sleeve base, sleeveless shirt with my number pinned on. Just the old regular running shorts, socks, and Nikes.

On race day, I got up at 5:00 AM, got dressed and had breakfast of oatmeal, banana, and coffee. Linda gave me a ride down to Main Street and dropped me off around 6:15. I hopped on one of the waiting school buses that were transporting runners from Corning to the race start in Bath. We were there in 30 minutes, plenty of time before the 8:00 AM start. I hydrated with a bottle of water, then a bottle of sports drink, visited the porta-potty, peeled off my sweats, dropped off my bag in the truck to take it back to Corning, and headed to the start area with about 10 minutes to spare. I was so happy to see Linda and the girls there! They drove over from Corning to see me start, and it really meant a lot to see them there. I found the 9:44 pace group, picked a spot in the crowd and waited to go.

We started off at 8:00 and there were the usual hesitations up to the start line before we could actually start running. I was relieved that the pace was very comfortable and I felt like I was off to a good start. After a couple of miles, I was warmed up and the early cold temperatures were no issue at all. By mile 4, we were at our second water station and headed up the first of two short hills on the course. I was making a point of grabbing a cup of water or Gatorade (or both) at every water station as the last thing I wanted was to dehydrate and cramp up. Our pacer advised that we would “fast walk” through the water stations so everyone would have a chance to hydrate and easily get back with the group. I saw Linda and the girls there and ditched my gloves.

The first few miles were going fast with the excitement of actually running my first marathon. The roads were very familiar since I’ve biked over most of them the many times we’ve visited family in Corning and Hammondsport. I think it was around mile 9 when we ran through a huge, enthusiastic crown in Savona. It was really a thrill! I saw Linda and the girls again and handed off my hat. The sun was out now and it was getting a bit warmer. Perfect temps for a long run. Still feeling very comfortable with the pace, no major complaints from my calf, I even carried the pace sign for a mile through some very quiet back roads.

As we approached the halfway point, our pacer found that we were 2 minutes ahead of our target, so she slowed up a bit. I felt good so I kept my pace. Myself, and a few others, drifted off the front. I figured I might as well keep it going while I felt good and that the pace group would certainly catch me back up later. By now, I was really warm and soaked with sweat, so I pulled off my middle long-sleeve layer, and dropped it off with Linda the next time I saw them.
By mile 19, I started feeling some fatigue in the legs and was realizing the farthest I’d ever run was 20 miles, and I was about the hit that point. This was also about the time the pace group caught up to me. This time, when I tried to hang on, it was a struggle. By the time mile 20 rolled by, I was a good 400 yards back from them and I knew the rest of the marathon I’d be on my own. Obviously 4:15 was not going to happen and I set my mind on the fact that I was in “new territory” and just needed to conserve energy to get to the finish. I passed runners in 1’s and 2’s, other runners passed me. Sometimes someone would come by me and a half-mile later I would come back by them as they stopped to walk.

I began to look for the mile markers, “Ok, 5 miles to go, I do that every morning before work, I can make it.” “Four miles to go, okay only another 40 minutes max.” “Three miles, less than a 5K.” And so on. The few spectators must know that the runners are struggling at this point and I constant heard “You’re almost there, you can make it!” My legs were so numb I had to consciously think about picking them up and putting them down. At mile 25, I turned the corner and saw the big glass Corning Incorporated building, and I knew I had it! I pushed as hard as I could but I’m sure that it was no more than a shuffle to anyone watching.

As I came over the footbridge for the final ¼ mile, I spotted my family, then the finish line. With relief, I stepped over it and heard the “chirp” of the electronic timer register my finish. My niece Mia was volunteering and she presented me with my finisher medal and gave me a hug. They handed me a bottle of water and wrapped me in a silver mylar blanket. It was done! Unbelievably, I made it! My legs were like jello, so we found a place to sit, and I forced down a little square of pizza, but I was too drained to eat. Riverside Park was a sea of silver mylar, blue glass discs, and Dri-fit. We sat for a while to soak it all in then slowly got up and made our way to head home for me to shower and have a celebratory lunch. My legs ached like never before but it just proved to myself that I had actually run a marathon.

It was an amazing day!

Monday, September 27, 2010

2010 Tour of the Hamptons

Did the Tour of the Hamptons century ride yesterday. Great weather and a large, fast peleton made for a good ride out on Long Island’s south fork. I had been off the bike for two weeks, trying to get my “running legs” back in time for the Wineglass Marathon. Before this weekend, I had run 9 out of the previous 10 days, and only skipped the one day because of a late night getting home from work. On the last run (Friday morning), I started getting some calf pain and felt a bit drained. With the century on Sunday, I did I nice group ride with the Brands crew on Saturday to get used to the bike again and give the legs a break from running.

I had plans to ride with the Early Birds group at ToH, as I do every year. This was the first century ride I had ever completed, back in 2003, and I’ve done it every year since. Had a quick breakfast at home and drove out to Southampton for the 7:30 AM start. It was great to see everyone there from both the Brands team and the ‘Birds. Our big group pulled out on time, I’m guessing we started with 40-50 riders.

We had our first flat at mile 5, but that was it for the day! A pretty good statistic considering the large group and the mileage. As we got warmed up the pace gradually ramped up from the high teens to the low/mid 20’s. And it stayed there, on the mostly flat roads out to the first rest stop. Everyone’s legs were still fresh with just 35 miles in, so the stop was a quick one and we soon departed for the second leg of the ride, out-and-back to Montauk point.

We made short work of the hills out to the lighthouse, the group staying mostly together. It got really exciting at the turnaround when we got the tailwind. Forty riders, single file, 36 MPH = AWESOME! At the second rest stop, we had 57 miles logged and took a little more time to give everyone a chance to refuel. Heading back west now, we got into some rolling hills for the next 15 miles. At this point, my recent lack of riding seemed to become apparent and I got dropped off the back around mile 70. I was on my own for 7 or 8 miles then hooked up two more riders who also dropped off the main group. We worked together for another few miles to the final rest stop at mile 84. We were pleasantly surprised to rejoin the big group there!

With 20 miles left, we resumed at a good pace. Hitting some more hills, I started to yo-yo off again along with 6 or 7 other riders. When the road flattened, I dug deep and went into time-trial mode and bridged back over about ¼ mile gap on my own. After that, there were no problems hanging with the group for the rest of the ride. So, 104 miles at a rather brisk 20.4 MPH average.

Turned out to be a great day for riding, and a welcome chance to reconnect with my EB friends. I think the Massapequa Bike club has finally perfected this route, eliminating the busy Noyack section that put us on a busy narrow road with lots of annoyed drivers.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Highlander 2010 Ride Report

Rode the Highlander Cycle Tour, once again, in upstate New York's Finger Lakes region. For the last few incarnations, they have been changing the route each year. For 2010, they turned the ride into a double metric century and visited two of the Finger Lakes, Canandaigua and Keuka. Still 10,000 ft. of climbing though (although one rider I met on the route said it was more like 11,000 ft., according to his GPS).

Great weather this year, a chilly start at 45F, but it gradually warmed up to 72F by the afternoon. Last year we missed out on some of the great views in the area due to heavy mist that hung around for most of the day. This time, lots and lots of sunshine. Hardly any wind, so just about ideal conditions. Two benefits of the dry roads: first, no flats this year (I also put fresh Gatorskins on the bike a couple of weeks ago), second, I could really bomb down the descents, over 50 MPH in two sections!

After a pre-ride breakfast of oatmeal and coffee, I left Corning at about 5:30 AM for the ride to Bristol Mountain. I picked up my ride number and joined the other riders in the chilly pre-dawn to put the bike together and get kitted up.

The weather was great and as the sun rose over the hills (and we starting climbing over the hills) things warmed up nicely!

We started climbing right away and within the first 20 miles or so we had already hit three testing climbs, the third being Gannett Hill. Here is a photo of some riders cresting Gannett.

As a bonus, there happened to also be a rest stop on top of the hill.

The Highlander is a challenging ride, but the payoff is riding through some magnificent scenery and breathtaking views. Photos cannot possibly do it justice, but here are a few examples:

As I got to Hammondsport and started climbing around Keuka Lake, the air was sweet with the smell of grapes ready for harvest.

After a steep climb to Bully Hill Vinyards at mile 64, I met up with my family who were spending the day in the area buying local wine, picking apples, sampling grape pie, and getting ice cream. Here I am with my nephew Brian and my daughter Tina.

Cruising around Keuka!

Another meetup at mile 80, just before heading out to the bluff:

From mile 90, after the climb to Skyline Drive at the end of the bluff, the miles and the climbing began to tell on the legs a bit and I really began to focus on conserving enough energy to get through to the finish. Climbing in really low gears, keeping the legs spinning. After a much needed final rest stop at mile 110, and a final long climb up Greisha Rd. I made a fast descent to the finish back at Bristol Mountain Ski Resort.

Again, I met my family there and they kept me company while I picked up my swag bag (including a bottle of local wine!), changed into civies, and had the included post ride meal and slice of grape pie. We sat outside and listed to a blues band for a while, enjoying the beautiful day.

No question, it was a hard ride, but I really like the new route. We'll see what they have in store for next year.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Late Season Plan

Had a nice summer of riding and running. After the disappointment of missing the LI Marathon with my calf injury, I focused on the bike for a while. I got reacquainted with the Brands group and now have found that everyone has upped their game! I used to look forward to this ride as a Saturday warm-up before the intense Sunday Early Birds. No more! Although I haven't been there every week, there has almost always been a strong break going away on the LIE service road at the first hill. Really fun and an opportunity to stretch the legs. More importantly, a friendly and supportive group of riders.

Also have been making sporadic appearances at the Mineola bike club's Sunday rides. This has been a nice alternative on Sunday mornings. Usually I would do around 20 miles solo, ride the 10 miles to the ride start, do the club ride, then a few more miles solo back home. Put all together, its a nice 60-80 mile ride with the hard climbing sections on the North Shore. Again, a nice bunch of riders, too.

Really enjoyed the couple of times I tagged along with Mike W. to the Little Neck (Triangle) ride. We rode to Little Neck (yes, there is a triangular-shaped park that is the official meeting point) to start with the earlier, slower group. First few miles is quite slow as everyone chats and catches up, but the intensity gradually increases as the ride heads east. By the time the group heads north to the hills, its game on! Seems a little safer on this ride than the Saturday AM full-bore race ride that I used to do a couple of years ago.

On the running front, there have been ups and downs. Waiting now for an upswing (I hope). I suddenly realized at the end of July that the Wineglass marathon was approaching in two months and that I'd better start to actually train for it! I found an 18-week training guide and devised my own modified version of it, starting at week 10, hoping I had preserved some fitness from my early season training. I actually ramped up pretty well, after 5 weeks I ran a 20-miler! We went away for a family vacation for a week but I was able to do some early morning runs while away, including a 10-miler.

Now for the down swing! I broke training and did a 40 mile bike ride last Saturday, my normal long running day. Tried to run the next day and and ended up pulling my calf muscle again after just 3-4 miles. Oh no, not again! It wasn't as bad as last time so I figured I would rest it for a few days and then pick up the training plan again. Rode the bike 3 days, then tried to run. Made it through 3 miles but I think I made the injury worse!

Decision time. I have the Highlander century next weekend, so I'm planning to take a whole week off from running and put my efforts into the bike until after the Highlander. This may not turn out to be such a bad thing. After yesterday's and today's ride, I am realizing how much cycling fitness I've lost with all my emphasis on running this past month.

I'll have to see how quickly I can get back into the running groove after next week. I will only have 3 weeks until the marathon, one of which is supposed to be a taper. Not ideal by any means, but there is no real alternative. Gotta try!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Gold Coast Century 2010 Ride Report

Rode from home to Greenlawn for the start of today's Gold Coast Century. This is probably the hilliest century ride on LI (haven't done the Harbor's Ride yet, which also looks to include a number of hills as well). Planned on meeting some East End riders to start the ride officially at 7:30 AM. Got there a bit too early (6:35 AM) but took my time registering, picking up my ride t-shirt and catching up with some fellow riders. Saw Mike W. and Bob from the Brands ride who were riding with Guy, also from the Brands ride.

The East End group swelled to 20+ riders but was delayed getting started. John Y., John S., Phil, Ralph, and I soft pedaled the first 5 miles or so until the big group caught us. We continued on together, skipping the first rest stop, up to the second rest stop. We five stopped but the big group, surprisingly kept on going. In a way, I am kind of glad. There was a bit too much aggressive and nervous riding in the big group for my liking. Best to save this for the race course, not crowded roads filled with cars and potholes. Secondly, the next rest stop was at mile 50. I was concerned that in the high heat and humidity, that was a little too far with just two bottles, one of which was already half empty from my 20-mile ride to the start.

We five made the stop, seeing the Brands group there, too. Loading up on sports drink, water, PB&J, and bananas, we soon left the Oyster Bay stop hitting more of the rolling route. The group worked well to the Roslyn stop at mile 50, where John S. and Ralph split off to do the 70-mile version. John, Phil, and I set off to do Beacon Hill and Sands Point, the back to Roslyn to refill water bottles and get Phil's bottom bracket looked at by the neutral support.

Rolling hills for another 15 miles or so to the final rest stop and looming Avery hill. By now, the temperature in the high 80's was starting to wear us down. My odometer was at 101 miles. I could not seem to drink enough! We winched up Avery then down to Rt. 25. John was climbing great all day and I was mostly unsuccessful at holding his wheel on the harder climbs. But we always got the group back together within 1/2 mile of each hill where it broke up.

I bid adeu to John and Phil when we intersected Round Swamp Rd. and headed home on my own while they went on to complete the "official" century route. Great day for riding, even if a bit on the warm side. We were always in sunshine! The rest stops were fine, as usual on this ride, and the road marked well. Didn't need to check the cue sheet even once! Feel a bit beat-up from the broken up roads but I think a rest day may be in order tomorrow!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Catskills Cycling Trip 2010

Spent six days cycling in the Catskills with friends. Here is some ride info for each day and a few photos. All photos and Garmin data from Pyzahl. Thank you Percy!

Day 1: Big Indian - Windham
66 miles, 4325 ft. elevation gain

Day 2: Andes - Delancy
96 miles, 5781 ft. elevation gain

Day 3: Woodstock and Rhinebeck
50 miles, recovery day

Day 4: Rapha New Paltz

114 miles, 8305 ft. elevation gain
The Rapha ride that was the basis for our route.

Day 5: Phoenecia - Tannersville
55 miles, 3468 ft. elevation gain

Day 6: Hunter
60 miles (12 on my own), 4598 ft. elevation gain

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Two Pair

Two great riding days last weekend, and looks like two more this weekend!

Last weekend I planned on racing the Cedar Creek Criterium Cat 4 race. Not wanting to limit myself to 25 miles of riding on such a nice day weatherwise, I did the Saturday morning Brands group ride but kept an easier pace with the "B" group and mostly followed wheels until it was time to head to the race start. I watched Dan and Toni from the Mineola Bike Shop ride do the Cat 5 race, Dan getting an excellent 3rd place!

Meeting up with 4 GAB riders, including Pyzahl, we lined up for our race. Everything going great for 2 laps, until on the hairpin turn on lap 3, a rider in front of me goes down. I have to stop to avoid hitting him. By the time I get going again, the peloton is gone. I time-trialed for 12 laps on my own but finally got pulled as the the group was getting ready to lap me. Frustrating to continue my streak of DNS and DNF in race events (that I paid for!).

Made up for it on Sunday with a great ride with the Mineola crew. Finished with Dan and Toni as we hit the Stillwell and Picardy climbs, following some of the Triangle route.

Today was an awesome throwdown on the Brands ride, group of 4 going away on Rouns Swamp. Mike W. looking very strong to catch back on on LIE eastbound. I took a little flyer at the end heading back to Brands. Felt good to air out the legs a little.

Tomorrow, just an early solo ride in the morning then planning to head to Jones Beach with the family to watch the annual Memorial Day airshow. Blue ANgels this year! Here is a little video from the last time we went.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cedar Creek Crit - Cat 4 Race

Me in the orange and blue jersey taking the hairpin in one of the early laps. Photo by Percy Z.

This is not going to be good. I am right behind the Kissena rider.

Can just see my orange jersey peeking in on the lower right corner at 1:50 in this helmet-cam video shot by Percy Z. before the crash that left me off the back of the peloton until I was pulled with 10 laps to go.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Brats Report

... as in the "Bratwurst" Century.

So after some scheduling and weather issues, the ride finally went off this morning but with a light turnout most likely due to the weather forecast. Rain was being predicted all day until the final weather report I checked last night which showed that the rain would likely be finished by the 8:00 AM ride start.

I got up early to get myself and the bike prepared, and headed out to Riverhead in a light misty rain. Eight of us met up for the ride: me, George, John and Robin, Phil, Dan, Tom M., and Dave on his tri-bike (I remember him from last year, too). We kitted up and got going right around 8:00 AM. Roads were damp at the start but mostly dried up after a couple of hours. Thankfully, we did not get one drop of rain!

First flat at mile 15, but John fixed it quickly and we motored on to the Greenport ferry. George and Dave took some long pulls but said goodbye at the ferry and headed back to Riverhead, while the remaining six of us sailed over to Shelter Island. Phil discovered a flat tire just as we rolled off the ferry. Once we got going again, John took the direct Rt. 114 to the south ferry while the other five of us tried to follow the BBB indirect route. We missed a turn and got lost for a couple of miles but eventually got ourselves to the south ferry terminal. Great scenery on Shelter Island, as usual, even with the overcast skies.

We met up with John and took our ferry ride to the South fork, rolling through Sag Harbor. The paceline working like a well oiled machine, steady pace around 20-22 MPH, very comfortable with a favorable wind. Some flooded roads but passable on the bikes. Dan flatted at mile 45, but with the roads mostly dried out by now, it would be the last one for the day.

We made the usual lunch stop in the Hamptons at mile 64, a little chilly as we sat outside eating but once we got rolling again we warmed up quickly. As often happens, we made the route up as we went through the Hamptons and then finally hooked up with the EB route for the final 15 or so miles back to Riverhead. A couple of us went out for another couple of miles, just to get the odometer to tick over 100.

It turned out to be a really nice ride, and the weather (thankfully) cooperated. I felt good during the ride, and I think that was the best I ever felt at the end of a century. I felt like I could have knocked out another 50 miles, no problem. First century of the season done, can't wait for the next one!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Finding Some Motivation

While running is on the back-burner for a couple of weeks, I've found some new motivation to get back on the bike. Last weekend I was determined to spend all of the "marathon" energy I accumulated out on the bike. Did a fast 50-mile ride early on Saturday morning, then a long 84-miler on Sunday. Half of Sunday's ride was on my own and half was with Dan A. and others at the Mineola Bike Club. Both were challenging rides in their own way and I felt tired but satisfied that I left "everything out on the road".

I rode 4 out of 5 days before work this week, getting back into the old routine. Everything feeling good on the bike.

If it hadn't been for Mike W.'s text message yesterday, I probably would have woke up this morning, saw the wet roads, and skipped my ride. Although the weather cleared up as the day wore on, if I don't get the ride in early, I usually don't get it in at all. So, big THANK YOU to Mike for the motivation to get out there. As it turns out, I met Mike, Rob, and Bob at 6:15 AM at the shop and we did a modified Brands Ride, returning on Vanderbilt Rd. for some variation and a few little hills to attack. It was a great ride with good intensity!

Mike's GPS track:

Tomorrow's motivation, in the face of some predicted 30 MPH winds, is the annual Tour de Parc, in Cedar Creek. This year I just registered for the Master's 45+ Criterium (it is Mother's Day, after all!) but am looking forward to the first race of the year and to seeing a lot of the EECT and Green Arm Bandits at the race, most of whom I've ridden with many times at the Early Birds and various centuries on and off Long Island. I have no illusions of placing but maybe I can work for the EECT Team. My simple goal: DON'T GET DROPPED!

Finally, the annual Spring (Bratwurst) Century is leaving from Riverhead on Wednesday. A loosely organized, unsupported century ride out on the North Fork, across Shelter Island, and back to Riverhead on the South Fork. I have the day off from work, but the weather report is not looking too good at the moment. We'll have to see how that develops. If the weather cooperates, I'm sure it will be a great ride as it has been in years past. Again, a good opportunity to reconnect with some riding friends who I haven't seen since last season. Can't wait!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

New Plans

By now, its old news that I pulled a calf muscle on my training run last weekend, just one week before the LI Marathon, my running goal for the year. Did everything I could think of to heal it and recover to be able to do the marathon. It was really feeling okay by Friday morning. Did nothing Monday through Wednesday, even took the subway to work, which I rarely do. I had done 45 minutes on the trainer Thursday morning and did my usual 3 mile walk to work that same morning and it was feeling okay. Tried to run on Friday morning, but after 1/2 mile the muscle tightened, hurting badly, and I knew the marathon was out of the question.

So, time to rethink things. I definitely need to forget about running for 2-3 weeks and let everything heal fully. Fortunately, I don't feel it at all on the bike. We are getting into the thick of cycling season now so the plan is to be bike-centric for the rest of the spring and summer. I will start running again in a few weeks and try to build a more substantial base. Then, I will probably shoot for a goal of doing a marathon in the fall. The best candidate right now looks to be the Wineglass Marathon, upstate in Corning on October 3rd. Hopefully I can make a weekend out of it with the family.

Last thoughts on this (I promise!): In retrospect, I may have rushed the training too much. I did not want to give up on cycling, so I was only a part time runner. It was only 3 months since the 3-week break after my hamstring pull so I'm thinking I did not have enough of a base built up. I should have had more 10-mile runs instead of 5-mile runs. Also, I would like to get in 2-3 20-mile runs before the marathon instead of just one. Going to concentrate more on preparation, nutrition, and stretching. These probably have more to do with this kind of injury than just raw miles.

See everyone on the road!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Pulled my calf muscle on my last,, long pre-Marathon training run. Resting it for the remainder of the week but, right now, it looks like I'm going to have to miss the race. A hard pill to swallow after 4 months of training...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

On Track... I Hope!

Was planning on a Brands rise this morning but checked the weather last night and it was not looking too great for a bike ride this morning. I decided to switch my running and biking plans. Did a run this morning and planning on a bike ride tomorrow morning.

Although I'm not following any set training plan, I have taken a brief look at some "1st marathon" training plans on the net and there is a theme of doing your last long training run about three weeks before the actual marathon, then tapering down to the final couple of days were there is two rest days before the marathon. By coincidence, that is sort of how it worked out for me. Did 20 last weekend, 17 today, planning for about 10 next weekend, then a couple of short morning runs the week before the race.

To be honest, I was going to go for another 20-miler today but I stupidly did not drink on my 17-mile run and was starting to cramp-up a little at the end, so I called it a day at 17. Before that, was feeling a bit better than last weekend. Weather was cool and damp, but the wind was a lot lighter than last weekend.

Tomorrow, hope to get out for a bike ride. Planning to try something new, meeting the Mineola Bike Club for a ride out to Sand's Point. Was invited by ride leader Dan Aviles, who is also my daughter's HS music teacher. We talked bikes on the Spain trip and I thought it would be cool to do a ride together.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

New Ground

Broke the 20-mile barrier on my run this morning. This was a milestone, as I've read on a few running sites that when preparing for your first marathon, if you can do 20 miles in training, the adrenaline of the real race will give you that "something extra" to push through to 26.2. I have no idea if that's really true, though I did run my fastest 5-mile ever during the Snowball 5-mile race.

I decided to do 5-mile laps on this run so I could leave a bottle of sport drink out and take a sip on each lap. Also, if things did not go well, I could bail without needing to call for a pick-up. It worked out well. I ended up doing 3 laps of my usual 5.5 mile morning route, plus 1 lap of Linda's 3.4 mile route, then another trip up and down the block to get the 20. Honestly, after mile 15, it was not pretty. It was all I could do to pick the legs up and put them down. But, the mental achievement is probably as important as the physical one. I know I can do 20!

A few other factors about today's run that will, hopefully, be more in my favor for May 2nd. First, I did not taper. Actually, I did a 15-mile run 6 days ago and a 10-mile run on Thursday. I'll taper at least a week before the marathon. Second, I hope I will not be fighting 20 MPH winds on marathon day, but, you never know. And third, I had a bit of a stomach issue in the morning, but not too bad.

Glad its done. It was hard, and I felt like the last 5 miles would never end, but I proved to myself it was doable.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Summer Already?

Was away for the Easter holiday weekend (3 days). Was pleasantly surprised to encounter some summer-like weather in Corning, temperatures in the 70F's every day. Was looking forward to some long rides/runs and was not disappointed.

Saturday, got up early for a 65-mile ride through the Savona hills to Keuka Lake and back. First half of the ride was GREAT, a bright, sunny day. I felt surprisingly good on the few steep hills mid-ride, given my lower than normal mileage this year (trading half of my cycling time for running). After descending into Hammondsport for the 30-mile return leg, the situation changed. I was fighting a strong, steady headwind back. Two hours of grinding against that wind! A bit harder ride than I wanted.

Sunday was a run day. Before yesterday's ride, I thought this would be the chance to finally get in a 20-mile run before the LI Marathon. Not to be. Was a little drained from Saturday and having some sinus issues, so I only managed 15. On the plus side, it was a sub-9 minute pace, which is encouraging. Then had a great Easter day with the family.

Finally, Monday morning before heading back to LI, did my usual 30-mile Harris Hill loop. Felt very good on the climb! Another 30 miles on the bike.

Really happy to get those three solid days in. Need to try for the 20-mile run next weekend.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Its been a busy few weeks! Starting with a trip to Spain with my daughter and the Wantagh High School band, my older daughter's 16th birthday, family over for the birthday and the track nationals, a devastating Nor'easter that took down a big tree in my backyard (still working on the cleanup!), St. Patrick's day, cramming at work to meet a software implementation deadline, my younger daughter's 12th birthday yesterday, more yard cleanup this whole weekend, etc., etc.

Spain photos...

Click here to view these pictures larger

Squeezing in workouts as much as possible. Have done a couple of longer runs over the past two weeks, two 16-milers and a 10-miler, but the LI Marathon is fast approaching. I have a mental goal to do at least one 20-miler before the actual marathon. Just a few weeks left to try!

My cycling has taken the biggest hit! In Spain, I could run. In the rain, I could run. Its just harder for things just need to fall into place for a ride. But, it looks like today is the day. Just finished my routine pre-ride breakfast (oatmeal and coffee) and about to head out for a ride! Not going to be the "blissful" 70F and sunny conditions that some of my riding buddies have enjoyed this past week but I'm going for it in shorts anyway!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Time Slicing

These past two weeks, continued to split my workouts between running and cycling. Last weekend, reached a new running milestone with a 17-mile run, longest I've done so far.

More snow during the week but the roads were clear for a 13-mile run on Saturday morning, followed by a great 50-mile cycle this morning. Lots of runners (and a few cyclists were out, especially on Round Swamp Rd.) As I climbed through West Hills on wet roads, I felt/heard a grating sound from the rear of the bike. A piece of gravel had gotten lodged in my rear brake pad, carving a nice groove in my braking surface. I stopped to clean it out and was pleasantly surprised when a motorist stopped to check if I was okay. I thanked her and told her I was fine. I thought that was nice!

This weekend capped off a good month. February 1st was my first run back after 3 weeks off recovering from my hamstring injury and I'm happy to have gotten back to where I was before the injury. Maybe a little slower but the endurance is there, at least on the running side of things. Since then, I managed to do some kind of workout everyday.



Sunday, February 14, 2010

Trying to Build

We had a major snowstorm last week but I've been able to keep the training streak alive. Monday, regular Jones Beach morning ride. Back-to-back runs, Tuesday and Wednesday (in the snow, beginning of the storm). Thursday, too much snow to ride or run outside, so did a trainer workout. Another run on Friday to cap-off the work week.

Really itching to do some 2+ hour training this weekend to start building back some endurance. Was worried about snow and ice on the roads for cycling but roads looked pretty clear and I went out for 41 miles on the bike on a cold Saturday morning. It was cloudy and sort of bleak, but mission accomplished. My bike is a few years old, not top-shelf, so I'm not really squeamish about taking it out for a ride in messy conditions. I've got a nice box of parts in the basement to give it a little tune-up once we get into the nice spring weather (new chainrings, brake pads, chain, and cassette).

Sunday, I did a long run, 13.4 miles. Again, cold and windy, but this time the sun was out. Put the iPod on and got into a nice rhythm for for the first 6.5 miles. Ran up to Bethpage Park on the same route that I would normally ride on the bike. A little too much car traffic for my taste but I'm sure the Jones Beach path is still probably choked with a foot of snow, so I had to make due. Fighting a headwind on the way back. I think this is about as far as I can go comfortably without additional food and water, so I might try and carry some sports drink as I move to longer runs. Or, possibly loop back home in the middle of a long run to grab a drink and some fuel.

Off tomorrow for President's day. Hoping to get on the bike again if the weather is decent.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Running is Back on the Program

After 2 weeks off to let my hamstring heal-up (really more like 3 weeks, just one failed attempt in there) I started running again this past week. So far, so good. Did three early morning runs before work Monday (3.3 miles), Wednesday (5.8 miles), and Friday (5.5 miles). Staying close to home in case of problems. Pattern has been that the hamstring feels tight for first three miles, then starts to feel better the longer I go.

Saturday, I hoped to do a long ride on the bike but it was windy and snowing in the morning. Didn't want to push the running legs so I just did 45 minutes of intervals on the trainer.

This morning, 19F temps and wind, so I opted for a run over the bike. Supposed to warm up later but I hate riding around here once the roads are filled with cars. Instead, I did a few stretches then headed out at 6:00 AM for a nice run. Contemplated a run to Jones Beach but decided, again, to stay local in case the leg started acting up. I did two laps of my usual 5.5 mile morning run. Despite the cold and wind, I felt pretty good. I can always feel the hamstring but it acts like a reminder not to push too hard and keep in control. Was psyched to get this long run in. Now to build on it...

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Getting Used to Numb Hands and Feet

Managed two 50-mile rides last weekend. On Saturday, got to the LIE within minutes of this crash and saw the full devastation on my way back. Did the same route on Sunday, and amazingly, the LIE seemed to be back to normal.

Would have been great to do another couple of 50-milers this weekend too, but woke up to 17F temperatures and wind this morning (2F windchill). I managed to get out for 25 miles. Hands just got TOO cold! Will probably try again tomorrow, depending on the weather.

Thought about running but I'm sticking to my 2-week recovery from my hamstring injury. Going to try and run again on Monday morning (fingers crossed!).

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Monkey Wrench

Had to change the workout plans this week. I've been alternating between cycling and running this winter. Was looking forward to a nice long run last Sunday, despite temperatures in the teens. I had a goal of 10 miles. The run started out fine and I headed to the Jones Beach bike path, listening to my iPod and waiting for Nike+ to tell me when I reached the halfway point. At 5 miles, felt pretty good and turned back. Around this time, hamstring in my left leg started to get painful. I tried to run through it but by mile 6.8 it was too tender to run. I walked home the final 3.2 miles. Been unable to run since then.

So...back to full-time bike rider! Did the usual pre-dawn bike path loop before work Monday through Thursday. On Friday, I decided to test the running legs. Nope, still too sore. I'm signed up for the LI Marathon on May 2nd and really need to get some miles under my belt but I feel like if I push the running too soon it will just mean another injury and more weeks of training lost.

A warmish 40F this morning, perfect for a long bike ride. My start was delayed by 15 minutes when I found I had a flat rear-tire on the Specialized. I changed the tube but in my haste to get moving, I didn't seat the tube properly and popped it while pumping up to pressure. Off with the tire again, installed another tube more carefully this time and finally got going by 7:45 AM.

Rode my usual 50-mile training route, from Wantagh, up to Round Swamp Rd., LIE Service Rd. to Crooked Hill Rd., back to Round Swamp, North through West Hills Preserve, then home. Felt okay on the ride, didn't expect much since my last 50-mile ride was December 13th! No speed records today but nice to ride in the sunshine.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

2009 Year in Review

Had a great year cycling in 2009 and picked up a new activity, running, which I hope to improve upon in 2010. I met my overall goals in terms of mileage on the bike (7,700 outdoor miles, goal was 6,000). This year I leaned more to long distance rides (did 15 centuries) and less emphasis on racing (only 3 races this year).

Still loving the bike but looking for some new challenges and alternatives, for instance its easier to travel with a pair of sneakers and some running shorts instead of the bike and everything that goes with it. I'm still working on striking the best balance between running and cycling, but I don't think I can really go wrong as long as I enjoy doing both.

Some of this year's highlights:

1. My 200-mile solo ride from Middletown to Corning

2. My 5th Highlander Cycle Tour

3. Being part of the Brand's 55th Anniversary Ride

4. Picturesque TOSREC Century

5. East Island Ride with Mike

Looking forward to more in 2010!