Setting the Race Calandar—A Work in Progress

24 Miles into last year's Sybil Ludington50K

24 Miles into last year’s Sybil Ludington50K

Hours are spent pouring over the race calendars on New York Road Runners, NYC Runs, GLIRC, and Rockland Road Runners webpages.   More are spent talking to Coach Maria—we’re both chatty—looking for races not my radar.  Last year it was The Go Hard or Go Home Half Marathon and the Sybil Ludington 50K.

Cold weather and a lingering sinus infection have thrown my training way off, so has my newest challenge—Cristian.  Esther and I both run and although we don’t run every racing together that will be tougher this year.  NYRR is not running the dual 4 mile/15 K Colon Cancer Challenge races this year.

 

Setting this year’s calendar reminded me of the NFL Draft.   This morning Esther signed up for five NYRR races after checking for conflicts.  Right now only The Hook Half Marathon, the Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon 5K and a Spring Marathon in early May are on my radar.

With out friends Leo and Linda Perales after the 2013 Colon Cancer Challenge.  Esther ran the 4 Mile race and I ran the 15K

With out friends Leo and Linda Perales after the 2013 Colon Cancer Challenge. Esther ran the 4 Mile race and I ran the 15K

I’m considering running Pan Can Purple Stride New York City 5K and the Ralph Kaplan Memorial Run with pushing Cristian in his jog stroller so Esther can run it as well.  Like my training planning this year’s races is a work in progress, but don’t worry I’ll get there.  I always do.

Rekindling My Love Affair

Pre-Run Selfie

Pre-Run Selfie

Starting up after a long layoff is always tough.  Sandblasting off the rust and ignoring the excuses are part of the process.  “I’m not feeling it, it’s cold, I’ll go later,” I’ve made them all and more.  Getting out for a run is so easy when you’re in the zone and so difficult when you’re out of it.

A few weeks ago when NYRR’s Washington Heights’ Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5k race aka Coogan’s capped before I could sign up for, I felt relieved.  I wasn’t ready to put up a decent time in a 5K but knowing my teammates were running through Upper Manhattan’s narrow streets

I wasn't the only one on Cunningham Park's loop.

I wasn’t the only one on Cunningham Park’s loop.

motivated me to get out for a run.

The conditions were as good as they get, it wasn’t cold, the roads were empty, Esther was watching the baby, and a light snow was falling—I love running in falling snow.  Dressed in a hoodie and compression gear I hit the streets anxious to find my rhythm.

Starting slow and keeping it simple I wanted a few slow miles hoping to find my lost rhythm.  Heading up Midland Parkway I didn’t look at my Garmin until it beeped as I passed the first mile.  Climbing 188th Street’s hill, I hate that hill, I headed towards Cunningham Park.

Covered in a blanket of snow the park looked great.  I gave a smile and a thumbs up to a team of football players who shouted, “Don’t stop” when I stopped for a quick picture.  “Keep going Frank,” I chuckled as I chugged along the loop.

Cunningham Park looked great under a blanket of snow.

Cunningham Park looked great under a blanket of snow.

Leaving Cunningham my legs good when I heard a car horn, looking up I heard one of the football players shouting, “Keep going.”  I gave a quick wave and headed back to Midland

Red-faced and covered in snow I felt great

Red-faced and covered in snow I felt great

Parkway.  As my Garmin beeped thee miles I notice the swirling snow covered the cars with a light layer of snow.   Looking down and my hoodie I noticed the snow covered me too.

Finishing up in front of my building, I ran just over four-easy miles.  Covered in snow I felt great.  It wasn’t my fastest or the smoothest, it didn’t have to be.  Searching for my lost rhythm I wanted something to build on.  Only time will tell if it was.

 

Time to be Accountable

White Scale Last Friday I returned to the keyboard and woke this blog up from its extended nap.  Tuesday I posted my 2014 Recap/2015 Goals post.  Yesterday was Throwback Thursday.  Today it’s back to the scale.

I weighed in at 220.6 Lbs this morning.

I weighed in at 220.6 Lbs this morning.

One of my goals for this year, and beyond, is to be healthier.  My biggest issue is staying focused.  During training I’m eating right, and easily maintaining a healthy weight.  My problem has always been losing focus when I’m not.  A big part of this is accountability.

I was really good about staying on whatever plan I was following (Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach) when I knew a weigh-in was around the corner.  So to stay accountable, Friday is now my weigh-in/Blog post day.

These blog posts are my accountability to me and whoever reads it.  This morning I weighed in at 220.6 Lbs.  Let’s see how this goes.

Throwback Thursday

It’s Thursday and if you’re like me, you’ve posted or will post vintage images to your Facebook,, Twitter or Instagram pages. Okay that was a shameless way of picking up a few extra Page Likes and Followers so please go ahead and follow me.  Spending the past months searching for images brought back memories friends, races and training runs.  Here are a few or my favorites:

2008 Run as One Classic

2008 Run as One Classic

2008 Run as One Classic-Esther and I had been dating for a few weeks.  One of our first dates was an evening run in Central Park.  A few days later she suggested that I sign up for my first race.   It’s amazing the things you’ll do when you meet someone you really like.  At the time she had no idea of what she had done.

Outside the Expo of the 2009 Philadelphia Marathon

Outside the 2009 Philadelphia Marathon Expo

2009 Philadelphia Marathon-Philadelphia was my second marathon and I wanted to improve on the forgettable time of 5:14:32 I ran the year before.  Having a marathon under my belt helped a little, training hard helped even more.  I had a great time in Philly running a 4:25:56 48 minutes faster than I did in Hartford.

The Busses

The Busses

The Busses-The New York City Marathon was on Bucket List a long time.  In 2010 I ran my first after a 30-year wait.  We were called into corral and walked through a twisting maze.   As Frank Sinatra’s New York New York played through speakers I looked up and saw the busses, we then made a sharp left turn and I saw the towers of the Verrazano Bridge.  My 30-year wait wait was over.

2013 Long Island Half

2013 Long Island Half

2013 Long Island Half Marathon-I’ve run the Long Island Marathon twice and both times felt I didn’t give my best.  Recovering from a broken foot I didn’t run a Spring Marathon in 2013 but Coach Maria suggested I run the half.  We handed the camera to another runner who took this photo (left to right, me, Esther, Coach Maria and Myrian) of us.  Coach Maria was right, I ran a PR.

Post-Race Bling waiiting for runners to claim them

Post-Race Bling waiiting for runners to claim them

2013 Brooklyn Half Bling-If you know me or read this blog—all four of you—you know Brooklyn is my favorite race.  The race has changed since I first ran it in 2009, the field has grown to 25,000 runners and the course was changed to accommodate them.  They also give out finishers medals.

2014 Hope and Possibilities

2014 Hope and Possibilities

2014 Achilles Hope and Possibility-I constantly use this race as an example to everyone who says, “I could never run.”  Per Athlinks I’ve run 114 races, this is the most inspirational.  Disabled and able-bodied athletes run the 5-mile course together.  I challenge newcomers to keep a dry-eye as you race with blind runners, wheel-chair athletes, and amputees running with various prosthetics.  I recommend this race to anyone needing a reality check.

The Pulaski Bridge

The Pulaski Bridge

2014 New York City Marathon/Pulaski Bridge-I wasn’t prepared for this year’s marathon but decided to run it and enjoy the experience.  I’ve called the race a 26.2 mile tour of New York City.  This is a favorite spot for tourists to take selfies and group pictures.

2014 Recap and 2015 Goals

Posting a year-end recap on February 24th is a bit odd—kind of like Christmas in August. I’m back from a long break so this is my January 1st post.  New Year’s posts are like Spring Training in baseball, you start out with hope and optimism and by July you find out how the year’s going.

After setting 13 PRs, 2013 was my best year as a runner and rough one personally, I hoped to keep it going in 2014, but it was not to be.  2014 was great personally, not so much as a runner but that’s okay.

With my teammates after an almost Bucket List Race, the Scotland Run

With my teammates after an almost Bucket List Race, the Scotland Run

I started 2014 and set some ambitious goals.  They were:

Races- I raced more in 2014 than another year—22 times.  My goal was to run two marathons and two ultras,or a third marathon if I couldn’t run the second ultra.  I also wanted to run more 5Ks.

I ran my two marathons, Central Park and New York City but only ultra the Sybil Ludington 50K.  I did run six 5Ks, actually five, I walked the New York Giants’ Run of Champions 5K with Esther, who was seven-months pregnant at the time.  Grade-Partial Credit

Running the Sybil Ludington 50K

Running the Sybil Ludington 50K

Consistency-I planned on building a strong foundation  by being steady, instead of running 50 miles one week and 15 the next.  A solid base may not bring new PRs but at least I would be steady.  I started out strong in January into mid-February—then the wheels came off.  First it was the flu.  Then Esther and I became expectant parents and my focus shifted. Grade-Incomplete but I’m OK with it.  

Esther and I showing our growing bellies after the Queens 10K

Esther and I showing our growing bellies after the Queens 10K

Be Healthier-I weighed 203 pounds last New Year’s Day.  I had gained a few pounds during the holidays.  I wanted to lose the weight and keep it off.

That didn’t happen at all.  We both gained weight as Esther’s pregnancy progressed—she produced a son, I produced a belly.  Grade-Fail

Take a Race off the Bucket List-In 2013 I crossed the NYC 60K Race off my Bucket List.  Feeling ambitious I set a goal of crossing another race of the Bucket List.

I had already signed up for the Scotland Run when I posted my Bucket List so I left it off the list. It was worth the six-year wait to run a 10K race in Central Park with a group of kilt-clad runners to the sounds of bagpipes. Grade-Partial Credit

Blog More-Needs no explanation.  Grade—Fail

My 2015 Goals are:

Rediscover the joy of running-It’s not about setting PRs, placing in my age group, or team points.  When I started running, it was pure enjoyment.   Sunday afternoon I went on a group run with a few teammates.  Running easy slow miles and laughing while we dodged puddles and looked for icy patches reminded me why I do this.

Find New Races-When I started running I picked races by going to the New York Road

The two reason for me to lose a few pounds and get healthier.

The two reason for me to lose a few pounds and get healthier.

Runners Website and signing up.   It was quick and easy.  Changing things up last year, I raced under the lights on New Year’s Eve/Day, raced through a cemetery, through the streets and boardwalk of Long Beach, and finished a race in a football stadium.  I hope to do more of the same this year and even race pushing Cristian in his jog stroller.

Be Healthier-A common resolution (a word I don’t use) is lose weight.  When I stepped on the scale this morning it said 222 pounds, 19 more than last year.  Although being lighter will probably produce faster race times, this goal is not about running.  I’m a 50-year man with a beautiful wife and son; this is for them as it is for me.

Blog More-Let’s see if this is the year.

Here We Go Again

I’m back at the keyboard after a seven-month layoff—so much for consistency. I love running and blogging about it, although it’s not always obvious. I’ve only posted three times since March.

Much has happened since my last post, so to keep the post short, let me hit the highlights of the past seven months.
21-Esther and I became parents-Back in May in my last Recap Post (let’s hope I don’t write too many of these, but I probably will) I announced Esther and I were expecting a baby. On October 9th we became parents to our Cristian Daniel Priegue. Our lives and sleeping habits will never be the same.

2-I started another blog-This makes no sense at all. A four-month old baby and two blogs to post, on not post to. However being a 50-year old first time dad seemed kind of funny and would lend itself to a blog. Someone please stop me when I get these thoughts. So I registered the URL I’m Not Grandpa, or more correctly imnotgrandpa now I have start generating material. So far I’ve posted twice , it’s a work in progress.

3-I enjoyed the New York City Marathon Experience-Not the 26.2 mile 5 Borough, 5 Bridge NYC tour but the pre-race events. The Quicksilver Striders were invited to march in the Opening Ceremonies Parade of Nations. I usually blow off this type of event, but decided what they hell and had a blast. Hanging with friends, teammates and runners from around the world was an experience I’d recommend to anyone running next year’s race.

2014 nyrr parade 2 rev

4-I was interviewed for the Weather Channel-The forecast for this year’s marathon was for temperatures in the low 40’s with 20 to 30 mph winds. When weather became a story, The Weather Channel approached me via Twitter for my opinion. At 2 minutes 15 seconds, I still have a credit on my 15 minutes of fame.

Starting out in the Green Wave

Starting out in the Green Wave

5-I ran my Fourth New York City Marathon- With a newborn baby at home and almost no training I gave serious thought to skipping this year’s race. Then I thought again. I waited 30 years to run my first NYC Marathon in 2010. The course and race experience are truly one of a kind, and since I already paid the $200 plus entry fee, I figured why not. With no pressure to PR — unlike last year I could go out and enjoy the spectacle. Taking pictures along the course, running for blocks high-fiving spectators, and cheering runners on along the course I had a better time than in any other race I’ve run. Plus the frigid conditions gave me a marathon war-story I’ll be telling for a long time.

Post-Race Selfie with one of volunteers.

Post-Race Selfie with one of volunteers.

6-I’ve become a Running Dad-As parents Esther and I plan on introducing Cristian to many things, one of them is an active lifestyle. On New Year’s Day the three of us joined our teammates for a 5-Mile Hangover Fun Run. It was a chance for him to meet our friends and teammates. OK he was bundled up and slept in the jog stroller, but you have to start somewhere. As I look at the 2015 race calendar I’m looking for stroller-friendly races. I’m sure I’ll write a post or two about it.

2015 hangover run

Confessions of a Lazy Blogger

Hi my name is Frank, and I’m a lazy blogger.  Having posted only once in March and not at all in April and June until now I realized when my feet stop running on roads my fingers usually stop running on keyboards.

In front of the Brooklyn Museum before the Brooklyn Half Marathon,

In front of the Brooklyn Museum before the Brooklyn Half Marathon,

I haven’t stopped running completely—it only seems that way.  I’ve raced four times since my last post.  Running the Brooklyn Half and finishing the Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon 5K, on the racetrack were two of this year’s highlights.  Despite those highlights running hasn’t been fun.

Finishing a race on Belmont Park, was a first.  ©Quicksilver Striders

Finishing a race on Belmont Park, was a first. ©Quicksilver Striders

I’ve blown off training runs, track work and hill work.  I’ve been idle on days where I’d easily done a five miler.  The lack of road work has shown, in my race results. Last Sunday I finished 14th out of 18 teammates in the Portugal Day 5-miler.  That was a wakeup call.

The inactivity has shown up somewhere else, on the scale.  Last year I lost over 40 pounds and raced at about 192.  The past few weeks, I’ve tipped the scales between a beefy 215 and a beefier 220 and have been sluggish, another wakeup call.

I know expectant fathers gain sympathy weight, but c’mon Frank, that’s bullshit.  It’s time to get moving one step at a time, keep moving forward.

Esther and I leaving Belmont Racetrack after the Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon 5K ©Quicksilver Striders

Esther and I leaving Belmont Racetrack after the Belmont Stakes Blue Ribbon 5K ©Quicksilver Striders

No Sleep ’til Brooklyn

BK Half 2014 - 2

On the course during last year's Brooklyn Half

On the course during last year’s Brooklyn Half

It’s that time of year again, its mid-May, and Esther and I are planning on getting up early and taking both cars into Brooklyn, leaving one in Coney Island the other in Park Slope.  I guess it’s time for the Brooklyn Half Marathon.

Always a highlight on NYRR’s calendar, demand has grown in recent years.  Running teams set up reminders on team calendars and Facebook pages so they wouldn’t miss race registration which sold out in less than 24 hours for last year’s race.  Read about it here.

This point-to-point race from the Brooklyn Museum to the Coney Island Boardwalk has a Brooklyn attitude.  Transportation challenges, a unique course, and a 4 am wake-up call haven’t stopped me from coming back—five times in the last six years.

Although my training’s been inconsistent and last year’s 1:48:39 p.r. is safe, I’m looking forward to running Brooklyn’s streets tomorrow morning.  After the race my teammates and plan to grab a hot dog at Nathan’s and maybe take a ride on the Cyclone.  Time for new memories.

70 Days Later, I’m Back

It’s been over 70 days since my last post, about the Washington Heights Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K race—Coogan’s.   Although I’ve been away from the keyboard a lot has happened since March.  To avoid writing an overlong post, I’ve decided to recap the last 70 days in a quick list.

Will the baby be born wearing running shoes?

Will the baby be born wearing running shoes?

1-Esther and I are going to be parents-We’ve known since January but only recently announced it.  Our lives are going to change—in a good way.  I guess next year I’ll be racing with a jog stroller.

2-Walking a half marathon is harder than running one-Pregnancy isn’t keeping Esther from qualifying for next year’s New York City Marathon.  Since she’s not allowed to run, she’s walking her races.  Walking the More Half was tougher than running any of the combined 70 plus halfs we’ve done.  We were sore.

3- I’m now a two-time Ultramarathoner-Lacking mileage and hill work, why did I sign up for a hilly race like the Sybil Ludington 50K?  Because I can.  I figured I could run the first 26.2 in five hours.  That left me two hours to run the last five miles so I could finish within the seven-hour time limit.   I ran a 6:06:29 finishing 26th out of 33 over hills than reminded me of the Price is Right Yodeling Mountain Climber.

The Sybil Ludington 50K's Elevation Chart

The Sybil Ludington 50K’s Elevation Chart

4-I ran my first 5K race (in a cemetery)-The Cypress Hills 5K Run through History is held in honor of fallen NYPD Office Peter Figoski as a fundraiser for the PBA Widows and Orphans Fund and the Make-a-Wish Foundation.  The winding hilly course in the cemetery that is the final resting place for Jackie Robinson, Mae West, Peter Luger and Eubie Blake.  Coming in on heavy legs and three-hours sleep after partying at friend’s wedding,  I didn’t run my best time, but it didn’t matter.

Esther and I finishing up the Cypress Hills 5K Run Through History

Esther and I finishing up the Cypress Hills 5K Run Through History

 5-Racing Became a Family Event- Last year my mother -in-law lost her fight with Pancreatic Cancer.  To honor her memory her children, Esther, Bobby and Rose Marie honored her memory by signing up for the PanCan PurpleStride 5K race in Prospect Park.  Joined by our Quicksilver Striders teammates we raised money, ran a 5K and had a great time.  Somewhere “Lola” was looking down and smiling.

Esther, Rose Marie and Bobby after the PanCan PurpleStride 5K Race

Esther, Rose Marie and Bobby after the PanCan PurpleStride 5K Race

6-I Finally Ran the Scotland Run-This 10K race in Central Park among kilt-clad runners to the sounds of bagpipe music was on my Bucket List for years.  I already signed up for the race when I wrote The Bucket List post, so I didn’t include it.

7-I Ran another Double Header Weekend-A day after the Scotland Run I was in Congers New York for the Hook Half Marathon.  This hilly scenic local race over paved road and trails is a good training race for my spring marathon.  This year I ran a course p.r. of 2:00:42.

8-Time for a New Toy-My Forerunner 305 finally died, 4:58:44 in the Sybil Ludington 50K Race.  I’ve replaced “the brick” with a new brick, the Forerunner 310.  The 20-hour battery life and affordable price seemed more than adequate for a 50-miler.

   

I’m Calling it Coogan’s

Yesterday morning Esther and I trekked up to Northern Manhattan for the most unique race on New York Road Runners calendar, the Washington Heights Salsa, Blues and Shamrocks 5K.  This race through Washington Heights’s streets is more than a race—it’s an event.   Known for green bagels, live bands playing salsa, blues, jazz and classic rock along the course and a kid’s races showcasing the next generation of young runners.

In the crowded corral before the race.

In the crowded corral before the race.

The race may have a new name but runners still call it Coogan’s the same way New Yorkers still call the RFK Bridge the Triborough Bridge.  Although the name is new the course is the same tight hilly out and back that’s both challenging and beautiful.  Starting near the armory runners head up Washington Height’s narrow streets heading uphill towards Fort Tryon Park passing the cloisters and looping around the park and then it’s down the rolling hills to the finish.

Heading out to the start

Heading out to the start

Yesterday’s race was the first race in NYRR’s Club Series and although I had a cranky knee from last Sunday’s Central Park Marathon there was no way I wasn’t running.  I planned running slow or maybe pacing a teammate.  I also planned on taking a few pictures along the course as I ran.

The Race

Out and back runners in Fort Tryon Park

Out and back runners in Fort Tryon Park

Starting in a cramped corral, snapping random pictures as I went, my fellow racers pulled me out fast—but not too fast.  Watching NYRR’s volunteers frantically trying to keep outbound runners from spreading out into the incoming lane—in a field of about 6000 it seemed as futile as herding cats.  Passing the first-mile marker I looked up and saw the lead runners heading towards the finish.  I wasn’t running for a p.r. but seeing that still gets in your head a little bit.

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Heading into Fort Tryon Park I ran an 8:08 first mile surprised at how well my knee was behaving.  Soaking up atmosphere and moving forward along Northern Manhattan’s rolling hills I ran a 7:56 second mile.  Hmmm.

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Passing bands playing classic 80’s tunes I headed towards the finish.  There was one hill left at about 2.5 miles and then it’s all downhill.  Picking up the pace I saw teammates Rohan and Dred cheering as I passed them.  Passing the last hill my pack of runners opened up running downhill towards the finish.   I finished in 24:23 good for third overall on the Quicksilver Striders.   Not bad for a guy who wanted to take things easy.  After the race, Esther and I munched on green bagels and watched the kids races with teammates.   Regardless of the name, the race experience didn’t disappoint.

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