Guiding Amelia Dickerson in the 2013 NYC Marathon

I was totally overwhelmed by meeting and running with Amelia Dickerson in the NYC Marathon, a blind competitive athlete from Colorado who is one of the most determined, unflappable runners I have ever met. Filmmaker Becky Popiel is making a documentary about Amelia called "An Unseen Run." You can see the trailer for the film here; I can't wait to see the finished product.
 
I wrote a brief account of the experience--really about how totally earth shatteringly amazing it was FOR ME--in Slate. There's a lot to convey that didn't make it into that piece, but I hope I expressed how incredibly amazing Amelia is. 

 Even if there's not an Achilles group in your area or if you're not able to volunteer, please consider donating to support their work. Achilles athletes compete in mainstream athletics and totally kick butt doing so. Amelia finished ahead of tens of thousands of others in the NYC Marathon even though she was tethered to me.

 

 

Coming along.

Finally. I finally started running again with some sense of purpose. A few weeks ago, I ran with my niece in Wisconsin during her high school XC training camp. That was fun. And it was clear that I had a long way to go if I was going to do any serious running this fall. But that was fine. I got to run with Nora and just watching her dedication and commitment to kicking ass was inspiring. So last week I actually started logging my miles again. And this week, I started working out.

Read More

Brooklyn, again.

I just got too busy and stopped writing. Once I was working full time again, blog posting slid a bit down the list and then fell off altogether. And it might just stay off, but for now:

Yesterday at noon, NYRR kicked off the full-on insanity of the Brooklyn Half Marathon sign up. Despite doubling the capacity to 15,000 runners, NYRR reported the race sold out just before 9:00 pm. I think Brooklyn is a fun race and I enjoy finishing on the Coney Island boardwalk, but 15,000 or so spots in 9 hours was pretty stunning to me. (I wonder what the manageable limit is for a race like this. Can they handle 25,000? 50,000? NYRR's genius seems to be logistics; I'll be excited to see what they can do over time.)

I wrote something last year about falling apart during the Brooklyn Half and getting sick on the course. I know that my writing about running is not especially insightful or deep; I don't really try for anything more than a record of my experience. This--like most blogging, I reckon--makes it an essentially narcissistic act. I get that. I don't really have the eloquence to talk about running as a path out of adversity or an effective palliative for stress or anxiety. I can't find a way to draw parallals between the challenges of training, injury, recovery, and racing that strike me as thoughtful or interesting as some of you can be. Forgive me that. If this is objectionable to you, please move along.

I'm having a difficult relationship with running. I too often expect running to give me what I need without doing the work: stretch and strengthen, be thoughtful about the training, don't take it for granted. I want my 70-80 mile weeks on my own terms but I have to accept that there's more I need to do. I may be slow to learn these truths, but I am getting there.

Blessedly, it was only 30 degrees this morning when I ran through the Fieldston hills. I know it will be too warm soon, but I will take this brief chill as a gift and appreciate it while it's here. It's an exciting spring for running and I come to it with enthusiasm and a willingness to try again.

 

Steady as she goes

I’ve been dropping nonessential activities lately in a bid to keep up. I guess writing about running isn’t essential; fortunately, while my training has taken a hit, I’ve been able to stay focused enough to keep my miles close to where they need to be. That said, my typical training week has become a bit of a mess. I used to run:

8 – 10 Monday

8 – 10 Tuesday (team track workout + warmup/down)

Rest Wednesday

8 – 10 Thursday (team tempo + warmup/down)

4 – 6 Friday

10 – 12 Saturday

14 – 20 Sunday

Depending on the week, this yielded between 52 and 68 miles. This felt good and was a decent base that I could push beyond or back off from when I wanted or needed to.

 

Lately, though, I rarely run on Monday, Wednesday, or Friday. My typical schedule lately has been:

0 Monday

9 – 11 Tuesday (team track + warmup/down)

0 Wednesday

8 – 10 Thursday morning (“easy tempo”)

10 – 12 Thursday evening (team tempo+ warmup/down)

0  Friday

11 – 13 Saturday (team group run)

14 – 20 Sunday

Again, depending on the week, this yields between 52 and 66 miles. This schedule is problematic, though. Forgetting how crappy it feels to cram all my miles into four days a week, my mileage takes a huge hit when I miss a workout because of family, work, or weather. It’s also a big problem when I have a weekend race that knocks out one or both of my longer runs. This issue will be especially acute through the spring, summer, and fall as my race calendar gets a bit crazy. 

So, even as my running schedule has gone a bit sideways, I do plan to write a bit more in the next few weeks. While I am skipping this Sunday’s Japan Day 4-Miler (why, oh why did I register for a race on Mother’s Day?), I’ll be running the Bronx Community College 10k on Saturday in full race mode. I’ll also be running the Healthy Kidney 10k the next week, although I’m going to do it at my goal half-marathon pace (6:30) rather than my current 10k pace (6:15). All of this leads up to the Brooklyn Half Marathon, a club-points race that I am aiming to run below 1:27. I very much want to break 1:24 in a half before September, but I don’t think I’m prepared to that just yet. I’ll be writing race reports for each of these events, I’d guess, as well as filling in a few entries on my switch from the Asics Gel-Kayano to the New Balance 10 Minimus road shoe and my ambition (and training) to break 3:00 at the NYC Marathon this November. 

 


Opening day

Having run through the worst of the winter, I figured I’d be thrilled by spring's arrival. And I am, I guess, although perhaps the late March sleet suckfest darkened my mood. I’ve trained for more than a year with this year’s racing season in mind. I did week after week of what felt like requisite base-building drudgery. I crept my mileage up over the summer into the fall before turning my thoughts towards 2011 racing. In January, I ran the Manhattan Half on a crazy cold day and turned in a respectable but restrained 1:35. I followed this with the icy Gridiron Classic in 26:08, and a rainy Coogan’s 5k in 19:23. All this felt like pre-season racing to me. Although it’s a funny distance (for me, anyway) this weekend’s Colon Cancer 15k feels like my 2011 opening day.

IHR_logo_blue.png

I started the year running with a local club, the Inwood Hill Runners. They meet three days a week: Tuesdays are speedwork on the 561-meter lower fields perimeter path in Inwood Hill Park, Thursday is a four-mile loop through Washington Heights, and Saturday is a longer run that seems to vary between a Riverdale hills run and an upper Manhattan west-side/east-side loop. These are friendly, social workouts that are truly some of the friendliest runs I’ve ever done. Tamara oversees a strong community club that feels like a group of friends who run (as opposed to a group of runners who happen to be friendly).

My training often meant that they were the second run I did on their respective days, but these group runs became the social center of my running life and I hated to miss them. Sadly, I’ve recently started to miss them more often as my work and personal responsibilities have encroached a bit on my all-out training. I am committed to getting faster and stronger and this has meant trying to be more focused in the limited training time I have. To that end, I considered signing up for Bob Glover’s speed class in Central Park and toyed aloud with the idea of hiring a private coach. Neither of these seemed to fit perfectly with my needs (and resources).

vctclogo100.jpg

I live upstairs from a dedicated and fast runner who runs with Van Cortlandt Track Club. She and I have been meeting for weekly early morning runs and have occasionally managed weekend long runs together. She’s got a fierce (awesome) competitor’s streak; I think just talking to her about running makes me faster. From our first meeting in January, she encouraged me to come up to VCTC for a friendly run. I felt torn about this as my heart has been with Inwood Hill Runners, but I finally accepted her invitation to attend a Tuesday track workout a few weeks back.

From the start, being on the track made me smile. I haven’t done significant track work in twenty years, but just standing on the beautiful all-weather surface in Van Cortlandt Park brought back my fondest teenage running memories. Even though nothing really changed after that first track workout, I felt faster. I felt like a different kind of runner. I felt, I think, like a kid again. I loved the fact that there were two coaches leading the workout. I loved the overwhelmingly clear sense that this was a team—a team that trained and raced to win. I ran home after the workout and joined the club.

Since then, my training has been more closely aligned with VCTC’s schedule. Track workouts on Tuesday, tempo runs on Thursdays, and long runs on the weekend. I always add a 10 miler on Mondays and try to tack on a dozen or so extra miles here and there when possible. Much of my schedule is dictated by work and family duties, but I feel like I am doing what I need to be doing to improve. I know that the fruits of most of this work will come later in the season, but I already feel stronger and faster. Sunday’s race feels like an early test of these efforts. It's a test that I am happy to have. It's the first race I'll be running in the purple VCTC singlet and I'm excited to run with my team on Sunday morning.

I'll post a race report after I get settled back at home on Sunday. Good luck to all the runners who'll be in the park competing and raising money for colon cancer research.

 

Coogan's Salsa, Blues, and Shamrocks 5k

Racing season has always marked springtime for me. It used to be late-winter track meets, then it was early-morning bike races in the park, and now it's the beginning of NYRR's club series that helps me close the door on winter and kick off spring training. Of course, spring training means one thing primarily, work. It's time to figure out my training needs as the days get warmer and longer and my spirit starts to emerge from its midwinter funk. 

As it turns out, I've got a little bit of work to do in a lot of different places. This isn't a huge shock. I know I'm carrying around six or seven extra pounds since I can feel them slowing me down. I know that unstructured long runs are great for base-building, recreation, and sanity, but they can't form the backbone of a serious training regime. I know that I need to incorporate lactate threshold training. And on and on and on. In other words, spring is here and it's time to get serious.

The race today is a tricky route. The ease of the grades throughout the course mask how hard they can be when racing. I scouted things last week and came away with the impression that it was an easier course than Central Park. I think I was wrong about that.

The weather this morning may have been a factor for the spectators, but it wasn't bad for racing. If anything, the break in the rain meant that it was a few degrees warmer than my body and wardrobe were counting on. The road surface was very wet, though, and there was plenty of uneven and broken pavement to look out for. 

I began my race prep by running the few miles down Broadway to the race start. I cruised this at about 8:45 and was feeling really good when I pulled into the Columbia Medical campus around 8:25. I took my time stretching and running along Haven Avenue before trying to track down a some friends at the start. Not much luck there, although I did see Melissa and her crew of speedy women from VCTC. My parents are in town for a visit and I ran into them around 172nd Street, just in time for some good-race wishes before getting situated in the middle of the packed blue corral. 

The race has a fairly flat start that quickly turns into a hill after the first half mile. The hill has the advantage of spreading runners out a bit, but I was in with such a fast group of club runners that there wasn't a whole lot of that happening. Really, all I noticed was that I was getting passed by some impressive looking men and women who were finding their natural place in the race order. I pushed myself (and was pulled by the crowd) through the first mile at just over a 6 minute pace.

Heading into the second mile, we hit Margaret Corbin Drive in Ft Tryon Park for the loop around the Cloisters. As fast as the descent is on the first part of this loop, the climb back out is an anaerobic nightmare and I was sucking wind as we passed the mile two marker at the top of the hill. I probably should have taken a swallow of water at this point, but my mind was kind of floating away from me at this point. My second mile at 6:11 was certainly aided by the downhill and hampered by the climb back out.

With one mile to go I knew there was a bit of climbing left to do, but I failed to realize just how badly it would kick my ass. Thanks to the climb back from the Cloisters, I knew I didn't have much left in the tank. I cursed my lack of speed work as I let two runners go who I'd been jockeying with from the start. With a half mile remaining, I tried to pull it together for a respectable kick and found I had just enough to bring me within reach of my earlier running mates. 

There were a few times this morning that I felt like I was out of my body—certainly out of touch with it—and there were plenty of moments that I felt outclassed and outmatched. I do think the 5k is a challenge I'd like to face again this season, especially if I can create the kind of structure in my training that I'm craving. My time this morning was 19:23 for a 6:15 pace. Plenty of work to do, but also plenty to feel good about on a hilly course early in the season.

I ran into some VCTC and IHR pals after the race. Congratulations to Fernando (@MCFernie) on a PR and to everyone out there today who gave it their all on a tricky course and a rainy day. 

The great joy of my morning was watching my daughter in the four-year-olds' race. She was ecstatic to be running in a REAL race, but was mildly disappointed that the distance was so short. I think that's a good sign....


NY Social Media Week: The Social Runner

The promised throwdown between Steve Lastoe of New York City Runs and Sean Haubert of New York Road Runners did not happen. But then, I don't suppose it was meant to. This afternoon's panel at Jack Rabbit Sports near Union Square was billed as a discussion of how the New York area running community uses social channels to share training tips, show off, and voice opinions about...everything. It was moderated by Karla Bruning, a journalist, blogger, and NYCRUNS columnist who is currently the sports editor for the Washington Times Communities. It featured Steve Lastoe, founder of NYCRUNS, Kai MacMahon, a tweeter @idiotrunner, runner, and social media guru, and Sean Haubert, NYRR's social media manager. 

To my mind, Sean was the biggest get of the event. As far as I can tell it's his job to absorb everything New York runners want to hurl at the Road Runners while also building a coherent social media strategy to get in front of some of these criticisms. He has to do this at a very well established, old guard institution that clearly seems to realize it needs to change while not fully understanding what, how, or why that change is perceived as so critical. You've got to feel for Sean. He's a good natured and affable guy who is likely the exact right face for NYRR to put on what is essentially a community outreach program in a rather pissy community. I was left with the impression that his presence makes NYRR more nimble and customer focused (and thank goodness for that).

Karla began the event asking about opportunities and risks of social media within the running community. Sean discussed his role at NYRR and their efforts to maintain better real-time contact with members while getting in front of potential crises. He described the PR challenge following the NYC Half Marathon lottery and NYRR's initial slow reaction to the anger building and being expressed online, especially on Facebook. Sean seems dedicated to avoiding another day like that day. He also seems tired, really tired, of Tshirt-gate and half marathon lottery discussions. Perhaps fear of another similar shitstorm will lead to real positive change at NYRR; I think it's already affecting their decisions and approach to customer service. Sean told the story of a flood of media interest when someone tweeted their intent to live tweet the NYC Marathon. This drove media calls and significant interest in discussing NYRR and social media but it was all based on a kind of crazy idea to run a race with 45,000 others while tweeting. I think it points to the media's fascination and awkward coexistence with social networks. Oh, and the fact that Twitter is so hot right now....

Steve raised the potential for social media to reinforce an already robust NY running community by providing access to information impossible to conceive of just a few years ago. New York City Runs was created, it seems, to fill a void that NYRR allowed to form. Without a strong social media presence, NYRR ceded what could have been theirs: a central meeting, discussion, and promotion location for all NYC running. Steve's site remains very much a work in progress, but he seems committed to responding to the desires and interests of the NY running community. Frankly, NYCRUNS offers the potential to be a true partner for NYRR. It's not there yet, but it seems poised to grow into a robust and active community that NYRR will want to talk to in some formal way. 

I appreciated Kai's perspective on information everywhere. He didn't really get the time to expand on his point, but his idea that there are really too many fitness-oriented social media platforms certainly grabbed my attention. Why dailymile and not Strands? What's the best use of Garmin Connect? To take this further—which we did not—what would it take for a dominant platform like Facebook to integrate all this functionality. Could dailymile et al simply become apps on larger platforms? Should they? The other big point here was the rise of Twitter in disseminating real time, local, and critical information to runners. From road and path conditions to potential running partners in a given location about to go running. Finally, Kai raised the idea that there is a gradual fatigue setting in from all this online "community" participation. That's a hard idea to consider in a group who elected to attend a discussion on social media and running, if only because there was nothing like a typical user or runner sitting in the room.

Kai also counseled caution about the many "experts" eager to offer advice, especially with respect to injuries. That same caution certainly should be extended to training advice, race strategy, shoe selection, and everything else we often feel qualified to discuss.

Karla led a discussion of safety that prompted murmurs of assent from a few in the crowd. I can certainly understand the desire to protect personal information and I think most organizations do as well. Fortunately, most of this technology is opt in and it's quite rare for personal information to be published without consent.

We then shifted to charity races and fundraising. Sean expressed real enthusiasm for Crowdrise and its grassroots fundraising model. In 2010, NYRR partnered with Crowdrise to raise more than $30 million during the lead up to the NYC Marathon. Impressive stuff, and I wonder what it augurs for the future of NYRR charity events. Steve and Kai discussed possible animosity between charity runners and "real" runners and while I know there's a real and perceived dichotomy there, it seems less pronounced than in the cycling world. I think this idea might be blowing up right now because of the incredible difficulty getting into premier NYRR events. I wonder if the perception is the same outside the NYC area.

In a discussion of groups and organizations using social media effectively, I was pleased that Steve singled out Inwood Hill Runners for mention. Always nice to hear props for the hometown team. Kai followed by mentioning Body Glide for their social media presence. And Sean discussed Ford's success with the Fiesta brand introduction.

The Social Runner was another chance for NYRR to present its new face to the New York running community. Sean clearly understands the point that if you keep people informed they won't react quite as harshly to even the worst news. Around this Steve, Kai, and Karla did a wonderful job fleshing out a discussion of the uses and abuses of social media. Karla deserves praise for holding the reigns at what might have become much too loose a discussion. The diversity of backgrounds and experience could easily have led to the panelists talking past each other. Fortunately, what we had instead was a thoughtful and relevant conversation about NYRR and the role of social media in the NY running community.

 

A New Life with Winter Gear (or a Winter Life with New Gear)

I was slow to catch on to our absurdly cold and snowy winter. I kept thinking we'd shift back into a normal pattern after the next storm. No? Maybe the next one. With February dawning and a new slate of storms lining up to ice us in until April, I have finally given up on all that and accepted the tenacity of this assholishly cold winter.

Running through the winter is typically pretty straightforward in NY. It an average year, I can maintain a 40 - 50 mile per week winter average and still avoid the worst of the cold or precipitation. This year, the only way to approach that kind of training base is to run on days that are too cold or too wet to be enjoyable. I have a tough time talking myself into running during a storm, but I have steeled myself to running in icy or slushy conditions. For me, such running requires different gear. Gear that I've typically eschewed as unnecessary or wasteful now seems like the only possible way to get through the door and onto the road. Could be my age and skittishness about injury are catching up with me.

I wear a pretty standard outfit for anything less than 30 degrees. My favorites pants are Asics Thermopolis LT tights. Asics makes a variety of tights and pants, but the LT is the right combination of heat trapping and windblocking for me. I have tried the rather phenomenal Sugoi Storm Shelter 220 pant and Asics Storm Shelter pants, but they're each a bit too bulky for me as I really do prefer tights in winter. Plus, I don't really need truly waterproof and windproof pants even in the crummiest weather.

For upper body, I generally wear a Thermopolis LT half zip top over which I'll layer a vest. I do this to retain core heat, to increase visibility, and to add a few pockets to my get-up. On days below 20—or for chillier night runs—I switch to the Thermopolis XP half zip which I can wear as a single-layer in even the worst NYC conditions. Thermopolis gear is well constructed and should last several winter seasons if well cared for. It's also pretty ubiquitous at running and sporting goods shops and can often be found competitively priced if not discounted. This time of year can be a bonanza for finding discounted winter gear as shops move to stock up for the busy spring running season. Check out EMS or REI right now and you'll likely see some of your favorites for more than 50% off. 

This is the first year I felt like I need a dedicated pair of trail shoes. After a few crummy runs through lingering slush and snow in my beloved Kayanos, I knew I wanted full Gore Tex protection. I hunted around for the two-year-old model of the Asics Gel Trabuco with Gore Tex and then found the Montrail Mountain Masochist GTX. For a trail model, this shoe is surprising light weight and flexible. The fact that it's warm and dry are sufficient for my dry-feet needs, but the strap closure system and gusseted tongue ensure a comfortable fit that is free of rocks, sticks, and ice chunks. The closest I get to trail running these days is packed ice and snow that conceals a path or road beneath, but I have found these shoes to be comfortable and responsive on both concrete and macadam. The fit is snug through the midfoot with a comfortably open toebox. While this model is listed for $115, I found mine at EMS for $55.

For extra coziness, I wear a combination of Smartwool PhD ski socks and ultra light running socks. I'll occasionally wear my lightweight Pearl Izumi cycling socks as a second layer on cold days, but I'm so hooked on my Smartwool socks that I often wash them as soon as I return from a run so that I can wear them again the next day.  

I recently purchased a reflective "buff" to try to keep my jaw and cheeks warm. My jaw tends to freeze when I'm running in extreme cold and I've never really found a comfortable solution. The buff is essentially a fabric tube constructed out of a thin layer of polyester microfiber. Mine, the Speed Reflective Buff, has a Scotchlite strip for visibility. It can be worn as a hat, neck-gaiter, balaclava, headband, or helmet liner. I tend to wear it on my neck and pull it up over my face when my jaw starts to get numb. It was a great addition to today's windy run and would have been a godsend during the bone-chilling Manhattan Half a few weeks ago. 

For a hat, I wear an under-helmet skullcap from my cycling days that is lightweight, windproof, and made from something sufficiently spacey that it keeps my skull feeling warm and dry on even the sweatiest runs on the coldest days. If I know it's going to be especially cold, I add an old Pearl Izumi Transfer headband underneath the skullcap to protect my ears. I'm usually sweating like mad with two layers on my head, but it's better than frozen ears and my daughter enjoys watching the steam rise from my scalp when I return. 

Finally, gloves. Seems like I could write an entire chapter somewhere on gloves and mittens. I prefer an extremely lightweight glove liner for almost all cold weather running. The Terramar Thermolator II glove liner, made from a blend of microfilament polyester and spandex, is soft and sufficiently warm for all but the coldest days. If I am running in temperatures below 20 degrees, I'll switch to one of a couple of pair of winter cycling gloves I still have. They're bulky, but few things beat a cycling glove for warmth and windblocking capability. 

So, that's that. Yes, it's stinking bloody cold and icy and snowy and crappy and on and on and on. So what? Let's go running.

Easy week (and time to reflect upon training)

I guess I decided to take it easy this week. I knew I'd have Sunday off after Saturday's race, but I realize I needed to give my body a bit longer to recover than I typically want to. I dislike admitting I need more rest and I hate admitting I need more strength and flexibility exercise, but of course I do. Frankly, I think my greatest need is a training partner who'll push me to stretch, roll, and strengthen.

I did my typical eight miles down the river to the Upper West Side on Monday at a feel-good 7:44 pace. Yeah, 7:44 felt great the whole time, but it was careless to go out this fast two days after the half marathon. I trade on the fact that I've never been injury prone, but I know this will catch up with me eventually. I can't overstate how devastating it would be for me to get injured; I must keep that in mind when I'm itching to push myself harder. 

To that end, I am forcing more structure into my weekly routine. For me, this means discrete tempo days, speed days, long-run days, easy days, and rest days. The logic of this is plain enough, but for some reason it's hard for me to shift from "run your tail off" to "run with the goal of getting faster." I already know I can run farther than I'll ever need to, now I need to set some training targets and work methodically towards them. I know a coach would help with that, but I kind of need to tackle this stage on my own. For all the miles I run and enjoyment I get out of them, I'm still basically just playing at training. I feel like I'll know when I'm close to doing all I can on my own; I can seek out a coach when I feel like I've implemented what I've learned from former coaches and experience. For now it just means being smarter about my miles. And I'm trying. I'm trying.

It was a fun week with the Inwood Hill Runners. Tuesday is designated speed-workout night and we played a movie-guessing game as we did our pole-counting laps around the field. It was collegial and fun and certainly added to the camaraderie in the group. NYC was walloped by another damned snowstorm from Wednesday to Thursday morning and IHR's typical Thursday loop was replaced by a sledding adventure in Fort Tryon park. I banged up my tailbone pretty good yesterday playing in the snow with my daughter and her friends, so sledding felt like some kind of crazy torture on my body, but it was fun to see the group just goofing around. (Some good sledders, by the way. Maybe we should form a toboggan team. I can provide cheering support.)

My goal today is to piece together a real training calendar for the next eight weeks. My next race of significance is the Colon Cancer 15k at the end of March. I think eight weeks is sufficient to set and achieve a moderately ambitious goal. I'll wait to set that goal until I see how this week progresses, but I already kind of have my heart set on 1:04 (pretty much a seven minute pace). I think I'll know soon how realistic that will turn out to be.

 

 

Montrails in the snow

I ran in my new Montrail Mountain Masochist GTXs yesterday. I had to find something with Gore-Tex; these were 50% off at EMS, seemed comfortable, and didn't look too goofy. With sleet/snow forecast for today and my race on Saturday approaching, I planned yesterday as my last sub-8:00 run for the week. I'll do the club run on Thursday night, but that's really just to shake out my legs out before Saturday.

Anyway, the Montrails: other than seeing their shoes at REI over the years, I don't have any background with this brand. I wore them yesterday in some deep slush and icy snow and can now attest to their grippy soles and watertightness. I feared my feet would overheat in the Gore-Tex, but it didn't seem to be an issue. Of course, it was 23 degrees and windy; I imagine these shoes will get tucked away in a month or so when winter finally starts to wane. I know, I know, those who choose to live in the Northeast are not entitled to bitch about its weather. I'll just say how glad I am to have shoes to keep my feet warm.

I didn't hit the pace I hoped for yesterday, but I came close. I've been falling off my mileage totals and pace lately, so I guess it's not a surprise that running more than eight miles each day for the last few days should affect me. It still annoys me to feel as though I really pushed it and still finish with a 7:38 average moving pace. I was confident that I was cruising sub-7:30. I guess my GPS and my internal rhythm need to be synced.

The run itself was my standard route back from Central Park and 84th street. As usual, I doglegged my way over to the greenway by taking whatever traffic light was green. It made for a south-westerly route that allowed me to enter the park at 82nd street and meet the newish pathway just before the promenade. There was a rather strong breeze coming down the Hudson (my jaw was pretty frozen when I got home), but I've put up consistent 7:28s in breeze that strong. I was flagging a bit by mile six and at mile seven my pace slowed to 8:14 as I climbed the grade towards Washington Heights. 

I came off the greenway ready to be home. The Montrails were definitely a success: they gave me decent grip over the ice and snow and my feet were certainly warm. I'd gain a bit of traction with Yaktrax, but I'm not sure it would be worth losing the Gore-Tex and toastiness. Of course, I could wear both....