Sunday, February 28, 2010

SNOW, SNOW & More SNOW!!!

I love snow. It's beautiful to watch and there are so many cool things to do. Ski, walk, run, sled, build snowmen, have snowball fights and so on.
As you see below you can also try to find your car under a tree (both our cars were lucky enough to participate in this winter festivity with little damage). I have officially had enough snow for the year. Despite all of its fun and beauty we have had so much that I have now been forced to run anywhere I can find safe pavement. The snow is so deep that running on the trail is impossible.
Yesterday I ran with David and Tony, about 17 miles of nail biting road running with no shoulders, down trees and power lines and drivers who could care less if you are on the road. I even went to the gym to finish off my running on a treadmill as I could not take the risk of running on the narrow roads any more. Today we ran 18 miles at Rockland Lake State Park. A nice scenic venue, paved, plowed and car free but a short 3 mile loop can become boring.

I can't wait for the snow to melt so we can hit the trails again!!! Peace

Friday, February 19, 2010

First Run with my Son


Last night when I got home my youngest son told me he wanted to go for a run with me in the morning. I was not sure if he was serious. We have touched on the subject before and while I would love nothing more I never want to push that.

Well sure enough he was serious. When I returned home this morning around 8:30 am from my morning run the first thing out of his mouth was "Can we go now Dad". Of course the answer was yes.

After a little breakfast and tracking down his sneakers out the door we went. As the trails near us are all snow covered and icy I thought it best to keep the first run on the road. We ran up and down the street in our development about 6 times for a total distance of 1.5 miles. I think he wanted to run forever but I shut it down.

Not really sure what appropriate distances are for a young boy but I guess I will just use my best judgement. We are going to shoot for the same tomorrow and then maybe we can squeak out 2 miles one day soon.

This was certainly a special moment and even if he chooses to no get into running I will remember it forever. A couple videos below too. Peace


video video

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

OCA Trail - Long Training Run

Several weeks ago while running at Rockies Tony Portera and I were discussing possibly running the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail as a long training run. The OCA a state park was created in 1968 and encompasses the northernmost 26 miles of the Aqueduct and its right-of-way, from Croton Gorge County Park to the Yonkers-New York City line. It lies wholly within Westchester County. Before I knew it the date was set, many people were invited, the route had been mapped and the run had been extended all the way to Bryant Park/NYC Public Library in Manhattan where the original aqueduct terminated for a total distance of approximately 40 miles. If you talk about doing a run with Tony you better mean it because you are in.

A brief history from Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct "The Aqueduct was built in response to the fires and epidemics that repeatedly devastated New York City, owing in part to its inadequate water supply and contaminated wells. Work began in 1837, carried out largely by Irish immigrant labor. For most of its length, the Aqueduct is a horseshoe-shaped brick tunnel 8.5 feet high by 7.5 feet wide, set on a stone foundation and protected with an earthen cover and stone facing at embankment walls. Designed on principles dating from Roman times, the gravity-fed tube, dropping gently 13 inches per mile, challenged its builders to maintain this steady gradient through a varied terrain. Croton water first entered the Aqueduct at 5 am on June 22, 1842 (followed by a dauntless crew in a small boat, the Croton Maid) and emerged at the Harlem River 22 hours later (It took us about 10 hours). The water eventually filled two above-ground reservoirs – on the present sites of the Great Lawn in Central Park and the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue.

We, a group of 14 met at the Croton-Harmon train station a little before 8 am Saturday morning, temperature in the mid 20s. It was the first time other than a race I ever got together with so many people from so many places just to go for a run (I was meeting the majority for the first time). I loved it. After a few introductions we got on our way heading north to the Croton Reservoir Dam where the OCA begins. By the way this starting point added another 4 miles to the already amended 40:) A quick note, our friend Steve decided to head directly south where we would catch up later. Below is our group photo at the base of the dam (minus Tony who took the picture).
Once we began heading south on the OCA it was "snow going". The entire trail with few exceptions was snow covered. While primarily packed single track it was uneven, icy, slushy etc, but rarely deep. Easily passable but substantially more challenging. Similar to running on wet sand at the beach.


As we made our way through Westchester the group began to separate. Rick, Brennan and Silke took off rather quickly and I never saw them again once we left the dam. I believe they ran to Yonkers before hopping a train, completing about 26 miles. David had peeled off after about 10 miles as planned when we hit Rockies and Wayne had back problems and was off by the Tappan Zee Bridge. Unfortunately by the time we got to Yonkers Shannon had to call it a day with a nasty blister (see you at Umstead Shannon). Kate and Susie decided to take it a little slower and told us all to keep going and not wait (They completed the 26 miles to Yonkers as well). Below, Shannon and Tony over the Hudson.

With 5 of us remaining (Pete, Susan, Herb, Tony and me) we continued our way along the OCA until we arrived at or near Van Cortland Park where we decide to switch to the South County Trail Way which runs parallel to the OCA. It was paved and mostly plowed (I never thought it could feel that good to run on pavement). We exited Van Cortland Park around 3 pm with about 32 miles complete and finally caught up with Steve. It was starting to get cold again and we were now running urban style. First stopping at C-Town for water refills and cantaloupe. We then made our way over to Broadway in the Bronx thanks to Steve's expert navaigating skills where we made our way under the elevated portion of the 1 subway line until we crossed over the Broadway Bridge into Manhattan. Shortly after this Steve jumped a train south to somewhere near Central Park. We would again meet up with him at the Library. Steve completed about 35 miles I think, awesome Steve!!

We continued through Inwood, then down the East River Drive and made our way into Harlem. Running through Harlem was interesting as the streets were filled with people on the Holiday and we were getting all kinds of funny looks and some occasionally funny banter as we ran down the sidewalks in full winter running gear (tights) hydration packs, bottles and maps.

At last we ran the final few miles through Central Park and then down a crowded Fifth Avenue past Rockefeller Center and finally at the Library. The crew below at the Library around 6pm, after 10 hours and 44 miles (photo by me).
Great day, great people, great experience! Peace

Monday, February 15, 2010

OCA Trail Run

Today was an great day as I shared a very long training run from Westchester County to NYC with a whole bunch of great people. We began this morning with 14 runners at the Croton-Harmon train station and made our way to the Croton Reservoir Dam where we headed south. The majority of our day was spent on the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail (OCA) and ended with some urban running through The Bronx, Harlem, Central Park and finally down Fifth Avenue to the NYC Public Library.

Tony, Herb, Susan, Pete and I made the entire trek totaling approximately 44 miles while the others peeled off at varying points along the way. I will give a more detailed report this week as I am sure Tony will too. Thanks go out to Tony for organizing this great day.

Peace

Monday, February 8, 2010

"IT'S A GIRL"

I am so happy to tell you that Tani delivered our beautiful baby girl Isla Skye this past Friday at 11:03pm.

After 30 hours of labor with virtually no sleep they both came through like a champ and finished so strong. Both Tani and Isla are home, healthy and doing great.

While we were in the hospital I kept being reminded of running. Although I would not dare suggest running an ultra is anything close to giving birth, you have to admit there are a number of striking similarities.

First you need a crew. Our crew consisted of one (until the finish line of course) and my job was breathing coach, emotional supporter, traffic director and most importantly fetcher of the coveted ice chips.
Both mother and daughter were constantly monitored for heart rate, blood pressure and contractions. Baby's heart rate in red was hovering in the 150s most of the time just like me on a long run. That big hill climb on the bottom is a contraction.


Then of course when the baby was born she was fitted with her first timing chip. I could not blame them, look how fast those feet look (clearly a future ultra runner in the making). It's actually a lo jack devise that keeps anyone from removing the baby from the hospital (pretty cool, and comforting).
I am feeling so lucky and ready for the next adventure.

Peace
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