Thank You: Potomac River Running

When I first thought about running 30 races, two things came to mind.

1) This is going to be exhausting.
2) This is going to be expensive

Enter: Potomac River Running. I had shopped at my nearby PR store a few times before and was impressed with their selection and ethos. I figured, hey, maybe I’ll see if they’d like to get behind this cause and help me out.

So I sent an email to PR…. not sure if I’d hear back.

Keira wrote back right away. 

Yes, they thought this was cool and yes, they’d love to help. Because PRR also hosts a lot of races, they would be able to hook me up with discounted entry to their events in support of this cause. 

But I got a lot more than that. 

I discovered a great community of runners and a small business that genuinely wanted to positively influence the local community – and was completely on board with walking the talk. 

I wanted to get more involved with PRR and they made it easy. I started helping out at some races. I was asked to help coach some of their training programs. 

Most importantly, I met some really great people. 

I got to know Keira, Ray, Becca, Cathy, and Terri. I met some outstanding coaches in Mike and Scott. 

Russ and I take walks over to see Phillip and Caroline at the Ballston PR store 1-2x per week and he loves it. He’s their best customer. 

28616948_10100227035311352_6707566141656769289_o.jpg

I was looking for a group that could get behind a cause… I found a terrific group of run-o-philes that I’m psyched to continue to run along side (pun). 

Thank you, PR Running, so very much! 

Weekly Workout Recap

I’ve been enjoying the oh-so-lovely heat this past week, which made for an even more difficult tough week of workouts:

Friday, August 3rd: Hill Sprints
15min easy
10x 30-second relaxed hill sprints
15min cool down

My legs felt pretty good… which probably meant the hill wasn’t steep enough. According to some Google-enabled calculus, it was probably a 5-6% grade hill. Maybe more slope needed?

Saturday, August 4th: Easy Run, Drills, Strides + Core Lifting
Morning:
4miles Easy
Drills
Strides

Afternoon:
Core strength session

Sunday, August 5th:  Long Run w/Fast Finish
10 miles: 9 miles at Zone 2 pace + 1 mile in 6:50

I decided to do this run calorie-depleted. Ouch. Normally, my legs really feel the depletion about 80% into a run… this time, it was about 60% through that I really started to feel it. I timed my run so that I would finish nine miles and arrive at the local track for the 10th and final fast mile. After maintaining a pace that hovered around 8:30/mile for the first nine, I adjusted the tempo well and managed to knock out the final mile in 6:07! A good result – and a bit surprising. 

Monday, August 6th: Power/Plyos Lifting

Tuesday, August 7th: Steady-State ‘Intervals’
15min easy
10min @6:50/mile pace
10min easy
10min @6:50/mile pace
15min easy

This moderate workout felt pretty good – I managed to maintain around a 6:35 pace for the hard sections. In retrospect, I probably should have cruised a bit slower. 

Wednesday, August 8th: Easy run + Core Lifting
Morning: Easy 6 miles
Afternoon: Core Lifting 

Ouch.

Thursday, August 9th: Easy 6 miles

Friday, August 10th: Intervals
2 miles easy
4 x 15sec strides
6x600m @ 2:10 with 200m jog between
1 mile easy

My legs were pretty dead for this one… but I generally managed to hit the 2:10 mark, though I had to walk/jog the last two 200m rolls. 

1 Month until 5th Ave

31 days away from the 5th Avenue Mile in NYC! 

My training has been challenging – I have no idea if I’m on pace (pun) but it has certainly beat up my legs. 

Amateur heats will be in the morning and the pro heats are usually around noon. I expect my heat to start between 8:30-8:45am. 

If you’re in NYC – come run or watch!

Image result for 5th avenue mile 

Workout Recap: Second Longest Run Ever and Mile Repeats on the Track

Sunday’s long run with Murat wound up being the second longest run I’ve ever been on (besides my half-marathon race)! Our 12 miles at 8:07 pace on DC’s canal path took about 1:37 and were so much more enjoyable with a partner. 

Curveball: I did this as a depletion run, going calorie-starved for about 12 hours prior to the run. My legs and abs began to feel it the second half of the run, but it wasn’t too bad. And my Gatorade post-run tasted so, so good. 

Then on Tuesday, I dragged Murat over to the track for my one-mile repeats.
The workout:

1.5 mile warmup
1 mile @ 6:22
1 mile easy
1 mile @ 6:22
1.5 mile jog

The workout was meant to be challenging, but not impossible. Murat ran his own version of the fast mile repeats – leaving me halfway through the first mile and hammering a hard 800 to finish, and then doing the same for the last quarter-mile of the second go-round. He blitzed the last 400 in a scorching 63 seconds. 

My legs felt heavy a day after Monday’s lifting session, but my breathing was controlled and I managed to handle running 6:17 and 6:18 for the two hard miles respectively. 

Next hard workout: 10 x 30sec hill sprints on Friday morning. Fun.

Related image

30@30: By The Numbers

This may be my favorite post. 

Here’s a look at how the numbers stack up for the year:

Races Run: 30
Money Raised for Camper Scholarships: $30K+
Races Won: 2
Total Miles Run: 1350+
Rabbits Followed: 4
Friends Raced-With: 70+
Best Friends with Medical Degrees Who Refused to Help me Blood Dope: 1
Pieces of Run Gum chewed: (ERROR NUMBER TOO GREAT)
Significant Injuries Sustained: 2
Pounds of Fat Lost: 25+
Total Pounds of Weights Lifted: <1.2 million 
Dollars Spent on Running Gear: No comment. 
Milligrams of Ibuprofen Ingested: 50,000+
US States/Territories Run: 12
Countries Run: 3
Stretching Tools in the House: 8+
Pairs of Shoes: 7
Times Gotten Legally Married: 1
Recovery Equipment Stolen from Wife: 3+
Trips to PR Running Store: 40+
Former NCAA All-Americans Ran With: 3
Olympic Gold Medalists Met: 1
World Champions Raced Near: 1
Participation Trophies: Many
Most Miles Run on Treadmill at Once: 11.5
Dogs Run With: 1
Surfaces Run On: 8
Running Books Read: 12
Smoothies Made: 120+
Friends Inspired to Start Running Consistently: >5
Times Murat & Lindsay Each Claimed to be “Out of Shape” and Still Effortlessly Jogged with me as I Ran Hard: 1,000,000,000
Running-induced naps with Russell: 50+
Bad Suggestions from Tyler for This Post: 6

IMG_2101

Ranking All 30 Race Performances

As part of my 30@30 retrospective, I’ve ranked all of my race performances beginning with 30 (worst) down to #1 (best).

What constitutes success? It’s a rather murky amalgamation of a race’s result based on finishing time, overall/age group place, performance given adverse conditions (weather, health), and performance relative to pre-race expectations. 

As my brother-in-law astutely pointed out, any arbitrary ranking of performance would be incomplete without some artificial Bill Simmons-esque categories as sectional sub-headers. Simmons artfully groups rankings based on something like historic Celtics’ title teams, eras in Dustin Hoffman’s career, or Wes Welker’s statistical season performances. What categories should I use to organize my arbitrary rankings? Equally arbitrary categories, of course. 

Christopher Walken’s Performance in the James Bond film: A View to a Kill
Really bad, but oddly enjoyable – if only for the comedic value.

30: Stalin Island (Race 3). A slow 5K with uneven splits.

29: Fletcher’s Cove Park Run (Race 1): The opening race was eye-opening. I ran so slow that I didn’t even publish my time in a race recap. I can’t even remember what it was.

28: Labor Day Great American 5K (Race 6): A poorly executed race in which I went out way too fast and spent the majority of the race trying not to die.

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 1.48.40 PM

27: Firecracker 5K (Race 30): The final race of the campaign was slow and painful. Despite heading out at what felt like a reasonable pace, I crawled to the finish line. The heat was brutal and I didn’t factor it in appropriately and probably over-extended myself during warmup. A brutal way to finish the campaign.

2004 Team USA Basketball Olympic Bronze
Pathetic by its own relative standards, but altogether objectively decent. 

26: Teddy Park Run 5K (Race 9): This was an injury-recovery race where I was testing out my recently-strained hamstring. Though I managed to make it through the race, I probably shouldn’t have run.

25: Mother’s Day 4-Miler (Race 27): My decent finish of 12th/604 overall disguised what a poor race this was. I felt progressively weaker each mile and my finishing time was significantly worse than a 4-mile race months prior. At the time, I called this my “worse race yet” relative to expectations.

10278_1906423_enm2852582094ram

24: Winter Classic 5K (Race 14): Another hamstring-recovery race. My pacing was slightly better, but my overall performance was still very slow. However, I was pleased that I could largely stick to my race plan. It was very, very cold in Boston.

23: Summer Georgetown 5K (Race 2): A slow race the day after my opening run. Pleased with my time considering my tired legs, but a poor time and equally poor finishing position.

Fast and Furious (4th movie)
Pretty good, actually. Especially relative to others in the series.

22: Ringing in Hope 10K (Race 28): Though my overall time (41:21) was not atrocious and ultimately good for 6th/197 and second in my age group, this was a disappointing finish considering my expectations. The conditions were decent and I had Murat as a rabbit (who went on to win the race), so there was a chance that I could break 40min. However, after a tough second and third mile, I was mentally thrown-off and abandoned that goal. I did manage to tough out the final three miles at decent pace, but my head let me down in this one. I was never in it. 

21: Red Bandana Run 5K (Race 10): Injured and jet-lagged, I managed to eek out a half-decent performance given my inadequate fitness, but the overall results were unimpressive.

20: Veteran’s Day 5K (Race 13): This was a workout-race, designed to fit into my training schedule and requiring me to run a few miles both before and after. I largely stuck to my plan.

Screen Shot 2017-11-12 at 4.17.20 PM

19: Brew Hop 5K (Race 11): An easy jog with a season’s best, albeit unimpressive, time. This was among the more low-key organized races. We were there for the beer.

Fast Five
Fan favorite.

18: Run Your Heart Out 5K (Race 18): Rabbits Lindsay and Murat dragged me to my first sub-20 5K. That was the goal and we did sneak in just under the 20-min barrier… but it required a ferocious kick and felt much, much harder than it should have.

17: Draft Day Dash 5K (Race 25): A good time considering this race course was at least a quarter-mile long and it was unquestionably the most annoying course. I didn’t quite meet my expectations, but they were misguided based on the information I was given. The end result was the best metric: 6th/1742 runners.

SportsPhotos_BKS_7966

16: Parks 10K (Race 12): My goal was to break 46 minutes and thanks to Rabbit Lindsay, we managed to crush that barrier by about 40 seconds in the rain. It was quite exhausting.

Screen Shot 2017-11-05 at 11.33.18 AM

15: Founders Day 5K (Race 7): A decent performance relative to recent races on an average course without much competition.

14: Dulles Day 5K (Race 8): My first 5K averaging under 7min/mile of the campaign, thanks to a strong finishing kick and quicker last mile. I’m looking forward to running this race again…

2010 Boston Celtics
Started off weak, picked it up when it counted, still no cigar.

13: Leesburg 5K (Race 4): Though my time wasn’t very impressive, I ran a tough race on an moderately-challenging course which was good for 2nd in my age group.

12: South Lakes 10K (Race 5): Planning to ‘see how I felt’ and run around 8:30/mile, I felt good and picked up the pace to average about 7:45. My last mile was my fastest.

Screen Shot 2017-08-27 at 11.01.00 AM

11: Rock the Coast 5K (Race 18): My goal was to win this tiny event and to break 20min. Once it was clear I wasn’t going to be challenged for the win and was off 20min pace, I shut it down early and cruised. Got the W, as desired.

The Restaurant Scene in Goodfellas (Funny how? Funny like a clown?)
Highly memorable and makes for a great retelling. A lot of unexpected improv.

10: Butterfly 5K (Race 22): My bachelor party 5K was run under non-ideal physical conditions. This included both a hangover and running in a bunny suit. I didn’t go all-out and started a bit too fast, but finished as the top bunny in the race while Murat and Terence ran strong times.

Screen Shot 2018-04-01 at 5.46.03 PM

9: Reston Runners Marathon Relay (Race 23): We crushed the event in a relay course record, however, I was waived in the wrong direction and wound up running an extra few slow miles. Frustrating.

Marshall Faulk’s 1999 Season
Big-time performances that are already under the radar.

8: Holiday Hustle 5K (Race 15) My time and finish were nothing special, but I ran faster than I had planned on a very difficult course in very cold conditions. It was my fastest 5K of 2017.

7: Loudon 8K (Race 24): Months prior, I set the goal of running a sub 32:30 8K (5 miles), which would mean a 6:30/mile pace. Secretly, I had hoped I could run much faster. Coming off injury and getting ditched by my rabbits midway through the race, I was ultimately pleased that my time of 32:24 was good for 6th/340 runners.

IMG_1800

Larry Bird Scores 60 Against Hawks in 1985
Season’s best performance. 

6: Long Island 10K (Race 26): This was brutal. I was hoping to break 40min for a 10K and missed by about eight seconds. I did finish 9th/1,017 runners in a massive PR, but man, was I pissed. Thanks to Kelli for coming to watch.

Screen Shot 2018-05-06 at 9.33.15 PM

5: Running of the Balls 5K (Race 29): My best 5K time of the campaign in 18:42, finally smashing the 19min barrier. I ran a really gutsy race, opening up in 5:45 for the first mile and hanging on for dear life. It was one of the more physically miserable running experiences of my entire life as I was just exhausted half-way through the race and was passed by several runners in the last mile. But in the end, the finishing time spoke for itself.

4: NYRR Night at the Races Indoor 1-Mile (Race 19): Hoping to run 5:45, I smashed my goal an ran 5:28 thanks to a viciously quick final lap (200m in approx. 34 seconds). Racing indoors for the first time since college in the very arena where I spent many days as a nervous high school runner, I experienced more pre-race anxiety than during any other event. I overcame it and have the footage to prove it.

IMG_1684

The ‘Diner Scene’ in Heat
Simply the best.

3: Lucky Leprechaun 5K (Race 20): Although it was only my second-fastest 5K of the campaign, it was by far my best 5K race. I felt smooth, light, and fast. In the cold weather, I crushed the last quarter-mile and finished 19th/913 runners in a then-seasons-best 19:06, which was way ahead of my expected progress to that point. I had been hoping to run about 19:45 and killed it.

D500Lucky5k-241

2: Naples Daily News Half-Marathon (Race 16): The longest distance I’ve ever run. Scheduled mostly out of travel convenience, I spent a few weeks ramping up for this race and beat my goal by a wide margin. Hoping to run at a 7:45/mile pace, I averaged just under 7:30/mile and my last 5K was my fastest. It was a major, unexpected success.

Screen Shot 2018-01-14 at 1.08.29 PM

1: Scarsdale 4-Miler (Race 21): Prior to this race, I wasn’t feeling great. Once the gun went off, everything changed. I crushed this wintery race. Hoping to break 26min (6:30/mile), I broke 25, running 6:14/mile for a 4th place overall finish in 24:56. My closing mile was in 5:31. After the race, I felt like I could run it again.

IMG_1715

For complete recaps of every race, visit the Race Schedule page. 

What I Learned: Supplements

If you missed my last post about recommended gear, make sure to check it out here

At a certain point, many amateurs enter the “Supplement Phase” of their running trajectory. Suddenly, there are all sorts of strange gels, pills, bars, drinks, and whatnot that you’re convinced are the difference between success and failure. This is completely untrue. That said, they can (and do!) help – and some are better than others. 

Here are some of my favorites:

Run Gum: Yeah, you knew this was coming. I chew Run Gum for the calorie-free caffeine on most of my runs – certainly the tough ones. Mint flavor tastes like Winterfresh Gum, Fruit flavor tastes like Juicy Fruit, and Cinnamon tastes like Big Red. I’ve actually yet to try the new, extra strength flavor, Spearmint, but it’s 2x the caffeine and supposed to be great. Use code jaket10 for a discount 😉

rungum

Nuun: My wife turned me on to Nuun. It’s a little tablet that dissolves in water and packs some useful nutrients. There are also caffeinated flavors – great for a pre-morning hydrated alternative to coffee. I am a big fan of tangerine and blackberry. 

Picky Bars: Made by runners for runners. This has the 4:1 carbs: protein ratio perfect for a post-run snack (eat within an hour!). I recommend Blueberry Boomdizzle. 

Gu: For endurance workouts longer than an hour, a little Gu gues a long way. Chocolate Coconut is my favorite flavor (tastes like a Samoa cookie!) and Chocolate Sea Salt is great too. Lots of flavors to try. 

Muscle Milk Pro 50 Knockout: This chocolate-flavored protein goes great in smoothies and packs a ton of protein/calorie. 

Isopure Coconut: This drink packs 40g of protein in just 160 calories. It tastes just like (a slightly tart) coconut water. 

What I Learned: Gear

This yearlong exercise (pun) has taught me a lot about different gear and other goodies. I’ll highlight some of my recommendations below:

Bluetooth Headphones: Are an absolute must. Do not waste time and energy carrying your phone in hand while you run. That’s so 2013. Instead, try these great bluetooth headphones. For less than $30, their value is unbeatable. Simply strap your phone to your arm (or grab a smartwatch that stores music!) and enjoy. 

Shades: Another solid buy for under $30. They’re sturdy, handle sweat well, and multi-functional. You waste a lot of energy squinting through tough sunlight that can tense up your face/neck/shoulders. If you don’t want to wear a hat, wear shades. 

Wristband: Need a place to store your keys while running? This sweatband has a little zipper pocket. $3. 

Socks: I like these double-socks. They’re lightweight great at preventing blisters. 

Anti-Chaffing Balm: You won’t notice it’s there, but you’ll notice it post-run if it’s not! 

Soreness Balm: This arnica-based gel feels great on your muscles after a tough workout. I also apply it pre-race to muscles that I know will hurt, so that when the fatigue sets in I am treated to a cooling sensation that makes the pain much more tolerable!

Plantar Socks: Got bad plantar faciitis? These sleeping socks keep your foot flexed overnight and are a game-changer. 

Foam Roller: If you’re not foam rolling, you’re doing it wrong. For less than $20, this is all you need. 

Stay tuned for the next edition – all about supplements!

Screen Shot 2018-07-16 at 2.30.05 PM.png