I am feeling so much stronger and more prepared for the New York City Marathon at this point in preparations than I was exactly one year ago. At this point last year, it was my first full year of distance running and I was dealing with a succession of overuse injuries and back soreness. Yesterday I finished off my first week of at least 35 miles in training, and now I am headed out the door to get an even bigger week started on an early Monday morning.
What I love most right now is corework. I LOVE COREWORK. Each day I am setting a PR for crunches. Yesterday it was 125. This is a lot for me. They are starting to come so easily. I typically bail off after several miles wherever the grass at Central Park calls my name, and right there I toss the sunglasses and cap and proceed into rapid crunches in which I pull my bent knees in at the same time as my head is going up. I am usually able to do these in two or three sets, starting with about 75. In between, I do leg lifts. After my crunches and leg lifts, I roll over into long planks, and at that point I am sweating gallons. I incorporate a bit of some painful stretching that the folks at Infinity Sports taught me in late May, sometimes regular pushups. Then I am back on my way running, and after my run I usually stop at a park bench at Strawberry Fields and do bench-ups forward (25-30) and reverse (20).
So far I like my Li Nings that are pictured in my previous post. They are slightly too large as noted (I had to buy them quickly because Closing Ceremony in Beijing was hours away). I am rotating them with my Brooks Glycerines, but they are getting worked in, and I am determined to run with them for the NYC Marathon. It will be part of my tribute to China, as I am dedicating my NYC Marathon to all of those people who made such an impact on my life last month. I will be wearing the shoes from the man (Li Ning) who ran around the top of the Bird's Nest and lit the cauldron that signaled the start of the Olympic Games.
Some of my runs are better than others. Yesterday I cut my long run short because I was feeling as gassed as ever. It was a pretty active week/weekend on the social front. I had a second date with someone exciting on Friday (Xtreme Bowling at Chelsea Piers) and that melted into Saturday afternoon, and we have a couple of dates lined up this week. I will be running the Queens Half Marathon on Sunday morning. That race is going to get me to the 40-mile weekly mark for the first time in my life. I don't know what to expect. My official PR for a Half is 2:12 (Brooklyn), and my unofficial is 1:56 set over 47 laps of that Wukesong Baseball Field during the Olympics in Beijing. I don't expect to be anywhere near the latter because that was pancake-flat, perfect packed clay and wind-shielded on a gorgeous late afternoon. I am sure I will see hills, humidity and huffing. But I am setting a goal of 2:05 and either way I am feeling strong for me.
My big X-factor will be October. As usual I will spend it out on the Major League Baseball road, at playoff series to be determined right through the World Series. That will mean getting creative with running routes, crosstraining at hotels, and trying to deal with a tough schedule that includes finishing work at 2 or 3 in the morning and then big workdays right after -- with the occasional 6 a.m. flight to wherever. It is really hard to keep a consistent routine in October, but I am not going to let anything stand in my way of the 4:50 goal at the NYC Marathon.
Brag About The Boys: I have to say something about my dudes back in Missouri. Matt has just started his junior year at Mizzou, where he is Dean's List in Finance and ready to kick butt again. Hearing him talk about tailgating before Tiger football games is so funny now. Ben just turned 17 on Friday, and he is playing varsity and JV football as a junior. In his first start on JV, he intercepted a pass at the goal line, had two QB sacks, a ton of tackles, and in varsity he is playing special teams. He is sore but he is strong. So strong. And he is working with mentally challenged kids at his high school and making me so proud. Josh is enjoying his first year in high school! Ben is helping him out there, and that is what I love most, that I raised my boys to look out for each other. They will always be there for each other. They are all doing great, and as always we communicate the best we can in this crazy world where a Dad can live too far away.