Yearly Wrap Up: 2016

2016 was my toughest year of running. Compared to 2015, my total mileage decreased and my average pace was slower. I missed one of my goals. I’m pretty sure I was in better shape at the beginning of the year than I was at the end of the year.

I know that the popular opinion is that 2016 is the worst year ever, and at a glance, my year of running fits that narrative pretty well. And yet, I see moments, several moments, that were actually pretty good.

First, let’s review my 3 running goals for the year.

Goal 1: 1500 miles

I finished the year with 1400.03 miles. (Running Ahead shows it as 1400.0, so I had to export my data to Excel and add up the miles there to make sure I really made it over 1400. Whew.)

I’m disappointed that I fell short of my goal by 100 miles, and that was after setting a goal that was lower than my 2015 mileage (1550.8). Of course, when I set my goal, I didn’t know if I was going to get in to the New York City Marathon, and if I didn’t get in, I wasn’t sure if I would have run a full marathon in the fall. (Given how the year played out, I really don’t think I would have run a full if I hadn’t gotten in to NYC.)

I missed a lot of running with my ankle injury, though. I missed a few more miles because of my toe, and then I missed a run right before Christmas with a shoulder (!) injury. So, yeah, I missed my goal, but it’s a minor miracle that I only missed it by 100 miles.

Goal 2: 5 races, including 3 races that are 13.1 or greater

Nailed it. Here’s the full list.

That’s 7 races, with 3 (Charleston, Tobacco Road, and NYC) that were 13.1 or greater.

Goal 3: Run in a state that I haven’t run in before*

Entering 2016, I had run in 5 states. In chronological order: North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Oregon, and New Jersey. The asterisk in the goal is to indicate that I’m only counting runs as an adult. Growing up in New York, “running” in P.E. class sucked, and wasn’t my choice, so I don’t count it, and that’s why I didn’t include New York in the list.

I actually waited until after I entered the lottery for the New York City Marathon to come up with this goal. I had a few ideas for backup plans to add a state if I didn’t get in (The most likely states would have been either Virginia or, uh, Washington state. Really.), but since I did, I was able to add New York to my list as soon as I crossed the starting line for the New York City Marathon. I’ve now run in 6 states, and I don’t need that pesky asterisk any more.

I ended up running in North Carolina (duh), South Carolina, Oregon, and New York this year. I was in New Jersey to visit my cousins right after the New York City Marathon, but I was in no condition to run while I was there. I haven’t been to Ohio since…well, you know.

So, that’s 2 out of 3 goals. Again, considering everything, that’s not bad.

Also, hey, I started this blog in 2016, on July 2, my 5 year anniversary of running, with a post appropriately titled 5 Years of Running.

My first run of 2016 was on January 1, 5.16 miles. (Yes, the .16 was on purpose.) My last run of 2016 was on December 30, 6.16 miles. (Ditto.)

I suppose I should do a weight check. Until I looked at my notes from the beginning of the year, I forgot that 2016 was when I got a new scale, back in early March. The old scale didn’t do tenths of a pound, so at the start of the year, I was at 166. On the morning of December 31, I was 165.0. I’m down 1 pound for the year, which I suppose beats the alternative, but I know I gained a few pounds right at the end of the year, primarily due to Christmas. So it’s a little disappointing, and it also means that I’m overweight again, but I should be able to get back down below 164 pretty soon. Over the course of the year, I struggled at times. I got all the way up to 175.3 in late May after my ankle injury, because I decreased my running without decreasing my eating. I worked my way down, and even got under 160 during marathon training, but my weight crept back up a bit with the holidays.

There were a few highlights.

On January 23, the day after we had gotten snow, ice, and sleet, I drove over to the Y (half of their locations hadn’t re-opened yet), and due to the number of people, they had a strict 30 minute limit on the treadmills. I decided to make the most of my time and run as fast as I could for those 30 minutes. I ended up running at a 9:06/mile average pace, and the only time I’ve had a faster average pace was in the 2015 Yiassou Greek Festival 5K.

In the Charlotte 10 Miler, I ran the last 6.2 miles (which included a killer hill) in 58:54, the first time I ever ran 10K in under 60 minutes, and I ran the last mile in 8:25.3, my fastest mile ever. From a performance perspective, that was my best race ever.

In the Charleston Half Marathon, I beat my previous PR by over 7 minutes.

There were some lowlights, too.

The summer was absolutely brutal weather-wise. At one point we had 30 days in a row where the temperature never dropped below 70 degrees. It was also really humid pretty much every day.

I had my inflamed toe, a shoulder injury which luckily only caused me to miss one run, and I fell down during a run thanks to a little black dog named Emma. (Eventually, that story is going to turn into me getting knocked down by a huge Doberman named Killer.)

The Tobacco Road Half Marathon is memorable for the wrong reasons, since my ankle gave out around the 9.5 mile mark. Still, I finished the race, even running at the end, and at no point did I consider quitting.

I was lucky, though. The podiatrist was able to figure out what was wrong with my ankle, and had a solution – orthotics – that would allow me to continue to run. I still remember how relieved I was when he said I could keep running.

And then there was the New York City Marathon.

Hands down, it was the highlight of my 5+ years of running. My performance wasn’t great, but I managed to rally at the end. And the experience was absolutely amazing, running through the city where I was born. I’ll never forget turning on to 1st Avenue and hearing the wall of sound from people cheering, or, when I got to the borough where I was born, seeing the sign that said “Welcome to The Bronx.” My parents got to see me run for the first time, and I got to hug them during the race.

I guess that race pretty much sums up my 2016. The numbers don’t look great, there was a lot of difficulty (I almost forgot to mention the 59th Street Bleeping Bridge), but there were still some great moments.

The thing I keep coming back to when thinking about this past year (besides New York City, which was great) is my improvement mentally. Throughout the year, I was resilient, and I never gave up. Whether it was the last 3+ miles of Tobacco Road on a bad ankle, or the run where I fell down, ran home, slapped on a couple of Band-Aids, and went back out and ran 4 miles, or the tail end of the New York City Marathon, where I kept running as fast as I could even after I realized I wouldn’t be getting a PR, I always found a way to keep going.

Overall, I might not be satisfied with the numbers, but I know I gave it everything I had in 2016. That’s really all I can do.

I’m ready for 2017.

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 19-25

First, a belated Merry Christmas!

Second, I know this is late, partially due to traveling and visiting my family, and partly because of something else.

I had a plan. I was going to finish my wrapping on Friday afternoon/evening, run Saturday (Christmas Eve) morning, write up this post because my running week would be over (Christmas was a planned rest day), and my official weigh-in happened on Friday, and then I’d be done until either my December 26-January 1 wrap-up, or my 2016 wrap-up, whichever came first.

My plan was derailed by something unexpected. My right shoulder (!?!?!) started hurting on Friday and got progressively worse through the day. It made it impossible to finish wrapping, and since it was painful any time my arm moved, I couldn’t run. I never thought my shoulder would keep me from running. So I made the decision to not run Saturday morning. I didn’t write the blog post because I was trying to take care of my shoulder, and decided to wait until I got home on Wednesday to write it.

Saturday night, I struggled to get comfortable when trying to get to sleep. Somehow, I managed to fall asleep, and when I woke up, it was almost like a fever broke, and my shoulder was just a little sore, but there was no pain when I moved it. I was still careful, and tried not to do any heavy lifting, but from then on, it was OK, and I was able to run on Monday, but that’s a story for my next weekly wrap-up.

I still have no idea what caused my shoulder problem, but knock on wood, it seems like it’s gone now.

Weight Check: 161.8, down 3 pounds from my last weigh-in. OK, first of all, I had two 10 mile runs in there, and second, I screwed up, and before my Friday run, I forgot to weigh in. So I weighed in after my Friday run, and I guess I lost some weight during the run. I didn’t do that on purpose, and I’m pretty sure I would have had a loss even before my Friday run. Of course, the lower reading makes it more likely that I’ll show a gain on my next weigh-in.

As far as my diet, I did drink a bunch of Mountain Dew at work on Monday and Tuesday as I scrambled to get everything finished before the end of the year, and there were a few Christmas cookies that someone brought in, but otherwise I did OK.

I’ll do my next official weigh-in on Sunday, January 1, so then maybe I’ll get back to a normal schedule. Also, as I write this on Wednesday evening, I haven’t stepped on a scale since Friday. I suppose I’ll see where I am tomorrow morning.

Christmas Present Check: My parents gave me 3 pairs of running socks (They’re not Balega, but I’ll give them a shot), a new short sleeve tech tee (It’s blue-ish, and I don’t really need another blue shirt, but it’s the thought that counts), and 2 packets of Gu, one Strawberry Banana (my favorite) and one Chocolate Outrage (which I guess I’ll try out sometime). Also, not strictly running related, but they gave me a 500 tablet bottle of Ibuprofen (which I could have used on Saturday, but my parents had some Ibuprofen that I could take.)

My sister gave me a reflective vest for running in the dark and a pair of socks (Balega, but she got XL and I’ll need to exchange them for L. Luckily, she got them at REI, who has excellent customer service and I know I’ll have no problems there.) And in the not strictly running related category, she got me a pair of quick-drying underwear. This time, they’re briefs. Last year, she got me one pair of boxer briefs and one pair of briefs. The problem with the boxer briefs is that they’re a little big for shorts, so I can really only wear them with long pants. The briefs work with anything.

Nephew Check: My nephew Jack (about 2 and a half years old) got a small roller coaster and absolutely loves it. My nephew Quinn (just over 6 months old) loved the wrapping paper about as much as the presents inside. They’re the best.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 5.16
Tuesday 5.17
Thursday 10.03
Friday 5.21

Total: 25.57 miles

Yeah, the total is a little disappointing because I missed my planned 5 miler on Saturday. On the plus side, that Saturday run would have been in my parents’ neighborhood. I love my Mom and Dad, but I don’t love running in their neighborhood.

Monday wasn’t a great run. It was cold and windy, and while it wasn’t raining, everything was still wet from some previous rain, so it was pretty miserable all around. My legs felt OK for the day after a 10 miler, but it was yet another run where they just weren’t moving very fast. It’s frustrating.

Tuesday was much better. My legs felt good, and they actually moved like they felt better.

Now, Garmin tells me how many calories I’ve burned during each run, but I don’t know how it calculates that number, so I don’t really pay all that much attention to it…unless it tells me I burned 666 calories, like it did for this run. That explains why it went so well.

(Side note: I kid you not, the song that is playing right now is Hell by Squirrel Nut Zippers. I swear I didn’t plan that.)

Thursday I decided to do my long run for the week. I ran 10.03 miles just so it would be longer than my last 10 miler. It went pretty well. I was pleased.

Friday, there was no sign that I was just a few hours away from experiencing debilitating shoulder pain. I ran fairly well, especially considering it was the day after a 10 mile run. I don’t think anything that happened during this run led to my shoulder problems.

This week, well, it’s already underway, I’ve got two runs under my belt, and I’ve got 3 more to go, including, yes, a New Year’s Day run. I’m closing in on 1400 miles for the year. It’s going to be closer than I’d like. I’ll check in with my 2016 wrap-up at some point over the weekend, hopefully on Saturday, if not Sunday. I may wait until Monday either way for my next weekly wrap-up. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 12-18

This week was mostly bad, although I managed to salvage a decent run this morning in unexpected (but not good) conditions.

Weight Check: 164.8, up 2.0 pounds from last week. Lots of Mountain Dew while I was frantically trying to get everything finished at work before year end, plus some beer, and since I had to do my long run on Sunday, my weigh-in doesn’t include those 10 miles. I know next week won’t be any better, but hopefully I can limit the damage.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 6.01
Tuesday 5.21
Wednesday 5.01
Friday 5.01
Sunday 10.02

Total: 31.26 miles

On Monday, I went out, and my legs were dead. I managed to get through 6 long, miserable miles.

On Tuesday, my legs felt worse than Monday. I cut back my mileage, but my pace was still slower.

On Wednesday, my legs felt even worse than Tuesday. I cut back my mileage again, but my pace was still slower than Tuesday. When I got home I wanted to take all of my running gear, throw it in a pile, and kill it with fire.

Thursday was a planned rest day. I’ve sometimes tried to do some core exercises, like push-ups or planks, on my non-running days, but I figured I’d better just do as little as possible and hope that my body would recover.

Friday I went with the treadmill. I was considering the treadmill for Wednesday’s run, and in retrospect, I really should have tried that, but the forecast for Friday morning had looked really cold, and I couldn’t bear the thought of two treadmill runs in one week. As it turns out, it was around 27 Friday morning, which isn’t very pleasant, but I can handle it. Still, I figured after my previous 3 runs, my legs needed some treadmill time. Also, I made it 5 full miles on the treadmill. I hadn’t done that in a while, and it was definitely a mental thing, so I was kind of proud of myself for that. Of course, the treadmill is still mentally excruciating at any distance.

Saturday would normally be my long run, but we got some freezing rain that morning, and the roads were pretty bad. I probably could have waited until Saturday afternoon when it warmed up a few degrees and the ice melted, but I had stuff going on, so I had to push it back to Sunday.

Sunday, I was surprised to find that, about 24 hours after getting freezing rain, it was 64 degrees and humid. Welcome to June. I still drove over to the McMullen Creek/Four Mile Creek Greenways, and got in the 10 miles I had hoped for. It wasn’t as bad as I expected, but I took it easy, especially since they had turned off all the water fountains for the winter.

Next week, I have no idea what my schedule’s going to be like. I don’t know when my next official weigh-in will be (probably not Sunday morning). I don’t know when I’m headed to see my parents, and I don’t know exactly when I’ll be going from my parents’ house to my sister’s house. Also, because I had to push my long run to Sunday, I might not be able to front-load my week like I normally would try to given the uncertainty. Oh, and I probably won’t be posting my next Weekly Wrap-Up on Christmas Day. The only thing I know for certain is that I’m working Monday and Tuesday, then I won’t be back at work until January 3.

We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: December 5-11

I signed up for my next race, the Joe Davis Run For Recovery 10K. It’s got a new name since the last time I ran it. Alas, the 10K and 5K start together this time, so I won’t be able to run both unless I get a DeLorean with a Flux Capacitor for Christmas.

It got really cold at the end of the week. I survived.

Also, as I write this, I’m still on call for work. Knock on wood.

Weight Check: 162.8, up 1.6 pounds. Yeah, it wasn’t a good week. I drank lots of Mountain Dew, I drank beer, and I ate junk food due to stress while I was on call. Hopefully this week I can buckle down.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 6.36
Tuesday 4.81
Wednesday 6.31
Friday 6.01
Saturday 4.61

Total: 28.1 miles

Monday got off to a rough start. My legs did not feel good at all, and I considered stopping early. I pushed through, and eventually my legs felt a little better.

Tuesday featured a cold rain that chased me inside to the treadmill. It was mentally excruciating, but it was dry. Well, at least it was dry until I started sweating. It was a solid run, and I’m inching closer to being able to get through 5 miles on the treadmill. Obviously it’s a mental thing, since I had 3 runs over 5 miles, and could have had a 4th if I wasn’t worried about getting paged for work.

Wednesday I was back outside, and it was really foggy. Also, my headlamp’s batteries were about to die. I wonder if I subconsciously slowed down due to those factors. It was an OK run. I was frustrated when I got home, though, because the Garmin servers were down and I couldn’t upload my results. I don’t think that’s happened before, so I guess I can’t complain too much.

Friday should have been my longest run, but I put off going outside because it got really cold. It was cold enough that I considered the treadmill, but I had no podcasts to listen to. I finally got out there, but only had time for 6 miles. My pace was decent. I’m not sure how my legs felt, because they were numb most of the time.

Saturday I managed to get in 4.61 miles, and didn’t get paged, so there’s that. I waited until 9:45 to go out there, which is really late for me, but I didn’t have any other plans, so I figured I’d wait until it wasn’t quite as cold. It was a balmy 31 degrees when I started, but there was a little bit of wind to keep me from getting too comfortable.

I’m pleased with my total mileage. Even though I couldn’t get in a true long run, and my Friday run was a little shorter than I’d hoped, I still beat last week. I wasn’t expecting that.

Next week should be back to a more normal schedule, although the weather next weekend is looking dicey. We’ll see what happens.

Race Report: Charlotte Southpark Turkey Trot 8K

I didn’t realize it until afterward, but this was my 25th race.

It’s been a while since I had a race where I did a lot better than I expected. Granted, I went in to this race with zero expectations. Part of it was because I’ve never raced an 8K before, and part of it was because I heard that it would attract a really big crowd, big enough to potentially slow me down. Still, I was hoping I could finish somewhere in the 50 minute range. I ended up doing better than that.

While I was very pleased with my performance, I have to say, I wasn’t as pleased with the race. In my previous 24 races, I’ve had some minor quibbles here and there, usually with the time or location of packet pickup being somewhat inconvenient, but really, nothing major to complain about. But this race, while there was nothing earth-shattering, there were a bunch of little things that added up.

First, some background on this race. My sister’s best friend lives in Charlotte, and she invited my sister’s family, my parents, one of her nephews, and me for Thanksgiving. I moved to Charlotte 20 years ago, and this was the first time I was here on Thanksgiving day, because every other year I traveled to either my parents’ house or my sister’s. My sister’s friend came up with the idea of doing the Turkey Trot, since they’ve got an 8K and a 5K, and lots of people walk the 5K. My brother-in-law and I signed up for the 8K, and everyone else signed up for the 5K, and planned to walk it. My sister probably could have run the 5K, but she was also pushing a stroller with both my nephews in it, so she walked it too.

I’ve never done a Turkey Trot before, mainly because of travel, although the last few years I’ve still managed to get a run in on Thanksgiving morning.

Normally I’d start with packet pickup, but my sister’s friend volunteered to go pick up everybody’s stuff, so I can’t really comment, other than to commend them for having packet pickup on both Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday packet pickup for a Thursday race is like Thursday packet pickup for a Saturday race, and I always appreciate that, so at least on this front, they got it right.

Everybody got a t-shirt, but we had the option during sign-up to pay extra for a tech t-shirt. I could use another long sleeved tech tee, so I spent a little more and got one.


The lighting is a little off, but it’s actually dark gray. The important thing is that it’s not another blue shirt. I’ll take it.

They also gave out lip balm, mints, and coupons for 10% off at Dick’s Sporting Goods, since that’s where the packet pickup was. Mints were kind of a strange giveaway, and I gave mine to somebody else, because I can’t stand the taste of mint. Lip balm was also unusual, but potentially useful. They gave out safety pins, but somehow we didn’t have enough pins for everybody. I volunteered to re-use some safety pins from an old bib.

The morning of the race, I got up, used the bathroom, showered, ate a Clif bar, brushed my teeth, and used the bathroom again. We lucked out on the weather, it was in the low 50s, so I wore a short sleeved t-shirt and shorts. My parents were staying with me, so I drove them to the race. There was lots of parking, since the start and finish were on the edge of Southpark Mall.

The 8K started at 9 AM, but the 5K didn’t start until 9:30. We got there around 8:10, and my parents stayed in the car for a bit while I wandered over to the starting area. (Side note: I brought a spare car key that I gave to my parents so they could lock up the car when they were ready. I could have just left my car key with them, but then I wouldn’t be able to take a picture with my car key after the race. Priorities.)

I waited in the middle of Morrison Boulevard for the race to start. There were a few port-a-potties near the start, but probably not enough, because the lines were pretty long. I actually thought about using one before the race, but I realized with the lines I might miss the start, so I decided to take my chances. (It turns out I was OK during the race.)

I saw two people wearing official 2016 New York City Marathon shirts. I didn’t wear mine, because it’s long sleeved, and like I mentioned earlier, it was warm enough that I wanted to go with short sleeves. Still, it was good to know that I wasn’t the only one who went from NYC to this race.

I took a picture of the starting line a few minute before the race started.


Yeah, a guy with a turkey hat. ‘Tis the season.

At 8:59, a gun went off to start the race. I didn’t hear any countdown, and pretty much everybody around me was surprised, but we started moving towards the starting line.

Mile 1: 9:57

Like I said at the beginning, I was worried about the crowd slowing me down. I noticed on a couple of the turns early on it got crowded, at least if you were trying to take the inside of the turn like I was. Later the crowds thinned out enough that I had no issues, it was just the turns on the first mile where I had to slow down a bit.

Near the end of this mile, I noticed one turn that my Garmin and I disagreed about.


I stayed on the streets, thank you very much. I found a few other turns where it looks like I cut the corner a little, but nothing quite as egregious as this. I think this turn is the main reason why my Garmin said I only ran 4.88 miles total, instead of 4.97.

This mile had a few rolling hills. Nothing worse than my neighborhood, though.

I didn’t see the 1 Mile marker, but my brother-in-law did.

Mile 2: 9:36

There were still some hills, but with the crowds thinned out a bit, I was able to speed up a little. My Garmin said this mile was all downhill, but again, considering the picture above, I take that with several grains of salt. I’d be willing to buy that there was more downhill than uphill, though, and that would explain my time for this mile.

Again, I didn’t see a marker for 2 Miles, but my brother-in-law did.

Mile 3: 10:01

This mile had more uphill, so I slowed down, but I hung in there. There were two water stops early, although the second stop was sponsored by a church and most likely unofficial. I skipped both of them. I wasn’t really all that thirsty, and I felt like it would slow me down more than it would help.

Also during this stretch, someone was giving out mimosas and (I think) something with apple cider and alcohol in their driveway. I have to admit, I considered it, but ultimately declined. Kudos to the people giving them out, though.

At 2.87 miles, I saw the 3 Mile marker. Uh, OK.

Mile 4: 9:46

The course flattened out a bit, and I rallied. I felt pretty good.

Last…uh, 0.88?: 7:47.3, 8:48/mile pace

I didn’t see the Mile 4 marker until around 4.06 miles. Also, there was one final water stop shortly after the mile marker, but I skipped it. I really poured it on through here. It stayed pretty flat, which helped. I passed several people along the way.

I crossed the finish line, and my Garmin said 47:07, with a distance of 4.88 miles.

I got my medal and went looking for food and water. It was really chaotic once I got past where they were giving out medals. I completely missed the tables with the water and food. After wandering around for 5 minutes, on my second loop I finally found the tables. The first 3 were empty, then I found some cups of water on the 4th. There were no volunteers that I could see. I then got a granola bar that was literally cut in half. They weren’t exactly huge bars to begin with, so cutting them in half just looked cheap. I had to check a few to figure out what kind of bar it was, chocolate chip. I also got an orange slice.

I stopped to take my usual picture with my car key. I got it on the first try, so there’s that.


By the time I got back to the finish line, my brother-in-law had already finished. He sent me a text asking me about where the water and food were, and I tried to describe it as well as I could. He eventually found it. We ended up meeting near the finish line on the 5K side – the 8K finished on the left side, the 5K on the right – and waited for everybody else.

Interestingly, as I was standing there, they had started handing out awards, and I was surprised to hear my co-worker’s wife had won her age group. (Actually, initially, I was like, “Wait, did I hear that right?” Then I checked the unofficial results on my phone, and yeah, she won her age group.) I sent a quick congratulatory text.

(Edit 2/19/2017: I just wanted to clarify that my co-worker’s wife is really fast, and I’d never be surprised if she finished Top 3 in her age group. My surprise wasn’t with her performance, I was just surprised that she ran the race, since my co-worker hadn’t mentioned she’d be there.)

My sister finished first, pushing my nephews in a stroller. (I’m pretty impressed by that, even if she walked most of it.) My brother-in-law followed them to the finish. My parents showed up a few minutes later, and I walked the finish with them.

By the time my parents finished, they had run out of water. That was disappointing, especially considering it wasn’t really that warm.

Also, you may have noticed, I haven’t mentioned my official time. That’s because I’m not 100% sure what it is. My gun time showed up on the website by the time I got home from the race, and it was 47:33. OK, that sounds reasonable. Then I waited to see when they’d post my chip time. They posted 47:28…on Monday, 4 days after the race. First of all, 4 days? Really? Second, I’m pretty sure it took me more than 5 seconds to get to the starting line. In addition, my Garmin said 47:07. Even if I didn’t start it right at the starting line, over 20 seconds difference is a lot. For now, I guess I just have to accept 47:28, but if something changes, I’ll come back and update this.

Between the surprise start, the timing, the chaotic finishing area, the half granola bars, and running out of water on a day that wasn’t really that warm, I’m not really happy with the organization for this race. And this is the 28th running, it’s not like it’s a brand new race. Also, they’re not exactly the only game in town. There’s the Turkey Dash, which is in South Charlotte (even closer to me than Southpark) and is a 4 miler, and the University City Turkey Trot 5K (which would have been a haul for me). There’s the Lake Norman 10K/5K in Cornelius that one of my co-workers runs every Thanksgiving (even more of a haul for me than University City). The point is, there are options, and honestly, if I’m in Charlotte again on Thanksgiving day, I’d rather check out one of the other races first than go back to this one.

On the plus side, the lack of organization meant that it took 5 days for them to send out an e-mail trying to get me to buy race pictures. (Even if it had been a well organized race, I’m still not buying pictures from an 8K.)

Anyway, I did manage to have fun at the race, and I ran really well, so I can’t complain too much.

Vital Stats

Full Name of Race: Charlotte Southpark Turkey Trot 8K (Also included a 5K race)
Location: Morrison Boulevard near Roxborough Road, Charlotte, NC
Date and Time of Race: November 24, 2016, 9:00 AM (Actual start: 8:59 AM)
Bib Number: 2478
Official Finishing Time: 47:28, 9:33/mile. 1,491st of 2,927 Overall, 993rd of 1,379 Men, 105th of 155 in Age Group (Male 40-44)

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 28-December 4

I’ll post my race report from the Turkey Trot this week, I promise. It’s pretty much done. I have a chip time, although I still think it’s off. But hey, it’s a PR no matter what.

This week was a lot tougher than I expected, so I didn’t exactly run as many miles as I’d hoped, but I think I finished the week strong. The trick is to make sure I can keep it up next week in spite of the fact that I’ll be on call for work. If it was easy, everybody would do it, right?

This week, I got a free Finisher’s Certificate for the New York City Marathon, and found out my Age Group (Male 40-44) rank: 4,701st out of 5,188. Yeah, it’s a tough age group for a slower runner like me. I’ve updated the Vital Stats at the end of my NYC race report.

Weight Check: 161.2 pounds, down 0.2 from last week. OK, that was a pleasant surprise. I still drank too much Mountain Dew this week, but I guess my eating wasn’t terrible, and even though my total mileage was down, I ran just enough.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 6.01
Tuesday 4.51
Thursday 3.11
Friday 4.14
Saturday 9.01

Total: 26.78 miles

Last week, I did my long run on Saturday and another run on Sunday. Normally, my Monday run would be after a rest day, not after 2 days of running including a long run. So my legs were pretty much dead on Monday, but I managed to run the entire neighborhood, big hills and all.

Tuesday, I decided that the treadmill would be a good idea for my legs. It’s never a good idea for my mind, of course. My legs actually felt a little better than I expected, and I ran pretty well.

I normally would have run on Wednesday and waited until Thursday for a rest day, but I knew my legs needed the rest.

Except for some reason, the rest day didn’t really help. I went out Thursday, and my legs just didn’t want to go at all. I cut my losses after getting in 5K. It messed me up in more ways than one. First, I knew it would limit the number of total miles I could put in for the week, which was disappointing. But more worrying is that it did a number on my head, and both Friday and Saturday, it was really hard to get myself to get out there.

I got a late start on Friday because I was stalling and didn’t want to run. My legs didn’t really feel much better, but for some reason, they did move faster than Thursday. Go figure.

Saturday, I figured that based on my mileage the rest of the week, I should stick to around 9 miles, so I did. I started a little later than I wanted to, but overall, it went fairly well, and I sped up on the last mile, so there’s that.

So, I was mildly disappointed by my running this week, but I’m hoping it doesn’t carry over into next week. Of course, with me being on call for work, my quantity of running will be limited, but I’ll have to aim for quality. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 21-27

Yes, I’m thankful for running.

I managed to run pretty well this week (and better than I expected on Thursday). I’ll have a Race Report this week. It’s delayed partly because I was hoping to have a chip time by now, and partly because I kind of wanted to leave my NYC Marathon Race Report up at the top just a little longer.

I got to spend Thanksgiving with my nephews, Jack (2 1/2 years old) and Quinn (5 months). They’re the best. At one point, my Mom was showing Jack some pictures from New York City. His response: “I want to go there.” I’m so proud of him.

Weight Check: 161.4, down 1.3 pounds from last week, and that was before my Sunday run. It’s a Thanksgiving miracle! I think the Turkey Trot helped, and so did my 10 miler on Saturday. I did drink a bunch of Mountain Dew at work on Monday and Tuesday, since I was trying to get a week’s worth of work done in two days, but that still wasn’t good. I tried not to go overboard with the food on Thanksgiving Day, and I succeeded. I also had to drive home that night. It was only a 10 minute drive, but I still needed to be sober, so I drank less beer than I otherwise might have, and that probably helped too.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 5.43
Tuesday 5.01
Thursday 4.97 (Charlotte Southpark Turkey Trot 8K)
Saturday 10.01
Sunday 5.01

Total: 30.43 miles

I normally don’t like running on Sunday, but Wednesday morning I had to pick up my parents from the train station, and Friday morning I had to bring them back. I’ll adjust my schedule for my parents, though.

Monday’s run was kind of slow. My legs didn’t feel great for some reason. It got really cold, but I survived.

Tuesday my legs felt a little better, and it was slightly less cold. I stayed away from the hills, so that helped.

Thursday was my race. I’ll post a full report soon, but I was pretty happy with my performance.

Saturday I wanted to get to 10 miles, and I did it. My legs felt OK, I guess, but I ran pretty well and finished strong.

Sunday, it was really tough to go out into my neighborhood to run when it was about 30 degrees outside. I didn’t get out there until after 9 AM, although by then it was probably around 35. My legs didn’t feel great, but this time I’m pretty sure it’s because of the 10 miler on Saturday. I got through it.

I can’t complain too much, I broke 30 miles for the week and got 10 miles on my long run. I’m also amused that my 8K race was my shortest run of the week.

Next week, more miles, I guess, and a race report.

Race Report: 2016 New York City Marathon

New York City is the greatest city in the world.

I’ve half-jokingly said this in the past, admitting that I’m a little biased because I was born there. But after running the New York City Marathon, and seeing how the people of New York showed up, I really believe that it’s the greatest city in the world. (But I still admit I might be a little biased.)

Since this was my second marathon, I couldn’t help making a few references to my first, the 2015 Raleigh City of Oaks Marathon. You can go back and read my race report for that one if you’d like some more context.

My parents and I flew to Newark on Friday. From there, we got a shuttle to the hotel. We stayed in Staten Island, which meant that I could take a shuttle bus from the hotel to the start of the race. If you don’t mind being away from the city, and having a slightly longer trip after the race, I recommend staying in Staten Island. The rooms are definitely cheaper than Manhattan. (We did have a few issues with shuttle scheduling on Saturday, and after the race we ended up having to take a taxi from the Staten Island Ferry to the hotel, but they got the shuttle right on Sunday morning, and that’s really all that counts.)

I ate pasta Friday night at the hotel restaurant. (OK, it was actually the hotel next door, but we could walk to it, and there wasn’t really anything else we could easily walk to.)

Saturday, we went into Manhattan for the expo. We got a shuttle from the hotel to the Staten Island Ferry, got on the subway to Herald Square, and walked to the Javitz Center. Even though that’s the directions they posted on the race website, after studying the subway map, I think we could have gotten there with a little less walking. (Lesson learned for next time.)

The Race Expo was huge!


First I got my bib in a bag with 4 safety pins.


Then I got my t-shirt and pre-race goody bag.


I’m not sure exactly what to call that color, but I’m going with teal. It’s not another blue shirt, but it’s closer than I’d like.

The bag included a nice official program, a small pocket guide, an even smaller course map, cards promoting Fred’s Team (benefiting an anti-cancer charity), Fitbit, and McIntosh apples (the card also informed us we’d be getting an apple at the end of the race, a nice touch), and a bottle of water.

I didn’t really walk around the expo, because I didn’t want to spend a lot of time walking around. Of course, after we left the expo, we got lost trying to find somewhere to eat lunch, and eventually just took the subway back to the ferry terminal where they had some places to eat. I drank the entire bottle of water while we were wandering the city.

When we got back to the hotel, I found out that the shuttle for the race would be leaving at 6:45. I was in Wave 4, which meant that my start time was 11:00. So I’d be spending a lot more time in the Start Village than I expected. Oh well, when you depend on unofficial transportation, sometimes that’s what you get.

We ordered pizza for dinner. I hydrated and stayed off my feet. I got to bed at a decent hour. We had the time change, which sort of helped, but mostly just gave me an extra hour to toss and turn. I got a few hours of sleep in there, though.

I got up around 5:30. I showered, used the bathroom, brushed my teeth, took a pre-emptive Imodium AD, and gathered all my stuff. My parents woke up (they didn’t need to leave for a while) and took a picture that they haven’t sent to me yet. They wished me luck, and I went downstairs to catch the shuttle bus.

On the bus, I overheard a guy from Brooklyn who stays at the hotel where I stayed the night before the race every year, because it’s much easier to get to the start from there than from his home. It’s always good to know that a local chose the same accommodations that I did.

We got to Fort Wadsworth around 7:15 or so. I went through security, and entered the Start Village.


I ended up going to the porta-potties 3 times, so clearly, I had done a good job with hydration. I went when I first got there (no wait), then around 9:00 (5-10 minute wait), and finally around 10:00 (there was one person in line in front of me). By 10:00 the other 3 waves had either started their race or were already in their corrals, so there weren’t many people left in the Start Village, and it was a good time to use the porta-potties.

While I was in the Start Village, I ate 4 Chocolate Chip Clif Bars. I grabbed a small bottle of water that they were giving out. I think they also had Gatorade, which I generally don’t drink pre-race, and coffee, which I generally don’t drink period. They also had bagels, but I decided to stick with my Clif Bars. I’m really cautious with my race day nutrition, maybe more than I need to be, but (knock on wood) I’ve never had any stomach issues during a race.

The forecast was for temperatures in the low to mid 50s, and the possibility of some decent wind from the north, which would basically be a headwind up until we left The Bronx. (Luckily, except for a couple of instances, the wind wasn’t too bad.) So I planned on running in a short sleeved t-shirt and shorts, but I figured I’d need something to wear before the race (and after). I brought my hoodie from the 2016 Charlote 10 Miler and a pair of running pants for after the race, and an old gray sweatshirt for before. I figured I could ditch the sweatshirt and it would get donated to charity.

I ended up wearing my hoodie most of the time I was in the Start Village. I ended up sitting on my gray sweatshirt, because the ground was a little cold and a lot uncomfortable. A few minutes before it was time to drop off my checked bag at the UPS truck, there was an official photographer wandering around taking people’s pictures. I took off my hoodie (I wanted to show off my bib), and realized that it was warm enough that I didn’t really need a sweatshirt. So I put my throwaway sweatshirt in the bag check bag with the stuff I planned to keep. The throwaway sweatshirt lives to see another race.

My sister sent me a video of my nephew telling me to “Run like the wind!” I appreciated the well-wishes, even if he wouldn’t be able to run after me like he did last year at City of Oaks.

At 9:50, the elite men and Wave 1 started, and I got this picture of them on the Verrazano Bridge. They look like ants before you zoom in.


I put on some sunscreen and put the bottle in my bag check bag before dropping it off. Then it was about time to walk over to the corrals. It was pretty crowded.


From there we moved out on to the Verrazano Bridge.


(OK, there won’t be any more pictures for a while.)

Someone sang the National Anthem. After it was over, I realized I forgot to take off my visor. I know, I was a Bad American. In my defense, it was only the second time I wore the visor at a race.

They shot off a Howitzer to start our wave, which was very loud but also pretty cool. They started to play “New York, New York”…and then abruptly cut to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” I was disappointed, they’re supposed to play “New York, New York.” Oh well.

At 11:08 AM, I crossed the starting line.

One note before I get to the actual race, I had heard that the tall buildings would make GPS go haywire, and someone suggested that the best way to deal with it was to set your watch to manual mode and hit the lap button at each mile marker, so that’s what I did. All the miles were very well marked, and most of them turned out pretty close, with one notable exception.

Also, I’ll break it down by borough. I’ll keep the Verrazano with Staten Island, but the rest of the bridges will go with the borough they lead in to. Well, except for one bridge that deserves special mention.

Miles 1 and 2: Staten Island

I got a little emotional at the beginning. I was really running a race in the city where I was born, with over 50,000 runners. Right then, somebody nearby stumbled (but luckily didn’t fall), and that was enough to jolt me back to reality. Also on the bridge, there was a lot of discarded clothing. I managed to avoid running on any of it.

The first mile, going up the Verrazano, is one of the only times you can go up a hill without noticing it. I still tried to take it easy, and I think I succeeded, with a time of 11:56. On Mile 2, we went back down, and pretty much everybody had their fastest mile of the race, myself included: 10:42.

It was pretty windy on the bridge, and I realized that I didn’t do a very good job pinning my bib on my shirt, because it started flapping. I put my hand on my bib to hold it in place as I ran, because I was afraid I might lose it.

Mile 3 to 12: Brooklyn

Brooklyn was just two giant parties, with a small gap in the middle where we ran through the Orthodox Jewish neighborhood. That neighborhood wasn’t completely empty, but there weren’t nearly as many spectators as the rest of Brooklyn.

As much as I appreciated it, I had to be careful not to get too pumped up by the crowd. Early on I got a few high fives and had some fun with the crowd, even yelling to a guy in a Jets’ shirt, “Beat the Dolphins!” (Spoiler Alert: They didn’t.) But eventually I moved towards the middle of the street. I could still see and hear the crowd, but I was still able to keep myself from getting too excited.

My times through here were 11:22, 11:27, 11:38, 11:30, 11:24, 11:38, 11:50, 11:29, 11:38, and 11:35. Fairly consistent, nothing too crazy. The 11:50 was the mile with the biggest hill. Brooklyn wasn’t exactly flat, but for the most part, I didn’t think it was terrible.

I had Gu at Mile 6 and Mile 10. I drank either water (with the Gu, and at the mile markers before and after I had Gu) or Gatorade (all the rest). There were Aid Stations at every mile from 3 to 25, and I stopped at all of them except one (more on that later). The Aid Stations were very clearly marked, and they also marked where the Gatorade was and where the water was. Typically it was Gatorade first.

Miles 13 and 14: Queens

We hit the halfway point on the Pulaski Bridge between Brooklyn and Queens, and my time was 2:30:59. I have to admit, I was a little disappointed. I felt like I had been running well, but I would have to reverse split in order to break 5:00. I started thinking about my goal of 5:10, and I still thought that was reachable.

Queens was pretty cool. Short, but there was still good crowd support. My times were 11:30 and 11:43. I had Gu at the beginning of Mile 14. I wanted to be ready for the 59th Street Bridge. (Spoiler: It didn’t help.)

Mile 15: The 59th Street Bleeping Bridge

This is where I made a terrible mistake, although it took a few miles before I realized it. I decided to be stubborn, and I ran all the way up the bridge. This was a very bad idea. It was long. It was steep. And it ended up taking a whole lot out of me. My time ended up being 12:46, and even though it was my slowest time to that point, it was still too fast. I really should have walked some of it.

The wind was pretty bad on the bridge, so I grabbed my bib to keep it from flapping around. Another runner looked at me and thought I was grabbing my chest, like I was having chest pains. I laughed and reassured her that I was just holding on to my bib. After that I used my fingertips to keep my bib in place, and it didn’t look quite as ominous.

Mile 16 to 18: Manhattan, Part 1

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

OK, first, when I came off of the 59th Street Bleeping Bridge, I turned on to 1st Avenue. And when you turn on to 1st Avenue, there is this wall of sound, this absolutely incredible cheer from the crowd, and I was completely overcome with emotion. I don’t know how I held it together through there. It was one of the most amazing things I’ve experienced in my life. That was the moment when I knew this would not be my last New York City Marathon.

A week after the race, I watched the video at the end of this blog post, and even though the video has music and you can’t actually hear the cheers, I still got goosebumps when he showed the turn onto 1st Avenue.

Once I got through there, I knew I had to start looking for 86th Street. My parents were going to be waiting for me between 86th and 87th Street, just outside of a Subway. (Side note: With all the great delis in New York City, why would anyone buy a sandwich from Subway?!?)

At the beginning of Mile 17, though, I started to feel it. My legs were just about dead. And that’s when I realized that I had screwed up when I tried to run all the way up the 59th Street Bleeping Bridge. Oh, and I still had 9 more miles to go on my dead legs.

At 17.3, I took my first non-Aid Station walk break, but quickly started back up again, because I was getting close to my parents.

At 17.5, I spotted my parents in the crowd and ran over to them. I hugged them both. I’m sure they had some very nice things to say to me, but I just couldn’t register any of it. I waved and kept running.

From that point on, I took a lot of walk breaks. My times through here were 12:48, 12:50, 13:01. Yeah, not good. By the way, the 12:48 for Mile 16 was the mile that was the farthest off, coming in at 0.91 miles on my Garmin. I guess the wall of sound messed with the GPS signal. Also, I had another Gu at 18.

Miles 19 and 20: The Bronx

During Mile 19, I walked up the Willis Avenue Bridge. As I started jogging the downhill, I saw it. The sign that said “Welcome to The Bronx.” And I got emotional again. I was born in The Bronx. I was home. That was enough to get me to pick up my pace ever so slightly. OK, Mile 19 started in Manhattan and included walking up the Willis Avenue Bridge, so it was 14:40, but Mile 20, completely in The Bronx, was an improvement, 13:54.

(I feel obligated to note that where we ran in The Bronx was nowhere near where I was born, or where I lived for the first 3 months of my life before my parents moved us to the suburbs. Still, it’s the borough where I was born, and that means something to me.)

Mile 21 to the Finish: Manhattan, Part 2

Manhattan doesn’t have the sentimental value for me that The Bronx does, so my pace got a little worse. Miles 21 to 23 were 14:41, 14:43, and 15:05. I walked quite a bit through here. I did have my final Gu at 22. 5th Avenue is a slow climb, so that didn’t help.

I knew 5:00 was long out of the question, as was 5:10. But I figured I could still get a PR. Then I got to Mile 24, looked at my watch, and started doing the math.

Oh, crap. I might not even get a PR.

Just after the aid station at the beginning of Mile 24, I started running as fast as I could. At this point, with dead legs, that wasn’t exactly fast. But I had to at least give it a shot. With the aid station and the late start, it still took me 14:15 to get through the mile, but it was an improvement.

On Mile 25, I skipped the last aid station and kept running. I got my time down to 12:20, my fastest since Mile 14. My only regret is that I was so focused that I really didn’t notice Central Park.

I didn’t have much left in Mile 26. There were hills, which was pretty cruel. At some point, I passed the 5:24 mark, but I managed to keep running, even though I knew I wouldn’t hit any of my goals. For the mile, my time was 12:46. Oh, and this also turned out to be the longest mile according to my GPS, 1.05. I’m not exactly sure how that happened, but that’s just mean.

Speaking of mean, there was one last hill before the finish. According to Garmin, it was .22 from the Mile 26 marker to the Finish Line, and I ran it at a 13:33/mile pace. (My distance for the entire race on my Garmin was 26.38 miles.)

I crossed the Finish Line and managed to smile.


I like the picture on the left better, even if it’s just before the Finish Line. In the picture on the right, if you look closely, my foot is on the Finish Line, but it’s tough to see. I wish Cass and Julia had moved just a few steps forward before stopping to celebrate.

(Yes, those are official race photos. I was a sucker and bought the package.)

First, I got my medal, then a heat blanket, then a post-race goodie bag. It had water, strawberry Gatorade, a vanilla protein shake, an apple, some pretzels, and a PowerBar Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Bar.

I pretty quickly got out my phone to check the race app to get my official time: 5:28:01. I was still a little disappointed. (I was also disappointed when I saw that the Jets lost to the Dolphins, 28-24. I actually cursed out loud when I read that, but I don’t think anybody noticed.)

I kept walking to the bag check area, and got my bag. I then stopped to drink the Gatorade. I took out my car key, which I brought with me even though my car was parked over 500 miles away, because I had to take a picture.


That’s actually light from a streetlight. By the time I got a chance to take the picture, it was after 5:00, and with the time change, it was getting dark.

I then picked up my stuff and walked to the exit from Central Park, around 81st Street. It took over half an hour to get there from the Finish Line, but the walk was probably good for my legs.

I crossed Central Park West and found my parents. I sat down in a nearby bus shelter, drank my water and ate my apple. The apple was a really nice touch, and even better, it was a McIntosh, my favorite kind of apple. At that point, it was the most delicious apple I’ve ever tasted.

(As for the rest of my goodie bag, the pretzels and protein bar made it home with me – the protein bar was meh, the pretzels were pretzels. I remembered the protein shake Tuesday morning as I was getting my stuff packed to fly home. I’m lucky I did, because I’m fairly certain the TSA wouldn’t have let my protein shake through, so I drank it before I left. It was OK, I guess.)

My parents had scouted the area before I got there, and it looked like it was mostly residential, and there wasn’t really a good place to eat near by. So we decided to get on the subway and head back to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, where they had some restaurants.

I saw a video at some point in the week before the race showing people trying to navigate the stairs down to the subway after running the marathon, and it was painful to watch. I was nervous as I approached the stairs, but I found that, as long as I took it slowly, one step at a time, I could handle it. Also, they let any marathon finisher ride the subway for free, which was really cool.

I went to a sports bar in the ferry terminal and ate a cheeseburger and drank a beer. The beer was a Flagship Metropolitan Lager, from Staten Island, because I had to have something local. Objectively, it was a decent beer, nothing special. Subjectively, after 26.2 miles, it was delicious.

During the race, I didn’t have any issues with my ankle, with the joint leading to my big toe, with chafing, or with my stomach. My hydration and nutrition strategy seemed to work out OK. I don’t think I really “hit the wall,” my legs just got really tired. I never cramped up or anything, and I was always able to keep moving, even if it was very slowly.

Here’s a better picture of the medal.


Like with my City of Oaks medal, I decided to use a Gu packet for scale. This medal is slightly smaller, but it feels heavier. It’s pretty solid, definitely thicker.

So, it’s now been 2 weeks. What does it all mean?

Last November, if you had told me that my second marathon would be over 3 minutes slower than my first marathon, I would have been pretty disappointed, and I probably would have wondered if there was an injury involved, or if I had found a course that was actually more difficult than City of Oaks. Well, there were no injuries during my second marathon, and the course may not have been easy, but it wasn’t brutal like City of Oaks.

Now, as I write this, I’m not really that disappointed. Sure, there’s a little bit of disappointment, because I know I screwed up. But I know what I did wrong, and I know I can fix it.

The biggest difference between last year and this year, though, is something that’s been bothering me about my performance in City of Oaks. I’ve realized that after around Mile 19, when it started raining, mentally, I pretty much checked out. I didn’t even attempt to run up any of the really big hill at Mile 21. When I got back to Hillsborough Street, and I had to turn right even though I knew the finish line was off to the left, I walked because I was frustrated. I had 3 miles in a row where my time was over 15 minutes. My slowest mile in New York, Mile 23, was 15:05, and that was my only mile over 15 minutes. Unfortunately, I had more miles in New York over 14:00, and that’s why my time was slightly worse. But I ran at least a little bit, even if it was just a shuffle, during every mile in New York. I don’t think I can say that for City of Oaks.

In New York, my legs may have been tired, but I always felt strong mentally. Granted, the amazing crowd support certainly helped. Lack of rain also helped. (After 24 races and 23 race days, City of Oaks is still the only race where I’ve gotten rained on.) But still, I had this determination, especially near the end, that was missing in City of Oaks. My time may not reflect it, but I really think that, outside of the 59th Street Bleeping Bridge, I ran a better race in New York.

Finally, I’ve touched on the crowd support, which was really incredible and definitely helped, but I haven’t said much about the volunteers and the race organization. Both were outstanding. With over 50,000 runners, there are a lot of moving parts, and as far as I can tell, everything ran smoothly.

So I really do think New York City is the greatest city in the world. And I’m eventually going to get back there and run the New York City Marathon again.

Vital Stats

Full Name of Race: TCS New York City Marathon
Location: Starting Line on the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, Staten Island, New York
Date and Time of Race: November 6, 2016, 11:00 AM (Wave 4) (Actual start: 11:08 AM)
Bib Number: 63359
Official Finishing Time: 5:28:01, 12:31/mile. 42,659th of 51,390 Overall, 26,217th of 29,928 Men, 4,701st of 5,188 in Age Group (Male 40-44)

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 14-20

I feel like everything that happened this week conspired against me to keep me from finishing my NYC race report. It wasn’t a terrible week, just busy.

For the first time in what seems like years, I have a cold. Mostly it’s just a runny nose, although occasionally I get enough phlegm for a good cough. It’s still pretty mild, though, more annoying than anything else. Most importantly, it hasn’t affected my running.

Smoke from the wildfires in the North Carolina mountains made it to Charlotte this week. I noticed a big difference in my run on Tuesday. It even forced me to go with the treadmill on Wednesday.

I have a new pair of shoes, one last pair of Brooks Adrenaline 16s. Getting them was kind of a hassle, but I got a great deal. Since the 17s are out, they were marked down to $90, and then I got a $25 store credit on top of that. $65 for a good pair of running shoes is really cheap. Also, I learned something interesting. The full name of the shoe is the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 16. (I already knew that part.) I normally leave out the GTS part, because as far as I know, there aren’t any other Adrenaline models. Well, this week I found out that GTS stands for “go-to shoe.” Considering Adrenalines are the only shoes I’ve ever worn, I can’t argue with that.

Weight Check: 162.7, up 1.8 pounds from last week. Yeah, that wasn’t good. I was really tired this week, possibly due to my cold, and work was busy, so I drank a lot of Mountain Dew. Yesterday, I went to two parties(!), and over the course of the day drank 3 beers and did a whole lot of grazing. So, not a good week. And this was the week before Thanksgiving. Well, I’m still not overweight, so there’s that.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Monday 5.26
Tuesday 5.01
Wednesday 4.81
Friday 3.17
Saturday 8.76

Total: 27.01 miles

Well, that was an interesting way to get to 27.01 miles. I was kind of hoping to get closer to 30, but all things considered, it’s a pretty good set of runs.

Monday, I tried to remember my old 5 mile route through my neighborhood that still took me up the really big hill. I didn’t quite have it right, but I ended up erring on the side of longer distance, so it’s OK. That big hill was kind of tough, since I hadn’t really run up any big hills since New York City. Still, I ran pretty well overall.

Tuesday I learned that air quality alerts are no joke. I was really struggling, and ended up 20 seconds per mile slower than Monday, even though my legs felt OK. I ended up staying in the flatter parts of my neighborhood, and managed to get up to 5 miles.

Wednesday, I went to where the air is clean and the running is mentally excruciating: the Y. I ran pretty well, even if I didn’t enjoy it much.

So remember when I said my new shoes were a hassle to get? Well, I went out to buy them on Tuesday, but they were out of stock. They checked with their other stores, and found a pair in my size. They said they’d get it in to the University store later in the week, and they’d call me when it came in. It wasn’t there on Wednesday. Not a big deal. It wasn’t there on Thursday. This was a bigger deal. It meant I’d have to go to the office on Friday (which I almost never do, I just work from home normally). I still wanted to stay inside, so I figured I could get up at 5, go over to the Y, and get back around 7, I could get to the office by 9. The problem is that I didn’t change my alarm, which I had set for 6:30 on Thursday since it was a rest day. When my alarm went off, I realized I’d have to do a very abbreviated neighborhood run. On the plus side, I got out there at 6:38, and it never takes me just 8 minutes to get from bed to running, so there’s that. The run itself went better than I expected. I think the air quality had improved very slightly over the course of the week, although it still wasn’t great.

Saturday I got up and drove up to Freedom Park. I figured if I ran to 7th Street and back, that would be just over 4 miles, and then to Park Road Shopping Center and back would also be just over 4 miles. So, 8 miles. I managed to add a little bit to my run to get it up to 8.76. I could have gone a little longer, but I needed to get home and cleaned up before the day’s two parties. Also, on the last .76, I ran at an 8:59(!) pace, so I’d say that qualifies as a strong finish.

Next week, I’m posting my NYC recap on Monday, running the Southpark Turkey Trot 8K on Thursday, preparing for my parents to visit, and I’ll try to fit in a few other runs. We’ll see how it goes.

Weekly Wrap-Up: November 7-13

Well, from a running and recovery standpoint, the week went well. I got to see my aunt, cousins, and my cousins’ kids on Monday, I had a safe trip home on Tuesday. I got to see my nephews (and my parents too, but I spent last weekend with them) this weekend. And I got to watch a little bit of the Charlotte Marathon on Saturday. Let’s just not talk about Tuesday evening.

With my runs this week, my first pair of Brooks Adrenaline 16s are now at 401.0 miles, and so they’ll be retired. I don’t want to do a separate post for them, so I’ll just say that they lasted me from May 15 to November 12, and while I never did any races in them, I did bring them to Portland in August, so there’s that. They helped me get through my training for New York City, including what ended up being my longest training run of 18.76 miles. And they were the shoes that I was wearing when I fell down. They had an eventful life, but they’re in remarkably good condition, so they’ll live on as my walking around shoes.

Weight Check: 160.9. That’s up exactly one pound from my last official weigh-in on Friday, November 4, before my last training run. I spent time with my extended family (both while I was in New York and this weekend when I was back home), so there was plenty of beer and food. And when I went back to work on Wednesday, I was in catch-up mode (I had been gone since the previous Thursday) and didn’t get a whole lot of sleep Tuesday evening (Like I said earlier, let’s not talk about it), so I drank a lot of Mountain Dew. Still, 160.9 isn’t bad.

This Week’s Runs
Day Total Miles
Thursday 4.01
Saturday 6.01

Total: 10.02 miles

I don’t have a training plan, and I’m not sure I’ll have one again until the next time I train for New York City. So for now, I’ll just put my total miles each day in the table.

I should probably talk a little bit about my recovery. As you can imagine, Monday was the toughest day. I love my cousin, and appreciate her inviting us to visit and then stay Monday night, but I really wish her house didn’t have so many stairs. I had general soreness in my legs, primarily my quads. Climbing stairs was about as difficult as walking. Going down stairs, however, was really painful. I took some ibuprofen, and that seemed to help.

Tuesday was better. I felt soreness, but it was much less than Monday, and it didn’t seem to slow me down. Going down stairs still hurt, but it was more manageable.

Wednesday my legs were still a little tired, but I went back to work, so I was able to walk around a bit. Other than my legs getting a little stiff after sitting for a while, I was OK.

Thursday, I had my first post-race run. It went better than I expected. My legs were still a little sore, but they didn’t feel like they were beat up. Also, it had cooled off, and this was the first time I ran in long sleeves since April or maybe even March.

Friday was a rest day, and my legs felt pretty normal.

Saturday morning, I got up and drove to Freedom Park. I ran around the park a bit, then up the greenway to 4th Street so I could watch the Charlotte Marathon go by. I got there about 5 minutes before the leaders got there.


The bicyclists almost got in the way, but you can see the leader in the red shirt and black shorts. I can’t read his number with the glare, so I don’t know how he ended up doing. This was just before Mile 2.

After the crowd support in New York City, I wanted to stick around to pay it forward to the Charlotte Marathon (and Half Marathon) runners, but I had to get home and get cleaned up so I could spend the day with my nephews. (They’re the best.) So I ran back to my car and ended up with 6 miles, just enough to give me double digit miles for the week. I was really happy with my pace.

This week, I should finish my Race Report for the New York City Marathon. As far as running goes, we’ll see how I feel, but I’d really like to get back up to 5 days of running.