Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Not There but Not There

Far from feeling great but definitely picking up speed. Finally seeing runs dip south of 8:00, and while it's a strain to get there I feel like the corner is around the corner. Then again it's been around the corner for weeks.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

I Suck and it's My Fault

I originally titled this post "Running Sucks and I'm Not Good at it Anymore". I added a frowny face emoticon :( to really drive home the despair angle, and then lamented over a half dozen paragraphs about how I used to be able to just pop into shape like my legs were fueled by an unlimited supply of unicorn tears and sparkles. Whoa is me and other self entitled bullshit about what I'd done in the past, and why it sucks that now that I've become old and out of shape. But in writing the post I realized fuck that and fuck me. I keep expecting that if I plod around long enough doing 8 minute miles, I'll eventually reach this epiphany where I'm back in the sub 7s - but that's not how it works. That's never been how it worked. Even back when it kind of worked like that it really didn't. When I was running fast I got fast by running fast. Always. Every run was close to tempo pace because doing that made me better at being able to do that. Now I find myself feeling fulfilled to just get the run in. I convince myself that I'm saving real exertion for a speed workout or a long run but that's bullshit. I cut runs short. I look for water breaks and places to slow down. I'VE BECOME A JOGGER! I hate joggers, so I currently hate me and my 8:48 pace long runs. But therein lies the beauty of the run. It's a new day, new run, new opportunity to get better. But not going to do it posting... As Will Sanchez would say, "Gotta run."

Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances

The Oatmeal makes me happy. Mostly because I tend to agree with writer Matt Inman's POV on things, but also because I like reading things with pictures. If you too eschew the written word unless it's paired with pretty pictures and voice bubble narration then you check out this great comic on why he runs. 

Friday, August 09, 2013

My Legs Hurt and I Don't Want to Run

So I'm not.

14 tomorrow will more than make up for it and rest today will make those miles a lot easier.

Like a boss.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Rest Daze

One of the biggest differences between being someone who runs and someone in training is how we deal with rest days. If you're just running to run a rest day is basically a day you don't feel like running, or two days, or a week, or the month of May. Who cares? You don't feel like running and what's the difference?

When you're training, a rest day feels like a compromise. Like you've bowed to that voice that tells you to slow down, and failed the little dude in your head that gives you a high five when you tell the first guy to fuck himself.

But sometimes a day off is a good thing.

I always say that if I was able to manifest the feeling of self satisfaction I have after a run, when I'm waffling over whether to lace up I would never say no. I even made http://doiwanttorun.com/ to try to help me out on the road. But there are times when your body legitimately needs a sec, which is the voice I was listening to tonight. I'm on my couch drinking wine. Roads will be there tomorrow. And so will I.

Three Years Later Where is PLe1?

Been a while. In fact 1,170 days have passed since the last time I graced this blog and it's zero readers with my wise, wise, wisdom. Some would say it's closer to 167 weeks, others might say 28,056 hours, still more would say 1,683,360 minutes. But let's just split the difference at 101,001,600 seconds and be done with it.

I've spent that time like an American - being lazy and getting fat. Real fat. (U.S.A! U.S.A!)

Not to mention slow. I've become crazy slow. Last time I posted here mid 6 minute pace was the norm. I remember those days fondly. Now breaking 7:30 m/mile is an achievement. Most runs hoover north and south of 8:00 m/mile, but it gets into the 9:00 minute mark when it's off, and that's far too often.

But the marathon is looming. 87 days or so. And I'm totally counting. Counting the miles, counting the rest days, counting the times I rather lay on my couch but bang 6 out because I have to.

Far from ready, far from ready to give up. I'm counting on being ready for Nov. 3rd, and this will be the written record.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Brooklyn Half Race Report

Running is a cruel and fickle mistress. Some days it’s all clicking and you feel like a thousand winged seraphs are carrying you on a satin lined cloud. Your feet merely grace the ground and you’re being pulled forward by a mysterious and unearthly force.Other days you think everything is clicking and all of a sudden your legs feel like you were trying to count cards at the Bellagio and the pit boss hit you with a cattle prod and brought you into the back room where neckless thugs took turns beating you with bats. No fun.

The former is the reason I love running. There are few things that compare to the feeling of effortless speed. But it’s fear of the later that makes me a runner. If you think about it it’s really the reason anyone runs – or at least trains. Why else would you pound through long runs, exhaust yourself in a tempo, or do the extra interval when you’ve promised yourself you’d quit after the last three? It’s not simply because runners love pain. There are plenty of less strenuous ways to fill that fetish, (many that involve leather, ballgags, and Mistress Stephana the Goddess of Pain). At the end of the day we’re more than willing to torchure ourselves for the promise that one day we’ll be rewarded, even ever so briefly, by the run.

None of that has anything to do with my Brooklyn Half Marathon last weekend other than the fact that in all of my years of running; grueling workouts in 100 degree weather, miserable long runs in windy snain, painful intervals and hill workouts, vomit inducing races, and the like, nothing (NOTHING) has ever compared to the misery I felt in the last five miles of this race. Awful. It was not just the worst race of my life, or run of my life, it was up there with one of the worst experiences of my life – a hellacious 13.1 mile journey that brought me to the depths of insanity and perhaps beyond.

Yes, I am being a little dramatic, but it really fucking sucked.

Not that I didn’t know that going in. Two days before the race I went to the track to feel out a comfortable pace and turning a 7:00 mile was a chore. But stranger things have happened. I was better trained than now before my 3:24 marathon, and racing and running are different animals. Things could still click. They didn’t.

It started OK. My first eight miles were pretty respectable. Much slower than last year when I left the park on pace for a 1:20, but much better than I had expected. Take out mile six and I was averaging a 6:40 and change. Plus I felt good doing it. There were no satin lined clouds, but it wasn’t like I was pushing it like I was trying to break the tape in a 10K. But at the same time I knew better. This isn’t my first rodeo and there was no doubt in my mind after I rocked a 6:26 mile four that there was going to be a crash and it was going to be ugly. So I kept trying to take my foot off the gas and just settle into a reasonable pace. But there’s no mistaken – leaving the Park I felt good.

Mile 1 - 6:50
Mile 2 - 6:43
Mile 3 - 6:37
Mile 4 - 6:26
Mile 5 - 7:12
Mile 6 - 7:21
Mile 7 - 6:55
Mile 8 - 7:08

Then came mile nine. 8:00.

Let’s take a brief sidebar to discuss the difference between running and racing.

Most people run. Even when they race what they’re really doing is running. I’ve even made the argument that most people never actually run, only jog. Pearl had a great ad campaign that I’ve posted about that said something to the effect of – “If you’ve just run without sacrifice, congratulations you just jogged.” Most joggers see this as elitist hyperbole but I firmly believe that if it doesn’t hurt then you’re doing it wrong. That’s part of the beauty of a distance like 5K. No matter how stupid your first half of the race is you can gut out the rest. In my mind that’s what racing has always been about. You get as close to your threshold as you can stand and you toe that line through the finish. You leave everything on the course. But as I’ve repeatedly been taught, there is no gutting out a poorly run half marathon - lesson that was painfully driven home yet again this day.

After mile nine I started fading fast. And I couldn’t have been passed by more people if I turned around and tried to plow up the course like a salmon going to spawn.

Mile 10 - 8:39
Mile 11 - 8:24
Mile 12 - 9:26

Over these three miles, the three most miserable miles of my life I was passed by dudes in basketball shorts, fat people, possibly even Team in Training people – it was that bad. I was even passed by a dude with one leg. ONE LEG. Granted, this dude was beyond a rock star and I have absolutely nothing but respect for anyone who even thinks about competing a distance race with a prosthetic because I’m incapable of fathoming the extra degree of pain he must be plowing through, but he had one fucking leg man. Think of what that did to my self esteem.

Unfortunately it did noting for my next mile and I limped into the finish just barely getting under 1:40.

Mile 13 - 8:31
Mile 13.1 - 1:05

How about some perspective. Well, it’s about 12 minutes off my PR from last year. No biggie though because I was in much better shape. I ran the Gasparilla Half Marathon with a full sized American flag and ran about the same time. Ouch. In the NYC Marathon my second half would have probably beaten me. Double ouch.

In the end what did I learn? Bring a Metro Card? When in doubt carry an excuse flag? Realistically, I learned nothing. I’ll likely do the same thing again down the road, and likely post about how much that experience sucked as well. But at very least it’s imprinted a memory of pain that I’ll carry with me into my training – which at least on the short term is geared at finding my satin lined cloud, picking another race, and trying to escape the neckless dudes with bats. In short, Paul Leone will rise again! Take that one legged man!

Friday, March 05, 2010


I like this country. I like running. I like when runners from this country do well. That's why I'm a big fan of Meb Keflezighi. How big a fan? Big enough of a fan that I made a fansite - www.mebmerica.com