Monday, September 24, 2012

My Shiny New (Year) 18-Mile PR

I didn't just destroy my 18-mile PR, or annihilate it, or decimate it*, or obliterate it. No, what I did was viciously gang up on it and beat it to death - by 18 and a half minutes!

I was in disbelief when I was laying it down, and I'm still in disbelief as I write this. I stomped on my PR to the tune(up) of a full minute per mile faster than my old PR. That figure is completely ridiculous!

How the heck did I pull this off? Immediately after the race, some buddies joked about PED testing. But of course, that's not how I did it. The reasons I floored myself with my time are, percentage-wise, as follows:

70% - The mileage I've put down this year, more than double I've ever put down. I've run 250 more miles at this point in the year than at the same time last year. I've finally gotten serious and I'm seeing the rewards.

15% - I ate very lightly this Shabbos. My wife prepared some nicely balanaced, but not overly-dense meals and I didn't overdo it. I was left feeling not just light on my feet, but on my knees and ankles and everything else.

10% - The weather. Oh my gosh, it was perfection. It didn't melt me like it did last year. My fellow athletes in the first corral were noticably shivering just a wee bit at the start. That's how a long race should be started.

5% - The Force is strong with me. I may not be a Youngling anymore, but it is not to late to be trained in Its ways.

In order, These are the PRs I broke en route to my 2:21:29, 7:52 per mile performance:

Fastest time to get to the start line once the race starts: 4 seconds.

Fastest loop of Central Park: 7:18 per mile (old record: 7:23, I ran a 7:02 6th mile because I was headhunting this record with determination).

Most miles in the first hour of a race: 8.1 (old record: 7.9 on 2 half-marathon occasions).

Fastest half-marathon: 1:39:35 (old record: 1:42:11. Of course, this isn't official, which means that I need to run a half-marathon somewhere, soon, because I am going to destroy it).

Fastest 18M race: 2:21:29 (old record: 2:40:05, which left me thinking what the hell I've been doing all this time, but no regrets, just moving forward).

Best end-zone celebration: I usually pump my fists and yell "woohoo!"when I cross the finish line after a solid race, but this time I did my best "Gangnam Style" shuffle. It probably didn't look pretty, considering I wobbled slightly due to the sudden switch in footwork on my legs, but we'll see what the cameras show.

It should be noted that the course is quite grueling, with 1,700 total feet of elevation. Central Park is a roller-coaster with some serious, punishing hills. I paid them no mind, however, I was in some kind of groove all day. I placed 5th of my 22 beloved fellow JRunners.

What this race was about for me is what it's always about with everything in my life: setting a goal, roaring past it, and reaching for the next one. I find this to be one of the most enriching parts of my existence. I wish for you, dear reader, exultations of various sorts through our current run of high holidays.

G'mar chasimah tovah!

*Nerd alert: to decimate something is to destroy one-tenth of it, as "deci-" equals "tenth" in Latin. Hence, mathematically, I octimated my PR.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

My Second Official Book Review is In!

My reviewer clearly understood what I was trying to convey and liked how I did it. Being compared to DovBear is an honor:

It's Been 11 Years

I had friends as high up as the 51st floor, good friends who were beneath the towers when the first plane hit, dear friends who were driving by when the assault occurred. All of them found ways out of their predicaments to safety. I had Hatzolah friends who were trapped for hours in debris before rescue and more who fought through oxygen-starving smoke as they battled their way out of the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and into a new nightmare. So many people lost so many loved ones, but every person I know survived 9/11. I am grateful for that today.