Friday, January 25, 2008

Millrose Dinner

Attention All Dr. K Strider Alumni and Millrose Games Attendees:


Dinner confirmation—We have a reservation for Friday, Feb. 1 at 4:45pm.  Location is a restaurant called Tir No Nog at 5 Penn Plaza.  This is across the street from Madison Square Garden on 8th Avenue between 33rd and 34th Streets.  This is an Irish Pub type place, and informal.  Should be a great place to meet before the meet.  You can go on their website at if you want to see more about the place.


See you all then!



Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wallace confirmed

I spoke to Gary Wallace today and he will be attending and indicated that he would be interested in running in the Spoon Memorial run. Does anyone know if Sheldon or Moinbo will be running?

Frank Tells All About His SUNY-B Athletic Career

Yes it is true, I already purchased 4 tickets to the Millrose games for myself, Sheldon, Moinbo and Wallace.  It should be an interesting evening.  As far as participating in the Spoon Memorial run, I am not in shape to run the course.  These days I pretty much keep to walking for exercise.  It is much easier on my legs which were pretty beaten up from way too many Long Jumps, Triple Jumps and High Jumps.  That is where I scored most of my college track meet points even though I trained with the long and middle distance runners.  As fa r  as the question about my running the quarter mile, it was not my event although I think I did do one in about 52 point something once.

Bunn Hill Memorial Run Website

An interesting website for anybody ever associated with SUNY-B running--especially distance running.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

GARY WALLACE to Attend Millrose Games

Yes, it's true.  Frank Waltzer told me so himself.  In fact, Frank already has the tickets for Sheldon, Moinbo, Wallace, and himself.
Wow!  Gary Wallace is a SUNY-B legend running legend.  With the excitement that is building, let's hope that we can get some more entries for the Spoon Memorial Run.  So far, there are only two confirmed entries:  Mark and Eric.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Old Hurdler

A comment from Mark prompts me to tell this story.  Mark wrote:  "I occasionally see an old man, maybe upper 70s, running along the road so slow and awkwardly that he is going at a slow to medium walk pace. He should be retired from running, and going out for a walk, more befitting of his age and ability."
A number of years ago, I was working out at the UVa  (University of Virginia) track.  An old man was practicing starts, doing some sprints, and even, if I recall correctly, running some hurdles.  There was something about his form that was bothering me.  So, being the good soul and busybody that I am, I gave him some advice.  He gave me an annoyed look and told me that he was the national hurdles champion for the 80s age group.  The implication was that I should shut up and mind my own business.
I have to say that the old hurdler was right.  My comments to him were somewhat inappropriate.

Reminder: Making Blog Entries Is As Easy As Sending An Email

Emails sent to get posted as blog entries.  The subject line is the heading and the body is the body.  That's how this entry was done.  So, it is no more work to make a blog entry than it is to send an email.

Running Without A Watch

I find that running without a watch it is too easy to run slow and not have the fact that I am running so slow be "in my face".  In fact, I find that I need the constant reminder of being on a track, where there is constant reinforcement about my pace to maintain a good pace.  Of course, this might change.  But, for now, just going on a road run and counting on my feel for pace to keep me moving at a reasonable pace is not a viable training option for me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Sheldon and Moinbo Coming To Millrose! Frank W. Might Come Too.

Former SUNY-B XC team captain and running legend, Sheldon Melnitsky, a 1975 graduate will be attending the Millrose games as part of the SUNY-B contingent.  Joining him will be 1976 graduate, teammate, Dave Moin, more commonly known as Moinbo.  Sheldon hopes that fellow 1975 graduate and teammate Frank Waltzer will also be attending.  Saying anything more at this point would only diminish the significance of this announcement.

Training Update

The time for today's 2-mile paced run was 14:31 (7:11, 7:20).  The pace was quite a smooth 7:20 except for the first lap which was 8 seconds ahead of 7:20 pace and the second lap which was 1 second ahead of 7:20 pace.  That first lap was probably the result of running 220s the other day.  I think this is not too bad for January.  Hard to say how it compares to this summer when I ran about 10:30 for 1.5 miles.  I'm sure Mark will have something to say.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Running Review

The sun is out and the temperature is up on the is January day, so, I'm about to head out to the local high school track and run some 220s.  Yes, 220s, not 200s.  But first, a brief summary of where I stand, running-wise.  Since yesterday I turned 50, this seems like the appropriate time.  Plus, this delays me having to run for a few more minutes...
The first three times below were run on my own, on the 440 track at Charlottesville High School.  My best efforts that come to mind:
1/2 mile:  3:03.  I think I could have broken 3:00 is I had to.  I ran that right after Xgiving.
1 mile:  6:40 a few months ago.  I never actually got to the point this year where I felt I was in a good position to run a hard mile.  My training is often interrupted by travel.  I had a setback in May when a really bad cramp (during a workout) caused me to curtail most of my running for about three weeks.  Right after the 3:03 1/2, more travel came and then winter, and...
2 miles:  14:42.  This was about a week ago.  This was really more of a paced run than a time trial.  It came after about a three week period of very erratic running, so I was pleased.  I was also pleased the the whole run was comfortable and the splits were 7:21 and 7:21.
I ran one organized event.  It was a 2-mile XC race with a few small hills.  The first mile must have been around 7:00 (they didn't give splits) because I totally died in the second mile (this is where most of the hills were, and hills just kill me) and I think my total time was 15:06.  It was quite something to be blown by at the end by high school girls and old people.  Next year I've just got to find a way to get better on hills.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

1:13.9 Minutes of Fame

I signed on to this blog as an observer giving perspective on some of my personal running experiences and to express emotions and thoughts I go through watching my son as he pursues his high school track career. Eric aka Dr. K brought up a 600 yard race I ran in the Nassau Veteran's Coliseum when I was a high school senior. His post brought back a flood of memories and since he invited me to share that experience, I'll indulge. I also offer an advance apology since I don't want to bore anybody with my own past accomplishments, no matter how insignificant they may be!

The race in question was indeed a high school lead-in event for a professional meet (when there was such a thing) I believe 1974 was the first year of a short-lived professional running circuit that did include some of the top names at that time i.e. Jim Ryun but they were at the tail end of their running careers. The high school 600 was significant for me in several respects. It turned out to be the best race I ever ran in certainly the biggest and most exciting venue. It's hard to not feel pumped running in front of more than 12,000 fans in a professional sports arena and on the same program as many of my running idols. It's also a race that for me, nearly did not happen.

My high school coach entered me but when we arrived several hours early, the meet director who was the coach of Mephem High School, a Long Island track powerhouse that featured among other elite runners, Mark Bilger, decided I was not fast enough to compete with the field. I don't remember what time I was seeded at but given the caliber of the competition, this guy was not entirely wrong. While my coach protested, he did not make any headway and informed me that we made the trip for nothing. That's when my father sprung into action.

This calls for a brief digression. My father was a professional salesman. Frankly, I think he was one of the best natural salesmen who ever lived. My dad would go into a car dealership, name some rediculous low price he was willing to pay for a new car and then argue with the dealer, sales manager and even owner until he got his way. The end result was frequently the car he wanted, upgraded options and an offer to work at the dealership. When he heard I was not running, he sought out the meet director. The poor guy never had a chance. I asked dad what he was going to do and the response was "don't worry about it, just go warm up and be ready to run." It took about 90 minutes (we always arrived to meets early) but he wore the meet director down until he made an exemption and agreed to put me in the first heat (the slower one) of a two-heat event judged on time.

I was notified 20 minutes before the race that I was running. I was already warmed up and very relaxed becasue I never thought I was really going to get into the race. A major life lesson for me was never underestimate my old man! Now that I was in, I suddenly felt very cold, even a little shaky. I was scared out of my mind! It did not help when the meet director came over to me, looked me in the eye and said, "don't embarrass me kid!" As if I needed any more inspiration, my dad's parting words to me were "this would be a great time to run the best race you can."

I opened this entry saying that Eric's invitation to share this experience brought back memories. I lied. To this day I remember every detail of the race. I felt like my entire career as a runner was riding on it. Although it turned out to be the pinnacle moment for me as an athlete, I did not know that at the time. I wonder how many of us go through such a significant experience and then come to the realization later. It still amazes me to look back on something like this and say to myself, "Yeah, this was the moment when you hit your peak" and remember what it felt like to actually live the moment.

When we lined up, I blocked out everything but the open track ahead and the starter. I noticed that one of my competitors was a guy named Ricky from one of my school's arch competitors. Ricky was one of those guys who was a very good runner and could have been great if he worked at it. Let's just say that this guy was not the brightest light on the tree when it came to academics and spent a lot of time drinking beer and injesting other artificial substances not known for enhancing athletic performance. But he was good and I had never beaten him. Oddly enough, I did not care about him. I was running for pride. I didn't want to let my father down and I didn't want to embarrass myself. I had the best motivator in the world, fear!

I always had a quick start and a decent finishing kick but I really won most of my races in the first 200 yards. On an 11 lap track, the 600 was 3 and 3/4 laps. You started at the beginning of the backstretch and then had 3 laps from the finish line. My usual 600 strategy was to go out fast and grab a lead, control the turns and hang on to the end. At the sound of the gun I flew off the line. I was possessed and when I came off the first turn, I did not hear or sense anybody near me. When I finished the initial 3/4 lap, I snuck a look behind me and was amazed that the next runner was just coming off the back turn. I remember thinking this could not be happening! I was in the biggest race of my life and I had the kind of lead that short of catastrophe, is near insurmountable in an indoor race.

I had no idea what my pace or splits were. I just kept thinking I had to keep running as fast as I could and not waste time or energy looking behind me. This race was mine. I was going to pull off the big upset. The college recruiters would be waiting for me at the end of the chute!

A lot of professional athletes say that they block out the crowd in a stadium and never really notice the thousands of people watching or hear the cheers, screams and catcalls. They are so focused on the game and their performance, they don't notice. I found this to be true. I never remember hearing cheers, noise or anything else. I was focused on the empty track ahead and trying to keep the number of laps straight. I was running freely and effortlessly. It was the true runner's high and up to this point, never felt so good. I do recall the sound of the gun lap and thinking all I had to do was to hang on for the final lap.

This was also the time that fatigue and "riggy" started in. I began to labor but still felt strong. In fact, I thought at the time that I was faster and looser than I had been in previous races and even with fatigue factors, I would turn in a good time and win the heat. But my old buddy Ricky was behind me and although I did not realize it, he had significantly closed the gap and was within striking distance. I went into the back stretch and the final turn still oblivious to anybody behind me. I came off the final turn with just the last straight to the finish line and victory! Only as I came off the turn, Ricky was on my right shoulder. How could he have closed the gap? We were running stride for stride to the finish. At this point, I was running so hard, I never thought I would recover from the pain in my legs and chest that came with each labored breath. This was truly the hardest effort I ever recall asking my body to give and the sudden realization that I could lose in the last strides hit me like a brick. And that's exactly what happened. Ricky out leaned me at the finish.

We staggered across the line both of us totally spent. I shook Ricky's hand and we ended up hugging each other. Most likely to keep from falling down! Oddly, I don't remember feeling all that disappointed that I lost. My best time coming into this meet was in the high 1:14's. Not a bad time for a suburban high school runner. I also gained new found respect from Ricky. In between gasping breaths he murmured something like "that was a f------g unbelivable race man!" which was about as eloquent as it got from him. Then I got the time, 1:13.8 for Ricky, 1:13.9 for me. There it was, a personal best and a new school record! I desparately wanted the victory but track is one of those sports where personal performance can still be a victory in and of itself for the runner. I knew I did something significant for me and I certainly held up my end of the bargain my dad made with the meet director. The family honor was saved!

As it turned out, the second heat was indeed the fastest. The field was mostly made up of runners from New York City and these guys were good. My time ended up tying for 5th place overall and I got a medal out of the event. It was with no small feeling of smug elation and relief when the meet director handed me the medal, looked me in the eye and said, "I didn't think you could pull it off but you ran a great race." My parents were overjoyed, even my then girlfriend who did not really appreciate track was impressed! I just felt like the cheshire cat who ate the bird in a single gulp!

So that's the story. I'm sorry if I rambled but I hope you guys can appreciate the full story. Especially as we're all track guys, I thought it's something we can relate to. Oddly enough, I never ran that time again and still can't say exactly why. With respect to Coach Truce, I certainly trained hard enough when I got to Binghamton. Maybe it was the combination of the circumstances and adrenaline pumping through me at the time. No matter. It was my shining moment and a cherished memory I'll always carry. Thanks for letting me share it with you.

GPS Wristwatch: Get One

Quoting myself, from an email I sent to a business associate on 24 December 2007:
"I'll be fifty in a couple of weeks so I bought myself a present--a Garmin 205 training watch.  I love it.  It's one of those things that, once you have it, you wonder how you ever got by without it.  Now, when I go running in a new place, I shouldn't ever get lost again.  Also, its really nice to know how far I've actually run and what the pace is.  Your enthusiasm for your GPS watch definitely influenced me."
Don't hesitate to buy this.  You will be glad you did.  I got mine at PC Nation.  Cost, including free 3-day shipping was about $160.  If you are like Mark, and have questions, I will try and answer them.  But, trust me on this one, if you are a distance runner, you want to have this.
The device isn't great for training on the track because it is only accurate to about 1/100 of a mile.  This means that for each lap, the watch will think that you've gone somewhere between .24 and .26 miles (assuming you train on a 1/4 mile track, which, believe it or not, I really do.  Really, the track at the local high school is not metric.)  One thing though that I do like about using this on the track is that I don't have to worry about loosing count of laps.  Even being off by 1/100 mile, I still know how many laps I've run.

Friday, January 4, 2008

First Annual [insert event name here] To Be Held Friday, 1 February 2008

From deep inside the virtual world headquarters of the revitalized Dr. K. Striders running club, we bring you this announcement...

On Friday, 1 February 2008, with a starting time TBD, but that will probably be around 2:00 P.M., a new annual running event will be launched. The run, unnamed as of yet (suggestions please) will begin at the Milford Plaza Hotel, in Manhattan, NY, proceed to Central Park, where one lap of Central Park will be covered, and terminate at the starting line. This event is being held to coincide with the Millrose Games.

Additional details are forthcoming. Entries are accepted via this blog.


Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Big Steve Has Joined Us

Thanks Steve. We look forward to your analysis and commentary.

2008 Millrose Seating

Coach Truce will be sitting with Dave in Dave's son's seat.  Eric, Mark, and Tom, will be close by.