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Patterns, Patterns, Patterns

Posted by Tom Slot Jan 2, 2010

I haven't posted for a while and decided that a quick year in review and look ahead to 2010 would help me get back into the swing of things. So hear goes. First a look back at 2009.


Patterns, Patterns, Patterns


For a guy who loves patterns, my racing schedule for 2009 was full of them. In 2009 I only ran 5K races. Ironically, I ran 5 of them (didn't plan that one). As we all know, the 5K is a 3 mile (and change) race. So how cool is it that I won 3 medals in 2009? Oh, and you ask what were those medals? They were all medals for finishing in the top three for my age group (the 30 to 35 age groups) and as it turns out I got a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place medal. Man I love patterns.


Here is a list of the 5Ks with times.


9/13 Run The Bus - 23:34
10/3 Entenmann's Great South Bay - 23:13 (3rd place)
11/8 Run For The Warriors - 21:52 (1st place)
11/28 Blue Talon Bistro Turkey Trot - 20:43
12/5 Seaford Wellness Run - 20:53 (2nd place)




A look ahead at 2010


2010 is going to be the year of the marathon. I've been building a base and training since August. I was originally following a training plan laid out in Jack Daniels Running Formula, but found the 7 day a week running schedule with no days of rest was over stressing my legs. As a result I recently switched to Hal Higdon's 18 week novice program. That led to the extra treat of a 6 mile run on the first day of the new year. A great way to start the year!


January is shaping up to be a busy month. In addition to the training, I've entered in the Long Island State Park Winter Run Series. The series starts on the 10th. Each Sunday for 4 weeks I'll be running a 5K in one of Long Islands State Parks. I've never raced during this time of year and I'm looking forward to see how I fare in the cold weather. I also figured that the experience could only toughen me up a little more for the marathon. I've also added a simple free weight program and push up regiment to my training to gain a little upper body strength.


So here are my goals for 2010:
+ Break 20 Minutes on 5K
+ Run my first 1/2 Marathon (National 1/2 Marathon - March 20)
+ Run my first Marathon (Long Island Marathon - May 2)


I'm very excited about 2010 and the races to come!



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The Williamsburg Report

Posted by Tom Slot Nov 30, 2009



This week, after getting in a monster 8 mile run on pace on Sunday, I jumped in the car and left New York for Williamsburg, VA for the Thanksgiving holiday. This meant trading in the relative flat road and trails I had been training on for lots of rolling hills. I was excited about this change because I haven't gotten to do any serious hill workouts lately and the change of scenary would brake up the training nicely. I was also able to get in an out of state race (the 5K Turkey Trot I blogged about the other day). All in all the change did me good. I took well to the hilly course and think it added to the training. We were also able to sneak a trip into Busch Gardens for their Christmas Town event which was a nice bonus. Though, I have to admit, it was pretty chilly riding the Griffen in November.




Back in New York now, and happy to be into my third week of training.




Week Two Review


Alright, so here's a quick breakdown of my second week of marathon training. My goal for the first three weeks is to run seven days a week at an easy pace (which according to my VDOT chart puts me at a 9:17 mile pace) to total 30 miles. This week my Wednesday pace was a little off but the rest of the week continued to be solid. Here are the breakdowns:






*5K Turkey Trot followed by a brief cool down. Cool down pace not measured.

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Turkey Trot 5K

Posted by Tom Slot Nov 26, 2009

Blue Talon Bistro 5K




Jess and I woke up this morning to a pool of thick fog outside the window of my parents' house. It seemed like an ominous start to Turkey Day. Given that Jess spent half the day yesterday at the airport waiting to get from New York to Virginia and that I got roughly two hours of sleep due to a resurgence of my insomnia, its a pretty safe bet to say we both had little voices in our heads whispering to just stay in bed. However, we both encouraged each other to push on and before we knew it we were in the car with my parents headed down to historic Williamsburg for the Blue Talon Bistro 5K.

Turkey Trot 5 k Run 002.jpg
Jess and I arrive and check out the course.

By the time we arrived it was 48 degrees, partly cloudy, with a calm wind. Perfect racing conditions. I did a light jog to warm up and went into my stretching routine. I felt good and was determined to meet my goal of a 21 minute run. I had broken 22 minutes last race (21:52 on 11/08) and felt that with the training over the last few weeks, a sub 21 minute run was in my grasp. I was also intent on running a smarter race than my last 5K where I got suckered into the lead racer's pace in the first mile and paid for it the rest of the race. This time I wanted to run even or negative splits.


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Half a mile in and feeling good.


With 900 plus racers at the start, the first 400 yards of the race were pretty tight as everyone tried to find their groove. I worked my way up the left side and managed to find one of the few puddles on the route. After a few minutes I looked down and confirmed with my Garmin that I was on pace. The first mile came and went and I felt good. In the second mile I caught myself falling a few seconds off pace and pushed myself to pick it up again. I knew the only major hill in the course was coming after the two mile marker. The second mile marker came and I checked the Garmin. Another 6:42 mile. Still on pace. Mile three was starting and I was supposed to start making my move. Only thing was, I didn't have any speed left in the tank. I was able to hold on to the current pace, but the extra kick I wanted to put in wasn't there. I decided to try just picking off as many other runners as I could instead and try to use those short spurts to pick up my pace. I hit the third mile marker with a 6:46 split and feeling weak. I was hurting but I saw the clock and got all the motivation I needed to kick it in. It had just hit 20 minutes. I could still make sub 21 if I finished strong. I pushed and crossed the line as the clock hit 20:56 and smiled. I had made my time goal. I didn't run the even or negative splits I had hoped for, but it was a much more even race then the last.


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At the finish.


After crossing the finish my parents informed me that the first place man had finished in 14:34. My God, who was the local that run that monster time? Only later did I find out that is was Ed Moran, the man who currently holds the world record at the Pan American Games for in the 5K for his 2007 performance of 13:25.60 at the Rio De Janeiro Games. Yea, that Ed Moran.


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Jess coming in with a smile.


At the end of the day I was thrilled with my performance. I made my time goal of sub 21 minutes. I finished 51st overall, 5th in my age group. Plus, even though the clock time was 20:56, my clip time turned out to be 20:43.31, giving my a 6:41 mile pace and an age grade of 62.7% (my first time in the 60+ range). Jess set a PR, cutting a few minutes off her time as well. Sharing the race with Jess always makes it a little more special and the fact that we both had PR performances made it all the sweeter. Now it's time for some turkey and maybe a little nap.


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Happy Thanksgiving everyone!



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Marci the dog who came in with a strong showing of 33:28.

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The post race raffle and awards with The Blue Talon's Chef.

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The Long Game

Posted by Tom Slot Nov 25, 2009

The Long Game



Sunday morning I went out for my first run of the second week of training. I was going to be headed down to Williamsburg, VA for the Thanksgiving holiday and running a Turkey Trot on Thursday, so I decided to put my long run at the start of the week as a result.


As I started out the eight mile run, I suddenly found my mind launching a minor rebellion against the thought of the distance of the run.You can't run 8 you know how far that is? These thoughts kept creeping in during the first two miles at a steady pace. It was like my mind couldn't process running a distance over, say, five miles. So I started playing little mind games with myself. I quickly broke down the route into three smaller runs in my head - two three mile loops and one two mile loop. I tried to focus on the smaller sections, but my mind wasn't having it. It's still 8 can't trick me.

I tried the other tricks I've used over the years: I switched to my most up-beat I-Pod gym mix and blasted it. It didn't help.

I turned on Bruce's Born To Run and started singing along. No dice.

I shut off the I-Pod and started reciting some of my favorite monologues to distract my head. But Henry V's St. Crispin's Day speech came and went and my head, like an inpatient two year old child, continued say in a sing song voice: Excuse me, I hate to interrupt all the fun we are having, but you can't run 8 miles.


A shot of Jones Beach, the site of most of my long runs.


Finally, after a couple of deep breathes, I realized that I was going about this the wrong way.


Instead of trying to check out of the moment, I needed to completely check in to only that moment. In other words, stop distracting myself and letting my mind obsess about the entire run and just take it one mile at a time.


So for the next six miles I only thought about the current mile I was in. How was my pace? How did it feel? Around which landmark did I project the mile to be over?


By focusing on the moment I was in I was able to shut off the voice in my head and finish the run in better then projected time. It was a great lesson in avoiding end-gaming. I'm a guy who likes to makes lists and plan ahead, but its important to always be in the moment you are in and not think to far ahead.



I was focused on the end of the race instead of being in the moment.




Week One Review


Alright, so here's a quick look back at my first week of marathon training for those of you keeping score at home. My goal for the first three weeks is to run seven days a week at an easy pace (which according to my VDOT chart puts me at a 9:17 mile pace) to total 30 miles. My Friday run was a little off pace but the rest of the week was even better then I hoped for. Here are the breakdowns:




Alright, stay tuned tomorrow for my report on the Blue Talon Bistro 5K Turkey Trot and my switch from training in New York to Virginia for a week!

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Marathon Training Day 3

Posted by Tom Slot Nov 17, 2009

Three days into training and things are going great!


I started the week with two light 3.31 mile runs at a 9:04 and 9:09 mile pace respectively. This morning I went out for my long run and was able to run a strong 7 miles at a 9:03 mile pace. Best of all it was a comfortable, easy run. The funniest moment came when somewhere around mile 6.15 I noticed that my shoe lace had come untied...and my car key that was attached to it was gone. I started retracing my race with fears of having to trace the whole route over again. Luckily the key was only a couple feet back.


Guess I'm going to have to find a new system for keeping my key tied down!

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Marathon Training Day 1

Posted by Tom Slot Nov 15, 2009

Today is the first day of my official training period for the 2010 Long Island Marathon. After building up a base of 200 miles since September, today is the first day of my 24 week training plan (taken from Jack Daniels Running Formula). To celebrate the kick off of the training, I picked up a new pair of shoes yesterday: a sleek pair of Saucony progrid echelon's.


This is my first marathon. While I have been a runner on and off my whole life (starting on the cross country team my freshman year of high school), this is the first time I've seriously attempted the marathon. A few months back I was looking at my list of life goals and realized completing a marathon was still on it and decided to start running again. Since September I've completed three 5K's and have my 4th one coming up on Thanksgiving. I've rediscovered my love of running during this period and have picked up two medals along the way which makes it even more fun. Plus I've even gotten my wife to starting running in the 5K's too which is a nice added bonus since we get to share the time together.





I figured starting this blog would be a fun way to keep track of my thoughts and training as I build my way towards the marathon.


Today's work out is going to be a light 30 minute run at my easy pace (9:17 mile).


Here's a quick look at my race times for the year so far:


1st 5K - 9/13/09 (ironically my father's birthday)

Run For The Bus - Bohemia



2nd 5K - 10/3/09 (ironically my mother's birthday)

Entenmann's Great South Bay

23:13 - Finished 3rd Place in my age group.


3rd 5K - 11/8/09

Run For The Warriors

21:52 - Finished 1st Place in my age group.


I guess I should mention that I race in the 30 - 34 age group. I'm 32 now (I was 31 for the first race thought since my birthday is in September).


Well, enough talking for now. Off for my first run of the new training period!

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Tom Slot

Tom Slot

Member since: Sep 4, 2009

A blog dedicated to my thoughts while I train for the 2010 Long Island Marathon and other road races.

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