Thursday, November 5, 2015

The Final Marathon of 2015 - NYC

I ran the 2015 NYC Marathon because I had earned a spot by fundraising for the canceled 2012 marathon in the wake of (Super?) Hurricane Sandy.  Since the options were to run the 2013 NYC Half or the 2013, 2014, or 2015 Marathon, I chose 2015 since in 2013 I was committed to Detroit, 2014 I thought I might run Marine Corps (ran Chicago), thus leaving 2015.  It is hard to believe it has been three years already!

On the heels of three very successful marathons this year (3:04 in April in New Jersey; 3:17 in July at the hot and hilly Mad Marathon in Vermont; 3:00 in Bismarck), I had high hopes for NYC.  When one of my running buddies broke 3:00 at Marine Corps the Sunday prior to my race, my competitive juices were stirred and I had visions of going sub 3:00 in NYC.  But, it didn't happen.  I ran a respectable 3:12, 14 minutes faster than the 3:26 I raced the course in 2010.

My race preparations went fine.  I felt mostly recovered from Bismarck.  At the Army Ten Miler, I ran a solid 64, but that was only once I determined I couldn't get under 63 and backed off.  Maybe that should have served as an indicator.  Yet, my speed workouts during training went fine, especially my 3, 2, 1 at 6:30 eleven days before the race.  My taper was fine - I was good to go.

Welcome to the NYC Marathon Expo!
In the expo
Laura and I traveled up after work on Friday the 30th and stayed with her folks in New Jersey.  In the morning, I went for a shakeout run, ate breakfast, showered, and then was dropped off at the bus which took me into the Port Authority.  From there, I visited the expo.  I did run into someone I had met in DC at a meeting - quite the small world!  For the afternoon, I met up with my friend John and his girlfriend for lunch at a famous (?) Italian restaurant across from their building.  He has quite the view of the city - we could see into Central Park and spot the finish line.  I then took the subway to Brooklyn where I was spending the night at my friend's place.  Since it was Halloween, they were giving out candy before taking their son out.  Laura and her folks met me and my friend Adam at a local Italian restaurant that was really good.  Adam and I hung out for a bit and chatted before I went to bed early.

Famous Patsy's?  Pre Marathon lunch.

Central Park from John's building

Can you spot the finish line?

Johns Hopkins graduates in NYC
Looking forward to a great race!
In the morning, I wake up naturally at the right time since I had gained an extra hour as the clocks fell back to regular time (can we get rid of DST please?).  A short Uber ride took me to JackRabbit Sports - I had paid $20 for a bus, bag check, and place to gather after the race at PS 87.  The bus eventually arrived just after 6AM (we were told to get there between 5 and 6AM), and then the bus driver started going the wrong way.  Her directions were to go the Holland Tunnel into New Jersey and then onto Staten Island.  The bus nearly revolted and she eventually agreed to get on the BQE and drive over the Verrazano Narrows, which is what we wanted in the first place.

Outside of JackRabbit sports prior to boarding the bus

At the runner's village, I found a spot and took a nap for about an hour.  I was rested and felt pretty good.  At 8:00AM, I began applying lube and getting ready to line up in my corral.  In line for my final pit stop, I chatted with a nice guy from Tel Aviv.  He gave me his cap with Hebrew lettering, but I had to toss that in the second mile since it was so warm.  In the corral, I ran into a guy who had run track at Stonehill College in Easton.  I also ran into a runner from my running club who is older and injured - I had no idea how he snuck up to the front.  On the base of the bridge, we waited as they sung the anthem and held the opening ceremonies.  I have no idea how I got so close to the start line - I didn't push or try - I simply followed the crowd from my wave.  There were some folks with high number bibs indicating they weren't in the proper wave, but I wasn't there to call them out for that.  In fact, some guys from Italy were taking their pictures and I got them to take one of me and email it.

This is how close I was to the start line.  The gun went off five minutes later.

Once the race started, I thought I was being very smart.  The first mile up the bridge was 7:15 and I was in control.  The second mile was 6:20, but that was just because it was a downhill.  It was in the third mile where I tried to settle in and ran into Adam from my running club.  We chatted a bit, but he fell back as he was recovering from an injury and this was his first marathon in quite sometime.  Around the four mile mark, I began to worry that something was wrong - I was sweating more than I thought I would this early and my legs didn't feel completely fresh.  For the next few miles, I tried positive imagery and telling myself everything was fine.  I took my first Gu at the fifth mile and when I hit the 10K and 15K I was telling myself that I was fine.

My run through Brooklyn was more of a struggle than I admitted at the time.  I passed near where Chris and Gwen live around mile 8-9, but I didn't see them.  When the 3:00 pacer passed me at the 11th mile, I tried to hold for a bit, but I couldn't.  I hit the halfway point in 1:31 and thought that if I lost only five minutes on the second half, I would be in really good shape.  Queens went fine, but then I hit the Queensboro Bridge where I lost nearly two minutes.  It is a long, tough bridge, but I ran it correctly judging by effort and not pace.  I told myself that when I hit Manhattan, the rush of the crowd would inspire me to run a good final ten miles.  That was almost the case.

Photo credit David and Mary - they were a huge boost to my psyche

I ran down First Avenue and heard my friend David and Mary calling my name and ran to them.  I needed their cheering which helped me refocus out of a bad mental place.  That got me to about the 18th mile where the 3:05 pacer passed me.  I was fine with that as I readjusted my goals for a BQ and sub 3:10.  I actually handled the Bronx pretty well as I got a boost of energy.  And, at mile 22, I thought I was going to come in under 3:10 since I just needed to hold a 7:30 for the final four miles.  I felt that was entirely possible until I hit the slow, long hill that is the 23rd mile that leads to Central Park.  That's where I lost all hope as my legs couldn't turnover anymore and my pace slowed a couple of minutes.  The 3:10 pacers passed and that was the end of my race.  In the park, I was able to toss in a few surges and a final push to get in under 3:13, but my race was over.  I felt ill and needed a medical person to walk with me for five minutes before I felt well enough to continue on my own.

And the award for worst race picture...
It took me quite a long time to get my poncho, get out of the park, find the meeting spot, and then hail an Uber to take me to the pub to meet Laura and friends.  In addition to walking slow, I had two Ubers cancel on me.  Normally, I would have walked the 1.3 miles, but I was tired and just wanted to get to the restaurant quickly to see my friends.  It was nice to see our New York friends.

Group shot

Race stats.
Weather = high 50 degrees to start, 60s at the end, warmer and more humid than expected, started sweating early, overcast with some sun.

Final time = 3:12:47
Splits: 5K = 21:19; 10K = 42:42; 15K = 1:04:20; 20K = 1:26:13; 1/2 = 1:31:10; 25K = 1:49:10; 30K = 2:12:20; 35K = 2:36:33; 40K = 3:02:13
Results: Overall Place = 1708; Gender Place = 1557; Age Place = 301

Next up: TBD

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Army Ten Miler - Midway Between Bismarck and NYC

The way the fall racing calendar shaped up, it was fortuitous that the Army Ten Miler fell three weeks after the Bismarck Marathon and three weeks prior to the New York City Marathon.  Having PR-ed in Bismarck and coming close to breaking three hours, New York City is on my mind.  The Army Ten Miler was a good opportunity to gage my recovery and preparations for NYC.

I met up with friend, Michael Rohlf; we share a mutual coach in Ryan Vail.  In fact, Michael recommended him to me.  Our plan was to race together.  I found him in the starting chute.  We stayed together for the first two miles, going out in 6:15.  We were to go out 6:20-15, and in the third mile, I had to back off as there was an incline and I felt that I wasn't 100% fresh.  I decided to back off from PR pace and just run what I was able on this day.  It turned out to be the smart choice.  I held it together over the rolling hills of the 14th Street Bridge.  With about a mile to go, another runner encouraged me by saying I would start the finishing kick to pace him and then he'd pace me to the end.  He said we'd have to run under a six minute mile.  In my head, I said okay and did kick a sub six minute final mile to get me across the finish line in 64:04.  While not a personal best (63:11 at Cherry Blossom 2014), it was a course PR (65:32 in 2011).

Michael and I celebrating our race.  He wore DCRRC singlet and I wore my company's running shirt, Fireside21.

Race Mile Splits = 6:15/15/31/10/26/34/32/28/28/5:57 (31 seconds for the final .10 in 5:20 pace).  I ran four miles of warm up and six miles of cool down to get twenty miles on the day.
My result
With NYC two weeks away (from when I write this), I'm feeling pretty good.  I wish my confidence were higher, but when you constantly feel sore, it is hard to feel confident.  Plus, I battled a cold this week and think it is on its way out.  My coach said I will be fine come race day - at some point, I just have to trust myself and my training.  Yesterday, I ran sixteen miles with three miles at marathon pace.  Today was an off day.  Next Sunday I get to go volunteer at the Marine Corps Marathon and hand out water with my club at the tenth water stop - just as the runners come back into Virginia near Pentagon City.  I always love the energy and can't wait to run another marathon.  I'm sure I'll be ready to run a great race in NYC!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

I Ran a 3 Hour (and 58 seconds) Marathon!!!

Why is it that in retrospect I feel like I left a sub 3:00 marathon on the course of the 2015 Bismarck Marathon?  Is it because I believe I can always run faster and that is my constant motivation?  Is it that I forget how sore and I tight I was during the last 10K?  Or, am not as mentally tough as I need to be to grind out 6:50 miles toward the end?

After talking with my coach, Ryan Vail, the answer appears to be that I ran the best race I could on that day.  I have trouble giving myself credit for running a 6:59 26th mile and a 1:10 .2 (5:31 pace) that I needed to sneak in under 3:01, especially since mile 25 was a 7:35.  I think back to the New Jersey Marathon where I was coming in around 3:01 until a wall of wind pushed me back along the shore yet held on for a 3:04:01 then-PR.  If I am going to break 3:00 in a future marathon, I'm going to need to embrace the pain in the final 10K, own it, and use every bit of heart to accomplish my "Big Hairy Audacious Goal."

Bismarck, North Dakota, was a small but neat town to visit.  The flight to Chicago from DCA was smooth.  I had plenty of time at Chicago to get a Swedish massage and visit the yoga room to stretch out.  I packet a lunch of pasta and garlic bread I downed before boarding.  The plane to Bismarck was tiny with only three seats total in a row - one on one side and two on the other.  I had a whole row to myself and read my book, League of Denial.  I read Against Football by Steve Almond on our trip to Montreal and am now on a kick learning about the dangers of football.

My lowest bib number ever!
It was an easy city to get from place to place.  I had no trouble navigating from the airport to the packet pick-up on the state capitol grounds in the North Dakota Heritage Center.  It was a really cool museum that I visited after the race.  At the packet pick-up, the former wife of ex-Rep. Earl Pomeroy handed me my bib and we chatted about Capitol Hill.  The expo was as small as I have seen - basically just get your bib, shirt, and swag.  The capitol was interesting and unlike any seat of government  had seen as there was a "skyscraper" where the legislators had offices.  I took a self guided "tour" of each of the chambers and even saw a portrait of a famous North Dakotan, Herman Stern, who is the great grandfather of a fellow toastmaster.  After, I checked into my hotel, rested and assembled my gear, then went to the restaurant The Walrus for my pre-race meal.  I sat alone at the bar, watched the college football game that was on, gorged on a plate of pasta and bread rolls as the bartender kept my water glass full.  The place had an impressive selection of beer - very tempting, but I was there for running and the drinking would have to wait for post race.

At the North Dakota State Capitol

Back at the hotel room, I was in bed early, as usual.  In the morning, I was up 3:30 prior to race time.  I ate my bagel and peanut butter, did my stretches in the room, and left for the race 90 minutes before the gun.  I found the start of the race easy and was able to park my rental car within a short walk of the start.  I had throw away pants that I was able to save so I can toss for the New York City Marathon on November 1.  I toed the start line, heard the national anthem, and chatted with other runners.  My bib number was the lowest I've ever worn (2), and the race announcer called out my name and that I am from D.C. and complimented my socks that profess my love of beer.

Pre race - ready to do my job!

Most of the race I cannot recall.  I held to my strategy of going out pretty even and holding a 6:45-55 pace.  Miles 1-5 were routine as I settled into a zone and there were no other runners near me.  I took my first Gu at 5.  I know I ran over the Missouri River twice as the course took us into Mandan.  I recall running through a few neighborhoods, past a golf course, by a few relay exchange staging posts, and along sidewalks.  There were a few turnaround cones which I am not particularly fond of since the take you off your stride.  I Gu-ed again at 10 and was holding a solid pace.  Once I get to 10, I know I'm running well if I feel good going into the second 10 miles of the race.  At the half, I hit the mark at 1:29:10 and still felt strong.  I think around 15 I took my third Gu as I went back over the bridge and that took us on a path along the river for a few miles.  I saw the first place winner coming back, so I knew there was another turnaround cone.  I hit mile 20 feeling okay, but it was starting to become a struggle to hold pace.

The last 10K I may have lost focus.  I was all alone running through a park and at times I wondered if I was lost since there were no cones and no one else near me in the race or to cheer me.  I found the 23rd mile marker and knew I was okay.  I tried to do math and figured I was coming in around 3:01 or 3:02.  In retrospect, had I just tried to get back to a 6:50 mile for the last three, I would have broken 3:00.  But, that deep into a race, the mind plays tricks on you.  After 32 marathons, I should have known better - my future challenge to myself is to trust myself and just try to stay near pace and not get down or allow myself a reprieve.

New PR 3:00:58!!!

When I hit the 25th mile marker, I recognized where we were and had some half runners to pass and volunteers to point the way.  I could see the endgame and decided not to leave anything on the course.  That's how I put down a 6:59 26th mile.  I hit the .2 and could see the finish and sprinted.  I don't know where that spring came from, but it saved me a 3:00 marathon and a big personal record (3:03 better than NJ).  It was good for seventh overall and first in my age group 35-39 - that won me a sleek jacket.  The award ceremony was at 1PM, and I finished just after 10:30 AM, so I went back to my hotel room, rested, showered, and got dressed to come back to collect my accolades.

Won this jacket for winning my age group 35-39 and 7th Overall

After the race, I got lunch at Fireflour Pizza - it had great brick oven pizza and beer.  I then wandered around their fall Street Fair which brought vendors from the whole region.  I bought a few items including treats for Sammy.  I also bought a postcard to send to my niece and nephew.  I returned to the Heritage Center to buy a fridge magnet for my wife who collects them.  It was then I enjoyed the offerings of the museum - fossils of dinosaurs, artifacts from Native Americans, and the history of the people of North Dakota.


At night, I took in the town by hitting up JL Beers which had great beers and burgers.  While I chowed down on my black bean burger, I chatted with a young husband and wife - he was from Colorado and she was from Detroit - but her job in energy took them to Bismarck.  They were good company.

Black bean burger and flight of beers to sample

I then went to Laughing Sun which had live music.  My server, Michael, from Fireflour, said he was going to be there with his friends celebrating and I was welcome to join them.  He was leaving to return to Tel Aviv to study for his graduate degree.  There was live music and good conversation.  For the nightcap, we wandered and found the speakeasy, but I was tired and ready for bed.

Michael is on my right and Whitney is waving.

Liiiisssssa, pleeeease don't eeeeeat meeeee!

Is there something behind me?
In the morning, I walked around the state capital again, went to the Blarney Stone for brunch and to watch the first half of the Patriots game in which they beat the Bills in Buffalo, then returned to the airport to fly back.  I am quite pleased with my result and had a good time in Bismarck.  I recommend that anyone looking for a small race that is well run should consider it.


Here is my Strava link to my splits and the leaderboard of the race results: 6:49/48/48/46/46/47/48/44/47/48/49/50/49/49/47/56/52/55/54/52/ 7:08/13/09/20/35/ 6:59/ 1:10 for final .2 (5:31 pace).  I had to sprint from the mile 26 marker to make it in under 3:01.   Overall, I am pleased with my race.  It is nice to know that at 38 I am in the best shape of my life and hopefully getting fast.

Top ten and made the leaderboard!

My splits

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Leesburg 20K - Tune Up for Fall Racing Season

Today's Leesburg 20K is a course that I just despise. It's a pretty center of town, but it is run mostly on the W&OD Trail on usually a warm day in August. It has a long incline that messes with your head. One of my earliest races in my running career was the Leesburg 20K in 2005; I went out too fast and paid dearly, stumbling in at 1:45. It took me many years to return, and when I finally did in 2012, I put up a solid 1:24:06. This year, off no taper except to take Saturday off and a starting temperature almost at 70 degrees, I am pleased that I had a solid race and came in just shy of 1:24 at 1:23:53, a course PR by 13 seconds.

The start of the race

For those that are familiar with the course, the first two miles are around a shopping plaza, a neighborhood, and a school - not too much to see. It starts on a downhill making it tough to set proper pacing if you are not focused. I ran pretty smart the first two miles, holding a 6:44. My coach wanted me to hold a conservative pace in the 6:40s. My job was to judge the effort on the hills, try to run 6:30s on any flat segments, and stick to 6:20s on the downhills at the end. At around the two mile mark, it hops onto the W&OD Trail and goes up for about four miles.  I began to get frustrated looking at my Garmin and noticing that my steady pace was dropping off as I struggled to keep it under 7.  I dialed back to recall the Mad Marathon five weeks earlier and the strategy I employed: don't kill yourself on the uphill but survive and save it for he downhill.  Survive then thrive.

Around the first mile

In the sixth mile, it begins with a final push up and onto an overpass as we cross a highway then it loses elevation quickly.  At the turnaround, the decline ends and another uphill begins, but that is the last uphill.  I hit the 8th mile marker, finished that final ascent, took a moment to get my legs back, and began about a four mile dash to the finish, aided by the downhill.  I passed a few guys along the way, including one that tried to keep pace and surged to meet me pace, but he faded.  With a minute to go, I turned on the finishing kick, caught one more guy, and slipped in under 1:24.  I was beat.  My cool down effort was hampered by a cramp in my left midsection - a small price to pay for a solid effort on a hot day on a hilly course that I don't even like.  Of course, sneaking away with a good race brings a smile to my face.  And, on my way to my car, we passed a small brewery: the smell of beer brewing is a wonderful smell.

Final kick in the last mile

My splits and results:
6:43/44/54/7:01/7:17/6:42/42/7:11/6:42/22/21/05/ 3:09/5:53 (.54) 43:00/40:53 Split - Course personal record by 13 seconds. 25th male, 29th overall, 8th age group 35-39.


Also, solid efforts by Alex Albertini and Matt Anderson, both running the course for the first time.

A pin and a medal for my efforts (photo credit AA)

I'm now five weeks from the Mad Marathon in Vermont and five weeks until the Bismarck, North Dakota Marathon (September 19).  Also this fall's race calendar includes Army Ten Miler Columbus Day Weekend (October 11), New York City Marathon (November 1), and a Turkey Trot (TBD) on Thanksgiving.  My work is participating in a 5K on October 3 to benefit the Children's Hospital (any interest in donating, please contact me), and I may run my gym's 5K in November.  Plus, my club's Snowball Series commences with the Bread Run 10K and Gar Williams Half Marathon in December. It's a full fall calendar, so I hope I am able to run each of them well.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Birthday Superpowers!

I wanted to run a marathon on my birthday.  My original plan was to run Missoula in Montana, but since that wasn't feasible the only other marathon on July 12 was in Vermont.  This worked out since it was driving distance and we found a bed and breakfast where Sammy was welcome.  On Friday July 10 after work we drove up and spent the night at my in-laws in Northern New Jersey, just shy of the halfway point.  Seeing them was a bonus and helped break up the drive.  We arrived around 3:30 PM on Saturday, and after dropping Laura and Sammy at the hotel, I went to the packet pick-up.  It was warm and outdoors - my first outdoor marathon expo.  The race director promised me bib #38, but it seems she forgot and gave it away to someone else.  The gave me bib #138 which was fine.

Packet pick-up.  My first outdoor expo.
Weeks earlier, my Dad and I planned a wonderful surprise for my Mom.  He likes to take her on mystery rides from time to time.  On this mystery ride, they left Saturday morning from Massachusetts.  The route to Vermont takes them into New Hampshire, as if they are going to Weirs Beach in Laconia, NH.  But, in Concord, he took Route 89 and she guessed that they were going to see her friend who lives in Burlington.  They got lunch with her and her husband, but she had no idea they were joining us for dinner and for the marathon.  In fact, while we were refueling at a rest stop in New York, she called from the road and my heart sank as I worried she knew the surprise.  Luckily, she was just calling to say hi.  When we met at the restaurant, we arrived early so I filmed her surprised reaction as they entered.  My dad and I set this up really well - if I can compliment us!

Prior to the race, I ran into Bart Yasso.  He was running this race, and I saw him a few times along the course.  As for the race - this was my masterpiece!  I ran a smart, well-paced race.  I started slow, took the early hills appropriately, and finished with a solid kick.  It was a very hilly course (check out the course map and elevation on a warm day (race temperature at the start was 61 with 91% humidity for a real feel of 63; I hit the half at 73 degrees with 71% humidity for a real feel of 79; and the finish temperature was 76 degrees with 61% humidity for a real feel of 83 degrees.  I also had a negative split as I hit the half around 1:39:30 and 1:38:04 second half.  I rose from 21st overall around the 10K mark to 9th overall and won my age group.  First, take a look at this course:

This map reminds me of the Shire.

Look at those hills!

My splits: 7:00/8:25/7:13/13/23/39/04/23/8:45/7:36/8:12/7:39/18/31/41/40/35/37/20/48/20/32/8:18/7:01/6:45/7:27/ 1:09/7:03 pace (final .16 by my Garmin)

At the 10K mark was my first chance to count how many runners were ahead of me.  I counted 20 ahead of me and began trying to pass them one at a time.  Since they were sprawled out, I had a good chance to view each one.  Some stopped to walk making a pass easy, but most I just had to catch by running steady, surging past them, and continuing on my pace.  During the race, I motivated myself as I kept telling myself that I had special birthday superpowers!  It's not every year you can run a marathon on your birthday, especially for summer babies.

Unlike past races, I did not feel like I faded late in the race.  I credit my coach for his inclusion of tempo workouts, both on my speed day and incorporated into my long runs.  I also think my strength training and yoga has contributed to my ability to hold a marathon pace for the entire race.  I only faltered when trying to catch one last guy in the last mile.  It was an uphill finish, and while we both struggled, I couldn't find that last bit of strength and guts to make the charge.  Obviously, I was very pleased with my race, and I believe that this was a sub three hour marathon effort.  The guy who I couldn't quite catch and finished thirteen seconds ahead of me is a 2:57 marathoner.  In retrospect, I believe I should have pushed harder that last mile, but it is easy to say that now.  In the moment, I was climbing one final hill and was in discomfort.  Thankfully, my father caught me on video finishing the race.

How do I celebrate another 26.2?  Beer me!
After the race, we waited around for the award presentation.  When we couldn't wait any longer (it would have been another hour), I just asked if I could take my award, so they gave me another medal for first in my age group, a frame, and a cookie.  Then, we went to lunch with my folks.  Sammy was able to sit on the porch with us and had her own water bowl.  When my folks left, we rested back at the hotel then headed up to the Waterbury Ben & Jerry's factory.

Sammy loves ice cream!

We went to the Waterbury Ben & Jerry's faculty after the race.

We toured around and visited the floor graveyard:

The scary flavor graveyard!

Paying respect with a stone to a flavor I used to enjoy.

Laura loves her some sugar!

We got dinner from some place in a barn known for their flatbread and took it to eat at the B&B.  Along with some local beer, we made a nice picnic and enjoyed the weather.  In the morning, she made us breakfast and we hit the road for a long drive back to DC.  State #21 and Marathon #31 completed!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Running on my Honeymoon

Running and traveling are my passions; and thankfully, I have a wonderful wife that enjoys seeing the world and cheering me as I race.  Being able to combine my passions to run while on our honeymoon made this trip so much more special.  I was able to explore areas that the average tourist doesn't visit or places that didn't interest Laura.

Since I hadn't been to most of the cities (and hadn't run in any of them), I planned my long runs so that I would only have to do one abroad.  The Friday we left, I awoke especially early to get a long run in along the C&O trail, shower at my gym near work, then head to a breakfast on the Hill.  I knew that when we arrived in Reykjavik on Saturday, I likely would not have a chance for a run, since it was a flight traveling overnight.  As it turned out, it worked well that it was a scheduled off day.  That first day, we were exhausted when we arrived, and the hotel was nice to let us check in around 9AM.  We went right to bed!

On Sunday, I didn't have a running agenda, so I took to trying to find the path around Reykjavik that my contact, Hildur, mentioned at drinks the previous night.  After about a mile, I was able to connect with the trail and run around the coast, looking out at the sea and glaciers and mountains.  It was a cold run - in the 40s - and I was dressed as if I were running in DC in the winter with a ski cap, long pants, and windbreaker.
A cold run in May in Reykjavik
Along the running path and the Sea in Reykjavik

The way our travel was scheduled, we had a flight on Monday around 1:00 AM local time to Paris and then a flight to Barcelona after a layover of couple of hours, so I was doubtful I'd have a chance to run Monday.  But, Laura wanted to rest after we checked in, giving me about an hour to run what became the first of a few scouting runs.  Having no idea of where to run, I took a chance and ran through the Gothic Quarter (we stayed right by the Gothic Cathedral), toward the Mediterranean Sea, and turned right.  That took me toward the dock where many cruises ships were, gave me a great view of Montjuic, and I ran over a bridge that let me look upon the city.  I retraced my steps when I ran out of road and ended up at the beginning of a boardwalk.  Nearing the end of my allotted time, I made a note that the boardwalk would be the way to proceed for future runs.

The Gothic Cathedral in Barcelona

For Tuesday's run, I skipped the part where I could have gone back by Montjuic, instead staying completely on the boardwalk.  It was a very scenic run along the Mediterranean Sea, sunny with a breeze - not too hot.

My coach penciled me in for a fartlek speed workout on Wednesday, so I was able to run 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 minutes with equal running rest.  On my way back, I noticed police tending to a man on the beach.  Given the lack of urgency, I think he was already dead, but I couldn't tell anything else.  I was pleased with myself for getting in my scheduled workout.

On our last full day in Barcelona, I went for another beautiful run on the boardwalk.  Toward the end, I walked into the Sea, dipping my feet for a few waves, before washing off my feet at the shower on the beach.  Barcelona was good to me as a place to run safely on scenic paths where other runners, cyclists, and foot traffic enjoyed themselves.

The boardwalk of the beach in Barcelona

I wasn't sure I would have an opportunity to run on our first day in Lisbon.  When we arrived midmorning, our room wasn't yet ready, so Laura and I walked toward the historic area by the river.  It was about a mile from our hotel down towards the busy tourist area.  When we came back in the afternoon, she wanted to rest, giving me a solid hour to scout the area for where I would run.  I ran down the famous Avenida da Liberdade and took a right when I hit the river.  After a couple of miles, I realized that there was construction and wasn't entirely sure where to continue my run, so I turned around.  Had I realized I could have run to Belem safely, I likely would have, but there was plenty of road for runners and cyclists marked apart from traffic in the other direction.

Running past the Lisbon fishermen

While Saturdays are usually my long run, I switched to Sunday to accommodate our travel schedule.  Instead of the long run, I ran an eight mile out and back down the Avenida da Liberdade and took a left at the plaza where I found plenty of space to run along the river.  Since I was to do fartlek and couldn't figure out the best stretch of run, I decided to run the last mile up the hill at marathon pace effort pace - which ended up being a 7:20 up the steep incline - instead of striders. That is some hill that makes up Avenida da Liberdade!

The river run in Lisbon

For my final run in Lisbon, it was time for my long run.  My schedule had a tempo-long-tempo of 3 miles warm up, 3x2K at 6:30 pace with a two minute standing rest between sets, a 45 minute run, then repeat the 3x2K, and finish with 3 mile cool down.  Since I was on vacation (after all) and didn't have that kind of time, I subtracted a mile each from the warm up and cool down and a repeat from each set.  It turned out fine as a 2 mile warm up; 2x2K @ 6:30 w/2 minute rest (8:11/8:05); 45 minutes @7:30 for 6 miles; 2x2K (8:03/8:02); and finished with a 2 mile cool down. The first 2 miles were down Avenida da Liberdade making the final two up hill. On my way towards the bridge, there was a head wind that turned into a tail wind on return.  I wish I had more time and miles to run to explore further along the river - it was a pretty area to run!

As far as I ran in Lisbon

I took an off day!  It turned out this would be my last off day in over a month as I tried "active recovery" on Sundays when back in the States, which I kept up until my taper and with two weeks to go until Mad Marathon.

For our final city, I set out early in the morning and ran along the Seine.  Starting at the Eiffel Tower, I ran past Notre Dame on the Right Bank and circled back on the Left Bank.  I accidentally ended up on an area that wasn't hospitable to running along the river where mostly commuters traveled into the city, but I corrected that and finished my run.  Paris is a city with a lot of foot traffic, and as early as I was running, there were many others with the same idea of getting their fitness in early.
The Louvre in the morning pre tourists
In December of 2010 on my way home from Berlin, I had a 17 hour layover in Paris.  Rather than waste it at the airport, I took the train into the city and walked around the city all night.  Arriving by Notre Dame at 5PM on a Sunday, I walked into the historic church during mass.  After touring through, I walked along the Seine down towards the Eiffel Tower where I stopped for dinner and wine.  Then, I continued by heading up towards the Arch de Triumph, enjoyed dessert and more wine along Champs Elysees, walked by the Louvre and the Pantheon, tried to find the Bastille, and finished back at Notre Dame around 5AM.  I didn't stay in a hotel - I enjoyed the city by myself that cold December night.  For my first run in Paris, I tried my best to recreate that route.
A DC Road Runner on Champs Elysees
My final workout in Europe for this trip was a fartlek.  It was scheduled to be 4, 3, 2, 1 miles, but I made the call along with my coach to move that workout to enjoy vacation.  The fartlek worked out well.  The only mistake I made was to run my five minute segment along a section by the Seine that was on cobblestone.  The rest of the timed intervals went smoothly, albeit some into the wind.  If I was on when I hit a crossing of the street, I'd turn right and head over the bridge and run another loop.  That turned out to work well as I never had to stop for traffic and added the correct amount of distance.  The run was two miles warm up then 5, 4, 3, 4, 3, 2, 3, 2, 1 (80/6:15; .65/6:10; .51/5:59; .67/6:01; .50/6:04; .34/5:53; .50/6:04; .35/5:50; .18/5:40) with equal rest followed by two miles of cool down.

Under the Arch de Triumph

I had an idea for this run that was a better idea in my head than it turned out to be practically.  I ran from the Eiffel Tower to Kleber to La Defense back down Champs Élysées to Place Concorde and back along the Seine.  My original idea was to run out to the other arch that you can see from the Arch de Triumph, yet I hit a point where I couldn't find a safe route to run.  I improvised the rest of the run.

Champs de Mars view of the Eiffel Tower during the French Open

My final run in Paris - until next time anyway!  I ran along the Seine taking a few more pictures.  What an amazing trip and everyplace had safe and beautiful running and cycling paths.  Below is my log, which includes my long run in New Jersey on 5/31/15.

A copy of the torch from the Statue of Liberty

Here is my log:

Chain Bridge on C&O O&B192:13:457:21950s some wind and humidity but pleasantLast run in the States.  Had to get in a long run on a Friday.  3 warm up; 13 at tempo; 3 cool down. 7:40/29/30/6:58/53/57/58/54/55/5550/51/46/44/42/38/7:19/23/21
OFF:Traveled to Reykjavik
Reykjavik Run121:39:168:161240s and some windBeautiful run around Reykjavik. Amazing how the sun barely sets here in late spring.
Barcelona Scouting Run6.50:56:008:376.570sRan around 4PM
Barcelona Boardwalk8.51:08:458:58.5Sunny and pleasant 60s w/sea breezeBeautiful run along the boardwalk
Dead Man Fartlek121:30:157:3112Sunny and pleasant 60s w/sea breezeRan 1,2,3,4,5,4,3,2,1 with equal rest on the boardwalk. 2mi wu/cd. Saw a dead man on the beach as police tended to him. 1 - 6:05/.17 2 - 6:09/.33 3 - 5:58/.5 4 - 5:57/.67 5 - 6:05/.82 4 - 6:04/.66 3 - 6:22/.47 2 - 6:01/.33 1 - 5:13/.19
Barcelona Boardwalk9.51:12:457:399.5Great weather, 60s and sunny!Another beautiful run on the boardwalk. Dipped my feet in the Mediterranean after eight miles.
Lisbon Scouting Run60:51:478:386Nearly 80 with a breeze but it felt refreshing.Ran in the PM from my hotel at the top of the Avenida da Liberdade down to the old town and boardwalk down next to the river.
Lisbon River Run81:01:257:41860s with a slight breezeSolid effort and last mile up hill at marathon pace effort 7:20 instead of striders. That is some hill that makes up Avenida da Liberdade!
Lisbon River Park O&B TLT15.11:50:477:201560s and decent2 mile warm up; 2x2K @ 6:30 w/2 minute rest 8:11/8:05; 45 minutes @7:30 for 6 miles; 2x2K 8:03/8:02; 2 mile cool down. First 2 miles were down hill. Next 5.5 until turn around were into the wind and then wind at back until last two miles up hill.
OFF:Travel to Paris and planned off day
Paris Sightseeing Tour10.51:18:157:2710.550s and refreshingBeautiful run along the Seine. Gorgeous morning for a run in such a magnificent city!
Dec 2010 Night Walk Tour Revisited8.51:09:458:128.550s and coolWhen I visited Paris in 2010, I was here for just one night. This run recreated my walk from Notre Dame to the Eiffel to Arc de Triumph and back.
Seine Fartlek121:30:007:301250s and some wind2 miles warm up; 5,4,3,4,3,2,3,2,1 with equal rest; 2 miles cool down. .80/6:15; .65/6:10; .51/5:59; .67/6:01; .50/6:04; .34/5:53; .50/6:04; .35/5:50; .18/5:40
La Defense Champs Elysees Loop10.51:26:008:1110.550s overcast and some windEiffel Tower to Kleber to La Defense back down Champs Élysées to Place Concorde and back along the Seine.
Final Run on Honeymoon - Seine Loop8.51:09:338:118.550s overcast and some windSolid run along the Seine and took in a few more sites. I'm going to miss Paris.
Wayne to Oakland NJ with hills202:31:077:332070s and humid with some drizzle and overcast. Miles 15-18 at 6:45 pace. 7:44/44/55/8:14/02/19 /7:27/30/54/35/8:00/7:27/8:08/13/6:42/43/44/28/7:15/04.
MBT O&B:570s sunnyFirst run back in DC and ran with Sammy