This is my favorite time of the year – the weather gets warmer, the sun is now up at 5:30am and it stays lit until 8pm. People seem to be more receptive to getting outside more. Being active. Good ol’ spring-summer time! But we still get our brief cold fronts that dampen a day of two.  But our new alram clock is named Holmes and G has him on a leash which we now walk him 2x a day. Yes – we “walk the cat.” No joke.

April was another great month to finish up my base period. I was going to do a final tune up at the Long Island half marathon to see how my run fitness is and I also was able to start doing more triathlon type workouts. I have had some changes to the summer race schedule as we won’t be able to go to Texas and visit the Wilson’s after all. We are currently looking at other options between June and August.

I got to celebrate my 37th birthday but as I always say – everyday is my birthday. Nothing special and I don’t “feel” older for sure. And no way NEAR 40 folks (though G has been trying to find my first grey hair).

Gina and I have been able to get plenty of the necessary items and details taken care of for the wedding. As we do with most events we plan, we got the folder organized, items documented, and Gina has been co-ordinating her niece’s wardrobe in fine fashion. We are in good shape with our preparations and happy to be taking things in our control from a planning standpoint.

Bullets for My Valentine’s new album is out and several songs already in the mental ipod. Yes!

I thought I would be able to taper off a bit before the LI race, but I entered that weekend on another high week and have every intention to take an easy week afterwards for sure. Have too, need too. My legs were sore that I wore my compression gear at night and started getting signs of being worn out. But I was still excited about the event and ready to roll with what be.

The weather was nice! Upper 50-60 range, slight overcast and humid. Not much wind either. This event we came to each year before we left for Charlotte and it has now grown into a full weekend event. Some 8000 people were registered for the 10K, Half Marathon, and Marathon. It is a great fun, family event and even for running clubs to gather and hang out afterwards. Wayne from Polar had a tent set up with Frank from Sunrise Tri and it was also going to be a great opportunity to finally meet members on the team.

We arrived an hour early and took the nice long walk to the starting area. Gina and I love to check the scene, different characters, and what other people are wearing (the shoe name game). We saw the army serviceman in full gear getting ready to do the marathon, the big blow up Newsday dog that is a fixture at this event, and took a picture of the 3 guys who were taking a leak in the full open field BEHIND a patrolman on horseback. We saw a glimpse of Wayne as he lined up for the 10K which started at the same time but the race went in opposite directions as my race.

With a norm kiss and hug from G, it was time to line up and run. Sure my legs were still heavy, but I was feeling good and comfortable. Had my RITA’S last night so was plenty hydrated. Let’s rock.

Three deep breaths and – Off we go! I stayed in the first row of folks and it amazes me at most races that still put pace line-up banners at the start line. Works for me since I can draw off the nervous energy of those who don’t belong up front, then bob and weave past them within the first 2 miles.

Once past that point, I’m in rhythm and the crowd thins out quickly. Analyzing around me, 3 groups spread out and soon by mile 5, it was single file type racing with runners about 30-100 yards apart from each other. The course is mostly flat and wasn’t windy at all. Nice set up with several bands every few miles and great crowd support. They have volunteers doing a great job handing out water and organizers recruit mostly teenagers/high school groups.

By mile 6-7, I see 5 targets in my sight. I start to rock the mental ipod as Three Days Grace’s “Break” starts to go on repeat. I pass one, then another. By mile 10, it’s hammer time as I now have a shot at catching 2 others – I think. This is where I focused hard and saw the turnover rate of the runners’ legs slowing up. I increased mine.

I can catch them. I am now hitting sub 6 miles and my heartrate is right in my upper zone. But I am fine. Despite the volume and speedwork this month and the prior day’s soreness, I feel nothing. Totally Innervated. I pass one at mile 12. The other – now looking back – is 100 yards away.

I don’t slow up. The intensity in my eyes were calmly eased by the Swiss Eye shades as I continued to push and sure enough pass him less than half mile to the finish. Down the stretch I go and finish in 1:17+ and break the top 10 – I even placed second in my age group! Excellent run!! Sweeeeeeeeettttttttttttttt.

I walk around to cool down before making my way to G and get that finishing hug/kiss. A great race test, and more importantly, how I managed the race let me know I am tuned in. That was the best part of the run overall. Store it and maximize it for future use.

We walked around and I was handed my finisher’s “goodie bag”. Now this is spot on and a great idea – they give you a take home lunch tote with fruit, bagel, baked good, and some water. Less mess, less crowds at vendor booths, and you keep the tote! And everyone gets a medal. Big thanks and great idea.

We met up with Wayne and we eventually found the tent. He finished in the top 10 and won his age group in the 10K so another win-win for the Polar gang. We met up with Frank, owner of Sunrise Tri shop, and he had the works for all who came by. We talked and I got to see a truely genuine owner of a sporting goods store looking out for the best interests of his customers and their athletic/fitness development.

We also met several other members and there are some funny characters in this group. Always interesting to put a face to email groups but was worth the time to hang out and get to know more people. I intend to take the Black Window in for some tuning up! A fun time overall.

After another mile walk to the car sipping my Nuun to recover with, we hit no traffic and made it home before noon. Our neighbor actually hurt her eye and needed a ride to the drugstore just as we pulled in so it was good timing for sure – she irritated her eye and needed surgery that next morning!

The sun came out and we not only enjoyed a homemade “brunch” outside the patio, but we drank some good sangria for dinner outside that evening! Yeah my legs were beginning to feel it now. I BioFroze everything, had some Rita’s and we literally “chilled”.

I plan on just going easy this week and look over our summer schedule. We have the Montauk Century bike tour next week as BioFreeze is a main sponsor and I should be able to test my Odwalla gear. Yes, is up and I am in the New York team section. It is a great opportunity to promote healthy nutritious drinks/eats at some of the races this year.

Then it’s a sprint triathlon at the Ironclad triathlon in Glen Cove on Gina’s birthday Memorial Day weekend. Gina’s 5k is on June 5th and should be a fun family event.

Since we won’t be going to Texas, we were looking at some options for races in June/July, with an eye towards the US National Halfmax Championships at Myrtle Beach, SC in October, a week before the wedding. I have already qualified based on my time in Clearwater last November, so it would be a great yearend finish. The rest of the schedule should remain the same and I have already adjusted the website to reflect this and added great photos on the 2010 album.

I do have to give a shout-out to Brad Mintz and Ashley Widis. They were part of my run group in Charlotte that I continue to coach. Brad has PR’d his half marathon twice already and is now setting PR’s in the 5K. Ashley gears up for another crack at the marathon this November. She has already improved her half marathon time.

Another shout-out to Brian Leonard – Brooks rep in Charlotte who continues to help out in any requests needed for TEAMMC.  He really helped out in getting a racing sneaker in short notice. Thanks again brother – and yes, I am staying out of trouble!

Finally – Mother’s Day. Though my mom passed away when I was five, as I’ve posted many times in these journals, she remains a powerful spiritual prescence in my being. I now get to visit her at St Charles since we are close and we intend to visit often. But as I extend always in an email and phone calls on this day – those TEAMMC MOM’s are my living Mom’s that I am grateful for in what they have meant to me as I have “grown up”. I thank you all.

Bring it.

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