Running on Empty

I’ve always been able to mask pain very well and for the past eight months that is exactly what I have been doing. Late last year I had a growing discomfort in my groin, hips and lower back but I was able to keep running. After the new year I backed off a little bit and the pain leveled out. Come early March I ramped things up for the upcoming show down of the Seneca 7. My pain also ramped itself up as well. I told myself repeatedly that I will get checked out after the race because there was no way I was not going to run.

Early in April while out training it hit me like a ton of bricks. After a workout one afternoon I came home sat down drank some water. When I got up I could barely walk! It took three days for me to feel normal again and I continued the cycle until race day.

After my race I completely dropped off running, I was burnt and let my diet go to the dogs so to speak. I thought a few weeks off would solve my problem and I wouldn’t have to go to the doctor. Lacing up my running shoes and hitting the pavement I quickly found I was wrong. I could barely run 2-3 miles without stopping several times, I was struggling to breathe and the next day I would have a difficult time getting out of bed.

Scouring the internet to self diagnose I was convinced my symptoms were conducive to a pelvic stress fracture. I finally had enough and sought the advice of a friend as where I should go for help. I wound up at UHS Sports Medicine and quickly was sent for X-ray’s. That imagery showed no apparent fracture and the doctor continued his evaluation. The doctor would eventually suggest that my lack of calcium and protein intake over the past several years has been less than adequate. He also discovered I have a very serious hip flexor problem as well. He firmly believes that my rapid weight loss combined with the volume of miles over the past several years is a big contributing factor. We made several changes to my diet and I am currently in a 6-8 week physical therapy program consisting of 2-3 visits per week. After the conclusion of PT the doctor may or may not recommend an MRI or continuing physical therapy. I guess this would be dependent on my bodies response.

I began my PT treatments this week and I’ll just say this OUCH! I did ask if I could still run because I can’t imagine not doing something I love. I’ve been told I can run if I run at a slow pace making sure I keep my mileage very low for a while. This is subject to change depending on my body as well.

I’m excited about this because its a starting point for recovery and for the future.

Cheers!

2017 Seneca 7 Wrap

I finally have a few moments to sit down and reflect on this years Seneca 7 relay race. A 77.7 mile circumnavigation of beautiful Seneca lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. This years field consisted of 319 teams equaling 2,233 runners.

This year we had an unexpected short notice injury to team member Jordan Varano. Jordan reluctantly had to bail out a week prior to the race. However friend Juan Martinez answered the call and I cannot thank Juan enough for stepping up and taking Jordan’s spot on short notice. Juan was a perfect fit for our team!

Our team “Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire” had some pretty stiff competition in the “Renegade 7” another all male team from Binghamton, NY who would go onto win the event placing first overall. They completed the course in 7:34:02 setting a new course record. The “Cayuga 7” a mixed team from Ithaca, NY finished first place mixed, second place overall with a course time of 7:40:40. Our team placed second male and third place overall with a time of 7:53:40 a 12 minute PR from last year with an average pace of 6:04 per mile.

During last years Seneca 7 we formed a friendship with Tom and Carrie Thompson owners of Bottomless Brewing in Geneva. Tom and Carrie were gracious enough to sponsor our team for this years event. Not only do they brew some really great beer but they add that extra special to this great running community we have. I love to run but what I love even more is the people and friendships running has graced my life with and that is always a winning combination.

And lastly I was overwhelmed with pride at the sheer volume of runners from the Triple Cities area in which we live and who I call friends.

Cheers!

Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire 2017 Seneca 7.
L-R: Ryan Heinlein, Dan Cavalari, Juan Martinez, Joe Geronimo, Adrian Milisavljevich, James Wilson & Aaron Perry
Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire 2nd place male, 3rd place overall 2017 Seneca 7.
Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire with Tom Thompson of Bottomless Brewing in Geneva, NY.
A well earned beer after the 77.7 mile Seneca 7.
Just a small portion of runners from the Triple Cities area at the 2017 Seneca 7.

Halloween 13K & Relay: “If you can dodge a wrench you can dodge a ball”

This past weekend my friend Tom Hanselman and I ran the Halloween 13K & Relay right here in Endicott as team Hanselween 2016. This was our second year running this race and it has quickly become a favorite of ours. For starters this race is right in our backyard so to speak. The cost is inexpensive, the fleece jacket this year is awesome and the candy corn on the cake is all the costumes the runners came up with. I just love all the effort that was put into this race. For me personally I try to find something easy to run in. The movie Dodgeball so happens to be a favorite of mine and I found an “Average Joe’s gym costume and hit the pavement running. Tom brought back his Yukon Cornelius costume minus the “Stache” due to technical problems…

Tom and I would finish 2nd place in the relay with a time of 54:57 besting last years performance by 21 seconds. Time and place aside this was a fun time and we are already talking about next year.

A huge thank you to the race director, volunteers, Police and everyone else that made this race a success, Happy Running!

 

Tom & I prior to the Halloween 13K & Relay October 29th 2016.
Tom & I prior to the Halloween 13K & Relay October 29th 2016.
Tom Hanselman running leg #1 along the Halloween 13K & Relay October 29th 2016. Photo courtesy of Confluence Running.
Tom Hanselman running leg #1 along the Halloween 13K & Relay October 29th 2016. Photo courtesy of Confluence Running.
Joe Geronimo runner #2 Halloween 13K & Relay October 29th 2016. Photo courtesy of Confluence Running.
Joe Geronimo runner #2 Halloween 13K & Relay October 29th 2016. Photo courtesy of Confluence Running.

Lake to 10K: Chenango Valley State Park

Thick fog covered Chenango lake this morning as I carried my canoe to the waters edge. The air temperature a brisk 33 degrees and the local Kingfishers were not thrilled with my presence. Paddling quietly through the fog a slight breeze came up and the silence broken as the woods began raining acorns. I had hoped that the sunlight would burn the heavy fog off the lake but it would be hours before that would happen.

It’s 9:00AM and I’m back to my car clothes changed, shoes laced and I’m off for a 10K run along the Tow Path. The Tow Path follows the remains of the Chenango Canal and it is just over 3 miles long. It has some single track that twists and turns bringing you along the Chenango river. This is my favorite section! I was feeling pretty good until mile 4 where my stomach began to feel unsettled, a short break and I was back at it… Despite my stomach this was a great run and it was exactly what I needed.

Cheers!

Chinning lake, Chenango Valley State Park October 14th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Chenango lake, Chenango Valley State Park October 14th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Chinning lake after the fog burned off. Chinning Valley State Park October 14th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Chenango lake after the fog burned off. Chenango Valley State Park October 14th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Along the wider section of the tow path on my run. Chenango Valley State Park October 16th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
Along the wider section of the Tow Path on my run. Chenango Valley State Park October 16th 2016. Image © Joe Geronimo
This was a fun run! Chinning Valley State Park October 14th 2016
This was a fun run! Chenango Valley State Park October 14th 2016

2016 Vermont Covered Bridge Half Marathon

My previous post I wrote about running this race for fun and that is exactly what I did. The whole weekend in itself was fun. Saturday my friend Sue and I drove to Long Trail Brewing in West Bridgewater Corners, VT where we met up with her cousin Kaye-Lani from North Carolina. We also met up with our friends Chris and Lori who moved recently from Endicott to New Hampshire and as an added bonus my friend Ian made the hour drive from his house as well to join us all for some beer, food and laughs.

Kaye-Lani had rented a rustic cabin retreat about 8 miles outside of Woodstock, VT. After lunch Sue, Kaye-Lani and I got to the cabin, settled in for a bit. Shortly we were off to the pre-race pasta dinner at the Suicide Six ski resort. The evening weather was absolutely perfect, returning back to our cabin we spent several hours enjoying the rest of the evening chatting before crashing for the night as we had an early start to our Sunday.

Sunrise was beautiful as we got ourselves dressed and ready for the days race. Once parked and ready to board our bus that would take us to the start is when the rain began to fall and it fell. It rained during the entire race, after the race and all the way home back to New York. The rain during the race did however feel great, kept the body temperature in check. I did have one issue as my sock was quite wet and was chaffing at the bottom of my right foot making it a little uncomfortable.

We began the race together and I ran the first two miles at 8:44 pace stopped for a brief bathroom break and then gradually got into a really comfortable groove for the rest of the race. I finished the half marathon in 1:41:25 finishing 188th out of 1,890 runners and I had a blast doing it.

Cold and completely soaked I found the Harpoon Brewery beer tent and celebrated appropriately. Afterwards we made a quick return to our cabin to wash up and some dry clothes before heading into Woodstock for lunch. We met back up with Chris and Lori at the Worthy Kitchen, the “Worthy” is completely worthy of your business.

After lunch is when we all would part ways ending a fun weekend with friends in Vermont.

Cheers!

Our cabin in the woods.
Our cabin in the woods.
Kaye-Lani checking out the bathtub and outhouse.
Kaye-Lani checking out the bathtub and outhouse.
Checking the place over.
Checking the place over.
A little cramped!
A little cramped!
Sunrise
Sunrise
Cabin Interior
Cabin Interior
Cabin Interior
Cabin Interior
Cabin Interior
Cabin Interior
Sue & Kaye-Lani at the pasta dinner.
Sue & Kaye-Lani at the pasta dinner.
L-R: Myself, Kaye-Lani, Lori, Chris & Sue at the Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock, VT.
L-R: Myself, Kaye-Lani, Lori, Chris & Sue at the Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock, VT.

 

 

Vermont, Covered Bridges, Taking a Break:

Windsor-Cornish-Bridge2
Image taken from Google

By time you read this I will be on my way to Vermont with some friends so we can take part in running the Vermont ‘Covered Bridges” half Marathon on Sunday. Even more so I’m looking forward to running it for fun and not time.

Lately I feel burned out and that I need a break. Running seems to have morphed into a job and I miss just running for fun and social engagement. Just this past week I’ve dropped my mileage considerably and will continue to do so throughout the summer. It feels great! Last August I learned a valuable lesson during the Catherine Valley half marathon, I hate the heat and humidity. As the warmer weather approaches I get quite obsessed with my passion to be out in my canoe or kayak either by myself or with family and friends. There never seems to be enough hours in a day to do all the things we would like to.

My goal right now for this summer is to run 3 or 4 days each week, logging maybe 25 miles. Im just going to let my body and mind run the show.

So this Sunday’s race will conclude any racing for me until the fall and then again maybe until next April. I firmly believe we all need a break periodically.

Cheers and Happy Running!

2016 Seneca 7: 8:05:35

Team: Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire 2016 Seneca 7 overall winner.
Team: Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire 2016 Seneca 7 overall winner.

On April 24th our team “Liar, Liar, Feet on Fire” took part in my favorite race, the Seneca 7. For those of you who don’t know about this race I’ll briefly explain. The Seneca 7 is a 77.7 mile relay race around beautiful Seneca Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region. This year 281 teams consisting of 7 runners each took part. Each runner on a team is required to run 3 times during the event. Each leg varies in distance but does not exceed 6 miles.

On the morning of the race I woke early as the sun began to rise over Seneca lake as I had an amazing view from my hotel room in Geneva, NY. Two other teammates of mine had crashed with me as well and the others scattered in hotels in the area.

The race start waves began at 0630 with the last wave going at 0900. We all met up at the starting line area around 0800 for our 0900 start (9:02:35). Aaron who was our first runner anxiously awaited the gun. A-Aron as we like to call him got the fire started quickly and the day just continued from there. We would arrive at the halfway point in the race at 12:50PM and begin our northward trek up the east side of the lake. We crossed the finish line back in Geneva at 5:08:10 encircling the lake in 8:05:35 for a daily pace of 6:14 per mile securing the 1st place overall winner of the 2016 Seneca 7.

To say we were excited might have been an understatement. I myself was personally humbled by the days event. In the end we ran hard, we had a lot of fun along the way but most importantly we ran as a team of friends who share a passion for running.

I’d like to extend a HUGE thank you to all who cheered for us, congratulated us and supported us, you all are amazing and I appreciate you!!!!!!!

A great big thank you to Seneca 7 race directors Jackie Augustine & Jeff Henderson and all who took the time to volunteer for another amazing race.

https://youtu.be/HX7ir8VQ-lE Take a peak at Ryan’s dance moves!

L-R: Ryan Heinlein, Joe Geronimo, Aaron Perry, James Wilson, Dan Cavlari, Race Directors: Jackie Augustine & Jeff Henderson, Adrian Milisavljevich & Jordan Varano.
L-R: Ryan Heinlein, Joe Geronimo, Aaron Perry, James Wilson, Dan Cavlari, Race Directors: Jackie Augustine & Jeff Henderson, Adrian Milisavljevich & Jordan Varano.
Aaron Perry handing off to James Wilson.
Aaron Perry handing off to James Wilson.
James Wilson handing off to Adrian Milisavljevich.
James Wilson handing off to Adrian Milisavljevich.
Ryan Heinlein handing off to Dan Cavalari.
Ryan Heinlein handing off to Dan Cavalari.
Jordan Varano handing off to Ryan Heinlein.
Jordan Varano handing off to Ryan Heinlein.
Joe Geronimo, left, waiting for Adrian Milisavljevich.
Joe Geronimo, left, waiting for Adrian Milisavljevich.
Ryan Heinlein having some dancing fun at one of the exchange points.
Ryan Heinlein having some dancing fun at one of the exchange points.
Dan Cavalari handing off to Aaron Perry.
Dan Cavalari handing off to Aaron Perry.

Long Run & the Forks XV

It’s the first day of Spring and today’s long run called for 12 miles. My workout was to consist of picking up the pace for the last 15 minutes and adding in some hills. As luck would have it today was also the 43rd annual Forks XV road race and that course I thought would be a perfect fit for part of my long run.

I began with a 3 mile warmup prior to the race. I would then run the 9.3 mile Forks course to complete my mileage. I made every effort to stay true to my workout and not get dragged into the excitement of “Race Day”. The weather was perfect with the temperature hovering around 40 degrees. I felt comfortable, strong and confident and was able to maintain coherent conversation for most of the run. Around mile 7 of the race course I stopped for about 30-40 seconds for water which I thought was odd because I rarely ever drink on a course less than a half marathon.

I finished the day with 12.32 miles with a time of 1:29:21. The time it took to complete the Forks XV course was 108:19 which is 2 seconds off from my PR of the course in 2014. To say I am happy in an understatement.

Cheers!

Along the Forks XV course March 20th 2016. Photo by: Sarah Brienze
Along the Forks XV course March 20th 2016. Photo by: Sarah Brienze

 

Winter Running:

Here we are the last day in January with no significant snowfall so far this winter and none in sight for the coming week. I’ve enjoyed this weather so much and as a matter of fact I’ve even run several days this month in shorts and a long sleeve shirt. I can proudly say I’ve only used the treadmill a handful of times due to my schedule and the wind. I hate the wind!

It has been a good month for me running and with no real races planned for the next 90 days I’m enjoying it even more. I call it stress free running. One thing I have noticed over the past two months is a tiny bit of speed improvement but by far I’ve seen my aerobic fitness increase. Last year my mileage was reduced quite drastically and I saw my fitness drop. However I have a long way to go in that department but the progress is promising.

This month the boys brought home the plague from school and kindly distributed it throughout the house. Ok not the plague but a cold to us guys is like the plague. I managed to get through it and have one of my biggest running mileage months. With a scheduled long run this morning I thought it would be best to get started early. Waking at 0545 in order to get myself together and get out there I hit the pavement by 0645. With winter still on the fence today was one of those shorts and long sleeve shirt days. I finished a strong month today with a total of 209.57 miles.

I’m hoping this weather pattern continues for February.

Cheers!

2014 New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon Expo at the Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan October 31st 2014.
New York City Marathon Expo at the Jacob Javitz Center in Manhattan October 31st 2014.

 

Marathon Morning:

Standing at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island trying to seek some sort of shelter from the 40 mph winds and the 30 degree temps with very little luck. Layered in pants, sweatshirt, gloves, arm warmers and a hood, chatter from the runners can slightly be heard over the howling of the wind as I begin my stretching routine. I’m in wave 1 corral E with a 0940 start time. Slowly they begin herding us onto both the upper and lower level of the Verrazano Narrows bridge. The wind still howling, I shed my pants, runner chatter slowly fades as our National Anthem is sung, the firing of the howitzer and the New York City Marathon has begun.

Waiting for the New York City Marathon to start at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island.
Waiting for the New York City Marathon to start at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island.

Staten Island:

Ascending the lower level of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge the wind is like the hand of God, tossing us like pieces of paper into one another, I had all I could do to cross this bridge.

Crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge from Staten Island into Brooklyn. The wind was ungodly!
Crossing the Verrazano Narrows Bridge from Staten Island into Brooklyn. The wind was ungodly!

 

Brooklyn:

Descending into Brooklyn the wind fortunately was cut by some of the buildings I would guess and the sun actually felt warm on my face. Shedding my sweatshirt and mistakenly my gloves, nothing I can do but focus on the race. 7th Ave crowds begin to sparsely line the course, winding our way towards 4th Ave and the crowds grow. Bands, DJ’s and MC’s are in control at this point and my watch ticks off the first 5K. My adrenaline is pumping like crazy, I’m at a really comfortable pace. I move to the left side of the road in order to high five the now enormous crowds who are screaming at me, cheering my name, hugging me as I thunder on by. This is my first marathon and my good friend Brian made me a shirt for this occasion “Joe’s First Marathon” and let me just say this shirt gave me Rock Star Status for the day. I’m on a HUGE high right now but I’ve kept myself  pretty much on pace in the mid/high seven minute per mile range and my watch ticks of the 10K mark. I’m feeling amazing, body is in sync, breathing spot on and I’m just taking it all in.

At this point the wind has been teasing us for a while, the buildings acted both like barriers and wind tunnels. Runners were being pelted with empty water cups making their way through the water stops. Running along Lafayette Ave, Bedford Ave and Manhattan Ave we make a quick right onto Greenpoint Ave and then a quick left onto McGuinness Blvd and mile 13.1 the halfway point. I remember thinking to myself I can do this its just another half marathon to run as we approach the Pulaski Bridge and the Queens Borough.

I believe this is along Bedford Ave in Brooklyn New York.
I believe this is along Bedford Ave in Brooklyn New York.

Queens:

Crossing the Pulaski Bridge we make our way through a small part of Queens with the crowd support still going pretty strong at this point. Onto the Queensboro Bridge we were touched again by the hand of God. The wind was just absolutely brutal whipping right up the East river. A steady climb along the lower level crossing Roosevelt Island, no crowd support just the wind and the other runners fighting it out, complaining about the wind. I felt defeated from battling the wind at this point as we descend into Manhattan.

Manhattan:

Coming off the Queensboro Bridge and onto 1st Ave was an experience in itself. At the Expo on Friday they had warned us this could be a place where our pace might get thrown off. The crowds were ENORMOUS along 1st Ave and at some points were fifty deep on each side. There were more bands, DJ’s, MC’s. People with signs cheering for friends and loved ones, children wanting to reach out and touch the runners as we passed, again we were all Rock Stars. I could feel my adrenaline kick in again as I ran towards the left side of the road, running up 1st Ave giving high five’s to everyone. People in the crowd were  calling my name, yelling words of encouragement, again with the hugs and I have a smile from ear to ear.

In the back of my mind I know that my wife and kids will be at mile 18 96th street waiting for me. I start to look at street numbers along 1st Ave because I’m worried I will get carried away in all the energy I’ve been surrounded with and run right by them. I look up and I’m at 94th Street, I’m getting excited just two more blocks to go. And there in the distance I see my son Michael holding in the air a pink foam pool noodle they brought so I would be able to pick them out of the crowd. However hey did not see me approaching as I ran up and grabbed them all with a HUGE hug and kiss. They were so excited to see me as I was to see them and it gave me a quick boost of energy that I needed. Taking off and shortly after crossing the Willis Ave Bridge from Manhattan into the Bronx.

Bronx:

Mile 20, I hit the wall! The distance, the wind and the cold had finally begun to take its toll. I told myself “Joe six more miles” you’ve got this. There was no way I was going to let myself be defeated. Crowds had thinned quite a bit at this point, as I pressed on.

Back into Manhattan:

Crossing the Madison Ave Bridge from the Bronx back into Manhattan was a steep incline, the wind again was taking its toll and I took a short walk break. I’m back running!

Mile 21: I look over and see a guy stretching his calf on the side of the road. My left calf was burning a bit so I figured I’ll stop quickly and stretch. I look over at him and say “Hey we have five miles left, let’s finish this” Dave from Sweden looks at me and asks if I’d finish it with him he was hurting. I responded, ABSOLUTELY!

Mile 22: Dave is in real pain with severe side stitches and pushes me to carry on without him. I said no way we finish together, Dave insisted so I started to pull away. Both my glutes and my quads are on fire at this point. I’m dehydrated, exhausted and I take another short walk break.

Mile 23: On 5th Ave along Central Park and the crowds are nuts! I go through the water stop, grab a cup, I chug it, grab another take a few sips and toss it. I start to run, one hundred feet south of the water stop is a woman holding a box of grapes. She looks at me and says “Joe, grab a handful of energy and go finish this”. I reached in grabbed that handful and took off.

Mile 24: We are in Central Park and the crowd is going strong, I’m still moving.

Mile 25: Starting out of Central Park and onto Central Park South, I’m looking for Julie and the boys in the crowd. Crowd is overwhelming at this point. I cannot see them. Suddenly I hear “GERONIMO” I turn to my left and there they are waving and cheering. I make the right on CPS and I know this spot well. In 2011 we watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade right here. I’m in the home stretch!

Mile 26: Columbus Circle, making the right back into Central Park and I can see the finish line. I’ve got this!

Mile 26.2: My feet cross the finish line confirming that I’m officially a marathoner.

Finish Line:

I’m cold, tired, sore and disoriented. A volunteer puts my finisher medal around my neck and congratulates me, I begin to tear up. Another volunteer wraps me in a plastic New York City Marathon throw to keep me warm and congratulates me, I mumble a thank you. Waddling my way through Central Park towards the exit at 72nd street, I chug a bottle of Gatorade even though Gatorade and I don’t get along. I eat an apple and even try one of those extremely gross power bars things. Yeah I was that hungry! After a few bites of the bar I chucked it into the garbage. Craving a ham and cheese sandwich I made my way onto Central Park West where another volunteer wrapped my in a beautiful 2014 TCS New York City Marathon fleece lined poncho. She secured it for me, congratulated me and I stumbled my way towards 62nd street to the family reunification. There is where I met up with Julie and the boys. There they hugged me and congratulated me and told me how proud they were. Still craving my ham and cheese sandwich we made our way into the subway at Columbus Circle. The stairs were very difficult! Shortly after we arrived at Penn Station and the Long Island Railroad. With about 5 minutes to catch our train I was denied my sandwich.

LIRR:

The train ride to my parents was 90 minutes, but it was quiet and relaxing. Checking my phone my email inbox was inundated with messages of congratulations, good luck and so forth. Put it in perspective I had over 600 emails.

My Parents House:

After being picked up at the station by my dad all I wanted was a hot shower and food! Waiting for us were my brother and his wife, My sister with her family, my uncle and mom. Finally my hot shower, and then a huge spaghetti and meatball dinner followed  by some awesome desserts.

Thank you’s:

Julie Geronimo, I love you and thank you for all of your sacrifice and support over these last few years. I could have never done this without you.

Diana Bean, where do I begin? This is all your fault, you pushed me to run my first ever race back in 2012. I will ever be grateful, Thank you!

My Family: You know you all rock! I love you all…

To all of you who have done nothing but support me and cheer me on you all are AWESOME & AMAZING!!!! I’m so fortunate to have you all in my corner. Thank you!

Conclusion:

I loved it! The New York City Marathon was amazing, the people of New York are truly awesome and that’s what makes it the best city in the world. One journey for me has now come to the end. To be honest I don’t know what is next. All I can tell you is I love to run, I love the running community and I look forward to what is in store for my future.

Cheers,

Joe

 

2014 TCS NYC Marathon Bib small

 

 

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TCSNYCM14_Course Map_no subways