Running Stories -- 2007
I'm going to start off by saying this was one of the best 5 K's I've ever run. From The great T shirt to the parking and plenty of signs of where to go it was run first class. To Tim at Run the day who fixed a glitch in the timing results.
Now for the race I lined up with 7 min group and we where off. For some strange reason The Photographer was in the middle of the course 100 meters into it and I think I clocked her with an Elbow trying not to run her over. After that Mishap I started to think 25 min 5k and knew I was running fast but we where going down hill. Mile one was at 7:10 or so, fasted I've ever run as we turned the corner we started to climb a slight grade and I slowed a bit. I was feeling OK but working for it mile 2 16:08 We made a few more turns then came a long downward grade I tried using this to my advantage turned around at the bottom. now we where climbing upward to the finish I was feeling like I was giving all I had. I did not realize how close the finish line was but when I saw the clock it read 25:30 and I found a sprint left in me for the last 100 meters. I ended up catching 2 at the line and finished at 25:45 for a PR. Previous 5 k Pr was 26:01 2 yrs ago on a flat West river Dr course. I know this is not fast but I'm seeing improvement in my running and want to run Clean air 5k this year under 24:00. More speed work with Seth and Brian is in order.[:)
The Saturday after Thanksgiving I ran my first 50k in Derby, NC! Overall, I really enjoyed it. The course was 31.6 miles and I was hoping to come in under 6 hours, and if it was a good day, under 5:45. But because this was my first race at this distance, I was determined to be conservative since I wasn’t sure what to expect after mile 25 or so.
For my training, I had run two 23 milers and then two marathons (Marine Corps and Harrisburg). My marathons were not as good as I would’ve liked them to be, especially Harrisburg which was a disaster due to starting out to fast, so my confidence was a little low and I was having some self doubts.
I headed down the night before with Monika (9 hour drive from Philly!) and we were up at 6am on Saturday. I didn’t sleep tremendously well the night before (despite some wine) mainly because of nerves – but that’s fairly typical for me.
The race started promptly at 8am with about 60 participants. The course was three 10.5 mile loops of “rolling hills”, which was extremely difficult by the third loop. It was consisted of mainly roads and some paths. Because we were literally in the middle of nowhere, there were absolutely no souls to be found on the road or on the sideline. And no mile markers – which in a way was good (but I could’ve used them at the end to gage how much I had left to go).
Monika and I ran together until about mile 18 where I picked up my pace slightly. While the course was beautiful, especially at this time of year, it was mentally a challenge because it was so hilly and so quiet. With so few runners I was running alone for the last 13 miles, occasionally coming across another runner. Nonetheless, I managed to run the entire race, only stopping briefly at water stations which were about every 3-4 miles.
Because I was surprised to see the finish line where I did (I thought I had another 1.5 miles to go), I gladly sprinted to the end. I came in at 5:46:18, and had I realized I was as close the finish as I was – I would have tried to pick it up a bit to see if I could’ve come in under 5:45. My guess is, minus the water stops and the one bathroom stop, I think my pace was around 10:45. I’m not sure if I could’ve run any faster or not – I was determined to stay as comfortable as I could. And I felt pretty strong all the way to the finish. Although, once I stopped I hurt…..everywhere. But I was thrilled that I finished and that I was still standing. Upon finishing, the runners gathered in the community center for pasta, salad, pudding, and much needed refreshments.
I would definitely do another 50k again – but it will be probably at least a year. Overall, it was a good year of running – in 53 weeks I ran 4 marathons, completed 2 sprint tris, and ran this 50k….. I am looking forward to taking December off and just relaxing and not running anything beyond 5 or 6 miles. So it may be a few weeks before I am back out running with the club……(but I did sport the Philly Runners fleece throughout the weekend!)
I hope everyone had a wonderful Turkey Day.
I arrived in Langhorne at 8am to register for the Run For Your Health 5 miler. I stretched and ran a warm up and was exhausted, and having second thoughts about running 5 miles on a hilly course I did not know.
The race went off at 9am. I crossed mile one at 7:50 faster than I usually run So I turned it down a little heading for mile two we hit our first uphill and then our first downhill which I took full advantage of. I hit mile two at 16:40 definitely slowing up and struggling with tired legs and breathing. I stopped and walk a second for the water stop. I dug deep and headed to mile 3 which I never saw and have no idea of my time. With 1.5 to go I realized
After was all done I was strangely not tired anymore.
So the end of my 9 month season has finally come. On Sunday I ran the 1/2 marathon in 1:40.13, shattering my previous 2004 PDR record of 1:42.38. Yeah!!!!! I have to personally thank my T3 teammate, Steven Back, who paced me through the first 6 miles. It was a huge advantage for me to have someone to run behind through the crowd and he gave me some great
This victory has really been important to me. I have obviously have improved my triathlon times over the past two years, but my running has stayed stagnent since 2004 when I ran my best PDR and Broad Street. It felt AWEOME to break one of those long standing records and get back to my first love, running. My next goal is to break 21:00 in the 5k. Wish me luck!!!
My sister, dad, and I woke up at zero o'clock in the morning to head to the start. We took a cab to the ferry terminal, then took the ferry to Staten Island, then took an escalator to a bus, then took a bus to the start.
We then walked and sat down by the Worship Tent, which we chose as a meetup spot because someone told us no one ever goes there and so the adjacent portajohns would be free. I think I was the first and second person to use the portajohn I used, which would be my highest finish of the day.
Nine hours later, the race started. Even though I was in the first corral, the NYPD guys guarding the entrance let in some of their buddies and I started behind a fat cop in a neck brace. He looked like John Belushi except fatter and not funny or dead. I peed into a gatorade bottle.
I felt good and relaxed in the first mile, but there was a lot of weaving and dodging. It was uphill across the Verrazano Bridge, which was named for Giovanni Verrazano, who discovered New York and South Carolina and was later eaten by cannibals.
Up one side in 634 and down the other in 525. In Brooklyn, I hoped to find a pack at about 605 pace, but I wound up finding a pack going 555 pace. I decided to go with them instead of going alone. It felt easy but I knew I was being stupid.
Brooklyn was awesome; it was hard not to feel good. I saw a bunch of friends, including Deirdre. I was running with one guy who was wearing a Brooklyn Track Club jersey and slapping a lot of fives.
I eased off the pace and joined another pack, and around mile 13 one of them cut in front of me at a water stop and I took a short step and hit the ground hard. I did a full somersault. The crowd roared when I got up. Actually, when I think about it, they had really enjoyed me going down and were probably still just roaring from that.
I had been terrified of the Queensboro Bridge, but I flew up it, passing runner after runner after runner. All those hilly runs with John W paid off. I was feeling great and took off down the other side.
Mile 17 on 1st Avenue went by in 551, and I stayed in a pretty good groove to mile 20, where I left the groove rather suddenly. There's a teeny-weeny incline into the Bronx, which felt just horrible.
There was a big screen TV where you could see yourself, but I couldn't look. My miles slowed into the 630s. It wasn't like it hurt, I just felt very heavy. I was passing tons of people who apparently felt heavier than me, though.
Things didn't get worse, at least, and I kept going down 5th Avenue. For some reason I just kept thinking everything would be better once I got into Central Park. I saw some friends at 96th St and I expected them to be horrified when they saw how bad I looked, but they just gave high fives and cheered, so I figured I must be okay.
I passed that guy in the Brooklyn jersey, and his torso was at a 90 degree angle to his legs.
I saw Deirdre again in the park, which was awesome. I did consider that she had possibly covered more ground than me and done it faster than me, though.
The finish was great, as advertised. They have signs at 400-, 300-, 200-, and 100- meters to go, and I think I passed one paralyzed runner at each of those signs. I crossed the line in 242 something and felt weirdly normal. It seemed like the whole thing had flown by in half an hour or so.
I left the park and met my girlfriend Nora in a bar at 73rd and Amsterdam. She marveled at how much salt I had on my face and bought me a beer. Usually I would have been embarrassed to be in a bar wearing only a foil cape, short shorts, and a salt mask but the beer was good and everybody was congratulating me so I felt okay.
A week later and I'm finally recovered enough to tell the story.....
The race starting area was extremely well organized. There were so many porto-johns everywhere that you never had to wait more than a minute for one. It was every anxious runner's dream. And, it was a beautiful sunny morning to boot. At 9:45 we parted ways and walked to our respective corrals with ease. After 10 the gun went off and up the Verrazano bridge we went. I was careful not to gun it too fast, and I wanted to enjoy the fantastic view of the manhattan skyline from the top. Up and down in 7:40 and 6:00, respectively. The next several miles were through the streets of Brooklyn. Crowd support was great, with many families handing out cups of liquid and kids cheering and high fiving in the streets. In fact, they were so close I almost tripped on a couple of them. I was very relaxed at this point, and maintained a 6:45-6:50 pace very comfortably through the half. I was a human metronome.
The last few miles were a not so pleasant stroll through Central park. I saw Deidre cheering at mile 25 and she told me that I looked good. I guess everyone else around me looked worse. At the "0.5 miles to go" sign I was at 2:58:15, and thought-Ok, don't kill yourself and you'll pull a 3:02- not bad. By this point however, I was in really rough shape, and by the time I was 100 meters from the finish line I was already past 3:02! Shit! Do or die time now-I sprinted it in and passed 3 people along the way for a time of 3:02:56. In running, we round DOWN, so it counts as 3:02.
All in all I could not have done any better, and the experience of running of NYC was great. That said, I have no desire to do it again anytime within the next 20 years.
This also completes a marathon goal that I've been working towards for a awhile now: to run a marathon in all of the major northeast US cities. With Marine Corps (DC)-2005, Philly-2006, Boston-2007, and NYC-2007, my quartet is complete. Whats next- who knows?
And so the story begins, finally, my first "race" of the year. After taking the winter off after my awesome Chicago Marathon (I just re-read my LBRR, I had such a good time at that one) I finally broke down in February and saw a doctor for the foot pain that wouldn't go away. After X-rays and an MRI, I spent a large part of March/April on crutches, and have now completed 6-8 weeks of physical therapy. Finally I felt good enough to try and get back on the road. Was I cleared by my doctor, HELL NO, but I had registered and paid like $150 for this race (back before I was injured) so I was doing this race.
Heading into the race, I had actually only run 2 or 3 miles in 2007, and none of them at better than a 12 minute pace. I went into the race knowing that the swim wouldn’t hurt, the bike would be okay but slow and the run would be.... interesting.
Not training for a race I think sometimes makes the race more exciting. Honestly, if you don't train at all, the race can become so much more unpredictable. Would I finish? Would I drown? Would I win? Who knew?
At 7:55 a.m., after waiting an hour at the start, the final wave finally went off. I hadn't swam (swum?) this winter out of sheer boredom with indoor swimming training. Obviously I should have trained as I took about 10 minutes more time than last year. It was slow but all things considered, a success. 46:03, a new personal worst on the swim. Still, I came out of the water smiling and feeling good.
Heading into the bike, I felt more confident than the swim since riding my bike had become part of my physical therapy. The bike course is oddly challenging for an inner-city bike course, but I think it is probably what makes the race so highly thought of. I hopped on my bike and began to peddle down MLK drive. As I got up Strawberry mansion hill, I was dead and actually had to walk the bike about 100 yards up Chamounix Mansion hill. I have never had to walk on the bike portion (even in a half-ironman) before so I was nervous that this would be a long day. However, I was able to hop back on and bike the rest of the first loop, which actually has worse hills later in the loop. I saw the Maio's who were out cheering (without cowbell) near the art museum. Confidence restored, I headed back around for loop 2 and hit the same wall on Chamounix Hill again, no idea why. No other problems on the bike and I finished in 1:43:55 (14.3 mph), another personal worst!!
But all of this was simply prelude to the run, which used to be something I looked forward to in a tri but not so much this time. After racking my bike, I took some gentle steps out of the transition area and began a jog (it was sloooowwwwww). After getting on MLK, after a few tenths of a mile a dull pain in the left foot appeared and my heart sank a bit. I miss running but even more so I hate walking in races. I began to walk a bit and tried loosening up all my muscles to (maybe?) support the foot better. After about a few tenths more, I began the jog again and it still hurt but i wanted to see what would happen. After a while, I hit the mile 1 mark for a 16-minute mile. But, I was till jogging and not walking.
Kevin was at the mile 1 stop, the 3rd PR person I had seen cheering on course. I was able to hold my "stride" and the pain seemed to be lightening so I was ecstatic. I made the turn on MLK back towards the museum and there was a crowd of about 10 people (with cowbells) that came at just the right time. I was happy to run slowly so long as it was running. At this point, near mile 2, the Maio's came along on their bikes and rode alongside me. I'm sure their pacing is a violation of some USAT rule but the course marshals were probably already drunk by this time.
We enjoyed a conversation about my foot pain and somehow I was actually able to keep it at around a 14 minute pace. We separated around mile 2.5-3 and I was still feeling okay. The next 2 miles on MLK were in the beaming sun with no shade so that was a bit draining. At mile 4.5, Biz became my new illegal pacer and I was ready to bring the race home. The Maio's reappeared again at mile 5 and we all had a good time coming back towards the finish as casual cyclists were riding next to (and directly at) runners all over the course. Good times.
Finished the run in a ghastly 1:30:53 (14:39 pace and you guessed it, a personal worst) and I was spent. Including transitions, I finished in 4:09:52, a full 48 minutes slower than last year's Duathlon and 31 minutes slower than 2005.
At the end of the day, I didn't care. It felt so good to be out there again competing against people I don't know. Sure, i only beat senior citizens and some team-in-training folks, but that's okay. This year has been going pretty well thus far. I think the Phillies have really got a chance this year, the new job's going great, friends and family are all well and somehow my car somehow still runs.
If only this stupid foot would heal life would be perfect. Heading towards my dreaded 30th birthday, I suppose a slight reminder of my age isn't so bad.
The Run the Monk 5k in Springfield, PA has a pretty good concept. Some guy dresses up as a monk. If you beat him, you get a free hot dog.
Plan was pretty simple: beat the monk, get my free hot dog, sit on the grass and share a couple beers with the lady. I had no ambitions any greater than that.
Met up with Seebo and warmed up a bit. It was 93 degrees and humid; I was dripping with sweat after five minutes of easy jogging. Also, it struck me as a bad sign that even the parking lot we were running in was on an incline. This would be a hilly one.
It became clear immediately upon seeing the monk that 1) he was drunk, and 2) he was unlikely to stand a chance even if sober. Hot dogs would be ours!
Seebo ran off to throw his shirt in the car just before the race started. He was running back when the gun fired, giving him a nice 10 foot head start on the field, even if he was facing the wrong direction and had the look of a man who was about to get run over by Students Trample Philly Style.
I was in 15th place for the first quarter mile. Everyone went out so fast. I was behind all sorts of people and thought I must be running really slow, which honestly didn't surprise me, as I'd been feeling pretty crappy all week. But many of them died quickly, and I found myself running a couple places behind Seebo, in 6th place. Made quick work of a pony tail dude running in fifth, but I wasn't making up much ground on Seebo. I passed mile 1 in 5:15.
Mile 2 was much more uphill than downhill. I caught Seebo at the top of a long downhill, and thought I could pull away if I opened it up, but he stayed with me and passed me again by the time we got to the bottom. It actually said "The Bottom" on the road when we got there.
I decided to try and pass him hard and fast, and gave a good little surge at the bottom of the hill that got me around him and within striking distance of the guy ahead of him. I tried to do the same thing with him, to pass decisively, and I managed to get into 3rd. It was just starting to get fun when the finish line appeared. I came in at 16:55. Not my best, but I was really happy considering the heat and the hills.
Seebo came in right after, immediately asking "Where's my hot dog?"
Turns out we got BBQ instead, which in my opinion was vastly superior. We chilled out listening to a cover band and drinking beers until they handed out the awards. I never saw the monk again. I don't think his cloak was Coolmax. He may have died out there.
I recommend this race to anyone who likes beer.
I did it! It's taken five years, but I finally PR'ed by 30 seconds! It's not the 1:05:00 that I was shooting for, but it's still a PR! And, more importantly I think, is that I ran the whole thing by myself. Kept some people I didn't know within sight and traded off places with a few others, but not really running together.
On to the breakdown...
I didn't see many Philly Runners at the start - saw Goat, Bike Mike, and Gary. Bike Mike said he was considering a 6:30 pace (just what I wanted) but he hadn't been training much lately, so he wasn't sure what he'd be able to do. Then, about 3 minutes before the start, Mike decided he needed a bathroom break. Oh well, I guess I'll see him out on the course.
Shortly after the start, some woman tripped or otherwise fell somewhere off to my right (I was far left). Not sure what happened, but I imagine that it couldn't have been pretty with nearly 18,000 people around. (Short aside: As much as I don't like them, I think it's time to use start corrals based on a proven qualifying time. If they can do it for the Bolder Boulder 10K with over 40,000 people, then it can be done here.)
Anyway, Mile 1 in 6:23. Perfect! Right where I want to be. Mile 2 in 6:20; I'm still staying far left and feeling pretty good. I finally see Mike just after Mile 2 and say hi. I thought we would stick together, but apparently I was wrong. (Sorry about that, Mike.) Mile 3 in 6:25 - got a few seconds in the bank to play with and just need to keep going.
Mile 4 in 6:29 (actually a fraction under 6:30). Mile 5 in 6:30 even. I'm halfway home and on target, but starting to breathe a little heavy. This is what happens running solo - nothing to take my mind off any creeping fatigue. Mile 6 in 6:38. Damn! Starting to slip a little, but this isn't too bad. Mile 7 in 6:45. Ouch! Now I'm really starting to feel a little wiped.
Mile 8 in 6:49. Oh, no, not again. This would be my typical racing performance of a good start followed by a rapid fade. But wait! My total time at Mile 8 is 52:24, meaning that if I can run the last two miles under 7:00, I have a shot at a PR! Holy crap!
At this point, I'm fueled by pure will power: I'm going to put in whatever I've got left to hit that PR. Mile 9 in 6:40. I'm speeding up a little bit, but that's good. I now start obsessive checking my watch more frequently, but I really have no idea how much farther I've got to go until I hit the entrance to the Naval Yard. This is it, last quarter mile. I don't want to look at the watch. I push it as much as I can.
I hit the line in 1:05:40 - a PR by 30 seconds! Mile 10 in 6:35. I whooped and pumped my fists, probably looking like a loon, but I don't care. And that announcer guy still doesn't call out my name. How many freakin' times do I have to do this race before that will happen?? Though maybe it's a good thing, since there's nothing really punny about my name (according to Victoria, he was a lousy announcer).
Congrats to everybody who ran this race. My race went well, but was not a PR. Actually, it was the slowest of my four BSR's, but I'm still happy with it.
The morning started out with me driving into the city and parking at 23rd and Arch. Although this means getting on the subway at city hall and not having a seat, the drive is shorter and I didn't have to deal with the craziness of parking at the finish line. Walked over to the subway, with a bathroom break at the conveniently located Crowne Plaza hotel. Got on the subway and ran into Dave.
Got to the start line and ran into another Dave, and Rach, Reese, Andy and tall Scott. They were hanging out in the 8-9 minute area, so I pretty much stayed there. The race started right on time and we were off. I quickly lost everybody, but that was sort of intentional, sorry guys, I am more comfortable racing alone these days. My goal was to stay below 8:30. I turned off the automatic splits on my watch because they aren't always accurate and I wanted the exact splits.
Mile 1 was 8:59. Well, it's usually slow. Mile 2 was 8:19, about where I wanted to be. Mile 3 was 8:33, 4 was 8:19 and 5 was 8:30. I missed mile 6, I think that is right by City Hall, 6&7 were 17:13, a little on the slow side. 8 was 8:31, still a tad slow, and 9 was 8:21. My heart rate had stayed in the 155-60 range for most of the race, but went way up towards the end. I tried to finish fast, but it was hard to tell how fast I was going with so many people around. The race was noticeably more crowded this year, even with South Broad open to runners. I still think there are way too many water stops below City Hall and way too many parked cars and even cars with people in them, I mean, was the road open or closed?
Whatever, I sprinted in as hard as I could at the end, the finish seemed farther down than I had remembered, but it probably always does. The final mile turned out to be 7:57 with a final time of 1:24:45, just under 8:30/mi. I wished I had pushed some of those 8:30+ miles a bit harder, I think I had it in me. Whatever, a beautiful day and a beautiful race. The weather was just about perfect. Don't know what was up with all those fire hydrants, totally unneeded on a cool day like today.
Ran into Monika at the end, then headed over to the massive running club tailgate party in FDR park. Special thanks to Gary, who brought some food and a grill, and special thanks to Wissahickon Wanders for letting us use their grill when we couldn't get Gary's to work. Actually, it was just about hot enough by the time we had finished eating. Not too many Philly Runners there, don't know where everybody was, perhaps next year we can get more people tailgating.
Congrats to all, I'll see you on the Loop.
For one reason or another reason I never entered the Broadstreet run. Having done several editions of other local races like the PDR and Philly Marathon.
This year is different. With my bib pinned to my chest I set out to complete the downhill extravaganza. Weather conditions seemed optimal. Well yes, especially if you count the hefty tailwind.
My goal was to run 65 minutes which (I figured) would roughly translate into 63 given the downward trend of the course. Perhaps the tailwind would make this even more interesting.
After getting some last minute instructions from a senior who ran the first and every broad street race, except two, I set out to complete the race.
Not too many people cheering in the first 2 miles, but who wants to get up before 8:30 ... After mile 3 the crowd support turned up "philly style" and plenty of music and encourage ment came our way. My miles were pretty steady, just a tad above 6 minute miles.
The title must give it away because this is likely one of my more boring race reports. I remember yelling at Kevin at Bainbridge who seemed vocal and engaged in the race but not enough to see recognize me behind my shades.
And I remember the rocky song with 2 miles to go. At that stage a group of runners (including me) had been running together for a while and we were in for a pretty smooth stretch to the finish. Which was achieved at 61:03.
I saw Rick, who changed careers and lives in Virginia now at the finish (I believe he finished in 60 flat) and of course a pack of sub 60 (ehh, minutes) Philly Runner studs (John, Steve & Ian).
This is only my second broad street run, but I think I figured out what to do during the first one. Run south for 10 miles as fast as you can. With this complex strategy and my typical lack of confidence in my training/ability, I really had no idea how the race was going to turn out. The past two weeks, every mile I put in felt like 10 and my attempt at a “race pace” mile on Friday (~6:50 pace), turned into the hardest 7:45 mile I had ever run. Needless to say, my legs have not been in synch with my head. But with the beautiful weather and no hiccups on my way to the starting line, I felt at ease.
As the race started, I knew that I needed to establish my goal pace early to prove to my legs that they could run that fast and just hope that the rest of me could hold on for all 10 miles. After weaving through the crowds a bit, I checked out my watch and saw an 8:05 with the first mile marker nowhere in sight. Hoping I missed the mile marker, I forged ahead at the same pace and finally saw the 2nd mile marker at around 13:15, well under my goal pace. I dialed back the pace to between 6:45 to 6:50 for the next 4 miles and things went smoothly. Miles 6-8 were increasingly slower to a slowest mile of 7:05 in mile 8. Two years ago I was able to pick the pace back up at this point, and the same thing happened this year. As I passed through the gates to the Navy Yard, I tried to kick with all I had for the last quarter mile… but for whatever reason, the kick was non-existent and I lumbered across the finish line in a chiptime of 68:15, a PR of about a minute and a half. I was happy with my race and it really excited me about what the future may hold for my running. My training has been consistent, but consistently relaxed, so this race gave me a lot of confidence about where my times can go if I put a little more into my training. I know I will never be an elite runner, but I also know that I should be able to cut a lot of time from all my current PRs… though the 4:45 marathon PR will have to wait until next year.
The early morning temperatures weren't looking good for Karen (wife) and Victoria (stepdaughter) to come with me, but things warmed up a bit as the sun came up and I convinced them to come out. We brought Daisy (dog) with us, but it was more of a treat for her since she got to see large spaces of grass and many, many people. I missed this race last year since I was getting married that day (yes, today, April 22, is my anniversary), but the field has definitely grown.
I went through a fairly normal warmup and didn't feel too much one way or the other - decidedly neutral since I had not really raced since November. Plus, my running schedule had been sporadic at best all winter and the recent mid-April cold snap wasn't helping me any. I went out behind a large group of people who clearly didn't belong that far forward; another drawback to charity-related races - too many people too far forward who get in the way. And no, there's no kind way to put that.
Anyway, mile 1 flew by in 5:51. (A bit of history: when I have noticed myself starting that fast, I would slow down on purpose since I knew I couldn't hold that pace for the entire 5K.) I didn't purposely slow down this time since I was feeling pretty good. It's just that it didn't seem like a 5:51 mile; I wasn't working as hard as I thought I should have been to hit that number. Another thing that always got me on the out and back course is slowing down heading into the U-turn and then getting back on pace where I was before. I always managed to mess that up by not getting back to my original pace. But, Mile 2 in 6:00. I must have been doing something right.
I was trying to concentrate on staying close to the people in front of me. At least they had writing on their shirts so I could focus on that. Mile 3 (yes, there was a marker there) in 6:19. Holy cow, I could PR! I hit the line at 18:57, good for a 23 second PR!
The first thought after was: was that right? Could I have possibly PR'ed? Was the course short? The reasons for my skepticism were that: (1) I hadn't been putting in the workouts that would result in a PR; winter runs were purely maintenance and I haven't done any speed work in a long time and (2) I didn't think I could PR by that much! I figured it would be a 5-10 second drop and I welcomed any incremental improvement.
I'm still really excited by this. Now I need to take that (whatever the heck "that" might be) over to Broad Street in two weeks and see if I can PR there (previous best, 1:06:10 in 2002). I'm going to need some help with that, so if there's anyone who's looking to run a 6:30 pace (or slightly faster) for Broad Street, please let me know.
This is going to be a Clean Air 5K and Penn Relays 20K combined LBRR, since for some reason I did both this weekend.
The weather was beautiful for the 5K and that certainly helped. As Steve noted, there were also plenty of people running including a huge number of Students Run Philly Style. I started out with Monika and Michelle. Monika quickly smoked me and I lost track of Michelle, but apparently she was right behind me most of the time. Elizabeth smoked me too somewhere around mile 2 for what I understand was a huge PR. I was planning on taking it easy on the 5K since I was doing the 20K the next day, but I ended up doing the 5K much faster than I expected. Nowhere near a PR, but I was happy with the time, since I haven't been training for speed lately. My time was 24:12 with the automatic splits from my watch being 7:44, 7:49, 7:44. I was very happy with the nice, even pace. Sometimes an even pace means as much as a PR because it means I am doing something right. My worst races have always been starting out too fast and coming in dying. So I'm happy when I don't do that.
I showed up at Franklin Field this morning at 7:30am for the 20K. I had never run this race before but decided I felt like doing something longer, so I signed up. Not too many Philly Runners here, Chris, Jamie L, and her sister, Rachel, a sometimes Philly Runner. I ended up running the entire race with a guy named Simon, who I met at Jamie's Wellness Community fundraiser on Friday night. I wanted to run this race at an 8:30-9 pace and most miles were between 8:40 and 8:50, so I was pretty happy with that. My watch was a little messed up today so I don't have the exact splits. The race goes up 33rd Street and then cuts over to 31st. Then across the Spring Garden Bridge and down and around and out on West River Drive. Over the East Falls Bridge, in on Kelly a bit, turn around and finish up the same way with a final lap around Franklin Field. A little warm for my taste today, esp for this distance. And I probably could have brought it in a bit faster the last few miles. My final time was 1:47:54. Higlight of the race was watching Chris smoke by at what was mile 4-5 for me and 7-8 for him. Nobody else was anywhere near him. I cheered him on and he, in turn, cheered me on. Jamie and Rachel finished up a few minutes behind me. All in all, a nice adrenaline-filled weekend. Broad Street is in two weeks and I am determined to push myself harder for that race.
Seebo and I set out to run as hard as we could for as long as we could. I told my girlfriend Nora and all my friends not to come watch because I might vomit or end up crawling to the finish. This was actually an incentive for Nora, but she was kind enough to stay home anyway.
On the start line, I stood between Seebo and this kid from Students Run Philly Style. He told me his best 3 mile time was 21 minutes. When the gun went off he took off at a full sprint. When we passed him two hundred meters later he looked like he was going to die.
Seebo and I traded the lead back and forth for a little while, and hit mile one in 4:59. "I have never seen one of those before," I said.
This race has an annoying turnaround around a cone. Anyone who has ever run with me knows I usually do a double or triple backflip roundoff when there's a turnaround, but here I was too focused on the race to do any gymnastics this time.
We kept at it, going through mile two in 4:59. We heard lots of cheers from Philly Runners and others on our way back, which was nice but also embarrassing because I am sure we looked horrible. While I was maintaining effort, I'm pretty sure we were slowing down.
When we got to the bridge that meant about a quarter mile to go I thought my legs were going to stop working. Seebo pulled ahead and stayed there. I didn't even think of chasing him. I think I'd forgotten it was a race and was just focused on public self-flagellation.
I came in a step behind him in a PR 15:53. Our team, Emission Impossible Presented by Hummer, ended up winning the male team division even though we were co-ed.
It was a good weekend up in my homeland of Mass. w good ole New England weather to boot. Seriously, the Nor'Easter cleared up a lot for the race and we really lucked out. Just some leftover wind to slow us down.
The rain had been sporadic and light since getting off the bus but it started coming down heavy as I headed to my corral. I got into the corral with a few minutes to spare and miraculously the rain stopped just before the start. I didn’t know it at the time, but it would only return for a couple brief periods during the race.
Actually, during the race the weather didn’t seem like a huge factor. The wind was virtually nonexistent for the first 5 miles and then popped up hear and there often at especially bad times such as a big hill but overall I didn’t think about it much. It was 48 and overcast, great racing conditions. It obviously had an effect when you look at the male and female winning times, the slowest for the males since 1977, but for me it was hard to notice a big difference during the race. So I am going to shut up about it.
I promised myself to hold back in the first couple miles but it was hard to gauge on the steep downhill. First mile went by in about 7:20 and the second was just over 6:40. I was feeling great, finding my groove early and was plugging away. It was mostly downhill for the first several miles with some uphill mixed in. The course passed by a lot of single homes with families out there cheering us on. It was nice.
Surprisingly I saw Devon at about mile 4, said a quick hi and tried to ignore a cramp that had popped up in my stomach. A ½ mile later the cramp was gone as quickly as it had come and I was just trying to take it all in. The miles were going by quickly and they were all at, or just below my goal pace of 6:48. Before I knew it mile 10 passed, I was on pace and was feeling OK. Not terrific but definitely not bad. My breathing was smooth and I didn’t feel like I was pushing to hard.
I was concentrating on splits as we went by mile 12 and I had forgotten all about the girls at Wellesley College. The wind was blowing from that direction and on the wind I suddenly picked up the sound of a 1000 screaming girls. “My God! People aren’t exaggerating; you really can hear them a ½ mile away.” Like a distant roar that grew louder with each step. I have heard a lot of build up on this portion of the course from people who had run Boston and honestly I didn't think it had a chance of meeting my expectations... it exceeded them, even on a wet windy day.
I couldn’t help but join in the excitement as I ran by. I was giving out high fives like they were going out of style, cupping my hand to my ear and getting bowled over by the increase in screams. It was the perfect pick up as you head up a hill and into the second half of the race. It's also the reason mile 13 went by in 6:37, despite a hill.
This was where the marathon really started and I was just counting up the miles we approached the hills in Newton. Miles 14-16 were fairly uneventful, generally downhill and I just tried to keep an even pace and save some energy for what I knew was ahead. The first real hill was in mile 17, up and over Interstate 95.
I was feeling decent and I tried to slowly pass people as we went up the hill, not flying just making sure I wasn’t falling off the pace. Mile 17 went by in 7:05. I was happy with that. This was followed by more downhill and then a hard turn at the fire house and on to the Newton Hills.
At mile 18 in a marathon you are never feeling terrific but I knew I felt decent enough and was confident I’d able to get over these hills without losing to much. Thinking back about these hills I can’t really remember everything exactly. I was getting a little hazy as can sometimes happen later in the marathon. I can remember repeatedly thinking “This ain’t over until you pass that mile 21 marker, keep on it” The hills were about as hard as I thought they would be after balancing all the hype you hear about them against the experiences of people who actually have run them.
I wasn’t feeling to hot at this point but I knew if I kept the pace sub 7:00 I was going to break 3 hours. Before the race I had imagined this exact situation and thought if I could get myself to this point I would be able to hold until the finish. What you imagine isn’t always what comes true.
My body was revolting, it wasn’t a sudden thing but slowly building with every mile. I was pushing and pushing just praying that the splits wouldn’t start to tail off. I remember passing Boston College and turning onto Beacon Street but my concentration wasn’t too great. When the crowd kind fades off into the back ground both audibly and visually I know I am pushing myself into territory where things can quickly get bad. I was worried I was hitting the wall but didn’t want to drop off the pace.
In the Chicago marathon I never got to this point. I was fatigued racing towards the finish but always in total control. Chicago had dulled the memory of how things can get when you are pushing yourself at the end of a marathon and now in Boston I was getting a strong reminder. Mile 22 – 6:52, “one down, 4 to go”. Mile 23 - 7:07, “Shit, pick it up”. Mile 24 - 6:57 “Maybe I have a shot”.
I now had 15 minutes left and 2.1 miles to go. I couldn’t precisely calculate things at the time but I knew I was going to need to speed things up to pull this off, it just was not happening. It wasn’t a total collapse I just couldn’t seem to move faster or even hold my pace. Mile 25 - 8:03. A sub 3:00 finish was now out of reach. I was let down and whined about it in my head for a minute or two but quickly realized I was going to PR in Boston, on a shitty ass day, and I had less than a mile to go. I am going to enjoy it.
I forced, what must have looked like the smile of madman, onto my face and concentrated on keeping up my 8:00 minute pace until I crossed that line. My mood followed the smile and I turned onto Boylston, saw the finish and despite how I felt physically, I was mentally elated. I crossed the line and waddled through the finish area. 3:02:45
I looked through all other Philly Runner finish times and it seems everybody had a decent day despite the weather. Congratulations to all the racers and big props to Michelle, Ryan, and Devon who came up to cheer us along on a nasty day.
Jesus, Claire, and I went out to Reading for the Mt.Penn Mudfest 15k on Saturday. Being the day before Easter, it was a big day for Jesus.
Before things started, Race director Ron handed out raw eggs to ten lucky racers. If they returned from the treacherous, rocky course with them intact, they'd be rewarded, possibly with scrambled eggs.
As with any race, we took off when a pig was fired via slingshot into the air. Twenty or so people took off to the lead, and many of them didn't realize that they would soon be crying.
Jesus and I ran together, working our way into a front pack of five or six guys. I stopped to tie my shoe. While I fell back a few places, I'd learn later that the biggest consequence of stopping was that I stepped off the trail right before there was a big box of marshmallow Peeps right there for the taking, and I missed it.
Eventually I caught up to Jesus again, after an unrunnable section of logs and brush. We ran together, crossing several manhood-shrinkingly cold streams. The freezing water numbs your feet and when you hit the trail again, it feels like your feet are big stones.
I felt really good until I fell on a rock. I bloodied most parts of me (fortunately my manhood had been shrunk out of the way of danger) and sprained my ankle. I'd hoped there'd be another stream crossing to ice it in, but at least there was a margarita stop. Jesus waited for me there, and I took a beer and a margarita.
The tequila made me reconsider dropping out to heal my ankle, and Jesus and I finished together. We did somersaults across the finish line but they said his foot hit first so they gave him fifth place and me sixth place. This means his piggy bank award is higher than my piggy bank award.
The EMTs inspected my foot. I don't know if they were really EMTs or if they had just got a good deal on an ambulance from a used car dealer. They basically concluded that I had an injury somewhere below my waist.
I started out the day feeling very tired: after sleeping for what felt like three days, I struggled to get out of the bed as if a giant boulder was keeping me trapped in my room. But eventually, I was able to rise and head over to pick up LL.
The racing conditions were far better than the last trail run (see written description and bloody depictions from The Ugly Mudder). It's sad when "better" still has you running through icy streams, climbing over fallen trees, and trudging up hills too steep to run (yeah, so I walked... you wanna fight about it?!). Ian and I ran together for most of the race - he fell behind a couple of times when he had to stop to tie his shoes or remove rocks embedded in his forehead from falling; I fell behind from not being nearly as fast as him.
Though certainly tired, I was feeling okay until a particularly giant hill at mile 7. It was then that I realized I just wanted to drink a beer and go home. The race director must have anticipated such thoughts and had a beer (and margarita) stop at the top of the hill. As I was probably the first runner to request a beer, I was a hero.. for about 10 seconds, at which point Ian came charging towards the table demanding both a beer AND margarita to the great delight of everyone around. We sipped our beverages (and by sipped, I mean spilled over our shirts and faces) over the next half mile.
I felt a second wind and made a small move to catch the next group ahead of us. This lasted about 1/4 mile. Ian, however, was feeling slightly more spry and made a more impressive attempt. Though he significantly cut the gap, he decided to wait for a lumbering Stevus so that we could finish together. We debated finishing in Wheelbarrow fashion, but then decided that it would be embarrassing if we had to give up the attempt due to exhaustion and general upper arm weakness. Instead, we decided to somersault across the finish line in hopes of seeing a photo consisting of just our feet.
We then spent the next hour or two eating hot dogs, candy, and coffee (which was really just hot water and brown crayon). I spent the rest of the day nursing sore legs and an aching stomach.
About 300 people toed the line in front of Lloyd Hall and I as close to the front as I could manage. The race started and I went out at what felt like a conservative pace. As usual a large group of rabbits was ahead of me, 75% of which faded before we reached 1/2 mile mark. I passed several people within the first mile and I could see the leaders pulling away up ahead. No shot at catching them.
I had a few guys within striking distance as I went through the first mile in 5:40. Faster than I expected but that is the way things are in a 5K. Passed one guy in this mile and got right behind another right before the turn around at the Columbia Bridge.
I had slowly been catching him and I bided my time for about a 1/4 mile behind him before trying to pass. He met my surge and we were literally neck and neck for about a 1/4 mile. This had a lot of runner going the other way cheering us on and also kept the pace quick in what normally is a slower portion of the race for me. It was fun to actually be racing someone besides the clock and it definitely improved my time.
He pulled a little ahead of me but I thought I had him if I just held tight for a few and tried to pass again. On the second attempt I was able to get ahead and then concentrated on putting some distance between us and keeping the pace up. There was a another guy ahead and I thought I had a shot at him but upon hearing me coming up behind him he kicked it up a gear and I knew I didn't have shot unless he slowed down.
Prior to the race I thought I might have a shot at sub 18:00 if everything went very well. As I raced along Boathouse Row and I started to realize 18 was in the bag and I think a huge smile popped up on my face. Crossed the line in 17:45 for a 35 second PR and much quicker that I really thought I would race.
I rolled out of bed this morning and jogged over to USP for the second annual Race for Humanity. Okay, I'd actually been up for 2 hours, but it was nice to go to a race that started less than a mile from home. Today was what is typically referred to as ideal race conditions - 45 degrees and overcast.
I'd been getting in some higher mileage weeks of late, but my speed work this winter totals 4.5 fast miles in 2 tempo runs. I thought I might go for sub-19, but knew this was a stretch (forgetting that my PR is 18:47, from last October when I was in much better condition). I lined up at the front of the start, and after the gun saw that there were two guys even more optimistic than me. They went all out, and I shared a laugh with another guy coming out of the gate next to me. Things were pretty well sorted out by a quarter mile; the rabbits had dropped back, and I was in 6th place. I was a little surprised to see that first place was being held by a woman, but I decided that she looked like she knew what she was doing. She was out of sight by the time I hit half a mile.
The course isn't too bad, but not a cakewalk. Mile 1 (6:19 split) is almost entirely uphill. The police were stopping traffic on Baltimore Ave for us; some of the drivers were annoyed by this and I actually heard that there was a confrontation with the police that led to an arrest. I love West Philly! Mile 2 starts includes a shorter, somewhat steeper downhill that passes Erin's house and Clark Park, then we loop back around. I actually took this mile a bit slower (6:30), since I'd reevaluated my goal and decided to go for a sub-20. I found myself in a sort of no-man's land, too far behind the guy in front of me, and not sensing anyone behind me. There were a lot of walkers on this double-loop, though, which prevented the second half from getting too lonely. I picked up a bit for the last 1.1, coming down past the park and back onto the USP campus at 6:20 pace, to finish in 19:48. Last year I came in 8th place in this race, but this year Seebo and Lindsay didn't run, so I was good for 6th, and I think I won my age group. Fast woman won the race outright, in 16:44(!), and I'm not quite sure what she was doing there. I didn't catch her name and thought she might be Michelle Lilienthall, but it turns out that Lilienthall was running in Haddonfield today (16:34).
I waited around forever for the awards, eating pretzels and clementines, but finally had to take off to meet people at my house.
So, Monika and I ventured down to Va. Beach this weekend for the Shamrock Sportsfest. We signed up for the Whale Challenge - which was an 8k on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday. Overall, it was a great weekend.
We arrived on Friday night (after a difficult drive through the ice and snow) and just in time to still make some of the events going on.
I was a bit nervous this weekend since I had run Caesar Rodney on sunday so I tried a "crash" taper and didn't run for three days leading up to the races. Whether or not it was a good idea, it worked. The 8k on Saturday was a good warm up - I ran light, staying just under 9 min/mile...despite wanting to run harder - but I just kept telling myself not to race it or otherwise I would be regretting it come Sunday.
On Sunday, the marathon started at 8am (the 1/2 started at 7am). It was in the 30's but very sunny and a good amount of people out to cheer runners on. Overall, the race went really well - I ran a consistent pace of about 9:45-9:50 - until the end in which I was able to pick it up a bit. I felt strong the whole time and came in at 4:15:26 - 18 minutes under my Philly time, which was very encouraging.
The races/weekend overall were great. Everything was VERY well organized, the course was great, flat, and not at all crowded. Plus, there were free concerts on the beach with limitless free beer (sponsored by Yuengling) straight through from Friday to Sunday. We met a ton of people and have more or less been convinced to go down for the Rock n'Roll half in September which is supposed to be even better. I highly recommend this race for anyone who has ever considered doing it.
Alright, here I go! This has been my best marathon so far, not my fastest but felt the best. This is the 5th marathon I run in 6 months since I got hooked after my first marathon in San Francisco in July '06. I ran the unofficial Philly marathon with Dean Karnazes after SF, two weeks later ran the official Philly marathon, started the year with a poor performance at the Miami Marathon and brought my ego up this past weekend at Virginia Beach.
I lined up w. John, Stevus, and Seebo- who recommended that I run with them the 1st few miles to get settled into pace. Mile 1 was a warmup- went by in 6:35. After mile 2 I felt some spring in my step and started to pull ahead. Seebo told me to ease off. I listened since I figured the guy probably knows what he's talking about. After mile 4 I got adventurous and picked up the pace again. At mile 5 I was at 31:40- just a bit over my goal pace of 6:15 (6:20) including the first slow mile. So far so good.
I took the hills conservatively since I haven't done any hill-work this season outside of my long runs. I handled them really well. John, Stevus, and Seebo passed me again around mile 6, but I caught up with them again when the course flattened out. Seebo sent us off on our way at about mile 8. I felt like a little kid just thrown into a pool......time to swim! I started to pick up the pace and John stayed behind. I saw Chris N passing by in the other direction and gave him 2 thumbs up. After the turnaround I saw many familiar faces and people cheering. At this point all I could manage was a thumb up. My legs still felt great, and I turned up my momentum right into the downhills. I almost didn't want to run harder b/c I had never felt so good that late in a race.
Mile 10 clocked by at 1:03:3x....I figured to beat 1:22 I'd need a 18:30 for the last 5K. I knew this would be a stretch but at least a sub-1:23 was very likely. I tried to speed up on the downhills, but my legs felt a bit rubbery- lactic acid? No worries..just enjoyed the pull of gravity and coasted right thru mile 12. As I was headed up the last forbidden hill my watch read 1:21:xx and thought- "fuck this hill- I'm getting my 1:22". I blew past the guy in front of me and sprinted to the finish w Ian cheering as I ran by. I hit the finish at 1:22:32 and threw my arms up in the air. I was stoked. Never have I felt so strong at the end of a race.
Afterwards was typical post-race deal- commisserating w. friends and eating junk food (those Choc. chip cookies were great- had 4).
I'm still euphoric over the whole experience. Good job to everyone who ran and thank you Seebo for your help.
After checking in, I found a couple people around my pace in Alex G and Steve G, so the plan was to run the first few miles with them and then reasses and adjust pace from there. In my past two CRs, I have always started off way to fast and then died at the end so my goal was to start at around 7:25 miles and work my way down from there.
After the cannon went off to signal the start, the first miles flew by in just over 7:00 min/mile pace. I was concerned because I had a feeling I knew where this story would end, but sadly I forged ahead (Alex somehow convinced me to keep it up). At some point Steve G. left us for a quicker pace. The hills in Miles 4-8 dropped my pace down to about 7:35. Alex and I split up around mile 5 and I embarked on the last 8 miles alone. I eventually caught back up to Steve G (maybe around mile 8) and started seeing some of the faster PRs flying by and yelled my encouragement when I got the chance.
I was able to up the pace a bit on the downhills with a mile or two dropping under 7:00. After mile 12 I knew I was going to get a PR (the time, not the person), but was too scared to look at my watch to figure out how my overall time was shaping up. It seemed easier to just monitor each mile and keep it at the right pace, which at this point of the race was around 7:10, than to look at the big picture of an overall time. I turned the final corner and knew I had run a good race because I was absolutely toast running up the final hill. I finally crossed the finish line in a chip time of 1:35:17, which is over a two minute PR. The win by TEKBOD was icing on the cake, because the blingy medal will go great with my Heelys (the wheels on the back made the downhills much smoother). Though Ian pointed out we wouldn't have one if we were in the Coed group, that is like comparing apples to much faster oranges and that just shouldn't be done.
So I finally beat my time from CR 2 years ago, which is quite a relief for me. My half marathon times have been steadily increasing for the last two years (I think I was up to 1:48 at the PDR this past fall) and it felt good to get back to where I was a couple years ago.
I don't know how my performance stacks up to my previous half-marathons, or even my single previous CR, since the watch is two floors up and I'm just too damned lazy to go get it right now.
Anyway, I did see Goat before the start and figured I would run with him for a while, since the Ben Franklin Bridge Run had gone so well. Unfortunately for me, Goat decided to go to his car to drop off his gear before the start, and I couldn't find him in the lineup chaos. I did have a nice chat with Biz, who I hadn't seen in a very long time.
My goal was to run a "smart" race, and that meant not going out to fast and blowing up part way through. I did catch up to Alex and Goat just after Mile 2. I could see a rough approximation of a group sorta kinda congealing just ahead of us and mentioned that it would be a good idea to try to be part of a larger group, as amorphous as it was.
This, sadly, was just around the first water stop, where Goat slowed to take on water. I thought they would catch back up quickly; I guess I didn't slow (enough). I could hear Goat behind me for a little while, and then he faded out. That "group" managed to dissipate (OK, I've exhausted my supply of SAT words) rather quickly, and I concentrated on about 2 or 3 people who were running near me.
Then the uphill. It's funny - I could remember the scenery from two years ago, but my legs still didn't like it. I know I slowed, since I wasn't going to try to maintain the pace going uphill. Goat caught me somewhere around mile 7 or just after. I ran with him for a few hundred feet and he slipped away - my legs were burning pretty good.
Not much recovery on the flats; just trying to maintain some semblance of a pace. I was spent enough that I didn't really gain anything back on the downhill. If anything, I might have lost a little time, and definitely many places.
As I approached the final hill, I knew what was ahead of me. And by having a small child in the house, my anger has been tempered somewhat - all I could think of on the way up the last hill was that it was "mean" to put it there. Not the expected string of foul language. Final time was around 1:38 something.
I got what I wanted out of this run - knowledge of what I need to do to get ready for Broad St. Now it's time for some serious goal setting!
P.S. Big thanks to Kevin J for the ride!
This was my seventh half-marathon and first Caesar Rodney. I went into this race with very little training and pretty low expectations. I have been pretty slow this year, well off my PR pace (in every distance) of a few years ago. But I knew I could run the 13.1 miles and races always make me push myself harder, so I figured this was worth a shot. Plus pretty much everybody else in our club was signing up for it.
I didn’t run a whole lot in January or February, less than 100 miles each month, whereas normally I run at least 125. I was out with a mysterious calf injury the first two weeks of January and out the first two weeks of a February on a not-so-mysterious vacation. I ran the loop pretty much every Saturday I could and did some longer runs on Sundays, one in the Wissahickon in truly atrocious conditions and also did the Ugly Mudder, which definitely could not be considered training for Caesar Rodney as the entire course was one long sheet of ice (my time for that 7.25 miles was about 25 minutes slower than my Caesar Rodney time).
I toed the line with Reese and Biz. I was supposed to run with Elizabeth Sk, but we never found each other at the start. My goal, if there was one, was to run the race between 8:30-9:00, try to finish fast and come in under 2 hours. The first five miles were 8:57, 8:32, 8:30, 9:02, 8:45. Except for that one slow blip, I was right on target. Reese and Biz pulled away from me somewhere between mile 2 and 3 I think. Since I was happy with my pace and knew there were some hills coming, I decided to stay back and keep some reserve in the tank.
Good thing too as the hills definitely hit me hard. My next four miles were 9:24, 9:41, 9:14, 9:18. I was ok with going above 9:00, but over 9:30 seemed ridiculous and I managed to give it more gas up the hill. I felt good, but I really didn’t know how long the hills would last so I didn’t feel like pushing it too hard. The scenery was really beautiful at this point: park land and gorgeous houses. At this point I was also blowing by Philly Runners like crazy, or, really, they were blowing by me. I noticed the guy in first go by, that would be my teammate Chris, but I honestly didn’t recognize him at the time even though I expected him to be up front. I did notice that there was nobody anywhere near him. Also in there were Craig, John, E-Mike, Shanley, Marita, Megan, Reese, Elizabeth Sk and a bunch of others. Running on the road into oncoming runners was really crazy. I went around whatever that building was that we went around, apparently it might be famous but I wasn’t exactly paying attention. I then ran into Elizabeth and Monika, Liz and Mike Clavelli of NERRC. I don’t think I pushed it hard enough on that first mile back down, I really wasn’t paying attention. Mile 10 was 9:21.
When I got to mile 10 and saw how slow I was still going and realized I only had 5k left and my total time was 1:32:xx, I realized I was going to be cutting it close to get it in under 2 hours. I was also irritated at myself for not having already picked up the pace. So, I picked up the pace. The next three splits were 8:52, 8:18, 8:06. Of course, running down a hill didn’t hurt, although I did have a problem where I kept crossing the middle of the road and almost rolled my ankle a few times on the rut in the double yellow line.
Somewhere along the line I cleared through mile 12, but I missed the marker. I finally looked at my watch and it said 12.6, so I started to really pick up the pace at that point. Then came the last bit. I came cranking around that U-turn at full speed and then hit that final hill. Wow. That was quite a hill. I still wasn’t exactly sure how far the finish line was, but I knew it wasn’t too far and I was really cutting the time close. I gave it everything I had on the hill. My average heart rate for the race was 159; for that last bit it was 184 with a peak of 193. I thought my heart was going to explode right through my chest and land on the street. Final time 1:59:38.
I crossed the line and headed straight for the port-a-john, then turned around to see some others finish. I missed Monika who must have been right behind me, but caught Elizabeth, Liz and Mike from NERRC.
So, even though this race was way off my PR, I was very happy with it. Considering my lack of training, the hills, my unfamiliarity with the course and my lousy PDR last fall, this race totally made my day. The awesome weather certainly helped too.
Here are the SBRR’s for the rest of my team, Philly Running Addicts:
Chris, 1:09:15: Chris deserves special recognition here. Not only was he the first Philly Running Addict, he was first, period. Rock on dude!
Congrats and thanks to all who came out and made this a great day for all of us.
I met up with the Philly Runner crew that was very well represented in Caesar Rodney square before the race. Seebo had graciously offered to pace me for the first half of this race and a few other guys, Chem Steve, Craig, and Stevus decided to join us. The idea was to go out comfortably and ease into a 6:25 pace before hitting the hills between mile 5-7. Then, keep pushing and hold on for the trip back down the hills 10-12, to the finish.
As I had expected Seebo set things up perfectly. After an easy 6:38 for the first mile we hit 6:19 for mile 2, a short mile 3 in 6:05 and long mile 4 in 6:33. I was working, but I felt comfortable and relaxed. Things were going just as I had hoped. The four of us kept a steady pace and reeled in all the people that had gone out to fast.
Mile 5 went by in 6:15 and I was putting in a little more effort than I would have liked but a 5 mile split of 31:4? was just were I wanted to be. Seebo was not only controlling the pace but giving us a few words of wisdom that I digested as I hung on as we went up the hills and tried to stay as close as possible to break any wind. Mile 6 up the hills in 6:24. I was surprised at how quickly that split was, I felt like we had actually slowed down more than that. I took that as good sign. We hit the halfway mark in 41:30, perfect for my goal of 1:23. The man's pacing was dead on. Thanks Seebo.
Mile 7 in 6:40 but unlike mile 6 I was really feeling that 6:40 even though it was slower than the mile before. Thankfully the hills were over but I think my legs held onto their memory for the rest of the race. At this point Seebo gave us some words of encouragement and advice and bid us adieu. He was wisely laying off the pace as his coached had prescribed in prep for his goal race next weekend.
So now it was time to hang on and keep the pace up as we completed a 1.5 mile out and back before heading back down the hills. Mile 8 in 6:20, if I could just keep this pace up things would be in the bag for a 1:23. However, I was starting to struggle, my legs and my breathing were not where I would want them at this point in the race.
Mile 9 in 6:34 and I was pushing, I really expected to feel a little better at this point. I was praying for the downhills and just trying to hold on. Mile 10 went by in 6:29. Faster, but I was really giving it all I had to hit that time. I didn't have much in the bank for the last few miles, even though they were mostly downhill.
Downhill mile 11 in 6:33. Not much I can say about that one. I envisioned 6:05's coming down these hills but I just couldn't get the legs to turn over, I was struggling. Mile 12 in 6:21, faster but still not where I wanted to be.
Things flattened out here and I held on as we made the turn for that final steep hill to the finish. Pushed with what I had left and finished in 1:24:34. I can whine a little about those last few miles but it was a 2 minute PR and I was totally excited to pull off that time.
Congrats to everybody who raced. I love reading these race reports, keep them coming.
What a difference a year makes! Some of you might remember that this race last year was my worst ever!!! I had trained perfectly, but it just wasn't my day and if it wasn't for Erin, I wouldn't have finished the race. That being said I was a little nervous going into the race. Also, my training had been different this year. I had certainly put the long miles in, but I had only been running three days a week and swimming or cycling for days 4 and 5. I wasn't sure how that was going to affect this race.
I had only really talked about pace with Shanely, but she was no where to be found at the start. My goal time was 1:45 with 8mm through most of the race. I began the race with Houston Ben and Megan(not my cousin). Our first mile went by in 8:10 and our second in 7:56. Perfect!!!! At this point Ben decided to let us go so Megan and I and continued our sub-8 pace. I was a little nervous when mile 3 went by in 7:41, but Meg wanted to hold the pace, so I followed suite. (We figured out later that mile 3 was probably a little short). We stayed together through the toughest part of the race, battling the hills and finally getting to that terrible long stretch of road around the pavillion. I was inspired by all the PR's I saw and really felt a strong surge of energy after the hills, so I was slightly in front of Megan, who was running with a friend. At this point Megan took a nasty spill! She picked herself and kept going. Good job girl!!! I lost her around the pavilion and passed mile 9 at 1:11- perfect!!! I took a Gu and tried to get to mile 10 as quickly as I could. Mile 10 passed by at 1:19, right on target and now we are looking at a course PR! Then I heard this pitter-patter behind me and was so happy to see Megan come by! We ran together for a few strides and I cheered her on as she passed me. Talk about being tough!!!! She went on ahead, but I never lost sight of her (she eventually finished 30 second faster). Mile 11 was my fastest at 7:35 and I finally came up that ridiculous hill (glad I did some training in Gladwyn) and crossed the finish line at 1:44.24, a new course record. My hands immediately went up as I had felt like I conquered the world!!!!
It was great soaking in the sun and hanging out with PR's after the race hearing everyone's success stories!
Overall, I felt like I ran a smart race. This is my 4th year of long road races and I can see my experience coming through. I was also thrilled that my Uncle, who had taken a 10+ year break from racing finished the race in 1:31!!
It was a great day and I am looking forward to the season ahead!
My Sunday began with a good omen when Nora, Seebo, and I pulled into Wilmington and passed a secret port-a-john just five blocks from the start, open and unsullied by the anxious bowels of runners. We wouldn't be waiting in any lines this day.
When you realize you have become a person who looks upon a portable outhouse and sees hope, give up.
Anyway, I put on my Team Issue Performance Double Coolmaxx Gatorade T-shirt, and met up with the rest of The Electronic Karate Blitzkreig of Destruction. I never saw Goat, which made me worried for TEKBOD, but apparently he was out there somewhere.
Jeff and I planned to go out at 5:50 pace and see what came of it. Of course, apparently 100 or so people had the same idea, so it was pretty crowded for a little while. Once we got to the baseball stadium, things thinned out a bit and we could get to the real work of taking in the bounty that is Downtown Wilmington’s beauty. Oh, The Banks!
I was feeling relaxed, but not all that speedy. Jeff had fallen off the pace a little bit and I was just moving along into the wind. I really got a boost of energy seeing Chris leading the whole shebang, but after I turned around and saw a guy just a few hundred yards behind me actually holding and licking a lollipop as he ran, the wind left my sails a little bit. Then I saw a bunch of PR folks cruising along and yelling out TEKBOD, which would have brought a tear to my eye if TEKBODs were capable of crying.
I caught up to this dude who always beats me everywhere. We chatted, postulated different explanations for how we had a headwind up the hill and down the hill, and talked about the best way to cut the course. We ran the last couple miles together, and when he pulled away over the last half mile I didn’t have the will to go with him.
Finished in about 1:16 and a half, which is cool with me. I would have liked to have had a little more spring in my legs, but that’s alright. A bunch of PRs came in right behind me, looking great (and by great, I mean miserable) and bettering PRs, which is always great to see. Alex was actually talking expansively to the crowd about how much the hill sucked as he ran up it, breaking his rule of not talking while running up hills, thereby making the hill all the suckier.
TEKBOD secured its third straight victory, and let’s just not mention that technically we got beat by one of the coed teams.
So it was that time of the month (when it is warm enough to rain but cold enough to freeze) and I found myself in the middle of the woods without any cramp-ons; I guess it's no surprise that I wound up with bloody legs by the end. Instead, I wore shoes that resemble ballet slippers and found that they weren't particularly useful while sliding backwards down a teflon-coated hill.
Dubbs, Goat, and I went for a quick warm-up before the start of the race to test out the terrain. Upon realizing that we couldn't ascend the first (small) hill without falling and couldn't descend without dying, we were forced to merely laugh at the choices we have made in our lives that led up to us to running this race. The first couple of miles were somewhat comical. You'd see someone falling down or skidding off the course, and as you call over to see if they're okay, you realize that you have also lost control and are now careening towards the open arms of fallen tree branches. Miles 3&4 were actually runnable and I found myself catching up to the pack who had left me spinning in circles at the start. As soon as I caught them, I spun out.
My hopes of victory now ruined, I resigned to just finishing. I figured that I could at least enjoy the experience by enjoying a frosty beer at the mile 4 water stop. However, the next 1/4 mile was so slippery that more beer landed on my face and shirt than in my mouth. No love for the Jesus.
But running aside, it was a memorable experience. It was definitely great to finish along with all the other Philly Runners; comparing bloody wounds and sliding tales soon became a source of pride, rather than frustration. Congrats to everyone who ran and lived to tell about it. I'll see you again for Caesar Rodney... if I can move my legs by then.
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