Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #9

September 26, 2012 § Leave a comment

Weekly recap of activity:

  • Monday – None
  • Tuesday – None
  • Wednesday – 3 mile run
  • Thursday – 7 mile run
  • Friday – None
  • Saturday – None
  • Sunday – 10 mile run

So this is obviously one of the least active weeks I have had in a while.  No yoga at all and I skipped a 4 mile run.  In part I think it was a bit difficult to motivate myself after last Sunday’s half-marathon, though it was also a super busy week for me.  I had to be in New Jersey on Friday and Saturday to prepare for and attend the bridal shower of my brother’s fiancée, Nicole.  Here I was asked questions like “How long is a marathon?” more times than you can imagine.  I guess I should not assume this is common knowledge.

I was glad that this week’s long run was only 10 miles (so weird to use the word ‘only’ followed by ’10 miles’).  I had an event to attend on Sunday so I decided to run down to Kelly Drive to eliminate the time it would take to get public transportation.  I left around 7:30AM and I felt horrible during the first couple of miles.  I really was questioning how far I would even make it.  My shorter 3 mile and 7 mile runs earlier in the week felt great, so this was rather upsetting.  However, once I got onto the loop I was feeling pretty good.  I decided to just go out as far as I needed to and back on the loop vs. going out and back and then running home to complete the run.  For some reason running home as part of the run made it seem far less appealing mentally.  My stomach was really bothering me about halfway through and this had to be because of how poorly I ate and hydrated while I was in New Jersey.  I luckily did not have this issue during the half marathon, but of course I treated my body far better the week before.  I stopped at mile when I had the chance 7 and felt fine after that.  So in the end the run was a pretty good one.   I clocked in at 1:39:12 including the times I had to stop for lights/cars on the way there and back and the bathroom stop.  My pace was pretty even as well.  It has been a lot of fun to see myself become a better runner throughout all of this training.  Makes me excited for what is yet to come!

Plans for this week include a long run of 15 miles on Friday and the Dogfish Dash 10K at the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, DE on Sunday.  I am super excited for the Dogfish Dash for the obvious beer-related reasons, but it will also be my first official 10K so I am eager to see how I will do.  My goal is just to finish under 60 minutes.  Then of course I’d like to drink some 60 Minute IPA…or whatever I can get my hands on.

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Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon Race Recap

September 19, 2012 § 1 Comment

On Sunday I ran in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon.  This was my first half marathon race and I am very pleased with my run and the overall experience!

I woke up around 5AM for this race, which seems a bit early.  However it gave me enough time to eat (blueberry bagel with jam), drink a cup of coffee, and prepare.  The race began at the Parkway, which meant I just had to take the 15 trolley down to the area and walk a bit to the start.  I probably arrived there around 7:15 when all was said and done.  It was so exciting to see all of the other runners along with the volunteers and spectators gathering and preparing.  I checked my bag, walked around for a bit, and headed to my corral around 7:50.  The waiting was the worst part of course as I was way back in corral 17.  We actually saw the elite runners loop back around before we even started (the course begins with about a 4.5 mile loop through Center/Old City and back up to the starting area).

Finally we were let out at around 8:25.  I felt like I was doing my best to start off slower, but I realized after about a mile that I was actually moving at a more fast pace for me so I kept trying to slow down a bit during the initial loop around the city.  The course is pretty standard with that first loop and then the last 2/3 or so being the loop along the river.  Mentally this was both good and bad.  Part of me was thinking “Ugh I still have to run the entire loop!” once we got back into the Art Museum area and the other part of me was thinking “Ok I only have to run the loop and then I’m done!”.  I tried to pay more attention to the latter part.

I brought my handheld Nathan water bottle with me (filled with only water) so I didn’t have to get caught up in the chaos of the stands and only stopped twice for Gatorade.  I also brought 3 margarita and 3 black cherry Shot Bloks with me and had two each around miles 4, 8, and 10.5.  I felt really great for almost the entire race and in the end I seemed to really kick it up.  I don’t know if it was adrenaline or what, but I was surprised when I looked at my splits later.

My last 4 miles were all well under 10 minute miles!  I knew I felt fast and strong and during that last stretch I kept wondering if I had been underestimating myself all along (which of course transferred into a deep “running as metaphor” tangent).  However since I was trying not to really pay too much attention to my Garmin I really didn’t know exactly how fast I was going.  I just wanted to go by feel and finish as well as I could.

In the end my official time was 2:10:53 which is an average pace of 9:59 (my Garmin obviously disagrees with the total distance, but I don’t know what happened there)!  Crossing the finish line felt great (except when some jerk sprinted and nearly pushed me over to get in front of the photographer – lame), especially since I wasn’t really struggling to do so at all.  I exceeded my goal of sub-2:15 by more than expected and I am even pretty pleased with how I finished compared to the rest of the field as well.  I know running is all about improving upon your own bests, but it is nice to see that I can hold my own in something that is both so physical and mental when not so long ago neither would have really been possible.

After the race I met up with some runner friends and eventually went out to brunch.  Then I eventually had way too many beers to make up for the ones I didn’t drink the week before the half.  My first beer post-race was a Goose Island Bourbon County Brand Stout, which is perfection any time, but especially after running 13.1 miles!

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #7

September 10, 2012 § 3 Comments

Weekly recap of activity:

  • Monday – None
  • Tuesday – 3 mile run
  • Wednesday – 6 mile run
  • Thursday – 4 mile run
  • Friday – None
  • Saturday – 90 minute vinyasa flow yoga class
  • Sunday – 12 mile run

Fall race season is here!  I mostly had a pretty decent week of training though I must say that some of the runs earlier in the week were a bit of a struggle, particularly Wednesday’s 6 miler.  I did that run in the morning and the humidity was still insane.  But luckily a storm blew through on Saturday and suddenly it actually feels a bit like fall!

I didn’t get out to do my long run until about 5:30PM on Sunday night.  Friday night I went out and had a great time, which also means I was in no shape to run on Saturday morning.  Given that Saturday morning was also terribly humid I didn’t really mind this and went to yoga instead.  Let’s just say I’m becoming a pro at hungover yoga and it helped me feel a bit more human again.  Later in the afternoon I went to a party of a friend from a group I run with which lasted into the evening  and then turned into going out to a couple other places.  I did abstain from drinking hoping my body would forgive me some and rehydrate, but my food consumption was rather terrible as there was so much great food to be had.

Anyway, standing (with a bit of late night dancing thrown in) almost all day/night on Saturday made for some very tired legs.  When I woke up early on Sunday morning I just couldn’t bring myself to get out of bed and run.  I felt like my legs would just be way too tired and that it would be a bust.  Which was a shame because the weather seemed absolutely perfect.  I wasn’t even sure if I was going to get this run in on Sunday at all.  Part of me was leaning toward just resting on Sunday and heading out Monday morning.  But I knew that it was in my best interest to just get out there and go, so that is what I did.

I had 12 miles on the agenda, my longest distance run to-date as I had previously only run 10 miles on a couple of occasions.  So naturally the new territory made me a bit nervous.  I planned on running the entire Kelly Drive loop and then up and back a bit more.  I brought some watered-down Gatorade, Clif Shot Bloks, and Sport Beans with me and had two of the Shot Bloks and about 4 Sport Beans around both mile 4 and mile 8.  They especially seemed to help this time around and I felt more energized and able after eating them on both occasions.  While I started the run off with doubts, by the 4th or 5th mile I started to feel really strong and 12 miles were soon complete.

I steadily and consistently the entire way and felt pretty strong, with one exception – my stomach.  I am not sure I could have made it much further at all without stopping.  It pretty much hit ’emergency’ status toward the end and I made sure that I would finish up right near the ever-so-nasty public restrooms by the start of the loop.  Not that it mattered how nasty they were…

So at this point I am 100% confident that I can do well at the half-marathon and achieve my goal of a time under 2:15 if I don’t have any kind of major digestive system issues that cause me to have to stop.  Which means I really need to begin to focus on what I am eating and drinking this weekend as I still don’t know what the main culprit is.  This is because I have put not effort into even trying to figure that out.  And if I want to run strong I need to figure this out.  While I know it won’t happen before Sunday’s race, I hope that by upping my water intake, lowering my beer intake (insert sad face) and eating a more low-fat, low-fiber, higher carb diet with perhaps some emphasis on limiting dairy almost completely that I can offset some of this.

Philadelphia Marathon Training Week #6

September 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

Weekly recap of activity:

  • Monday – 1.25 mile run
  • Tuesday – 3 mile run
  • Wednesday – None
  • Thursday – 4.4 mile run
  • Friday – 2.68 mile run
  • Saturday – 90 minute vinyasa flow yoga class
  • Sunday – 7 mile run

Well this is late.  Seems like I’m moving rather slowly with everything lately.  I have been in a bit of an odd state of mind lately and Labor Day weekend was filled with socializing and activity that was perhaps done in an attempt to escape from that for a bit.  I got in all 18 miles that were a part of my training plan last week, though a bit more split up than I would have liked (I also ran a few more additional miles that weren’t tracked when taking part in a few volunteer activities).  I was just not really into the idea of running last week (seems as if eating and drinking everything was a bigger part of the agenda), but it did make me feel good to know I at least squeezed everything in.  Even if that meant my weekend long run (as I mentioned last week it was a “stepback” week) took place at 7:30PM on a Sunday night.

Hopefully with September the humidity here will finally die, but as of now it is just as bad as it has been all summer.  I have my 12 mile long run this weekend, which I am both nervous and excited about.  Then the weekend after is the half marathon!  So of course I am now coming to realize that I really need to start preparing my body and mind better, especially once the half is over and I start focusing on 26.2 miles.

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