Monday, December 05, 2011

Jingle Jog 5K (Collegeville PA)

After only running 4 miles all week to rest my hurting foot, I didn't have too high of expectations for my first 5K in about 6 months. But, I couldn't pass up a race in my home town when I had nothing better to do. With around 200 people behind me I toed the line, expecting a top 10 finish. In most road races lately I aim to finish in the top 5-10% of all finishers. I'm not quite as good at trail racing (yet).

Within a quarter mile the front of the race thinned out to the guy who I could tell would win it all, and a group of about 5 of us separated by about 20 yards. I was third in this bunch with a 16 year old kid just in front of me. He was wearing headphones, a sweatshirt, loose calf-high socks, with ratty black sneakers. All tell tale signs of one of those kids who starts the race in front and finishes about 15 minutes behind. So, I kept at striking distance. But, he refused to fade. He stayed within striking distance of the 2nd place runner in front of him. We stayed in this order until hitting the last mile on the perkiomen trail, with my second mile split matching the first - 6:02. I didn't care much about my time at that point. I was focused on catching and beating these two. I've run this stretch of the perkimoen a million times so I was confident with what the last mile had in store. I quickened my stride at this point, and passed the kid with about 3/4 to go. I kept that up and took over 2nd place with a half mile left. I kept this pace and slowly didn't hear him right behind me anymore. Kym and the kids were waiting about 50 yards from the finish and Kym screamed to me that he was going to catch me. An all out sprint to the end, and I kept my lead. We both finished in 18:25. A PR for me by 64 seconds.

I followed this up with a trail run Sunday morning.  I fell harder than I ever have, bashing my knee.  I'm hoping it's just superficial, but it doesn't feel too good walking today.

Dirty Bird 15K

One week removed from the Philly Marathon I ran the Dirty Bird 15K. I ran the race last year, so I was more prepared for the difficulty of the hills. At least mentally. After a half mile of road, the race turns into the woods and goes straight uphill for a mile. I did my best to get towards the front of the pack before entering the woods as it's very difficult to make any passes in that first uphill. The crowd I started with was a perfect pace for me. Little need to pass or get passed. The next section is straight back downhill and very rocky. I would venture to guess it was somewhere in here that I hurt my foot, but didn't really notice. I actually didn't even know I hurt my foot until the next day and was gimpy for much of the following week. I'm not even sure if it was a real injury or I just tied my shoes too tight. But, anyway, the next few miles of the race are less eventful. Smaller hills where I was passing people on the uphills and getting passed on the downhills. Around mile 5 there's a series of 3 steep climbs and decends. On the second set of inclines I ended up passing all those that were passing me on the downhills for good. The marathon training definitely built a good base to not have to do any walking for a 9 mile race, regardless of how steep these hills were (and they're steep!). With about a quarter mile left I missed a turn and got passed when I had to backtrack about 20 yards. I cut 14 minutes off my time and ended up in 25th place, compared to 148th last year.

Below is my gps of the course elevation changes:

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hitting the Wall

I finished the Philadelphia marathon in a time of 3:18:02. I'm happy with my time, not as much by my performance. I struggled mentally for much of the race, thinking way too much about my splits. It was my third marathon, missing my "A" goal for the third time. Coming away from it, I know that if I ever do another one I need to add in longer training runs. Not distance-wise, but longer times running. All 3 of my 20 miles runs were completed in around 2 hours and 40 minutes. This is just about the time of the marathon where I fell apart the most.

Which brings me to what I want to write thoughts about "hitting the wall"

- The "wall" is not a wall. A wall can be overcome, and then it's in your rearview. When running a marathon, the wall is about 8 miles long. You can rid your mind of thoughts of failure and pain, then 1/4 mile further along, they come back. Fighting through the wall is a 10K process.

- No, it's not a 10K thing. I didn't suddenly hit a breaking point at mile marker 20. Maybe I should have adjusted my gameplan to think of the last 10K as it's own race, but I've never run a 10K. Let alone run one after running 20 miles, so that's kind of a stupid gameplan if you ask me.

- Irrational thoughts run amazingly rampid when you start to break down. Mine included -
- "Look at these people going the other direction. They're so fresh! They're 10 miles behind me, but they'll all probably feel great when they reach mile 24. So lucky!"
- "My toes are killing me. I've never run barefoot, but I think I could do really well running barefoot for these last 3 miles."
- "What's going to get me through this last mile and a half is to stop and do a quad stretch I haven't done in about 2 years" (hamstring nearly exploded)
- "I'm so pissed right now that these last few miles were so clearly mismeasured. Each mile is at least 2 miles in reality."
- "I hate everyone."

Sunday, November 06, 2011

Marathon goals

Two weeks out from the marathon, so I think it's time to set goals for myself.

A+ goal: 1) Stay mentally light the entire race.  26.2 miles of having fun running.  Having fun for me means going fast, and going fast easily.  Never stressing about a split, but knowing the splits are where I'd like them to be.  2) under 3:09:59

B+ Goal: 1)Stay mentally light for as long as possible  Push through the wall.  Finish hard. 2) 3:15

B goal: Stay focused the entire race.  Finish under 3:20

C goal: Under 3:25

D goal: Under 3:30

F goal:  1) Don't get taken away in an ambulance 2) Don't fall on ice/curbs/stray racoons.  3)  Don't cry out of disappointment.

Monday, October 03, 2011

Runner's tonenails

I ran my first 20 miler  (at a pace faster than I'd ever expected) on Saturday and I'm sad to report to those that were around 4 years ago that I'm not yet losing any toenails. As soon as I peel one away I'll be sure to post pictures again.

I ended up running 55 miles last week, and finished September off with 184 miles. 44 more than any other month I've done. I hope to hit 200 miles this month, though I bagged today's lunch run because I'm too damn tired from the Phillies and Eagles sucking.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Saturday morning my parents picked up the kids and I went out for a 19 mile run.  It wasn't easy.  The weather in the Philly area is not yet being marathon friendly as it was about 75 degrees with 100% humidity.  This week I'm scheduled to have my biggest week ever - 50 total miles with a 20 miler on Saturday.  REALLY hoping the weather cools down as they say it will.

I just went back and looked at some of my posts during my runstreak and figured out that since March I've lost 16.5 pounds.  None of my pants fit me anymore and I'm way too lazy to go buy new ones.  I'll probably just start tying them around my waist with an extension cord as my belts don't fit either.

Monday, September 19, 2011

It can't all be wedding cake

Yesterday I ran the best race of my life. A half marathon that I ran 8 minutes faster than I ever have before. I'm still kind of on an emotional high about it.

Tomorrow could be one of the longest days of my life. Kym will be undergoing surgery to remove a tumor from her parotid gland. She/we will be detailing her journey here

Praying for a full recovery.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

It's your fault

Anyone still got my blog in their feeds?  If so, remember that time I live-blogged me ripping my toenails off?  Then bonked during a marathon and made you all promise to never let me do another one?  Well, I'm two and a half month out from doing my 3rd marathon, and I blame you all for not stopping me.  I guess I get a four year itch with these things.

But, this time is different I say!  I'm running about twice as many miles.  I've got twice as many kids, I'm twice as awesome, and twice of two of things I can't remember right now.  So, this is me putting it out there so I can't go back on my word.

Oh, I just remembered something else - I have twice as much fun running now.  How can you double zero fun?  Not sure... but I actually have fun running now.  I know, it's odd.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hurricane Irene Trail run

As the winds of hurricane Irene died down I went out for an ill-advised trail run. The winds had died down, and based on what I saw the waters had died down considerably as well... though they were still extremely high.

There's not normally water here.

One other (barefoot) runner preceded me on the trails:

Friday, April 08, 2011

1 month

Day 22 - 6.85
23 - 2.14
24 - 5.02
25 - 5
26 - 1.08
27 - 3.12
28 - 7.84
29 - 3.17
30 - 5.5
31 - 5
1 month down, 123.34 miles. Feeling stronger than ever. Generally have been going out for 1 in mind and doing 3 to 5. Knee pains gone. Disney next week could be my downfall.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 21 update

Day 16 - 1.02 miles
Day 17 - 3 miles
Day 18 - 5.37 miles
Day 19 - 2.31 miles
Day 20 - 8 miles
Day 21 - 3 miles

Weekly totals
Week 1 - 29.02
Week 2 - 21.88
Week 3 - 27.72

21 straight days of running and feeling good. There was one run last week when it was 40 degrees and raining that I didn't feel up to it, but I got out there for a mile. Kym goes away this weekend, so I'm going to have to find a way to get a run in with the kids. I'm thinking I'll either put them in child watch and run at the gym or have them ride bikes around the neighborhood with me running next to them.

Weight loss update - no change. 21 days of running and I haven't lost a pound since day 3. Is this proof that working out isn't good for you? I think I'm on to something.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

RunStreak Day 15

5 miles in 35:54 on the schukyll

A revolutionary War era trading house on the river. Or maybe not. This is in Valley Forge, but there's no sign saying what it is.

This could be the last of my picture posts. I'm running out of anything interesting to post. It will degenerate to me posting pictures of the horseshit I have to avoid on the trails and I'd rather not go there.

Monday, March 21, 2011

RunStreak Day 14

2.95 miles in 27:54

4 days of nice weather down the drain after one night of rain.

21.88 miles in my 2nd week. I wish I reversed them and did 21 in the 1st and 29 in the second. My knee is still sore, but it hasn't gotten any worse. I blame it on the combo of running on streets last Saturday, then bowling Saturday night, then doing 10 the next morning. Hopefully it gets better soon.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Saturday, March 19, 2011

RunStreak Day 12

7.20 miles at Evansburg in 1:08:21

This portion of the trail has been washed away. Just out of view is a giant sticker bush to prevent you from going left at all.

Friday, March 18, 2011

RunStreak Day 11

1.15 miles in 10:01 around the neighborhood before the sunrise

Thursday, March 17, 2011

RunStreak day 10

5.42 miles at Evnasburg in 52:26

Found a lucky horseshoe on the trail on St. Patty's day. I just looked it up and saw they're good luck unless you hold them upside down and the luck runs out. Oh well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

week 1 thoughts

-Going for a run was a lot easier than expected. I never dreading going out to run, even when it was raining.
-I ran 29 miles, the most in one week since I ran a marathon 4 years ago.
-I didn't plan any runs out, and ran more than expected every time.
-My legs have been tired walking up stairs, but weren't when running.
-I weighed myself after my long run on Sunday and had lost 2 pounds since I started. (184.5-182.5)
-My left knee was hurting after my run yesterday, felt fine this morning, and is now killing me. Could derail this whole thing early.

RunStreak day 7

2.04 miles along the schukyll in 17:20

The Schukyll Trail is a paved path that runs from center city philly to about 30 miles outside the city along the Schukyll River. I've run the "trail" 100 times. During my run the other day I noticed this dirt path next to it, and tried it out at lunch today.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

RunStreak Day 6

10.10 Evansburg trail miles in 1:36:42.

Ran through this calf deep/knee creek twice

Saturday, March 12, 2011

RunStreak Day 5

1.4 miles in 12:07 around the neighborhood

My day: running and brewing

And a bonus lap around the block with my favorite 2 year old

Friday, March 11, 2011

RunStreak day 4

4.00 miles at Evansburg in heavy mud in 38:35

I took a landscape pic, but then though I'd be doing an injustice to trail running to not show how muddy you get after it rains

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

RunStreak Day 2

4.98 trail miles, 46:56.
Day 1 was was 4.35 miles, 41:56

I made the mental commitment to do this yesterday, so I'm counting that too.

I've decided to try a few things, not sure how well it will work out.

- I'll try to take a picture of every run
- I'll try to run 46 unique experiences. Never running the same route more than once.
- Unless it's a treadmill
- Unless I'm running with someone. A few friends are doing Tough Mudder, so I may train with them a little and won't make them bend to my rules.

Today's pic:

This bridge has been out for months. They were tring to fix it, then ended up tearing it down. It cuts the park in half, so I can't get to half of the trails in the park unless I run through the water. Which I'll be sure to do at some point in the next month.


As a not-so-devote Catholic I've skipped the "giving things up" Lent tradition for the past 20 years or so. Inspired by some crazy people, I've decided to give up NOT running for Lent this year. I will try to run at least 1 mile everyday for the next 45 days. (Is Lent 45 days? So, Jesus went to the desert for 40 days, but we're supposed to do something for 45? Doesn't seem fair to me.) I already know I've got a tough task ahead of me. I'd love to not use a treadmill since they're the devil, but with 4 inches of rain expected starting tomorrow, I might be getting off to a tough start. Also, Kym going away for a weekend in April means I'll have to run with Kenslee riding a bike and with Colin in a stroller at least twice. Then, my toughest task will be the 6 days we're spending in Disney the 2nd week of April. Why am I doing this again?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Trail Running

On Halloween of last year I ran a 10 mile trail race and pretty much was instantly addicted. Running through the mud, over rocks and down trees, through rivers and choosing my way through different paths as I go is so much more fun than running on streets. I find myself going out for a 3-4 mile run, then choosing to take paths that I know make my runs closer to 6 miles. I've woken up and happily gone for a run before work in 20 degree weather. I've run in the rain, in the snow, and while snowing. I've run two days after 8 inches of snow fell. I'm finding myself having no desire to do the normal road races I've been doing for the past few years. Just not much interest in that. While running after a snow fall a few weeks ago I snapped some pics in Evansburg Park.

I wear an orange hat when I run so hunters don't shot my ass.

Today I ran the Chilly Cheeks Trail run in Reading, PA. Billed as the hardest (per-mile) race you'll ever do. Climbing hills you have to use your hands to get up, and going down hills you simply can't stop on. Good times

A quick 80 foot hill to finish it out.

Here's my GPS if any future trail runners are looking for info on the race.

600 feet of climbing over 3 miles in the middle then you fly right back down the last mile.