Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2009 Race Review - My first year of running

Well who would have thought when I started the Couch to 5K program last November that my running interests would transform into what they have. My little goal of completing a 5K race in February certainly turned into a slight obsession. For 2009 I ended up doing 14 races ranging from 5K to a Full Marathon.

In looking back I'm not sure what hooked me on running. I do feel great during and after. I enjoy the benefits of being able to eat more freely because of the calorie burn it causes. But all in all I think my biggest attraction has been that it's a healthy addiction. I've met some great people and I enjoy setting goals for myself so training and following a schedule has been great.

Here are my 2009 Race Results. It's amazing to see my skill / speed progression on some of the races. My all time lowest pace was in a 5K @ 7:57 pace. (Click Image or here for a better view)

I'm looking forward to some challenges in 2010. I'll be participating in the Bucks County Road Runners Winter Series Races. I've already got 2 marathons on the books and have already started my training. First up will be the Shamrock Marathon in March 21st in Virginia Beach. Then on to the Country Music Marathon on April 24th in Nashville.

Still deciding on a May-June marathon before taking a break and preparing for the fall.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Philadelphia Marathon Report 11/22/09

I DID IT!! I ran my first full marathon. 26.2 miles of fun ... well most of em. Here is my recap.

So after 6 months of training I headed down to the expo Friday night to officially start the race weekend. I got my bib and shirt and race gloves. I had originally registered to finish 4:30-5:00 but planned on trying to run with the 4:15 pace group so I got a corral change completed. I loved they had our names printed on our bibs as I had planned on wearing my name for race encouragement anyway.

Saturday was a day of rest and relaxation. I went to bed around 8:30 PM as I planned on getting up by 4AM. I woke up around midnight wide away thinking of the race ahead. I was able to fall back asleep and before I knew it the alarm was going off and it was time to start my pre long run / race routine. I wore Zensah compression sleeves to help with the calf cramping I had had during some longer runs ... compression gear top and bottom, thin tights and a long sleeve tech shirt. Temps were in the 40's.

At 5 AM I headed out the door to head downtown for my first full marathon. I was surprisingly very calm and felt ready. By 6 AM I had parked and walked to the Rocky Statue at the Philadelphia Art Museum where I met up with my marathon training club for some pictures and last minute encouragement. I trained with USA Fit (Philly) which is a great program around the country to prepare you for your first marathon.

Race start time was 7 AM. It was a chilly morning and I had some throw away clothes on to keep warm until the start. I found my pace group (4:15) and soon enough we were on our way! I ran the first half though though Center City Philadelphia about 2 mins. ahead of pace. About mile 5 our pace leader got tripped and fell pretty hard. She didn't rejoin us until mile 9 or so right when we were hitting the only hills on the course.

I hit the half at 2:06 and was feeling pretty good. I saw my family and was ready to hit the out and back of the second half along the Schuylkill river to Manyunk. About mile 16 I felt nauseated and a headache started brewing. I slowed down a bit and watched my pace group pull away. I was OK with this and decided at that point I just wanted to beat Oprah! (4:29:20)

From there the race totally became mental for me. My legs were feeling heavy and I was not feeling to bad anymore except the headache tried to push on alone. The crowds were great and I did appreciate hearing my name and encouraging words. By mile 18 the head totally took over. I was watching people walking and talked myself into doing the same. I tried to keep it short though and did walk run for a while. I wasn't timing anything, just running till my head said stop and then walked till I felt I could go again. Around mile 23 I was at my worst but was on a very familiar part of the course. I knew mentally how much further I had to go. What landmarks were coming and I was ready to give it all I could to get in and finish as strong as I could and pull some negative splits. I came across the 4:30 pace group and heard them saying they would finish at 4:29. I was ready to pull it in. (more on this later) I went from a 12:58 pace to a 10:32 during mile 26. I was able to run that last mile totally zoned out being pushed by the crowds cheers and cowbells. My finish was officially 4:35:43 - Not making the 4:29 as hoping because DUH TOM ... you started before them!! LOL. I told you I was zoned out not thinking clearly. So I didn't beat Oprah and I'm ok with that. I finished my first full marathon. It's done. I'm a marathon finisher. I FELT AMAZING! My body was ok. I could walk. My head was pounding. But I was happy. I met up with my family for pictures and it started to sink in that the grief I went through getting to the finished was 90% mental. I need to work on that before my March Shamrock Marathon in Virginia Beach.

Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Baltimore Half Marathon Report

Last weekend I ran my 3rd Half Marathon in prep for my Full Marathon in November. These half races have taught me something new each time and bring new experiences I should have before my larger goal of the full.

I arrived in Baltimore Friday afternoon and hit the expo before my hotel. Why do race organizers feel the need to run you in a zig zag back and forth the whole damn expo to get your needed race bib and shirt? I always feel the need to get all my stuff first and THEN I do shop and visit the vendors. I hate they make you do that dance. Anyway on to a nice dinner at the Inner Harbor with friends from my running club and then to the hotel for rest and race prep.

The Full Marathon started at 8AM and the Half at 9:45 so I slept in a bit and walked toward the race start hitting a street that the full marathon runners would be coming down. I was able to catch the wheelchair racers and the Elite runners on the way to my start of the Half.

The city/crowds are great for this race. Many people along the course to cheer you on.

My race started and the sky was a bit overcast and windy. Rain drops and wind started a bit harder around mile 3 but SO DID THE HILLS! Holy moly I had really only ran flat courses till now. It seemed like every turn was another hill. I didn't plan on a PR seeing these conditions.

Baltimore has a guy that has been passing out Gummy Bears around mile 23.5 / 10.5 and from there it's pretty much down hill. When I hit that point I was happy to enjoy a hand full of those bears and laugh for the last few miles seeing the streets covered in the colorful things!

I ended up finishing at 1:57:44 ... 9:00 pace. My prior PR in Philly was 1:57:30 so I was only off a little bit which makes me happy considering the challenges. 1900 / 7813 Overall so withing the top 25%!

Next up ... 26.2 in Philly November 22nd!

Here are a few pictures. Pardon the "proof" markings :)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rest Day - Super Natural Running

Today is a rest day! Tomorrow is the last run before Baltimore on Saturday. It had looked like it was going to be a wet race but fortunately the weather forecast has changed! I think I'll spend tonight getting some things together for the trip. I'll be heading out Friday mid morning to drive down and hit the expo. Then dinner with friends.

That's it for today. Anyone want to head out to Bear Butte Running Camp for some training? LOL Cheers! Tom

Monday, October 5, 2009

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Turning Back Time - Oreos

Here is my first gluttony post!

Growing up I lived across the street from my grandparents. One memory I have is each and every time I would go over as a child, I could get some cookies from the cabinet. My mom-mom and pop-pop always had 2 types of cookies available ... Oreo's and Vienna Fingers.

I used to think these were cookies of old people! Why not chocolate chip or peanut butter? I still ate them though. Flash forward 30+ years and what is my favorite cookie today? Peanut Butter Double Stuf Oreo's!
I like the "regular" kind as well but these are something special for those who love peanut butter and chocolate. I've discovered there are so many different kinds of Oreo cookies available from mint to strawberry! I think I'll stick to these for a while though :) I also love the stay fresh packaging ... Not that they are around that long anyway :)

Here is a recipe for Chocolate Peanut Butter Torte from Annie's Eats I'm dieing to try that uses oreo cookies as a crust. I think it would be even better using the Peanut Butter Oreo's. YUM.

Now - How many miles for how many cookies?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

20 Mile Long Run Prep - Next up Baltimore Half

So today was one of our last 2 USA Fit Philly long runs in prep for the Philadelphia Marathon in November. On the schedule we had 19 miles for the yellow group (9-10 Min. Mile Group) but what was mapped out ended up being 20 miles. I felt so much better on this run then I did on my previous long run of 17 miles just a few weeks ago. I ran the first half or so with the group which made a difference. I'm normally out there alone so it was nice to have the company.

I did the 20.02 miles at a pace of 9:51 min/mi.

About mile 14 - Photo by Mary T.

I used Endurolytes, Gu Gel and Gu Chomps on the run and the combination really seems to be working for me. I had no stomach or GI issues which is great.

Post run I felt pretty good and finally feel like I can actually finish 26.2 miles!

So this week I'm going to take it kind of light since I have the Baltimore Half Marathon on Saturday. I'm not really looking to PR this race since I did so well in at the Philly Distance Run 2 weeks ago. In looking at the course it's going to be a little more challenging with some hills so I'll just be treating this as a race training run. I'll be heading down to the race expo on Friday afternoon then check into my hotel. Helen and Mary from USA Fit Philly are running the full so I'll see if they want to get a bite to eat Friday night.

This race starts the full and half at different times and locations. The full starts at 8AM and the half at 9:45. They join up around mile 13.5 and finish the course together. This should be interesting as it will be my first experience around folks doing a full marathon distance.

So bring on the crabs Baltimore! Show me what you got. I'll probably be back for the full marathon next year!