Tuesday, September 22, 2009

2009 Philadelphia Distance (Training) Run Report

Sometimes you get too comfortable in preparing for a race. Now, mind you, the Philadelphia Distance Run WAS a training run and not necessarily a race for me. But, the weather was nice, I had a nice base since the spring, why not rev the engines and see what this baby can do? 10 miles for my previous long run should be enough, don't you think? Shoes? I'll just use the new ones. I broke them in a bit. I did a seven miler with them just last week. They should be fine. Did I ever wear these socks with these shoes before? Doesn't matter. I'm just using this for a long run to prep for my half marathon in Nova Scotia in three weeks. It will be fine.

(Picture on the right is the site you see as you come into Eakins Oval and the last quarter mile of the race. Picture was taken 2 days before the race. )

It was a beautiful morning to run a race. Ideal weather conditions. Cool with no wind. I was excited to do the race from the start. I got up early. Got down there early. Plenty of time to do the potty line dance. Even ran into a kindergarten/grade school/high school friend of mine in the starting corral I was in. It was going to be good day.

My objective really was to take it easy. I knew I was going to go out somewhat strong but wanted to settle in with a 9:00/9:30 pace. And, I was right. The first three miles were around 8:30 per mile. And, I was feeling good. Very willing to back down and I did. Finally, after four miles, I settled into a target pace.

At around mile six, my right hip started to bother me. What the...? I was slowing down a bit but still within pace. I wanted to hit the seven mile mark at around 1 hour. Yep. Did that. But, what's up with this hip pain? I never had this before. And, then the leg cramps started. So, I had to back off some more.

And, right around mile 10, yes, the furthest I had done for training up to that point, is when the wheels really started to come off. Both hips were hurting. Both legs were cramping. And, now, my left foot was developing blisters on the two small toes. I felt like I was back in the old days when I didn't know how to prep for this race.

I kept on telling myself that this was no surprise. And, it is STILL just part of my training. All I'm doing is running around Lake Galena twice except I'm doing it with 12,000 other people beside me. Well, mainly in front of me.

And, in truth, I did convince myself this was all true. I wasn't upset with myself. I wasn't kicking myself. I started to do a walk/run and kind of enjoyed the experience of just being part of a huge crowd of runners. I looked at my watch and realized that there was no way to finish under 2 hours. And, what's the difference if I finished in 2:01 or 2:04 at this point? And, seriously, it was a beautiful day.

I finished the race in 2:04:19. This was my sixth PDR and it was my third fastest time. I ran a good 10k. And learned a lot about where am I at for the half in Canada in the last 10k. I also learned that I need to be a bit more focus on prepping for a race, training run, walking about town even and not take it for granted. Can't just mail it in. Now, if only my hips would stop hurting.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The 2009 Fall Preview

This was the plan for this fall. Philadelphia Distance Run in September, Valley Harvest Half-marathon in Nova Scotia for October, and to wrap things up, Philadelphia Half marathon in November. Until I saw the price of the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Yikes!!!! A hundred bucks???? And, time was of the essence to make a decision because registration was almost sold out. I wanted to wait until after the Valley Harvest Half to make that decision. Well, as it turns out the decision was made for me as the half is officially sold out. (Sometimes the best plans are the ones you don't make).

In reality, that IS the plan for the fall. I haven't thought about any 5ks or any other races. Doesn't mean I won't do them if I have a free weekend and the weather is nice. I just haven't geared myself towards any. And, I've done this on purpose.

The last few years, I noticed I've burned out at the end especially last year. I had a problem with my Achilles that left me on the sidelines for a number of weeks. Once I started to heal (pardon the pun), I couldn't get back 'into it'. Whatever 'it' was. I found myself focusing so much of my emotion and time to one event that, once it was over, I was drained. I didn't want to run. I didn't want to play racquetball. I was going through the motions. It wasn't fun anymore for me. It just was and nothing more.

So, I thought about it over this year as I was determined to make sure I kept up my mojo over the fall and winter. The key idea I had was to make sure I was having fun. So, I have decided to put future marathons on hold for the time being and readjust my focus on keeping in good enough shape in doing half marathons when I feel like it. In that way, the longest time I'm out there training for any event is no more than an hour or two.

And, I want to continue doing triathlons next year. I had a good time in the one I did but couldn't figure out how to add additional ones to my schedule this year. So, I've made a commitment to myself of, at least, doing 32 laps (roughly equivalent to 1/2 mile) once a week over the fall/winter. The one thing I don't want to do is to start from scratch like I did in March. I also want to figure out how to avoid this dizzyness I get after a swim, like the one I had during the Lake Lenape race. If I can't avoid it, at least, what is the best way to cope with it during a race. And, sometime after the Valley Harvest race, start up my racquetball games with my cousin. Again, fun to do and great cross-training.

So, I'm looking forward to the Philadelphia Distance Run (or PDR in this part of the world). I plan on using this as a training run for Valley Harvest. The longest run I have done, to date, is a 10 miler. I want to run this race in between a 9 to 9:30 pace. The weather forecast seems to be almost perfect though cloud cover at around 9:15a until 10a would be welcomed. (The last mile of the race is a slight long uphill and in full sun. Can be tough when you are trying to finish).

The signs are up in the city. Sounds like a great expo this year with chances to meet up with the likes of Ryan Hall, Catherine Nedereba, Frank Shorter, John Bingham and Constantina Dita (2008 Olympic marathon gold medalist). Let autumn begin. (I'll be runner 7736 in Start Corral 7).

(Notes: This was a media release that was sent to me (imagine that!) that did sound like a lot of fun and a good idea for those that never have a chance to finish in the top 10 of an age group category. I wanted to add it here and hope you agree that it's a great promotional idea for us middle-of-the-packers. Just waiting for a promo from a fast food joint that offer a prize for the 2064 age group placers. Then I have a chance. :-) )

1st, 2nd … 64th Place!
MGD 64 Rewards 64th Place Category Finishers at
2009 ING Philadelphia Distance Run

CHICAGO (September 14, 2009) – To celebrate its first year as the official beer sponsor of the 2009 ING Philadelphia Distance Run, and add a little fun and excitement for runners, MGD 64 today announced it will award an exclusive prize pack to the 64th place finisher in each age category.

MGD 64 prize packs will be awarded to the male and female 64th place finishers* in each of the thirteen age categories. Each winner will receive a gift basket full of fun items including branded apparel, a pedometer, a subscription to Competitor Magazine, Inside Triathlon, Triathlete Magazine or VeloNews, and other great items.

“MGD 64 is the perfect beer for social and active beer drinkers with on-the-go lifestyles. Celebrating the 64th place finishers is a great way to reward runners who are literally on the go,” said Tristi Pfeiffer, MGD 64 marketing manager. “Whether runners place first or 64th, everyone can reward themselves with the fresh, crisp taste of MGD 64.”

In addition to awarding prize packs to the 64th place finishers, MGD 64 will host an experiential area at the pre-race ING Philadelphia Distance Run’s Health & Fitness Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center where legal-drinking-age consumers can receive product information and samples of the 64-calorie beer. And as a post-race reward, MGD 64 invites all legal-drinking-age participants to celebrate their achievement with one free MGD 64 at the beer garden at the Finish Line Festival in Eakins Oval.

“Our partnership with MGD 64 is a great way for us to provide our participants, as well as their friends and families, with the best light beer available,” said Anton Villatoro, event manager for the ING Philadelphia Distance Run. “We utilize our Expo and Finish Line Festival to provide health and fitness products and information for our participants. This is a great setting for a brand such as MGD 64 to introduce its fresh, crisp taste to thousands of people who definitely have something to toast after finishing the race.”

With just 64 calories and 2.4 grams of carbohydrates, MGD 64 has steadily grown in popularity with calorie-conscious consumers since it launched nationally in the summer of 2008. This is the brand’s first year as the official beer sponsor of the eleven-event Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series which hosts races in Nashville, San Diego, Seattle, Chicago, Virginia Beach, Philadelphia, San Jose, Denver, San Antonio, Las Vegas and Phoenix.

*Only participants 21 years and older are eligible to win the MGD 64 prize pack

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Is the 'New' Media Getting Old?

Something has changed in my life (yes, thanks, I still have my job) that I might not be able to post to my blog as often or as much information as I have done in the past. Nothing major, mind you, but it's not as easy for me as it has been in the past.

I also started to notice a trend in the past few months in that, some of my favorite blogs are disappearing or aren't updated as often as they have been in the past. Which leads me to the questions I've been asking myself, 'Is the idea of running blogs going away?' Are people still taking up the idea of creating a new running blog for themselves? Or are we now strictly Facebook, Twitter, or any other new social media users? In other words, is/was blogging just a fad?

I don't have answers just theories. First, in the beginning, people have a specific objective to creating a blog. It's used as a motivational tool because your training for a race is out there for the world to see. Afterall, you don't want to let the world down, do you? And, after you have finished the race, there is nothing else to write about. You've achieved and you've moved on.

Another reason is to let people you know (not just the world) how you are doing in your running reality. But that was before Facebook, MySpace, etc. became familar to all and you can target your audience to only those that YOU know as opposed to letting the whole world know. So, no more blogs because you can just let your FF (Facebook friends) know what you are up to.

And, then you have me. My type. The ones that don't get the opportunity for creative writing in their lives so will take pen to paper or, I guess, keyboard to screen now and bang out some thoughts that are going through their head and wanting to tell someone who might care. Or might not care. But, hey, at least it's out there.

Over the summer, I've thought about shutting down blog production. It's been 2 1/2 years since I started. I had to think 'why am I doing this?' And, more importantly, 'why am I continuing to do this?' I'm pressed for time at work, at home, for my training, for my wife, for my dogs, yada, yada, yada. But, more concerning to me, I started to feel I was not coming up with any new good ideas, thoughts, opinions, words, to express myself. And, I still might not be.

But, in the past 2 1/2 years, I have 'met' some new friends along the way. And, it has been 'met' in a pure virtual way. There are people who I correspond with that I have never physically met before. I don't know what their voice sounds like. If I ran into them on the street, I wouldn't recognize them. But, if these people shut down their blogs, I would wonder forever about their lives, their spouses, their children, their races, everything that I know about them. And, I wonder, if people feel the same way if I decided to shut down my blog. So, I press on. Hoping that my lack of my creativity on some entries is made up by the entries I do feel I was most enjoy doing.

But, what do you think? Is blogging now something 'old'? Do you know people who still start up blogs?

(Notes: I'm going to try something new here. I'm going to run a contest. The winner will be sent a T-shirt from an upcoming race that I do. (It will be up to me which race it is, though. :-) ). Now, the rules are, you can't google or use the internet or do research to find the answer. Now, obviously, I can't enforce that rule but just want to do this for fun. So, just try to guess the answer.

Here's the question: What does Garret Hobart, William Wheeler, William King and Schuyler Colfax have in common?

If you want to guess, please leave a comment with your answer so others can view it. If no one gets it, I will provide clues along the way until someone does. Once we have the right answer, I'll ask the winner to e-mail me their address and shirt size and I will send along a race shirt. (Those who are in the Bucks and Montgomery County areas of Pennsylvania are not eligible to participate as they can run the same race as me to get their T-Shirt. :-) ) Good luck.