Monday, May 16, 2016

2016 Wildwood Half Marathon Race Recap

Wildwood, NJ


This was a race that has been on my radar for a few years, and I finally got the chance to run it yesterday morning.

I had planned to sleep in my car Saturday night, but when Tom from my running group heard I was racing as well, he let me know he had an extra room in his beach house and invited me to stay with him.  His entire family was coming down for the weekend, and several more runner friends came over Saturday night for beer, wine and pasta.

We were up on race morning at 5:30, and I made the short drive over to the starting area at 6:30 for a 7:30 start.  The sun had just come up, and it was a beautiful morning for a race.


Starting line at 7am

Parking cost me $5, but I was able to park about twenty feet from the start/finish, which is an amazing feat for a mid-sized race.  It also meant that I didn't have to worry about a bag check.

Also notable was the fact that a half hour before the race, there were still no lines for the porta potties:


If ever there was a case for doing smaller races, that's it right there.

The race had pacers starting at 7 minutes per mile and going all the way up to 11 or 12, and I placed myself next to the 8 minute pacer.  I hadn't really trained much for this, hadn't gone above 7 miles since last November, so I really had no idea how I would fare.  As is usually the case with non-goal races, my only goal was to enjoy the scenery and atmosphere and get in a decent run.  I thought 1:45 might be a reasonable guess as to my fitness level, so I went with that.

We started promptly at 7:30, and quickly ran onto the boardwalk for the first mile or so of the race.  The rest of the course went along the ocean and then out into the bay area, crossing a few bridges in the process.  The wind was fierce, the most intense I've ever experienced in a race, even worse than Philly last fall.  I usually count on at least a little wind when running down the shore, and as I said I wasn't going for a PR, so the wind didn't bother me too much.

At about mile 2; can you spot me in this picture?

I ran the first half of the race conservatively, not wanting to go out too hard in the beginning and completely bomb in the end.  I was feeling remarkably good in the second half of the race, so I started picking up the pace a bit, ultimately cartwheeling across the finish line in 1:33:18, which I thought might make a fun finisher's photo, but backfired as it resulted in a pretty epic crotch shot:



The after party was pretty sweet; there was plenty of food for participants, as well as free beer from the Cape May Brewing Company and several food trucks and a live band.

Tom and his wife Becky, my hosts for the night in Wildwood.



After hanging out for awhile, I took a picture of the medal, got a slice of boardwalk pizza to cap off the morning, then made the drive back to the other side of Jersey.


So, would I recommend this race to any other runners in the New Jersey/Philadelphia area? It turns out that's a loaded question.

Yes, I had a great time hanging out with friends, eating, drinking and of course running, and the race itself was fun and well-organized, but it also turns out the course may have been short by as much as a half mile.  I'll address this in my next post, but I can say now I'm afraid this error might be enough to keep me away from any future editions of this race.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ryan Hall wants you to know he can totally kick your ass now




REDDING, CALIFORNIA - Retired U.S. marathoner and newly buff Ryan Hall was recently spotted strutting around a local Planet Fitness intimidating those around him, sources confirm.

"You even lift, bro?" he reportedly asked a teenager adding weights to his benchpress.  "What do you max out at, bro?  Not gonna lie, I'm at like 300 now."

Hall then removed his shirt and began flexing in the mirror, daring anyone within earshot to come at him.

As the day wore on, Hall showed no sign of relenting.  When a high school cross country team showed up, he began calling them candyasses and telling them to choose a real sport as he ripped a telephone book in two.

"Gosh, Ryan Hall turned into a real douche," said computer programmer Randy Radzminski, who was warming up on the elliptical at the time.  He quickly added, "Please don't tell him I said that."

A manager was finally called over to talk to Hall, at which point witnesses report Hall yelling something about GTL.

At press time, Hall was still in the gym, grunting loudly at his reflection in the mirror while curling free weights and muttering about protein shakes.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Big changes coming to Philadelphia Marathon race weekend

Jen Miller has been lobbying for changes to the Philadelphia Marathon for years.  She wrote about it over a year ago as part of her column in the Philadelphia Inquirer, suggesting many concrete changes that seemed to fall on deaf ears.

Until today, that is.


Imagine her surprise to read a press release from the marathon this afternoon in which they laid out the many major changes coming to the 2016 edition of the race.  Almost every change was something Jen at one time suggested (and even some that I suggested, which I'm sure resulted from my widely read blog post on the subject).

Among the prominent changes:

  • The race leadership will move from the Mayor's office to the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation, the same department that handles the Broad Street Run, the nation's largest 10 miler, and the 6th biggest race of any size.
  • The winner will now receive $10,000, more than double the size of the previous prize purse.
  • The course has been altered to be more runner friendly, including removing the infamous out-and-back across the Falls Bridge that was inexplicably added to the course over five years ago.
  • The half marathon will now take place on Saturday, removing congestion from the course for each race.

I've written about the Philadelphia Marathon a lot.  It's my hometown race.  It was my first marathon ever back in 2005.  I've run it six times and have PR'd each time.  My dad also ran it back in the 80's. I plan to run it many more times in the future, maybe even some day with my own son.  So there's a certain level of investment I have in this race, not to mention a lot of nostalgia, which means I'm happy these changes have finally come to the race I have loved for years in spite of its imperfections.

But it is also incredibly vexing, especially given my performance last fall.  For those new around here: I gave it my all in training last fall in an effort to break 3 hours, only to come up short on race day by a mere one minute and seven seconds.  It's easy to play the what if game in such a scenario; what if I had done more of x?  What if I had done less of y?  What if the course had been altered last year and I didn't have to run that stupid Falls Bridge detour? Would that have made the difference?

I also remember finishing the race last fall and not being able to get any food because the line was too crowded with half marathoners.  Not having to share a finish line or post race food with hordes of half marathoners would have been nice.

Coming to terms with missing my sub 3 goal - what was most likely my only shot at it - has been difficult, and the timing of all of these needed changes feels like rubbing salt in the wound.

But let's not end on such a dour note.  I can't overstate my excitement for the changes to the race and what it will mean for the race's future.  Hopefully people outside of Philly will start to realize what I've been saying for years: this is a fantastic race.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Movie Monday: The Barkley Marathons

What's the hardest thing you've ever done in your life?

Now stop thinking what you did is that hard, you candyass.  You haven't experienced anything until you've done the Barkley Marathons.





Devised three decades ago and inspired by a prison break in which an inmate only covered eight miles across rugged Tennessee mountains in 55 hours, the Barkley Marathons is a race designed to make you suffer.

Over 100 miles.  60 hour time limit.  No aid stations.  No GPS.  Checkpoints consist of tearing pages from books strategically placed along the course.  The registration process is a secret, and while the start day is given, no one knows the start time until the race director blows a conch shell an hour beforehand.

In thirty years, only 14 runners have ever finished.

In 2012, a film crew captured the insanity that is the Barkley Marathons in a documentary, which is currently streaming on Netflix.  I made the mistake of turning it on the other night just before going to bed, expecting to only watch a few minutes of it.  Instead I stayed up way too late to finish it, and then I could barely sleep because I kept thinking about it all night.

The film, and the race itself, show just what people will do to in the name of escaping boredom and doing something meaningful with their lives.  That of course means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but to these unfortunate few, it means nearly killing themselves in the backwoods of Tennessee just to say they did it.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, is the 6 minute trailer for the film:



Now get out and do something painful, you candyass.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

2016 Richard's Run 5k Race Report

I've been looking to do more 5k's this season, so a few days ago I looked at the Haddonfield Running Company's website to see if there were any local races this weekend.  Turns out there was one right at the Cooper River, just a few minutes away from me, so that's where I headed this morning for my second race of the year.


Richard's Run is in its tenth year, and benefits Go 4 the Goal, an organization that helps kids with cancer to achieve their goals.  Every year in the United States, 15,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer, and Go 4 the Goal provides family support and well wishes, and grants for research and hospitals, among other services.


Races at the Cooper all follow the same course: meet at the track and "stadium," then walk a half mile to the start line.  Run the flat and winding path around the river and finish back at the stadium.  It's a nice and scenic course, though it isn't closed for small races, so racers have to share the path with walkers and bikers who don't know a race is going on.

There was a high school boys cross country team that joined the race and seemed to use it as a training run.  They were laughing and joking as we took off and continued to do so until I lost sight of them, and all finished within a minute of each other.  One of them even ran with a small dog named Shadow.  So I got beaten by a dog today.

Final stats:

19:39
9th place overall (out of 123)
1st in age group (out of 12)

One trait I've noticed in my last two races is not pushing as hard as I could towards the end.  I get tired and just want the race to be over and never deliver the final kick that I got really good at with the half marathon distance.  So there's something to work on for the next race.


After the race there were a lot of sponsors handing out post race refreshments, including Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Honey Grow.  The race entry fee of $30 practically paid for itself in refreshments alone.

For my age group win I received a certificate and a prize bag, including three free personal training sessions at a gym nearby, socks, shoelaces, and a $25 gift certificate to Haddonfield Running Company (redeemable with $50 purchase).


It was a perfect spring morning for a race, and though it was small, it was fantastically well run and organized.  Definitely one I would recommend.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Marathon Monday

It's hard being a teacher and being obsessed with the Boston Marathon.  I can't take time off to watch the race on tv or online, because classes must go on.  So I did what I could and followed a bit in-between periods and during my period off, but definitely not the same as dedicating all morning to it. Imagine if they played the Superbowl on a Monday morning.  Now you know my pain.

One of my students came in dressed in a Boston Strong shirt, so naturally I made her take a picture with me:


I'm amazed at the difference in weather that Boston can provide this time of year.  Last year was a slog through wind and rain and 45 degrees, while this year offered a hot and sunny day with no cloud cover at all.  Not sure which I'd prefer, to be honest.  A marathon in either scenario seems pretty rough.

Watching updates on social media all weekend from friends and strangers in Boston has been simultaneously vexing and inspiring.  I love following people and their journeys to Boston, especially first timers, because it makes me reminisce about last year while inspiring me for next year.  But then it makes me a tad berserk that I'm not there with them.

So it's a good thing it looks like I'm headed back next year.  I improved on my PR last fall and I moved up an age group, so I'm sitting on a BQ-8:55.  This means that despite Boston's increasingly difficult standards, I am pretty much guaranteed a spot at next year's race should I decide to enter.  It won't be official until September, but I'm pretty sure Boston 2017 is a go.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Why I'm being investigated for cheating my way into Boston


Apologies for the clickbait title of this post.  You'll see what I mean in a moment.

Well, it's another year, and we have ourselves another story of someone cheating to get into the Boston Marathon.  Last year we had Mike Rossi, he of the 23,000 post thread on letsrun.com (who, for the record, never admitted to any wrong-doing).  This year we have Gia Alvarez, New Jersey mother and running blogger.

Alvarez legitimately qualified for the Boston Marathon twice, but ran neither race due to a miscarriage in 2014 and a pregnancy in 2015.  She ended up giving her 2015 bib to a friend who ran in her place.  This in itself is a big violation, but the major transgression here is that Alvarez then used her friend's BQ time to enter this year's race.  Someone tipped off the BAA, and she consequently earned herself a lifetime ban from the Boston Marathon.  She will never get to run this hallowed race.


To her credit, Alvarez later posted an apology on her blog, though it has naturally sparked a debate in the running community about the fairness of this outcome, with most siding with the BAA.  But it turns out this is only the tip of the iceberg.

According to a recent article on runnersworld.com, there is a man based in Ohio who is personally combing through the thousands of finishing times in last year's Boston Marathon to see if anyone cheated to get there.  Anyone who ran Boston twenty minutes slower than their BQ automatically raises a red flag, at which point Derek Murphy and three of his colleagues begin examining race photos and past race results.  I ran nearly thirty minutes slower than my qualifying time, meaning I was one of the two thousand or so that came under investigation.

According to the article, Murphy has found 47 cheaters so far (with still more data to sift through), and reported all of them to the BAA, though what the BAA will do with this information is hard to say.  He plans to get started on the 2016 race as soon as the results are released.

That so many people are cheating to get into Boston, seemingly more than ever, and that so many people are outraged by it, isn't necessarily a new topic.  Boston being what it is, it inspires not just passion in athleticism, but in the overall culture surrounding it.  And with new runners being added to the fold every year, and the flames of passion fanned by social media, the cult will only continue to grow.

Rather than being indignant over cheating to enter Boston, what interest me are people like Derek Murphy and his website marathoninvestigation.com.  What place do citizen avengers have in the running community?  Should we give ourselves over to vigilante justice when we are convinced officials aren't doing enough?  Is public shaming the answer?

I had a brief exchange with someone on Twitter who is clearly in the "Derek Murphy needs to get a life" camp.


I might have argued that the cheaters are the ones adding to the ugly culture, and the people ferreting them out are thereby cleaning it up, but let's face it, arguing with someone on Twitter is about as fruitful as telling a toddler "no."

Like most people (especially those in New England), I like thinking of the Boston Marathon as the people's race.  Even Dave McGillivray considers himself the caretaker rather than the race director.  So I like thinking of the race as more than just any race, and something that means enough to so many that people are willing to fight for it.

So what do you think, people of the internet?  Does the BAA need average Joes fighting the good fight, or should we all just let the BAA do its job?

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

What's new at Spartan Race

What exactly is Spartan Race?

You don't get out much, do you?  Here's a video to get you up to speed:




Scott, tell us your incredibly interesting history with the Spartan Race.

Ok.

I have no idea what Dan Krueger looks like, or even sounds like.  But he is obviously a strapping gentlemen capable of great character judgement, because two years ago he reached out to me from Spartan Race headquarters, wanting to know if I was willing to write about Spartan Race here on the blog.  He was kind enough to provide two free race entries into any Spartan Race in the U.S., one for me, and one for a lucky reader.

I gave away the race entry, but was unable to use my own free entry.  My son was born that year and consequently things in my life went a little haywire, and I just wasn't able to make it happen.  So I asked Dan if I could get another entry for 2015.  He kindly obliged... and life once again got in the way and I couldn't use my own free entry.

Third time's a charm?  Dan recently reached out again and incredibly offered yet another free entry into the race.  There is a Spartan Sprint coming up in September at the stadium where the Phillies play, and I will do that race come hell or high water.


So what's new?

The reason Dan reached out to me was to let me know that Spartan founder Joe DeSena has a new book coming out called Spartan Fit!, which will be a sequel to his bestseller Spartan Up!














The book is coming out this summer, but the first chapter is available online here, if you want to get a feel for it.  I hope to get a copy soon to read and will of course provide a review here on the blog.


I don't like to read.  What else do you have?

Spartan race is known for its three primary races, the Spartan Sprint (3+ miles and 12+ obstacles), the Spartan Super (8+ miles and 24+ obstacles), and the Spartan Beast (12+ miles and 30+ obstacles).

But for the truly masochistic, Spartan Race recently added a Spartan Endurance series: Hurricane Heat, Hurricane Heat 12 Hour, Ultra Beast, and the new Agoge (a semi-annual retreat in Vermont for Spartan Race Aficionados).

By the way, I love that Spartan Race is one of the few, if any, obstacle races out there to offer a children's version.  You can bet as soon as my son is old enough (4), I'll be bringing him along and getting him into the muddy fun.

But for now, I'm looking forward to the Philly Spartan Sprint on September 24th.  Who's with me?

Thursday, March 31, 2016

March mileage

Another month gone by, and time for another mileage update:

January: 59
February: 70

And March:


73 miles for the month of March.  My weekly long run is with Who's Up? on Wednesday nights.  I had one race this month - the Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k.  Otherwise I'm still just puttering along.

It's been nice taking it easy for so long, but I'm starting to get itchy.  I want to go fast again.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Running in West Virginia

Spring break only lasted 6 days this year, as opposed to the ten we've had in years' past. Stevie and I wanted to go somewhere during the break, just to get out of Jersey for a bit, but didn't want to break the bank doing so.  We settled on an Airbnb on a farm in West Virginia.

Cue the John Denver...

We had an entire house to ourselves that sat opposite a pasture with four enormous draft horses.  They were very friendly and we were allowed to feed them apples and carrots.  There were also four bloodhound puppies that belonged to a neighbor which frequently came over to say hello.  There were only a few other houses in the area; it was otherwise nothing but farmland and hills.  The town was about a mile down the road with a few basic amenities like a gas station, a grocery store, and a theater.



Almost heaven?  Sounds like the real deal to me.

On our first full day there we went hiking in the state forest surrounding the farm, and took in both waterfalls and cranberry bogs.



On another day, we spent the entire day hanging out on the farm, during which our hosts let me drive the tractor with Neale in my lap.  Just another day in West Virginia.


We spent a good hour that same day trying to catch frogs and rolling down a hill.  When in the company of a toddler, it's easy to slow down and appreciate the little things.


No trip would be complete without sampling the local beer:

And of course I ran every day that I was there on some very chilly mornings, up and down some very hilly terrain.


We returned last night, and tomorrow it's back to the grind.  It turned out to be an amazing, low-key vacation, and here's to the next one.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Your spelling homework

You would hate being in one of my German classes.  Not only do I embrace the role of surrogate parent and try to embarrass my students at every opportunity, not only do I force them to listen to more German rap than is healthy, not only do I actually expect them to speak German in my classes, but on top of all of the German, I also correct their English.

"Can me and Julie go to the office real quick?"

"Sorry?"

"Can me and Julie go to the office?"

"I didn't catch that."

"CAN ME AND JULIE - "

"Excuse me?"

"Oh... Can Julie and I go to the office?"

"And now in German!"

"Ugh..."

Yes, I am that teacher.

The truth is mistakes in spelling and grammar make me a little guano.  I could tell you that being a language teacher makes me hypersensitive to all languages, but in fact I've always been this way.  Grow up with parents who insist you speak the King's English, and you might turn out similarly.

When outside of the classroom, I try not to say anything because I realize doing so would make me sound like a colossal douche.  Likewise, when reading something online, I try to give most people a break.  Blogs, Facebook posts, tweets, etc usually get a pass because they are mostly written by every day folk who don't share my neurosis for perfect spelling and grammar.

But professional publications and/or major brands should probably know better, in my humble opinion.

Which brings us to tonight's running-themed spelling homework.  Can you spot the spelling mistakes in the following examples?

First up is Zelle, the Runner's World offshoot for women:


Next up, Spartan Race shows us again how "your" vs. "you're" can be quite the conundrum:


And on to Runner's World.  Even the biggest publication of them all lets a few errors slip through once in awhile:



RunHaven reminds us that the rule's for apostrophe's can be very tricky.


And last but not least, not even my beloved Haddonfield Running Company can escape my wrath:



This post probably won't win me any friends, but at least I was able to get all of this off my chest.

Seen any mistakes lately?  Let me know!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Master Baker



One of the most hipster things about Stevie and me is that we haven't bought bread in months.  Instead we've been making it ourselves.

Despite a plethora of boxed and/or frozen versions, I enjoy making certain staples from scratch, like pizza, lasagne, mashed potatoes, guacamole, and now bread.

Making all of these things, especially bread, can be time-consuming, of course, but like training for a race, part of the reward is in the hard work involved.  Filling my kitchen with the smell of freshly baked bread is another bonus.  Knowing that I'm making something healthy with real ingredients is yet another.

We've been using this book:


We've only scratched the surface of the amount of recipes in the book, but all of the pictures and descriptions definitely make us want to keep trying.

The picture above is the multigrain seeded bread, which we've made a few times.  It never quite comes out like the picture in the book, but the heavy, nutty flavor means it doesn't matter.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Review of Running: A Love Story


First, a disclaimer: Jen is an acquaintance of mine.  We went to high school together and now live in the same town and see each other at a lot of running events in South Jersey.  I won this book at one such running event over a month before the book's scheduled release.  The book is an advanced copy, and slight changes/corrections may have been made before its official release.  She did not ask me to write this review.

As a runner, I love to read running books.  I've read books by such titans of the sport as Bill Rodgers, Alberto Salazar, Bart Yasso and Meb Keflezighi.  But while it's nice to read about the superheroes of the sport - people with real extrinsic benefits for pursuing excellence - it's nice to hear from the rest of the pack.  People that will never win a major race.  People that juggle careers outside of running with families and other responsibilities and continue to run for the simple joy of competition and finding one's limits.  People like you and me.  In writing a love letter to the sport of running, Jen has written Fanfare for the Common Runner.

At just 209 pages, it makes for a quick read.  It follows the same disjointed narrative structure as the aforementioned Bill Rodgers, whose memoir Marathon Man includes a mile by mile recap of a single race, with every other chapter filling in the blanks of the rest of his life.  In Jen's book, she focuses on her PR marathon, the 2013 New Jersey Marathon, by starting each chapter with a section of that race before moving on to other areas of her life.  It follows her humble beginnings as a runner during high school seasons of soccer and softball, to the magazine assignment that had her train for a 5k and record her experience, to the unavoidable progression to longer distances and loftier goals.

Jen's running story is not a unique one.  Aside from the fact that she writes about it for national publications, it is the same story played out in every running blog out there these days, including this one.  Person goes through hard times, person uses running as therapy, person gets sucked into the running lifestyle, person sets, meets and misses goals... person learns life lessons along the way.  The strength of the book lies not in its descriptions of various training cycles or races, then, but in the emotional punch it packs.  Put simply, this is the movie Inside Out in book form.  Jen takes you through the maelstrom that is her emotions with utter fearlessness.  Jen's best trait as a writer is her candidness, her willingness to share everything, and this is a no-holds-barred look into the psyche of a runner.

There is pain to be found in these pages; delicate, raw and heartbreaking pain that should force retrospection from even the most emotionally destitute reader.  This is as much a book about running as it is about love, relationships and the pain they bring, and Jen lets us in on the emotional toll that breakups have had on her.  There is no shortage of breakups here, but rather than wallow in her pain for long, Jen lets running pick up the pieces and makes herself stronger in the process.

There is humor to be found in these pages.  Jen explores the loopy thoughts that plague runners during their long runs, the long tendrils of memory and daydreaming inspired by our surroundings and the goings-on of our days that lift us above the monotony.

There is anger to be found in these pages.  Here is Jen hating on the city of Philadelphia with a tangible zest.  Here she is spitting profanity at a bar table full of acquaintances over a woman's right to just want to get laid.  And here she is, with Xena-like fierceness, staring down anyone who dares malign her beloved Garden State.

But perhaps most importantly, there is love and joy to be found in these pages.  There is familial love for a mother who has stood by her side through everything.  Three weeks after the bombings in Boston, when Jen expresses fear over her mother standing at the finish line of her marathon, the love I see in this moment is a force.  And there is the joy that any runner will relate to: that of executing the perfect race.  The final chapter, in which she describes the end of her PR marathon, will have most runners nodding and wistfully reminiscing over their own best race and what it was like to derive joy from such a physically strenuous activity.

Jen's writing throughout the book is clean and proficient, honed over years as a freelance writer, though at times it reads like a greatest hits of her articles from the last ten years.  Her journalism background comes into play as her own memories intertwine with historical tidbits and current statistics about the sport.  Many of these brief interludes identify women's roles in the sport, including Katherine Switzer's role as the first woman to officially run the Boston Marathon.

Published by Seal Press, which publishes "groundbreaking books that represent the diverse voices and interests of women," it's no surprise this book is being marketed towards women. With its many tales of breakup woes and its unapologetic feminism, it makes sense.  The question becomes, then, will this book appeal to men?  Perhaps a bigger question should be, does it matter?   Jen brings the perspective of the female runner to the table in a well realized memoir, and shouldn't that be enough?

For what it's worth, I'll pose one final question: do I recommend it?

Absolutely.


Running: A Love Story is now available for purchase:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

You can also follow Jen here:

Twitter: @byJenAMiller
Facebook: Jen A. Miller
Instagram: jenamillerrunner
Website: jenamiller.com

Also, Jen is hosting a book launch party at the Haddonfield Running Company this Tuesday March 22nd from 6:30 - 9pm.  Free and open to the public.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

2016 Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k Race Report

Ran the 2016 Haddonfield Adrenaline 5k this morning in what was my first race of 2016, and my first race since the Turkey Trot last November.

As I've mentioned plenty, I haven't been training very hard this winter.  I usually run 7 miles on Wednesday night with my running group, and every once in awhile I'll bump it up to 3 miles when out on my own, but this winter has mostly been a series of one mile runs to keep up the running streak.  I've lost fitness and definitely gained weight in the past few months.  I also had plenty of beer and pizza from last night still weighing me down this morning.

All this to say I was not expecting to race well this morning.  I wouldn't have been surprised if I had run well over twenty minutes.

Stevie decided to run this year as well, so we drove over to Haddonfield around 8am, parked at the Haddonfield Running Company, then walked over to the high school which was the start and finish of the race.  Stevie took Neale in the stroller to the back of the 1,000 runner field, and I joined the Who's Up? folk towards the front.

Who's Up?
Photo by Ron Riskie

The course goes down Kings Highway, Haddonfield's main drag, veers left into the neighborhood, tackles one minor hill around mile 2 before coming back to Kings Highway for the final stretch.  It was a perfect day for a race - no snow like we had last year.

Erik and I took off together and stuck with each other for most of the race.  My race strategy for 5k's is usually to just run hard at the beginning but try to save some for the end where I try to pick off as many runners as I can.  But in the homestretch I was just over it and wanted the race to be over.

Final stats:

19:31
15th in my age group (out of 46)
147th overall (out of 922)

Maybe some day I'll break the top 100.

Erik came in just behind me in 19:37, which was a post high school PR for him.


After finishing I walked back down Kings Highway to find Stevie and run in with her.  I had planned to take the stroller from her, but Stevie wanted to keep going.

In the homestretch
Photo by Wayne Partenheimer

She finished in 33:49 which is a stroller PR for her.

Photo by Wayne Partenheimer

I know that I've said this before, but imagine what I could do in the 5k if I dedicated my time and energy to it the way I have to the marathon in the past.  Since I'm not running a marathon this year, this seems like the perfect goal.  Can I PR in the 5k at the age of 34?  Can I really run a sub 18 minute 5K?  I think I'm excited to try.

In the meantime, thanks Haddonfield Running Company, as always, for putting on a great race!


Friday, March 18, 2016

Like the Wind Magazine

Last summer I ran - and won - a clothing optional 5k race at a nudist resort in Pennsylvania. This may end up being the most ridiculous running experience of my life.

Two months ago I wrote about said race and submitted it to a running magazine in England. They wrote back immediately telling me they intended to publish it.  The magazine wouldn't be able to offer payment, but I was nevertheless thrilled.

At the end of February, the issue of that magazine was finally published, and on Wednesday of this week I finally received my contributor's copy in the mail, and I can now share it with all of you:

Like the Wind Magazine:


Like the Wind is a quarterly magazine published in London by runners, for runners, and now shipped and stocked internationally.  It was founded in 2014, and this most recent issue is their 8th.

It features running stories of all types from contributors all around the world.  It is essentially a literary journal for runners, so it dispenses with the endless advertising and "How to..." articles and sticks to the heart of what makes running so alluring to so many.

What further sets it apart from other running magazines is the artwork. Each piece includes an accompanying original piece of art, also from independent contributors.  Here is the painting that accompanied my piece, by Mark Frudd:



I'm pretty sure I'm going to contact Mark and see if I can buy a print of this painting from him.

I encourage you to buy a copy of the magazine yourself, not just because I'm in it, but because it truly is a beautiful magazine.  The photographs, the artwork, the layout, the thick quality of the paper and the general spirit all come together to create something to behold. I'm proud to have contributed to such a distinctive magazine, and look forward to reading future issues.

If you want to order a copy of the magazine, order any of the artwork, or simply check out what they're all about, check out their website by clicking the link below:

Like the Wind

Thanks for reading!
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