Friday, September 30, 2011

Top 10... brought to you by the B.A.A.

Between this blog and the post I put on a Runner's World forum, I've gotten a lot of nice comments about Boston, most from complete strangers.  I appreciate every one of them.  I also put a link to my BQ video on the Runner's World Forum and got this nice comment: "Great video... actually watched it for the first time 4 or 5 months back and it served as much needed inspiration and motivation in my marathon training.  Many of us are learning from you... so, keep your head up and keep on running!"  It means the world to me that I might have inspired someone else.

Anyway, now that I'm not running the Boston Marathon, I have an extra $150 on my hands.  So I present to you, dear reader, the following top 10 list:

Top 10 ways to spend the $150 I saved by not getting into Boston

10. Get the money in singles and roll around in it on my bed, a lá "Indecent Proposal."

9. Store the money in a banana stand for a rainy day.  As the saying goes:

8.  Go to the movies on a Saturday night.

7.  Buy a pair of Brooks Trance 10's, just to see what it's like to run in such absurdly expensive shoes.

6. Use it to light a cigar, just to say I did.

5. Use the money to construct an imitation palm frond to fan the inner flames and qualify all over again.

4. Put a down payment on a new Garmin Forerunner 610.

3. Buy $150 worth of dollar store Christmas presents.

2.  Buy $150 of GU.  Wrestle in it.

1. Donate the money to Students Run Philly Style, an organization that provides marathon training to young people in order to help them succeed in life.  $150 will provide one pair of running sneakers and entrance into the Philly Marathon for one student.

I'm leaning towards #1.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Rough day today.

I lost three students in one day who, for various reasons, decided to drop German from their schedules.  The German program at the high school where I work was almost canceled this year due to low enrollment, and saving the program is among my list of goals this year.  Losing students will not help me achieve that goal.

I got an e-mail from someone I've never met personally inviting me to audition for one of my favorite shows of all time (Picasso at the Lapin Agile by none other than Steve Martin) based on my previous work.  It's incredibly flattering, and I would love to be in the show, but I'm already committed to assistant directing Jesus Christ Superstar which runs at the same time.

And then the BAA kicked me when I was down with the following e-mail:

That's not even the worst part.

I ran 3:09:45, meaning I missed the cutoff by less than a minute.  This new process of rewarding faster runners hadn't been in place when I ran my BQ.  At the time, I thought as long as I came in under 3:10:59 I would be fine.  When I knew I had the BQ in the bag, I slowed down a bit in the final mile to give my aching body some respite.  If I had known about the new registration policy, I would have tried my best to keep up the pace.  I could have made up that minute.

For a week I allowed myself to imagine toeing that line in Hopkinton next spring and running through 26.2 miles of history, basking in the knowledge of how hard I worked to get there.

I'm crushed.

I read the e-mail directly after school, and I immediately let out a scream of frustration while looking for something to punch.  Then I heard it, a small voice from the doorway behind me:

"Herr Partenheimer?"

One of my 9th graders looking for extra help on the homework.  I put on my best teacher face and turned to face her.  Losing Boston is hard, but at least I have other goals to attend to.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

New marathon world record

Yet another world record has been set at the Berlin Marathon.  Patrick Makau of Kenya ran this morning's race in 2:03:38, further solidifying Berlin's reputation as a fast course and proving that I need to get myself over there and stage a sub 3:00 effort in the next few years.

Because the race was run in Berlin, I'm tempted to spend tomorrow making my AP students read articles about it from German newspapers.

Your mind is the scene of deception

This sums up my long runs rather well.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Collingswood Book Festival 5K

Collingswood will host the 9th annual Collingswood Book Festival next Saturday, and today it kicked off the week long prelude with the 3rd annual Collingswood Book Festival 5K.  I ran it this morning and managed to win the whole thing, though once again I feel the need to add the disclaimer that there were only about thirty people in the entire race.

With a tiny turnout, it was a no frills race.  A mere two laps around Knights Park and some apples and Philly soft pretzels at the finish.  As the top overall finisher, I did snag the biggest trophy I've ever received in my life:

Stevie ran the race as well.  It was the first race of her life and she managed to snag third place in her age/gender group.  Congrats!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The new normal

When I woke up this morning, the first words that came to mind were, "fight it."  As in, fight the urge to go back to sleep for another hour.  Instead, I got out of bed, got dressed, and staggered out the door to go running.

Somehow I've been doing this all week.  Last week wasn't a fluke after all.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Half photos

Here are a few photos from last weekend's half marathon:

As you can see, I was in a fair amount of pain at the end as I sprinted like mad in the homestretch.

It was worth it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The hope continues

I just registered for the Boston Marathon today.

I won't find out if I'm officially accepted for some time still, but let's just say I'm officially hoping.  I am in disbelief that there is a chance I could be in Boston this April.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon race report

I ran the Rock 'n' Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon this morning, and had a great time as always. I've been doing this race for years and always have a great time, and today was simply business as usual.

Rode PATCO over to Philly this morning after only six hours of sleep.

With Suze on the train over to Philly.

Last year the train ran late and I ended up jumping into my corral with seconds to spare.  This year we arrived at the starting area with a leisurely half hour till GO TIME.

I went into this race not expecting to run well, considering my lack of training effort over the summer.  With a new job to prepare for and plenty of days with awful heat, my running was lackadaisical at best.  I thought I would run today with little more purpose than to enjoy the atmosphere.

If you know me at all, or have read this post, you know that's not exactly my MO.  When I started out today, I was immediately amazed at how good I felt coming off a reduced training schedule and with  less sleep than I would have liked.  I decided I might want to go for a PR after all.  I crossed the halfway point in just under 45 minutes, and I decided I had a chance at breaking 1:30.

The bane of any runner's existence is trying to mentally calculate mile splits in the latter miles of a race, which is what I started doing at the nine mile mark.  I realized I had to run the last four miles no slower than seven minutes per mile in order to break 1:30, and I decided I couldn't.  I could feel the strain in my legs and the exhaustion starting to creep in.  "I can't do that," is what I told myself. Then I decided to try anyway.

Ladies and gentlemen, pardon my French, but fuck "can't."

Stevie and me after the race

And congrats to Suze who ran her very first half marathon, which means she PR'd as well.  Any race in which a new PR is achieved is a tremendous feeling, and I leave you today in very high spirits.

Run your hearts out, friends.  Always.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

At the expo

Went into Philly this morning to pick up my race packet from the expo for tomorrow's half marathon.  Got to see John "the Penguin" Bingham speak, which I always enjoy.  

John "the Penguin" Bingham

He's made a name for himself by representing the back of the pack and encouraging people to take up running no matter how slowly they do it.  He wrote a column for Runner's World for many years and now writes for Competitor.  In addition to being a talented writer, he is a great public speaker.  I listened to his talk at last year's race as well.

Unfortunately Kara Goucher and Frank Shorter weren't speaking until later in the day, so I had to miss them.

Brooks took up half of the expo space with an old timey-syle carnival, complete with an automated fortune teller, a caboose of curiosities, and a vaudeville show featuring the Human Jesus Lizard.

God bless the people in charge of Brooks marketing

I've decided Brooks has won me over for life.

Running is big business these days, if the popularity of Rock 'n' Roll events is anything to go by, not to mention the size of this expo.  When one tires of guest speakers or the tomfoolery of the good people of Brooks, one can browse dozens of booths giving out free samples, promoting future races, or selling all manner of merchandise.  Sports drinks guaranteed to deliver more electrolytes, headphones guaranteed never to shake loose from your ears, books and magazines, athletes everywhere, all drawn to this cavernous space and its overgrown spectacle by the most elemental activity in human existence.

And then I saw this:

Friday, September 16, 2011

Early bird

I've never been the type of runner to get up at 4:30am for track workouts or 12 mile tempo runs or whatever.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times I've gotten up before 8am to run, not including races.

I get the point of it, of course.  There's no better feeling than getting the daily workout out of the way first thing in the morning.  And, in turn, no worse feeling than coming to the end of a lousy day at work and thinking about an 8 miler you still have to do.  Like many people, I just can't force myself out of bed.  Hold a gun to a puppy's head and tell me I can either save the puppy or have five more minutes in bed, and the poor thing would never stand a chance.

But today the stars aligned and I managed 5 miles starting at six o'clock in the damn morning. Before a full day at work.  This is huge.  And maybe it was the humidity and temperature that finally broke, but I swear that I had distinctly more energy all day today.

Next week I'll prove it wasn't just a fluke.  Definitely.


lol Ryan Reynolds.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Hope floats

Registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon opened this past Monday.  It's now Thursday night and it still hasn't sold out yet.  If this keeps up, I may get to register on Monday after all.  I would then have to wait several weeks before my qualifying time is verified and I'm officially accepted.

I don't want to jinx it, but I may allow myself to hold out hope afterall.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The perfect eulogy

Birthday dinner and drinks at Eulogy last night:

It's only a party when Fran starts licking people

Eulogy is a Belgian tavern in Philadelphia, one of my favorite places in the city due to the presence of some 300 beers on their menu.

A month ago I made a reservation for twenty people, fully expecting to call them back later and let them know the number was actually much smaller.  But people from all areas of my life - running, camp, high school, college, theater - came out of the woodwork to help me celebrate.  We had people packed to the rafters and could barely fit everyone, and I enjoyed every minute of it.

Eulogy's slogan is "live the eulogy you want."  The night was one for the books, and I can honestly say if I die tomorrow I would be proud of the eulogy I receive.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Time keeps on tickin'

Article today in the Boston Globe, leading up to the first day of registration for the Boston Marathon this Monday.

The article discusses the ripples sent through the running community with the BAA's change in registration rules for the 2012 Boston Marathon.  Many runners must now search out different marathons in order to qualify before this Monday, rather than rely on traditional fall marathons. The author, for instance, joined many others in choosing Grandma's Marathon last June, the same one I ran in 3:24:15.  She qualified with more than twenty minutes to spare and will be at the computer ready to register this Monday.  As mentioned in a previous entry, I just barely qualified last fall, so if the race doesn't sell out, I'll be at my own computer the following Monday.

Wish me luck.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Punch drunk

I've been punch drunk these past few days as I adapt to a new routine of waking up early and spending the entire day with teenagers.  I still managed to knock out an insanely sweaty 8 miles yesterday afternoon, broken hearts style:

Another eight miles today, Cooper River style, for the win.  Less than two weeks until the Rock 'n' Roll Philly Half Marathon.  Making up for lost training time over the summer.  Gonna be a tough one.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Think about when you introduce yourself to new people.  If you're asked to elaborate on just your name, what do you say?

When I introduced myself to all of my classes yesterday, I mentioned that I run marathons.  

You're shocked, I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Boston Marathon registration

This Monday is the start of registration for the 2012 Boston Marathon.  As you'll recall, last year registration sold out in just over 8 hours, prompting the Boston Athletic Association to change the rules for registration.  Because I just barely met the qualifying standards, my fate looks like this:

Or if you prefer a much more humorous take on the new registration process, I present to you the Boston Marathon Caste System:

I'm just above the untouchables and not holding out much hope.  "Almost kill themselves qualifying and still may not get in."  That about sums it up.

But you never know, I guess.  I'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Movie Monday XXV

Don't be that guy when running.  Don't be any of those guys, come to think of it.

This one is too funny for words.  Enjoy.

In the buff

I definitely stole this from Google Images instead of taking it myself.

Now that I'm a high school teacher, I have to be careful of the things I do in my personal life, lest the images thereof somehow come to grace the internet.  That's why there's no way I took part in the 3rd annual Philly Naked Bike Ride yesterday.

If I had gone, I imagine it would have been pretty amazing.  I can imagine the procession of hundreds of naked bodies would have stopped traffic and invited any number of exclamations from surprised passersby.  I'm willing to bet that at some point the bikers passed a children's theater show going on in a park, and the poor actors scrambled to keep the attention on themselves rather than letting the children gaze upon the unclad bikers.  I can also picture the parade passing a wedding party whose bride and groom will now have some unforgettable footage of their special day.  My guess is the route also took in a tunnel, and the exuberant screams of the hundreds in their birthday suits would have been deafening.

Yes, incredible, liberating, hilarious, fun and unforgettable was the 2011 Philly Naked Bike Ride.

So I've heard.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Down by the river

Four miles at the Cooper River this morning with Suze:

I told her to pose "like a boss."

Suze: I think I like miles 4-6 of a run the best.  The first three miles kind of hurt and you're still getting into it.  Miles 4-6 you're in the zone, and at mile 6 it starts to hurt again.
Me: Wait 'till you hit mile 22 of the marathon.

I don't know if she actually used the phrase "in the zone," but that was the gist of what she was saying.  And I wasn't trying to scare you, Suze!  It might hurt, but I promise you once you hit the lighthouse on Boathouse Row, the pain will be worth it.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Rocky influence

I live above a shop that sells and repairs fire extinguishers.  There are hundreds of them in various states of repair out back, and sometimes when I finish a run I use them to work out my triceps.  The trick is to find two of roughly the same size and weight.

Gym?  What gym?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Why I don't mind turning 30

I once read an article about an interesting poll in which senior citizens were asked to name, in order, the favorite decade of their lives.  The overwhelming majority chose their present decade (i.e. their seventies) as their favorite.  Second on the list?  The decade preceding their current decade. At the bottom of the list?  Their twenties.

When asked to explain the ranking, those polled agreed that with age comes knowledge, confidence, and an overall improved quality of life.  On the other hand, while those polled might have been thinner and better looking at 25, it was also a time of little money, uncertainty and stress, words that could easily describe my own twenties.

I did, however, pack my twenties with exciting experiences, enough to know without a doubt that I never wasted my time on this earth.  When I ran my first marathon six years ago, I finished in 4:29, and was immediately seized by this thought: not bad, but I can do better.  Funny how I have the same thought when I think about my twenties as I prepare to leave them behind.

Exactly one week from today I will turn 30.  I don't plan to greet this day with a lament on losing the glory days of my youth, because I know that my life is about getting better.  Getting stronger. Stronger in character, stronger in confidence, stronger in my knowledge of the world, stronger in my relationships with those I care about.  At nearly thirty years old, I am better than I was ten years ago, and in ten years I hope to be better than the person I am now.

When I reach my seventies, will I prefer that decade over any other?  Hard to predict, obviously. But as for my thirties, I can't wait to see what is in store for me.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Night running

I live about 3.5 miles away from the theater, so I sometimes run there.  It's not often that I use running as a mode of transportation, so it's a nice change of pace to change the purpose of a run, even if it means I have to spend a few hours in sweaty running clothes before heading home.

I ran to the theater for rehearsal tonight, and at the end of the night I got to talking to Pat, a long time friend whom I've worked with on countless shows over the years:

It's Pat!

Me: (saying goodbye to everyone) Ok, guys, I have to run... literally.
Pat: I just saw some story in the paper about a guy who ran a marathon every day for a year.
Me: Yeah, there are plenty of people like that.  Marathons are addictive and runners are a bit eccentric to begin with.
Pat: Do people like that make you feel the way you make me feel?

The run home, incidentally, was nice.  The streets and sidewalks were empty, the stars were out, and the temperature was cool.  Runners always talk about going for a run at the end of the day to think and unwind, which aren't exactly my top two reasons for running, but I must say that last night I could see what they're all talking about.
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