Monday, April 30, 2012

Movie Monday XXXVI

I hate posting commercials in the Movie Monday series, but when they're this well made and this funny, I can't help it.

Watch what happens when a couple declares their love by literally running across the country to be together...

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cross country a silly sport?

Seems Mr. Hepburn got his panties in a bunch over some of his fraternity brothers not being able to party with him late into the night due to morning workout schedules.

Boring, maybe.  But silly?  Sorry broski, but how about we save the name calling for "sports" that truly deserve it, like bass fishing and cup stacking.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Precious Gems Run For Our Girls 5k: Race Report

I've run this race with my dad every year since 2005.  My dad is good friends with one of the organizers, and we turn up every year to help support the Precious Gems Foundation, founded in 1999 when his daughter and three others were killed by a drunk driver in North Carolina.

Last year there was a lot of confusion with a slightly altered course, and several of us went the wrong way, earning my stats for that race a big fat asterisk.  The course reverted to its original form this year, and everything was well marked and labeled, so nothing went wrong today

The race began with the usual stampede of over-confident high schoolers with no idea how to pace themselves, but quickly formed into a pack of high school cross country runners in the lead with me in close pursuit.  I spent the race trading places with a high school girl, the eventual female winner.  In the last half mile, I edged her out, and in the final tenth of a mile I took out one more, putting me in 8th place overall and 1st in my age group (30 - 39).

I really felt like the girl had pushed me hard throughout the race and was expecting to finish below 19 minutes, so I was surprised to see the clock ticking away into the 19:30's as I approached the finish line (unofficial time: 19:35).  My dad, incidentally, finished in roughly 35 minutes and placed 4th in his age group (60 and over).

Accepting my medal after the race
(photo by Wayne Partenheimer)

Dad, me, Stevie, Debbie

Afterwards we all went out to L.B. Daniels né Lite Bite where, just like last year, I ordered an outsized breakfast of champions.

Dad: I won't comment on the amount of food you're eating, because when I did last year it ended up on the blog.
Me: Yeah... guess what...

Friday, April 27, 2012

A conversation about running

Me: I don't want to go running today.  [I say this nearly every day.]
Stevie: Did you hate running this much when you trained for your last marathon?
Me: I don't remember.
Stevie: You must block it out, like how I block out tech week after every show I do.
Me: This is going on the blog.
Stevie: I know.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Movie Monday XXXV

In honor of yesterday's London Marathon, here is a 21 minute long video from a British news program that chronicles several amateur athletes and one Olympic runner as they prepare for the marathon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Running in a nor'easter

20 mile run today in the rain.

It was cold - somewhere around 50 degrees - and rained steadily all day, making it one of the worst long runs I've ever experienced.  I've never been one to shy away from the elements, but three hours in such conditions, completely alone, made it a true test of mental grit.

I hit my breaking point around mile 17.  I could barely take it anymore and wanted more than anything to stop running.  So I did.  I walked some and then turned around to go home, but I stopped.  I didn't want to feel like a failure.  So I turned around and kept running.  Then stopped.  And so it went for several minutes, unable to summon the strength to either quit or keep going.

I hated the question I was now forced to examine: what am I doing out here?  And its answer: chasing something that very well may never happen.  I could be at home sitting on the couch in my sweats, drinking chai and reading a book, or riding the bandwagon out to Flyersville in a haze of beer, or spending time with Stevie.  Instead I'm out here by myself, plodding along through the rain, doubt compounding and increasing exponentially...

But I did finish the run.

Score one for the home team.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Ultimate Mud Run: Race Recap

Suze, Kate, Me

Ran the Ultimate Mud Run down in Millville, NJ tonight with Suze and her friend Kate.  Suze told me about this race ages ago and I finally signed up last week when I found a deal on Living Social for $50 (less than a third of the actual entry fee).  Always fun doing races with Suze; it's nice to have a running/racing buddy.

We'll start with the negative:

  • This was the inaugural race, so there were some kinks to work out.  Registration was a nightmare.  Hundreds of people trying to get to a small table made for a 30 minute wait in line.  There was constant confusion if we were even in the right line while we waited.
  • Bag check consisted of putting all of our bags in white trash bags, writing our numbers on them, and dumping them in a corner with absolutely no organization.  After the race we all had to find our own bags, but they all LOOKED IDENTICAL given that they were all in white trashbags.
  • We left in the first wave, and there was an important turn where there wasn't an arrow or volunteer to be seen.  The entire first wave all went right when we should have gone left, and promptly ended up back at the starting line, adding a half mile onto the course.
  • Lack of signage towards the end.  I stopped several times and backtracked to make sure I was going the right way.
  • No water stations in the second half of the race.  I was getting parched by the end.
  • Some of the obstacles were lame.  Most of the mud pits at the beginning were dried up, and the others I was able to jump over. Most volunteers commented that I didn't look very muddy, to which I replied, "add more mud next year, and make it more challenging."
  • I stopped and stepped over the fire obstacles instead of jumping, just to make a point.  

Lamest fire jumping ever.  (photo by Terry Hall)

The positive:
  • It really was a fun race.  Obstacles make for a fun change from regular races, and there was very much a party atmosphere about the whole thing.
  • At one point I had a U.S. Marine following me through a stretch of obstacles, yelling encouragement to me.  I thought that was a nice touch.
  • Because I started in the first wave, I broke free from the pack and pretty much had the entire course to myself.  Bottle necking can get pretty bad at these types of races, and I was happy I didn't have to wait at any of the obstacles.
  • Though this didn't apply to us because we started at 6:30, the majority of the race is held at night.  I can imagine it would be spectacularly badass running through stretches of woods at night with glowsticks and headlamps.
  • Most of the obstacles were fun, if not particularly challenging.  One of my favorites:

The "Cliffhanger."  Photo by Terry Hall

Overall, not a terrible race, but could stand some improvements.  I'm sure if the organizers do it next year, they'll work out some of the kinks and it will be even better.  They offer overnight camping, and I can imagine it might be fun to finish the race and stick around for the post race concert and party, then stumble back to the tent and leave in the morning.

If you can get past the self hype ("Fear is your only true obstacle" according to the T-shirt) and just treat it as a fun alternative race, then all the better.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ultimate Mud Run

Signing away my life to participate in tomorrow's Ultimate Mud Run.

"I acknowledge that Ultimate Mud Run is an extreme test of my physical and mental limits that carries with it inherent risks of physical injury that cannot be eliminated completely, including but not limited to an above-asverage [sic] risk of death and/or serious injury."

We'll see about that...

Monday, April 16, 2012

116th Boston Marathon

Maybe it was a good thing I didn't run the Boston Marathon this morning like I was supposed to. With temperatures peaking at 87 degrees, it was a chaotic and somewhat miserable day for many runners.

Oh who am I kidding?  A nor'easter, tornado, category 5 hurricane, blizzard, plague of locusts, a gunman on the grassy knoll or a horde of Justin Bieber clones wouldn't have stopped me from running it if I had actually gotten in.


Someday, my time will come.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Widowmaker

When I really want to crank up the intensity in my training, I head over to Haddonfield to my old stomping grounds and run the Widowmaker.  It's primarily a speed session based loosely on a workout I used to do on the cross country team while in high school.  The current incarnation goes like this:

Start with a three mile warmup jog.

4 laps around Hopkins Pond.  Half the lap is done at a jog, the second half is done at a full on sprint along a trail that look like this:

Sprinting is hard enough on an even surface, but on this minefield of steps and roots, agility is tested as well, both mental and physical.  The terrain forces me to focus on where I'm stepping and make each footfall count.

Follow the pond with 4 laps around the nearby high school track:

Each lap includes a sprint down the backstretch, then a trip up and down and up and down the stadium steps, with a break for 30 pushups and 30 situps.

Finish off with five minutes of jumping rope.

I did this workout for the first time in months today, and though I didn't do it as intensely as I could have, give me a few weeks of this and I'll definitely be ready for Boston.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Got Salt?

I couldn't do my 20 miler on Sunday due to Easter festivities, and I didn't do it yesterday because I was lazy.  Thankfully I'm on spring break and I finally forced myself to get it done today.

Fun running fact: 3 hours of running in the wind begets massive salt stains.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sunday, April 8, 2012


Easter Weekend 2012.

Met my nephew Soren for the first time.  Brought my family together with Stevie's, and they all got along famously.  Got in a few miles.  Then ate my body weight in food.

Still have yet to do the Easter Beer Hunt, but there's always next year.

Happy Easter to all.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Believe in Boston

Saw this bumper sticker on a car on the way home from school the other day.  "Believe in Boston." Obviously a reference to the Boston Red Sox, not to the Boston Marathon, but I'll take inspiration where I can get it.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Visit

I met Lee and George years ago when we all worked at camp together.  George eventually went back to England where she is from, Lee eventually followed, they eventually married, and now they both live and work in Cambridge.  They've both popped across the Atlantic to visit friends and family, and fortunately I was put on the itinerary for last night.  I took a personal day from school today to hang out with them, and we started off the day with a run.

Lee has completed two half marathons and hopes to complete a marathon within the next year or so, and George is currently training for her first 10k.  If that goes well, she'll run her first half marathon afterwards.  This morning I took Lee on my standard 8 mile route, and George and Stevie ran a 4 miler along the Cooper.  Afterwards we all posed for a picture.

Pro tip: tell your friends to make 10 consecutive poses while the camera clicks away on self timer; watch as hilarity ensues

It was great running with Lee.  One reason why I usually run alone is that it's hard to find someone who runs at the same pace, but he's the only person I've ever known that matches my pace exactly. If only we lived close together, we could train consistently and really raise some hell in the next race.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lunchlady Land

I have a running joke with one of the lunchladies at school - a kind, old, grandmotherly type of woman - about how much I eat.  She loves hearing updates on my steadily increasing long runs, and she knows I run it off quite easily, so she likes to estimate how many miles I should do to burn off a particular meal.

School food in America is notoriously unhealthy, and on the day that I ordered the above meatball sub with tater tots, the lunchlady advised me to run 10 miles that afternoon.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Movie Monday XXXIII

It's April, and that means we're getting pretty close to the 116th running of the Boston Marathon. Here's a video from the Runner's World website in which race director Dave McGillivray takes the viewer on a tour of the course.

"Here we ah at the stahting line..."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Sunday Runday

20 miles today.

Not as awful as I would have thought given the mudrun yesterday and the fact that all runs recently have been slow and torturous.    Some notes:

  • My shoes were still soaked from the mudrun, so I had to use a brand new, straight-out-of-the-box pair of Nikes.  It's a total myth that this is a bad idea.  The design of shoes these days is good enough to prevent blisters or any other mishaps without breaking them in.
  • Only stopped once for the bathroom.
  • Extremely thankful I started at 9am and got a good night's sleep last night.  Makes all the difference.
  • Ran into Suze at around mile 13.  She was doing a 7 miler in preparation for the Broad Street Run, and we had arranged to meet afterwards, but it was nice seeing her on my route.  Talking with someone helps distract from the thought that I am running 20 freaking miles.
  • Clocked in at 3:01:23.  The usual aches and pains by the end, but felt surprisingly strong, which is nice because I haven't felt that in awhile.

After running, Suze came over for Sunday brunch:

We made waffles with blueberries and chocolate chips, scrambled eggs with onions, tomatoes, cheese and avocado, bacon, and toast, washed down with OJ.

Hell of a way to finish Sunday Runday.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...