Saturday, August 31, 2013

Running in Ocean City

The family vacation in Ocean City is over.  Everyone packed up today and returned to their respective homes this morning, but before doing so I wanted to get in one last run down the shore.  My dad offered to keep me company on his bike, so we set out for eight miles together on the boardwalk and streets of Ocean City.

It was pretty crowded on the boardwalk, but really nice having the company on yet another hot and humid training run.

Afterwards we headed down and spent some time on the beach, and I spent awhile in the water cooling off.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Run for Tony 2013: Race Report

I first ran this race back in 1997 as a high school student.  I had joined the cross country team that year and our coach made us sign up for it.  I finished in over 22 minutes.

I ran the race again last year and finished in 20:46.  It was hot and humid and gross out, and I hadn't been running that much over the summer because I'd been traveling all over Europe, so I wasn't bothered about not breaking 20 minutes.

Tonight I finished in 20:21.

It was just as hot and humid and gross as last year, but I felt like I was running at ludicrous speed and was shocked to round the final corner and see the clock already above 20 minutes.  I've been training like a madman over the past month, including numerous speed sessions, and all it got me was a lousy 25 second improvement over last year.

Like last year, there were several of my students in the race, and like last year, one of them beat me.

It's almost enough disappointment to make me want to give up on this whole marathon business.

Nah, I didn't grow this sweet racing beard for nothin'.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Movie Monday: Hood to Coast

Here's a fact: if I had enough money, I would travel all the time doing different races around the world.

Here is one on my bucket list which was just run this past weekend.  This trailer is from a documentary about the 2011 race:

Started in 1982, the Hood to Coast relay starts on top of Mt. Hood, Oregon's highest point, and traverses 198 miles to the coast of Oregon.  Teams of 8 to 12 people navigate the terrain over two days every August.  It is the largest relay in the world.

If you're into Nuun, they like to sponsor teams of bloggers to compete, I guess in the hopes that they will then shill Nuun to the masses via their blogs.  I would love to get on one of these teams, but in a turn of reverse sexism, male bloggers are not allowed.

Sigh... Someday.  Someday.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

14 beach miles

This is what I look like after running 14 miles the day after a bachelor party.  After not having shaved for over a month.

My sister and her family have flown in from Minnesota, and we're all at the beach together.  While Stevie went surfing and the rest of the family played in the sand and surf, I slogged out 14 miles all over the barrier island of Ocean City, New Jersey.

It was slow, but overall not a bad run.  I love running at the beach because there is so much to distract me from the act of running.  I alternated between the boardwalk and the beach, and there were plenty of  water fountains and bathrooms, and there was very little humidity, so all in all it was a nice run.

But I'm still happy to be finished.

What happens at a bachelor party...

...ends up on my blog.

The groom

Sending off my friend Bob in style last night.  9 hole game of bar golf all over the great city of Philadelphia, including dinner at a bar marked as the "clubhouse" to kick things off, and a brief stop at a club where Bob swears he knew the owner, though things had gotten a little murky at that point.  That makes 11 establishments in one night.  At least I was getting in some cardio.

We played bar golf at my bachelor party several months ago, though I didn't even make the podium that night.  Last night I intended to take it easy and maybe come home early, but my competitive nature took over and I stayed for gold.  Came away with first place, earning myself a shot glass.  Fran came in second and also earned some swag:

3am at PATCO

One thing is for sure: bachelor parties and marathon training don't mix.  At all.  I have 14 miles to do later today and I'm not looking forward to it, to say the least.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

8 miles and swim

Ran 8 miles this morning and then swam a quarter mile at our enormous community pool down the street from us.  Alas, the pool is closing soon for the season.  Also I have once again gone all summer without completing a triathlon.

Now I'm getting ready for a bachelor party tonight.  I feel like I've been budgeting all week for the calories I'm going to consume tonight.

It's always sunny in Philadelphia.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Phillies vs. Rockies

5.08 mile tempo run this evening.  I was attempting to do it at race pace, (at my age and gender I need to run a 3:05 or lower to BQ, which works out to a 7:03 pace).  It was a little disheartening to realize that I couldn't even keep up this pace for five miles.  I finished in 37:33, which works out to a 7:24 pace.  I know the humidity was tough, and I still have nearly three full months to prepare, but still.

I ate dinner at home and then headed to the Citizen's Bank Ballpark for Stevie's and my first baseball game together:

Ballparks these days.  They have just about anything you want.  Full restaurants, lounges, stands with craft beers, artisanal food... Me, when I go to a ballgame, all I want is a dog and a beer.  Miller Lite will do.

While Stevie indulged in this ballpark tradition, I had eaten a salad at home specifically to avoid eating something at the game.  Sitting at the game without my usual food and beverage was lousy.

Sigh... sacrifices are all part of the marathon experience.

The Phillies, by the way, came from behind in the bottom of the 9th to win the game.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Moving day

I really need to get my camera repaired so I can stop taking crappy pictures with my laptop and iPhone.

Five miles this morning in completely new swag.  New shoes, socks, running shorts and tank top.  I'm completely soaked in the above picture, with extremely squelchy shoes.

Then I drove up to North Jersey to help my college friend Alan move.  He and his wife and daughter are moving into his grandmother's place on a small farm.  Because his grandmother has lived there for decades, a lot of things have accumulated there over the years.  Here we are in the process of moving a 19th century Edison phonograph, among other things throughout the day.

19th century Edison phonographs, incidentally, weigh approximately 6,000 pounds.

All in all, it was a good strength training day.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

12 mile Sunday

12 miles this morning.  Much better than last week's 12 miler.  The humidity is still around, but at least the heat has abated.

And then there's this:

Developed nagging pain in the top of my foot on Thursday, and it hasn't gone away yet.  So I then spent a few hours downstairs at the coffee shop icing it while reading on the couch.

Then dinner and drinks at Eulogy in Philly with Amy, drinking one of the best beers I've ever had:

Rest day tomorrow.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The secret life of Walter Mitty

I first saw this trailer while going to see "We're the Millers," and I've watched it on YouTube about a thousand times since.

Based on a 1939 short story which was later adapted into a 1947 film, it follows the daydreams of the titular character, Walter Mitty.  The original short story was only six pages long.  It was merely an hour or so in the life of Walter Mitty as he accompanied his wife on errands while daydreaming about much more exciting things than new shoes.

Haven't we all been there?  Bored by the mundane details of everyday life, and filling that boredom with fantasies of greatness?  Needless to say, my fantasies as of late are mainly centered around Boston.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

August and everything after

The post in which I formally declare that I am once again attempting to qualify for Boston.

I have been training consistently for the past month, reigning in my diet, running 6 days a week with rest days on Monday, doing speedwork and upping my long run to 12 miles so far.  Here's what the next few months will look like:


  • Continue to run six days a week.
  • Complete the Run for Tony 5k.  Beat all of my students that enter.
  • Continue to crosstrain at the local pool while it remains open.

  • Continue to train 6 days a week.
  • Once school starts, start strengthtraining sessions in the school gym.
  • Run Rock 'n' Roll Philly Half Marathon.  Hoping to break 1:29:26 for a new PR.

  • Continue to train 6 days a week and strength train in school gym.
  • Up mileage to 60 miles a week.
  • Complete Baltimore Marathon as training run.

  • Begin taper.
  • Run the Philadelphia Marathon in less than 3:05.
  • Bask in eternal glory of the BQ.

It's going to be a rough couple of months, and I'll need all the strength, focus, will power and perseverance I can muster.

Wish me luck.

Monday, August 12, 2013

4 hotel miles

4 miles at the hotel gym this morning.  Looked like a contestant in a wet T-shirt contest when I finished due to the sweat and my white cotton shirt.  Even when running inside I can't escape the ridiculous amount of sweat.  And because this blog doesn't feature nearly enough sweaty gym selfies, I took a picture afterwards.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

New hat

We've arrived in Tennessee where Stevie's father met us at the hotel and presented us with new hats.  He said the wings on the feet reminded him of me.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A disastrous 12 miler

Stevie and I are driving to Tennessee tomorrow to attend a funeral on Monday.  Normally I do my long runs on Sunday, but because we'll be driving all day tomorrow, I won't be able to.  That means I had to do my long run this morning.

With over a month to go until the Philly Rock 'n' Roll Half and over three months until the full marathon in November, my long runs are already into the double digits.  I wanted to do 12 today, and did, but ended up stopping to walk several times throughout.  As you can see, it took me nearly two hours to finish.

The heat and humidity have been awful these past few weeks.  After the first few miles of each run I can feel my socks and shoes squelching in my own sweat.  My shoes take two days to dry out afterwards.  This morning, at one point in the run, I was literally down on my hands and knees in someone's front yard sticking my face in their sprinkler just for a moment's relief.

When I'm in a training cycle, I tend to give in to the feeling that I'm only ever as good as my last workout. On Thursday night, when I pushed myself to the breaking point at my local track despite the humidity, I felt great.  Like I am going to kill it this fall.  But after today and how weak I felt, I am afraid of what is coming.

I have to keep telling myself that running in conditions like this will only make me stronger once the humidity breaks, and in the meantime, just keep plugging along.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Track and stadium session

I don't train with a coach or with running partners.  Aside from the runs I do on Wednesday nights with the good people of the Haddonfield Running Company, I'm a bit of a running loner.

Which is what makes workouts like tonight so much more difficult:

  • bike two miles to school track.
  • one mile run with stadium steps on the homestretch.
  • 4 minutes of jump roping.
  • one mile run with full out sprints down the back stretch.
  • 4 minutes of jump roping.
  • 10 pullups on nearby monkey bars.
  • 10 tricep dips.
  • 60 pushups.
  • 60 situps using the benches in the stadium.
  • 1/2 mile run with stadium steps on the homestretch.
  • 1/4 mile run with full on sprint down the back stretch.
  • bike two miles home.

All while drenched in my own sweat from the awful New Jersey humidity.

It's the sprinting that gets to me.  It's excruciating, for one.  But it also feels like I'm baring a part of my soul out on the track, to put it a little dramatically.  My face is contorted into all manner of painful expressions, gasping for air, letting out involuntary gasps and screams, including an enormous one once I break the sprint.  All the anxiety of this new training cycle, the fear that it could all be for nought, mixed with the physical pain, all showing in my face and body.

Nobody wants to see that.

I just have to keep telling myself that nights like tonight are indeed worth it, no matter how difficult they are.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The white Don Cheadle?

A few years ago I posted a video diary of my successful BQ at the 2010 Philadelphia Marathon.  It still gets views and comments to this day, apparently still giving people inspiration, which I am glad to hear.

I do get some interesting comments, though.

Monday, August 5, 2013

The scale

This may come as a shock to those who know me personally, but I am currently trying to lose weight.  My weight isn't something I have traditionally worried about.  As long as my clothes fit and I feel ok, then I don't stress about the number on the scale.  Indeed, I rarely ever weigh myself.  I vaguely recall being at my highest weight just after college - somewhere around 160.  While training for a marathon a few years ago I distinctly recall hitting 128.

I'm now sitting at 146 and hoping to drop about 15 pounds before the marathon.  The simple truth is that the less weight I carry with me, the faster I will be able to run.  In the past, the weight came off with little effort while training, but I've now been training consistently since returning from the honeymoon last month, and have reigned in the beer and restaurant food consumption as well, but the scale has not budged in these few weeks.  Perhaps once I hit those 60 mile weeks in October?

Friday, August 2, 2013


The community pool in my town is open from 6 - 8am on weekdays.  I'm trying to make it a habit to get there and swim some laps in the morning.

I also have my eye on a triathlon down the shore in a few weeks.  This would be my first ever triathlon, and I definitely need to work on the swimming portion.

After swimming this morning I biked 4 miles, then ran four miles.  All in a day's work.
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