Wednesday, April 30, 2014

April mileage

My goal is to run 2,014 miles this year.  I have no idea if I'm capable of it since I've never tracked my mileage before this year.

January: 65
February: 131
March: 174

And April:

201 miles for the month.  I hope to go hard in May and go above 200 again, then cut back a little during the summer.

The streak is still going.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Goliathon pictures

Not only are 100% of the proceeds from this race donated to charity, but they had professional photographers on the course taking pictures, which they then put on their website for free.  Here are a few pics from the race:

At the start - still nice and clean

After getting soaked I had to climb a 20 foot rope with a 40 lbs chain around my neck.

The whole crew at the finish line

Monday, April 28, 2014

Movie Monday: Beer Mile WR

The beer mile is still one of my goals for 2014, but I pan to give myself ample time to complete it.  Here's a guy who did it in under 5 minutes.

I don't think I could do a sub five minute mile in normal circumstances, let alone a mile during which I drink  48 oz. of beer.

All hail the new king of the beer mile, James Nielsen:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Goliathon race report

Goliathon Obstacle Challenge today in Mullica Hill, NJ.

A few months ago one of the assistant principals at my school brought up the idea of creating a faculty team for this race.  About 10 of us heeded the call and signed up, and thus the course today was graced with a motley crew of teachers and administrators attempting to cover 4 miles and a series of pesky obstacles.


Goliathon distinguishes itself from other obstacle races in that it has tiered obstacles - G1 (easy), G2 (difficult) and G3 (extreme).  There were over 20 obstacles, with 9 official Goliathon obstacles at which runners could receive wrist bands for completion.  The object was to collect as many wrist bands as possible, and if a runner completed all G3 obstacles, he or she would receive free entry to a future event.

Also, it's worth mentioning that 100% of the proceeds raised today benefit a charity that brings clean water to developing countries in Africa.

God bless Goliathon, because someone finally succeeded in creating a truly challenging obstacle race.  I've done my share of obstacle races and have learned to roll my eyes when races claim I will conquer my fears or push myself to my limits or whatever other hyperbole is splashed across a website or T-shirt.  So when I saw that G3 had been labeled "extreme," I was dubious.  Not anymore.  Yes, I was able to complete the 20 foot rope climb while wearing a 40lbs chain, which I then had to use to ring the bell at the top.  But I was not so lucky at several of the demented jungle gyms of torture:

From Goliathon's Facebook page

My body came away a little bruised, not to mention my pride.

While the majority of the obstacles were badass and extremely challenging, some just weren't built for someone of my height.  Too often I just couldn't jump high enough, or stretch my arms far enough.  My strength, speed, agility, coordination and stamina were rendered useless. These particular obstacles were not testing any of these athletic abilities, but rather one's genetic luck of being the right height.  I could try all day, but I was never going to get over the G3 wall.


Also, I'm pretty sure the word "mud" does not appear anywhere on the Goliathon website.  Nor did any of the videos and pictures of the obstacles contain any mud.  Our group assumed this was just a straight obstacle course with no mud, and some in our group didn't even bring a change of clothes.  So we were a bit surprised to find ourselves looking like this at the end:


Thanks for the heads up, guys.
Overall this was a fantastic race.  It was a great day of bonding with administrators and my fellow teachers.  Laughs were had, a solid workout was completed, and celebratory beers were drunk.  Today was, in a word, extreme.

Some well-earned beers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Who's up?

Another group run tonight with the Haddonfield Running Company.

This time the race director from the ODDyssey Half Marathon came by to promote his race.  He also brought Sly Fox Brewery - his race day beer provider - to give out beers after the run.

Free beer after a 7 mile run.  It can't get better than that.

Or can it?

Some of the regulars who have been running together since last summer got together to form a running/drinking club.  I got to talking to a few of the guys and was invited to join their crew.  Tonight their shirts came in and I got one too.

Two of my favorite things - running and drinking beer - all in one club?  Now it really can't get better.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Marathon Monday

Intended to run 20 miles this morning bright and early so I could come home and watch the Boston Marathon in its entirety, but you know how it goes.  I wasn't able to get myself out the door until 10:30.  I woke up later than I wanted and was watching coverage of the race online and was finding it hard to tear myself away.

I ran my 20 miles, and struggled in the final miles due to a bright sun and hottest temps of the year so far, and returned to see that Flanagan had fallen to 7th place overall.

Meanwhile, in the men's race:

From the New York Times

It was exciting to see that Meb Keflezighi had finally clinched his dream of winning Boston, and with only 11 seconds to spare, no less.

Overall a beautiful day for a race that seemed to go off without a hitch.  Regarding next year, I'm told that Stevie's family wants to fly up from Florida to spectate.  My dad and stepmother may come up as well.  I can't wait.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

New England roadtrip in pictures

According to the last several posts, the last week may have come off as a running vacation with Stevie begrudgingly tagging along.  Indeed, I ran every day (the streak is still intact) and experienced some amazing runs throughout New England as a result.

But naturally there were other highlights as well.  Herein a few additional photos of the trip:

At the Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI.
At the Lobster Shack in Cape Elizabeth, ME

Lobster Shack, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Soaring majestically between boulders, Cape Elizabeth, ME

Cape Elizabeth, ME

Giving Stevie a real Maine experience: drinking Moxie outside of a Shaw's.

Somewhere in New Hampshire
At the Scottish Pub in Chester, VT.

They offered free whiskey and brandy at our B&B in VT.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Running in Vermont

Stevie and I are continuing our tour of New England here in Chester, Vermont.  Upon arriving, I set out for five miles in the surrounding hills.

I mostly followed dirt roads far up into the forest until they petered out into snowmobile trails that were nothing more than glorified streams.

Coming down out of the forest towards the end of my run, I realized I wasn't sure how to get back to the bed and breakfast.  I followed some telephone poles down a hill and then found a narrow suspension bridge that dumped me back into town.

I ran in the forest, past babbling brooks and farms, along country roads... Overall, running in Chester, Vermont was exceedingly beautiful and I recommend it.  I just hope you like hill work.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boston Marathon finish line

I've joked here and with friends that I refuse to go to Boston unless I am on my way to run the marathon there.  I broke that vow tonight.

Stevie and I are on a roadtrip throughout New England, and on our way to Portland, ME last night, we stopped off in Boston to visit one of Stevie's friends.  Since we were going to be in Boston anyway, I insisted on seeing the finish line on Boylston Street.

We're a week away from the marathon, but the finish area is already a madhouse.  Press vans and tents are set up everywhere.  Bleachers line one end of the street.  Scaffolding stretches across the street for photographers.  Turns out I could barely get near the famed finish line.

Even though I don't get to run this year, being there and seeing the hype firsthand only make the anticipation for next year that much stronger.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Church of the Sunday Long Run

Church of the Sunday Long Run ended up being postponed until this morning.  Stevie and I are staying at a bed and breakfast and I asked the innkeeper last night if I could borrow a roll of duct tape.

Innkeeper: You're not going to do anything kinky with it, are you?

You tell me:

6:30am and ready to run 20 miles
Normally when I run long, I make loops out of it and just leave water/Gatorade/gels somewhere where I can swing by and get them.  I decided I wanted to see more of Newport, though, and had to figure out a way to take everything with me.  I figured duct taping a gel and a bottle of water to my hand was the way to go.  Worked surprisingly well.  And don't forget the duct tape on the nipples.

My tour of Newport was glorious.  I covered the same rocky coastline as yesterday, and continued along Ocean Avenue, past Fort Adams, into the downtown area, across the bay into a different town, and back to our bed and breakfast.  Stevie caught up with me on Easton's Beach at mile 18:

I threw out the duct tape/water bottle combo at mile 14.
And here I am after completing all 20 miles:

I don't always run 20 miles, but when I do, I prefer to pose outside of a B&B afterwards.

Movie Monday: Shalane Flanagan

One week away from the Boston Marathon.  Out of the countless videos I could have posted today, I am going with this one.  The Boston Marathon this year is about grieving, redemption, hope, resilience, and displaying our inner strength.  Let's never forget what happened at the race last year, and let's take time this year to reflect and honor those who were lost and injured.

But let's also remember that this is a race - one of the most intense races in the world.  And there is a hometown favorite who has a real chance at winning it all.

I am Team Flanagan all the way.  

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Cliff Walk in Newport, RI

My school is on spring break this week.  Technically we have school this Monday and Tuesday to make up for having so many snow days this winter, but I was able to use two of my personal days and keep my full spring break intact.  So Stevie and I are roadtripping around New England this week.

First stop: Newport, RI, a.k.a. the place where I experienced one of the best runs of my life. When you run every single day, the boring, lousy runs tend to outweigh the rave runs, so a day like today is an exciting one.

Our bed and breakfast is just a few blocks from the start of the Cliff Walk.

The 3.5 mile long Cliff Walk, as you can see on the sign, was developed during Newport's Gilded Age, when America's millionaires lined the coast with their incredible mansions.  The path was restored in the 1970's and designated a national historic walking trail in 1976.

The majority of the first part looks like this:

The start of the Cliff Walk from Memorial Avenue

Paved and tame with sweeping ocean views on one side, with quick snatches of views through the fences of the famous mansions on the other.

If you're just a hapless runner without any local knowledge, out for an 8 mile morning jaunt, what you'll quickly discover is that portions of the Cliff Walk are closed for repair due to damage from Hurricane Sandy.

The "end of the line" by the Breakers Mansion.

When I came to a fence blocking the path, I paused briefly to decide what to do.  In that moment's hesitation, a German tourist looked at my predicament and said, "end of the line!"  I started my watch again, hopped onto the jagged rocks to bypass the fence, and called over my shoulder, "Mal schauen, wie weit ich noch kommen kann!"

The path was rather treacherous at points, sometimes disappearing altogether in the rocks and boulders lining the shore.  There was mud, there were puddles, there were feeble attempts at restoration, there were tunnels, and there was an awful lot of loose and uneven footing.  There were points when I wasn't so much running as I was leaping from boulder to boulder.  But the trail tested my agility and kept me alert in ways I rarely experience as a runner - just enough to keep me engaged but not so bad I was hating it.  It really was a perfect run.  I was kind of sad when the trail ended and I found myself on stately Bellevue Avenue headed back towards town.

8 miles total this morning.  The weather was perfect, the majority of the run was challenging and rewarding, the views were grand, and it was all followed immediately by an elaborate breakfast.  Like I said, one of the best runs of my life.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Spartan Race Giveaway Results!

Entry to the Spartan Race giveaway is now closed.  I had a whopping four people leave comments, and Stevie and I did a drawing from a hat for the winner:

Congrats to Jennifer for winning!  Jennifer, I'll e-mail you soon with the code.  And as I say in the video, thank you to everyone for reading and commenting.

Best of luck out there in your future races!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Movie Monday: Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is just two weeks away, and this year's edition seems to be the most important in the already storied marathon's history.

I'm sad I won't be able to join the masses in their tribute to last year's tragedy.  But I'll be there in spirit, eagerly awaiting my own turn come 2015.

In the meantime, here is a video about runners and what this year means to them.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Free Spartan Race entry!

Fact: e-mail addresses at my school begin with the teacher's first initial, and then his or her last name.  My work address therefore begins with "spartenheimer."

Fact: a sizeable faction of my students find this hilarious and have begun lobbying me to dress as a spartan for Halloween next year.

Fact: I love mudruns and obstacle races and am particularly good at them.  

All this to say I was recently contacted by Dan the PR man over at Spartan Race to see if I would be willing to write about it on my blog.  Clearly this was fate.

So here we go:

Spartan Race started in 2005 and was voted #1 obstacle race by Outside Magazine in 2012. It's now offered all over the world in three different forms:

  • Spartan Sprint (3+ miles/15+ obstacles)
  • Super Spartan (8+ miles/20+ obstacles)
  • Spartan Beast (12+ miles/25+ obstacles)

In addition to all the racing madness, they've just unleashed the Reebok All-Terrain Spartan Race shoe to help you train for and conquer the obstacles.

While I have never done a Spartan Race myself, they clearly seem awesome.  The next one to hit the Philadelphia area is on April 12th at Citizens Bank Park, home of the Philadelphia Phillies.  I'll be away that day, but am planning to sign up for a race this summer.  I'll write a full race report then.

Oh, you want to sign up too?  Well Dan the PR man hooked me up with a link to 15% off any Spartan Race.  Click here.

Wait, you mean you're a cheap bastard and don't want to pay at all?  Well Dan the PR man also sent along a code good for one free entry to any open heat (non-confirmed start time) in any 2014 Spartan Race in the continental US.  Want to win?  Just leave me a comment telling me why you want to do the Spartan Race and a way I can contact you.  I'll wait a week and then randomly select a comment and send the code along to that lucky reader.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Dan and the good people of Spartan Race for making the world a little less boring.  Good luck everybody, and I'll see you on the course.

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