Sunday, May 31, 2015

May mileage

I ran 13 miles today because I missed that feeling of being drenched in my own sweat and suffering through the heat.  I also love a good excuse to sit under a garden hose for a bit.

I have a half marathon coming up in two weeks, and I'm glad to know my legs will still carry me that distance.

May is over, and it looks like I closed out the month at 159.1 miles, which puts me at 989.3 miles for the year.  My quest to run 2,015 miles this year is still on track.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Memorial Day 2015

While I miss our old apartment, one of the biggest advantages of our new place is the fact that we have a backyard now.  I grill every chance I get during warmer weather, including today when Stevie and I hosted our first Memorial Day BBQ.

Getting things started

We spent hours outside listening to music, drinking beer, and eating grilled hamburgers and hotdogs.

Grill master

Happiness is the smell of charcoal and an ice cold beer, all amidst good company.

The most important part of the party

Happy Memorial Day to you, and here's to the start of an excellent summer.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday 10 miler

I ran ten miles this morning, and it felt great.  It was my longest run since the marathon last month.  Because I have a half marathon next month, and because the gross summer humidity is still holding off, I figured I should get in some miles this morning.  It was a perfect spring morning for a run.

I ran my usual 10 mile route, the one I ran repeatedly in snowfall while training for Boston, the one that incorporates hills and trails in addition to the usual sidewalks and pavement, the one that goes through the town where I teach and I consequently hear shouts of "Hey Mr. Partenheimer!" all day.

Everyone: I think I saw you running the other day.
Me: It's a distinct possibility.

I was hoping to continue my training from Boston into June and run really well at my two June races (Wissahickon 10k and Odyssey Half Marathon), but it looks like summer habits are already taking hold.  Drinking too much beer and eating too much food at parties and barbecues and not doing enough speedwork are not going to get me any PR's next month.

But I still have a few weeks left to prepare, so you never know, right?

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Coffee date

How about a Saturday morning coffee date with Stevie and me?

Stevie: You should tell your readers you're drinking chai and not coffee.
Me: Stevie, my readers remember every detail of my life and know I prefer chai.

Let's get into it, shall we?

  • As a runner, one of the most frequently asked questions I get is, "what race are you doing next?"  I have two that I'm officially signed up for, plus a few more in the pipeline.  Next month I'll run the Wissahickon Trail Classic 10k and the ODDyssey Half Marathon, both of which I've done before.  I love those two races and can't recommend them enough.
  • The next question I get is "are you still streaking?" Yes, I am still streaking.  I started on November 26, 2013 and it's looking very much like this is going to be a lifelong thing.  I joke with my dad that I will probably put out a press release if I ever decide to stop the streak.
  • My runs lately have all been in the 5 - 8 range (1 mile on Monday for my rest day).
  • I'm at about 930 miles for the year so far, so I'm still on track to hit 2,015 miles this year.
  • Stevie has gotten really into fitness lately.  After eating whatever she wanted for over a year and using pregnancy/breastfeeding as an excuse, she has really buckled down and overhauled her nutrition and fitness.  In her words, she's "blown away" by the pounds and inches she has lost over the last two months.
  • Neale is finally sleeping better throughout the night, but he still likes to wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 every morning.  Never getting to sleep late is kind of rough, but I do like these quiet, early mornings on the back porch.
  • School is winding down, and the reminder I give my students is meant for me as well: finish the year strong.  Don't check out early.
  • Stevie and I are hosting a Memorial Day BBQ this Monday.  I am super excited to get back into grilling.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The best male running bloggers

I never understood why the world of fitness and running blogging is so heavily dominated by women.  There's nothing wrong with this, of course, but as a man, it sometimes makes it hard to relate to the content.

So when I look for running blogs to read, I like to find people I can relate to.  If it's someone with a full-time job, maybe a dad, and who is just sharing his running journey with the rest of us, then I want to read his blog.  I love being inspired by others' journeys, especially if they face similar struggles to mine.

That said, I thought I would share my favorite running blogs from the male end of the spectrum.  Each of these bloggers is inspiring in his own way, so read on and get inspired!

Name: Bryon Pumphrey
From: Indiana

First there's my bro out in Indiana, Bryon Pumphrey.  I've written about him before and met him for a hot second in the middle of the Boston Marathon, of all places.

He's a die-hard Pacers fan who lost 40 lbs. through running and hopefully doesn't mind me always stealing pictures from his blog.  He's a down-to-earth guy who doesn't blog for the fame or the glory but to keep himself accountable and to share his journey.  He's planning to run a sub 3:00 marathon this fall, so I'm definitely looking forward to following his progress, especially as I may attempt the same exact goal in Philly.

Name: Ty Godwin
From: Colorado

Then there's Ty Godwin.  He is an average guy with two kids who writes passionately about - you guessed it - the Boston Marathon.  He completed it this year for the 5th time in a row, which was no small feat since he sustained some pretty serious injuries in a bike crash at a triathlon last summer.  His grit and determination are amazing.

I also love his style of writing - there's the feelgoodery you would expect from someone chasing such lofty goals but with enough acerbic wit to keep it interesting.  He doesn't shy away from risqué material - he covered the Michael Rossi story well before I did, and much more brilliantly.  His next project is as a presenter at the Fitbloggin15 Conference in Denver.

Name: Cory Reese
From: Utah

I'm sure nearly everyone who comments on Cory's blog mentions the photos.  Come for the photos, stay for the content.  While Cory takes his share of selfies (really, what blogger doesn't), and some beautiful shots of the Utah landscape, his specialty seems to be his epic jumping shots.  Not the goofy white girls on the beach jumping shots, but ones out in the desert where he seems to be soaring through the shot.  The energy and exuberance in these photos reaches out and shakes you and yells at you to go running yourself.

Cory is a social worker and father of three who still finds time to run ultras - lots of ultras.  A 50 miler here, a 72 hour race there, and enough 100 milers - as noted in his "About Me" page - to listen to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On" up to 623 times on repeat.  If you ever have any questions about ultras, this is your man.  In the meantime, the goofy positivity oozing from each post will keep you coming back.

Name: Brad Mason
From: Florida

A few weeks ago I was contacted by Brad who had found my blog through YouTube.  He'd been blogging for awhile, though anonymously, and wanted to lift the veil of anonymity to increase his accountability.  Looking at the above photo, I can't believe he drew inspiration from me.  He was kind enough to highlight my blog on his, and I wanted to do the same.

Brad is a father of three and has an insane work schedule that sometimes requires 60-90 hour weeks throughout the year.  His athletic journey has been long and varied and not without its struggles, and through it all he has set the goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  His plan is to run it in 2017, so stop by his blog and follow along!

Name: Jake Krong
From: Utah

Wait, you mean you wanted more pictures from Utah?  Well then read Jake Krong's blog.  His blog highlights both his and his girlfriend Andrea's outdoor adventures living near the Wasatch Range.  They are both passionate skiers and fill the blog with beautiful shots of the pristine snow-capped mountains in the winter.

But wait, that's not all! Jake is also a sub-elite runner with the goal of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials.  With a marathon PR of 2:20, he has a lot of excellent running advice and general observations from the front of the pack.  He is also sponsored by Saucony and shares a lot of great information about them.  I love his excellent race analyses from someone with a lot of talent and experience.

Eric Rayvid
From: New York City

In his thirties, Eric was overweight, smoked, had high cholesterol; basically all the hallmarks of an unhealthy lifestyle.  Now in his forties, he is an accomplished endurance athlete and hangs out with people like Kara Goucher and Mary Wittenberg.    Most recently, he became a father last fall with the birth of his first son.

Through his blog, he is essentially an ambassador of the NYC racing scene.  He constantly brings his GoPro to the races and posts videos and great action shots afterwards.  The blog also provides great reviews on a lot of different shoes and other endurance products.

Name: Henrik Wist
From: Munich, Germany

Fellow father and runner Henrik has been a longtime reader of the blog, and we came awfully close to actually meeting when I showed up in his hometown last month with ten of my students in tow.  Sadly, it didn't work out, but we'll always have the internet, Henrik.

As the name of his blog suggests, Henrik is into biking and coding as well as running, and his blog is a sprinkling of his different interests.  He most recently ran a brilliant debut marathon in Hamburg in a blistering time of 3:17:38... now if we could get him to write a race report!

Names: Tom and Joe
Blogs: Unknown
From: Florida

Lastly, a shout out to Tom and Joe down in Florida.  They don't have blogs to my knowledge, but they frequently leave me comments and I appreciate it like crazy.

I think the theme here, besides being all dudes, is that everyone mentioned here is just an average guy doing extraordinary things with his one chance at life.  You don't need to be blessed with money or looks or anything else to accomplish great things.  You just have to be willing to put in the hard work.

Is there an amazing male running blogger that I missed?  Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Race to Neverland 5k Race Report

First off, happy Mother's Day to all of the mothers out there.  Today is a special one for us because it's Stevie's first Mother's Day as a mom.

Stevie decided a few months ago that she wanted to celebrate the occasion at a local 5k she'd found online.  Looks like I picked the right one, folks.  She's been doing the 21 Day Fix Program through Beach Body and loving it, so she wanted to get back into running, which she hasn't really done since before getting pregnant.  So we brought Neale and the jogging stroller over to Cherry Hill this morning for the First Annual Race to Neverland 5k.

Unfortunately it was the most poorly organized race I've ever done.

Look, I hate to bash a local 5k, given that they are usually charity events (this one benefitted two young girls who had lost their mother a few years ago), so let's just call this constructive criticism and hope next year's event goes a little better.

There were only about 50 people in the race, mostly moms and their kids of varying ages, along with a few ringers from local running clubs (some of whom I recognized from the South Jersey running circuit).

Stevie had already registered in advance, but I registered when we got there.  I was surprised that race-day registration was $35.  There was no music or fanfare of any kind, there were no aid stations on the course, and the only post race refreshments were bottles of water.  I don't mind a no frills race, but not when the price is that high.

9am came and we were told the police had not arrived and they needed 10 more minutes to finish getting ready.  The only bathroom available was a single portapotty a quarter mile away next to a baseball field, so 5 of us walked out there.  On our way back across the field, we heard a siren go off and saw they had started the race without us.  We swore it hadn't yet been 10 minutes, but even if it had, it hadn't occured to them to look across the field to see if anyone was using the bathroom and to wait for us.

So we trotted over to the starting mat so we could register our chips, but they were already dismantling it.  We tried to cross over it but were told rather brusquely, "you need to start now."  There was no explanation as to whether or not we would be timed.  So we just started running.

I pushed Neale in the stroller, Stevie ran beside me, and Stevie's friend Heather pushed her daughter in a stroller.  The police officer had showed up and was stopping traffic for us to cross the street.  The majority of the course was in a beautiful residential neighborhood, and I had fun with the novelty of running with a stroller and taking selfies, neither of which I ever do while racing.

We eventually came back to the same intersection with the police officer and a course marshall and were waved across the street back to the high school where we started.  As we approached the finish line, Heather's iPhone only read 2 miles.  At the finish line we explained that the course wasn't marked and the course marshall had sent us this way, but the same man from the starting line told us in the same tone as before, "no one else had a problem."  Ok, so we're either lying or you're calling us stupid.  Great.

We headed back onto the course so we could run the proper length and finished around 34 minutes, a PR for Stevie.

The disorganization and the rude tone of the man in charge left me with a bad taste in my mouth, but when all was said and done we still did a proper 5k distance, which was Neale's first race in the stroller and Stevie's and my first race running together the whole way.

I'd brought along a cooler with champagne, orange juice and glasses, and after running we all relaxed on the grass drinking mimosas.

Once again, happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2015

The strange case of Mr. Michael Rossi

Meet Mike Rossi:

Radio DJ, Philly-area runner, and recent viral sensation.

As seen in the picture above, Mr. Rossi recently ran the Boston Marathon.  He and his wife had taken his two elementary-aged children out of school to attend the weekend festivities, and when he returned home, he received the following letter from his children's principal:

This letter did not sit well with Mr. Rossi, who then published the following open-letter response on Facebook:

His letter definitely struck a nerve with the American populace, because it quickly made the rounds of social media and was picked up by the mainstream media.  Mr. Rossi was subsequently interviewed by national newspapers and tv programs alike.

People praised him for standing up to the school, which in turn sparked a conversation on parenting and the state of public schools in America.  Mr. Rossi became an instant folk hero with many dubbing him "Dad of the Year."

Only problem is, while Mr. Rossi was basking in the media attention, the principal who had sent the original letter started to receive attention of a different kind.  She received hundreds of threatening e-mails and middle-of-the-night prank calls from people who chose to focus on a simple form letter rather than her lifelong dedication to children and education.

Her son eventually came to her defense, writing an impassioned letter to stop the madness. To his credit, Mr. Rossi also called for a cease fire regarding the principal.

This all would have died down shortly thereafter were it not for the passionate crew of running nerds over at  Someone looked into the race he ran to qualify for Boston - a 3:11 performance at the Via Marathon in Lehigh, PA - and raised the suspicion that he had likely cheated.

The accusation stems from two main pieces of evidence:
  1. Professional photographers were stationed at several points along the course, yet Rossi appears in only the finish line photos.
  2. None of his other race results of varying distance support his ability to hold a 7:17 pace over 26.2 miles.
In addition, the Via Marathon only employs timing mats at the start and finish, meaning he could have exited the course and reentered down the line without anyone knowing.  Mr. Rossi's reaction upon running such an outlier race and qualifying for Boston for the first time also seems curious.  Normally one to splash his accomplishments everywhere online, he was almost silent after his big accomplishment.

Mr. Rossi has since shut down or made private all of his social media accounts, and refuses to provide any evidence that he ran an honest race that day in Lehigh.  The race director has called on the USATF to assist in a full investigation in the matter, which could result in his disqualification from both the Via Marathon and the Boston Marathon, and a lifetime ban from both.

The turns this story has taken have been fascinating, and it raises numerous questions about our sport: Why do some people cheat?  How do they cheat, and how can this be prevented in the future?  If the person cheating is some Joe Schmo who isn't winning awards, does it really matter?  Is such a thorough investigation and punishment necessary?

While I don't think the evidence is outright conclusive, I do think there is a strong probability that he cheated, and that makes me sad.  It is simply beyond me how anyone could cheat, especially when there is no money involved.  When I didn't get into Boston the first time, there is no way I would have cheated to get in.  Instead, it only made me want to train harder and officially make it in.  I never could have lived with myself if I ran the Boston Marathon without having earned it.

It seems ironic that Mr. Rossi purposefully sought out the spotlight in dealing with his children's principal, and that same spotlight brought him into this current mess.  It is my sincere hope that Mr. Rossi gets what he deserves, be that redemption and an apology from his accusers, or the aforementioned disqualification and lifetime ban.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

A walk in the park

The family and I drove out to Wissahickon Valley Park today, an amazing park about 45 minutes away and within the Philadelphia city limits.

It was the same park where Stevie and I went on a date back in 2011, before we were even technically dating.

We spent about two hours walking the trails and taking in the scenery while Neale observed the world from his perch on Stevie's back.

We hope to lead by example and model a healthy and active lifestyle for Neale, so it's great to get out and explore the world with him from an early age.  As much as I love the age he's at right now, I can't help but look forward to all of the adventures that await us.
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