Friday, July 31, 2015

July mileage

January: 197
February: 231
March: 281
April: 121.2
May: 159.1
June: 112.3

And July:

145.4 for the month, for a total of 1,247 miles for the year so far.

It was a slow month for running, with just two races (one 3.65 mile prediction race and one 5k).  The heat and humidity got pretty extreme for much of the month, so relaxing with a beer by the grill was more my style than sprinting down the sidewalk every damn day.

I hope to pick up the pace some in August and grit my way through the last of summer weather, which will make running in cooler fall temps all the more glorious.

I hope your summer running is going well, dear reader.  Let's finish the season with a bang.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Mighty Scott Jurek

If you're reading this blog, chances are you know something about running.  And if you know something about running, chances are you've at least heard of Scott Jurek.

In short, he is one of the most accomplished ultramarathoners of all time, collecting wins at such grueling races as the Western States Endurance Run (seven consecutive times), the Badwater Ultramarathon (twice) and many others.  He has accomplished all of this while maintaining a vegan diet, proving that, contrary to popular opinion, you can be a serious athlete while abstaining from all animal products.

Most recently, he capped off his illustrious career at 41 by setting the record for fastest assisted thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail.  On July 12th, fans following the hashtag #SJAT15 eagerly awaited updates from Mt. Katahdin in Maine where Jurek ultimately finished his quest, 46 days after starting on Springer Mountain over 2,000 miles away in Georgia.  It was an amazing moment for veganism, for ultra running, for AT lovers, and of course for Jurek and his fans.

By all accounts, Jurek seems to be one of the nicest guys on the planet, one who cares passionately and lives humbly despite his success and fame in his growing sport.  One didn't have to be an ardent fan of his to cheer him on earlier this month as he closed in on the AT record, for no one seemed more deserving.

It was surprising, then, when a few days later Baxter State Park officials posted a brief Facebook diatribe entitled "Ultramarathoning in Baxter Park - another perspective."  Park officials took umbrage at Jurek bringing corporate interests to this pristine wilderness, among other gripes, and pointed out that he had also been given three summons on top of Katahdin. One for littering, one for hiking with a group of more than 12, and one for drinking alcohol in public.  The picture they deliberately painted was of a raucous frat party filled with illicit activity that deflowered the picturesque mountain peak and its surroundings.

Jurek, and many fellow hikers who were present on the summit that day, tell a different story. Jurek maintains that his specific group was no more than the allowed 12 hikers.  The alcohol charge stems from the bottle of champagne seen in the above picture.  This was procured by a friend who had checked with a ranger before the hike and was told to just keep it away from families and children.  The littering referred to the champagne that sprayed onto the ground, which may or may not seem like a ridiculous charge depending on how much you subscribe to Leave No Trace ethics.

It seems that Baxter State Park is getting fed up with the uptick in hikers attempting the Appalachian Trail and the subsequent commercialism that has crept in with them.  It also laments its role in hosting the northern terminus of the trail.  Many people, Jurek included, believe they are making an example of him due to his celebrity, piggybacking off the media coverage they oppose just to further their cause.

It's a shame that Jurek's amazing achievement had to be capped by ridiculous "controversy," but ever the class act, I'm sure he will rise above it and easily put it behind him on the way to the next summit of his career.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

2015 Hot Run in the Summertime 5k Race Report

Ran the Roadrunners Club of Woodbury's 4th annual Hot Run in the Summertime 5k this morning.  I ran it for the first time last year when it was only 70 degrees on race morning. Check out the race report here.

My wife and son came out with me this morning, but I didn't run with them because my Wednesday night beer/run club was entered in the team competition, and I wanted to run at my own pace today.

Going anywhere with a baby is challenging, and we had to time Neale's morning nap to the 10am start time.  We arrived with just enough time to pick up our bibs and use the bathroom, but no time to warm up.  It was truly going to be a hot run this year, with clear skies and temps well into the 80's.

Last year the afterparty happened at Charlie Brown's, but this year was moved to the Woodbury Station Cafe and the course was changed slightly to accommodate the move.

Outside of the Woodbury Station Cafe
Photo by RRCW

At 10am we took off through the streets of Woodbury.  There were mile markers posted this year, and I also wore my Garmin just in case, so I was able to keep track of my pace.  I still ended up running my fastest mile at the start.  One of these days I'll learn how to negative split a race.

Mile 1: 6:11
Mile 2: 6:15
Mile 3: 6:12

Photo by RRCW

In the final sprint to the finish, I tried to reel in one of the guys from my running club, but he was just too far ahead of me.  There was no one near me, in front of or behind me, though I wish there had been because it might have encouraged me to push even harder.

Photo by RRCW

Final stats:

9th overall
3rd in my age group

I was kind of surprised to have run so close to 19 minutes.  I've only broken 19 three times in my life.  Imagine what I could do if I buckled down and trained hard for the 5k.  Is there a new 5k PR in my future?

After finishing I grabbed a bottle of water and walked back through the course looking for Stevie.  I found her just after the 2 mile mark and pushed the stroller for her while she ran the rest of the way in to a 34:06.  New PR!

Photo by RRCW
When they announced the winners after the race, I got a medal for placing in my age group.

And Team Who's Up? took 2nd place in the team competition.  Our team included Dave Welsh, owner of the Haddonfield Running Company, who won the overall race.

Team Who's Up?
Photo by RRCW
There was a post race buffet set up inside the cafe, including a keg of beer and plenty of grilled hotdogs and hamburgers.  A group of us sat outside in the shade talking about all things beer and running.

Photo by RRCW

It was a great morning not only hanging out with running friends, but sharing it all with my wife and son as well.  Stevie is getting more into 5k's and wants to do more with me in the future. Twist my arm, eh?

Huge thanks to Ron Riskie and the Road Runners Club of Woodbury for hosting such a great event.  Everything associated with a race was perfectly executed: sign up (only $30 for the whole event), parking, marked course, awards, post race food, etc.  Great job, RRCW, and I hope to make it out next year.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

1,200 miles

July has been a slow month for running, but this morning I went out for 8 miles.  It was my longest run in weeks, and I was forced to welcome back nipple chafing into my life.

After completing 8 miles, I walked into the kitchen and saw my wife in workout clothes.

Stevie: Oh good, I just caught you!  Want to go run 3 miles?
Me: You had me at hello.

Before heading out I tallied up my mileage for the year and realized I only needed 3.4 to reach 1,200. So we brought Neale out in the stroller and knocked out a slow and steady 3.4 miles around the neighborhood.  Then I had Stevie record this milestone in which it also looks like I could be naked.  With a hat that says "Dirty German" on it.

Only 815 miles to go in this challenge!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

2015 SJAC No Frills Just Thrills Race #4

Race #2 never happened due to an epic 20 minute storm knocking out trees and electricity all over South Jersey a few weeks ago, and I missed race #3 because Stevie had rehearsal that night, but was able to make it over to the Cooper River last night for race #4 in the summer series.

Last night was a prediction race of one loop around the Cooper (3.65 miles).  At registration, runners had to write down their predicted finish time, and then whoever came closest to their prediction would win the race.  This means two things: you don't have to run fast to win the race, and older runners with more experience pacing themselves stand a better chance at winning.

Last year I predicted 32 minutes, roughly a 9 minute pace, but ended up finishing in 29:39, an 8:07 pace.  So this year I wrote down 29 minutes.  I had to leave shortly afterwards, so I had no idea how I did until today when the results were posted.

I was only 20 seconds off my predicted time and took 2nd in my age group.  This means I get another pint glass which I'll be able to pick up at the next race.  Side note: my running hobby means I have an absurdly large pint glass collection.  It's starting to become a problem.

The overall winner was 65 years old and came within one second of his predicted time.

As always, thanks to the South Jersey Athletic Club for putting on a great race series.  I'll see y'all at the next race.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Movie Monday: comparing running to other hobbies

If you're a runner and you participate in social media on any level, you've probably seen this video over the last week.  It perfectly captures the absurdity that is my chosen hobby and just how ridiculous and hardcore people treat it.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

South Jersey beer night

Whenever it's my turn to be up for our Wednesday night beer/run club, I like to bring beer according to a theme.  My first time up I brought all German beers because I'm a German teacher.  Another time, in December, I brought all Christmas beers.  And tonight I decided to go local and highlight as many South Jersey beers as I could.  Then I printed up a menu to accompany the cooler.

The official selection included Flying Fish, Spellbound, Pinelands Brewing Company, Village Idiot Brewing Company, and Forgotten Boardwalk Brewing Company.  I love Cape May Brewing Company and wanted to include it, but had a devil of a time securing any of their beer and wasn't able to make the 90 minute drive down there just to pick some up.

The beer from Pinelands Brewing proved to be the most popular.  Their operation is a glorified storage shed just minutes from the Jersey Shore, and while there last week Stevie and I picked up a growler of their blueberry ale.  Perfect for summer.  Forgotten Boardwalk's Funnel Cake Ale was also a popular choice.

At the end of the day, it's safe to say that one of the greatest pleasures in my life is running hard, followed by drinking great local beer with great local people.
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