Archive for the ‘marathon’ Category

Re-cap of the Philadelphia Half Martahon and Other Musings

December 8, 2013 Leave a comment

I finished the Philadelphia Half Marathon in 2:35. I was amazed at how easy it was to finish the race despite my terrible training record this fall. Obviously a big part about running a race easily is the pace; I was setting an easy pace on purpose. But still, the ability to go 13.1 miles was really satisfying.

One thing about races is that they automatically make you focus on your running, and a lack of focus was my big problem this fall. It was reassuring to read in the New York Times this October that when you study hard, exercise feels harder. October was the most stressful time for me this fall, full of intense work on presentations and intense studying for my qualifying exam. No wonder I felt terrible every time I went out for a run!

Another thing about races is that there are so many people who show up with essentially no running history. So compared to them, you realize that your training could’ve been much much worse.

It’s just nice to have another race under the belt. And I love the mentality of running races in general. It’s meditative.

From this point forward I hope to be able to prioritize running and exercise. I want to go back to the gym; my muscles miss lifting! This year, multiple circumstances altered my typical race schedule (i.e. the Caesar Rodney Half, the Broad Street Run, and the Niagara Ultra). I am definitely planning to up the number of races I do in the spring/early summer. I may not make the Niagara Ultra or the Broad Street, but I am super excited to be able to run the Caesar Rodney Half again. The hills in that race are amazing!


Is it still a streak?

November 2, 2013 Leave a comment

I made the upsetting decision this week that there is no way I can complete the full Philadelphia Marathon on November 17th. This was going to be the fifth year in a row that I ran the marathon. Running at least a 10-year streak in the Philadelphia Marathon was one of my few life goals that had an actual definitive form (most of my life goals are more vague, like “being happy” and “enjoying my job”). Does it still count towards my goal if I finish the half marathon? I am not sure. I do know that even finishing the half marathon will be hard for me at this point because I have not had the time to run very much.

I guess I have to change my goal to running the Philly Marathon 10 times, without the streak perspective.

Categories: goals, marathon, running

Long time no running, no posting, only minor injuries

September 4, 2013 Leave a comment

Well, I knew this year was not my best for training and running, but the fact really hit home when I see I haven’t even finalized any posts I intended on writing. I’ve been pretty much NOT focusing on exercise this whole year, and that makes me sad. I skipped races I normally run, and didn’t replace them with other races. My point in writing this is to acknowledge that it is hard to go and do something everyday. I talk to friends who say the same thing; I just need to “_________”. Sometimes it might be “run every day” or “go to the gym once a week” or even “walk everyday for 30 mins”. These statements are things we know we can accomplish, in fact we may have been able to accomplish them last month or last year! But something in the present time is making those goals really hard to achieve. I want to say that it is amazing and a huge accomplishment when you can run everyday or go to the gym once a week for many months. These tasks can be hard to do! Don’t be deceived by the simplicity of the statement.

So here’s to the fall, my Philadelphia Marathon training season! After months of not running (though I did mange to play Ultimate) I ran a super slow 15 km race with lots of crazy steep hills on August 24th. I finished it despite having run few training miles and having pulled my hamstring area two weeks before in my last Ultimate game of the summer. I can only improve from this point forward, I just need to follow my training plan!

Philadelphia Marathon 2012

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Philadelphia Marathon number 4 yesterday. It was great! Fastest time yet in Philadelphia (although the PR is still the Toronto Marathon). The weather was perfect, I got a negative split, and the people running and cheering were awesome, as always.

Thank you Team Philly for being my training team! Without Team Philly there is no way I would have gotten up for a run at 8am or 7:30am on Saturdays. I would not have run nearly as many miles. I would not have met such awesome people!

I ran the first half in 2:10, and the second half in just under 2:08. My 10k pace was 1:01 and the 30k pace 3:03. Nice and consistent. The last 4 miles definitely got tough, but I kept running at about 10 min/mile (no walking this time!).

Today so far I feel great. Haven’t attempted stairs yet, though. But I think this is the best post-long-race feeling yet. I wonder how I will do in the Turkey Trot this Thursday?

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Pacing at the Philadelphia Marathon 2011

November 23, 2011 Leave a comment

I ran the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday. I love running. I was sore on Monday and am still sore today, but I like the soreness too!

Because of my twisted ankle and poor build up to the race, I was aiming to finish in 5 hours. Two things made me feel confident that I could finish faster than my slowest marathon (5:15): the weather was better (around 55 degrees vs a humid 85 degrees) and I felt in better shape. My goal was to start really slowly (about 12 min/mile), to avoid dodging around people, and enjoy. All things were accomplished!

I started off at an easy 11:21 min/mile pace. A stop at what felt like the slowest porta-potty line took 10 minutes. I finished the half marathon at 2:38 with an average 12:03 min/mile pace. I sped up a little with some restraint. I was very aware of taking walking breaks and not going too fast. I got tired between mile 17 and 18, but regained my energy. My feet started hurting at mile 23, but after a mile the pain lessened. I was able to pick up the pace in the last mile and finishing chute. I finished in 4:58:16! Overall average of 11:23 min/mile. About a 2:20 second half which was a 10:41 min/mile pace. Negative split baby! And no crashing!

I was very conscious throughout the race of pitfalls I experienced in previous races. I crashed in the 2009 and in 2010 Philadelphia Marathons. In 2009, I dodged around people on the Columbus Boulevard section (around mile 3) and I sped up too much between mile 13 and 17. In 2010, I dodged around people along Chestnut Street (mile 6). This year I was extra-sure to not dodge around anyone. It’s so easy to let other people’s pace dictate yours and speed up. It’s easy to speed up a little to get into the next open spot in the crowd. Those actions take more energy than they are worth.

In 2010 I think I had energy intake problems. I started losing energy before mile 17. I had stomach issues at mile 18. I wasn’t able to regain energy during the last miles. Some thoughts that have prevented proper energy intake include “It’s early, I don’t need a gel yet” and “There’s only three miles left, a gel won’t kick in before that time”. This year I made sure to have gels often enough. I also had a bagel with cream cheese for breakfast instead of my previously favored toast and eggs. More carbs in my stomach from which to draw energy!

My take home message about this race was the importance of pacing. It’s dangerous every time you slip into an energy-consuming stride unless you are in the last few miles.

And here were some of the awesome things that happened along the way:

  • My boyfriend ran with me between mile 6 and 13
  • My parents cheered for me at mile 7 and 17
  • I finished before one girl who kept leap frogging me in the second half of the race.
  • I ran with a woman dressed as Rocky at mile 6. She got ahead of me because of the epic porta-potty break, but I caught up and passed her around mile 21.
  • My favorite sign was “Keep going, don’t Occupy Arch Street!”
  • In South Philly there were guys with a sign “You yell Philly, we drink beer!” Of course I had to yell “Philly!” to which one responded “You’re killin’ me!”
  • Around mile 10 or 11 a group who has been there the last two years were people dancing in costumes giving out high fives. One was dressed as a Hungry Hungry Hippo!
  • There were lots of tutus and a few capes.
  • I saw two completely barefoot runners, and tons of people with Vibram Five Fingers.
  • I had some beer both times I passed the Beer Stop in Manayunk

I can’t wait for next year!

A fight with concrete and allergies

October 14, 2011 Leave a comment

Two weeks ago, I started off the week with high expectations. My attack plan for running a marathon on November 20th was to run at least a small distance every day. I was brought up short on Tuesday. While running on the wonderful wide sidewalks of the Parkway I stepped wrong on an edge where one square was slightly higher than the other. ROLL went my ankle and I crashed to the ground. After curling in a ball until the momentary pain went away, I took stock. Rolled left ankle; swelling expected. Scraped right knee; bleeding–needed cleaning. Slightly scraped right hand; not a concern. Fortunately I was running with my boyfriend and he supported me while I hobbled back to the gym. Used hydrogen peroxide on the knee, iced the ankle when I got back to my desk. I’ve rolled this ankle before, so it’s not a completely new injury. But definitely not the best way to start the attack plan!

A week later when the swelling was mostly gone and the knee scabbed over, I expected to start again on the attack plan. Unfortunately the temperature dropped quickly for about 4 days and I was besieged by allergies. A sharp change in the weather always sets off my allergies. I was too sick to run until this past Sunday. My attack plan was yet again foiled by life.

I finally went running last night, and survived 40 minutes without coughing too much and without pain in my ankle. I wore an ankle brace to be safe. I have officially began the attack plan. Only two-ish weeks lost, I think I can still run enough to survive a marathon in November…

Philly Marathon, number 2

November 24, 2010 Leave a comment

I finished in 4:24:08 (chip time); the fastest city employee to do the whole marathon! It was a fun race, I wore my grandma’s beer hat and a cape, but I was basically done mentally with the race after 17 miles. Not the state you want to be in if you are trying to run a PR! I still finished 2 minutes faster than last year, which is a success. Hell, I can’t forget that finishing in and of itself is a success!

I wanted to talk about distraction and mental states. I started the race with the plan to NOT weave around on Columbus Blvd like I did last year. I wasted some energy at the beginning of the race doing that, and I didn’t want to repeat that mistake. So for the first portion I ran in a pretty straight line, slowing slightly to follow the flow of people. Then I got to Chestnut street. Oh goodness, such a mess. I had stopped at the porta-potty and I must have fallen behind a massive wave of people, and them combined with people slowing down in general was a nightmare. Any weaving that I avoided on Columbus Blvd was picked up on Chestnut Street. After that mess (I did manage to get a head of the crowd), I basically stopped thinking about my race strategy except to think “Huh, I am not thinking about my pace very much”. I had some faster miles and some slower ones. I finished the half marathon around 2:08, which was part of my goal–to finish the half marathon faster than in previous races as a strategy for attempting a PR.

The weather was also a little weird. It felt warmer at the start than the Philly Marathon last year and the Toronto Marathon, but the temperature never warmed up much past that point. I think wearing a hat also changed the temperature regulation in my body. I pulled off my long sleeve shirt after 3 miles and passed it off to my parents at mile 7.

I missed a few mile marks. I missed the 5 mile mark, and referred to the race shirt I was holding to verify I wasn’t seriously behind pace. I missed mile 15, and missed a water stop because it was kinda short. These are things you don’t want to happen in a race.

What I want to get across is that there were things about that race that didn’t lend themselves to me getting in the same mental frame of mind that happened in Toronto. I wonder if part of the distraction was the fact that I know Philadelphia. The whole race is surround by other experiences, and there were new things to add to my thought arsenal this year. I moved to South Philly in September, and so the run down Columbus Blvd and the turn onto Washington St and 2 St have a slightly different meaning now because I live close to that turn! Alas! Next year I will try again.

I want reiterate for anyone who has a bad run or race day that there are things outside of your control that make days hard and unsuccessful.

It certainly didn’t help that I did mostly cross training between the Toronto Marathon and this one. My muscle pain on Monday was freaking TERRIBLE. I had to use the banister of my house like a rope to slowly climb up the stairs, and as a crutch on the way down as I cringed sideways down the stairs. Tuesday I made it in to work, and had to go out with the GPS unit. It was good to be on my feet, and I did warm up after like 2 hours, but my coworker commented today that I was seriously wounded yesterday. Every time I stepped my left knee had the chance of hyper-extending slightly because the muscles were tired and sore. Today was much better, and tomorrow I am attempting the Turkey Trot! We will see how that goes…

My goals going forward are to talk to my doctor about my left knee, because it has been giving me trouble and getting slightly worse over the course of a year; to make morning running a part of my schedule; and to plan my races for next year. I signed up for the 20 in 24 already, and I want to try to run 100 miles in it. That is a serious endeavor that I need to plan now. Also, I am hoping to make it back up to Niagara-on-the-Lake for the 50k. That falls turnaround was amazing, and the camping I did on the way up and back was really enjoyable. Finally, I  would like to try to break 4 hours in the next marathon, and do well in the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon. I will conquer that hill!!

Oh, and some especially enjoyable moments: One lady admiring my beer hat and then saying to her running buddy “Why didn’t I think of that?”; My boyfriend running with me for about 8 miles; Seeing Back on my Feet members on the course; Drinking beer in Manayunk ’cause how can you refuse when you are wearing a beer hat?!; Getting to run over the Falls Bridge (even though I thought that turn around was slightly ridiculous and I was feeling shitty at the time); Opening my cape up and “flying” into the finish chute.

Categories: marathon, recovery