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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!

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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!

Ready for a PR

November 6, 2012 Leave a comment

I have run 100 miles per month in the last two months. I just ran my fastest 5k since 2009 when I started long-distance running. I am hoping for a PR in two weeks at the Philadelphia Marathon.

I am aiming for 4:10. My fear is that I am not as in shape as I think; I will run the first half in 2:05-2:10 and then crash instead of getting a negative split. In my two longest training runs, the last 2 miles I slowed down a lot. My hope is that I will run 2:05-2:10 in the first half and then crush the second half.

I need some new shoes and some new clothing. Then it will be time. Lay it out on the course!

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 brilliant return!

September 30, 2011 Leave a comment

The summer went by very quickly. I ran the 20in24 for a second year, took almost two months off from running, and am now preparing for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 20th. I’m doing a different stickk it! challenge and I moved.
I think it’s time to start blogging again.

So Hello!
Welcome (again?) to my blog about being active in a world of inactivity. I feel my blog is unique because I am writing as someone who is very active and I have two perspectives; I feel that I need to “do more” and yet I am pragmatic about fitness programs.

I read a lot of articles aimed to get people to start moving, but what do you do when you already are moving? Same thing with healthy eating habits. What do you do when you have taken the small steps, but you feel like that still isn’t enough?

On the flip side, there are also many fitness plans that say “Lift three times a week!”, “Run five days a week!”, “This is what you need to succeed!”. I feel that these programs don’t fit in my life, and they don’t work together. What do you do when you want to run long distance, participate in a sprint-oriented sport, regularly do yoga, and lift weights?

I haven’t answered these questions yet; that is the purpose of this blog. What is the next step for me in the path to fitness?