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one Man of a Certain Age's journey to a healthier lifestyle

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Welcome to my fitness blog. I started running in early 2012, having set my sights on the Walt Disney World Half Marathon which I ran in January 2013. (You can read about that in my other blog). I intend to update this blog weekly with training progress and run reports. Please follow and join this blog (links below) for updates. If you want to share please feel free to, there are links to share via Facebook or Twitter below as well. You can also follow me on twitter. And please comment letting me know what you think!

My upcoming races: My recent races:
NYCRuns Central Park Half Marathon February 23, 2014 2013 Year in Review
Rock 'n' Roll USA Marathon - DC March 15, 2014  

My Blogs Thompson Family Web (Travel, Disney and fun) The Runner of a Certain Age Blog

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year In Review


As the year comes to a close I reflect back on my first full year as a runner. I started running in the summer of last year with an eye on running my first race - the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January. After accomplishing that goal I ran several more 5k's, 10k's and Half Marathons, culminating with a Full Marathon in November. In this blog I will summarize my thoughts on the different events I participated in.

One thing right off the bat. I have also started doing a podcast - mostly for the fun of it. I have done a couple of episodes of the podcast that concurrent with posts in this blog but I've never really attempted to coordinate what goes in the blog and the podcast. I just sort of wing it (for better or worse). This time I decided to have the blog and the podcast compliment each other.


So, in this blog I will summarize the events I participated in and summarize some thoughts on each. In the podcast I will do a "best of" and "worst of" summary of the year. Hopefully this will be at least a little interesting! So, after reading this blog be sure to check out the podcast. Just click on the image below. Or listen to the podcast first. Whatever. Far be it from me to tell you what to do..



First, a summary of my year:

Events:
5k's 4
10k's 3
Half Marathons 5
Full Marathons 1

Run totals:
Activities 148
Miles 706.85
Time 164:19:01

And here is a summary of all the events I participated in during 2013, in chronological order (by clicking on the title of the race you can read my full blog entry):

Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Lake Buena Vista FL, January 12, 2013
This race will always hold a special place in my heart for two reasons. First, obviously, it was my first race. Second, it was specifically my first (of what I hope to be many) Disney races. For a Disney fan such as myself, running a race at a Disney park is an absolutely fantastic experience. To begin with, the shear scope is unlike anything else I've experienced as a runner. I suppose the NYC Marathon or the Boston Marathon are similar in that way, but think of this: the second largest event I participated in - the Route 66 Marathon - had about 7,000 participants between the Half Marathon and the Full Marathon. The WDW Half Marathon had about 25,000 participants. And that was the Half Marathon alone. Sharing this experience with so many runners who are also Disney fans is a very special experience, and I am thrilled that I was able to do this for my first race. I am really looking forward to my next Disney race - whenever that is.
Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon, Sleepy Hollow NY, March 23, 2013
OK, so my chiropractor is also a runner. He has given me endless helpful advice while keeping my back in alignment. So, after I ran the WDW Half Marathon I told him I had signed up for the Sleepy Hollow race. "Wow" he said, "I've done that race. it's a tough course! Very hilly!" Lovely. Only my second race and I was challenging myself with a notoriously tough course. I wanted to run the NYC Half Marathon but it was sold out unless you wanted to run for a charity. I thought of doing that but when I heard about the Sleepy Hollow race I decided to do that instead. After all, it was only about a half hour away! Well, it was a tough race. But you know what? I made it. And I did it in a faster time that I thought I would be able to. And while the course certainly is tough, it is also a beautiful course that winds through wooded trails and and along the historic Hudson River. I don't intend to run it in 2014 but I do think I will tackle it again eventually when I can better appreciate the course.
Bedford Hills Run for the Hills 5K, Bedford Hills NY, April 2, 2013
My first ever 5K. After the race i found myself thinking "what a civilized distance! It was particularly satisfying because, having lived in the town for many years, I had seen the signs advertising the event many times over the years. It was nice to actually run in it. It was also great seeing my chiropratcor there - who is a sponsor of the event.
Unite Half Marathon, Somerset NJ, April 21, 2013
My first half marathon that was not accompanied by a fear of not being able ti finish in time (other than the typical fear of injury). Organized by CGI racing, it was a very well run event. I heard a lot of folks complain about the hilliness of the course - having just run Sleepy Hollow recently I did not see what they were complaining about. The race went through the Rutgers University campus. Running on a college campus was in interesting experience. I'm surprised more races don't do this.
South Salem Races 5k & 10k, South Salem NY, May 27, 2013
I had originally scheduled to run a half marathon in New Jersey but it was cancelled. So I decided to do this race instead. Then I fractured by elbow the day before. You'd think maybe someone was trying to tell me something? Well, if so, I didn't listen. I did both races, sling and all. And I got a medal for it (sort of). I had signed up for a virtual half marathon which I intended to run that day. What with my arm I gave up on that, but the rules of the virtual race were such that miles I had already put in counted and I figured I deserved it!
Stratton Faxon Fairfield Half Marathon, Fairfield CT, June 23, 2013
Looking back, I'm pretty sure that the heat at Walt Disney World had made an impact on my time for that race, but the Fairfield race was the first one where I was consciously aware of the effect the heat had on my pace. Although the race was near the water, it was still in sweltering heat. I started the race with the intention of doing a PR, but after a while it was clear that was not happening. Ultimately I finished with no issue, but it was an excruciatingly hot event.

Katonah 5K Road and Trail Race, Katonah NY, September 7, 2013
Another local event, this was one I decided to do last minute. My training called for 6 miles on that day, so I ran the course twice essentially. This may have sounded like a good idea until I got lost and made it back just in time for the start of the race! This was also the first race I did that billed itself as having "trail" components - although technically the Sleepy hollow race did as well. I'm not sure I'm a trail running sort of guy, but it's a local race so I'll probably do it again.
Electric Run NYC 5K, Brooklyn NY, September 27, 2013
This was my first (and to date, only) "fun run" (a race with no timed element). And boy was it fun! The "Electric Run" series has events all over the country. They are known for their electronic music and large light displays. It was especially fun for me because my wife and daughter joined me. In 2014 we'll be looking out for other fun runs like the "color runs" and maybe "zombie runs". A lot of fun.
Rock and Roll Providence Half Marathon, Providence RI, September 29, 2013
My first Rock 'n Roll Competitor event definitely will not be my last. Well, OK, that's pretty much a non-statement considering that when I ran it I had already signed up for the Brooklyn 10k. Still, you get the idea. The RnR races are well organized, with good courses that offer far above par in-race entertainment. Plus they offer very cool medals for participating in multiple events. I have to say, purely in terms of enjoying the actual race itself, this Providence race was second only to the Disney race. This was a great event!
Rock and Roll Brooklyn 10K, Brooklyn NY, October 12, 2013
This event had a triple whammy of goodness. Whammy number one - it was another RnR race which, as I have established, are very fun events. Whammy number two - It was in the beautiful Prospect park in the awesome borough of Brooklyn. Whammy number three - and the best of all - I got to run it with my daughter! Who could ask for more? I think this just might be an annual event.
Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa OK, November 24, 2013
All this work all year, all this training, came down to this: my first full marathon. The experience honestly was not what I had hoped - the weather was bitterly cold which not only impacted the race but also my hopes to socialize and maybe meet people before and after. Also I had gone with the intention of getting together with my brother which also did not happen. Still, this is a very well organized race with one sweet medal! And as they say, you never forget your first. I also got a chance to see a new city and state, which I always enjoy. Tulsa is quite a charming city. Of course marathon and half marathon courses tend to show off their host cities, and this was certainly true for Tulsa. Running along the river and through the university were highlights.
NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 10K, Roosevelt Island NY, December 15, 2013
My last race of the year and I was able to do it with Natalie! Cold cold COLD! And slushy and sloppy. Still, a very nice course and easy to get to. Also my first race with NYCRuns - I am planning to do their Central Park half marathon in February. This may become another annual event.

All in all, a pretty good effort for my first year I think. I was able to mix in lots of different types of race including a fun run, 5k's, 10k's, Half Marathons and even a Full Marathon. I am hoping for 2014 to be even a bigger running year for me. Next time I will delve into my plans for next year.

Until then, keep running!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 10K Roosevelt Island NY

 Listen to my podcast in which I talk about running the 10K!

On Sunday December 15th I ran in the NYC Runs Hot Chocolate 10K on Roosevelt Island with my daughter Natalie. This was the second time Nat and I did a 10K together, having previously run the Rock 'n Roll Brooklyn 10K last October. As far as this race goes, all I can say is...

HOLY CRAP IT WAS COLD!

YOU'VE HEARD OF A "TOUGH MUDDER"? THIS WAS A "TOUGH SLUSHER"!

IN SOME PLACES THERE SO MUCH SLUSH, ICY WATER AND MUD THAT RUNNERS HAD TO GO OFF COURSE!

OUR FEET WERE FREEZING AND EVEN GOT NUMB A FEW TIMES!

IT WAS A BLAST!



The fact is that, for me, as with most running is a mostly lonely pastime, Admittedly that's one of the things I enjoy about it - getting out there all by myself and getting lost in my reverie as I chug along mile after mile. Still, on the occasions when Nat is around and we can go running together, and especially on the (now) two occasions that we've done races together, it has been a thoroughly enjoyable experience. We don't even talk all that much, Nat listens to music and I listen to podcasts, but just having someone along to share the experience makes all the more memorable.

Nat and I both use the "run/walk/run" method and we do intervals of 40 seconds of running and 20 seconds of walking. We use the same iPhone app to pace ourselves, and what we do is we synchronize our timers so that we are told when to switch between running and walking at the same time. We always say we must look funny because, without a word, we both start running or walking at the exact same time.

OK, so some specifics about this race:

Getting there. I have to say that this was a bit of a pleasant surprise. The race was on Roosevelt Island, a tiny sliver of land off Manhattan in the middle of the East River. Driving to Roosevelt Island is inadvisable and parking there can be a challenge so we decided to drive to Manhattan and take the Tram to the Island, parking near the tram station. Now, the night before the race the weather was nasty and about 4 or 5 inches of snow had fallen. it was questionable whether the race was even on. Be we got an email at 7 on Sunday morning informing us that the race was on. We hit the road about 7:45, with the race start scheduled for 10:00. On the one hand I wanted to leave enough time, but on the other hand I didn't want to get there too early because we didn't want to have to hang around in the cold. That said, i was worried about the roads so i wanted to leave plenty of time. It turned out that the roads weren't too bad and we got there by 9:00 (despite the fact that I inadvertently put an address in Brooklyn into the GPS, which we realized soon enough that it didn't cause a big problem). We found a parking space just a few blocks from the tram (which is like a large cable car) and were there by 9:15.

Pre-race. The race organizers suggested getting your bib a day or two before the race, something we were not able to do. Still, getting our bibs the morning of the race was no problem at all. My only complaint was that the tent where you needed to go to get your bib was in a field which was covered in snow so it was difficult to avoid getting your shoes wet. There was another tent so you could pick up your "swag" - in this case a nice hot chocolate mug (in keeping with the theme of the race). Nat was disappointed that there was no shirt, which is what she wanted. They had shirts to buy but they only took cash and I didn't have any on me. I was able to contact the race organizers and arrange to buy a shirt later.



On that subject, a quick word about the race organizers. For various reasons (such as my losing my driver's license during the race) I have had the occasion to have more email communications with the NYC Runs folks than any race I have ever run before. And the folks from NYC Runs have been nothing but helpful. I can't say enough good things about the folks who engage with the participants.

Anyway, as I mentioned it was a cold day so that last few minutes before the race it was tough to keep warm. After checking our bags we actually discovered an apartment building with an open lobby where we could hang out and stay warm for a few minutes. Surprisingly there were only about a half dozen other racers who had discovered this as well. We stayed there for about 10 minutes then headed out to the starting line just before 10:00.

The course. The 10K course was, essentially, 2 loops around the island (like I said, Roosevelt Island is small). We started near the tram station, headed north on the west side of the island, looped back south on the east side, and then completed another loop once we reached the southernmost point on the island. On the northern part of the island there were a couple of points where the course got particularly muddy and slushy. Having gone through it the first time, we weren't too thrilled when we looped around and headed back through the same section! Still, much of the course was very pleasant, with a lot of it being along the river. On a nice day this must be a spectacular place to run with the river along side and the Manhattan skyline on the other side.

The snow and slush slowed us down quite a bit, but still I was pretty pleased with my performance. Nat had to slow down a bit so her old man could keep up. Still, we came across the finish line together, happy for having accomplished another race together.

Post Race. After the race we picked up our bags with no problem. They had stations set up where you could get hot chocolate, but neither Nat nor I are big on hot chocolate so we skipped that and just headed back. The cold weather was not exactly conducive to hanging out. Too bad, because it looked like a pretty location. I am going to keep my eyes open for races on Roosevelt Island when the weather is warmer. And I am seriously thinking that I will to the Central Park Half Marathon that NYC Runs is having in February.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Route 66 Marathon, Tulsa OK



Ich bin ein Marathoner

On Sunday, November 24, I ran in my first full marathon, the +Route 66 Marathon  in Tulsa OK. I chose this as my first full for a couple of reasons. First, I had read about this race some time ago and it sounded pretty cool - especially the fact that they award a "My First Marathon" medal. Even so, I had intended on making the Philadelphia Marathon my first, which was run a week earlier on the 17th. But then I found out that my brother - who I have not seen in several years - was moving to neighboring Muskogee. So, I figured I'd visit him and my sister-in-law and also run in a real cool race for my first Marathon. As it turns out I did not end up seeing my brother - who is having health issues - because he was not feeling well. Bummer.

In addition the weather turned out to be unseasonably cold. According to the Route 66 Marathon web site, the average temperature that time of year is in the low 40's - really ideal for a marathon. The temperatures for this weekend ended up in the mid-20's!. Let me tell you it was COLD!

I will also note here that - although as of this writing I have not posted it yet, I will be putting up the latest addition of the Runner of a certain Age Podcast by the 29th, and in that I will have some more personal observations and anecdotes. So check back! [Note: the podcast is now available]

Expo. I went to this expo with some very specific goals in mind (besides, of course, picking up my race packet). First, I needed some gels. Second, I wanted to check out any race merchandise (although I promised myself I would only buy something if I absolutely had to have it). And finally I needed a new GPS watch. I've been using an iPhone app called iRunner for a while and was very happy with it - but the GPS feature on the phone was draining the battery and I had run out of charge - or come close - a few times on long (23 mile+) training runs. And I did not want that to happen on my first marathon! I had bought a Timex Ironman GPS but after returning the 2nd one that would not take a charge I gave up on that. So, in terms of getting gels, a local Fleet Feet Sports had a booth with everything I needed. In terms of merch, turns out the t-shirt that came for participants was a cotton T, not a tech shirt, and really exactly what I wanted. And Garmin had a booth as well and were very happy to sell me their new Forerunner 220 (which I love - full review later).

[Note: The race organizers left me the following note in twitter: "...the cotton/poly blend participant shirt IS a Tech shirt, so sweat away! Gotta love technology!"]

All that said, I was just a tad disappointed in the expo. To begin with it seemed a tad small for a race of this size (a total of about 8,000 participants from what I can tell). To tell the truth I think my biggest problem was more related to the fact that I didn't get there until a few hours before closing so things were dying down a bit. That said, I got my first look at the amazing volunteers at this race. All the folks who helped with picking up the racing packets were terrific. In particular there was a guy in a kilt who made a very big deal out of the fact that this was my first full!

Pre-race and corrals. Unfortunately it was so cold there was not much of an opportunity to enjoy the pre-race activities. Normally I love to walk around and people-watch, and I was really hoping to talk to some folks before the race. But in this case everyone pretty much huddled together anywhere they could to stay warm. I was able to chat with a few folks while we waited, including 2 women, one named Laura and I confess I don't recall the other's name. In addition I did see one guy in what was perhaps the most inventive running getup I think I've ever seen - he was dressed as the leg lamp from "A Christmas Story": lampshade hat, fishnet stockings and all.

There were only 4 corrals so they were quite large - nearly 2,000 in each. The folks running the half as well as the full all started at the same time. I was in corral D (the last) and did not get in until the last minute so I started out well in the back of the pack. Those of us in the last corral had to wait what seemed like quite a long time - a feeling that was no doubt exacerbated by the cold. In fact I would have sworn it took us about 20 minutes to get to the start after the gun, but according to the official results it was only about 5 minutes. Plus they did a nice send-off for each corral including shooting off a confetti gun - nice touch.

The course. Oklahoma has a well deserved reputation for being, well, flat as a pancake. And it is. So I was somewhat surprised by how hilly the Route 66 Marathon course is. Admittedly it's nothing like my neighborhood loop which boasts a 150 rise in .4 miles, nor was it as hilly as the Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon that I ran earlier this year. But it is still pretty darned hilly. And of course the worst of it is right at the half way point - a special treat for those of us running the full marathon.

One thing I have noticed - unsurprisingly - about these races is that the courses seem to show off the host towns to their best. This was true of Providence and it is certainly true hear. Or maybe all of Tulsa is equally nice, but I was certainly taken by the city's charms. The highlights for me included running along the Arkansas River, running through the University of Tulsa, and also all of the wonderful Midwestern architecture on display in many of the neighborhoods. I saw several charming Spanish inspired homes with stucco walls and red clay roofs. I also was quite taken by the University campus. It boasts an old world charm although it appears to mostly be new construction. And again it seemed as though the course was chosen to show off the campus at it's best.

All in all I give this course very high marks. I'm sure that if the weather had cooperated with a sunny, brisk day it would have even been better.

Support. Speaking of the weather, I have a feeling that if the elements had been more cooperative, this race would have taken the award for best local support. I was very surprised by the number of local folks who braved the cold to cheer the runners on. And this is coming from a guy who was at the back of the pack! One thing we saw a lot of was folks camped in their front yards with a fire going in a fire pit. It was all I could do to keep myself from joining them.

And then there were the volunteers. Volunteers at races are always awesome and very much appreciated. Still, there's something about watching these folks go about the business of doing the things that make a race possible, and doing while it's dead cold out, that really makes you realize what a selfless act it is to volunteer for one of these races. These folks simply get my undying gratitude and admiration.

The Race. The last couple of weeks leading up to the race my back had been bothering me. I sustained a traumatic back injury about 14 years ago (I took a nasty fall off a horse). Through strength training, stretching and chiropractic (thanks Dr. Stu!) I have managed to keep it mostly at bay. Still, on occasion it acts up on me and it picked the last couple of weeks to do so. I was so concerned I stopped all cross training and even most of my running for the last 2 weeks or so. Needless to say I concerned not only about my back, but my conditioning as a whole. This in mind, I decided to take it very easy and I convinced myself to not worry at all about my time. My goal was to finish, preferably not hunched over. Well, I did take it easy and, although I kept my pace very slow, I was able to maintain a pretty consistent pace through about 17 miles or so. After that I think my lack of conditioning over the last few weeks took its toll and I started to feel very fatigued. One thing I noticed in particular  was that - even though I think that the temperatures had remained pretty constant, I started feeling the cold a lot more for the last eight miles or so. In fact my fingers started getting numb and I needed to curl them into a fist inside my gloves to keep them warm.

Something the Route 66 Marathon folks push a lot is the "Center of the Universe Detour" - a .3 mile optional detour near mile 26 for which you get a free beer and a nice little medallion. By the time I got to the detour I had absolutely no desire to do it. Volunteers were urging the runners to take it. "No thanks" I said, "I'm done". But then I saw everyone else doing it so I figured "why not?". And I'm glad I did. I had no desire for a beer (or Red Bull which was also offered) but I'm always happy to snag a little extra bling.

After the detour there were two more turns then the sweetest site in a race: the finish line. Is there a better site to the weary runner? And have you ever noticed that race organizers always seem to put the finish line soon after a turn? It's not like you're a mile away and you see it in the distance. That would be cruel. It's always that you turn a corner and there it is. I love that. I also love it when, like in this race, there is an announcer calling out your name as you cross the finish. It gives me goose bumps. Just like when I finished my first half marathon in January, I nearly burst into tears as I crossed the finish line. It is an absolutely amazing feeling. What a rush.

Post race. After having the awesome medal placed around my neck and having the obligatory post-race picture taken, I enter a blessedly heated tent where I was greeted by an amazing site: a bowl of hot pasta with bolognaise sauce. I don't know if I would call this fine cuisine, but it was one of the most appreciated meals I have wolfed down in many days. It truly hit the spot.

Owing to the raw weather and, no doubt, the fact that I was among the last to finish, there were not many folks left hanging around after I finished. So, after enjoying my post-race meal and the conversation with the man who prepared it, I headed back to my hotel for a much needed dip in the Jacuzzi and a nap. Overall it was an absolutely awesome experience, made all the better by the efforts of the organizers and the volunteers. Would I do it again? If it weren't for the fact that it's so hard to get to I'd say absolutely. I understand that next year will be their 10th which makes me wonder what they're planning - I'm sure it's something pretty awesome.
Bling!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Come find me at the Route 66 Marathon!

Hi all,

I will be running the +Route 66 Marathon this weekend - November 24. It's my first full marathon! I am going to do a review of the race both here as well as n my shiny new RoaCA Podcast and I'd love to hear what folks think. So look for me at the expo and the race - or better yet email me at hootdad@yahoo.com or ping me on Facebook and let me know you'll be there so we can meet up and discuss the race!

Once I get my bib number and corral placement I will post it here, but I anticipate being in one of the last corrals and I expect to be finishing near the back (especially as my back is still a bit sore so I will probably take it extra slow). Depending on the weather I hope to be wearing a WISH team running shirt making me easier to spot.

I also plan to be at the expo on Saturday at about 1:00. I heard a rumor of some sort of blogger meet up - I hope to check that out. I'll probably stay at the expo until at least 3:00 or so. I will be wearing a dark blue crew neck long sleave shirt with a big "Sleepy Hollow Half Marathon" logo - so I should be pretty easy to spot.

Hope to see some of you there!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Walk don't run

Well I'm a little more than a week out from the +Route 66 Marathon (which will be my first) I've run into (what I hope is a temporary) bump in the road. Anyway, on Sunday October 27 I did a little over 26 miles as per my training schedule. I took it very easy maintaining a very comfortable pace of a little over 14 minutes/mile, in keeping with Jeff Galloway's suggestion of maintaining an easy pace in training. After I was done I was tired, but felt pretty much OK.

The following Tuesday I did a short 4 mile run and felt very strong. But then, after the run, as I was taking off my shirt and - cccrrraaaccckkkk! My back gave out. Argh! I have a history of back issues but I haven't had any problems for quite some time. So, this set me back and I didn't do another week-day run. The next weekend I was scheduled for a 7-mile run, which I opted to walk instead. According to Galloway, you get as much endurance benefit from walking as running, and the training is all about building endurance.

By the next Tuesday I felt 100% so I ran again for my short weekday run, and did the same on Thursday. Again I was feeling strong and 100%. But then on Saturday I was lifting weights as part of my cross-training regiment and cccrrraaaccckkkk! UUUAAAHHHGGGG!!! *sigh*

Well, here it is Wednesday. About 10 days from the marathon. I have decided (obviously) to cease all cross-training efforts until after the race, and I have not run again. I did a 6 mile walk on Sunday - which was OK though my back hurt a little. I went for a short walk today as well and again felt OK. I also went to the chiropractor which I hope will help. He seemed to think I would be fine for the race. Finally I'm planning a massage for this weekend (how nice to have a good excuse for a massage!)

So from hear out I take it easy and play it very safe. the last thing I want is to have another setback at this point. Fingers crossed!

And don't forget to Check out the first episode of the RoaCA Podcast and subscribe in iTunes!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn 10K

I had the pleasure of running the Rock 'n' Roll Brooklyn 10K last weekend - and what made it particularly fun for me was that I was able to run it with my daughter Natalie who was home from college that weekend. Nat had not been feeling well - with an upper respiratory infection - and we weren't sure that she would be able to do the race but in the end she was able to do it.

It was a beautiful day in Brooklyn on Saturday - starting off brisk and getting warmer as the day progressed. The race was being held in Prospect Park which is one of the most beautiful areas in Brooklyn. The race was scheduled for 7:30 AM. Our house is a bit more than an hour from Prospect Park so we left a little after 5:00. The drive to Brooklyn was fast and uneventful. I had gone online and found a parking structure not far from the race start, but when we got there we could see there was plenty of street parking so we just did that. I had intended for us to take the subway about 2 stops but in the end we just decided to walk. In retrospect what I would have done would have been to go the race start and find the closest street parking. I'm sure that if we had arrived later it would have been tougher to find street parking, but when we arrived about 6:30 there was plenty of parking.

As we walked through Brooklyn Nat commented on how she would love to live in Brooklyn after she graduates. I commented that her mother and I would love it if she moved to Brooklyn, to which she replied "Maybe I'll move here after you retire and move someplace else". Nice.

Pre race:

The walk turned out to be longer than I expected - about 25 minutes. Still it was a beautiful day and a nice walk so we enjoyed it. That said, by the time we got to the race start we didn't have much time before we needed to head over to the starting corrals. In fact, we pretty much just had enough time to pick up Nat's bib and drop our stuff off at the bag check. As I had discovered when I ran the Providence Half Marathon, the Rock 'n' Roll folks did a very good job of organizing things. Bib pickup for Nat and the bag check was no problem at all. I had picked up my packet a few days earlier in Manhattan, and the situation there was equally well run. Unfortunately in both cases there was not enough time to check out vendors and such - when I went to pick up my packet in the city it was in the middle of the work day and I needed to get back.

Corrals and race start:

Much like the Providence race there were many corrals with several hundred people in each. I'm not sure how many corrals there were - but I'd say at least 10. And each corral appeared to be much larger than what was at Providence. In fact, I thought there were a lot more runners at this race - in fact I even tweeted about this. I was very surprised later when I looked at the results to see there were only a few hundred more. Also I noticed that they didn't seem to be making as big a "deal" out of each corral start - or maybe they just stopped caring by the time they got back to us in corral 8. All that said, the race start was well organized and went smoothly.

The Course:

Running through Prospect Park is an absolute joy. Beyond a doubt one of the nicest courses I have ever run on. There is a wonderful mix of urban and park-like settings all within very short distances of each other. You are running along a crowded, busy street lined with brownstone apartment buildings one minute, then down a tree-lined avenue the next minute. Add to this a liberal sprinkling of statues and, of course, the magnificent arch at Grand Army Plaza and you have a truly unique and spectacular course.




I do have two complaints - one that Rock 'n' Roll has control over and one that they likely don't. First, especially as compared to Providence, there seemed to me to be a dearth of bands along the route. I seem to recall in Providence that you were rarely without the sound of music, while in this race there really seemed to be very few bands. The organizers promised 6 music stops but I can honestly only remember 3 bands. Maybe 4. But I could be mistaken. Also, the crowd support on this race was not meager - it was nearly non-existent. There was pretty much nobody along the course except for a few spots. (One of my favorites was a kid of about 4 yelling out of his apartment window.) At the end of the race there were a bunch of people, but pretty much nobody along the course. Perhaps there were some regulations regarding this? I don't know...

The Race:

Nat and I talked about the race about a week before running it and decided we would try to finish in less than 1:10. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, Nat was not feeling well so we took it easy. Still, we managed to finish in 1:15. We kept pace with each other throughout the entire race. I had to remind myself to slow my pace down from time to time since I knew that Nat was not 100%. Funny thing, once the ending gate was in sight, Nat suddenly really picked up her pace. She later told me that she wanted to go a lot faster at the end but felt guilty about leaving me behind. I told her i wish I had known that she wanted to go faster - I would have been right there with her!



Post race:

As with the Providence race, the post race area was well organized There were bananas, bagels, chocolate milk, water and Gatorade. There was entertainment in the form of a band playing as well as a (very popular) area where you could get beer (including one free beer for every runner). I just can't bring myself to have a beer at 9:00 in the morning, although there were plenty of other folks who had no issue with this. Picking up from bag check was also easy - although I had a hard time finding it (the bag check had not moved, I just could not remember where it was). One minor issue was for those, like Nat, who had picked up their bib that morning. Shirt pickup was after the race and the shirt pickup area was a bit disorganized with very long lines. This situation could have easily been rectified with signs indicating where the men's and women's shirts could be found. Not a big deal, still a bit annoying.



Bling:

So we come to that subject that we all know is the only thing any of you reading this really care about, right? How's the bling? Is the shirt a good one? The answer is - in keeping with what seems to be the norm for Rock 'n' Roll - very good. The shirt is a very nice tech shirt with very cool graphics. And the finisher's medal is a good, heavy, substantial medal with a really nice design featuring the arch at the Grand Army Plaza. Again Rock 'n' Roll does not disappoint.



Summary:

This is an awesome race. In particular, it's nice to run a 10k where you get a shirt and medal that is comparable to what you would get running a longer race. I absolutely LOVED running this race! Nat and I had a fantastic time! My only major suggestion to the organizers would be to add more music to the course. If they do that then this will be a nearly perfect event. Will I do it again? Absolutely! Don't be surprised to see me out there again next year!

Note: Completely unrelated to her not feeling well before the race, Nat's foot started bothering her after the race. It got so bad we took her in for an x-ray. No bone damage thankfully, but soft tissue damage that probably came from a combination of riding her bike at school and running. Bummer. But she'll get better and she told me that she definitely plans to start running again as soon as she's better.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Double your fun

Well it's been a busy week or two! Before I get into the main part of the blog, I just have to mention that today I finalized the last piece of the puzzle for my trip to Tulsa OK to run in my first full marathon, the Route 66 Marathon. I will be flying into Tulsa on Saturday November 23, arriving early enough to spend some time at the runner's expo. I will leave in the evening of Monday the 25th. I also signed up for the Rock 'n Roll USA Marathon in Washington DC - the first race in 2014 I've signed up for.

Also, anyone who has been reading the blog will note that I changed the name of the blog from the "Fitter in my Fifties Blog" to the "Runner of a Certain Age" blog. No reason for the change other than I think the new name is more fun.

But that's not what I wanted to write about here. What I wanted to write about was my experience last weekend in participating in 2 separate running events. The first, on Friday night, was the Electric Run NYC. The second, on Sunday morning, was the Rock 'n Roll Providence Half Marathon.

Electric Run NYC

When I first learned about the Electric Run a while back I almost painted myself into a really unfortunate corner. I had been keeping my eye out for events that I thought my wife and kids would enjoy as well and this seemed to fit the bill. So as soon as I heard about it I suggested it to my wife Andie and daughter Charlotte (Charlotte's older sister Natalie is away at college). They both immediately said they would like to go, and in fact Charlotte even told me she wanted to invite a couple of friends.

And then I looked at the calendar. The Electric run was scheduled for Saturday September 28 at 8:00 PM. The thing is, I was already committed to running the Rock 'n Roll Providence Half marathon at 7:00 AM the next morning. So that would mean doing the Electric Run, getting home at maybe 11:00 at the earliest, getting to bed by midnight if I was really lucky, then getting up by 3:00 AM the next morning at the absolute latest in order to make the 7:00 start time in Providence. That does not sound like a fun race weekend. But I already committed to doing the Electric run with Andie and Charlotte, and as this was the first time I was able to convince them to join me. I did not want to back out.

Then, a mere couple of weeks after the race was announced, the Electric Run sold out and the organizers announced a second race on Friday night. I immediately contacted them and asked to change our date from Saturday to Friday. The organizers were very sympathetic and accommodated me. Whew! Now we would do the Electric Run on Friday night and I would be able to drive to Providence on Saturday, go to the expo and be well-rested for the 7:00 start on Sunday.

On the day of the Electric Run, Charlotte and I, along with her friends Julia and Emily, left the house about 5:00. We drove to White Plains to pick up Andie at the train station and made our way to Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. This was our one complaint the whole evening - the drive was long and painful. I was even concerned about us getting there for the 8:00 start. I needn't have worried as a) we made it in plenty of time and b) the start time turned out to be more of a "suggestion" (more on that later).

The Electric Run is a series of night time 5K runs in which the entire course is illuminated with a series of light displays including lighting effects, brightly colored inflatable structures and projections accompanied by electronic dance music. Participants are encouraged to dress in bright outfits - preferably with elements that light up - the wilder the better. While the girls all wore neon colors, I have to say that we were all put to shame by other participants wearing brightly colored wigs and tutus, and with all sorts of lit-up baubles.

We arrived at the field and were greeted by the blaring electronic music and the sight of lit up elements of the course in the distance.We checked in and were given our bibs, wrist bands, t-shirts and light-up "eye glasses" (which needed to be put together - I just made mine into a bracelet). A bit later they started making announcements asking runners to get to the corrals for the start. There were no strict corrals per se, they just held folks back for a few minutes while they allowed a wave to start down the course. We were in the second wave. While we waited we were entertained with electronic music and flashing lights, as well as an announcer talking to the crowd from an elevated platform while throwing light-up trinkets into the crowd.

Finally, after being held back for a bit longer, we allowed to start. The announcer asked runners to go to the left and told walkers to stay to the right. We planned to walk so we stayed right. Now, you may (or may not) have noticed that I have avoided using the term "race" in reference to this event. That's because this truly was not a race. To begin with, participants were not even timed. The start time seemed to be more of a suggestion than an actual start time. As a result the whole thing felt more like a 3.1 mile party than a race.

And what a party! The night was gorgeous and we had a blast making our way through all of the various light displays.  Here are some pictures from the night's festivities:



Rock 'n Roll Providence Half Marathon

I left to drive to Providence at a little after noon on Saturday and arrived about 3:30. I headed straight to the expo.

The expo

Interestingly this is my fifth half marathon, yet I have never really been to a runner's expo. When I did the Walt Disney World Half Marathon I really didn't get the chance to spend much time at the expo and it was really crowded. Neither the Sleepy Hollow half nor the Fairfield half had expos, and I didn't go to the Rutgers expo at all. In this case I had about an hour and a half to spend there - it closed at 5:00 - and I could have used at least another hour.



First thing was packet pick up. I had already printed out my waiver so I was able to right to the desk to get my bib. The organizers actually had 3 tables - the first was to get your bib, the second your t-shirt and the third was your swag bag. The t-shirt was a nice black tech shirt with a pretty cool design, but the swag bag didn't have all that much swag in honesty. But it did have a cool car sticker - actually 2: "I Rocked 13.1" and "I rocked 26.2". Naturally I only intend to use the first one.



There was a lot of cool stuff to look at, even though this was a smaller race and therefore, I assume, a smaller expo than, say, one of the Disney races. Anyway, I was still able to check out a bunch of the displays and I bought a few things I needed - including some Gu and Clif bars - as well as one thing I wanted, a new t-shirt. I must confess that I'm not crazy about design of the shirt, but I really wanted to get one. What can I say - it's a sickness.

After visiting the expo I walked around Providence a bit. Providence really looks like a pretty city - at least the part near where the race was starting. The area included the Rhode Island State House and a pretty upscale mall called Providence Place. I checked out the park where the pre and post-race activities were to take place and even heard a little of the headliner band +Atlas Genius .





I had dinner at Fire + Ice, a restaurant that I had been to a few years ago in Anaheim. It seemed like a good idea for a night-before-a-race dinner because you can basically pick your own ingredients and they cook it up on a large grill. I had rice with vegetables and chicken. It was pretty good. After that I went to my hotel - The +Best Western West Greenwich Inn. (A quick note about this hotel. Look, I paid about $80 for this room. Expectations were not high. This hotel vastly exceeded my expectations. The rooms are probably due for a refurb, but my room was clean and well maintained. And the staff was exceptional. I would stay here again in a second.) After checking in I decided a wanted a little dessert so I went to +Cracker Barrel Old Country Store for apple pie. I ended up getting some deep dish apple concoction that was WAY too sweet and LARGE. I ended up eating about a third of it. Finally I went back to the hotel and used the Jacuzzi for a bit before trying to get some sleep (I never sleep well before a race).

Before the race

The +Best Western West Greenwich Inn was about 15 minutes from the location of the race start. I like getting to race events early so I'm not stressed, so I got up and left my room about 5:00. The race instructions suggested parking at the Providence Place Mall. Getting to the lot and parking was no problem at all. The only minor issue I had was figuring out exactly where to go once left the lot, but again that was just a minor issue.

Once I got to the starting area I walked around for a bit - avoiding the wet grass in the park (I hate wet shoes!) I did have to walk on the wet grass to check my bag, but that was it. As I walked around I noticed something - the participants at this race were clearly an eclectic bunch. This did not surprise me considering the way that the Rock 'n Roll series seem to go out of their way to market themselves to all types of runners. I saw many folks who didn't exactly look like the prototypical super fit long distance runner. I even saw a "little person" (an odd phrase for a guy who was, in fact, a pretty big guy - just very short), a guy with no legs running on "blades" and a woman in her 70's. And it wasn't just different physical types I saw. There were several interesting outfits including rainbow colored wigs, tutus and I saw 2 guys in kilts. I think that the whole Rock 'n Roll vibe brings out the crazy side in the participants. It was great fun seeing such an eclectic group!

Starting at about 6:30 folks started getting into their corrals. I was in corral 9. This made me wonder how big the corrals were - and the answer is that they were quite small. I think there were 14 in all. The only other race I did that had corrals was the Walt Disney World Half Marathon which had about 25,000 participants and only 8 corrals. As it turned out, the starting chute for this race was pretty narrow and the individual corrals were quite small - only a couple hundred in each. To give you an idea, I was in corral E at Disney World and I went through the starting gate 40 minutes after the race started. In Providence I was in corral 9 and went through the gate less than 10 minutes after the race started.

The Course

The course wound it's way through several Providence neighborhoods. The course immediately crossed to the east side of the river and continued in a large loop around the city. We were able to see a fair bit of the city, and again I was impressed by what a nice city it looked to be. Between miles 2 and 3 we ran past and entry road to Brown University but we did not go into the campus - pity. The first half of the course was a bit hilly but not bad. I'm pretty used to running hills and this didn't bother me at all. The second half of the course was very flat. The nicest part for me was between miles 7 and 8, when the course run next to the river. There was a mist on the river which distorted the opposite shore - it was absolutely beautiful.


The Rock 'n Roll Marathon series is known for their on-course entertainment and this race did not disappoint. There were so many bands on the course that it seemed as though you could hear music playing for most of the race. I think there were about 10 bands along the course route. I understand that they bring in local acts and the talent level was very high. Having this level of entertainment really makes the race go much more quickly. I would say that this race compared to the Disney race in terms of entertainment. The quality of the entertainment may have been better at he Disney race, but it was more evenly dispersed throughout the course for Rock 'n Roll. The same could be said of the course itself - the "highs" of the course (running through the parks) at the Disney race might have been higher, but there were also long stretches of nothing. The Providence course was consistently interesting and challenging throughout. In fact, I would have to tie this course with the Disney course as my favorite.

The crowd support on the course was good but not great. I hate to speak ill of supporters along the course and I won't here - they are such an essential part of an enjoyable race experience. Still, taking Disney out of the equation (it really isn't fair to compare the crowds at any race to Disney), when I compare the crowd in Providence to, say, Fairfield, I have to day that Providence pales a bit in comparison. Still, there was a lot of support on the street and some of the more inventive signs I've seen (my favorites: "Smile! You're not wearing underwear!" and "Don't poop!")

Finally, the number of water stations was fine. It wasn't an overly hot day so they didn't have to go overboard. There were also a couple of GU stations as well.

The Race

This was my strongest half marathon yet by far. I was really pleased with my results. First of all, I managed a PR by about 15 minutes. Regardless, I maintained a pretty consistent pace throughout. (The only exception was mile 5 when I had to make a pit stop) I also felt very strong all the way through and was even able to "dig down" and find something extra for the last mile or two. At about mile 7 I saw a pace team ahead of me but I could not read the time on the card. I figured they were probably the 2:45 pace team, but as I approached I realized that they were the 2:30 pace team! I ended up passing them and stayed ahead of them for a while, but I think that they poured it on at the end to make their pace time and ended up catching up to me. Nearly perfect weather (except a bit warm at the end), a reasonable course and me feeling strong all resulted in a run I felt really good about. Plus I've been listening to podcasts and reading about race preparation - including nutrition - and I think that helped as well. All in all, by far my strongest race yet.


Post race

After crossing the finish line there were tables with water, +POWERADE , bananas and bagels. There was a bit of confusion here - this was considered a "security area" and once you exited you were not allowed back in. I knew this because, well, I actually read the race information! There were a lot of folks who missed this, though, and left the area with no water or anything. When they tried to get back in they were turned away. However, the organizers were accommodating and runners could simply walk up to the tables at the edge of the barriers and ask for whatever they needed. I knew enough to pick up a banana and Powerade before leaving the area. One we crossed the finish line we were given our finishers medal. They had also set up tables with bananas, bagels, water and

I've been hearing lately that having sports drinks during a race is not a good idea so I only had water during the race, but I know that sports drinks are good for recovery so I drank the Powerade right away. I also know that eating something with protein is important. So, I picked up my bag from bag check where I had stored a +Clif Bar , which I ate while walking around and working the kinks out of my legs. I also had my picture taken in front of a "Rock 'n Roll Marathon" backdrop. I contemplated watching the +Atlas Genius concert, but the Jacuzzi at the hotel was calling my name. The good folks at the +Best Western West Greenwich Inn had agreed to allow me to check out late, giving me the opportunity to get back, relax in the Jacuzzi for a while and take a shower before the drive home.

Bling

I had mentioned earlier that there wasn't much in the in the swag bag. That said, the main things you are looking at getting from a race are the shirt and, of course, the medal. I already mentioned the shirt - a nice black tech t-shirt with a pretty cool design. The medal is really nice. It's a cool design featuring the logo from the race (with a graphic of loud speakers). Also,it's a good, substantial, thick medal that is high quality. Based on the pictures I've seen on the Rock 'n Roll Marathon website I anticipated a nice medal and I was not disappointed.



So, would I do the race again? I would say that there's a very good chance I may do this race again in a few years. But I definitely will do more Rock 'n Roll Marathons. In fact I'm already signed up for the Rock 'n Roll Brooklyn 10K and the Rock 'n Roll USA Marathon in Washington DC. I am running the Brooklyn 10K with my daughter and I am very excited about that! More on that later.

Final Note: Just before posting this I did a 23 mile training run, after which I felt MUCH better than I did a couple of weeks ago after to a 20 mile training run.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

These are the times that try men's... legs

This is one of those times that challenge our resolve as runners I guess. I've had to deal with challenges like weather and such while training, but this morning was the first training run where I felt a physical challenge that had no real external source.

First, not related to anything except challenges, I am writing this on my iPhone from a veterinarians office. I am leaving the country tomorrow on business and a) my computer died (thankfully its backed up and under warranty) and b) my dog is having a minor issue but not one I wanted to leave untreated until I get back in a week. So here I sit knowing I will be picked up tomorrow morning before 5:00 and I'm not even packed. So please excuse any strange iPhone auto-corrections.

But I digress...

This morning my training schedule called for a 20 mile run. My longest to date. I had a bad feeling since last night. First, after being real good all week about staying hydrated, I completely forgot yesterday and barely had anything to drink all day. Then, after eating supper I realized it may not have been the best dinner choice for the night before a challenging run. Finally, and I think worst of all, I didn't get to bed as early as I wanted, and then I couldn't get to sleep. And I needed to get up at 4:00.

Well, I did get up at 4:00 and was on the road at 4:30. For my long runs I use a local bike trail. When I got there it was still dark, there was no moon and the trail is unlit so it was literally pitch dark. I mean I looked down and could not see the ground. Obviously I needed light so for the first hour or so - until the sun came up - I ran by the light of my iPhone flashlight app. I knew that this meant I was draining my battery more quickly than usual and I was worried I would run out if charge. (I did luck out here, it ran out if charge just as I finished the run.)

Another challenge was that my iRunner app - which I use to track distance - was acting up. For the last few runs I've been running it and another Nike app simultaneously and I don't think they play well together. (I've been using the Nike app to help this guy win a trip to Iceland by tweeting my runs.) And every time I had to mess with the apps the flashlight would go off so I needed to come to a dead stop as I could not see a thing. Needless to say this meant that the first five miles or so were not exactly barn burners.

Once the sun came up things got much better. It was actually a perfect morning for a run - cool and clear. Still, I just felt "meh" and just could not really get myself going. I didn't feel bad per-se, just sort of low energy. Plus my legs felt tired and sore. I also started feeling real hungry at about mile 15 despite having a gel every hour or so - I think I should have eaten more before I left. That said, I was basically ok up to about mile 18. Then I sort of crashed and really had to dig deep to push on. The last mile was particularly rough and in the end I switched from my usual 1 minute run/30 second walk interval to 30 second run/1 minute walk.

Still, I finished the 20 miles, and I feel pretty good about that. I'm reading a book by Jeff Galloway and in it he writes about how runners tend to hit a wall right at whatever their previous longest run was. That definitely seemed to be what happened to me. So, when I have my next real long run - 23 miles in 3 weeks - I'll make sure have a good carbo meal the night before, keep myself well hydrated, get plenty of sleep and have a good meal before I leave in the morning. Plus I'm investing in one of those headband lights!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

2013 Katonah 5K Road & Trail Race

This weekend did another of those unexpected races - the 2013 Katonah 5K Road & Trail Race. I learned about the race a few weeks back when I saw a sign for it on the local streets. As it was on a Saturday - my normal day for a training run - I figured "why not"? The training run I was scheduled for was 6 miles but I figured I could just make up the additional 3 miles.

I signed up on line and I went to pick up my bib at Cross Sport Woman in Katonah on Friday the 6th. I was chatting with some other folks who were picking up their bibs (about parking, actually) and I mentioned that I was planning to get there early to put in an additional 3 miles before the race and Bettina at Cross Sport told me that the route for the 5K would be marked so I should just run the course. I thought that was a good idea. I also picked up my shirt and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was a very nice tech shirt - unusual for a 5K.


On the day of the race (Saturday the 7th) I got up early to get to the race. I decided to wear a long tech shirt because it was fairly chilly, and I put my WISH team shirt over it. I got to the location of the start of the race (Katonah Elementary School) at about 7:00 - an hour before the start. Some of the vendors and sponsors were just beginning to set up. I wanted to time it so that I would finish my first run right when the race was due to start, so I just hung around for a few minutes trying to stay warm. At about 7:20 I started running the course. As Bettina had promised, the course was marked with white arrows - for the most part. I had saved off the course map on my iPhone so I could refer to it, but I still managed to get lost. Part of the course went onto a trail and I messed up somewhere and I ended up backtracking. Good thing I had Google maps on my iPhone - I was able to get myself straightened out and got back on track.

Still, I just made it back to the start in time for the start of the race - or so I thought. They gathered all the runners at the start and proceeded to go through about 10 minutes of announcements. Organizationally I think that was my only real complaint - please start the race on time! Anyway, at about 8:10 the horn sounded and off we went.

Most of the course was on the street and it was quite hilly. I don't mind hills - I train on hills near my house regularly - but some of these were quite steep! Interestingly I find going down a steep hill harder than going up. I'd say the most interesting feature of the course was the trail portion which wound through one of the town parks. The only complaint I have about the course was that we ran on the grass for a bit which I hate early in the morning because your shoes get wet. And after that we ran on dusty trails so my shoes got quite dirty (not that my "veteran" running shoes look all new and clean). Still, it's a very nice change of pace to be running on a nice, shaded trail.

There were not a lot of folks out there cheering us on but there certainly were a few - and after all, it's only a 5K so there's not all that much opportunity for folks to get out there. There was also one water stop which appeared to have been set up by the folks who lived there.

I was really treating this like a training run. In fact I specifically worked on pacing myself. I use Jeff Galloway's run/walk/run method when I run. In other words, I incorporate regular walking breaks into my runs right from the beginning. This becomes a challenge if you are trying to pace yourself with another runner who is not taking walking breaks. So, what I did was to find a runner I wanted to pace myself with and go ahead of them when I ran and let them pass me when I walked. It worked out pretty well, but they later slowed down so I kept going.

Even though I was not really running full out I was still pretty happy with my time. And it was nice to get out there and do a race again.

My overall experience was very positive. The course was interesting and challenging without being too crazy. And the organization overall was very good. There were not a lot of runners there - about 200 I'd say - but everyone had a good time and I hope that more folks show up to future races. I know I will.

I can't wait for the Rock and Roll Providence Half Marathon in September!


Monday, September 2, 2013

It's official

It's official. I have signed up for my first full marathon, the Route 66 Marathon in Tulsa, OK +Route 66 Marathon on November 24 (a few days shy of my 56th birthday). I had originally planned on making the Philadelphia Marathon on November 17 my first my first, but I decided to change. The main reason I changed was because I got a call from one of my brothers informing me that he going to re-marry his first wife and move to her home in Muskogee, which is about 45 minutes southeast of Tulsa. We haven't seen each other since our mother's memorial over 2 years ago, so this seemed like a good chance to kill two birds with one stone.

I had read about the Route 66 Marathon some time earlier and thought it sounded like a cool race to run. From stuff I've read I guess it's not the most exciting course, but it has the reputation of being exceptionally well organized. They also design pretty cool medals, and they have a special medal if it's your first race. (I am unclear if you get the first race medal in addition to or instead of the regular medal - I guess I'll find out!) Finally it's a large race and I've found that I much prefer large races. So, I registered before the price went up, and I booked a car and a hotel. I'll book the flight in a few weeks. Very excited! be sure to follow me on Twitter and/or friend me on Facebook - especially if you plan to run this race (but go ahead and do it anyway...)


Monday, August 26, 2013

No vacation from training

Hi all.

First, my apologies for not posting in so long. For most of late July and early August I have been in "vacation mode". In July I spent a week with my family having a wonderful time in Bar Harbor, Maine. Then in early August I spent 12 days out West with my childhood friend Kirk (you can read about that trip on my other blog).

But training knows no vacation. Following training schedule, I had a 10.5 long run scheduled for while we were in Maine and a 14 mile run for when I was in Anaheim.

For the 10.5 mile run in Bar Harbor on July 15 (I did the run 2 days later than scheduled but hey! I was on vacation!) I ran down the main road toward town, back across the bridge into Trenton and then back again. It was a good course to run, I felt rested and strong, and and I was able to maintain  pretty good pace. And some of the scenery was beautiful!



For the 14 mile run in Anaheim on August 10 I ran around the Disneyland Resort (which was a lot of fun) and down Harbor Blvd. Harbor is flat with wide sidewalks, so I was anticipating a pretty easy run. I was wrong. The problem is that every corner on Harbor is a major intersection with a relatively long wait for the light which really broke up my pace. In addition I was concerned about being late for the D23 expo, so I ended up cutting the run short at 11.25 miles.



I got right back on the horse in two weeks with a 17 mile run. Being back home I ran at the local carriage trail. I was very happy with the results, feeling pretty strong throughout and maintaining a steady pace right up until the last two miles. This was my longest run to date. I'm feeling very confident about my first full marathon, the Roue 66 Marathon n Tulsa OK.


Well, I'm 100% back into training mode now, getting ready for the marathon. In the meantime I'll also be running a half marathon and a 10K - both are Rock 'N Roll races. I'll be posting full reports here.