I Miss Running

I miss run­ning. Last time I ran was the 2009 Philadel­phia Marathon. Just got to be too hard get­ting Char­lie ready on top of try­ing to get out and run in the morn­ing. Hope I can get back on track once the snow and ice melt and the side­walks dry.

Excit­ed to get back in the gym, too! Need a work­out bud­dy? I just got a mem­ber­ship at Plan­et Fit­ness. Think­ing about MWF @ 8 pm. (Look­ing at you, Mark.)

No Marathon for Me This Year

I had big plans for the 2010 marathon sea­son after my marathon mess last year. Instead I won’t be run­ning at all. Sit­ting this one out. And I’m major­ly bummed.

What hap­pened?

For starters, snow. Lots of it. Even if I want­ed to get out­side and gear up for spring races I couldn’t have as Philly was besieged by a record 73″ of snow. But that shouldn’t mat­ter, right? Skip those spring races and train for fall! That’s the tick­et!

Wrong again, sad­ly.

Morn­ings are a tricky thing in our house­hold. Char­lie still wakes up to nurse around 4 AM or so and can­not ever set­tle him­self back to sleep. And Helen’s not a morn­ing per­son, so morn­ings are Daddy’s duty. So instead of knock­ing out 3 or more miles a morn­ing, I’m chas­ing Char­lie around the house try­ing to feed and clothe him before he’s off to day­care.

Much as I’d like to be Super Dad and find a way to work out either dur­ing the work­day or after­wards, I just can’t. Run­ning at night in Fishtown/Port Rich­mond is worth your life sim­ply because of vis­i­bil­i­ty and traf­fic. And who wants to run after din­ner? Not me, that’s who.

I like to think that once Char­lie weans he’ll be more will­ing to sleep lat­er sim­ply because he won’t have the urge to nurse the moment he wakes at the crack of dawn. Maybe then I’ll be able to sneak out, fire up my Garmin watch and get in a few miles before I have to get him dressed and ready for preschool. Fin­gers crossed!

I Ran My 2nd Philadelphia Marathon

Want a marathon pro tip? Have a race plan. It’s the only way you’re going to live to tell the tale.

You know what I did wrong this year? I didn’t have a race plan. Unlike last year, the world inter­vened, mak­ing it hard­er for me to train at the lev­el I did in 2008. It rained fre­quent­ly and hard. I had a beau­ti­ful baby boy. I came down with a bad head cold at the end of Octo­ber.  Yes, I did the best I could con­sid­er­ing the cir­cum­stances, but when I caught a cold after a few too many runs in the Octo­ber rain com­bined with a baby who’s just learn­ing to sleep on his own, marathon train­ing kind of goes out the win­dow.

What was the out­come? A com­plete­ly respectable 3:35 marathon. I didn’t set the world ablaze like I did last year when I ran a heart­break­ing 3:13 and just missed qual­i­fy­ing for Boston in my debut, but I man­aged to main­tain my dig­ni­ty and come in with a time most ama­teur run­ners would kill for. I’m not ashamed of that.

I am ashamed of how stu­pid­ly I ran. I met my friend Pat at the start. He was shoot­ing for a 3:40 time, and that sound­ed rea­son­able to me after tak­ing so much time off. I wish I could’ve main­tained that out­look for more than a mile. I took off hell-bent for the 3:30 group just as I hit Delaware Ave. I felt good! I fig­ured I might just uncork a decent run! I was in for a sur­prise.

I caught up to the 3:30 group by mile 5. I still felt great, but that’s prob­a­bly because I wasn’t pay­ing any atten­tion to my wild­ly fluc­tu­at­ing splits. I sud­den­ly believed that I could catch the 3:20 group by, say, mile 12. And thus end­ed any chance of me recov­er­ing any sem­blance of a race plan.

What hap­pened from that point for­ward can be summed up pret­ty eas­i­ly. I took the fly and die approach. I ran very hard right up until about mile 18, where­upon I real­ized how dif­fi­cult the next 8 miles were going to be. Ordi­nar­i­ly, I run 8 miles an hour. Last Sun­day, I found myself walk­ing and jog­ging just to be sure I would fin­ish the run. I learned a hard les­son.

I crossed the fin­ish line in agony, but I fin­ished. I also real­ized that the OCD lev­el of dis­ci­pline that I brought to my first marathon is a must if I’m going to achieve that sort of suc­cess again. Am I dis­cour­aged? Not at all. I’m invig­o­rat­ed. I’m excit­ed to train hard this win­ter and I plan on enter­ing some spring races. Bring it on!

I Ran the Philly Distance Run

When I ran the Philadel­phia Dis­tance Run last year, it was a tremen­dous relief just to be able to run at all. I’d spent the bet­ter part of a month suf­fer­ing from seri­ous ten­dini­tis in my right ankle and hadn’t even been able to run the week before the race. For­tu­nate­ly, the rest did me good and I was able to run. I fin­ished with 7:58 splits. I ran about half a minute faster than I expect­ed to run and felt great about it.

This year I haven’t had any of those set­backs, but I was still uncer­tain about my goals for this race. Should I take it easy and treat it as a prac­tice run? Should I push myself and try to hit the 7:15 pace I need to qual­i­fy for Boston in Novem­ber? I met up with Kris­ten ear­ly yes­ter­day morn­ing think­ing that I’d do the for­mer. My mind was made up, or so I thought. I didn’t want to be dis­ap­point­ed if I tried to hit marathon pace and failed. This was a fail­safe. (more…)

Marathon Training Update

I haven’t been slack­ing with run­ning despite not writ­ing about it here very much. In fact, I’m off to what I believe to be a much bet­ter start than I was last year. This time last year I was bat­tling ten­donitis in my right ankle, an injury made worse by an inad­ver­tent kick in the shin dur­ing a beach soc­cer game in mid-August. I was hob­bled and had to take a week off after see­ing a doc­tor. A steady diet of pain med­ica­tion and stretch­ing got my back on track and I was chomp­ing at the bit for the Philadel­phia Dis­tance Run. (more…)