Click on the picture to enlarge the map of the Philadelphia Marathon course.
I can’t believe this is just a few days away now. I’m really confused and scared by the last ten miles of the course. I don’t know how all those people can be funneled up one side of Kelly Drive and back the other. I don’t think running all the way up Chestnut St. will be all that fun either. Running up Walnut during the Philadelphia Distance Run was a nightmare. I just hope I’m far enough to the front of the pack to not have to worry about the course being clogged by folks who are turning around looking for their friends. I’m keeping my fingers crossed!
A few weeks ago I started writing a post about how Web 2.0 fails folks like me. I’m glad I didn’t publish it. Why’d I draft it in the first place? Well, for people like me who were getting out of high school and into college in the mid-nineties, just before the Internet went wild, it’s tough to see the value in a lot of social media.
It’s taken three generations of major social networking sites to even scratch the surface with my former classmates, but Facebook seems to have accomplished something neither Friendster nor MySpace could: I’m in touch with folks I haven’t been in touch with for over a decade. Does it make me feel old? A little, but I can handle that when a social network does something more than delivering tailor-made ads.
In the past few weeks, I’ve reconnected with swathes of people from my past. I say “swathes” because once you’ve connected with one friend, you’re bound to find five to 10 more. Last week I opened a memory wormhole that put me in touch with people from my exchange year in Denmark. It’s been amazing sharies stories and photos and also to catch up with people. Now I’m making plans to head back to visit with Helen next April. That should be a ton of fun.
So while it would’ve been nice to have kept in touch with everyone via email and IM, I’ve found new perspective. Maybe we’re the last generation to grow up “disconnected.” For me, it was a chance to distance myself, literally and figuratively, from my hometown. It was a time to gain some perspective. Now it’s time to reconnect, catch up, and reminisce, and that’s not so bad.
This was a terrible week for workouts. It all started with last Saturday’s late night Phillies win over Tampa and got tougher from there. I managed Sunday’s run okay, but then the dreaded Monday night rainout that ended with me drunk and sleeping on the couch. (Helen was traveling, and I don’t take care of myself very well while she’s away.) I spent Tuesday recovering as best I could. I woke up a ran a speedy ten on Wednesday with every intention of running five on Thursday, but it wasn’t meant to be. Everything was thrown out the window after the Phillies clinched the World Series Wednesday night.
That’s okay. Shouting like a maniac at the corner of Broad and Shunk was well worth it.
I was sufficiently rested Saturday morning to pick up with a 10 mile pace run. That started out great and went downhill, owed to a few factors, including sleep deprivation and the fact that I only ate a hoagie and a few Reese’s cups on Friday.
Yesterday I was able to get in a solid 20 mile run in 2:36 and change. I dropped about five minutes off my last 20 mile time. I was aiming for an 8 minute mile average, but felt good enough on the run back to bring that down to 7:49. My last mile came in at 6:42 seconds. Not too shabby after running 19, right?
I think I’m at a good place in my training and expect to see my times drop now that Rob and I have completed the bulk of the mileage. We have just one week of short training runs before the taper begins. I have a feeling that once our bodies get time to recover, we’ll drop up to 15 seconds per mile.
I think I’m on target to run a Boston qualifier in my first marathon, an improbable goal I set for myself back in June. I’m in a state of nervous disbelief. I think I’m just going to make friends with whomever is running pace for a 3:10 marathon and stick to his or her hip.
I can’t believe the marathon is only a few weeks away. I would’ve never imagined feeling this good and confident when I started twenty some odd weeks ago.
I’m finally getting there. I’m up to Week 13 of Hal Higdon’s Intermediate II program and things are going great. When I started running 18 weeks ago, I had no idea how to approach “race pace” runs. I was so out of shape that I couldn’t even imagine where I’d end up for the marathon. I dreamt of running a Boston qualifier in my first marathon, but that didn’t seem very likely, even on a friendly Philadelphian course.
Today I tested myself to find out what I might be able to accomplish and I was pleasantly surprised. I ran 10 miles in 1:12 and change, which put me at a 7:12/mile pace, three seconds ahead of the 7:15 I’d have to maintain to qualify for Boston. With a little more than a month to go before the Philadelphia Marathon, I’d like to think that, barring injury, I might even improve a bit on that pace.
I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself though. I’m running my second 20 mile run tomorrow morning from the usual start at 21st and Poplar out to Forbidden Drive and back. I’m going to see if I can get the Garmin Virtual Partner figured out to help me maintain an 8:15/mile pace tomorrow. I want to be very consistent and careful now that the mileage is reaching a peak to protect myself from injury.
It’s a real treat to get outdoors and enjoy the fall weather along the Schuykill and Wissahickon. It’s a little chilly when I leave the house, but feels comfortable by the time I get warmed up.
Fast forward 24 hours from the previous four paragraphs: I just got back from running 20 miles in 2:41 and change, roughly 12 minutes faster than my last 20 mile time. I tried holding 8:15 miles, but found myself ripping off 7:45 and faster splits from the 14 mile point onward. I feel great. I hope I’m not peaking too soon, but I think if I keep challenging myself over the next month, I’ll be in great shape for the marathon.
I feel like I have a Boston qualifier in me if I run smart. Do you think I can do it? If anyone has qualified for the Boston Marathon and can share training insights, especially with respect to the taper, let me know in the comments!
Yesterday was pasta night in my cooking class at the Restaurant School. For starters, I learned that I need to be more confident in my measurements when mixing wet and dry ingredients. I’m lucky that the teaching staff showed me the error of my ways and salvaged my dough.
The overall level of difficulty isn’t particularly high, but if you’re trying to make any significant amount of pasta for a big meal, you might think twice. I learned that a lot of effort goes into making a pound of pasta.
Homemade pasta is perfect if you’re cooking for yourself or for date night. There’s a noticeable difference in the flavor and texture than store bought macaroni. Whip up a quick pesto and you have a delicious meal!
(Red wine, brought by classmates, is a great companion!)