Philadelphia Marathon Course

A printable Marathon Map on TwitPic

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!

Facebook Blows My Mind

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.

Marathon Training Update: Hot Split Edition

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.

Marathon Training Update: Gaining Speed

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!

My Attempt at Handmade Pasta

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!)