Posts Tagged ‘marathon’

MCM 2010

This past weekend I traveled down to Washington DC to visit friends and spectate the Marine Corps Marathon.  I’ve said it before but I love this marathon.  Anyway, here’s a few photos from the expo (where I met  a few tweeps) and the race:

@deefsu's sign for the marathon:)

@runnerchick28, @readwriterun, @deefsu, me, @bklynrunner

@jenzenator and @southbaygirl

@followjoceyln and @tinyjenna

@speedysasquatch, @russianbear, @operationjack

@EdMarathon and @rundigger

@ultrarunnergirl and I

me, @jessetchen and @speedysasquatch

@ultrarunnergirl and @MsV1959 with the Marines

@MsV1959 getting interviewed by Fox5


@MsV1959 and @southbaygirl

Kids dancing at the marathon!



Marines running the marathon

Where's waldo?

@tinyjenna at mile 17


The view from mile 17

And now I’ll return to taper-me-silly:)

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When I first told friends and family I was planning to head west to Colorado for a vacation, my sister-in-law’s immediate response was “uh oh.”  Confused I asked why.  I had heard such amazing things about Colorado so it was very shocking to get a response like that.  She responded “well, we may not get you back.”   I laughed. That, my friends, was astonishing to me as you know I’ve become a homeowner in NYC and do love my city.  Well, 10 days later I can say something I haven’t said about many places: I could totally live there.

Jumping for joy for completing Pikes Peak at Shrine Ridge

I feel funny saying that because over the past 7 years of living in NYC I’ve traveled a great deal but never have I felt such a connection as I did on this trip.  I’m not sure if it had to do with the special circumstance of running Pikes Peak Marathon or what, but the entire trip was just amazing.  What you ask made me feel this way.  Well, let’s see…in 10 days I was in Denver, Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak, Edwards/Vail area, and Boulder.  There’s also something to be said about the power of mountains to bring life to you.

Oh I'll miss seeing this daily

I was able to do all the things I love: hike, run, eat, sleep. Repeat.  All of my favorite things.  The people were nice for the most part and the lifestyle is just chill. I remember showing up in Boulder and my cousins saying “don’t worry about changing” (I was in my hiking gear!).  I was in awe of the sense of pride people in Colorado have for their state.  They definitely enjoy the fact that their life is around the outdoors.  I also imagine they laugh at people like me that come out all wide eyed and in a honeymoon state.

I saw stars – hello big dipper and a full moon over the city of Boulder. I saw purple majesty in a sunset over Boulder – the sky painted colors I’ve never seen before.  I saw all kinds of wildlife – hello bison, white horses, deer, and bluejay.  I think I saw more trails than I’ve seen in my life – so unbelievably jealous.  Bikes everywhere.  Oh Colorado, why do you taunt me so?

Bison chilling out by Genesee Park

It’s tough sitting here on a plane trying to think about the experiences I’ve had in just 10 days.  From my day on Pikes Peak to hiking up a trail in Vail to over 10,000 feet to running a trail from my cousin’s backyard up a part of one of the flatiron mountains in Boulder (I’ll be back to finish that baby up) to rounding up my trip with a Colorado Rockies game.  Just wow.  How does one to begin to even put it all together.  Hopefully, the 500+ pictures I took will help.

Colorado clouds and mountains

Here’s my itinerary covered in the time in Colorado:
– Red Rocks Park
– Genesee Park
– Pikes Peak Cog Train Ride (minus my camera because I’m an idiot that left the memory card at home – fortunately made friends so I will have pictures soon!)
– Andrea’s Roller Derby Bout (my first time at a bout!)
– Pikes Peak Marathon
– Vail/Ski Museum
– Camp Hale (10th Mountain Division) and Leadville
– Outdoor concert  in Vail
– Berry Picker Trail in Vail and a sunset
– Hanging Lake Trail and Jazz in the Vail Square
– Shrine Ridge Trail/Boulder – CU
– Dakota Ridge Trail in Boulder
-Colorado Rockies game
-the many people I met along the way!


I know many of you are asking, what the heck…didn’t you run a marathon last week.  Yep, but I’ll be damned to sit and watch this trip go by.  Just like I mentioned about turning 30, I’m taking the bull by the horn and living it up.  I can only hope this trip is a sign of the years to come.  I felt so alive during this vacation and it was so needed after enduring some pretty brutal months.  I feel blessed and lucky to be able to experience life like this and can only hope the opportunity presents itself again (I’ll make it happen).

Colorado: Thank you.  Thank you for breathing some life into me. Thank you for celebrating so many things with me, among them embracing 30. Thank you for sharing your beauty with me and I can only hope the next visit isn’t in another 30 years.    I’m sure the pictures will help make sure of making a return visit. 

With that, it’s back to reality.  I intend to make that reality where more dreams come true.  As I found out on this trip, you are the only one that can make those dreams a reality.  So follow along, I have a feeling more dreams are going to become realities.  (Can you see I’m a bit of an optimist?)

Next up: revving up the engine for NYC Marathon on November 7.  It’s time to get in the saddle and prepare for a 26.2 mile journey unlike any of the others before.   I’ve definitely got my mojo to run; it’s now about using this past 10 day journey to propel me towards the finish line at Tavern on the Green.  I guess it’s time for this blog to enter the next facet of the year of 30: the NYC Marathon.  Are you ready?  Time will tell but mentally I’m ready to log the miles and put in the work needed to get through this last leg of my year of 30.  Don’t worry; though 30 concludes, who says there isn’t time for an encore performance?

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Pinch me

Boston. 26.2. 3rd Monday in April. A dream about to be realized. Quick someone pinch me to make sure I’m not dreaming!

I’ve said after each marathon I’ve run that each has its own story to get to the finish line (well, the start line I suppose). This one didn’t disappoint. I’ve experienced the highs, lows and in betweens. I ran up the Empire State Building, chatted through a 1:43 half (?!), and experienced a low in mid-Feb. The weather has been less than cooperative – most memorable is a tie between the 14 miler I did in December in 10 degrees and windchill in the negatives and of course the 20 miler on the ice skating rink with a 4 mile race at the end. Work did its usual to try and mess up my schedule. With the exception of one week from hell, I’ve been able to stay on track.

This time around I had a new cast of characters to help me find my way through the journey to Boston. Thanks to the social networking site of twitter and dailymile I’ve been able to have virtual support as well as a few that have become real life friends (you know who you are). My teammates, The Reservoir Dogs also have been a source of encouragement. It’s been refreshing, rejuvenating and most of all, fun. I don’t think words calculate how appreciative I am.

Balance. It worked for me in MCM for 2005 and 2009 so I’ve tried to keep to that trend. My mileage never went sky high (one week of 50) but I kept the fitness level up and kept it fun. Those that know me well, know I can’t survive a regimented schedule. It just isn’t me. I do enough of that during the week! Swimming became a cross-training day I looked forward to on Mondays – who would have believed that one???

Keep it fun. This is a HUGE one. It goes right along with balance but I don’t think it’s an accident that my two best marathon times have come from just enjoying my training. My long runs felt like parties with a final destination to look forward to at the end. Does it get much better than knowing a delicious croissant awaits at the end of 22 miles?

I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m ready. What I’m ready for? I’m ready to do battle with 26.2 on Monday. It’s a distance I respect and my training shows that consistency.

So thank you all for your support. I can’t say it enough.

I’ll finish with this:
I still recall my dad (sub 3 marathoner in his day!) saying to me when I was training for my first marathon back in 2004: “when you make it to Boston, I will buy you your jacket.” Notice the wording: when. He would ask if I wanted one at my other marathons and I’d decline. There’s only one I want which will be in my hands after I cross the finish line April 19.

How this story ends? Stay tuned!

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Hard to believe but just like that marathon #6 is in the books. Would I change anything I did? Absolutely not. I have zero regrets. Anyone that knows me, knows that I do it only one way and that’s to leave it all out on the course. Honestly, I feel like today I gave 110%, not just 100%. That extra 10% was complete mental energy and will to finish. The other part: this marathon brought back that extra excitement I’ve missed for a year or two!

Saturday morning the folks and I loaded up the car and off to DC we went! Upon arrival, it was expo time. MCM has one of the better expos in my opinion. Maybe Chicago’s is bigger. Anyway, picked up my bib and shirt (pretty powder blue this year) and did some damage: new pair of tights and got the headphones they fit for your ear (they work! I wore them the whole marathon).

Saturday night we met up with nyflygirl, MF (and a couple of her friends), AL at Faccia Luna for dinner. Note: ate there 4 years ago too:)

Finally, race morning. I went with my Penn State singlet, blue brooks shorts and the Mizuno Inspires. I had my peanut butter and bagel with gatorade to fuel up. This is really when I realized what battle I was preparing for. All that work, comes down to this 26.2…

I met nyflygirl and MF in the lobby at 5:55 to head to the shuttle. Weather was cool but not cold. Dare I say it:almost perfect! The marines were helping to load the buses which *shocker* helped keep chaos far away;) This is one of many things I love about this race: organization!

We got to runners village and there were runners everywhere. A different vibe than NYCM but pretty cool. We hung out until about 7:20 and headed to the start.

This is where I have a major beef. They have a “be honest” lineup. Now I understand marines are honest but a lot of runners LIE! I am looking to BQ and seconds matter. In my corral, which I was pretty honest with nyflygirl, there were runners with 5:00, 4:30 and 4:45 pace bands on! Listen, I have no issues with you running for CRYING out loud line up correctly! When I did it 4 years ago, they based on predicted finish (and you had to give actual times ran).

After a flyover by some nifty expensive paid by tax payer marine aircraft, the cannon went off and it was time to go. I knew it was my day. You know that zone feeling? Yep, I felt it. I knew it. Felt like I did here in 05. A special day ahead.

The first mile was a complete clusterf**k. I had to deal with all those people in wrong corrals. (They should consider wave starts to ease the crowding too). Right away I felt like I was in the zone. You know that feeling that takes over you where nothing will get in your way? That was me yesterday.

Nyflygirl took off about a mile in and I settled into my 8:15-8:17 pace. My goal was to run a 1:47-1:48 half and give a bit of a buffer to get that elusive 3:40. Finally at mile 2 things started to clear up a bit but I was still passing walkers? Wtf? I didn’t remember the course being as hilly but honestly I do better with change of elevation courses. Plus, this was MY DAY. MY DAY. Nothing was going to stop me from getting to that finish line.

Things were sailing along as I passed my parents around mile 4 and again at mile 10. I think they were surprised to see me but I took that as a good sign, no? Around mile 12 I got a small side stitch but took a few deep breaths and poof – gone. Again, very calm relaxed and going with it. It was if something had taken over my body today – very surreal experience.

As I emerged from Haines Point (nowheresville of the marathon) I knew the heavy crowd support of the mall was near. And another passing of my parents. Life was good. Mile 16 came and I was still feeling great. Could it be? Could this be the day? I didn’t let a doubt cross my mind – this was MY DAY.

As I got to the end of the mall stretch, I knew the vaunted bridge was ahead. It’s dead, isolated and head winds. Very bad news at mile 20. I was hoping to just push through it and kept a mental game of “what are you going to wuss out now?” That and having my ipod helped TREMENDOUSLY. “Desire” blazed as one of the songs which gave me an extra pep to my step – whatever a pep is for someone who’s starting to feel the effects of 20 miles! Mile 21 came and things started to fall apart a bit. It was pretty instant as all of a sudden my legs just wouldn’t respond. It was horrible – I was fighting but they just slowed down. I tried to put a good song on, eat some sport beans but nothing was working! It was a very rough 5k -and my splits show it. But I know what did it – the water stations had marines running the show. As I passed the mile 24 stand, a marine was yelling “COME ON PENN STATE! GET MOVING” and “GO GET IT”. I don’t know about you, but that’s awfully inspiring.

As I passed that station, I gave myself one last pep talk. It was a talk of you didn’t come this far to pack it in. You didn’t put 4 months of guts to train to pack it in. This is your time to shine. This is about YOU. This is for YOU. You have the support and they are all there. That last 2.2 miles was about thinking about all of the support I have – the runs that made me get here. Specifically my long tempo run with AU, my last tempoish run with T, and just all the voices of all of YOU cheering me on. I fought the urge to slow down and walk like no one’s business. I was not going to let 3:40 go without a fight. I don’t know the word quit and today was not going to be the day I learned about it. It was time to show why I run. Why I run LIKE I MEAN IT. Anyone can run a marathon, but not everyone RUNS LIKE THEY MEAN IT. I was going to leave it all out on the course. If I didn’t get there, it wasn’t from lack of heart and guts from me.

As I got to mile 25 and looked at my watch, I knew it was going to be unbelievably close. Like seconds close. Still I fought on. I passed Arlington Cemetery on my left and thought about all of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for this great country. Now if they can do that, I certainly can suck up another mile or so. Finally I could start to hear the music and cheers at the finish line. As I ran, my hat started to fall off but fortunately my braid caught it! I knew that last hill was coming and gave my legs one final pep talk to get up that friggin’ hill. As I came upon the hill I tried to look up and imagine getting back to flat ground. This was my race. All 26 miles 385 yards of it. No stopping now.

As I emerged the hill, I gave it everything I had the final straight away. I even managed to pass people somehow. I crossed the finish line and clicked my garmin: 3:41:07. Are you shitting me was my first thought? Holy crap. Then it was well it’s a HUGE PR. And thank gawd I’m not running another step because I don’t think I could have.

Overall, I’m very proud of my performance. It would have been easy for me to pack it in and run a 3:44 or something. But I refused to lose. I refused to let my body decide over my mind. My day was not being ruined by physical. If I was going to lose my mind and body would have to go. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever. I run like I MEAN IT. The day I don’t is the day I stop running. Don’t expect that anytime soon.

I guess for me it was my way of saying “HELLO RUNNING WORLD I’M BACK!” I’ve learned that quantity does not trump quality. I ran no more than 3-4x a week with a couple crosstraining days. Last year I was running 50-60 miles a week and felt burnt out. A terrible feeling without the results. Note to self: know your body and work with it – it will do the rest for you.

Yesterday was pretty much a celebration of the effects of training to the best of my abilities this year. I’m proud of me. To go from a 2 hour half at the end of May to a 3:41 FULL marathon is nothing to sneeze at. I don’t care if it was lack of training – that’s a lot of ground to cover in a matter of months. Imagine what’s to come with training. Scary, isn’t it? I guess I hope to all of you reading it helps you go that extra step or mile in whatever you do. Because I can tell you first hand, mind over matter wins everytime.

Thanks to everyone that supported me through my journey. I couldn’t have done it without you and I can’t wait to conquer again. Oh and if anyone finds what I left out in Washington DC, you can return it to Brooklyn;)

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Last weekend was my last 20 spot.  I had decided to run Gretes Great Gallop to get another race in towards my auto entry into NYCM 2010 so where to get those extra 7??  I began using the wonders of gmap pedometer and it began obvious it made no sense to make it 7 miles since I’d be taking a subway one stop.  So instead, like any normal person, I ran 8 miles from home to the start of the race.  The night before I had made a special trip to the UWS to drop off my stuff at a local gym for post race shower:)  Yeah, because runners do that – we make special hour trips to just drop off clean clothes:)

It was a sultry, sticky morning.  Very reminiscent of Steamtown 2007 except not quite as hot.  Good, let mother nature get it out of her system now! I left Brooklyn around 7:20am for a 9:00am race.  This would give me ample time to head uptown.  As I started my run, I noticed the stares of “is she lost” and “why is she wearing a bib number on the Brooklyn Bridge?”  I just tuned into my shuffle and logged the mileage.  Headed over the bridge to the west side highway and *poof* all of a sudden I was at 72nd street!  It was crazy – I felt like I had just left Brooklyn?!  Awesome.

I arrived to the start and got some water/gatorade and found nyflygirl in the corral.  She had frontloaded as well and was using this as a way to get the miles in.  My plan?  Stick to no faster than 1:50 half.  I had just ran a 1:40 half two weeks ago and no need to push the envelope here.  Plus, I had electric lemonades awaiting me at Boat Basin post-race.  Woohoo!

The race?  I plugged into my shuffle and let my legs do the work.  As I passed the start, I gave Grete Weitz a high five and off I went.  My plan was to stay around 8:45s and maybe sprinkle a few 8:20s in for good measure.  Nothing crazy.  My times were all over the place but it’s fine.  I’m pretty happy that my SLOWEST mile was a 9:00 mile in which I literally stopped, walked a couple seconds to drink and then started running again.   That was at the bottom of Harlem Hill before that horrible mile up to 90th street.  Worst mile stretch of the course! As you can see below, I knew when the electric lemonades were close:)  Oh, I also learned these shorts are done – they kept falling down! eek! 

Overall, solid effort.  Looking at the time, it’s about what I ran for the second half of MCM in 2005.  Things are getting eerie here! 🙂 

Up next?  Staten Island as a final “long run” before the big day.  So close, I can almost taste it:)

Boat Basin?  Let’s just say good times had by all with many laughs and games of charades:-p  Next time, you should come:)

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Another week, more work completed.  Right now the key is to stay HEALTHY. Exactly 4 weeks to go.  It’s amazing what a change just the last 4 weeks have made in my faith in what will occur on October 25.  I’m feeling pretty darn positive and excited.  Much more so than last year.  So that brings us to yesterday and race #3 of 6 in 7 weeks: Cow Harbor 10K.  The plan?  Since I had raced Philly last weekend, it was a chance to hone up on my marathon pace.  Racing this was not going to do much for me and the fact remains I had a long run left as well as legs to keep in shape.  So the plan? 8:15ish pace and feel good about it.  As you can see from the course profile, it’s not a PR course anyway. 

Saturday morning started, well, before it really was morning.  I awoke at the unpleasant hour of 5AM to my alarm trying to figure out why that noise was occurring!  Ha.  Fortunately I had placed everything out the night before so there wasn’t much to do besides get changed, grab my stuff and head out.  I picked up the ZipCar at a location right around the corner.  This became incident #1 of the day.  As I got to the garage, I started looking around and couldn’t find the car!! I had allotted extra time to find the car, etc but it was a bit embarrassing too!  Finally, I called the help line and gave them the information but there were no free cars available so I had to find this one.  As I was on hold for them to find the person before me, I finally found it!  It was tucked in a corner which made it more like where’s waldo.  Oy.

I drove up to the UES to pick up the crew.  There were 6 of us but one guy had his own car since he had to head out right away after the race for a family function.  The drive out was uneventful and thankfully one of my teammates, AH, had picked up our numbers.  One sign that clues you that I was not racing: I went with the short sleeve shirt! You’ll be hard pressed to find me short sleeving it until it’s basically 40s.  Anyway, bus shuttle to the start.  You could tell we were not in NYC anymore as the running crowd was much different.  Let’s just say not your elite pack:)  I’m not being an elitest, just saying.

So KP was not racing and I told her that I was planning to run 8:15s with the hard PDR behind me and gearing up for the big one in 26+ days.  It was nice they had wave starts a minute apart to break up the corrals.  There also was a cow shooting off the start gun! Hehe!

Anyway, off we went right into our comfortable 8:15s.  People passed us as we probably signed up for a true racing corral but stuck right to our pace.  Mile 1 was a net downhill which I find to hurt the quads a lot!  Mile 2 brought you the hill that is Cat Hill on steroids!  It was only a third of a mile but one of those kick you in the a** hills that makes it like you are walking instead of running:-p  I knew there was a hill but didn’t know where it was so after we got up it I turned to KP and said “well if that’s all they got, I’m good to go for the rest of the race.”  She laughed:)

The scenery was gorgeous as we ran by the water and through little residential roads.  People were out of their houses cheering and passing out water.  It truly gave a sense of American spirit.  It was this town’s NYC Marathon:)  I smiled at the people cheering and even threw out a few high fives.  It was nice to not all out race as I feel like I really got to enjoy the full atmosphere.  As we approached mile 5, a guy goes to us “watch out for the next hill, it’s deceiving.”  KP and I were confused as I we passed mile 5 and went up a little blip that was a hill? Oh well.  As we got up the “blip”, there was a sign that said “it’s all downhill from here.” Literally, it was.  We were doing 7:30s and didn’t even recognize it because of the severity of the downhill.  We were chatting and able to give an interview to the cameraman riding alongside.  As we approached the finish line, the announcer got our names which was cool!  Finish time? 51:24 – good for 8:17 pace.  Perfect.  Just what the doctor ordered today.

The finish area was awesome!  They had so much food from smartfood to pirate’s booty to beer to chocolate chip cookies!  :)  YAY!  Found my teammates and many had set HUGE PRs. Woohoo!

After the race we headed back to AH’s parents house for a BBQ of yummy food: burgers, hot dogs, salad, fruit salad, baked beans – you name it!  Finally, it was time to head home.  I got into the car and tried to turn on the engine.  The lights and radio came on but no engine! Uh oh.  So guys being guys, tried to use jumper cables.  No dice.  At this point people were panicing so I called ZipCar.  First thing to try?  Use the zip card to lock and unlock the car again and see if that works? Sure enough, I do that and at the same point the guys were configuring the jumper cables the car turns on!  Whew.  So, yes, there is tight security in the zip cars:)

Part 2 of the weekend brought a 16 miler.  My legs were definitely feeling beat from a week of workouts and no days off since pre-PDR. AU and I decided to wait til the afternoon to give more recovery time AND more important – SLEEP!  My first weekend day of sleep in who knows how long.  I lounged around watching football and napping til around 4.  AMAZING.  🙂

So off I headed to the UES which ended up being a trip and a half because the trains were local.  Ugh:(    I was so glad to have AU to run with because I did not feel like running.  Not at all.  But having someone to get you through it is all the world.  So off we set in the humid air and all.

The run was peaceful as the sun set on another day.  The west side path was free of wandering pedestrians, crazy cyclists, etc.  It was just right.  Mid run the shirt came off because it was so hot and the mugginess of the air.  The legs once again fell into a rhythm and things felt good.  Mid-run I told AU we should hit the west side path to save the legs rather than doing a lap of the park and then Morningside park. Ouch.  We headed down the westside and I said she could count on me to properly get the right distance.  I used time – not mileage and figured out how far we had to go downtown.  Sure enough – picture perfect.  16.2 miles total. The average pace was 8:51 which considering this was an LSD I’m quite pleased.  Things seem to continue to fall into place.

Today I’m taking the day off as it’s Yom Kippur.  I’m recharging the batteries for the final push to October 25.  I’m getting super excited and nervous at the same time.  It’s a good thing – it reminds me of the excitement I felt for my first couple of marathons.  Something that you just can’t explain. 

Keep on runnin’.  And smiling.  Big things await.

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Ramp it up

Without any intention, this week turned into a high octane, intense training week.  One of my best ever I think in fact.  Since Monday, I’ve run 6 of 7 days (Friday was a complete off day).  It’s funny before this week I had no idea where my training was and felt like a rebel without a clue:-p  I was running and biking but where was I going?  Had I improved?  Did I get my legs back or was I due for another 3:50 ‘thon and disappointment.  I know I know that’s a great time but I’m not satisfied with that anymore.  I want more.  This week may have proved I’m ready to step it up.

Monday:  I was up in the Berkshires in Connecticut.  I pumped out a 5 mile run at about a 9:15 pace.  At first glance that sounds “eh.”  But consider the elevation? Almost 1300 ft.  Decent run.
Tuesday: My friend AU wanted to do a tempo run and asked if I wanted to join.  I figured why not? I had taken the day off from work and it always feels good to get a quality run in.  Result?  10.5 miles at an 8:20 clip.  Including hills up by morningside park.  Sweet.
Wednesday: Nike speed with 5 x 1000m on the track.  I knew I needed to be careful with the intensity of the night before.  Result? 8 min pace with ease – felt really good.  Last one? 7:35 pace.  Hmm something’s happening here.
Thursday: Met up with friends at Niketown to meet Kara Goucher.  She is AMAZING.  Totally down to earth and loves NYC.  Who wouldn’t:)  Anyway, that ended up being close to a 4 mile run at an 8:40 clip.  My legs were tired but still felt ok.
Friday: Rainy and OFF.
Saturday: Race day.  4 miler in Central Park.  Quite honestly I had no idea what to expect.  My legs could give me an 8 min mile race or surprise me.  First, I got a red corral number since it was an all female race.  This gave me extra juice to give it a go.  Then Kara Goucher showed up to wish us well.  Hey, if miss 4:55 min/mile interval girl is there, I can’t half ass this!  As the horn blazed, I just said “to hell with it” and raced.  Off I went and managed to pull my second fastest 4 mile run EVER.  Holy crap!  This after the week I had already?  What would happen on rested legs?  29:32 result/7:23 pace.  Quite pleased. 
Sunday: 20 miles.  This was a true test on dead legs.  I think it was great practice for race day.  Those last couple of miles really reminded me of what the last miles of the marathon feel like.  I could feel the end of a 50+ mile week.  Tired but I could sense the reward at the end.  It’s one of those feelings that keeps me running.  Knowing that the finish line is an amazing feeling everytime.  The run was terrific as I joined the NY Flyers for their 20 mile bridges run which took us down the west side highway, over the Brooklyn Bridge, through Brooklyn, Pulaski Bridge and Queens.  Overall just a 9:25 pace but it didn’t feel awful.  Sure it was tough – it is 20 miles for crying out loud – but right now besides exhaustion I’m not sore.  Not at all.  The picture to the right is me coming off the Queensboro almost 18 miles in.  Looking pretty good! 

What now?  I’m taking a bit of a down week to prepare for the Philly Distance Run (Ryan Hall is running it!) next weekend.  My goal?  I want to have a solid race.  Sub 1:45 would be great.  If I can sub 1:45 and feel decent it makes that magical number come October 25th seem not so invincible. 

I’m excited.  Things are starting to come together and I think the missing link from the past couple years – speed – is back in the equation.  Six weeks to go and hopefully it will continue to build towards the elusive goal.  Bring it!  Time to get to that finish line…

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Another 26.2 in the books.  Hard to believe it’s #5.  How the heck did that happen?  So, as I mentioned in my quick post prior, 3:48:48 was the result.  And you know, I’m OK with it – for now.  Given everything this year, I’m happy to redeem my performance from Chicago.  That’s not my running style.  So onward to the report.

One thing about Philly is it’s my hometown.  It makes a difference for many reasons.  For one, the home bed advantage.  Not enough can be said to staying in my parents house/my apartment as opposed to a hotel room, home cooked food and just the atmosphere.  I’m much more relaxed than when on a destination run.  Saturday I headed down to the expo with my mom to pick up my #: 3336.  The slogan: Kick Asphalt.  Freakin’ awesome.  I hope Philly keeps the slogan because it’s just so damn cool.  Anyway, Saturday was windy and brutally cold.  That did not help the nerves settle for Sunday’s run!  I spent the remainder of the day resting up and watching PSU book their ticket to Pasadena:-) YAY!

Sunday morning – woke up at the dreadful hour of 4:30am.  Gross.  Even for me!  The attire?  My brooks “fast as flash” tights, blue long sleeve technical top with a turtleneck, psu singlet, gloves and a hat.  I also started with a running jacket and hand warmers to stay warm.  No need to waste more energy pre race! The weather was similar to highs on January 22nd, the coldest average in Philly. Oh, it should be mentioned I forgot my watch in NY so I essentially went by internal clock.  Since my mom drove me down, I was able to head to the start about a half hour to the start which was nice!  The corral was nice since the masses kept me warm:-p  Once I arrived at my corral, I turned around and see a paw print on someone’s shirt.  Turns out one of my TRD teammates was directly next to me!  We shivered and waited to head out.  I hadn’t read all the directions and apparently we were on a wave start which meant a certain amount of people released every 2 minutes.  Each time, the song Gonna Fly Now blared over the speakers.

And finally we were off! 

Miles 1-7:
Very similar start to the PDR.  Headed down the Ben Franklin Parkway towards City Hall and by the Constitution Center and Liberty Bell.  Instead of heading back to do the loop of the Kelly Drive we took a brief tour of South Street and Chinatown as well.  Before heading away towards University City I saw my parents, brother, and mom’s friend on Chesnut Street. I threw my jacket at them and sped away. I still felt a bit rusty as I generally do at the beginning.  It was also a bit disheartening to hear someone shout “you’re almost there” at mile 4.  Sheesh, wait til I’ve past 6.2 so there’s less than a 20 mile run left;)  There wasn’t a huge crowd until we hit Chesnut Street (heading back towards the start area).  It was definitely odd.  Not a bad thing but weird. 

Miles 7-14:
This part has the only true inclines/hills of the course.  I knew about them so it wasn’t as scary as it was for anyone that thought “oh there’s no hills in Philly!”  We ran by 30th Street Station and I waved to a couple NY Flyers guys cheering on the sidelines.  I think one of them snapped my photo.  University City was fun as there was one frat house that had guys banging pots and pans.  Not sure I’d want that in my ear after a rough Saturday night;)  Then it was off to Memorial Park which is the only true hill of the course.  Fortunately, marathoners and half marathoners were all together for this so it helped to have the company.  I was ready for this since my mom had run the course and she told me “there’s a couple inclines then the HILL.  Don’t be deceived.”  After getting up the hill, I started to hit that zone.  It gave me a sense of relief to know that I had made it 11miles and the stomach was holding up.  Good news. I also saw people dressed up as cows cheering on the sidelines – umm, interesting. We headed back towards the Art Museum and here the half marathoners went to the left and the full kept right on going.  Fortunately, we could not see the finish line for the half!  But, you could still see people doing the half getting excited to be done.  I yelled “see you in another 13.1.”  Hey, you gotta be positive!  I saw my parents again and yelled “see you at the finish line.”  As I headed down the Kelly Drive evidently shoreturtle saw me too!  YAY!  Thanks for being out there!

Miles 14-20:
The Drive brought isolation.  The half marathoners were done and we were on our own.  I saw Mozzer pass on the other side as I was heading towards Manayunk.  He looked strong:)  As we headed to Manayunk the aches started.  There were more inclines and the mental games started.  Ya know, the ones where you tell yourself “come on we’re in single digits to go.” 🙂  Manayunk was a splash of relief as there were people EVERYWHERE.  There was the obligatory beer station.  At about mile 20 we hit the turnaround to head back towards the finish.  That was definitely a big relief!  At this point, I saw my TRD friend again just seconds ahead. 

After the turnaround I knew the game I had to play.  First, get to the Falls Bridge.  That’s your territory.  I had just done my 18 miler a few weeks ago: 2 8.4 loops of the drive plus an extra run up the incline at mile 26.  At this point, since I was off of no true watch and the wave start ruined any ability to have a clue what I was running, I knew I was ahead of the 3:50 pace group.  That was very exciting for me.  I also had my TRD teammate to help pull me along.  We traded spaces back and forth.  At a couple water stands, I walked to get the water and then picked up the pace to sub 9 again.  I think that was really key to keeping me from a bonk.  It also was essential as the water stands were an ice skating rink!  (My dad one up’d that when he told me one of the Philly marathons it was 14 degrees and the water actually froze!)  As we headed back, once we hit Boathouse Row I knew we were soooo close.  This was my town.  It gave me an extra boost of energy for the final 2.2.  I actually finished with one of my fastest splits of the race: 8:31 pace. 

Last .2 miles
The incline?  What incline?  There were so many people mobbing the finish area within the last .5 miles that it made you feel like you were in the Tour de France.  There were no boundaries so it dropped down to one lane for the final .2!  As we turned the corner by the Art Museum I pumped my arms in the air knowing marathon #2 of the season was in the books!  I also knew I had kicked Chicago to the curb.  While I didn’t achieve my ultimate dream, it was a huge boost from the debacle of Chicago.  I crossed the finish line and it was such an awesome feeling.  It brought back that feeling of why I run.  If anything, this is up there with MCM.  I just went out there and had fun.  No true expectations.  Oh, and Philly wouldn’t be Philly without a soft pretzel at the end!  They had a whole food tent!  YAY!  NYCM, you listening?  FOOD!

My thoughts:  The race was great!  I would consider doing this one again!  The weather? Non-factor.  If you dress right, it’s actually quite perfect.  Loved the slogan: Kick Asphalt.  The shirts are 100x better than Chicago’s sponsor crappy one.  They should have been better prepared at the water stops with salt but it’s easy to play the game after the race.  The half/full turnoff should have been better manned as one of my friends running the half ran an extra portion of the marathon before figuring out she was in the wrong race!  She had a monster PR until that.  She still PR’d by 2 minutes but it would have been closer to a 7 minute PR!  Philly definitely has it’s own style and I like that.  It doesn’t try to be NY or Boston, it’s just Philly and that’s how it roles. 

So, that’s Philly ’08.  I think this was a redemption race and a rebirth of sorts for me.  I’m excited to run again and I think that’s a great sign for ’09.  The no watch thing?  GREAT!  I think it helped me just run my race! I managed to pull my second fastest marathon 6 weeks after a dreadful 26.2 march. I’m planning to take a week or two off from running.  It’s been a long time since I’ve given my body a rest, not to mention my mind.  I’m pretty beat up.  There’s time to figure out what to do in ’09, for now it’s time to party it up for the month!  

Oh yeah, not too much rest! I just booked my flight to Florida in January – the ING Miami Half Marathon.  Don’t worry this will be more of a tune up then a race;)  Plus, I’m looking forward to warmth and sun!  Don’t worry, I”m not marathoning so it won’t be raining or some other weird weather phenomena.

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Just figured I’d post since some of you may wonder how today went. I’m satisfied with the effort today but don’t worry, I’m not done knocking on that 3:40:00 door. Just for now – I’ll be back in 2009.

Oh and I’ve decided, if you’re not into extreme weather running, give me a shout out before signing up for a race. I have a feeling now that I’ve covered extreme heat and cold that rain may be in the forecast next time…

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Taper: Take 2

So here I am – one week from giving 26.2 another shot.

I’ve had an 18 miler and 15 miler, finishing with a wind blown 8 miler today.  Thrown in a couple quicker runs mid week.  Watched the Phillies win the World Series then had my balloon sizzle as Penn State pulled a stinker in Iowa.  Participated in an election that thankfully lacked hanging chads.  Ya know, the usual.

So now what?  I guess it’ll just have to be what it’ll be.  I’m going to go out there and give it a shot – and hope for the best this time.  At least the weather is much more favorable than Florida Chicago heat.  Now that we’re under a week to go it’s time to bring on the weather report!

Nov 23                                                

Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy


Motown Philly back again…:)  I’m ready, are you?

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