Posts Tagged ‘pdr’

An open letter to rock ‘n roll series

Dear Rock ‘n roll,

I come to run races.  I come to enjoy a race atmosphere and enjoy all the feelings that encompass getting from the start line to the finish line.  Simple, right?

It was. Then came the need for you to enter the party and destroy an economical approach to running.  You see, I first ran the Philadelphia Distance Run in September 2004.  This was my second half marathon ever.  I remember going down to the start with my dad and his friends.  They kept raving about how great this race is and what a tradition!  As I crossed the finish line that day (with a new PR – ha), I remember thinking how it was a nice race. 

Then you entered the picture.  You bought the rights (Elite racing to be exact).  While you tried to be indiscrete the first year (no name change, not much change), the cost started to show.  It wasn’t a large increase but I should have known what was to come.  In 2004, I paid $45 to run this half marathon.  Legit. The streets have to be closed down.  No real frills which is fine.  I come to race. 

It started with having to schlep down to the convention center to pick up your number, no more day of pick up.  Entering online I got to pay an extra $6 stupid fee online (that’s the processing fee that I still do not understand).  Peeved but the name remained and I still enjoy the race.

Then last year it became “rock n roll.”  Bad news.

The cost jumped to $75. ING threw their name in front of the Philadelphia Distance Run and I knew the inevitable was coming.  This year.  No more PDR but “Rock ‘n Roll Philadelphia”. Blech.  You threw out tradition faster than the MTA rising the fares on the NYC subway system.  You also managed to throw the cost into outrageous zone.  $90 for a half marathon? Really?  I ran up and down a mountain, received a really nice tech shirt, awesome support on the course for $5 more!   Absurd.

It’s not just the cost but the whole experience which gets lost.  15,000 people loses the charm of a race. It was a bit odd to be passing mile 4 and seeing people starting the race!  The music? Pfft.  AC and I joked about being $10 a band (and a cover band at the end?). Then cytomax? Really?  This isn’t a triathlon.  Total fail. The course gets reversed. The number pickup consisted of smoke entering?  It costs to utilize runner tracking? Charging money to pick up packets race day (which the pickup was over a major holiday)? Fail fail fail.

I will have a hard time signing up again which is a shame.  I truly love the PDR but I feel each year it will drift away into more of a corporation haul than the PDR charm.  I’m sure you’ll find someone to take my place and those that follow me.  Fine.  Rake in your money.  Make your profits. Bring in crappy bands.  It is the American way. 

I’ll take my business elsewhere.

Respectfully yours,

Bridges Runner


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Mental games

Pretty much every race I’ve run in Philly has produced PRs or pretty awesome experiences. While yesterday did not produce a PR as hoped, I did learn a lot and had a pretty fantastic time out there. At the end of the day, shouldn’t that be our goal?  I also learned a few other things along the way.

Anyway, rewind to Saturday. While I didn’t observe the fast completely, I was not hydrating and eating as I normally do. Somehow a glass of Gatorade and cliff bar doesn’t translate to my usual pre-race day food. Dinner consisted of bagels, cheese, tuna salad. Again, not my usual food but I figured it’d suit fine with massive amounts of liquids.   This is the second half marathon I’ve run post-fast.

Sunday. 5:15 wakeup to prepare for my first true race since Boston? I definitely felt nerves even more than before pikes. Funny. The awesome part of this race is since my dad’s friends have done every single pdr they get VIP access (and so do I). So pre-race I was within feet of Shalene Flanagan. Neat. Didn’t spot Ryan Hall.

Oh, the race. Runnin’ Around Uptown and I planned to run this one together. Our plan? See how the legs feel and go from there. Obviously a new PR was on the mind but this ultimately would be a stepping stone for November 7.

We got to corral 3, had our ears blasted with the national anthem and finally we were off! Immediately we were sucked into going way too fast. ES and her friend Kelly she was pacing caught up to us. We started chatting a bit when Amy goes “um 6:40 pace.” Immediately we dropped back into our own race. And smart that indeed was as we were at mile 2? Eek! Not sure on splits since my garmin seemed to hate Philly! However AC’s watch stated 7:02. Not good.  That’s um 40 seconds faster than goal pace.

At this point, it was hot. The sun was blazing and we were sweating like crazy.  I felt fine, as did AC, so we started to cruise.  I think in the back of our minds we knew we weren’t going to PR today but sometimes that isn’t the name of the game.  A solid race is where you want to be at this point in training.  I commented on a few items in the city as I’ve run this course five times prior (all in the reverse direction – grr rock n roll stop messing with Philly!).  We spotted our friend NM twice in our tour of the city and she joined us on the run to the Kelly Drive/West Drive section.  She pushed the pace a bit but looking back it probably was closer to a 1:40 pace.  However, it just didn’t feel “comfortable” today.  I passed my dad and he commented to just stick with it (he knew it wasn’t my day either).

As we entered the park loop, AC commented how nice it was to have a bit of peace and quiet.  I tended to agree as we could finally relax and just let the legs roll.  I felt pretty good at this point.  AC pointed out we were a good 40 seconds behind goal pace at this point.  We both knew there was no way we were going to hit the goal today.  It stinks when you know so early.  We arrived at mile 7 and I remember thinking “crap, another 10k?.  That never happens to me but today I should have taken that as a precursor of what was to follow.  When we hit a “bump” or a hill as they refer to it (haha) I would comment to AC.  We both laughed especially once I commented that 4 weeks ago I was running up one massive hill!  Anyway, we took our gu/sharkies at around mile 8.  I stupidly didn’t take very many and have to wonder what the heck I was thinking?

Mile 9 I remember thinking: “ok legs, 4 more. you can do it.”  At this point, I started to feel a bit “off.”  As we approached mile 10, I began to feel even more lousy but continued.  Finally, as we approached mile 11, I remember asking AC if we could walk the water stop so I could recollect for t he last section of the course.  She agreed (you rock for being there!) and we started running again.  At this point her words to me, “ok, I’m pulling you to the finish line.”  We started rocking out sub 7:40s (I think close to 7:30 not sure since the garmin was funky).  I was hurting and definitely felt depleted at this point – not leg pain but just an empty tank of energy.  AC continued to pull me along.  All I remember is just thinking “it’s faster to run than walk.” haha.  And thank goodness AC is here to pull me to that finish line!

With that we crossed the line at 1:43:09.  Not a PR.  But I think I learned a lot about being able to pull out mental toughness to get to a finish line.  It hurt but mission accomplished.  No leg/body soreness (ran 5.5 this morning).  I had a good time in Philly with family and friends.  I earned another sub 8 half (becoming the norm! yay!). All was not lost in this half (#25 or 26 in my career I believe).

No garmin splits.  I forgot to manually do them.  Wish I did because I’m sure they would be interesting.

As I look out with less than 7 weeks to go, I don’t think my goals are unreasonable for NYCM.  Guess we’ll see.  Last tune up before NYCM is Oct 10: Staten Island.

How do you deal with a race when you know a PR is out of sight and you know it isn’t your day?

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Welcome back speedy legs

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve tried to find my speed.  It had gone MIA over the summer as it’s been all about endurance running with minimal  speed work.  This brings us to now.  I’m changing my approach to NYCM slightly than my usual plan.  I’m really trying to incorporate a little more speed and a couple less long runs.  I know the endurance is there!

So that brings me to this week.  Tuesday night I decided to run home after a super long day at the office.  7:40pm I packed up my stuff and headed out the door for home.  The rain had just stopped and the sky  had an orange glow to it with the sun set already.  I love the run home as I get to run away from midtown, not to it!  I intended to just do a normal run but after a cyclist decided to share his feelings with me for no particular reason I guess it energized me.  I arrived home 6.2 miles later realizing I had just run a sub 8 pace (6.24 miles/48:38).  Oops.  I didn’t feel bad but intended to do speed work on Tuesday with the race on Sunday.

Last night was “official” speed work with @SpeedySasquatch.  The assignment? 6 x 800 around the Great Lawn Oval (actually .52).  For me, I wanted to hit 3:35-3:38 for .5 so I figured around 3:38 was fine for today.  As I told my friend ES, famous last words.  What happened?  Pacemaster has returned!  As well as the legs!

Time Pace
1 3:36 6:55
2 3:33 6:49
3 3:34 6:51
4 3:34 6:51
5 3:34 6:51 (pacemaster anyone?)
6 3:28 6:40 (Helllooooo!)

Post speed of course we did the usual core with the mosquitos. Sigh.  Apparently they were very hungry!  As was I…I woke up ready to eat everything in sight!

Sunday brings a return to the racing world.  Let’s see how the legs respond.  Ultimately it’s just another step in the march towards November 7th.  I’m excited.  After last year, who knows what will happen?

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Game, set….

As you can tell, my confidence has grown in the past month as has the strength in my running.  Some have stated that marathon training makes you slower and the like.  Well, if you came across this to read that the statement is true then please move along.  I have just taken that statement in the past month and smashed into the pavement somewhere by the Art Museum in Philly.  Today marked the first time I have taken down a PR in about 3 years!!!  I forgot how good it feels to reap the benefits of hard work.

Anyway, this weekend I headed to Philly for the holiday.  It just so happened the Philadelphia Distance Run coincided with the holiday.  Perfect! I’ve run this race 4 times before and it’s such a treat.  My dad’s friend has run every single race since it started and at the 30th anniversary made them VIPs.  This meant he got 4 VIP passes to share with friends.  Lucky for me my dad is good friends with him and I get to reap the benefits!  Benefits include hanging in the same area as the elites pre-race (hello Ryan hall and Catherine the Great!), easy access to portapotties (including a sink to wash your hands) and an awesome spread of food post-race!

Before we get to the race, nyflygirl came down and got to enjoy the perks as well.  We picked her up on Saturday and headed down to Philly to pick up our numbers at the Convention Center.  One thing I am VERY disappointed about with the race is how overly corporate it has gotten.  They actually CHARGED money to track runners this year.  Ridiculous.  It’s one thing to force every runner to schlep to pick up their number but now you won’t even let people know where their friends and family members are without shelling out more money? PLEASE! </rant>  Anyway, the expo was pretty “eh” which made the wallets happy.  Plus eye on the prize!  My number was interesting, just take a look at those first three digits;)

Saturday night was spent carboloading up Rosh Hashanah style:)  Chicken soup, turkey, meatballs, eggplant, greenbeans, mashed potatos:)  So delicious and made me super ready for Sunday.

Sunday and 5am the alarm cries out on my phone.  I had taken everything out the night before (old school TRD singlet, red shorts and Elixirs) so all I had to do was throw everything on.  At 5am, you can’t think about doing much else.  I head downstairs and my dad tells me he hasn’t heard movement from nyflygirl’s room!  I head in and sure enough, lights out and fast asleep until I flick the light on.  I’ve never seen anyone dart out of bed at 5:15 as fast as she did!  It was very cartoon like.  10 minutes later we were spreading White Chocolate Wonderful Peanutbutter from PB&Co on H&H Bagels.  Out the door we go to meet my dad’s friends to head down to the race!   We get to the parking lot and my dad, being dad, sees his friend and sets the car next to him and parks.  One itty-bitty issue.  It was an isle, not a parking spot! Ha.

Upon arrival in Philly, we head to the start area and the VIP check-in.  I saw Ryan Hall, Josh Cox, Catherine, etc.  It was AMAZING!  I had a guy that holds the AMERICAN record for so many distances right there.  So cool!  Anyway, now that I’m over my gushing of awesome runners, pre-race consisted of some tunes to get the head ready for the race.  I had a very good vibe for this race which again is something I’ve lacked the past few years.  Pre-game tunes consisted of playlists from now and 2005.  I’m not superstitious:)

Around 7:20 we parted ways with my dad and his friends to get to the start.  It was a gigantic clusterf***.  Sure, they had seeded corrals and waves but it seemed that, unlike the NYRR, no one was really checking.  Plus, 5 minutes before the start people were POURING into the corral to the point you could hardly move.  I like that the NYRR says: you’re late?  To the back you go!  These people know better as they’ve run more than a fair share of races. Tsk. 

Nyflygirl and I were in the 3rd corral and you could tell we were both focused for this.  As the time got closer, there wasn’t a lot of talking but focusing going on.  We both had our own race plans which is the way it should be.  I knew what I wanted for my A plan which was a sub 1:40.  I knew it would be tough but figured what the hell? I have 5 weeks to go.  Plenty of time to give it a go today.

The wave start was fantastic as as the horn went I was able to get a quick release and immediately hit my stride.  I knew within the first quarter mile on the Parkway it was going to be my day.  A perfect day: sunny with temps in the low 50s to start the race.  I forgot what it felt like to have perfect racing conditions (thanks, flygirl – remember this for the 25th).  Immediately flygirl pulled way ahead and I had a feeling she was going to have an amazing day!  As for me, my legs settled right into pacemaster zone.  They just clicked and it didn’t feel like all out effort but not easy.  Just a good pace to fall into for 13.1. 

As we hit the streets of Center City, I continued to just cruise.  I was in the zone.  People around me didn’t matter.  I just ran to my own drum and continued to cruise as some would speed up and some slowed down, I maintained.  As we hit close to mile 5, I saw my dad and just said “I’m going to go for it!”  I hadn’t told him what my goals were but he knew what I was after.  I could tell by the thumbs up and huge smile on his face.  He’s used to me not all out racing and giving it all I’ve got – especially the past few years.  Again, I must say it felt so damn good to let it fly.

Onto the west drive we headed for the loop which I’ve become so familiar with.  I LOVE this part of the race.  I can totally just cruise and there’s no turns to slow you down.  I always seem to negative split this race because of this portion.  No exception today.  Around mile 10, I ran into a Front Runner that was doing her first PDR.  I was hoping she’d latch on and we’d be able to use eachother to race towards the elusive 1:40.  No dice so I just continued rolling along.  As we hit the boathouses, my legs were feeling like toast and I could not wait to see that finishline.  As that feeling hit, I reminded myself that this is what will happen 5 weeks from today.  It’s going to hurt but you’re going to want it more.  Keep at it.  I knew sub-1:40 wasn’t going to happen unless I ran a sub 7 mile but I knew I was due for a HUGE new shiny PR.  Nothing to get upset about.  As I hit the Parkway and the hairsharp 180 degree turn for the finish I saw my dad again and gave every ounce of energy pretending it was October 25.  Crossing the finish line it felt amazing – 1:40:39!!!  Holy crap.  I didn’t just tear up my PR, I took it and pounded it into the pavement in Philly.  What an amazing day and amazing feeling to run well again.  Two consecutive races, two amazing efforts. 

As I met up with nyflygirl, I was so curious to hear how she did.  I KNEW she kicked major a**.  Sure enough, she did with a 1:37.  Wowzers.  You go girl!  As she enjoyed a few beers, I went for a mimosa and cookie.  YAY we earned that and then some.

Now, take a look at my splits:

Looking at them, it looks like I lost my 1:40 pretty early with the 7:45s.  But ya know, it’s ok.  My “A” goal was to PR.  “B” goal was sub 1:45.  “C” goal was sub 1:47.  Happy!  Now it’s time to focus on getting to the “match” portion of the training.  It’s so close and now is the time to keep things together and stay healthy.  I’m really pumped from this performance and now know what I am capable of.  The plan is to keep doing whatever it is I’m doing because it seems to be working just fine!

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