2017 Broad Street Run recap and time to rest

Well, exactly one week after my disappointing 5:14:25 finish in my first-ever marathon, the New Jersey Marathon, I lifted my spirits with a PR in my third Broad Street Run in four years on Sunday, May 7. Even that wasn’t easy, though.

During my training runs the week between the two races, I was experiencing pretty excruciating pain in my left knee that usually popped up around mile 3 or 4 of the run. That resulted in my having to walk or flat-out stop to stretch it out before continuing. On top of that, a persistent cold that I really haven’t been able to completely shake the past few weeks began to flare up again the Friday before the Broad Street Run.

Fortunately, I was able to fight off the cold, but all I could really do was rest and ice the knee…and hope I could get through the 10-mile run down Philadelphia’s Broad Street.

I knew I had to go better than an 8:59/mile pace to conquer the 1:30:00 mark, but I really didn’t know if I could maintain that with my knee in the shape it was in. Once again, around mile 4, I felt discomfort. But then I stumbled upon a temporary, in-race solution…by landing more on the back of my foot, it seemed to take stress off the knee. It was just a touch, but it was enough to relieve the pain enough to keep moving forward.

And I did…at a pace in the ballpark of 8:45/mile.

My Nike+ app was off by about two-tenths of a mile, but I did know that I started about 17 minutes after the elite runners started. So when I saw that the race clock said 1:18 and change at mile 7, I knew I just had to maintain my pace the final three miles to achieve my goal.

And I actually picked up the pace by a few seconds during the final three miles…finishing the 2017 Broad Street Run in a personal-best 1:27:03.

Screen Shot 2017-05-09 at 9.25.21 AM

However, I nearly couldn’t walk back to my car, which was parked nearly a mile away from the finish area. About a third of the way of the way there, my knee tightened up so badly, that it was a struggle just to step up a curb. Just as I was reaching my car, it nearly gave out completely and I almost fell.

What turned out to be fortuitous was that I struck up a conversation with a fellow runner in my starting corral. I mentioned how my knee had tightened up and was causing me pain after running the marathon the week before. He said that he suffered from something similar – IT bands. I read about iliotibial band (ITB) syndrome when I got home from the Broad Street Run, and it sounds exactly like what I have been experiencing so I’m going with that diagnosis.

And that means I’m going to take a break from running for a week or two and gradually work my way back into a routine. I have a 5K at my alma mater on June 10, but that’s it for organized races in my immediate future.

Hopefully, by then, my knee will be OK because I’m announcing it here — now — that I am officially registered for my second-ever marathon…the Philadelphia Marathon on Nov. 19, 2017. It’s a couple of weeks after the Trenton Half-Marathon, which will serve as a nice marathon training run.

I just need to get the disappointment of my first marathon out of my head.

If you want to join me in registering for the Philadelphia Marathon — or the Philadelphia Half Marathon, Liberty Bell Challenge or Independence Challenge, use the link below to register:

https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Philadelphia/ThePhiladelphiaMarathon?raceRefCode=qoGqlrRk

 

Advertisements

2017 New Jersey Marathon wrap-up

654315_254882040_XLargeWell, I finished last Sunday’s New Jersey Marathon, so I can now call myself a “marathoner.” However, I’m not at all happy about how it all went down.

During my longer training runs (16-, 18- and 20-milers), I went really slow…around 11:30-12:00/mile slow. I had also tried different forms of in-race nutrition/energy, such as gels and chopped-up Clif bars. Both didn’t sit well with me, so I learned about Sport Beans – carbs, energy and vitamins in jelly bean form. I figured that was something familiar to me so it might be easier to deal with. I only tried a few during a short tune-up run in the week prior to the marathon, and didn’t have an issue with them. The same did not hold true for the marathon…but I’ll get back to that later.

Here’s the good…I perfectly executed my plan for the first 18 miles of the race. I wanted to run around 9:30-9:40/mile for the first 10K and wound up right at 9:40/mile for a 59:59 initial 6.2 miles. I gradually began pulling back so I would have something left at the end (at least that was the plan). I hit the halfway point in a comfortable (for me) 2:14:00. Now, I completed the 2016 Trenton Half Marathon last November in 1:59:06, but I pushed it because I wanted to finish in under two hours. For the marathon, I figured I would cover 13.1 miles somewhere in the 2:10:00-2:20:00 ballpark. Again, I was right there. It was all going to plan.

Until around mile 18.

After the halfway point, I ripped open the pouch of Sport Beans and took 3 to 4 beans with some water. And everything was fine. So at mile 18, I decided to consume the rest of the beans – again with some water (as instructed by the packaging). Well, the same issues I had with gels and Clif bars reared its ugly head again…I couldn’t really get the beans down, which kept the water from going down properly. With each stride, I could feel the water sloshing around just below my chest and it was making me nauseous. I thought I could walk it off, but I wound up walking most of the next three miles.

What was really frustrating was that I wasn’t fatigued. I would’ve still been running if it weren’t making me feel sick. I mean, I would have probably been at a slow 10:30-11:00/mile pace at that point, but it still would have been better than a walker’s pace.

After reaching mile 21, I had enough of walking. I decided to get rid of the water the quickest way possible…I sat down on a curb just off roadway, stretched my legs out a bit and forced myself to throw up the excess water.

And I felt SOOOOOO much better after that. My legs had tightened up a bit, but after a few minutes, I was running again – albeit slowly. With about 1 1/2 miles left to go, I decided to give it all I had until I crossed the finish line…with a time of 5:14:25.

So, yeah, after a comfortable 2:14:00 first half, it took me 3:00:25 to complete the final 13.1 miles…I find that completely unacceptable.

After I finished, I immediately said to my wife and parents that I was never doing another marathon. By the next day, I was visiting the Philadelphia Marathon website and making plans to get the sour taste of this first marathon experience out of my mouth.

It’s apparent that I don’t have the digestive abilities to consume in-race nutrition in either solid or gel form. It just disrupts things for me. From now on, I’m just going to stick with a water/sport drink mixture.

Up next for me is Philadelphia’s famed Broad Street Run on Sunday. I completed last year’s 10-miler in 1:31:52. My goal this year is to come in under 1:30:00. Accomplishing that will go a long way in clearing the disappointing marathon experience from my mind.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Back in Training: 2017 New Jersey Marathon (4.20.2017)

Just wanted to share a quick update on my training for my first-ever marathon — the 2017 New Jersey Marathon, taking place Sunday, April 30.

Since my last update, I completed my farthest run to date, a 20-mile training run in 3:49:41 on April 9. This marked the final long training run that I did s part of the NJM-organized group training runs, which also included a 16-miler on February 25 and an 18-miler on March 12.

During both group training runs, I ran with the slowest pace group (mostly between 11:30/mi and 12:30/mi pace). During my solo runs, I’m experimenting with some pacing tricks to improve my overall time, with mixed results.

I’ve basically resigned myself to the fact that I’ll likely be finishing somewhere between 4:30:00 and 5:00:00, depending on how things go. I mean, I’d love to surprise myself with a sub-4:30 time on race day, but the chances of that are slim at this point.

As a weather geek, I’ve been monitoring the GFS model runs for the past few days…rain is definitely a threat for coastal New Jersey, although the four model runs have it holding off until after the race or even into the following day, so I hope that trend continues. That said, it’s showing it to be a bit on the warm side, with temps already in the mid-60s by sunrise and going into the mid-80s by mid-afternoon. But, really, if it’s in the 60s/low-70s with overcast skies – with no rain – and a light sea breeze, that would be absolutely fantastic.

And then the following week will be the 10-mile Broad Street Run in Philly. This will be my third Broad Street Run in four years. I’m hoping to finish that in less than 1:30:00. That’s right around where I’m at right now for a 10-mile run, so I should be able to achieve that.

If you want to follow my progress, track my training runs via my Instagram feed.

Back in Training: 2017 New Jersey Marathon (3.29.2017)

So…since my last update on February 22, I’ve made a lot of progress in my training for my first-ever marathon — the 2017 New Jersey Marathon, scheduled to take place Sunday, April 30.

As mentioned in that post, I did complete a 16-mile training run on February 25. A couple of weeks later, as you can see in the picture above, I completed an 18-mile training run.

Going into these longer-distance runs, I’ve made a conscious effort to go at a very slow pace. I’m more concerned at this point about covering the distance without struggling or discomfort. So both times on these group training runs, I’ve run with the slowest pace group (mostly between 11:30/mi and 12:30/mi pace).

You may recall that I went into this training last year with the goal of finishing in around 4 hours. I’ve since revised that to a more realistic 4:30:00 or less. But even that is probably way too optimistic. At this point, with a month to go before the marathon, if I can finish in less than 5 hours, I’ll be happy. Also, it gives me way more room to surprise myself with a better result.

Oh, and one more thing…I was selected in the entry lottery for a spot in this year’s 10-mile Broad Street Run in Philly, which takes place one week after the New Jersey Marathon. This will be my third Broad Street Run in four years. I’m hoping to finish that in less than 1:30:00. That’s right around where I’m at right now for a 10-mile run, so I should be able to achieve that.

If you want to follow my progress, track my training runs via my Instagram feed.

Back in Training: 2017 New Jersey Marathon (2.22.2017)

16789277_393559117675448_153219152943775744_nWell, it has been a long time since my last update here, but I’m still training for the 2017 New Jersey Marathon, scheduled to take place Sunday, April 30.

In fact, I finally had time to get in the longest-distance run of my life (so far) last weekend, completing a 14.21-mile run in 2:22:02.

This coming Saturday (Feb. 25), I plan on heading out to Long Branch, N.J., to take advantage of a 16-mile training run organized by the New Jersey Marathon folks.

I’m also hoping to do one of the scheduled 18-mile runs or the 20-mile run in the next few weeks.

Again, my goal is to complete the marathon in 4:30:00 or less. Admittedly, it’s going to be tough to meet that goal based on where I’m currently at with my training.

If you want to follow my progress, track my training runs via my Instagram feed.

Back in Training: 2016 Trenton Half Marathon recap


I cross the finish line (yellow jersey) at the 2016 Trenton (NJ) Half Marathon on October 29, 2016, in a personal-best, sub-2-hour time of 1:59:06.

img_4247I know it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a training update as I prepare for my first-ever marathon, the New Jersey Marathon in April, but I felt my finishing yesterday’s Trenton Half Marathon was reason enough for a quick update.

This marked my third straight year running the Trenton Half Marathon, after running in the event’s companion 10K race in 2013. I spent much of 2014 training for the Broad Street Run, a sprint triathlon and an international triathlon, and finished that year’s Trenton Half in 2:07:12. Last year, with minimal training going in, I completed the Trenton Half in 2:15:43.

However, I’ve been doing a lot of running this year. And while I haven’t been able to do much in the way of longer-distance training, I’ve managed to knock nearly a full minute off my “cruising” pace, from closer to 10:00/mile to around 9:00/mile, during the course of the year. Going into yesterday’s Trenton Half, I really wanted to finish in less than two hours.

Well…mission accomplished.

img_4258My chip time of 1:59:06 was obviously a personal best, marking my first-ever sub-2-hour half-marathon time. And that was with serious leg cramps forcing me to walk about a quarter-mile in the final two miles of the race. But when I entered the outfield warning track of Trenton’s Arm & Hammer Park (home of the New York Yankees’ AA affiliate, the Trenton Thunder) for the final stretch toward home plate, I saw that I still had a shot at finishing under two hours, so I really pushed hard at the end.

And while I was happy with the sub-2-hour time, I realized how much harder I still need to work in order to be ready to complete a full marathon. I really need to get in more longer runs because my legs still don’t have the endurance to get through 13.1 full miles, let alone double that distance.

This also means I’m adjusting my target finish time for the New Jersey Marathon. I was really hoping to finish that in around 4 hours, but I’m going to be a realist here and accept the fact that 4 hours, 30 minutes is probably a more attainable goal.

Photo Gallery:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Back in Training: Worldwide WordPress 5k Edition

Automattic’s Worldwide WordPress 5k is taking place this week (it started Monday, Sept. 19, and runs through Sunday, Sept. 25), and it allows everyone to participate. All you have to do is do a 5k (approx. 3.1 miles) walk or run, and then share a post about it using the “WWWP5k” tag.

Since I’m currently training for the 2017 New Jersey Marathon, I planned on devoting one of my pre-work training runs this week to the WWWP5k…but I went on a 13.1-mile training run last Sunday morning and I needed a day or two to recover. And I caught a late train into work on Wednesday and didn’t get a chance to go for a run at lunch.

So that brought me to Thursday—and I had already written off going for a run today (Friday, Sept. 23) due to a whole bunch of things going on at work. It had to be Thursday morning, or wait until next year.

I wasn’t really sure what I could do special for Thursday’s WWWP5k run. Obviously, I thought about a live stream, but figured I would lose connection quite frequently over the course of a 3.1-mile run. So I decided to just take a few photos and create the simple slideshow video above to share my WWWP5k run with the world.

Of course, my run time suffered since I kept slowing down/stopping to take pictures…but I’ll allow for this exception.

Happy WWWP5k!