Help me join the Philadelphia Eagles in taking on autism

For a second year in a row, I will be running the 5K component of the Eagles Autism Challenge, taking place on Saturday, May 18, 2019. Last year’s inaugural event drew over 3,300 participants – despite torrential rain – and raised $2.5 million for autism research and programs. This cause is especially important to me as my 3-year-old son Benjamin is autistic.

Please consider making a small donation in support of my 2019 Eagles Autism Challenge 5K run. It would mean the world to me — and to my son.

Thank you.

– BK

Donate Now!

Helping Eagles Autism Challenge is Easy.
Your donation will count towards Brian J Kelley’s fundraising efforts.

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Happy Thanksgiving…plus Disney Cruise, Philadelphia Marathon recaps and photos

636784103972391357.jpgPhiladelphia Marathon recap & photos

Well, I completed this year’s Philadelphia Marathon. That’s about all I accomplished. I know I should just be happy I finished considering I was pretty much incapacitated by a herniated disc in September that’s still not fully resolved. But I still wanted to beat last year’s time of 4:51:22…and that didn’t happen. I couldn’t even get it done in under 5 hours. I wound up finishing this year’s race at 5:01:29.

So, on one hand, I’m disappointed. On the other, I guess it’s an achievement that I was able to come back from that kind of injury to complete a marathon in about two months. And now I can say I’m a three-time marathoner, so there’s that.

On the plus side, I had the chance to do a “shake-out” run with run the day before the marathon with 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden and Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic silver medalist and winner of the 2009 New York City and 2014 Boston marathons. That was very cool!

 


Click to read the full marathon recap.


Disney Dream Cruise Photos & Recap

Just two weeks before the Philadelphia Marathon, the family flew down to Florida, spent a night in Cocoa Beach and boarded the Disney Dream in nearby Port Canaveral for a 5-day, 4-night cruise to Nassau and Disney’s own Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. I had been nervously tracking the weather leading up to the trip, but – except for a bit of rain after we arrived in Cocoa Beach – it wound up being a pretty beautiful few days (albeit hot and sticky…personally, not a fan of that).

I managed to run a bit on Disney Dream’s track on Deck 4, and completed the Castaway Cay 5K in 27:45, which was amazing considering how hot it was (have I mentioned I don’t like hot and sticky weather, especially running in it?)

Click here or below to view a Flickr photo album documenting the trip.   
Disney Cruise 2018


George Street Revisited

A couple of shows I did PR and marketing for while at George Street Playhouse have been in the news recently.

First, American Son by Christopher Demos-Brown is currently on Broadway for a limited time starring Kerry Washington. The Broadway engagement was actually in the works before the play was staged at George Street in early 2017 so this isn’t considered a transfer (the play had premiered in Florida before the GSP production anyway). Actually, the Broadway deal made it tougher to promote the play at GSP because Demos-Brown was prohibited by his contract to do any press about the show, which was a shame because he told us this after recording a phone interview with him that we intended to use for a podcast. Instead, we could just use limited quotes for background materials. Here’s the trailer from the GSP production, starring Suzzanne Douglas and John Bolger.

Also, my favorite musical produced at GSP while I was there was Ernest Shackleton Loves Me, from the creative team of Tony Award-winning Joe DiPietro (book), and Val Vigoda (lyrics and star) and Brendan Milburn (music) from the pop-musical theatre trio GrooveLily (Striking 12, Sleeping Beauty Wakes).

A few months after its GSP run, Shackleton was staged at ArtsEmerson in Boston before an off-Broadway run at NYC’s Tony Kiser Theatre that earned the show the 2017 Best New Musical honor at the Off-Broadway Alliance Awards.

Well, for those of you who get Channel 13/THIRTEEN/WNET in the NYC metro area, you can watch a performance of Ernest Shackleton Loves Me recorded for BroadwayHD at 9 p.m. ET on Monday, November 26.

I have a digital copy already, but still going to set my DVR. I love this show so much…IT FEATURES LIVE LOOPING AS PART OF THE PRODUCTION!!! Also, stars Wade McCollum and Val Vigoda are among the nicest artists I ever had the chance to work with. Actually, Val is the only artist I ever had a personal conversation with, as I had to tell her how I saw her nine years before Shack’s 2015 GSP run in a New York Musical Theatre Festival tribute to the “Musicology of Ben Folds” and became a fan of GrooveLily through that and Robert Drake’s annual playing of GrooveLily’s Striking 12 on WXPN at noon every Christmas Eve. She was super nice. Also, she’s a complete badass…she was accepted to Princeton University at the age of 14. She withdrew after a year to complete her classical violin studies, but returned to graduate with a degree in sociology in 1987. She’s also a former Army lieutenant.

Val is currently presenting her PEAK Aliveness musical keynote, which she describes as a TED Talk with musical performance. So, yeah…Val is pretty awesome.

Anyway, here’s a BroadwayHD trailer for Ernest Shackleton Loves Me.


“Comme si” – Christine and the Queens (World Cafe Live, 11/2/18)

The Friday before leaving for the cruise, I took in Christine and the Queens’ WXPN Free At Noon show at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia. What a show! It was very cool to see a show with so much energy and dancing set to intelligent, socially conscious, well-crafted pop music. Here is a taste of that show.


“For Me, It’s You” – Lo Moon

My favorite band of the past couple of years, Lo Moon, recently released the first song from the batch being readied for their sophomore album. I absolutely love the vision of this band and can’t wait to hear more from them for years to come.


“It’s Christmas Time Again”

Well, I’ll sign off on this issue of the newsletter with a Christmas song I originally wrote in 2011. I settled on this version back in 2013 and put this slideshow video together to accompany it. Kind of want to redo the whole thing…maybe next year.

If you’re into more cynical holiday music, check out my other Christmas song, “Have a Merry War on Christmas.”

A 2018 Philadelphia Marathon recap

Despite a herniated disc that had me practically unable to move for a few days in early September and left me with considerable numbness and pain in my back and upper left leg for most of that month, I never imagined missing this year’s Philadelphia Marathon. That was not an option.

I finished last year’s Philadelphia Marathon in 4:51:22, but I had already run a marathon earlier in 2017 and did not have the disruption in my training schedule I had this year. Before the herniated disc, I was targeting a time of 4:45:00 or better. Based on the training I was able to get in post-injury/recovery (I was only able to get in up to 16 miles twice), I had to shift my goal to simply finishing the race. Honestly, I wasn’t 100-percent certain I wouldn’t aggravate the injury and have to withdraw.

Internally, though, I still wanted that 4:45:00 or better. After feeling pretty strong during my last few shorter training runs (about 6 miles each), I made the tactical error of going out strong the first 10K, pulling back the next 10 miles or so and hoping to have enough in reserve to finish strong. At first, I thought I had made the right decision. My time at the halfway point was only 34 seconds slower than my time last year. But without the 18- or 20-mile training runs under my belt this cycle, I was gassed by mile 17. I wound up walking and running verrrrry slowly the final 9.2 miles, fighting nausea, cramping and tightness.

That said, I still thought if I could get to mile 26 with about 10 minutes left before that 5-hour mark, I could push myself to cover the final 1.2 miles in 10 minutes. However, I wound up missing that by a minute and a half, finishing the marathon with a time of 5:01:29.

Screen Shot 2018-11-20 at 9.42.02 AM

So, on one hand, it’s an accomplishment I was even able to finish after what I went through in September. On the other, regressing to a plus-5:00:00 time on a marathon is extremely disappointing.

I should have realized it was going to be a bad day that morning as I was headed into Philly from South Jersey on a PATCO train. I was in a seat with a door behind me. As the train was nearing the final stop in Center City Philadelphia, I freaked out because I couldn’t find my ski mask, which I planned on wearing during the race (so I could lift up the mask part every now and then to warm my face). I looked under the seat and it wasn’t there. I instinctively went to look behind the seat, forgetting there was a glass partition there. I slammed my head into the partition, but my sunglasses were resting on my head and one of the nose rests/hinges dug right into my forehead before breaking off, resulting in a gash on my head and uneven sunglasses. So I broke the other nose rest off to restore balance to my glasses as my head continued to bleed a bit. The dumbest part of this story? My ski mask was around my neck the whole time; I had simply lowered the hood part after getting on the train. D’oh!

IMG_9834 2

Another in a long history of head wounds caused by stupidity.

On the plus side, I took part in a “shake-out” run the day before the marathon with 2018 Boston Marathon champion Des Linden and Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic silver medalist and winner of the 2009 New York City and 2014 Boston marathons. They were very accommodating, and chatted and took pictures with everybody who took part in the run…including me!

 

That was incredibly cool.

Here are a few race photos…

Track my 2018 Philadelphia Marathon progress

I’ll be running in the Philadelphia Marathon for a second year in a row Sunday morning (November 18). If you would like to track my progress, here is how you can do it.

BibTag/Chip Tracking via SMS/Text or Email:

You can receive alerts for me as I reach the 10K, Half Marathon, 30K and Finish checkpoints. You can search for “Brian Kelley” or use my bib number, 9418.

Sign up here!

Phone/GPS Tracking & Cheer Sending:

Use the RaceJoy app to track my actual position in a map view as I complete the course. Progress updates are sent every mile and you can send supportive cheers throughout the day.

Search for “Brian Kelley” or use my bib number, 9418.

Important for spectators/family/friends: Make sure to login as themselves and not as a race participant or RaceJoy will track your device instead of mine.

You can download the free RaceJoy app here.

Crest Best 10 Miler recap and photos

So…I finished Sunday’s inaugural Crest Best Run Fest 10 Miler in Wildwood Crest, N.J., with my back and left leg feeling pretty good. That was a huge positive for me.

However, I finished in 1 hour, 43 minutes and 40 seconds…nearly 4 minutes over my best-case target time of 1:40:00. I’m not happy about that, but considering my herniated disc/left-leg numbness/soreness and subsequent lack of training in recent weeks, I guess I have to consider just finishing a success at this point. And, again, my back and leg really didn’t give me problems while running (driving a combined five hours in a span of 24 hours, though, was incredibly uncomfortable).

Also, the conditions weren’t exactly ideal for a “comeback” run. It was 71º F with 94% humidity in Wildwood Crest when I was leaving Brigantine (we stayed there the night before the race to be closer) to get to the race at 5:25 a.m. The forecast high for the day was 77º F. There was a lot of cloud cover for most of the race, which limited sun exposure so that was one saving grace.

Another issue was that around mile 7, the velcro straps I wear around my upper legs for IT band support started failing and I kept on having to stop to fix them. And then I would walk a bit to get back started on a light run. With about a half-mile to go, the left one just wouldn’t stay secure so I chucked it and went without it the rest of the way.

As I was approaching the finish line, I moved over slightly to the left to high-five the Sea Isle Ice mascot, which allowed another runner to pass me on the right as we crossed the line. All this did was ruin the finish-line photo for both of us since I still beat her by 17 seconds because of the difference in our starting times.

This was my second DelMoSports Elite Events race, with the other one being the 2014 Atlantic City Triathlon. Both times were incredible race experiences, capped off by the best post-race food spread in the game. Also, the safety pins were given out in four-pin chains at bib pickup! Who thinks to link four safety pins together ahead of time? That is crazy meticulous. Kudos to DelMoSports for another great experience!

[UPDATE: After posting, I remembered another nice touch. The final version of the medals apparently weren’t delivered on time by the vendor, so at the finish, each participant received a temporary medal and a note from the vendor apologizing and letting us know that our official medals will be sent to us soon.]

So, what’s next? Well, I need to keep training for the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18. On October 18, I’m scheduled for injections to hopefully resolve the lingering issues from my herniated disc. I really don’t know if I’ll be able to cover 26.2 miles a little over a month from now, but I guess I’m going to try.

Below is a photo slideshow from the Crest Best 10 Miler. Oh yeah! Another great thing that DelMoSports does…they get a sponsor to pay for free race photos! The course photos below are courtesy of Athletic Brewing Company.

 

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Hare are video highlights from the inaugural Crest Best Run Fest:

It’s a “go” for the Crest Best 10!

Well, I still have a herniated disc and numbness/mild soreness in my upper left leg, but I’m feeling good enough to give Sunday’s Crest Best 10 Miler a try.

Obviously, I’m way behind in my training, but have completed runs of 10, 3.1 and five miles this past week. The 10-mile run didn’t go all that great, as my left leg pretty much gave out completely by mile 7 – I was basically just pushing off with my right leg and just landing on my left to stay upright. It took me just under 1 hour, 52 minutes to complete, which is over 20 minutes more than my 10-mile personal best…so that’s kind of frustrating.

The 3.1-mile run was better, but I really felt more like myself during the 5-mile outing. It was first time I was able to cover five miles at an under 10-minute-mile pace (9:40/mile, to be exact) in what seems like forever.

My goal for Sunday is to finish in less than 1 hour, 40 minutes. That’s way off my 10-mile personal best time of 1:27:03, but I have to be realistic. I’m not close to 100 percent and I haven’t been training as much as I should have been. And, really, I don’t want to even try to push it because I don’t want to put too much stress on my back and aggravate it again like I did during Labor Day weekend.

My physical therapist, who used to be a more avid runner, has supported my shorter runs if I’m feeling up to it. She’s not all that crazy about my doing a 10-mile race, but she knows I’m going to do it anyway if I feel I’m up to it. She just asked me to take it easy…so that’s going to be my approach.

I’m basically using the Crest Best 10 Miler as a training run for next month’s Philadelphia Marathon. That’s the race I’m really concerned about. The injection treatment for my herniated disc is scheduled for October 18, and I’m hoping to try a 16- or 18-mile run between now and then since I’ll have to take it easy for awhile after the treatment (also, I have possible jury duty the following week so that may cut into training time).

If the treatment doesn’t really work, I’ll probably need surgery. But I’ll schedule that for after Philly and hope I can get through 26.2 miles, but it’s going to be tough. It’s one thing to have to walk part of the course, which I did for much of the final eight miles last year. It’s quite another to do it on one leg, which may very well happen if I’m in the same condition I’m in now.

But that’s for next month. Right now, as the headline says, I’m a go for the Crest Best 10 Miler on Sunday. If you would like to track my progress, please click on “Is Live Tracking Available for This Event?” on the event’s FAQ page. There are instructions on how to find/download the DelMoSports Elite Events app for both iOS and Android, and a link for desktop tracking is promised to be available soon.

*** 10/6/18 UPDATE ***

Well, the desktop link for live tracking hasn’t been posted yet and today is the first day of the Crest Best Run Fest (kids race, 5K). I did find a URL that would work on desktop, but it asks you to register or login with Facebook in order to look up a runner. That leaves the best option as the DelMoSports Elite Events app, but it’s doing something a bit weird on my iPhone…you may have to open/close the app a few times before the Crest Best info appears (you may see previous events instead…if you do, close and open the app again until the Crest Best info shows up).

Get DelMoSports Elite Events App for iOS

Get DelMoSports Elite Events App for Android