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.”

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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.

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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!

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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.

Interested in the 2018 Philadelphia Marathon or Half-Marathon? Register here…

Hey there. If you are interested in running in this year’s AACR Philadelphia Marathon, Dietz & Watson Half Marathon, Independence Challenge, Liberty Bell Challenge or Freedom Challenge, please use this link to register ->

https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/Philadelphia/ThePhiladelphiaMarathon?raceRefCode=RtezPDt6

Thanks!

2017 Philadelphia Marathon recap

Finishing the 2017 Philadelphia Marathon

Finishing the 2017 Philadelphia Marathon

Sorry for the lack of posts, but just wanted to write a quick recap of my run in last Sunday’s Philadelphia Marathon — my second marathon, both all-time and this year.

As you may recall, I was disappointed in how I finished my first 26.2-mile race, the 2017 New Jersey Marathon held last April. I had estimated the Sport Beans fiasco from that race cost me a good 30-45 minutes. I definitely knew I should have finished in under 5 hours.

So…let’s start at the beginning. First of all, overnight rains stopped not too long before the 7 a.m. start of the race. But in its wake were strong 15-20 mph winds with up to 45 mph gusts — and overnight temps near 60° F falling into the upper 40s during the race. This meant wind chills in the lower 40s. Ordinarily, that would be pretty comfortable running weather, but the wind was a bit of a wild card and it affected my strategy.

For my first marathon, my goal was to run a sub-hour 10K and then gradually gear down to a 12:00/mile pace for the next 15 miles or so, which I did before running into trouble around mile 18.

This time out, I wanted to try to run at an even 10:30-10:45/mile pace throughout. But I knew most of the first six miles were going to be with the wind at our backs, so I made a starting-line decision to push it a little more when I could use the wind to my advantage.

Even though my first 10K (1:00:38) wound up being 39 seconds slower than my New Jersey Marathon 10K split, I hit the halfway point of the Philly Marathon (2:10:23) about four minutes faster than I did last April. Again, I was right where I wanted to be — actually, better than where I wanted to be.

But then the race reached Kelly Drive, which we took along the Schuylkill River into the party neighborhood of Manayunk. This is where you could see the front of the pack making its way to the finish line down the other side of Kelly Drive. And even though the wind was in our faces, you could see the fallen leaves blowing into the runners going the opposite direction. This meant the wind was swirling so I could tell around mile 15, the wind was going to be an issue for most of the next 11.2 miles.

At that point, I just decided to keep going as hard as I could and take it super-easy the rest of the way. I figured there was no point in fighting the wind. Instead of walking for three miles straight (like I did in April), by mile 19, I wound up — generally speaking — walking for five minutes then running for five minutes or so over the final 7+ miles.

Since the Philadelphia Marathon utilized a real-time race-tracking app called RaceJoy, which could tell me anticipated finish time at each mile, I knew when I reached mile 24 that I was going to finish in less than 5 hours, even with the walk/run plan I was doing at that time. I decided to walk most of mile 25 and just run it out the last 1.2 miles.

And that’s what I did, and finished in 4:51:22 — a little more than 23 minutes better than my previous marathon. Considering the elements and the fact that I hadn’t trained nearly as much as I would have liked, I was much happier with this effort.

Oh, and I forgot the most important part…I discovered something I could ingest mid-race for nutrition that wouldn’t screw me up — squeezable apple sauce! Screw you, Sport Beans!

My Philadelphia Marathon result - click for details

My Philadelphia Marathon result – click for details

 

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