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. Continue reading “Happy Thanksgiving…plus Disney Cruise, Philadelphia Marathon recaps and 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.

Help me join the Super Bowl champion Eagles in taking on autism

I recently signed up to run the 5K component of the Eagles Autism Challenge on May 19, 2018. Not only is it a chance to hang out with the reigning Super Bowl champions, but it’s a chance to raise money for autism research and programs. This is especially important to me as my 3-year-old son is autistic.
So, today — World Autism Day — I write to ask you for just a small donation to support my Eagles Autism Challenge 5K run. It would mean the world to me — and to my son.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
– BKunnamed.png

DONATE NOW!

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

My Year in Running: 2017

Just wanted to end 2017 with a quick look back at my running achievements during the past year.

654315_254682350_XLargeMy most important running milestones in 2017, of course, were running in the first two marathons of my life — first, the New Jersey Marathon on April 30 and, then, the Philadelphia Marathon on November 19.

Although I was thrilled to finish my first 26.2-mile race, I was generally disappointed in my marathon debut at the Jersey Shore.

On top of that disappointment, I had to prepare for the 10-mile Broad Street Run the following weekend. Two days after the New Jersey Marathon, I went for a 5-mile workday run during lunch and began experiencing excruciating pain in my right knee at about mile 3. I stretched it out a bit and was able to continue, but it kept on happening during my runs that week.

I tried to doing some things to mitigate the knee issue (ice, stretching, massaging, etc.) and had to resign myself to the fact that I may — for the first time — be unable to finish a race.

But — wearing a knee brace not at all suited for running (because it was all I had at the time) — and fighting through some discomfort the final five miles, I wound up finishing the Broad Street Run in a personal-record 1:27:03.

After the Broad Street Run, I took a three-week break from running to get my knee right again. I would have taken more time off, but had to tune up for a 5K held at my alma mater, Rider University, each June to benefit women’s athletics. Even with my knee issues and the heat that day, I managed to complete that in a respectable 25:02.24.

The next race I did was one that I wasn’t sure I would do until about a month before the event, and that was the Hightstown (N.J.) Triathlon, a sprint-distance tri held each year not too far from where I live. Amazingly, even though I didn’t do any open-water swim training and squeezed in only two or three training rides on the bike, I still finished 76th overall in the event with a personal-best time of 1:21:21. Somehow, despite the 1/4-mile swim and 11.2-mile bike ride preceding it, I ran what was likely one of my top-10 5K times to set that PR with a time of 25:49 during the run portion.

At that point, I turned my attention to training for the Philadelphia Marathon, with the lone exception being one last short race — the WXPN Musicians On Call 5K in early October. Even though the course may have been short by a bit, I finished that race in 23:39.69 — and then got to stay for the ever-popular post-race 80s dance party!

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Crossing the finish line

Then it was back to the Philly Marathon. Sadly, I was only able to get in two really long-distance training runs — a 16-miler and an 18-miler — leading up to the race. But I had done a lot of pacing work on my shorter runs and felt ready to vindicate myself from the disappointing marathon debut in April. I just wanted to finish in less than five hours.

And despite wet, brisk conditions and ridiculous, swirling 40+ mph wind gusts, I managed to do just that, finishing in 4:51:22.

So that was my year in running. Oddly, except for the Hightstown Triathlon (the event I made a last-minute decision to do each of the last two years), I don’t have any events lined up yet for 2018. But I’ll be running somewhere. Just trying to figure out what races to do.

Happy New Year!

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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