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.

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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

 

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.

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2016 Broad Street Run recap

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Left: In my rain-free car with my 2016 Broad Street Run finisher’s medal; right: My Broad Street Run results

Just thought I’d take the time to write a recap of my Broad Street Run experience this past Sunday, May 1.

Despite a cold, soaking rain, I managed to complete the 10-mile trek down Philadelphia’s famed Broad Street in 1:31:52 — amazingly four-plus minutes better than my only other Broad Street Run in 2014 (1:36:17). I say “amazingly” because I was in much better shape in 2014 than I am now, as I was training that year for the Broad Street Run, two triathlons (one sprint, one international) and my first half-marathon (Trenton, NJ).

Then again, I’ve always suspected that I held myself back too much during that first Broad Street Run because I felt too comfortable throughout the race. I hovered around 9:40 per mile during that ’14 BSR and when I got through the first mile this year at 9:07 per mile, I thought I went too hard too soon. I thought I had eased up considerably, but I was still at around 9:07-9:10 per mile after two miles — and I felt fine.

At that point, I said to myself, “Well, it’s miserable out here…it’s cold and wet…if I can wrap this up a few minutes sooner, the better, right?” So I kept going at that pace until mile 6. At that point, I definitely eased up a bit, but it still wasn’t by a whole lot. When I hit mile 7, though, and my Nike+ Running app told me my elapsed time was 1:02 and change, I realized that I had a legitimate shot to beat my 2014 time by a decent margin (considering my usual 5K time these days is around 28 minutes)…so I picked it up again and just kept going to the finish line.

So, in pretty bad weather, I had a pretty good run. And even better was the fact that I was raising money for the American Cancer Society, but I’m actually still a bit short of my goal. Fortunately, there’s still some time for you to help by making a donation here: http://main.acsevents.org/goto/bkelleyBSR2016

Now, though, I feel the need to discuss some of the bad (non-weather-related) parts of the day.

I know the Broad Street Run — with 40,000 runners — is a daunting event to pull off for the Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the race organizer. But there are logistical issues that certainly need to be addressed.

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Taken with my wet phone through a wet, transparent armband at the starting area. Don’t know which was more of a mess…the weather, the organization near the starting area or my photography (OK, that last one is usually always a mess).

The biggest issue is egress at key locations. They need to assign volunteers to areas where access in and out is crucial. Near the starting corrals, there is a walled schoolyard with just two access points (that I know of) — one off of Broad Street and another off Somerville Road near Broad. This is a staging area with porta-potties, water, etc. — where most of the 40,000 runners use the bathroom one last time before a 10-mile race that starts at 8 a.m. (for the elite runners in the field). At 7:45 a.m., I tried to get out of the schoolyard so I could get to my starting corral. Instead, I stood in the same spot for nearly 20 minutes at the gateway leading out to Broad Street. Nobody was moving. Runners and spectators were just standing there and nobody seemed interested in telling people to move so runners could get to the corrals. Finally, around 8:05 a.m., we started squeezing through and I did manage to get to my corral (gray) before its starting time. But those stressful moments didn’t need to happen. Fortunately, this seems to be an easy fix — assign a few, trained race volunteers to those access points so they can control pedestrian traffic flow. By 7:50 a.m., priority must be given to runners trying to get out of the schoolyard so they can reach their respective starting corrals in time.

There are other issues with egress just beyond the finish line at the Navy Yard, too. For instance, if you want to go all out at the end, good luck trying to stop without crashing into a horde of runners who apparently feel it’s a good idea to come to a dead stop about three feet after the stripe. Race staff needs to do a better job of keeping everyone moving through the straightaway beyond the finish line and herding everyone to the turn into the finishers’ area.

Again, I know this race is a challenge to pull off and, for the most part, it’s great. There are just some simple things that can be done to make it even better.

Oh, and one more thing…the Broad Street Run started in 1980. It is 2016. That made this year’s event the 37th running of the Broad Street Run (or 37th annual Broad Street Run). However, the announcer and some media outlets called it the “37th anniversary of the Broad Street Run.” Please look up the word and meaning of “anniversary” because it’s not the same as “annual.” The first anniversary of the Broad Street Run would have been in 1981, making this year the 36th anniversary of the Broad Street Run (or 2016-1980=36). This misunderstanding of the word led to “35th Anniversary” incorrectly making its way onto the 2014 medals, which I wrote about at the time.

Getting ready for Broad Street, but still need your help

logo_bcbsr-2016Even though work, life commitments and a foot-injury scare have curtailed my running lately, I was able to get in a couple of nice runs in the last week or so ahead of Philly’s  10-mile Broad Street Run on May 1.

After two runs on consecutive days earlier this month, I felt a bit of pain in my left foot so I started wrapping and icing it. After a few days, the pain went away so I tried running again after taking a week off. I wasn’t going to push it and went out that morning thinking I would only go a mile or so, but I felt pretty good and wound up doing 3.1 miles at an 8:59-per-mile pace — the first time I had completed a sub-9:00 5K distance run in a long time. And, more importantly, my foot felt fine.

This past weekend, I set out to do another 3.1-mile run…but, again, I felt pretty good early on and thought to myself, “Eh…you’ve got 5 miles in you, today, right?” And when I hit the 3-mile mark, I was like, “Well, if you’re doing 5, you might as well get in a 10K-distance (6.2-mile) run.” And that’s what I did. It wasn’t a great time (1:01:48), but it was my longest run since completing the Trenton Half Marathon in 2:15:43 last November and I felt pretty comfortable. However, I was more than three minutes off my last 6.2-mile time of 58:15 in South River, NJ’s Frost on the Pumpkin 10K last October.

So I still have some work to do, but I’m finally starting to feel that my 2016 Broad Street Run time won’t be too far off my 1:36:17 time in 2014.

However, as I’ve mentioned here earlier, I need your help! I’ve entered the Broad Street Run this year through the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNATION program since I didn’t get selected through the race’s entry lottery. But this means I have the opportunity to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

Within the past year and a half, a friend and former supervisor/colleague died a month shy of her 50th birthday after fighting breast cancer for 13 years, and a longtime neighbor of mine while growing up succumbed to brain cancer at an all-too-young 61.

In short, cancer sucks — I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement on that — so help me run in this year’s Broad Street Run AND raise money for cancer research and treatment by making a donation at the link below.

Thanks!

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Finishing the 2014 Broad Street Run

Help me run Broad Street to fight cancer

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Finishing the 2014 Broad Street Run

I enjoyed my first Broad Street Run in 2014 so much that I planned to do it on a yearly basis. I was picked in the entry lottery in 2015, but had a day-long work commitment that Sunday.

This year, that work event was moved from its usual date making the Broad Street Run a possibility again…but I didn’t get picked for entry through the lottery system.

So, this year, I’ve entered through the American Cancer Society’s DetermiNATION program, which is a good thing. Why? Because that means I have to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

Within the past year and a half, a friend and former supervisor/colleague died a month shy of her 50th birthday after fighting breast cancer for 13 years, and a longtime neighbor of mine while growing up succumbed to brain cancer at an all-too-young 61.

In short, cancer sucks — I’m pretty sure we’re all in agreement on that — so help me run in this year’s Broad Street Run AND raise money for cancer research and treatment by making a donation at the link below.

Thanks!

Your 2014 Broad Street Run medal is wrong

2014 Broad Street Run medal
No…this year wasn’t the 35th anniversary of the Broad Street Run…despite what the medals say.

Yesterday, I ran in my first Broad Street Run, Philadelphia’s iconic 10-mile race.

The Broad Street Run was first held in 1980, making the 2014 race the 35th annual edition of the event. However, the medals given to finishers say “35th Anniversary” on them.

Um, no…it’s not. An anniversary can only be observed in years following the first time an event has taken place. Think about it, you celebrate your first anniversary the year after your wedding. Since this was the 35th race, it couldn’t have been the 35th anniversary. It was the 34th anniversary (do the math: 2014-1980=34).

Next year’s race will mark the 35th anniversary of the Broad Street Run, but it will be the 36th annual race…and, yes, they should just stick to using the word “annual” instead of “anniversary.” I suspect whoever designed and reviewed the medals thinks the words are interchangeable…they are not.

So my first-ever Broad Street Run medal has a rather big mistake on it.

There were a couple of other issues I saw as a first-timer that were rather shocking. Upon reaching the finish line, I was dumbfounded by the apparent inability of race staffers to keep finishers moving through the finish line area. When I got there, there was a wall of people just beyond the finish line slowly making their way to the gatorade, water and portable toilets—and to pick up their inaccurate medals. They have to do a better job of keeping runners moving through that area and making sure the finish line is clear for runners completing the race.

Also, the exit setup for runners and spectators trying to leave the Navy Yard was one of the most ill-conceived things I have ever seen at a major event. The space allotted for people entering and exiting the Navy Yard after the race was woefully inadequate. At one point, I thought it was going to take me longer to get through the exit than it did for me to run the race.

Since this event has taken place for 35 years, I expected a well-oiled machine so I was surprised there were things that were so wrong.

Anyway, I do have to acknowledge SEPTA for rising to the challenge. I’ve rarely had good SEPTA experiences, but when I got to the South Philly sports complex at 6:20 a.m., there was a bit of a line at the AT&T (Pattison Ave.) Station. But the trains were there and ready for passengers, so the line moved extremely quickly. So, as far as my experience yesterday is concerned, SEPTA did a very good job getting runners up to the starting line in North Philly and I want to give them credit for that.

Overall, though, it was fun and I would definitely do it again. I just hope they address the issues mentioned above…and make sure they know what words mean when designing the medals.

Midge Ure at World Cafe Live in Philly, 1-10-2013

Midge Ure  – “Vienna” (World Cafe Live, Philly – 1/10/2013

Thanks to my wife for allowing me to get a night to myself, I was able to go down to Philly to see the legendary Midge Ure, backed by Los Angeles-based band Right the Stars (who also served as opening act), perform at World Cafe Live last night.

What an amazing show and it was really special seeing an artist with such a lengthy pop/rock music pedigree performing in such an intimate venue. For those who don’t know, Midge Ure is best known as the lead singer and driving force behind the best-known iteration of 80s synth-pop heroes Ultravox and as the man who was essentially ordered by Bob Geldof to write what became “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”—the charity track recorded by Band Aid and produced by Ure in 1984.

However, Ure also spent time in groups like Visage, The Rich Kids, Thin Lizzy and Slik. He even reportedly turned down an invitation to become lead singer of the Sex Pistols in 1975. In short, the guy has been around for a long time and has done an awful lot with his immense talent.

This was only my second time seeing Ure in concert. The other time was when he opened for Howard Jones at what was then called the Garden State Arts Center in Holmdel, N.J., on June 16, 1989. But, damn…Midge still brings it.

The video above is Midge Ure—with Right the Stars—performing Ultravox’s classic 80s hit, “Vienna,” at World Cafe Live last night. The clip comes from YouTube user vwall10411, who I’ve turned to a lot for videos from Philly-area concerts, and there are a few more videos after the jump.

From Setlist.fm, here is the set list from last night’s show…

I See Hope in the Morning Light (missing on Setlist.fm)
Love’s Great Adventure (Ultravox)
Call of the Wild
Breathe
Fade To Grey (Visage)
Cold Cold Heart
Answers To Nothing
Just For You
No Regrets (Tom Rush cover that was a No. 9 UK hit for Midge Ure in 1982)
Vienna (Ultravox)
Dear God
One Small Day (Ultravox)
Hymn (Ultravox)
Dancing With Tears In My Eyes (Ultravox)
If I Was

Encore:
Do They Know It’s Christmas?* (Band Aid, written by Midge Ure & Bob Geldof; produced by Midge Ure)

* – solo acoustic performance

Continue reading “Midge Ure at World Cafe Live in Philly, 1-10-2013”