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!

Congratulations, Jason Thompson…the 12th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft!


Sacramento Kings 2008 Draft Pick – Jason Thompson

Jason Thompson, a senior out of Rider University, was selected by the Sacramento Kings last night with the 12th overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft. Projected to go later in the first round, Thompson’s stock rose to the point where he was taken as a lottery pick by the Kings.

Geoff Petrie, the Kings’ president of basketball operations, on selecting Thompson with the No. 12 pick…

We had considered a small at 12, but as the draft went on, we felt the best place to go was to go big. He was the number one pick at 12 for us if we were going to go big. He is a 20 (point) and 12 (rebound) guy and there was only one other guy like that, and that was (Michael) Beasley. He gives us another young forward that I think will compliment the rest of the people we have such as Spencer (Hawes).

When we first met him he was 6’2’’ in high school or maybe even junior high and was playing point guard. He said ‘but I have these big feet’ so when he got to college he was around 6’4” and then grew to 6’10”. Again, when you see him make plays he really runs well and is really comfortable when he makes plays with the ball. I think that some of that is because he got an early start playing a position that was more of a size for his body at that time.

It is such a gradual process as you work through all of the different players that work into all of the other information and reports you have on people. At some point you have to make a choice. I think we made a good one.

He is a more mature kid and his game is more developed. It is part of our process of trying to rebuild our front line, plus we have other areas we need to work on too, but we can’t do that with just one player, unless Magic Johnson just so happened to be there at number 12, but he wasn’t.

Kudos to the Kings for taking Jason at No. 12…and for their web site staff for putting the following splash page up just minutes after the team made the selection (click image to enlarge):

The Sacramento Kings selected Rider's Jason Thompson with the 12th pick of the 2008 NBA Draft.

Rider, Jason Thompson continue playing in CBI tournament

Well, it’s not the NCAA Tournament, or even the NIT…but the Rider men’s basketball team (23-10, RPI #110) will get a chance to play at least one more game when the Broncs visit Old Dominion on Tuesday night in the first round of the inaugural College Basketball Invitational tournament.

I’m not sure if this CBI tournament is going to last beyond this year. Any tournament that has teams declining home games because of money issues and then invites Cincinnati (13-18) to play has some real issues. But it’s giving Jason Thompson and Rider a chance to keep playing, which they deserve.

Jason Thompson carries Rider into MAAC final

Jason Thompson scored 32 points — reaching the 2,000-point mark for his career in the process — and grabbed 18 rebounds in leading No. 2 seed Rider to a thrilling 76-71 come-from-behind victory over sixth-seeded Marist in Sunday’s semifinal round of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Tournament in Albany, N.Y.

The Broncs (23-9) advanced to face top seed Siena in Monday night’s championship game. Rider will be making its second appearance in the MAAC title game, with the previous trip resulting in a loss to Niagara in 2005. A win would put the Broncs in the NCAA Tournament since back-t0-back appearances in 1993 and ’94, when they were members of the Northeast Conference.

Rider was without sophomore guard Ryan Thompson (concussion), who is Jason’s younger brother, and starting point guard Justin Robinson (high ankle sprain). Both were injured in Saturday’s 75-71 quarterfinal win over 10th-seeded Canisius.

RIP: David Rebovich, professor of political science at Rider University

David RebovichMy alma mater, Rider University, and the New Jersey political scene lost a true giant today when David Rebovich, professor of political science and managing director of Rider’s Institute for New Jersey Politics, died after suffering a heart attack while teaching a class. He was 58.

Rebovich, called “The Answer Man” by the New York Times, was a media favorite for his knowlege of the New Jersey political scene. It seemed I heard his voice in a sound bite two or three times a week on radio station NJ 101.5 FM, discussing a wide array of topics dealing with politics in the Garden State. He also generated a ton of media hits for Rider.

Last year, Dave was listed as the 16th most powerful figure in state politics by PoliticsNJ.com (for which he also served as a columnist).

I had the pleasure of creating the first version of the Institute for New Jersey Politics’ Web site back when I was the content coordinator for Rider’s Web site. He was just a cool guy and he really enjoyed talking about the wacky world of Jersey politics.

Dave was also dean of Rider’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences back when I was a student, and he helped me out with some paperwork a few times.

I would like to offer my condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues at Rider University.

Here are some links:

Rider University: In Memoriam – David Rebovich

NJ.com (The Times of Trenton): Rider professor and political analyst Rebovich dies

PoliticsNJ.com: David Rebovich dies and More kind words for David Rebovich

N.J. Campaigns & Elections: New Jersey political icon Rebovich dead

The Associated Press (via NJ.com): Respected political analyst Rebovich dies

And here is a Google News search full of related stories.

 

Photo courtesy of Rider University.