Back in Training: 2017 New Jersey Marathon

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Hi there…I know it’s been awhile. Although I haven’t posted here much lately and haven’t published a series of “back in training” posts in quite some time, I have very much been in training for a few weeks now — most of which is chronicled on my Instagram account.

What am I training for, you ask? Well, once again, I will be running in this year’s Trenton Half Marathon and a few smaller races before that. However, a couple of months ago, I decided that I was going to target 2017 as the year I run in my first full marathon. And I recently decided which marathon I will make my first…

It’s the 2017 New Jersey Marathon on Sunday, April 30, 2017!

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I grew up at the Jersey Shore and it seems the logical place to do something I never dreamed of doing until the the last two or three years. And this way, I hope family and friends and can see me accomplish this.

My primary goal is to, of course, finish. My secondary goal is a bit ambitious…I want to complete the marathon with a sub-4 hour time. To do that, I need to run at about a 9:10-per-mile pace. My training times have been kind of all over the place recently, but when the weather is just right and I’m feeling good, I’m right around that pace—or better. In a chilly rain back in early May, I completed Philadelphia’s 10-mile Broad Street Run with a 9:11-per-mile pace. Granted, that’s 16.2 miles short of a marathon, but I’m fairly certain I could have run another five miles, at least, at that pace on that day. I don’t know if the crappy weather inspired me to run faster than usual, but I felt extraordinarily good running that race.

Currently, I am carrying a few extra pounds (15 lbs. or so, to be precise) that I’m hoping to shed by April 2017. Obviously, it would help if I could reduce the load my legs are carrying for a 26.2-mile run.

Of course, I’ll see how I do in the Trenton Half Marathon in late October and adjust my marathon goals accordingly. With very little training last year, I finished the race in 2:15:43 (10:21/mile pace). In 2014, when I was doing much more training, I finished the Trenton Half Marathon in 2:07:12 (9:42/mile pace). I’m looking to finish this year’s Trenton Half in 2 hours or less and, based on my 9:11/mile pace in the 10-mile Broad Street Run earlier this year and my more regular training/conditioning runs, I strongly believe this is possible.

Stay tuned…

Update No. 3 – Back in training 2014: Preparing for a half-marathon & triathlon

Trenton Half Marathon
Atlantic City Triathlon logo

Just wanted to post a quick update on my training for the Atlantic City International Triathlon, which I’ll be competing in on Sept. 14, 2014. (See the January 18 update and original post below for background information.)

As I mentioned in my last update, I struggled during my first day in the pool at the local community college. The triathlon starts with a one-mile swim, which equates to roughly 70 1/2 laps in a 25-yard pool…but I barely made it through 26 laps that first time out. Granted, I knew I wasn’t going to swim a mile right out of the box, especially since my technique is terrible and my muscles aren’t conditioned for that kind of swimming.

However, I have been reading up and watching videos on proper swim technique (breathing, balance, stroke, etc.) and it’s already starting to pay off as I have quickly been able to increase the number of laps I am able to complete.

During my second time in the pool, on January 27, I completed 50 laps. Two days later, I successfully completed 72 laps–about 1.02 miles–in approximately 50 minutes (although I’m not too concerned about time right now). Granted, I was still taking frequent breaks and falling back into bad form, but I covered the distance. That was an important goal for me. It would be disastrous if I failed to complete the swim during the triathlon. At least I now know that I’m capable of swimming one mile, even if I have to take a short break or dial it down a bit at times.

Still, though, I need to continue getting stronger and more efficient in the pool. That will make my life a whole lot easier come September 14.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back to cycling and running in the next couple of weeks. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m also training for the Trenton Half-Marathon in November.

Please see the Training Tracker below to follow my major training swims, rides and runs.

1/18/2014 UPDATE:
Earlier this month (see original post below), I wrote about training for my first half-marathon, the Trenton (N.J.) Half-Marathon taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, and my other goal of reaching a target weight of 168 pounds.

Well, when I wrote that, I was also eyeing another ridiculously ambitious goal…competing and finishing in the Atlantic City International Triathlon on Sept. 14, 2014. However, I was still waiting to hear back from the organizers regarding a question about my bike. Well, I was given the information I needed and have officially registered for the event, which includes a one-mile swim, a 20-mile bike ride and a 10K (6.2-mile) run.

I’ve never done an official half-marathon before, but at least I’ve run 13.1 miles in training  so I know I can do it. I have completed a swim of around a mile, have ridden 20 miles on a bike many times before and have 6.2 miles several times. However, I am in no way ready to do all of these in sequence at one time, but I’m learning as fast as I can how to get myself trained and conditioned for it.

So I must revise the 2014 fitness goals I listed in the original post. They are now: 1) get weight down to (and stay at/near) 168 pounds, 2) complete the Atlantic City International Triathlon, and 3) complete the Trenton Half-Marathon.

Wow…when you write it all out, it looks daunting. What was I thinking? Oh well, nothing to do now but to get in shape and ready to compete.

At the bottom of each of these posts, you will find a training tracker so you can follow my progress.

Original Post – January 9, 2014:
Last year, I tracked my training for the Trenton 10K, which took place Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. It was the first organized race I have run other than a 5K. I finished the Trenton 10K with a chip time of 59:46.399, and my goal was to finish in less than an hour…so mission accomplished.

But as I watched the half-marathon runners start their race that morning, I regretted not being more ambitious with my running goals. After finally shaking off a persistent head cold I came down with the day after the race, I mapped out a route and completed a test run of 13.1 miles in 2:27:27—and, admittedly, that included about a half-mile of walking.

Now that I know I can do it, I want to announce here that I have registered for the 2014 Trenton Half-Marathon, taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

I also want to use this opportunity to finally get into the proverbial “best shape of my life”— a sports cliché used by so many aging veterans heading into training camp. The holidays and two bouts with colds have basically put me back to square one as far as conditioning is concerned, but next week I’m going to start getting serious about working out everyday and tracking my caloric intake. And, of course, I’ll be tracking my training runs here on the blog.

In addition to training for the half marathon, it is my goal to finally get down to 168 pounds, which means losing about 23 pounds. I had lost 35 pounds back in 2006 after a false heart disease scare, but my weight-loss efforts stalled at 173—leaving me five pounds shy of my goal. Unfortunately, I gained nearly all of the weight I lost back again within the following year and have only been able to lose about 10-15 pounds a couple of times since then.

So…those are my two main goals for 2014: 1) complete the Trenton Half Marathon, 2) get down (and stay at/near) 168 pounds.

Training Tracker
I’ll be posting updates on my progress here every so often. The table below includes my swim/bike/run distances and times during this training period:
Date Swim/Bike/Run Distance Time
12/5/2013 13.12 miles (run) 2:27:27 – longest distance run
1/24/2014 0.37 miles (swim) – 26 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 30 minutes
1/27/2014 0.71 miles (swim) – 50 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
1/29/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 50 minutes

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Update No. 2 – Back in training 2014: Preparing for a half-marathon & triathlon

Trenton Half Marathon
Atlantic City Triathlon logo

With snow and ice covering much of the cycling/running surfaces and temperatures below or near freezing for a significant period of time here in central New Jersey, I have started concentrating on preparing for the swim component of the Atlantic City International Triathlon, which I’ll be competing in on Sept. 14. (See the January 18 update and original post below for background information.)

All I can say is…I, like many first-time triathletes, completely underestimated how tough the one-mile swim is going to be. I used the 25-yard pool at the local community college for the first time last week and needed to break for a bit after just three laps. I need to get to 71 laps to cover a mile (actually 70 1/2 laps). I wound up struggling through 26 laps during my swim time that first day…and felt completely exhausted for the next hour or so.

The good news is a) it was only my first time training in the pool, and b) I was not employing any proper swimming technique. I just wanted to activate, so to speak, the upper body and core muscles necessary for competitive swimming.

I’ve read up and watched videos on proper swim technique (breathing, balance, stroke, etc.) so I’m going to work on that this coming week to make myself a stronger, more efficient swimmer. I have to be in order to get to the cycling (20 miles) and running (10K/6.2 miles) components of the event.

Please see the Training Tracker below to follow my major training swims, rides and runs.

1/18/2014 UPDATE:
Earlier this month (see original post below), I wrote about training for my first half-marathon, the Trenton (N.J.) Half-Marathon taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, and my other goal of reaching a target weight of 168 pounds.

Well, when I wrote that, I was also eyeing another ridiculously ambitious goal…competing and finishing in the Atlantic City International Triathlon on Sept. 14, 2014. However, I was still waiting to hear back from the organizers regarding a question about my bike. Well, I was given the information I needed and have officially registered for the event, which includes a one-mile swim, a 20-mile bike ride and a 10K (6.2-mile) run.

I’ve never done an official half-marathon before, but at least I’ve run 13.1 miles in training  so I know I can do it. I have completed a swim of around a mile, have ridden 20 miles on a bike many times before and have 6.2 miles several times. However, I am in no way ready to do all of these in sequence at one time, but I’m learning as fast as I can how to get myself trained and conditioned for it.

So I must revise the 2014 fitness goals I listed in the original post. They are now: 1) get weight down to (and stay at/near) 168 pounds, 2) complete the Atlantic City International Triathlon, and 3) complete the Trenton Half-Marathon.

Wow…when you write it all out, it looks daunting. What was I thinking? Oh well, nothing to do now but to get in shape and ready to compete.

At the bottom of each of these posts, you will find a training tracker so you can follow my progress.

Original Post – January 9, 2014:
Last year, I tracked my training for the Trenton 10K, which took place Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. It was the first organized race I have run other than a 5K. I finished the Trenton 10K with a chip time of 59:46.399, and my goal was to finish in less than an hour…so mission accomplished.

But as I watched the half-marathon runners start their race that morning, I regretted not being more ambitious with my running goals. After finally shaking off a persistent head cold I came down with the day after the race, I mapped out a route and completed a test run of 13.1 miles in 2:27:27—and, admittedly, that included about a half-mile of walking.

Now that I know I can do it, I want to announce here that I have registered for the 2014 Trenton Half-Marathon, taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

I also want to use this opportunity to finally get into the proverbial “best shape of my life”— a sports cliché used by so many aging veterans heading into training camp. The holidays and two bouts with colds have basically put me back to square one as far as conditioning is concerned, but next week I’m going to start getting serious about working out everyday and tracking my caloric intake. And, of course, I’ll be tracking my training runs here on the blog.

In addition to training for the half marathon, it is my goal to finally get down to 168 pounds, which means losing about 23 pounds. I had lost 35 pounds back in 2006 after a false heart disease scare, but my weight-loss efforts stalled at 173—leaving me five pounds shy of my goal. Unfortunately, I gained nearly all of the weight I lost back again within the following year and have only been able to lose about 10-15 pounds a couple of times since then.

So…those are my two main goals for 2014: 1) complete the Trenton Half Marathon, 2) get down (and stay at/near) 168 pounds.

Training Tracker
I’ll be posting updates on my progress here every so often. The table below includes my swim/bike/run distances and times during this training period:
Date Swim/Bike/Run Distance Time
12/5/2013 13.12 miles (run) 2:27:27 – longest distance run
1/24/2014 0.37 miles (swim) – 26 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 30 minutes

Return to top of post

Update No. 1 – Back in training 2014: Preparing for a half-marathon & triathlon

Trenton Half Marathon1/18/2014 UPDATE:
Earlier this month (see original post below), I wrote about training for my first half-marathon, the Trenton (N.J.) Half-Marathon taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, and my other goal of reaching a target weight of 168 pounds.

Well, when I wrote that, I was also eyeing another ridiculously ambitious goal…competing and finishing in the Atlantic City International Triathlon on Sept. 14, 2014. However, I was still waiting to hear back from the organizers regarding a question about my bike. Atlantic City Triathlon logoWell, I was given the information I needed and have officially registered for the event, which includes a one-mile swim, a 20-mile bike ride and a 10K (6.2-mile) run.

I’ve never done an official half-marathon before, but at least I’ve run 13.1 miles in training  so I know I can do it. I have completed a swim of around a mile, have ridden 20 miles on a bike many times before and have 6.2 miles several times. However, I am in no way ready to do all of these in sequence at one time, but I’m learning as fast as I can how to get myself trained and conditioned for it.

So I must revise the 2014 fitness goals I listed in the original post. They are now: 1) get weight down to (and stay at/near) 168 pounds, 2) complete the Atlantic City International Triathlon, and 3) complete the Trenton Half-Marathon.

Wow…when you write it all out, it looks daunting. What was I thinking? Oh well, nothing to do now but to get in shape and ready to compete.

At the bottom of each of these posts, you will find a training tracker so you can follow my progress.

Original Post – January 9, 2014:
Last year, I tracked my training for the Trenton 10K, which took place Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. It was the first organized race I have run other than a 5K. I finished the Trenton 10K with a chip time of 59:46.399, and my goal was to finish in less than an hour…so mission accomplished.

But as I watched the half-marathon runners start their race that morning, I regretted not being more ambitious with my running goals. After finally shaking off a persistent head cold I came down with the day after the race, I mapped out a route and completed a test run of 13.1 miles in 2:27:27—and, admittedly, that included about a half-mile of walking.

Now that I know I can do it, I want to announce here that I have registered for the 2014 Trenton Half-Marathon, taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

I also want to use this opportunity to finally get into the proverbial “best shape of my life”— a sports cliché used by so many aging veterans heading into training camp. The holidays and two bouts with colds have basically put me back to square one as far as conditioning is concerned, but next week I’m going to start getting serious about working out everyday and tracking my caloric intake. And, of course, I’ll be tracking my training runs here on the blog.

In addition to training for the half marathon, it is my goal to finally get down to 168 pounds, which means losing about 23 pounds. I had lost 35 pounds back in 2006 after a false heart disease scare, but my weight-loss efforts stalled at 173—leaving me five pounds shy of my goal. Unfortunately, I gained nearly all of the weight I lost back again within the following year and have only been able to lose about 10-15 pounds a couple of times since then.

So…those are my two main goals for 2014: 1) complete the Trenton Half Marathon, 2) get down (and stay at/near) 168 pounds.

Training Tracker
I’ll be posting updates on my progress here every so often. The table below includes my swim/bike/run distances and times during this training period:

Date Swim/Bike/Run Distance Time
12/5/2013 13.12 miles (run) 2:27:27 – longest distance run

Update No. 3 – Back in training 2013: Preparing for my first 10K

Trenton Half Marathon logo

OK…the summer and everything going on during it really prevented me from doing a lot of running. However, this month, I have resumed training for the Trenton (N.J.) 10K in November.

As you will see in my run tracker below, I’ve only gone on five runs since May 19—and only one of those (yesterday, 9/23) was a 10K-distance run.

I’m going to try to do another 6.2-miler later this week. Ideally, I will be able to condition myself to finish the Trenton 10K in less than an hour. That essentially means I have to get down to an average pace of 9:30 per mile—a full minute less than my average pace during yesterday’s 10K-distance run.  That’s going to be tough to do with a little more than a month left for training and conditioning, but that’s my goal.

Original Post from May 4, 2013:
This week, I signed up for the Trenton (N.J.) 10K, which is held in conjunction with the Trenton Half Marathon. The race takes place Saturday, November 9, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. It will be yet another in a series of runs I’ve done this year that take place near or in a ballpark, as the Trenton 10K finishes inside the Trenton Thunder’s (Class AA affiliate of the New York Yankees) Arm & Hammer (formerly Mercer County) Waterfront Park. So far in 2013, I’ve taken part in the Phillies Charities 5K, which included a post-race walk around the warning track of Citizens Bank Park, and the Barnabas Health/Lakewood BlueClaws 5K, which finished inside FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J.—home of the Class A affiliate of the Phillies.

I don’t really claim to be a “runner,” but I’m trying to get in better shape and I’ve been enjoying running more and more over the years. Last night, I attempted my first-ever 10K-distance run and it went very well. The Nike+ app on my iPhone clocked me at 1:05:50 for a 6.24-mile run. There is definite room for improvement, but the thing I was really happy with was that—for my first time attempting that distance—I felt great throughout the run. I established a nice, comfortable pace early on that left me feeling good enough to turn in a rather solid final 1.24 miles. My average pace was 10:33 per mile, but I was running at a pace of under 10:00 per mile for the final 7/10th of a mile. In fact, I was cruising along at 9:31 per mile at the 6-mile mark.

It’s going to be rough to get in 10K-distance runs on a regular basis as I train for the Trenton 10K, so I’ll likely be doing mostly 5K runs with a few longer outings sprinkled in. But I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get in two or three 10K runs in a month—likely more closer to November—prior to the race.

Run Tracker
I’ll be posting updates on my progress here once or twice a week. The table below includes my run distances and times during this training period:

Date Distance Time
9/23/2013 6.2 miles 1:05:12
9/20/2013 3.1 miles 30:10
9/4/2013 3.13 miles 32:10
8/14/2013 3.12 miles 29:52
7/26/2013 2.2 miles 23:13
5/19/2013 3.1 miles 29:52
5/12/2013 3.1 miles 30:42
5/3/2013 6.24 miles 1:05:50

Update #2 – Back in training 2013: Preparing for my first 10K

Trenton Half Marathon logo

This is a bit overdue, but I have done a couple of 5K-distance runs since I originally posted May 4 that I am “back in training” for the Trenton (N.J.) 10K in November. Those more recent times are in the table at the bottom of this post.

One of the runs was the Mercer County (N.J.) “Spirit of Boston” 5K on May 19, which I finished in 29:14 (official results – PDF). However, it is listed below as 29:52 because I was unable to immediately turn off my Nike+ app on my iPhone.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to get some more running in over the next couple of weeks. I’d really like to get another 10K-distance run (or two) in, if possible.

Original Post from May 4, 2013:
This week, I signed up for the Trenton (N.J.) 10K, which is held in conjunction with the Trenton Half Marathon. The race takes place Saturday, November 9, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. It will be yet another in a series of runs I’ve done this year that take place near or in a ballpark, as the Trenton 10K finishes inside the Trenton Thunder’s (Class AA affiliate of the New York Yankees) Arm & Hammer (formerly Mercer County) Waterfront Park. So far in 2013, I’ve taken part in the Phillies Charities 5K, which included a post-race walk around the warning track of Citizens Bank Park, and the Barnabas Health/Lakewood BlueClaws 5K, which finished inside FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J.—home of the Class A affiliate of the Phillies.

I don’t really claim to be a “runner,” but I’m trying to get in better shape and I’ve been enjoying running more and more over the years. Last night, I attempted my first-ever 10K-distance run and it went very well. The Nike+ app on my iPhone clocked me at 1:05:50 for a 6.24-mile run. There is definite room for improvement, but the thing I was really happy with was that—for my first time attempting that distance—I felt great throughout the run. I established a nice, comfortable pace early on that left me feeling good enough to turn in a rather solid final 1.24 miles. My average pace was 10:33 per mile, but I was running at a pace of under 10:00 per mile for the final 7/10th of a mile. In fact, I was cruising along at 9:31 per mile at the 6-mile mark.

It’s going to be rough to get in 10K-distance runs on a regular basis as I train for the Trenton 10K, so I’ll likely be doing mostly 5K runs with a few longer outings sprinkled in. But I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get in two or three 10K runs in a month—likely more closer to November—prior to the race.

I’ll be posting updates on my progress here once or twice a week. The table below includes my run distances and times during this training period:

Date Distance Time
5/19/2013 3.1 miles 29:52
5/12/2013 3.1 miles 30:42
5/3/2013 6.24 miles 1:05:50

Back in training 2013: Preparing for my first 10K

Trenton Half Marathon logoThis week, I signed up for the Trenton (N.J.) 10K, which is held in conjunction with the Trenton Half Marathon. The race takes place Saturday, November 9, 2013, at 8:30 a.m. It will be yet another in a series of runs I’ve done this year that take place near or in a ballpark, as the Trenton 10K finishes inside the Trenton Thunder’s (Class AA affiliate of the New York Yankees) Arm & Hammer (formerly Mercer County) Waterfront Park. So far in 2013, I’ve taken part in the Phillies Charities 5K, which included a post-race walk around the warning track of Citizens Bank Park, and the Barnabas Health/Lakewood BlueClaws 5K, which finished inside FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J.—home of the Class A affiliate of the Phillies.

I don’t really claim to be a “runner,” but I’m trying to get in better shape and I’ve been enjoying running more and more over the years. Last night, I attempted my first-ever 10K-distance run and it went very well. The Nike+ app on my iPhone clocked me at 1:05:50 for a 6.24-mile run. There is definite room for improvement, but the thing I was really happy with was that—for my first time attempting that distance—I felt great throughout the run. I established a nice, comfortable pace early on that left me feeling good enough to turn in a rather solid final 1.24 miles. My average pace was 10:33 per mile, but I was running at a pace of under 10:00 per mile for the final 7/10th of a mile. In fact, I was cruising along at 9:31 per mile at the 6-mile mark.

It’s going to be rough to get in 10K-distance runs on a regular basis as I train for the Trenton 10K, so I’ll likely be doing mostly 5K runs with a few longer outings sprinkled in. But I’m hopeful I’ll be able to get in two or three 10K runs in a month—likely more closer to November—prior to the race.

I’ll be posting updates on my progress here once or twice a week. The table below includes my run distances and times during this training period:

Date Distance Time
5/3/2013 6.24 miles 1:05:50