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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Enjoy the latest version of my Christmas song

32352_850957667094_1010370090_nI originally wrote this Christmas song in 2011 and recorded what is essentially a “demo” version with GarageBand on my MacBook. I updated it for 2012 and made some more changes this year. Here is the latest version.

It’s Christmas Time Again – Brian Kelley

© 2011 Brian J. Kelley. All rights reserved.

I had always wanted to write a Christmas song and I obviously plucked inspiration from “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (especially since I’m a huge Midge Ure fan), The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping”, Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime” and others. Yes, it includes many of the clichés you are familiar with from other Christmas songs. And when you think about it, most Christmas songs do tend to ask for quite a lot (peace on Earth, snow on Christmas Day, happiness for every boy and girl, etc.), so I refer to that with the line “well, it may be a daunting task/and an awful lot to ask.” But the whole nature of the holiday is this belief in Christmas dreams or miracles coming true, so why not ask for a lot?

Enjoy.

Update No. 4 – Back in training 2013: Preparing for my first 10K

Trenton Half Marathon logo

OK…it’s been awhile since the last update, but here’s the deal…I’m making progress in shortening my 10K times.

Today (10/16/13), I ran 6.23 miles in 1:04:36, setting a new personal best for a 10K in the process. This is actually my second 10K-distance run in less than 1 hour, 5 minutes, as I ran 6.23 miles in 1:04:50 on Sept. 25.  In between, I completed a 3.14-mile run in 30:27 on Oct. 9.

I’ve updated my run tracker below with links to data from my Nike+ Running app.

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
10/16/2013 6.23 miles 1:04:36 – personal record (10K)
10/9/2013 3.14 miles 30:27
9/25/2013 6.23 miles 1:04:50
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 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

New song: “Alliel”

Back in November 2007, more than a year into my relationship with my now-fiancee, Alison, I had recorded an early, instrumental version of a song for her. I had worked out some lyrics for the choruses and the first verse, but that was it.

Because Elvis Costello wrote the ultimate song called “Alison” — a song my Alison can’t stand, by the way — I just couldn’t bring myself to call it that. Hence, I constructed the name “Alliel” by combining my fiancee’s first name and her last initial. My Alison only spells her name with one l, but “Alliel” looks better than “Aliel” so I added the extra l into the song title.

Anyway, a few days ago, Alison went to a baby shower, leaving me home alone to clean and do some things around the house. Instead, I fired up GarageBand on my MacBook, finished writing the lyrics, changed/added some of the piano parts from the 2007 demo and recorded a more finished demo version of “Alliel.”

I realize my voice isn’t the greatest, but once I start recording vocals, I seem to always find myself trying to do some interesting things with harmonies. And then I added the “big vocals” at the end of the song, which was inspired by a Trevor Rabin (former Yes guitarist who does a lot of composing for films these days) solo album from the late 80s.

Anyway, I posted the song on my TalentTrove.com profile, but you can also listen to it below:

“Alliel” (4:43)
Written, arranged and performed by Brian Kelley