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October Training Recap

October Training Recap

I can’t believe October has flown by, but that’s been the theme of 2019. As most people know, 2019 hasn’t been my year of running. I’m okay with it and I’ve enjoyed running, but I’ve run 5, 10, and even almost 15 minutes slower in my favorite distance: the half marathon!

As I move into NYCM weekend, I have come to terms with marathon running isn’t for me. This is the last month of marathon training for a very long time (maybe ever, who knows). I’m looking forward to getting back into shorter stuff.

Anyway, Back to Training:

Miles Run: 220
Range of Paces: 6:07-11:15-untimed
Races:
Cow Run 10 Miler 1:15.00
Heroes to Hero 5k (20:30)
Gritty 5k (20:45)
Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)
Pennypacker Park Cross Country Open 5k (21:00)
Rest Days: 5
Cross Training: 4 (hiking or swimming)

Thoughts:

None of my races were “amazing,” but I had an enjoyable time at each one. I actually never felt good at any.  All of the shorter distance were fine and served to get speed work in without going to the track or a structured speed workout.

The Atlantic City Half Marathon didn’t go as planned. It was a personal worst by about 4 minutes.  The goal that day was to get 20 miles without my hamstring bothering me.

Speaking of my hamstring, it’s been about 2 weeks since I’ve felt any sort of twinge or hard pain. I have a hunch it might hurt I get into a 5:5X pace but since I’m not in that fitness, I don’t have to worry about it. I don’t feel it on easy runs or even running in the high 6s, low 7s, which is all I need for NYCM!

Even though none of my races were great, I’m happy with my running and building back miles. I’m looking forward to running the New York City Marathon and enjoying it as a final marathon for a while. My goal isn’t to run hard and I know I’m not in “PR Shape.” Right now, I believe I think a 3:30 is doable. According to my VDot and other race performances, a 3:20 is possible, but I don’t think I’ve done enough long runs for that to be possible. I’ll be happy to start and finish the marathon.

After this month, I’ll spend time recovering and then going back to shorter distance and getting speed back.

Posts from the Month:

The Anatomy of a Running Shoe
New Balance 1400v6 Shoe Review
New Balance Fuelcell Echo Shoe Review
New Balance 1500v5 Shoe Review
On Cloudstratus Shoe Review

Hiking:

Hiking Pakim Pond in Brendan T. Byrne State Park
Hiking Franklin Parker Preserve
Hiking Sunrise Mountain at State Forest

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite distance for training?
How was your October training?

 

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Pennypacker Park Cross Country Open 5k (21:00)

Pennypacker Park Cross Country Open 5k (21:00)

Pennypacker Park Cross Country Open 5k Recap (21:00)

I wanted to run the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k open for a while. Unfortunately, due to work, it’s usually not a race I can make work with my schedule.

This year, it was a couple of hours earlier, but to get my run in as well as the race, I ended up running 7 miles beforehand and then used the last 5k as a hard effort and fast finish. I wasn’t worried about time since it was a cross country race. The course itself was muddy but relatively flat. It’s a fun course that Haddonfield High School and most of South Jersey uses.

Pennypacker Park

I got to the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k around 7:30, started my run and got to the start around 8:55. If you’ve never run a cross country race, they typically start in “boxes,” and it funnels down into a narrow path. That’s exactly what we did. I chatted with a few people and then we were off. I wasn’t sure how my legs would feel. During the start, I got boxed in and got flashes of college racing. It does make me miss cross country!

We headed down Pennypacker Park and towards the first mile. I’ve run hundreds of miles in Pennypacker Park so I’m relatively familiar with the terrain and course.

Around mile 1, I passed another female. I hit the first mile in 6:40, which I was happy with. I had no idea of my place. We ran down a hill to the lower part of Pennypacker Park. It was slightly flooded but nothing unmanageable. It was narrow and hard to pass anyone. I felt better than I thought and caught a couple of men.

I hit the mile 2 of the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k in 6:50 and was pleasantly surprised. I kept plugging along and found myself feeling better than anticipated.

The third mile of the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k and Pennypacker course wraps around the finish and heads back. It’s hard to see the finish line and know your race is only 2/3rd done. In fact, as I got to mile 2.5, I saw plenty of people were already done!

I kept plugging along during the third mile and went around the fields. At the end, it was a mad dash between a friend and myself and we crossed the finish of the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k in 21 minutes exactly. I was happy for a solid hard effort at the end of 10 miles.

Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k Thoughts:

I’m happy with my efforts. While it’s nowhere near a PR on a cross country course, it’s fun to race that. I do hope to run the Club Nationals in Lehigh in December. I’m glad I was able to run the Pennypacker Park Cross Country 5k and it’s a nice race if you’ve never run cross country or just want too.

Questions for you:

Have you run a cross country race?

What’s a race you’ve wanted to do before? 

 

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)

Atlantic City Half Marathon (1:36.27)

This was by far my slowest half marathon in the last 4 years. Even slower than the half I ran this summer at 7000 feet altitude. My goal was to log 20 (healthy) miles for the day before the New York City Marathon. That much I did. A separate post for another day is how I do not love marathon training and how much it’s affected my speed. Anyway, I’m happy to finish a healthy race.

The Atlantic City Marathon is one of the oldest continuing marathons in the country. Plus it’s flat and fast and a USATF certified Boston Qualifier. I have many friends that use Atlantic City as their Boston Qualifier. The Atlantic City race series has a 10k and 5k on Saturday, plus a half marathon and full marathon on Sunday. All four of the races start and finish on the Atlantic City Boardwalk. The Atlantic City Marathon runs through Atlantic City, Ventnor, Margate, with the finish line back through Atlantic City. No matter what race you’re running race weekend in Atlantic City, the finisher medals and post-race party are both awesome. Usually it’s  good time of year in October to run fast too. As you can see I enjoy the Atlantic City race series and they aren’t paying me to say that.

The day before the Atlantic City Half Marathon, I had one of the best runs I’ve had in a long time. I felt good, felt like I could go forever, and truthfully it made me excited to run the Atlantic City Half Marathon the next day. I thought it might be the breakthrough performance I wanted, but it wasn’t. My “A” goal was to finish healthy. My hamstring didn’t bother me (at all) and I felt completely injury-free. That was motivating.

Anyway, I got to the race around 7 and the race started promptly at 8 am. I appreciate how much parking is in Atlantic City, plus all of the bathrooms. Atlantic City is always a fun mix of people who have been in the casino overnight, runners, and random tourists oblivious to what is about to happen. I genuinely think it’s the best New Jersey full and half marathon (Yes, I paid for my bib).

During the first mile of the Atlantic City Half Marathon, there was wind, but it was more of a crosswind. I wasn’t sure what to expect with my legs. I turned my watch on but wasn’t worried about it. Both the Atlantic City Marathon and the Atlantic City Half Marathon start together so you have plenty of people to run with. I somehow always get stuck near the same guy who doesn’t use headphones and blasts his music. I hit the first mile of the Atlantic City Half Marathon in 7 minutes exactly.

The next mile of the Atlantic City Half Marathon went over an overpass and through a tunnel. While the Atlantic City Half Marathon is generally flat, there are a few small inclines overpasses. There was a slight crosswind and I ran a 6:55. I was excited, would I run well?

The next few miles of the Atlantic City Half Marathon went by without much note. My stomach was churning and while it didn’t feel awful, it just felt off. I rarely have stomach issues and it wasn’t anything to slow me down, but it didn’t feel good.

Mile 4 of the Atlantic City Half Marathon went around the water and we got a nice crosswind. I remember the Atlantic City Half Marathon last year being very lonely around this spot, but luckily this year I had people to run with. I hit mile 4 of the Atlantic City Half Marathon in 7:09 and with a tailwind mile 5 in 6:57.

When thinking about the race logistics, I realized the last 2 miles of the Atlantic City Half Marathon were going to be in a headwind. Gee great. I knew mile 9 and 10 would have a fairly nice tailwind, but once we got to the turnaround, we were going into the headwind. I tried to ignore it.

I hit the halfway of the Atlantic City Half Marathon in about 42:30 and thought it was doable to run a 1:35.

We entered the Atlantic City boardwalk just before mile 8. One thing that always gets to me mentally is you run directly by the finish of the Atlantic City Half Marathon (and AC Marathon) around mile 9.5. It’s tough to know you still have quite a bit further to go.

The next two miles of the Atlantic City Half Marathon went with the wind. I was happy to get a nice tailwind, but my body was overheated. I didn’t think it would be that hot, but because the skies were getting ready to burst with rain at any time, it was slightly humid too. Since there was no headwind, my body was cooking.

Atlantic City half marathon me running

Somewhere around mile 9 of the Atlantic City Half Marathon, the 7:15 pace group of the Atlantic City Half Marathon and Marathon passed me. I do believe they were close to a minute ahead of pace, but I didn’t bother asking or questioning.

I ran a 7:23 for both miles 10 and 11 of the Atlantic City Half Marathon. I crossed the 10-mile point in exactly 1:13, which is 2 minutes faster than I ran the Cow Run 10 miler 2 weeks ago. I saw my good friend Montana at the turnaround. It was nice to see a familiar face at the Atlantic City Half Marathon.

We turned around and the headwind blasted us in the face. I knew it was going to be a very very long few miles. I was relatively disconnected from time and pace at this point. My goal was to run 20 miles of pain-free. If I could do that, I knew I could healthily run the New York City Marathon.

I just put my head down and went. Even though I was running about 7:40 pace into the headwind, I passed a couple of people. There wasn’t much of note. I saw a few friends running in the opposite direction, which motivated me.

Finally, I crossed the Atlantic City Half Marathon finish at 1:36.27. Was I thrilled with the time? No, but am I thrilled to be injury-free? Yes.

I “cooled down” afterward to bring my mileage up to 20. I wanted no part of running more miles, but I wanted to get at least a 20 miler in before New York. It was more mental than anything else, not because I think I can’t finish the marathon, but because I wanted to see how my hamstring would respond. It was fine and a few days later, I’m fine. It’s motivating to be healthy.

I always appreciate the Atlantic City Half Marathon races and I always have fun there. It’s hard for me to remember what running a 1:30 half marathon feels like, let alone my PR of 1:22 but I’m looking forward to getting back to shorter stuff next year.

Questions for you:

Have you ever run the Atlantic City Half Marathon?

What’s the windiest race you’ve run? 

 

 

NYCM Training Week 3: Race Tuneup and Miles

NYCM Training Week 3: Race Tuneup and Miles

It’s hard to believe in 2 weeks I’ll have (hopefully) run my next marathon. Training is going as best as it can in a short period. This 5-week buildup has been different than any other marathon because it’s short and I’m feeling undertrained. My goal is to get to both the start and finish line healthy. I don’t have a goal to run X time, but I solely want to run healthy and enjoy myself.  I am contemplating running the marathon more like a long run than race as a hard race. I would appreciate it more as well as recover faster.  I haven’t fully decided though yet.

Monday Easy 50 minutes
Tuesday: Easy 50 minutes
Wednesday: 10 miles averaging 8:19 with a fast finish
Thursday: Easy 4 miles with Jen M.
Friday: Swim 3000 meters
Saturday: Easy 60 minutes
Sunday: AC Half Marathon+ 7 miles for 20 total miles

 

Thoughts:

The goal on Sunday was to test my hamstring with 20 miles. It felt 100% fine for the entire race and miles afterward. It was the best-case scenario. It feels good that I’m able to push runs I couldn’t a few weeks ago. Fast and track style workouts are what aggravate it the most. Long runs and marathon paced work doesn’t seem to bother it anymore.

The Progression of my Hamstring (High Hamstring Tendinitis stemming from the glute medius). 

5 weeks ago, I couldn’t run.

3 weeks ago, I could only run very slow.

2 weeks ago, it was noticeable to run fast.

1 week ago, it was somewhat noticeable to run fast.

This week it fine to paces up to 6:55. (I just haven’t done anything faster than that)

So there is progress when I type it out like that.


From here, I’ll run a fairly similar run next week (not 20 miles though) and do a short taper. I’m also realistic that my training cycle has been nothing close to ideal. That’s okay, that’s been the theme of the entire 2019.

I am trying to find the best words to say: I just don’t like marathons. I don’t like the training and I feel like it’s not the right fit for me. After NYCM, I doubt I’m going to train for another for a while (I am talking years). I would need a good reason to want too. Truthfully, if NYCM wasn’t such a prestigious race and big deal, I probably wouldn’t run, but I like New York.  I like the race, the environment, and everything else.  I just don’t like marathons or marathon training.  As you can see, I need to find better ways to convey those thoughts.

In all, it was a good week and it was the best case scenario at Atlantic City.

Posts from the Week:

Gritty 5k (20:45)

Heroes to Hero 5k (20:30)

New Balance Fuelcell Echo Shoe Review

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

Have you dealt with hamstring pain?

Do you like marathons?

Gritty 5k (20:45)

Gritty 5k (20:45)

Gritty 5k (20:45)

After running the Heroes to Hero 5k the day before, I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Gritty 5k fun run on Sunday, October 13. The Gritty 5k seemed like it would be a lot of fun and no pressure. There were zero awards for race winners of the Gritty 5k, just most Gritty themed and for Gritty Costumes. All of the proceeds for the Gritty 5k go to the Philadelphia Flyers Charity.  My two good friends Danielle and Amelia, also came down to do the Gritty 5k so it was awesome to catch up with them too.

Danielle and I wanted to do a long run that day to get ready for the NYCM so long run was our primary goal and racing fast at the Gritty 5k was our secondary goal. Since the Gritty 5k starts at the Wells Fargo Stadium, there is plenty of parking.

We got to the Gritty 5k around 7:30 warmed up 4 miles and got to the start around 8:20.

Of course, I left my bib at the car so I had to run back before getting to the Gritty 5k starting line.  I panicked but luckily the Gritty 5k didn’t start on time…at all.

I wasn’t surprised that the Gritty 5k started about 20 minutes late from the warmup and race announcements. I hope next year they either state the true start is 8:50 or do all of the warmups, stretches, dancing, etc beforehand. Anyway, after that, we were off.

Even though the Gritty 5k was massive, the majority of people participating were not weekend warrior road racers. There were more Flyer fans at the Gritty 5k than people who identified as “runners.” More people dressed up as Gritty himself, then didn’t. My feet cringed, seeing people running in converse, basketball shoes, and vans but more power to them or being active and supporting a charity.  There was a huge after-party celebrating the Flyers Home Opener at the Xfinity Live and Wells Fargo Center. If you are looking for a no-pressure, party race, the Gritty 5k is for you.

The first mile of the Gritty 5k was filled with people that took the race out too fast. It goes through the Philadelphia Flyers Stadium. While I know many people don’t love that course, I do. I think it’s well marked and wide.

During the first mile of the Gritty 5k, Girard went by me wearing a full Gritty outfit and wig. I was loling. I felt comfortable and like I was pushing it, but not too much. I considered adding a second race+long run a “danger zone” weekend for me and made sure to listen to all cues from my body.

I hit the first mile of the Gritty 5k in around 6:40 and it felt comfortable. I saw two females running side by side just up ahead and I was hoping to catch them. Around 1.5, I caught them and didn’t look back. We traveled through the Navy Yard. It was windy, but not too bad.

I hit mile 2 in 6:43 and felt comfortable. At the Heroes to Hero 5k, I ran mile 2 in 6:35 and thought I would keel over.

The last mile of the Gritty 5k went by quickly. During the final mile of the Gritty 5k, there was a hot dog stop (instead of water stop). I tried to grab a hot dog but was too far over. I was happy my hamstring felt the same whether I was running or walking. It didn’t seem to get worse, albeit still noticeable. I crossed the Gritty 5k finish line in 20:45 which I was pleased with.

Gritty 5k Thoughts:

It’s been rough not comparing myself to previous years and previous fitness levels, but I know it will come back when it comes back.  I’m happy with my results for where I am right now. Plus, it was fun to get 15 miles in with Danielle, which was the primary goal of Sunday anyway. I had an enjoyable time at the Gritty 5k and I highly recommend it. The Gritty 5k was a well-organized race and a lot of fun.

Have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

Have you done a Charity race? 

Are you a Gritty fan?

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