Sunday, November 24, 2013

Philadelphia Marathon Race Report

Philadelphia Marathon Race Report
3:01:32 personal best

Did I qualify for Boston Marathon 2015? YES
Did I break my personal best of 3:08:35? YES
Did I beat my friend / rival Ross Snyder's PR of 3:04:37? YES
Did I have a negative split? NO
Did I break 3:00 hour? NO

Start: I felt confident as I got in my corral waiting for the start. I had done everything I thought possible to set myself up for my fastest marathon yet. I was excited to see my Breakaway teammates Keith Fitzgerald, Tony Salvi and Professor Craig Green as we inched up to the start line. Tony & Keith planned to run together at 6:40 pace (faster than my target pace of 6:50). I asked the professor if he wanted to run with me but he said he wasn't going all-out.

Mile 3: I felt great! I was about 10 seconds ahead of my pace. I tried my best to keep my speed in check.

Mile 6: Sucked down my first gel pack. I was about 15 seconds ahead of my pace. I was excited to see Coach Todd Lippin cheering for me in front of Breakaway shop. I had been a regular at Todd's weekly track workout. Todd was the singular person who helped me to get fast this year! He made me aware of my bad running form. He helped me to control my pace.

Mile 9: I had to pee! I was about 30 seconds ahead of my pace so I decided to go to a portable toilet.

Mile 10: this was the climb to the Please Touch Museum. I trained on this hill and I was ready. I kept my heart rate in check and still flew by many runners.

Mile 11: This was the first turnaround point on MLK Drive. I saw Keith & Tony still running together, looking fast & sexy in their Breakaway tops.  Then I saw the 3:00 pace group balloons. They were a lot further ahead of me than I expected. This realization gave me a pause. Checked my Garmin to reassure myself that I was on pace. I repeated out loud one of Todd's sayings:  "Never panic. Keep moving forward."

Halfway: I was happy to cross the midway mark right on pace 1:30:04. However, the push to stay on pace took a little air out of me. Mile by mile, it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to hold the 6:50 pace. I was closer to 6:55. I was well aware of my slowing pace and there was nothing I could do. I kept moving forward knowing that I was still on pace to be under 3:03 which was faster than my friend Ross Snyder's current personal best.

Philadelphia Marathon 2013

Mile 17: Falls Bridge messed up my Garmin signal & played with my head. My pace per mile for current mile went from under 7:00 to over 8:00. I kept moving forward, waving & hifiving triathlon friends from both Breakaway & T3.

Miles 19-21 in Manayunk: I kept picking my pace up when my feet started to slow down. It was a constant battle. Saw Keith coming back without Tony. 3:00 pace group went by. Tony was moving but not at the fast pace that I was used to seeing.

Finally, I reached the turnaround point in Manayunk. Mile 20. I was about 1/4 mile behind the 3:00 pace grimy at this point and decided to start a chase. I needed to run 6:40 pace for the next 6 miles to cross the finish line under 3:00 hours.

I saw Hayley Germack. Hayley was my training buddy for many long runs. Hayley had had a breakthrough year, running sub 3:30 at Ironman Lake Placid & winning a bunch of AG awards at various races.

Hayley was between the 3:05 & 3:10 pace groups and looked strong. As a motivation for myself, I told myself "That bitch better not pass me this time!"

Last 6 miles.
I didn't quite run 6:40 pace but I manage to stay under 7:00 on the way back to the Art Museum. I was steady as I passed a few runners including Tony. I struggled a little bit during mile 25, averaging 7:13. I rebounded in mile 26, averaging 6:54.

I definitely sprinted toward the finish line one I saw it. I did not puke this time. I got my finisher's medal, and a few minutes later, a hug from teammate Keith, who ran a personal best of 2:56:37.

Philadelphia Marathon 2013

Damn, my legs hurt. Despite my efforts to move around & stretch, my legs especially my quads started to tighten up. I got my warmup clothes & lined up to receive a complementary massage by Philly Massages. It aw a miracle! I started to be able to walk again.

I found my partner Dan, who took photos at Mile 26. He was waiting for my friend Ian Harding. Once I saw online that Ian already crossed the finish line, started to walk back. We met up with Ian & his girlfriend to go out for a post-race brunch.

Final words: it was a good race for me but not a perfect race. I already started discussing with Ross Snyder of what we could do to break 3 hours.

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Breakout 5k & Philly AIDS Run 5k

I was surprised that I didn't break my 5k personal best this fall. I set a personal best this spring, running the Clean Air 5k at 19:03 without doing any speed work. That was a 6:07 pace.

I started doing speed work in May under the direction of Breakaway coach Todd. By this fall, I was able to run my mile repeats at 5:55 comfortably.

I thought I would be able to hold a 6:00 pace for a 5k, thus finishing under 18:30.

I was wrong.

I ran the Breakout 5k at 19:08 (6:09 pace). My first mile was 5:50 and I probably averaged 6:20 for the last 2 miles. I was out of air crossing the finish line.



The following weekend, I tried again at the Philly AIDS Run 5k. This race was held on the same course as the Clean Air 5k. My mile split was more even: 6:03 / 6:12 / 6:03. My time was 19:11, averaging 6:09 per mile. The consolation prize was the fact that I finished 3rd overall.

It would have been wonderful to break 19 minutes this year. It didn't happen. I still believed that I became a faster runner this year at every distance.

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Friday, November 15, 2013

Bassman Half Fall 2013

Do normal people just roll out of bed to do a half-iron distance triathlon without any training? That was exactly what I did, and somehow I managed a personal best for this distance!

To be fair, I had been running a lot since Ironman Lake Placid. However, I barely swam and I only biked once in the between Lake Placid & Bassman.

Rock n Roll Philly Half 2013

Race strategy: even pace at 6:40-6:45 minutes per mile to finish at 1 hour 28 minutes.

Race preparation: 6 weeks of solid training; hitting target paces for most of my training runs.

Night before: Stayed out too late at the Frontrunners Philly 30th Anniversary party & Breakaway Racing party for an Ironman 70.3 world champion. No alcohol but lots of standing on my feet.

Race morning: uneventful walk to the start. Stretched & relaxed in my Coral #1.

Rock n Roll Philly Half Marathon

Mile 1: went out fast at 6:20
Miles 2 - 4: held back to 6:35-6:40 pace. Saw Todd & Rita!
Miles 5-9: ran with random runners Tom & Maggie at 6:30 pace. Feeling great!

Miles 10-13.1: increased my pace to 6:20-6:25 range. Fast & steady all the way to the finish line.

Post-race: got a powerbar from Adam Furlong & jogged / walked home. Cheers for runners / walkers who were still between miles 3 & 4.

Result: 1:25:37 chip time.
5k = 20:30
10k = 41:00 (personal best?)
10mi = 1:05:42 (personal best)
13.1mi = 1:25:37 (vs. previous personal best of 1:32 at this race last year)

The difference: training! This was my focus race so I structured 6 weeks of training leading up to this race. Speed work with Breakaway at Temple track certainly helped. My weekly runs at race pace gave me the confidence. The cool weather was ideal.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Labor Pain 2013

I used this race as a training run, and it was also my only ultra this year.
The race featured a 5-mile trail loop, and racers had 12 hours to run as many loops as possible or desired.

I ran the first loop with my partner Dan. It took us about 1:15. I ran the next 6 loops on my own, averaging just under 1 per loop. I stopped after completing 7 loops or 35 miles.

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Ironman Wisconsin 2013

September 8, 2013

I had a great time volunteering & spectating at the 2013 Ironman Wisconsin. I volunteered at T1, took the free shuttle to the middle of the bike course, saw the bike finish and the run finish from dinner time to midnight.

Things I still remember from this trip:

Monona Terrace is an awesome place to have the expo. Its circular floors and walkways offer spectators amazing views of swim start & bike-in. I enjoyed easy access to clean bathrooms & indoors seating area on race day.

The lake swim is rough compared to IM Lake Placid. I swam both morning & afternoon and each time I noticed the current and waves.

Bike course is not too hilly but there are more turns than I would like to see. (I only drove through parts of the bike course).

Maddison is a cute small city. Lots of good dining options at all price ranges. Weather is great for an Ironman race.

The public bus system is ok. Can't complain when I paid $2 from airport to downtown.

Midnight party at the Ironman finish line was amazing!

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

Ironman Wisconsin 2013

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