Category Archives: Philadelphia Marathon

Gore-Tex Philadelphia Half Marathon 2015

Claws Up!

Claws Up!

I struggled to pick my race for this coming fall, paralyzed in part by wanting the “perfect” place to take my stab at it and in part by wanting some known commodity to focus on all summer. Philly holds great memories for me; in 2012, I ran my current half PR here and finished 18th overall. It’s a fair course but it’s not an easy course, with two big hills in the second half of the course. There is decent course support for much of the race, usually good weather and at least a few other women around to race. I’m hoping that with the OTQ deadline looming, there will be more women than usual.

This is also the day before I come back to school. Talk about coming down to the wire…185 days to go!

Philly in 2012.

Philly in 2012.


Letting Go

Sorry for the lack of posts lately.  The little running I’m doing has limited my inspiration to post stuff on running.  Had this blog been titled “Ellipticaller Under Pressure” I’d be posting my freaking fingers off.  I’m getting mighty sick of the Elliptical, mighty sick of it.

Anyways letting go.  This week I let the Philly marathon go.  It’s less than 7 weeks away and I’m running for 30 min every other day with my longest run this Sunday at 45 min and my PF still freakin hurts so Philly ain’t happening.  Ok so it could happen if I absolutely had to run it, but would it be worth it?  I want to race marathons, not just run them.

Got into Boston last week which now that I think about it was totally bloggable, but to me is Boston that big of a deal?  I know writing this I might offend the half dozen readers of this blog, but oh well, like I said what is the big deal about Boston?  Last year when we took the kids on a Disney cruise I started a conversation with a runner who had run 50 marathons and was still trying to qualify for Boston.  And a friend of ours has a brother in law who has flown thousands of  miles to run marathons that are supposed to be a guaranteed Boston qualifier, but didn’t qualify in the end.  To these runners Boston is a pretty big deal, a huge deal really.

Here’s another chance for me to offend people:  I don’t get those people who try and try and try to qualify for Boston but only miss by a few minutes or even seconds.  Isn’t it so impossible to nail a specific time on a crazy race like the marathon?  If you are trying, trying and trying but aren’t getting there wouldn’t it make sense to step back evaluate your training and put a goal significantly lower than Boston so you have room for padding when things don’t go well?

I kind of relate this theory to first time and only one time marathoners.  How can you come close to capturing the experience of a marathon by only running one?  Of the few people I’ve talked to who are interested in running a marathon my thoughts are don’t run one unless you are planning to run at least five.  If you have a great training session and have the best day on your first marathon then great you are lucky.  But don’t most first time marathoners struggle?  Doesn’t the training of the 2nd, 3rd and on marathon seem a little easier/almost normal?  Aren’t bad marathons just as valuable an experience as good ones?  Don’t you feel that struggling/quitting in training, hitting the wall and walking for major chunks of the race, visiting the medical tent, getting injured, etc are just as mandatory a stop/visit on the marathon journey as qualifying for Boston?

One more rant related to Boston.  “Did you qualify for Boston?” or “Have you run Boston?”: these two questions drive me nuts especially when asked by those who don’t run and don’t have the slightest clue about what we put ourselves through training for a marathon.  Maybe this is why qualifying for Boston my first time wasn’t bloggable, because for once Boston isn’t a big deal.

6 hours of Elliptical later…

Last week’s cross training blitz was on.  I was feeling overzealous and asked for more tonnage on the cross training and coach Jess delivered with a payload of almost 15 hours of elliptical, biking, swimming and yoga.  Ok so Yoga doesn’t count so really only 13 hours of cross training.  The breakdown went something like this:

Lip (Elliptical): 5.5 hours

Swim: 3 hours

Core & Upper body strength: 2 hours

Biking: 1.5 hours

Coach Jess also added in some speed work on the Lip which wasn’t really the same but at least got my heart racing a bit, which on a Lip I find hard to do.  I had a 10 x 2 min fartlek and after doing my first 5 reps as fast as my legs could go on the machine I doubted whether I could finish the workout.  I love and hate these feelings as I have them on most challenging speed workouts.  Not knowing if you are going to make it through and finding some way to break down the last challenging patch and come out on the other side.  And when you get there and finish, sometimes surprising yourself by finishing even stronger than you thought, can there be a better feeling?  And so even though I was on the Lip and getting lots of odd looks from the people probably thinking what is that flailing lunatic doing, it was a pretty awesome time and so very close to run training.

I forgot to mention that I ran last week as well.  Why did I forget to mention it?  Because it was for a grand total of 50 minutes.  And yup that’s three runs, a 20 min, 20 min and 10 minute run.  And if only running for such a small amount of time isn’t bad enough I can’t even enjoy it because I want to look at my watch practically every minute hoping it’s over soon as I don’t want to take that extra step and inflame the PF.

Ok so before I beat up on myself any more I’m psyched about the progression of my Plantar Freakinitits.  My frequency is up to running every other day, my time is up to 20 min and if all goes well 30 min this Sunday.  The pain is getting less and less as I run.  But I’m still a little stressed about the Philadelphia marathon.  8 weeks away from today.  Is it possible?  I guess so, but what condition will I be in then when this week I’ll be running for 90 min max?  Do I run it just for fun and finish healthy and ready to enter the offseason having a fantastic first half of the year and conquering PF the 2nd half?  On my Friday 20 minute run I had this realization how amazing it would feel to finish strong at Philly knowing how much I’ve struggled with this injury.  I could be the most rewarding marathon yet, no matter what time I finished in (ok it would need to be somewhat respectable I mean really now.)

But then again there’s Boston.  I submitted my application and still waiting to be confirmed and maybe I should just focus on rehabbing this PF fully and target my sights on Boston?


So my diet perfection goal on my Monday Motivation blog is just so unrealistic, un-attainable and non-productive, I know that.  But for some reason the quest for perfection has helped me hold it together this week and to me that makes the ridiculousness of the goal so special, so productive.

I haven’t cheated all week.  And I have been tested as early as day two.  It’s especially hard having two young kids who eat lots of yummy treats that scream to me “come on Tim try a little corner or my delicious brownieness.”  And last night was my first serious test as my Sister came to visit from NYC which she rarely does.  I bought wine for dinner and felt like I’d be too much of a dork not to have a glass so I had resigned myself to have one.  But when the time came to pour I held back, not worth it.

Staying perfect allowed me to feel like I was training even though I hadn’t run a single mile this week.  I tackled this plantar thing head on with my head on straight and laser like focus.  Would I have had the same focus if I had been eating desserts and fatty foods all week, probably not.

And I’m still achieving this week, like doing my first palms down pull up, go me!  Sure cranking out a 3×3 mile tempo run would feel a ton better (and aren’t the cool down miles after killing a workout the best miles) but I’m grateful for any positive experience during this setback.

Starving myself to stay in my calorie limit and being good all week has not been easy, but I feel great, probably have shed a few junk pounds I seem to gain when I eat poorly, am in the right frame of mind to deal with the Plantar and will be ready to train when I’m back on the roads.  Thank you perfection.

PF update:  I’ve been to Brian at On-Track three times this week where he’s not so gently massaged (if I wasn’t watching him I’d swear Brian was using an ice pick) my PF and had me stretch it out.  Monday I had to close my eyes and try to be somewhere else in my mind as the pain was unbearable.  But by Wednesday the pain was 50% less and even better this morning.

And consulting with coach Jess Cover I’ve held off on running and won’t run until I can’t feel it at all when I walk.  The recovery is going so well that I’ll probably be able to go for a test run next week.  Best of all On Track is getting an Alter-G treadmill next week and I might take my first run on it!

I’ve pushed back my fall marathon from Hartford (10-13) to Cape Cod (10-28) to now Philly(11-18).  I want to be patient with my PF, not rush through this (thanks for the feedback Bob on not pushing too hard) but give myself enough time to have a solid marathon training cycle.