Half-Marathon: Recap 
The training plan I followed was a 12 week plan and I stuck to it pretty well. The plan calls for three or four days of running, a stretch and strengthen day, two cross-training days (or one if you run four days), and a rest day. Of the running days, two were moderate, starting at three miles and working up to five and one was the “long” run – starting at four and up to 10 (11 in my case). Cross-training consisted entirely of biking.

I had to jostle some days around but I only skipped one day – in the 11th week I took two consecutive rest days to prepare myself for the longest run of training - 11 miles. Earlier in the training, the third week, the heat wave came in – 98º, 101º, 99º, 93º, 91º but I did my runs early and cut them short by a 1/2 mile. Then, the heat continued through most of July with 15 days at 90º or above. But, really, it wasn't too hard to deal with it. I had most of my runs done by 8-8:30 during those hottest days.

Around week 10 I started to feel some discomfort in my left knee. It wasn't enough to stop and it didn't hurt; maybe a .5 on a 1-10 scale. Quad and hamstring stretches helped but the discomfort never really disappeared. The knee was my biggest concern going into the race.

I maintained my regular diet as well: beef no more than once a week (and probably less than that), lots of fruits and vegetables, wheat pasta, wheat bread, and wheat tortillas, salads with every meal, watched the sodium and sugar. Protein was mostly from beans, chicken, pork, turkey, peanuts, peanut butter, and the occasional PowerBar (maybe half-dozen total; they go well with iced coffee post-run). I did not lose any weight during training although my body fat was measured at 5.2% in late July.

During the entire training, nary a drop of rain fell on me. Which, of course, meant that race day would be a soaker and it was. The rain wouldn't normally be a problem but since the course had long stretches of dirt and cinder, it was muddy. In hindsight, the mud wasn't too bad but, like many runners I'm sure, I had purchased new shoes for the race. Mine had about 50 miles on them which is enough to break them in for a special event.

The course had some bottlenecks at the beginning but once we moved off Sand Island it thinned out and then continued to do so. By mile five I had established my own personal space and felt comfortable. It felt like I was running alone too which is a-ok by me. People were passing me and I was passing others but there was plenty of space to pass from the half way point on.

From about mile four to mile seven or so, I worked up to a two-hour pace but was unable to hold it. Those two little hills at Hugh Moore put an end to the sub-two hopes. Personally, I feel a 2:03 for a first half-marathon is very good.

In short, I found it much easier than I though it would be. Before the race, I broke the course down mentally into segments. Segment one was the start to Freemansburg, the second was Freemansburg to the boat launch, then boat launch to Hugh Moore, and lastly HMP to the circle. I thought this would help me as I could view it as several small runs all in a row, in case I got into trouble. It turns out that I never really paid attention to the segments. I just kept going.

Finishing in just over two hours makes it easy to pick my goal time for my next half in the spring. I'll be ready.

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Via Half-Marathon 
I did it; 2:03:30. My goal was 2:08 and the race was easier than I anticipated. I was on a sub 2:00 pace for a while but lost it around mile eight and that was it. Since it hasn't rained much over the past view months, it was a given that today would be a soaker and it was. The heavy rain stopped about an hour into my run but that didn't matter because of the mud. Nonetheless, I feel good.

My next half-marathon will be in the spring and the goal time is obvious.

By the way, the chart on the previous post is a Pittsburgh Half-Marathon.

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Half-Marathon Fail 



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The Proof 
I ran a 5K this morning and set an PR - 26:10. While that brought some joy the real joy today came not from the time but from another number.

After I picked up my packet, I got on the Tanita TBF-300A and then the woman gave me the little printout. My body fat percentage read 5.2% which means I have about seven pounds of fat on my body. These results were recorded and after the race was done, awards would be given for lowest percentage. I beat the winners of every age group except mine. They stacked the deck and snuck in a ringer who came in at 3.8%. Ok, maybe it wasn't a conspiracy but the man who won my group did come in at 3.8%. Women, by the way, have higher BF percentages than men.

When I saw the number, I knew it was good but I didn't know it was that good. That reading really gave me a mental boost and probably is what pushed me to an 8:26 pace.

The race featured about 150 runners.

In a pool of runners my body fat percentage is exceptional. Compared to the rest of the population, I'm top tier. Hard work pays off. I may sound vain but I am really proud of myself for all I've accomplished in the past two years. Start small, work yourself up, and be persistent.

Update - Hardbody contest results are here.

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Facebook 
I caved. It was a good fight and I held out as long as I could. Now I can be friends with people I'm friends with. I can also see who's got extra lumber and whose kingdom is being pillaged by marauders.


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37 Minutes 
In my previous post I mentioned that my average workout for the first half of this year was approximately 37 minutes long. Within the average day, those 37 minutes make up about 2.5% of the day. Inverse that, and that means one can spend an average of 97.5% of the day not exercising and still put in quality workouts that garner results over a period of time.

For example, in 37 minutes I know I can:

- run four miles
- bike six at slightly above leisurely pace
- get a basic weightlifting workout in
- walk about 2.5 miles

Swimming: I don't swim for exercise but my guess is that 37 minutes of doing laps, at any pace, isn't a bad workout. In fact, 37 minutes of any constant movement forward is probably a good workout [yeah, sounds funny, I know; [insert your own sexual innuendo joke here if that pleases you]].

Seriously, though, take 37 minutes out your day and see what you can do. You may be surprised. You may start slow like I did, but improvement will come if you persist. Believe me, I know, and about 1/39th of your day is all it takes.

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By The Numbers 
For the first six months of 2010, I have:

- run 299.85 miles in 48:20 for an average pace of about 9:40. The first 150 have been faster than the second 150.

- biked 248 miles in 21:55

- done 123 workouts in a total of 75 hours. That works out to be about 37 minutes per workout. This includes walks and lifting weights too.

For the next six months, I hope to increase these numbers. I am also quite satisfied that I am well above what the average American puts into fitness. I am also ahead of the masses in diet too as I effectively manage salt, sugar, and beef intake. If you see me about, give me a big "atta boy!" Vanity? There's nothing wrong with it as long as you can back it up.

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Another PR 
I ran the Freedom to Liberty race this morning in 35:12; a PR for four miles, besting the 36:36 I put up a while ago through the neighborhood. I didn't expect a PR today but I did it. There were no markers on the course so I don't have splits.

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PR 
On this Memorial Day, I ran a 5K with the goal of finishing in under 28:00, which would be a personal record.

I aced it and finished in 26:54 by my watch.

Mile 1: 8:32
Mile 2: 17:13
Mile 3: 26:02

pace: 8:40

I also had the honor of meeting Mr. Rick DeRenzis today; brief bio here:

http://www.tortoiseharerace.org.

Take time today to remember the fallen as well as the families and friends of those gave all.

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Roy Halladay 
It's Saturday night and the first game of the Stanley Cup finals and, like many Philadelphia sports fans, I am watching the Flyers play the Blackhawks. Like many fans, I turned off the Phillies game around 8:15 and switched to NBC to watch hockey. As I watched an hockey exciting game with my neighbor, little did I know what was going on in Florida. At 21:22 a friend of mine in California calls me and asks if I'm watching the Phillies game; of course not, I'm watching the Flyers. He informs me that Roy Halladay is one out away from a perfect game. Sure enough, I turn on the game and catch the last 45 seconds of it. Incredible.

I wonder how many bars in Extended Metro Philadelphia turned off a Flyers game in the Stanley Cup finals to watch baseball.

I am completely stunned.

Here is the bottom of the ninth inning with the Phillies broadcasters:



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Broad Street Run 
Well, I did it and, it was one of the most difficult yet rewarding single events I have ever done.

First the bad:

I set a pre-race goal of 99 minutes which is a 9:54 pace. I finished in 1:41:16, a 10:07 pace. I started off too slow. I hit mile one around 10:30 and then mile two in just over 20. By mile four I was at 40 even and then made miles five and six in under 50 and 60 respectively thus, getting my pace to where I wanted. Then, the stomach cramps that had been slightly nagging me since mile one, took their toll and I slowed some. I was hoping for a nice burst from four to seven and hit mile seven around 68 and try to stretch a gain to a sub 10 minute pace. But, it didn't happen and once I hit seven around 71 I knew that the 99 wouldn't be seen. While I wanted to hit mile one slow, I think I was too slow. Ideally, I wanted to hit the first mile around 9:45 but it wasn't to be. Additionally, the weather (humid, sticky, about 80 at 9:00 am) did not help. I also botched the pre-run fuel. I ate a banana about 6:45 am (race started at 8:30 am, my corral started close to 9) and that was it. I had a small cup of coffee around 6:15 am too but I think I should have eaten something else (like half a PowerBar) around 7:45 am or so. I carried Shot Blocks with me but they did nothing. Lastly, I think pre-run jitters gave me six hours sleep. I awoke at 4:00 am and never fell back asleep.
Tired. Hot. Hungry. But...

The good:

I finished and I did not walk or stop! I had no pains anywhere either. Post-race, I'm a little sore here there but during the run, nothing flared up. I did not need any potty stops. Although I grabbed water at about five stations, the heat made me sweat it out. I voided at 8:30 am and did not pee again until 12:15 pm. I chugged about 16 oz of Gatorade at the end and then a 16 oz of water and it was an hour after that I finally had to go.

The Mrs. and I efficiently used mass transit to get to the start and then back to hotel when we were done. We had no problems getting to race or getting back to the hotel.

Even though this was very challenging, I will likely try a half-marathon in the fall.

What I learned:

Don't break the routine. Eat a little something close to run time just like I do when I do long runs during training. Sleep: not sure how to fix this. We stayed in a hotel and I don't always sleep as well in a hotel bed as I do my own. Don't be afraid to bolt out of the gate and hit that first mile a little fast. If the pace is too fast, I can still slow it down and get into a good stride.

Races like this use a corral system. You are assigned a corral based on your own estimated completion time. I played it conservative and filled in my time as 1:45 even though I expected to be below 1:40. Next time, I will subtract five minutes instead of adding five. If I start in a "faster" corral maybe we'll all get off the start quicker and instead of weaving and dodging, maybe I can hit mile one at the 9:45 pace I want. With so many people, weaving and dodging isn't avoidable but I need to manage the first mile better.

The weather, although not ideal by any means, could have been worse.

The Race:

Organized. Fun. Recommended. Philadelphia is a great city and, in all my years, never thought I'd actually run down Broad St. from Olney to the Navy Yard. I didn't count the water stops but they said there were nine. The city opened up fire hydrants at every mile or so past two and I ran through most of them. Kudos to volunteers and the first responders who stood by waiting to assist as well as the Philadelphia police.

Channel 6 news story on the run: [Link]

That being said, I'm glad it's over. I feel pretty good.

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It's a Long Way to the Top 


One of my favorite AC/DC songs. Oh, and by the way, the late Bon Scott is the lead singer of AC/DC. Period.

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