25 October 2008

It Has Been A While

I have not posted in a few days, but I am going to make up for that. I have a few things I want to blog about and I will be doing that tonight and tomorrow morning.

I ran my first ever road race today! Check out the race report below this post and comment on it. I have also listed a few races that I want to do in the next few months. Of course I am hooked now. I just need to find a couple in December and January.

All right... keep checking back, I got more coming.

The Great Pumpkin Run 5k Race Report

Today was my first ever road race. It was the Great Pumpkin Run 5k, held by Lockheed Martin to benefit the Burlington County Food Pantry. The route was a lap through the pretty big parking lot, then out onto the road for about a kilometer and back, then the same route through the parking lot in reverse.

I woke up this morning very excited and nervous at the same time. Rain was in the forecast and it looked that way when I peeked outside. I do not mind running in the rain, but I did not want a cold downpour. Turns out it was very nice temperature wise and the rain held off for most of the race. Only a drizzle at times.

I ran with my brother. It was also his first race, but he has been running a little longer than me and training pretty hard for the Philadelphia Marathon.

We arrived at the race an hour before start so that we would have enough time to get our stuff and warm up. Not a problem because the area was pretty deserted. There were actually more volunteers than runners, but within the next half hour the place was filling up. It looked like a couple hundred runners. We saw a bib 150 so there were at least that many.

We stood around checking out the other runners. My brother was confident that he would finish middle of the pack at least, but everyone looked much faster than me. I was nervous, but at the same time calm. We all walked over to the starting line and I made sure I was near the back. My brother lined up with me, but when the starting horn went off he was easily passing most of the field.

I started good, but a couple minutes into the run there was some panic switch that clicked in the back of my head. I was worried that I couldn't do it, and that I would be dead last. For some reason my throat started tightening up and I felt like I could not breath. I gave it up to God. I asked him to make me strong and confident and give me a safe run. Seconds after that I was fine.

I was feeling good and loving running with such a large group of people. There were people behind me, but a lot more were in front of me. I got to the mile marker and looked at my watch. Yikes! 10:45... I wanted to start the run at an 11:30 pace. I think it was the atmosphere and the excitement of running in a crowd that had me going faster than I wanted.

A little way into mile two we hit a large hill. It was about a kilometer long and pretty steep. I decided to take a walk break and did not feel too bad when I saw some others doing the same. As I reached the top of the hill and got closer to the turn around I saw my brother going the other way. "That hill was a killer." I yelled out as we passed each other.

On my way back to the parking lot I took another walk break. This time a lady and her daughter passed me (I had passed them earlier) and the lady said, "come on, it is all down hill now." What could I do but start running again. I ran with them for a little while. It was her daughters first ever run and she was dying. They eventually had to take a walk break, and I went on.

When I made the final turn I saw the finish. It was awesome running toward the finish line and seeing the clock get closer and closer to me. I was by myself when I crossed and it was an awesome feeling. I was able to kick hard at the finish and it was so cool running toward the funnel of cones leading to the finish.

This was an incredible run, and I feel great. My watch read 34:40. A PR of course, and almost a full minute faster than the last time I ran 3.1! I am hoping that they post the official results on the website so I can see what I did compared to everyone else. I also hope there is pictures, because I saw a lady snapping some at the start and I had a good position for a nice photo!

edit: 10/27
Official Results posted today. I finished with a clock time of 34:49, and placed 139 out of an overall 152. Not bad for my first time!

19 October 2008

Cold Run and Gummy Bear Massacre

A lot of things to talk about regarding today's run. It was definitely a weird one.

As I am getting ready I look outside to see what the weather looks like. It looks amazingly cold outside, but the thing I notice most is the police officer pulled over to the side of the road across the street. He is getting out of his car and looking along the ground for something. He gets back in his car and drives away. Hmm. Weird.

So I go outside to start my warm up. It is amazingly cold outside. The coldest I have run in ever, but I am enjoying it for some reason. As I am warming up and stretching another cop car pulls up and two cops get out. They0 start walking through a small bunch of trees across the street with flashlights looking for something along the ground. I take off down the street, expecting them to stop me and ask if I have noticed anything, but they just say good morning and I am on my way.

On Sundays I usually run down to a battlefield park that is down the street from me, along the river. As I started my run I began to tell myself that I may cut it short, because it is so cold. I do this sometimes, but as usual when I get to the point where I might turn around I just keep running and finish the whole distance as planned.

About half way through my run I see some colored spots along the ground. It took me a minute to figure out what it was, but finally I realized that it was gummy bears. Tons of them all over the side of the road. It was a massacre. Perhaps the cops were looking for their killers.

I also passed a guy walking his dog this morning. He was bundled up pretty good and trying to block himself from the wind. He pulled his dog close as I ran by. I smiled and said good morning and he nodded back with a very puzzled look on his face and said good morning. He really did think I was crazy.

On my way back I passed another guy. This one was sitting on his porch smoking a cigarette. At the time I was taking a short walk break. I said good morning with a smile, and he said the same. Since I was walking he also had time to say "one day we sweat, the next day we freeze." He was referencing the fact that the weather this past week had been so nice you would actually sweat pretty easy, and now it was freezing cold. I agreed with him, but then realized...

I always sweat... and I picked up the pace and finished running.

I finished this run in a 10:55 pace or so... still pretty slow, but it is a great improvement. This was my third run in a row breaking 11:00 pace.

14 October 2008

Run Like Pre

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." -Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine was arguably the greatest runner of all time. He gave a lot of thought and insight into running, and at the same time life.

I will never run the times that Pre ran, nor will I ever set any records. No offense, but I also think the demographic of this blog will most likely not do that either. That does not mean we can not run like Pre.

He ran with a passion. Life was not complete without running, and he always gave his best. We can do the same. We can run hard and push ourselves. We can set PR's and break them. We can forget about procrastinating and being lazy, and we can get outside and train, even when we do not feel like it.

I do not know if Pre was a religious person, but that quote at the top can also be applied to life.

God has given us many gifts. Running is one of them, life is the ultimate. If we give anything less than our best, at anything we do, then we are sacrificing a gift that was given to us by God. We should run hard and make life a pure guts race.

So next time you run... run like Pre.

08 October 2008

I'm Glad I Ran

I have not run since Saturday, and it has been killing me. My schedule has been so tight with work and all that I now have to squeeze in runs whenever I can.

I woke early this morning to get a run in before work, but I laid in bed thinking about how comfortable I was. I actually tried to talk myself into not running and just sleeping in.

Reality hit me and I realized that if I did not get up and go running I would be mad at myself and regret it the rest of the day. So I got up and got moving.

The morning air was cold and I could not stand still for fear of stopping. I immediately got into my warm up and got moving. Mentally I was telling myself I would only do a mile even though I was planning on doing a mile and a half. Before I even got to the half mile mark I knew I would do the entire run as planned.

The quality of the run was not the best that I ever had, but it still felt good.

I'm glad that I ran.

On a side not... I am going to try to get Spirit of the Marathon on DVD tonight. Check back for a review.

05 October 2008

A Short Prayer And A Long Run

I love running in the mornings, but when I wake up early in the morning my body aches and I never feel like getting up. When I finally do get up it usually takes me half an hour to get moving and another fifteen minutes to get dressed and ready to run. I know that part of this problem would be solved with a new mattress, but that is not the point of the story.

All week I have planned on running 3.1 miles... it may not seem long, but it is my longest so far. I decided to do it Saturday morning and was looking forward to getting up early and getting into the run. I knew that I would be slow starting in the morning, but I did not want to start off my run like that. I talked to God the night before and asked him that I get a good night sleep and wake refreshed and without any aches.

This seems like such a simple little prayer and is insignificant in many ways, but God answered me. When I woke up Saturday morning my body was feeling good and I was ready to go. I did not even hit the snooze button.

I meditated on God and prayer during the first half of the run and felt great. The morning was overcast, yet beautiful. I was through the first two miles with a single 60 second walk break. The last mile was a little tougher, but the toughest part was the last half mile which consisted of two rather steep hills... something I did not realize when I mapped out the distance on the runnersworld.com training tool. I ended the run with a time of 35:35, which is a pace of 11:29. Pretty good for myself!

I know that three miles is not a long distance for most, but I also know that a lot of people who read this will understand what an accomplishment this is for a beginner. Being a beginner can be frustrating at times because progress is slow, but for me it is great because almost everyday has a milestone.

Three miles is my long run right now, but before long it will be my daily run.

04 October 2008

A Long Week

It has been one hell of a week. Work has been so busy and I have been working such weird hours that I could barely run.

I like to run on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. This week I missed Tuesday but was able to run Wednesday morning. Thursday was a no go for me and Friday did not work out either. I did get in 3.1 miles this morning which felt great!