Monday, November 21, 2011

Philly Full Marathon and Half Marathon November 2011

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I got an email back in March from the Full Moon Running Club about running the Philly Marathon. Last time I ran Philly was with this club back in 2008, this year we had some new runners this year and they asked me if I would run.

After doing the Half Iron Man last year, I decided I was a half a guy and from now on it would be Half Iron Man and Half Marathons, but somehow I could not bring myself to say no, I committed to running the Philly Marathon. From the Full Moon Running Club here is who ran in 2011.

Lou (He ran it with the group back in 2008)
Michael (He ran it with the group back in 2008) (Half)
David (He ran the half back in 2008)
Christine (She ran it back in 2008 but not with group)
Scott (Half)
DUG (Half)

Some issue before the race started. Real sad news, David broke his ankle on his Thursday easy run, yes the Thursday before the race. David was sidelined but did come down to cheer us on. DUG, with all my travel, I did not train properly, so I decided to only do the half and pace Beth, for her first Marathon. Michael was only able to get an entry for the half and he had just done the Atlantic City Marathon.

What a great day, they say (not sure who "they" are) the perfect temperature to run a Marathon is 52 degrees. The temperature at the start was 52 degrees much warmer then the 28 degrees back in 2008. Lou, Beth, Marie and I all started together. Everybody else was somewhere in the crowd of 20,000 people. Lou had a very tight IT-band and just hoped to be under 4 hours. This was Marie's first Marathon and had been having knee issues since her last long run (24 miles) 2 weeks prior, her goal was to finish without any permanent damage. Beth, a little high stung had a goal of under 3:30. A 3:30 marathon for your first Marathon is very aggressive, Beth puts a lot of anxiety / stress into everything she does, and no one thinks she can mentally take training for another marathon. If she gets a great time like a 3:30 there will be no reason to do another Marathon. Margarite is our support, she will be riding along the course in case we need her.

In a Marathon people volunteer to be pacers, they commit to running the race at a certain time and carry a sign and balloons designating the time they will run. It is amazing but these folks hit the times within seconds. We lined up directly in front of the 3:30 pacer. I gave Beth very specific instructions. "Beth, Have fun and no matter what do not let that guy pass you." I was pointing to the 3:30 pacer. Though Marie was starting with us she was going to run her own pace to try to limit any further injury.

Beth wanted to be under 1:45 at the half way point to give herself some slack in the second half of the race. Lou said he will try to stay with us as long as he could. We thought that meant once he could no longer stay with us he would slow down. Beth had to average under 8 minute miles to be under 3:30 for the 26.2 miles.

We ran our first mile at 8:04 this was fine as we wanted to warm up, the bad news was the 3:30 pacer past us at the quarter of a mile mark. Beth was already not following directions. Lou was doing a great job directing us through the crowds. He appeared to be having no problem with the pace. Mile 2, we picked it up a little bit and ran a 7:41, giving us an average of a little over 7:50 per mile. All three of us remained together as we ran past Penns Landing. The race crowd was thinning a little, and we were a good distance ahead of the 3:30 pacer.

Mile 3 and 4 were 7:56 and 7:52 respectively. Beth was still not comfortable with her running. She started eating Jelly Beans to calm herself down and was asking about water. At mile 4 we found out what Lou meant about staying with us, he did NOT slow down, at mile 4 he surged ahead, about the same place he left us in 2008, I am starting to see a common theme here.

Somewhere during mile 5 I hit my watch so my splits got off, I will use the splits from Beth's watch but they seem a little fast. Mile 5 and 6, 7:50 and 7:44 respectively. We found Margarite just after mile 6 and got some water. Just a few hundred meters into mile 7 the 3:30 pacer past us. Beth said she felt like she was going to fast, I knew we had a little slack so I encouraged her to slow down. Lou was no where in site.

When you allow a pacer to past you, it effects you both mentally and physically. Mentally, because you feel somewhat defeated, physically, because their is normally a crowd following the pacer and you can easily get boxed in, bumped around, or pushed off the course. As the 3:30 pacer past us we felt the physically effects and Beth surged back ahead of the pacer.

Mile 7 and 8 were at a pace of 7:46 and 7:45. At this point I realized not only had I not trained properly for the marathon I had not trained properly for a half marathon, at least not at this pace. I knew I had to stay with Beth, if I fell back or dropped out, it would mess with her head, and hurt her time.

Mile 9 was a down hill and 10 a slight up hill so we stretched out our legs on the down hill with a 7:33 and relaxed on the up hill with a 7:50. At mile 10 Beth was out of Jelly Beans so I called Margarite and she said she would be just after mile 11 with some more beans. Mile 11 was down hill we did our fastest mile so far 7:31. As we came down the hill we saw Lou he was several hundred meters ahead of us. We got Beth her beans. I was really struggling but for 2 more miles I could hold out, everybody else had 15.2 more miles to go.

Mile 12 7:44 and 13 7:48. We came through the half way point at just over 1 hour and 44 minutes. If Beth holds this pace she will be at 3:28 and some change. Our pace for the half marathon was just over 7:50. My job was DONE.

I headed back to the car, I wanted to help Margarite so I got my bike and headed back on the course. Margarite was supporting 5 runners all running at different speeds. Margarite asked me to look for Marie. Marie's knee had locked up at Mile 11 and she was walk running. I made it to Mile 17 and could not find her. Margarite was at Mile 20 and did not see her, we had her boxed in. This part of the course is out and back so I was at mile 17 on the way out and about mile 21 on the way back. Margarite let me know when Lou, Christine, and Beth were coming toward me, they were all within a few minutes of each other. I saw Christine first she looked good nice and relaxed, then Lou, I asked Lou how far back Beth was, he response shocked me. "She is 5 minutes ahead of me." I headed out on the bike looking for her. I knew Christine would be fine at age 35 this was her 50th marathon, Lou was also good, a marathon without swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112 miles first is a walk in the park for him.

Margarite found Marie at mile 20, she was in A LOT of pain and determined to FINISH! I caught Beth at mile 22 she was still very steady, running a very consistent 7:50 pace. She looked like crap and was starting to complain about some aches and pains. She asked about Marie, I told her she was doing fine, because I knew they were great friends and Beth would have stopped right there and turned to help and finish with Marie.

Beth and Marie both were running for Team in Training to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Team in Training provides coaches along the route to help runners make it through tough areas. At Mile 24 a coach asked Beth is she wanted some company. I knew I could not get past Mile 25 on the bike and Beth needed some moral support. As she refused the company, I told the coach she needed the company. He was a god send, he talked her through the last few miles and Beth held her pace even though her body said, "NO MORE!". She finished at a 3:27:52 negative splitting the course by a few seconds.

Lou finished second with a 3:33:16 so much for "I just want to be under 4 hours".

Christine came in third for our group at 3:33:43, just 27 seconds behind Lou. Christine went out like a rocket crossing the half marathon mark at 1:39:35. Christine had run the Marine Corp Marathon just a few weeks before and could feel some of the fatigue in her knee and rather then risk injury she slowed down the second half of the race.

Gary was fourth with a time of 3:58:12 he also went out like a rocket with a half time of 1:47:26 just a few minutes behind Beth. Gary said that must of been to fast for him, as the second half was very hard on his body. But still a very respectable time.

Marie gets the ALL HEART award. She had to walk run the last 15 miles. She completed the race in 5:05:14 any other person (like me) would have stopped at the half way point. Not Marie she made a commitment to Team in Training and there was no way in hell she was not going to finish, in my book this is what a Marathon is all about. Pushing past your limits.

The results for the half marathon for us Girly Girls

Scott - 1:58:29, Scott has been nursing a hip injury for about 3 years now, this was his longest race in the last few years, very nice job. Michael - 1:45:20 - Took 8 minutes off his best half marathon time and he had just run the Atlantic City marathon a few weeks before. DUG - 1:44:24 Was very happy with the limited training I have been doing and glad I help Beth hit her goal for her first and ONLY marathon.

Off to Miami with Margarite for some sun and relaxation.




Friday, November 11, 2011

Happy 60th Birthday to "The Rock"

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It was "The Rock's" 60th Birthday so we decided to head to Atlantic City for some craps play. October is a great time to hit the beach in New Jersey. So we put a call out to see who wanted to celebrate "The Rock's" BIG 60th birthday. Answering the call and showing up was: Mobe, Chuata, G d'B. So the five of us were ready to get a little wild in AC.

First Stop Cesar's Casino. For "The Rock's" birthday we got him a pair of loaded dice. What a funny time. "The Rock" had no idea the dice were loaded. "The Rock" rolled 32 straight numbers he was up $345,678.00. We saw the pit boss starting to get a little suspicious. It was time to get paid and get paid fast. Do you know how hard it is to get a guy that is on a roll (litererly), out of a casino with out making a scene. It ended up being eaiser then we thought. We offered him a sub at the world famous White House Submarines.

"The Rock" cashed out $350,000 even, he was up over that, but gave a very large tip to the Pit Boss. I might be switching from Poker to Craps.

Off to White House Subs. My phone rang it Pate' she was in Bethany Beach Delaware. The ladies had heard about our plan and decided to fly over and meet up with the guys. So all our other halfs were in Bethany Beach.

While we really wanted to stay in AC we knew it was smart to leave while we were up, what was the chance we would get away with using loaded dice twice in one day. We drove to Cape May and caught the ferry down to Delaware.

We met the ladies at this beautiful house on the beach. It ends up many people that own beach houses along the east coast of the United States, leave them empty in the fall and winter. The ladies picked a beautiful house. Pate' from her lock picking days broke in and we had a great place to stay. What luxury.

The ocean water was 55 degrees but that did not deter Margarite and Chuata from taking a swim see video.

What a great weekend and a great celebration. I have a few more events in the United States before I head back to Botswanna.