April and May – Month(s) in review

As I was starting my review for May I realized that I never posted the month in review for April. It may have been that I was a little busy around the month end (see here) which took my mind elsewhere for a few days and I never actually realized my oversight until just now. April, after all, was a pretty big month for me.

April 2014 - Nike+ Summary

April 2014 – Nike+ Summary

My monthly stats show 152 miles but that is not the whole story for the month. I set a new Marathon PR (3:54:30) at the New Jersey Marathon. In addition I ran a the inaugural Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K and the Bucks County Half Marathon. With the inaugural Philadelphia LOVE Run back on March 30th this made for a very busy few weeks of training and racing. The cool thing about that is that all my race times were around my marathon goal pace so I actually went into the marathon with confidence. All the hard work paid off. I was a very happy fellow for a few days…until I had to take about 10 days of unforced rest.

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K

Philadelphia Hot Chocolate 15K

Bucks County Half Marathon

Bucks County Half Marathon

What else…oh yes, my wife and I signed up for the Baltimore Running Festival. We will be running the Baltimore Marathon together. My hope is that we can bring her marathon PR down further. I’m confident she can. We also signed up for the 2014 Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon. I was hesitant to do this again as I have run it for the last 3 years and we had discussed skipping this but for some reason we decided to give it another chance this year. After all, we have a family wedding later this year and we want to look good in the pictures.

April was also registration time for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon weekend. Again I signed up with Team Up/Autism Speaks for a third year but this time ‘just’ the Goofy Challenge. My wife also signed up with Team Up so we are fundraising together (harder than training if you ask me). As part of our fundraising efforts we are running two virtual 5K fun run/walk events. This proved both popular and successful for me last year and we are hoping for the same this year. We actually have some really great medals and vendors have been generous to offer some cool prizes for participants this year. I hope you take a few minutes to take a look, perhaps join in one of the events and please do share this with your friends/running partners. It should be fun. Here are the medals designed for the events.

005K medal

005K medal

Going Goofy

Going Goofy

With a rather abrupt end to April (running wise) and a short break in training in May I had some ground to make up…well, really I was antsy and wanted to get back out there ASAP. Here is my recap for May.

May 2014 - Nike+ Summary

May 2014 – Nike+ Summary

I still managed to get 113 training miles in during the month and was very grateful to be able to do so. The weather outside in May has been glorious. Yes, there have been some cool mornings but with the exception of a couple of rainy runs it has been great to be outdoors in the early mornings as the sun is rising and get my runs in. Now that I am training using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2 training program my weekday mileage has crept up a little. I’m glad for the extra sunlight so I am not so reliant on the headlamp right now.

My wife ran in a couple of races this month. Early in May she ran a new PR at the Broad Street Run 10 miler in Philadelphia and on Mother’s Day I signed her up for a local 10K where she came back with a 2nd place age group finisher award. Go Shari!!! I’m a big fan (when I can keep up with her).

My wife with one of her awards (2nd place age group - Mother's Day 10K)

My wife with one of her awards (2nd place age group – Mother’s Day 10K)

The rest of this month has really been focused on managing the new training program and the increase in mileage. I am trying to follow the program diligently and doing the pace runs before the long runs. So far so good. Holding about an 8:30 min/mile pace on the hilly course where I train so I’m pleased with that.

On Memorial Day I finally took the bike out for my first ride of the season. I’m pleased to say that I got in 20 miles and felt comfortable. I have signed up for a third year now for the Cycle Bucks County riding event in June so I’m looking forward to that. I think 25 miles is my comfort level when it comes to cycling right now. I’m not yet ready for the Ironman training.

Memorial Day was also the last time we did a family run with our double stroller. The boys are just too big. We bought the double stroller back in 2012 so that my wife and I could both run together with the boys. We have put on well over 150 miles running together with the stroller including three 5K races as well as a couple of long vacation runs. We figured that the boys were on the cusp of the weight limit at the end of last summer but held on to it over the winter. We took it out on Memorial Day and I just couldn’t keep up with my wife. My boys are getting bigger and we were not able to keep up with each other. It was time for it to go but we had some great times running and a lot of fun. It went to a good home.

Our last stroller run. As you can see, the boys are big enough to push me.

As you can see, the boys are big enough to push me.

With the good results of the medical procedure behind me I can now concentrate on other matters. One thing I wanted to look at since I PR’d at the New Jersey Marathon is a chance to better it. I think I can do it. I signed up for a local marathon held in late summer on a flat and fast course along the Delaware Canal Towpath. It is in August so there may be some heat to deal with but that is my goal and after that I can enjoy Baltimore and then Goofy with my wife.

I’ve also signed up for the Gary Papa Father’s Day 5K in Philadelphia. I ran this back in 2012 and this is still my 5K PR (23:31) although I don’t run many anymore. I haven’t decided if I am going to race this for a PR or do this for fun. We shall see how I feel closer to the date. It is a good fundraiser for prostate cancer awareness and draws a large number of entrants. It is a fairly flat and fast course down by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That is coming up on Father’s Day (June 15).

Also, I finally I decided to sign up for a race that I had been tempted to in the past but had not done yet. A midnight 8 miler in July as part of the ‘philadelphia#in24‘ series of races taking place along the banks of the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia on July 19 through the 20th. It is a 24 hour event featuring an ultra marathon, a relay challenge, a midnight run and a 5K. Should be fun. I’ll be there all lit up in lights and reflective gear.

I have a pretty busy season coming up and lots to look forward to. It’s not all running though. As much as my wife and I pack in with our training and racing we still have plenty of time for our boys. There is a swimming pool in our development for those hot summer afternoons, we just bought a trampoline so our kids can tire themselves out (hopefully) as well as memberships at Sesame Place, the Adventure Aquarium in New Jersey, the Philadelphia Zoo and the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (thank you Groupon for all you do!). We are also planning a weekend in New York City with the boys and are planning a trip to the Statue of Liberty. As I said, running is just part of our lives…not all that we do.

Thanks for reading. Hope you are having a good start to the summer.

Chasing the Unicorn…or at least trying


Coming off my recent PR earned (on the second attempt) at this year’s New Jersey Marathon I didn’t really have anything on my race schedule until the Baltimore Marathon in October and the Walt Disney World ‘Goofy Challenge’ next January. Both these races I will be running with my wife and so there are two goals: (1) In Baltimore it is to break 4:30 with Shari in her third marathon (we ran 4:45 together at the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon) and; (2) To successfully complete the Goofy Challenge still upright and smiling.

It was interesting for me that my reaction to achieving my PR at the New Jersey Marathon was a very brief high, but it soon faded. Why? I don’t know. I had prepared for this for over a year (longer if you count the training leading up to the 2013 Marathon). Personally I look back on the race and think I can do better. Yes, I did achieve my goal but it wasn’t pretty in the second half. I was nowhere near a negative split and I didn’t pace myself well in the second half. Am I being too hard on myself? Maybe, but perhaps it’s a reflection on my new focus and desire to do a bit better and achieve greater goals. This is what spurred me into registering for the ‘Chasing the Unicorn‘ Marathon taking place August 17 this year.

Why is it called ‘Chasing the Unicorn’? What is it all about? Why am I running it?

The logo of the Boston Marathon is the Unicorn. The primary objective of this particular race is for runners looking to earn a BQ (Boston qualifying standard) ahead of the registration deadline in September. In order to run the Boston Marathon, runners need to achieve a certain qualifying time goal in relation to their age group. For male runners in my age category (40-44) the qualifying standard is a marathon time of ‘3 hrs 15 min 00 sec’.

This race was first put on last year as a response to the increased demand to qualify for Boston in the wake of the 2013 bombings. Here is an article from Runner’s World Magazine that was published about the inaugural event in 2013.

As you may have read from my New Jersey race recap my marathon PR is 3 hrs 54 min 30 sec, not even close to the qualifying time unless I was in the 60-64 age category. So why is it that I have chosen to participate in this race and why was I allowed as I appear to be well outside the qualifying time?

I was already familiar with the ‘runBucks‘ series of races and the race director Pat McCloskey having participated in a few of his races in the past. My wife has won a couple of awards running in his events and is all too pleased to show me her awards (sore point in our household) 😉 I hadn’t considered running a race like this last year as I didn’t feel there was any way I would be reaching the BQ standards any time soon but two things made me reconsider. Firstly, I do some of my training runs on the canal and I have probably covered most if not all of this course during my long runs and secondly I think I can better my PR.

My wife with one of her awards (2nd place age group - Mother's Day 10K)

My wife with one of her awards (2nd place age group – Mother’s Day 10K)

I had struggled a little after the New Jersey Marathon back in 2013 and was a little demoralized having trained and not earned my PR but throughout the rest of 2013 I just set out to enjoy myself, run races with my wife and took my races with a relaxed attitude. I did attempt a PR in the Benjamin Franklin Bridge 10K which I did achieve but mostly it was about maintaining my fitness going into the inaugural Dopey Challenge back in January of this year. If you look at my recap of those four days down at Walt Disney World you will see how relaxed I was and how I found the marathon such an enjoyable experience (even after the previous three days of running) compared to my previous two years running that event.

I came back from Walt Disney World with a new confidence in my running and throughout all the training for New Jersey I felt comfortable and watched my speed become more consistent and a little quicker. In fact I ran three races in the four weeks leading up to the New Jersey Marathon at or close to my marathon goal pace. I felt confident going into the New Jersey Marathon and did in fact achieve my goal.

Okay, so not a BQ by any means but I do feel like I can do better. This prompted me to reach out to Pat directly and ask him if it was okay to register. I told him upfront that I wasn’t anywhere close to a BQ but I feel that this was the type of event that I could aim to improve my PR. It wasn’t going to be crowded (a very limited field) and I would be running solo so it seemed like a good opportunity to try. I also asked Pat if it was okay based upon the field size if it was okay to enter. I didn’t want to take away a BQ opportunity from a runner who was genuinely in a position to earn a qualifying time. Again, Pat reassured me that this would not be a problem just to keep my awareness up that I was going to be lapped…a lot (this is a double out and back loop of about 6.5 miles).

So here I am. Back at it in marathon training mode. In the past (marathons 2 through 8) I have used Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 training plan with Jeff Galloway’s run/walk method. This time I am ‘upping’ to Hal’s Intermediate 2 plan. It calls for a little increase in mileage (I get a third 20 mile training run) and with the summer here I can get up a little earlier and make time to do some speed workouts without fear of slipping on ice!! I know it will be warmer than I am used to training for a marathon but hopefully I will acclimatize enough over the summer to make this work. Here is my training plan for this event, the Baltimore Marathon and through the Goofy Challenge next January.

It’s going to be tough especially with the increased mileage but my goal is to be sub 3:50. Yup, I’ve put this down here in writing.

I’ll keep you posted 🙂


2013 New Jersey Marathon recap

New Jersey Marathon 2013

New Jersey Marathon 2013

Marathon number 5 is now complete. It wasn’t pretty but I got the job done. I finished in 4:04:53. My goal was 3:55:00.

New Jersey Marathon Result

New Jersey Marathon Result

I had high hopes going into this race that I could earn a PR. I had run just under 4 hours (3:59:05) in last year’s Philadelphia Marathon and had successfully completed the 2013 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge and survived the extra distance. The New Jersey Marathon course was considerably flatter than the previous two marathons and I was just coming off a PR at the 2013 Atlantic City April Fool’s Half Marathon (1:52:43) in similar conditions, however, my PR was not to be on the day.

Am I disappointed, a little, but I am still proud that I ran 26.2 miles and finished standing up with a smile on my face ready for my next marathon.

I finished with a smile on my face

I finished with a smile on my face

Firstly I must give kudos to the Race Director Joe Gigas for a fantastic job in running this event. Despite all that has happened at the Jersey Shore in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy (needing to change the actual route of the marathon) and the recent events in Boston (increased security at the start and finish areas) this went off without a hitch (to the observer) and even the weather cooperated. Joe and his team did a great job in getting everyone prepared for the race and for the last 10 weeks leading up to the event regular race director updates were sent out to participants. Each update focused on a specific aspect of the race day and preparations and I kept revisiting them to make sure I was prepared. This included updating security concerns in light of recent events. Thanks Joe and all your volunteers.

As with most races run after Boston the race directors and runners have encouraged each other to wear blue and yellow in support of Boston. As I checked in on Facebook after arriving at the start area I checked in to ‘A Sea of Blue and Yellow on the Jersey Shore – NJM honors Boston’.

I set up my gear the night before. My blue and yellow Boston colors and 'Red Sox'

I set up my gear the night before. My blue and yellow Boston colors and ‘Red Sox’

The race itself was different from my last marathons. First of all there were around 2,300 entrants in the marathon. Philadelphia had around 12,000 marathoners and Walt Disney World had around 20,000 runners so this was a much more scaled down event and that did make a big difference out on the course. There was more space to run and the weaving in and out of runners was pretty much limited if at all.

The start was held at Monmouth Park racetrack. I got there early (around 6am for an 8am start) to avoid the traffic and road closures for the Long Branch Half Marathon which started at 6:45am and which followed the same route for the first 11 miles.

As I was there early I went and sat in the pavilion which meant we could sit inside a heated area and use indoor bathrooms (nice). Just after 7am I headed out to the bag check. This was a point to point race so if we wanted a jacket or other personal item we had to get it on the trucks so they could leave for the finish line before the roads closed for the marathon.

Staying warm inside the pavillion prior to the race.

Staying warm inside the pavillion prior to the race.

I guess due to all the Full Marathoners staying warm indoors the lines to the port-a-potties were non-existent. Awesome. They did get a little busy nearer the start of the race as people started to leave the pavilion but still no long lines. I had chosen this race over doing the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia together with 39,999 of my closest friends and thought about my experiences there waiting in line to go and hoping I didn’t miss the start of the race.

Seriously, no lines?  When was the last time you saw this at a race?

Seriously, no lines? When was the last time you saw this at a race?

It was getting near 8am so I sent my wife a good luck text message (she was running the Broad Street Run) and headed off to Corral ‘C’. I had packed my gear bag in the truck and was wearing a throwaway old sweater with a short sleeved T-shirt underneath. Shivering with my teeth chattering I wished I had decided to wear a long sleeved T-shirt as it was colder than I had expected based upon the forecast as there was more of a breeze than anticipated. As we were all assembling into our corrals, as if by magic, the sun came out.

The National Anthem was sung by a marathoner who was celebrating his 100th marathon. This was followed by a short burst of Neil Diamond singing ‘Sweet Caroline’ as we celebrated running for Boston.

I had planned to run 3:55 and had made myself a pace band and taped it around my left wrist beside my Garmin. I lined up in the corral between the 3:50 pacer (with a very well coifed moustache) and the 3:55 pacer and waited for the gun…or in this case the bugle horn (we were at the race track after all) and off we went.

This is where I should have known something was a little off. I passed the 3:50 pacer within the first mile. My first ‘oops’ of the race. I tried to settle into a good rhythm using my Run/Walk interval of 4:00/0:40 and for the most part I was running very even splits (see the chart below). One thing that I did notice was that my heart rate was elevated around 170bpm (I wear the Garmin heart rate monitor). I put this down to adrenaline at the start of the race and looked for my pace to settle. Usually it is a little high within the first mile or so until I get into my rhythym and then it rises and falls between walk breaks (usually ranging between 135bpm-165bpm). For some reason no matter what I did my heart rate stayed between 165bpm and 170bpm. Strange.

The course took us through many neighborhoods along the shore and there were still reminders of Hurricane Sandy. Some empty houses jacked up on stilts, houses with construction equipment out front, some stores still boarded up and burnt out. It puts lots into persepctive. The course itself had to be significantly altered this year as there was no Boardwalk. That was sad. To see broken wooden studs all along the shoreline where it is usually a great place to walk/bike/run. It is close to Memorial Day and the traditional start of the summer season and where there should be lots of foot traffic here. There will be none for while. But as they say, Jersey Strong. The tag line for the race is New Jersey – Up and Running and there we signs of revitalization and renewal showing hope amongst all the destruction.

Getting back to the race itself, I seemed to be running steady if a little ahead of schedule for about the first 8 miles with no problem. Yes, my heart rate was elevated but I wasn’t suffering in any way. Around mile 8.5 I got passed by the 3:50 pacer. Oh well, that was not to be achieved today. I just had to get my head down and keep going.

As I was running around mile 12 I was at the water station when I heard a volunteer say some ‘choice words’…in other words a pace group was heading in their direction and it was a big one! I looked over my shoulder and sure enough there was the 3:55 pace group. I didn’t think I had slowed too much so I thought as long as I could stick with this group I would be good for my goal. For the most part it was looking good until I reached mile 15. There were lots of turns on the course as we stretched out the route to make the distance and everytime I thought we were near a turn around there was another turn and a sea of runners off in the distance. Whoa. It took me back to the never ending twists and turns through the ESPN Zone during the Disney Marathon. It was a nice course to look at but the turns seemed to knock the wind out of me.

Here are my splits. You can see that I was pretty consistent miles 1 to 14. In fact I ran the first half of the marathon in 1:55:31 at an average pace of 8:49. I seemed to slow a little through miles 15 through 19 reaching the 30K mark in 2:47:55 which still had me on pace to finish sub 4:00. But then I slowed considerably from miles 20 through 22. Around mile 22.5 I got passed by the 4:00 pace group and my times dropped to my worst pace for the last 3 miles. My new goal was then to finish before the 4:05 pace group!

So my PR was not to be but still my final time was quicker than my first two marathons. I know I can and will do better in future and that I have to work on my first half pacing so that I achieve the elusive negative split. I ran the second half in 2:09:22. About 15 minutes slower. A friend of mine suggested I may have overdone it on my energy gels. I usually alternate between the full shot of caffiene and half shot of caffiene gels but for this race I took the full caffiene gels all the way. Maybe that was a reason for the elevated heart rate, maybe not. I will have to work on that for the next race.

Mile splits

Mile splits

I still had a fun time. If I can finish knowing I gave what I could and still feel like I want to do it again then that’s a win. Plus I got a great shot of the famous ‘Stone Pony’ in Asbury Park. I may not have been ‘Born in the USA’ but I was ‘Born to run’ (sorry bad Bruce reference).

I knew I had missed my PR so I had to stop and take this photo

I knew I had missed my PR so I had to stop and take this photo

26.2 miles is still an achievement and completing the distance is a proud moment for someone who still considers themselves a new runner. I never tasted such a nice salty pretzel as I did at the end of this race, although at that point I will admit it hurt to even chew. I grabbed my bag from the gear truck and took the long walk to the shuttle back to the start line. The long walk kept me moving and really helped. I drove home, hopped in the shower, uploaded my run and headed out to meet the family. I felt good. It was a great day.

Marathon Medal (Front)

Marathon Medal (Front)

Marathon Medal (Reverse)

Marathon Medal (Reverse)

This is a race I would recommend. It was great weather, great size and great organization. I would love to run this again on the original route along the Boardwalk when the Shore is fully restored. And I’m sure that will be sooner than later.

Thanks for sticking with me. I know this was a long post. 🙂

Running for a cause other than yourself

On Sunday my wife and I ran a local 5K race to help raise funds for my friend Mike as he trains to race for Team USA at this summers Maccabi games. Anyone who knows me knows that if I have a plan I stick to it somewhat religiously. If someone in our family talks about weekend plans in the future I pretty much look up my calendar and see what run I have planned. I guess that’s my nature. My wife would tell me to loosen up a little. I guess it’s my profession to be measured and disciplined but sometimes you do have to have a little fun. Of course when I am at Walt Disney World it’s all fun.

Anyway, with a week before I run the New Jersey Marathon I am hitting the last part of the taper and resting up for my best efforts on May 5th and I was being extremely careful in my preparation as this is my ‘race’ for the year where I am going for a goal, but this was for a friend and I wanted to make sure I was there to support. I wasn’t going to run hard during the race but take it nice and slow to keep loose and have fun.

The weather was perfect. Clear sky, light breeze and cool temps in the 50s. I dropped my eldest off at his Sunday morning class and took the double stroller to run with Asher (and his Best Pal).

Taking it nice and slow with my race crew

Taking it nice and slow with my race crew

Shari and I both wore our new ‘Boston Strong’ shirts and we were glad to see that many of the people there were also wearing Boston gear. Runners are their own support group.

I started at the back as I was the only one running with a passenger, mind you I was lucky I noticed just before the start that I was on the wrong side of the start line which would have put me at the front…oops. Shari went off with the main pack and ran a new 5K PR (just over 24 minutes). As the say in Boston she is becoming a ‘wicked fast runnah’. She makes it look good.

My little red haired 'wicked fast runnah'

My little red haired ‘wicked fast runnah’

I took it nice and slow chatting with Asher all the way and asking him to tell me the directions of each of the arrows on the course. He was a good navigator and I made it back to the finish line running 10 minute splits. Asher was more excited to see his Mommy at the finish line although he had fun peeking through the window in the hood of the stroller to make sure I was still there during the race. Mickey, I am pleased to say, behaved beautifully.

Asher with Mommy and his Best Pal

Asher with Mommy and his Best Pal

We made it to the finish line.  Asher already re-carbing for his next event.

We made it to the finish line. Asher already re-carbing for his next event.

After the race was over and we had said goodbye to everyone we headed over to Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee (me) and a treat (Asher) as promised. It seems I do run on (or at least for) Dunkin’.

Asher 'earned' his treat after all his hard work during the 5K

Asher ‘earned’ his treat after all his hard work during the 5K

Once I have completed the New Jersey Marathon next week I will be getting ready to hold a virtual 5K to raise funds for Autism Speaks and hopefully get closer to achieving my fundraising target for the 2014 Dopey Challenge. (Watch this space, the medal looks awesome).

Raising funds for charity sometimes feels harder than the actual training itself. In addition you feel a little extra pressure to make sure you achieve the goals you set out for yourself so you don’t let everyone down. It’s tough and hopefully your family, friends and colleagues understand why you repeatedly ask for sponsorship.

When I decided to run the Goofy Challenge last year I actually signed up for the race before I signed up for a charity. I had made the choice to run the Goofy well before I signed up for the event. It was after I had registered that I began to think that running such a high profile event made me feel a little like I was showing off and I thought that it would be more of an achievement if I ran for a cause other than my own ego. Around the same time that I registered my niece was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. This led me to join up with Autism Speaks and run with them them at Disney. I had run enough miles for myself it was time to run for someone else. I had the shirt below made for the occasion, although it will need to be updated this year as I go from Goofy to Dopey 🙂

My 2013 Goofy shirt courtesy of 'One More Mile'

My 2013 Goofy shirt courtesy of ‘One More Mile’

The back of my shirt for 'Team Sadie'

The back of my shirt for ‘Team Sadie’

If you would like to follow my progress please sign up to follow this blog. If you would like to contribute to the cause you can do so using this link.

My goal is stay healthy through running and go onto raise funds for other events in the future. My hope is that in 2015 (a long way off I know) that I get to run the Boston Marathon for Autism Speaks if they have places for the event. I’m not a ‘wicked fast runnah’ and this may be my only way to that great event. I know that if I get there to run for others that will be my personal BQ.

Thanks for reading.

(If you want to follow and support my friend Mike you can do so at this link)

Two weeks to go to the New Jersey Marathon…dealing with the unexpected

Just a week ago in Boston we were reminded that there are things beyond our control. As runners we follow a plan, we train, we practice our race day efforts (pacing, hydration, fueling strategy, clothing) but for all our planning and rehearsing both physical and mental we have to understand there are things we cannot control.

A colleague once said to me during a difficult project that you can only worry about the things you can control, you cannot worry yourself about the things you can’t.

I am now two weeks out from the New Jersey Marathon. I have trained hard for this. Again using Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 1 plan, early cold winter mornings (remind me not to sign up for too many Spring marathons unless I move to Florida) and I am now enjoying(?) the taper down to race day. I may be over-carbing a little too much but I have two weeks to work on that.

New Jersey Marathon 2013

New Jersey Marathon 2013

When I signed up for this I thought it would be great to show support to the folks in New Jersey following the devastation that occurred as a result of Hurricane Sandy. Although I live just outside of Philadelphia I work very close to the Jersey Shore in Holmdel, NJ. Indeed we were impacted by the storm and the surrounding areas were hit hard. We as a Company stood up to challenges it faced and have very much embraced the ‘Restore the Shore’ initiatives. Take a look at this article which captures how the Company I work for faced the impact of the storm for our community.

Before I headed down to Walt Disney World for the 2013 Goofy Challenge I floated the idea with my Company that we should get a team of runners together for either the New Jersey Half or Full Marathon to represent our Company and it’s ‘Restore the Shore’ initiative. I am pleased to say that we will be sending a few folks along (me included) as well as sending some race volunteers.

New Jersey Marathon 2013

New Jersey Marathon 2013

I sent my original email before the tragedy at Sandy Hook in Connecticut last December. It was this tragedy that the Boston Athletic Association was honoring last week with a special mile marker at mile 26 to remember each of the victims of that terrible event. Little did anyone know that we would again be witnessing another tragedy on the day of the Marathon. Indeed many of the runners were not able to reach the 26 mile marker on that day.

Over the last week we have seen an outpouring of support from runners all over America and the World in support of Boston. The City of Boston has set up the ‘One Fund Boston’ site where people can contribute to support the victims of the tragedy. You can visit the site here.

One Fund Boston

One Fund Boston

A sign seen at the 2013 London Marathon - April 21, 2013

A sign seen at the 2013 London Marathon – April 21, 2013

Last week the New Jersey Marathon Race Director asked that we run to support Boston by wearing the yellow and blue colors of the Boston Athletic Association. Many vendors have produced such gear with net proceeds from the sale of items being contributed to the One Fund Boston organization. Indeed the official partner of the Boston Marathon, Adidas, is selling a race shirt with all proceeds going to this fund.

Boston Commemorative Shirt by Adidas

Boston Commemorative Shirt by Adidas

So, with two weeks to go I have many more reasons to run. I started out with thoughts of supporting the victims of Hurricane Sandy, now we run to finish for those in Boston and to complete the honor of commemorating the 26 victims from Sandy Hook whose mile marker was to be seen by all the finishers.

With all those things to run for it puts all my negative thoughts, moans and groans about achy this and that, and all the whining about early mornings and cold starts into perspective.

With my new race day gear (I’m planning on wearing whichever commemorative shirt arrives in time and also a pair of red Zensah compression sleeves to represent the ‘Red Sox’ – don’t worry I’m still a Phillies fan) I am running not just for myself on May 5th but for all these other reasons.

I’ll leave the Disney runs for all my charity fundraising but I hope the rest of my year and future years are to run for health and enjoyment and for all the positive things in life.

(If you want to follow me during the New Jersey Marathon my Bib number is #2492)

A community of runners

Today I received my number and corral placement (Bib #: 2492 / Corral: ­C) for the New Jersey Marathon on May 5th.

Originally we were to run for the victims of Hurricane Sandy (Restore The Shore) but now I will also be dedicating my miles to the victims in Boston and for all those runners who after months of training were unable to complete their races. We are a community of runners.

#runBoston #JerseyStrong

Boston. Be strong.

As a runner who has completed a few marathons I know the dedication, hard work and emotions running a marathon takes. My heart goes out to all those affected by the tragedy in Boston. For those who finished today, be proud. Even though this year will be remembered for this sad act you earned your medal and wear it in honor of all those who were unable to finish. Be proud. Be strong Boston.