November 2016 – Month in review

Another late ‘Month in review’ post but technically getting in under the wire.

November was a busy month with 150 miles in training and racing. Not my biggest month for distance but one of the busiest for activities. With all the running, I did still return to the pool for the first time at the end of the month for my first swim since September. I’ve been focusing on my marathon training since my last triathlon so it felt good to finally get back in the water.

November 2016 - Nike+ Summary

November 2016 – Nike+ Summary

The month started off with the New York City Marathon. While I was not running myself (hoping to eventually make that lottery) I was there to cheer on my wife as she ran earning a new PR that day. It was my first time ‘race chasing’ and spectating a marathon and it was truly a thrill. The excitement for waiting for and watching my wife run her race and to cheer on friends and complete strangers was such a great experience. I cannot wait to experience this race for myself one day.

My wife and her NYC Marathon finisher medal

My wife and her NYC Marathon finisher medal

The weekend before Thanksgiving is the Philadelphia Marathon. This year was the inaugural ‘Rocky Challenge’. While I have mixed feelings about how the weekend was organized I was proud of my performance in running both races, the Half Marathon and the Full Marathon back to back, in under 2 hours and 4 hours respectively. They were two of my best performances at those distances this year.

A good weekends work. A sub 2 hour Half Marathon and a sub 4 hour Full Marathon

A good weekends work. A sub 2 hour Half Marathon and a sub 4 hour Full Marathon

On Thanksgiving Day itself is the annual Bucks County Road Runners Thanksgiving 5 Miler. This was my first race way back in 2010 when I started running. My wife and I ran together the whole race and this was our second fastest time we have run the race. It was a nice start to a long weekend of family time and was a great way to finish the month.

Pre-race at the Thanksgiving Day run

Pre-race at the Thanksgiving Day run

Always great to cross a finish line together

Always great to cross a finish line together

A nice way to earn our Thanksgiving dinner treats

A nice way to earn our Thanksgiving dinner treats

November marked the end of my race season but after a week of recovery I jumped straight into week 4 of my marathon training plan for the 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon next March. Oh well, at least I finished the race season upright and healthy so that is something that I really want to give thanks for.

Thank you for reading.

 

 

February 2016 – Month in review

February 2016 – Nike+ Summary

February 2016 – Nike+ Summary

My Nike + Summary shows 127 miles for the month. There was still no cycling this month but I got 2 miles done in the pool.

I did, however, go to my local bike store (Guy’s Bicycles) to meet with the owner regarding a new road bike for my upcoming half iron distance triathlon this summer. I had briefly spoken to him during the annual Bucks County Triathlon Club get together at the start of the month and subsequently set up an appointment with him. I think I’ve chosen the best bike based upon his recommendations and what I can afford and will be waiting for the weather to get warmer to go out for a full test ride. The bike has been built and we are just waiting on the weather. Very exciting.

As per last month, month of the training was done indoors on the treadmill. I’ve certainly got more use out of my home treadmill this month than I have since we got it last May. I just have to get up extra early now so I can coordinate with my wife who typically uses it mostly during weekdays before work while I run outside. I’ll be happy to be outside again so I get to sleep in a little longer and we can both start at the same time.

During the month I finally ran in my first Bucks County Road Runners ‘Winter Series’ race. I have been a member of the running club since 2011 and never had the chance to run in a Winter Series event. My wife has done a few of these but I was always training for a Disney race and the distances and timing/logistics with family never worked out. Our friend is the Race Director this season and our boys happened to have a sleep over that weekend so both my wife and I were able to run together in the ‘Eenie-Meanie-Minie-Moe’ Half Marathon in Tyler State Park.

I have run many miles in that park and the course still took me somewhere I had never been. Somewhere new to include in the course rotations going forward. It was fun. They had a great number of runners and people could choose a series of different distances (based upon the number of loops run). We did the half marathon distance which was the most available on the day. It fit nicely into our New Jersey Marathon training. There was a great post race gathering which apparently happens every week during these races. There is a fire pit, coffee and hot chocolate and all the food you can think off. I took my share of the oatmeal raisin cookies and the (really good) hot chocolate with me as we had to head out to pick up the boys.

Running the 'Eenie-Meanie-Minie-Moe' Half Marathon

Running the ‘Eenie-Meanie-Minie-Moe’ Half Marathon

Also this month we entered the lottery for the TCS New York City Marathon. It is the 40th anniversary race this year and sure to be something special in addition to being one of the world majors and a bucket list race. My wife and I both tried for the lottery in 2014 and didn’t get in. This year we both entered again and committed that whoever gets in will run regardless of whether the other doesn’t (spoiler alert – the drawing took place on Tuesday March 8th. My wife got in, I didn’t).

At the end of the month I launched my fundraising page for Autism Speaks. I’ve run for Autism Speaks for the last few years at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend. This year I will be raising funds for them through participating in the HITS Hudson Valley Triathlon this July (the name changed from the Kingston, NY to Hudson Valley, NY this month with a slight course change). I am hoping to raise at least $1,000 this year. You can reach my fundraising page here and read about my fundraising here.

Thanks for reading. Looking forward to more outdoor than indoor running as we move headlong towards Spring.

Autism Speaks

 

 

 

November 2015 – Month in review

November 2015 – Nike+ Summary

November 2015 – Nike+ Summary

November was a busy month. Running miles were 115, 18 miles on the bicycle and 1.3 miles in the pool. There were no business trips during the month but a few races and of course the 2015 Philadelphia Marathon. Running distance was less due to the taper and rest and recovery days around the marathon.

The month started off with a bang. I was coming off from the Marine Corps Marathon in late October followed up a week later by the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon on Halloween. Because Pope Francis had visited Philadelphia in mid-September this race had been pushed back to Halloween which then collided with the Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge 10K run the day after. My father-in-law had signed up for both not realizing the proximity of the races so we looked to transfer his bib for the 10K over to me so as not to lose the race fee as he didn’t want to run back to back races.

The only slight downside of this was that the clocks changed back on November 1st and I ended up getting up early the day after a half marathon while everyone was still in bed taking advantage of that extra hour. The weather was cool and it was still a fun race. I carried over my Halloween weekend costume with my Ink N Burn Boba Fett shirt which I matched up with a recent addition from the Disney Store to complete the look. I met up with a fellow Mickey Miler (Matt) before the start of the race. I ran a respectable time considering it had just been a week since the Marine Corps Marathon and only a day since the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon.

With fellow Mickey Miler Matt before the race

With fellow Mickey Miler Matt before the race.

The race recap

The race recap. Pace much faster than previous runs this year. Felt good.

Post race...getting a little 'Bounty Hunter' attitude on.

Post race…getting a little ‘Bounty Hunter’ attitude on.

The reward for a little pace work.

The reward for a little pace work.

This was ‘part’ of my so-called taper up to the Philadelphia Marathon. Not sure I was really resting my legs fully…as you can read in that race recap. But with the pace I hit I was feeling confident going into the race. Unfortunately the race didn’t go according to plan but still, crossing the marathon finish line is still a success. Marathon number 14 was complete.

Marathon number 14 complete.

Marathon number 14 complete.

There were a few days of rest before my wife, my father-in-law and I attended our local running club (Bucks County Road Runners) Thanksgiving 5 Miler. It was a little chilly but not as cold as it had been in previous years. We soon warmed up. Our pace helped warm us up to. Nice to have everyone back and running together. My father-in-law was nursing a sprained ankle so he volunteered this year so he was still with us at the race. It was a good start to our Thanksgiving weekend.

Waiting for the race to start.

Waiting for the race to start.

Race recap - we ran side by side and held a good pace. Felt strong.

Race recap – my wife and I ran side by side (she’s fast) we held a good pace. Felt strong for just a few days post Philadelphia Marathon.

Together with my father-in-law who was volunteering on the day.

Together with my father-in-law who was volunteering on the day.

Waiting for the Thanksgiving 5 Miler to start.

As soon as the race was over we grabbed a quick cup of coffee and headed home to partake in our usual Thanksgiving household tradition, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade (on DVR…we planned ahead) and then Mickey Mouse waffles with the boys. Fun times.

Mickey Mouse waffles. A family Thanksgiving tradition in our house.

Mickey Mouse waffles. A family Thanksgiving tradition in our house.

Mickey Mouse waffles. A family Thanksgiving tradition in our house.

Mickey Mouse waffles. A family Thanksgiving tradition in our house.

It was nice to have plenty of family time with all the business travel and races we have been doing over the last few months. While my wife headed to the mall on Black Friday I took the time to go see the new Pixar movie with the boys. It was a nice change of pace.

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I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I apologize for being late with my month in review. I’m just squeaking this under the wire before the end of the year.

Thank you for reading.

 

September 2015 – Month in review

Septmber 2015 – Nike+ Summary

September 2015 – Nike+ Summary

Another busy month. According to my Nike app I ran 143 miles and my MapMyFitness calendar showed I had a total of 207 miles (143 miles running, 62 miles cycling and 2 miles swimming). 

September - Map My Fitness

September – Map My Fitness

This month included the Hightstown Triathlon, my 3rd(ish) and last triathlon of the year and also the last few weeks of training for the Marine Corps Marathon so plenty of training during the month in preparation.

Fall definitely made an appearance during the month but luckily it was still fairly warm during the triathlon so I was able to enjoy the last days of summer. Our boys went back to school, my youngest is now in Kindergarten so both boys are together again at the local elementary school.

My two guys heading into school together

My two guys heading into school together

Also, as he has now moved up to Kindergarten, he is now at Sunday school every week vs every other week like last year. This allowed my wife and I to have 3 hours together on Sunday mornings so we were able to get some marathon training in together which was a great as we probably hadn’t had a chance to run together as a couple since the Pittsburgh Marathon back in May.

Nice opportunity to get out on the trail together

Nice opportunity to get out on the trail together

We’ve been taking the opportunity to get some of the long runs in along the Delaware Canal as it is fairly flat but very close to where we take the kids for Sunday school so we can save some time. It’s been great running there as the temperatures have cooled. We changed our route up a bit this year and crossed over the Delaware River at Washington’s Crossing so we ran both on the Pennsylvania side and the New Jersey side. Just to mix things up. On one of the times we were running together we crossed back to the PA side and saw a group of Revolutionary War re-enactors walking around Washington Crossing Park. We got a bit of a surprise when they started shooting off muskets and it didn’t really help when we ran through the park and my wife pointed out to them that I was British…thanks Babe, appreciate that.

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The British are running...the British are running...

The British are running…the British are running…

Work is ramping up again so I am back to traveling for a while and finding some time to squeeze my training in. I find fitting the swim training in a bit more difficult as I’m not close to my gym but I did manage to find an LA Fitness near the hotel in Atlanta to allow me to get a swim day in before the triathlon. My triathlon races are done for now for this year and once I am back home during the winter months I can ramp that up again with plans for next year.

So we end the month just a few weeks away from our big race of the year, the Marine Corps Marathon. My wife and I are really looking forward to running this together. We will be travelling down without the boys this time around as it is going to be a pretty quick trip. I definitely want to take them next summer to visit the museums and enjoy the sites. That will be a fun vacation. We can scope it all out as we are running along the route.

My upcoming race calendar should now be set through the end of the year (perhaps):

October 25 – Marine Corps Marathon (Washington, DC) – This will be our first time running this event.

October 31 – Rock and Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon – I ran this event on my own in 2012 and as a couple in 2013 and 2014.

November 1 – Cooper Norcross Run the Bridge (Camden, NJ) – I ran this event for the first time in 2013.

November 22 – Philadelphia Marathon – In 2011 this was my first marathon and also the first where I broke 4 hours in 2012. My wife and I ran this together in 2013.

November 26 – Bucks County Road Runners Thanksgiving 5 Miler (Langhorne, PA) – We try to run this every year (since we started running) and only missed it last year by being out of town. Here is my last recap of that race.

Looking forward to October and beyond. Thank you for reading.

August 2015 – Month in review

August 2015 – Nike+ Summary

August 2015 – Nike+ Summary

126 miles this month logged in the Nike app.

August - Map My Fitness

August – Map My Fitness

However 233 miles in training. 126.3 miles running, 100.4 miles of cycling, 6.3 miles of swimming. I think it’s the first month I’ve gone over 100 miles on the bike. I think I’m most proud of how far my swimming has come. This August was 5 years since I set foot in the gym. I’m slowly inching my way up to 7,500 miles since I started recording my runs. 🙂

My running has increased from prior months as I am now ramping up the training to the Marine Corps Marathon this October. I had the pleasure of running 15 miles with my wife one weekend when our boys were visiting the Baseball Hall of Fame with their grandparents. They had fun and so did we. Not a bad deal.

A highlight for me this month was completing my first triathlon at the Medford Lakes Colony Sprint Triathlon. It was lots of fun and the weather cooperated this time. I am actually having fun doing things other than just running and it feels great.

Lots to look forward to in September, October and November. I am all signed up for the Hightstown Triathlon in mid-September. In October my wife and I are running in both the Marine Corps Marathon and on Halloween the Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon. Finally in November I am running my 4th Philadelphia Marathon and my wife and I are running our annual Bucks County Road Runners Thanksgiving 5 miler. Lots of training to do between now and then.

This is the first year since 2011 that I haven’t a runDisney event on my calendar for January so I have a little break from training this December. My wife and I did sign up for a spring marathon so we will be training again through the winter months. We signed up for the New Jersey Marathon on May 1st. This will be my 3rd New Jersey Marathon (and home of my marathon PR) and my wife’s first. It’s a nice fairly local race so it’ll be fun for us. The plan is that we look for a spring and a fall marathon to run together each year. I like the sound of that.

Thanks for reading.

November 2013 – month in review

November 2013 -  Nike+ Summary

November 2013 –
Nike+ Summary

128 miles this month but a very busy month.

I had been focusing my training on running the 2013 Philadelphia Marathon and strictly following the Hal Higdon Intermediate 1 training plan but somehow I managed to sign up for and schedule two races in the two weeks leading up to the marathon itself and one just over a week after. Yes, two races during the time I should have been tapering. Luckily they both went off without a hitch as did the marathon and I also managed to earn a PR in one event.

The weather was a big factor in each of the races I ran during November. The first race was the Benjamin Franklin Bridge 10K run. It was a cold start but I managed to warm up enough to earn a new 10K PR. I don’t run many 10K distances so it was one of my longer standing goals that I had to beat. I felt good on the day and just went for it.

The following week was the Trenton Half Marathon. It was a really nice course and I ran the race with my wife. We had a wonderful time despite the very cold weather. There was a delay at the start line due to a clock issue and so we stood around in the cold. It took me a couple of miles to feel my feet. All was good in the end. The goal was to do no harm as we were both running the marathon the following week and we stuck to that plan.

On Marathon day itself we ran in t-shirt and shorts. We lucked out for sure with the weather and again it was a wonderful race. It was my 6th marathon (3rd Philly Marathon) and my wife’s 2nd marathon (she ran the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon with me back in January this year). We had a marvelous time together. Running 26.2 miles with your spouse is definitely both an enjoyable time and a test of how much we support each other. We are already looking to 2014 for another marathon together.

As the Philadelphia Marathon was a week earlier than usual this year I had a decent recovery week before we toed the line for the annual Turkey Trot 5 mile race that my running club hosts. This year my parents had flown in from the UK to join us on the day, taking our boys on the one mile fun run/walk. The temperatures were frigid. It was probably the coldest I had been all year. I had three layers on and was still shaking. Needless to say I warmed up with a nice fast time with my wife setting the pace and me following a step behind her.

With November ending I am now focused on the upcoming Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World which is (at the time of writing) just over 5 weeks from now. I have spent the first two weeks following the marathon in ‘recovery’ mode, the next four weeks are the intense training weeks and then I will have about a week and a half to taper. Luckily I am spending a few days in Florida on the Gulf Coast perfectly timed (through a happy accident) for the longest runs of the training plan. Altogether my time in Florida will cover about 60 miles of running including one 20 mile long run which I am doing during the 8 weeks between marathons. I am looking forward to some sunshine.

Thank you for reading.

Thanksgiving 2013

Yesterday was Thanksgiving here in the USA. Having grown up in England and living here since 2001 I never grew up with family traditions but since I’ve been here, married and started a family we are making our own traditions which we hope to carry on for many years.

Our day started with the Bucks County Road Runners 24th Annual Thanksgiving 5 Miler. Back in 2010 this was my first ‘real’ race as I had only just started running a couple of months earlier. It was the first race I ran with ‘proper’ running shoes from an actual running store. I was joined in 2011 by my wife and we have run this event every year since. Typically it is only a few days after the Phialdelphia Marathon although last year I felt fresh legged enough to post a 5 mile PR of 40:33. This year with the Marathon being a week earlier and training for the Dopey Challenge in a few weeks I wanted to take it a little easier.

Bucks County Road Runners

Bucks County Road Runners

Other than the run itself it was a special day for me as my parents had flown in from the UK for the holiday and they were taking part in the 1 mile fun run with our two boys. We were also joined by my father-in-law who has run this race many times and my sister-in-law and her fiance.

Our family just before the start of the race

Our family just before the start of the race

Other than the company, a big difference this year was the temperature. In 2011 I remember running this race in a t-shirt and shorts. Last year I wore a long sleeve t-shirt and running tights. This year was frigid. I was wearing 3 layers on top, cold gear socks, mittens and a beanie and I was barely warm enough. We arrived around 8:30am for the 9:00am start (a nice late start for me) and I left everyone in the car to stay warm while I headed for bib and t-shirt pickup. It was crowded at the sign in tables even though we had pre-registered. I was standing in line for over 10 minutes and by the time I had picked everything up I was shivering so bad my hands were shaking and I couldn’t pin the bib to my sons jacket without hurting myself on the safety pins. I had originally been wearing a pair of thick Brooks running gloves but pulled out the double layered mittens. In addition, the ground was icy underfoot in the parking area (luckily not an issue on the course).

Race day temparatures Real feel 17 degrees (brrr)

Race day temparatures
Real feel 17 degrees (brrr)

With waiting so long to get our bibs and then heading back to meet everyone we didn’t really have much waiting around at the start line (thankfully as we all looked a bit miserable in the cold). My wife and I hurried to the start line and my parents waited back for their start time about 5 minutes later. It was a big crowd and we started near the back of the line so even though the race was chip timed, the timing mat was only in use at the end so our time was a minute off from the gun time as it took us that long to get across the line at the begining of the race.

My wife was cold and she wasn’t hanging around…she took off like ‘Little Red Rocket Hood’ from the start and held a good pace as we weaved our way around the runners at the start to where the race began to open up. We managed a good time and some pretty good splits. Here is the Garmin activity and below are the stats.

Our splits

Our splits

Course map - Core Creek Park, Langhorne, PA

Course map – Core Creek Park, Langhorne, PA

This is always a very popular race and people are out to have fun. There are the serious racers…other than being the fastest you can always tell a serious racer, they are the ones running in a singlet and shorts when the temparatures are below freezing. Not for me.

Being a social race there are many members out as support on the course as volunteers which is always appreciated. My only complaint about yesterday was the water station (one station which served mile 2 and 3) which used plastic cups (not paper) and that although this was a social run the volunteers at the aid station stopped to speak to runners in front of them causing a collision for me and someone else spilling water on someones back just in front of me. Not a big deal for such a small race but in temperatures below freezing you don’t want a lot of spilt water around an aid station.

My wife and I kept up our pace and ran a respectible 43.58 race for the 5 mile course. We ran fast to stay warm but then stood in the cold chatting with friends for 20 minutes after (yes, I know….). My parents had long since gone into the nearest coffee shop with our boys to stay warm rather than wait at the finish for us. I can’t say I blamed them 🙂

A smile at the finish

A smile at the finish

We then went back home for what has been our own Thanksgiving tradition since before the boys were born. Watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and eating Mickey Mouse waffles. My Mickey waffle maker comes out only twice a year, Thanksgiving and snow days. The tradition continues but I may need to invest in a double Mickey waffle maker as we had additional guests this year with my parents, my father-in-law, my sister-in-law and her fiance all heading back to our house after the race.

Our Thanksgiving holiday tradition

Our Thanksgiving holiday tradition

Yum (strategically placed maple syrup)

Yum (strategically placed maple syrup)

Armed and ready

Armed and ready

After we had our fill of waffles it was time to get ready to head out to visit our family and join in their Thanksgiving celebrations. I have lots to be thankful for.

Heading out for Thanksgiving dinner

Heading out for Thanksgiving dinner