July 2014 – Month in review

July 2014 - Nike+ Summary

July 2014 – Nike+ Summary

As I end the month of July I am just over a couple of weeks away from the ‘Chasing the Unicorn‘ Marathon. This was a month of buckling down and get my training runs in. This month I managed 194 miles as I keep up the training plan I chose this time around. In hindsight, training for an August marathon is probably not my wisest decision based upon the heat and the training plan I chose (Hal Higdon’s Intermediate 2) but there has been some cooler weather so all the runs were manageable and I’m feeling good and confident of my goal for the race.

I took part in one race this month, the In24 Midnight Madness 8 mile run. This was more of an event than a race and I ran a pretty decent time considering the time of day and how many hours I had already been up at that time. It was fun and you can read my recap here. I got to try out some new gear (Noxgear Tracer360) during this race which was fun and did draw some positive attention. I’ve subsequently run while wearing this during my early morning runs when it wasn’t part of the night run…not sure the attention was as positive…more strange looks, especially from the wildlife in the park where I run. Literally I know what ‘a deer in the headlights’ really looks like close up 🙂

Wearing my Noxgear 'Tracer 360'

Wearing my Noxgear ‘Tracer 360’

As this was a holiday month and we didn’t go away for our usual week of vacation for July 4th we have taken advantage of our weekends. I gave each of my boys a special day during the month. With my youngest we went to the Bucks County Children’s Museum and with my eldest we spent a day in Philadelphia celebrating ‘Benjamin Franklin’ and visiting all places related to the Founding Father. We also as a family spent two days in New York City. We had a great time and took the boys to the top of the Empire State Building and also to the Statue of Liberty. We also got to eat at the Peanut Butter Company Sandwich Shop. I would recommend it as a place to visit if you are ever in Greenwich Village.

Family time with 'Thing 2'

Family time with ‘Thing 2’

Family time with 'Thing 1'

Family time with ‘Thing 1’

Lady Liberty with Things 1 and 2

Lady Liberty with Things 1 and 2

I received my Mickey Milers team jersey this month. It’s great to be a part of a running group even though everyone is spread out across the country (and beyond). I have managed to meet up and run with a couple of team members so far and we will be having a group meet up at the upcoming Philadelphia Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in September. The team’s goal is to raise funds for the ‘Give Kids The World‘ Village in Orlando, Florida.

Mickey MIlers team shirt

Mickey MIlers team shirt

Also this month I was invited to join the INKnBURN Ambassador Program. I am very excited to be a part of this team as I really like the products they make. I mentioned last month that I had wanted to try this brand for a while and when I did I really liked how they looked and performed. Now I am proud to have been chosen to ‘spread the word’. I will be doing a detailed review in the near future and will be able to share a special discount code with everyone. I’m excited to see some new products and look forward to sharing my impressions of them and wearing them in some upcoming races.

This month I am continuing to promote my two virtual runs to raise funds for Autism Speaks. If you haven’t yet checked them out please do so here. I have some great medals and great prizes which were donated from some leading running gear providers. Also I am continuing to fundraise for Team Up for Autism Speaks as my wife and I both run for their charity team for the 2015 Walt Disney World ‘Goofy Challenge’. If you would like to support me please use this link here. A big thank you in advance.

'Going Goofy' 5K medal

‘Going Goofy’ 5K medal

'Secret Agent 005K' medal

‘Secret Agent 005K’ medal

Upcoming I have the ‘Chasing the Unicorn’ marathon on August 17th and I just recently signed up for the Bucks County Duathlon on August 31st (I participated in 2011 and 2012 but missed last year due to a family wedding). A lot of things to look forward to and a goal to achieve in August.

Thank you for reading. I hope you had a good July and have a great August.

 

in24 Midnight Madness race recap

At the weekend I ran my first nighttime race, the in24 Philadelphia Midnight Madness. It is a mid-distance race through Fairmount Park and is run on the 8.4-mile loop around Philadelphia’s Schuylkill River. It was definitely unique. I even got to live out some of my ‘TRON’ fantasies from my childhood.

mm

It was part of the in24 Philadelphia weekend raising funds and awareness for ‘Back on My Feet’, a national organization that uses running to help those experiencing homelessness to transform their lives. The weekend included an urban Ultra-Marathon, relay challenge, the Midnight Madness event and a 5K.

in24 Philadelphia 2014

in24 Philadelphia 2014

I mainly train in the early mornings (I’ve been known to get up at 3am to run – not counting runDisney weekends) so this was a bit of an adjustment for me in terms of being on my feet all day and figuring out what and when to eat before the race. It was an interesting experiment in time management for sure.

I have 4 weeks left until the ‘Chasing the Unicorn’ marathon and so I have been piling on the mileage recently. This left me a little tired going in, especially with a 12 miler that I had run the previous day (I was up at 3:30am in the morning) before work. Luckily I almost got to sleep in a little on Saturday morning as my wife took my eldest son to do ‘The Color Run’ down in Philadelphia. I was able to relax a bit with my other little guy and we watched a lot of Disney movies in our pajamas.

The Color Run - Before

The Color Run – Before

The Color Run - During

The Color Run – During

The Color Run - After

The Color Run – After

I spent the afternoon with the whole family and after putting the boys to bed I got myself ready, said goodnight to my wife and headed downtown to Philadelphia. The race was at midnight and I arrived around 10.30pm. I hadn’t been able to pick up my race packet the day earlier as logistically it was difficult for me to get to the host running store before it closed on Friday. I figured if I needed to return to my car to drop off stuff this gave me time. Thankfully there was bag check at the event.

Getting ready - wearing my Noxgear 'Tracer 360'

Getting ready – wearing my Noxgear ‘Tracer 360’

Getting ready - wearing my Noxgear 'Tracer 360'

Getting ready – wearing my Noxgear ‘Tracer 360’

This was the look I was going for...

This was the look I was going for… Not quite the same.

As I drew up to the start/finish area at Lloyd Hall on the banks of the river it looked a little like a tented village. In addition to the race tents and sponsors areas, many of the ultra-runners and relay teams had set up tents and camped out for the 24 hour event (10am Saturday through 10am Sunday).

Check in was pretty simple and after pinning on my bib and getting my reflective gear on I checked my bag and waited with everyone else around the start line. Next to the check in table was a table of night running gear and glo sticks which were free to take and provided by the organizers. These included some reflective arm/leg bands, glo sticks and I think there were a few blinking lights available for runners.

Check in area

Check in area

Runners were encouraged to wear headlamps in the race instructions and most people did that. In addition to the running awards (top finishers) there was also a prize for best illuminated. Some people went to great effort and were innovative in their use of glo sticks. I saw a glo stick tutu, baseball cap and glasses as well as other uses.

A glo tutu

A glo tutu

6

Dressed up and ready to run

I myself wore my new Noxgear ‘Tracer 360’ light and reflective gear. In addition to standing out it was very lightweight and provided much entertainment it seemed for the other runners. I have since had another early morning run wearing it (10 miles) and it is comfortable and stays put and is a little cooler to wear than my usual Brooks Nightlife running vest. In addition I wore my Petzel Tikkina headlamp and my Road ID Supernova lamp at the back of my hat (see my blog post about this gear here). People could certainly see me coming.

Can you see me now?

Can you see me now?

The Tracer 360 stands out

The Tracer 360 stands out

Around 11:40pm the starter called us to the starting area and gave a few instructions. As there was another race still going on (the ultra) we were running anti-clockwise vs the ultra-runners going clockwise. The roads were not closed to other traffic so we obviously had to be aware of our surroundings and although I saw some people wearing headphones their use was not recommended and most runners did not.

The starting area...all a glow and ready to run

The starting area…all a glow and ready to run

The starting area...all a glow and ready to run

The starting area…all a glow and ready to run

The starter made reference to the ultra-runners who had by that time been running almost 14 hours and still had about 10 more hours to go. He said they will look bad and smell even worse so we should give them every encouragement as we pass them by. I had been watching some of the ultra-runners run past while I was in the waiting area. They looked a mix runners going strong and some struggling but they kept it going no matter how hard it looked. Kudos to those guys.

The Ultra was not a fixed distance of 50 miles or 100 miles but was how many 8.4 loops you could fit into the 24 hour period. The winner was a 49 year old runner from Maryland who completed 17 x 8.4 mile loops (143.82 miles) in 23 hours 42 minutes at a sub 10 minute per mile pace. Wow…just wow!!

Midnight came and off we went. It was still quite warm (around 70 degrees) and was a little humid but not too unbearable. All the runners stayed on the sidewalk so it was a little bunched up for the first couple of miles but it soon broke open and spread out as we progressed through miles 3 onwards. The street was fairly well lit with the street lamps alongside the river and other than a few shaded places and underpasses where you needed your headlamp it was fairly okay to run. They had about 4 water stations out on the course and the volunteers were very cheery considering the time of day.

I used my usual run/walk intervals and pretty much stayed with the same group of folks from mile 2 through the end. I felt comfortable with my pace although I did slow around mile 6 and 7 but picked it back up at the finish. The course was pretty flat with the only real climb coming up from West River Drive up to the Philadelphia Museum of Art. It is easier doing it as part of an 8 mile race than it is during the end of a half marathon for sure.

Course map

Course map

My splits

My splits

I completed the loop in a time of 1:14:33. Good enough for 49th place (25th overall male) and at an 8:49 per mile pace. I’ll take that. The winner ran the distance in a time of 45 minutes flat. He was 8 minutes (yes 8 minutes) faster than the runner up. That’s quite a gap for such a distance race. Almost a minute per mile faster than the other runners.

My results

My results

Every runner received a finishers medal as well as some post race refreshments.

Finisher medal

Finisher medal

My reward for the night

My reward for the night

By the time I had finished it was 1:15am. I grabbed a bottle of water and ate half a pretzel. I just wanted to get home and go to bed at this point. It had been a long couple of days and I needed to catch up on my sleep ahead of my last big week of marathon training before the taper. I listened to the results of the races being called and no, I didn’t win most illuminated. As I walked back to my car there were still some runners out on the course doing the Midnight Madness and also many still running the Ultra.

I got home and crawled into bed at 2:33am. Guess who’s kids decided to get up early when it wasn’t a school day? Two boys on full throttle on a Sunday morning. I’m one lucky guy 🙂

It was definitely fun and worth doing and I would recommend it for someone to try something different. I am not sure I would rush back to do it again unless I was running with a friend and I would have the ability to sleep in late the next day. All in all I had a great time running this event and I am just in awe of all those ultra-runners.