March 26, 2017
Chip Time – 02:01:42 (9:16/mile)
Watch Time – 1:55:23 (8:50/mile)… Unofficial PR!
So I guess the saying is true, “there’s no place like home!”
I moved from Philly to DC in October 2016. Since leaving, I had no desire to go back to visit largely because of the weather, but also because I felt like I wasn’t missing anything by being away from the city. Boy was I wrong! This city is has SOOOO many great things to offer and some great people as well, despite what everyone thinks!
My race weekend began on Friday. I went into work then straight to Union Station where I took the train from DC to Philly. I arrived pretty late but had already invited some folks out to meet me at a nearby restaurant/bar to hang out and catch the games. Not as many people came out as expected, but the night still ended up being a great one! After being out pretty late on Friday I still managed to wake up pretty early to cheer on the runners at the 6th Annual Stroehmann Bakeries Back on my Feet 5 Miler. Soon as I got to the race area, it felt like I knew everyone in some capacity! This race is not a big race but the support that it receives is always great. With that, I was able to speak to people that I haven’t seen in a few months, especially the fellas of Black Men Run Philadelphia.
From this race I went on over to pick up my things for the half marathon at the expo. I was extremely happy that the weather was cooperating on this day compared to the previous years expo when we had snow. Nope, this year the expo was inside, at the Philadelphia Convention Center. Not even five minutes into being at the expo I saw a teammate of mine from District Triathlon, Gaftie (@Will_Work_4_Vacation).
The expo was a breeze! There was plenty of space so you never felt like you were on top of everyone and the volunteers did a great job so I should’ve been in and out, if I didn’t stop and talk to just about everyone while there. LOL!
After finally getting over being this social butterfly I went across the street to get some food at the Reading Terminal. This is definitely a place everyone should go to when in Philly! I went with the Salmon Curry with Shrimp from Little Thai Market. I’m telling you, if you haven’t had it you’re missing out big time!
I didn’t have much time this weekend to hang out with everyone so I left this time after picking my things up from the expo to just chill and not stress about what to do next. I walked and walked throughout the city until it was time to head back and get ready for the shake out run/pasta dinner with Team RWB Philly. I had my usual pre-race meal, chicken parmigiana, but more important, this was a chance for folks to come out and meet one another so I was happy!
Then there was race day. I was on the fence the whole week about doing this race. I ran in some new shoes the weekend prior and I was worried that I would further injure myself if I ran. It wasn’t until the shakeout run on Saturday when I said I can push through. Shoot, I even questioned it on the morning of the race. Nonetheless, I am so glad that I did! Firstly, as I’ve mentioned before, seeing everyone this weekend was amazing, and that was the first thing I was able to do as I got to the race by meeting everyone on Team RWB Philly for a team photo:
From the pic, I went on to do my little BS stretching (insider), I really have to work on that whole stretching thing! I walked around a bit more before race start to say hello to everyone and thank just about every volunteer, then boom… the race began!
My plan for this race was to run with my friend David (@dsj80) who was the official 2:15 half marathon pacer for the race. The thought was to run slower and not get hurt by pushing myself too hard. As the race started I was not able to find him so off I went. The first few miles felt great, although my paces for the race were all over the place! I ran, stopped, talked, walked the opposite way of where the race was going, all to try and find this 2:15 pacer because I was well ahead of that pace. About mile four is when I just said screw it and started running! Somehow he was ahead of me! Mind you I was running at about an 8:20/mile pace at this point of the race. Once I saw him I figured I’ll stick with him even though my legs and foot were feeling great. I did this 10:20/mile pace for about two miles but my foot began to hurt much more than it did when I was running my normal pace. At that point I just told David bye and went on running. This was perfect because we were coming up on my favorite parts of this and every race…the part where I can see runners on the opposite side. I LOVE this part because being able to see people and cheer them on keeps me motivated, especially when I’m on the side that closer to the finish line, HAHA! So this year’s course has changed a bit so there weren’t many hills at all, which I loved. I continued to run my roller coaster like half marathon loving and enjoying every bit of it. In fact, I was having such a good time that I didn’t even think to drink anything until mile 11! I guess it was a bit too late because I hit a wall shortly after. I went from a 7:30 mile, to a 7:45, to 8:52 then a 9:50 to finish out the race.
Nonetheless, I got it done and had an unofficial PR, according to my watch, and if I planned correctly, I could’ve EASILY gotten a 1:50 time, if not a 1:45! But hey, I guess I’ll just focus on getting that done at next year’s Love Run Half Marathon, because I’ll be back!!!!
January 29, 2017
Miami (Half) Marathon! Good weather, nice beaches, beautiful views… not just referring to the surroundings 😉 What a perfect way to start off the season, or so I hoped.
The days leading to race day were great. I met a few folks from District Running Collective, a running group based in D.C. so it gave me the opportunity to enjoy the race weekend with others. We did dinner, a welcome happy hour, went out to a club in Wynwood Art District and even had a pre-race dinner, although I didn’t make it out for that. I was feeling pretty lazy the night before the race so I stayed in and made chicken parm.
Then race day came! I set my alarm to go off at 4am, and I woke up at that time. The snooze button wanted a bit more attention that day so I kept touching it, only to find myself waking up at 5:35 for a race that started at 6am. This definitely caused me to panic a bit, but thanks to pre-race routines, I had my things ready the night before so it was simple as throwing my them on and hitting the road. Getting to the race was no problem. In fact, it was a nice way to get warm as I had to run about a mile to the start line. The only reason I was pissed about coming late was because I missed the pre-race team photo and the opportunity to meet everyone before the race.
I got to the start line just at 6am! Luckily, I was in corral E and they were letting each corral go every five minutes. This gave me the opportunity to relax, stretch and get mentally prepared for the race.
I started at 6:25am and quickly found the 2-hour half marathon pacer. Unfortunately, I didn’t think of a real race day plan so I was running with no real expectations other than to finish the race. I stayed with (or slightly behind) the pacer for the entire race as I knew that I’d like to finish under two hours if nothing else! The course itself is a beautiful one and the support from spectators and fellow runners was great, especially considering how much the weather sucked! It was a complete 180 from what we had been experiencing the prior three days. Thursday, Friday and Saturday were nice chill typical Miami days. But, Sunday was cold, rainy and windy!
The race started at American Airlines Arena, and then over MacArthur Causeway which was the only incline through the race that I can remember. The Causeway lead us into South Beach and to the famous Ocean Drive. For those who don’t know, Ocean drive is where all the fancy bars, hotels/condos and some clubs are. Ocean Drive lead us to Washington Ave. This would have been one of my favorite parts about the race because I love to see the other runners on the opposite side of the street and cheer them on. On this day, I had no motivation to do that at all! From Washington Ave we headed back into Downtown Miami by crossing the Venetian Way. For folks that haven’t been on the Venetian Way when the weather is nice, it is truly a beautiful bridge and vantage point to see the river meeting the ocean. Actually, I was on the bridge for the first time the day prior when I purchased my new beautiful bike… I still don’t have a name for her but here she is:
Ok, back to the race… So the race brings us back to the opposite side of South Beach; on the outskirts of Downtown Miami. We ran through a residential (not much to see here) before running through Brickell. Brickell is another place I wish folks could see on a nice weather day. It’s Miami’s Downtown area that offers public transportation that would have allowed spectators to get out and support the runners.
While running this point, the sun had risen so I thought that more folks would have been out cheering people on if it were warmer, and not raining, or windy! Anyway, after going through Downtown Miami, we turned back onto Biscayne Blvd and ran towards American Airlines Arena where we were greeted by the spectators and some of the best volunteers!
Overall, this is definitely a race that I’d recommend for folks to do if they’re able. If you’re not familiar with the Miami area, this race will give you the opportunity to go on a winter racecation in an amazing city that offers countless things to do. I also want to give a big thanks to everyone from District Running Collective (@DistrictRunningCollective), especially Keisha (@Amiga2Amor), Leo (@Brushnev), Courtney (@Court_N_Session) and Xio (@Seeomara) for letting me latch on to their hip throughout the weekend as I knew no one else in DRC. Because of them, race weekend was definitely “pure silk”.