Monday, November 20, 2017

Evidently My Unfinished Business Is Unfinished........

I had planned to come to the table this lunchtime and blog yesterdays marathon.......this will have to keep for a day or two,having slept on the issue last nite I can say I DO plan another crack at 26.2 potentially Los Angeles in March if some logistics can be worked out.

Things did not go my way yesterday morning and for that I hold UPS and the organisers of the marathon to blame,I will get into this in detail when time permits but for now know The Pale Kenyan is NOT done w/ the marathon just yet......
to be continued.......

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Twenty Six Point Two A Pale Kenyan History

As I attempt to channel my inner Cher and "Turn Back Time" tomorrow and run my first marathon in twelve years what better time to reflect on my marathon history......if you are sitting comfortably I'll begin......

Harrow 11.3.85
A stunning debut if I say so myself to brake the three hour barrier at the first attempt,lucked out in the respect it was a loop course and knew what to expect on the second loop

London 4.20.86
A disappointment given my debut 5 months prior,the truth was I didn't work as hard for London as I did for  Harrow

Philly 11.29.87
A combination of not putting the work in either side of leaving home in London at the end of October and my arrival in Philly a month b4 the marathon and getting severely dehydrated lead to my second slowest marathon to date,a dark day for one so pale......

New York City 11.4.90
You can't keep a good Kenyan down for long!
Three years after my darkest day I bounced back w/ a gutsy 3.06.21 and reached "the promised land" aka Boston inside the 3.10 qualifying time

Boston 4.15.91
Beginners luck in Boston??? maybe but a then PR and back under the three hour mark again

Philly 11.18.01
Ten and a half years after my last marathon I proved you can"teach an old Kenyan new tricks" and while I failed to get under three hours I did once again qualify for Boston

Boston 4.15.02
No pr but sub three again and thoughts of a "l Heart Boston" tattoo,any thoughts of moving to Beantown were obliterated by how cold it is there,it never gets that cold in the Rift Valley......

Chicago 10.13.02
A PR and sub 2.50,Chicago is a pr course sadly I never got close to sub 2.50 again....maybe I should've returned to the "Windy City"

London 4.13.03
Bad day at the office,w/ hindsight not enough recovery time from my flight from Philly,0 for 2 in London at sub 3......

New York City 11.2.03
0 for 2 in NYC at Sub 3,was Chicago a fluke? were my sub 3 days behind me.......

Sea Isle 3.28.04
Never write off a Pale Kenyan! not only sub 3 but.....third overall having lead most of the race

Philly 11.21.04
Clearly Sea Isle wasn't a fluke but as ever the glass half empty in me rued not going sub 2.50

Boston 4.18.05
Sub 3 by the skin of my teeth thanks to a frantic sprint up Boyleston St,channeling my inner Murtaugh from "Lethal Weapon" I'm getting too old for this shit.......

Athens 11.6.05
Where better to mark the 20th anniversary of my Marathon debut than the birthplace of the Marathon......evidently in 20 years I'd only lost 17 seconds......

Philly 11.19.17
It remains to be seen if the last three months of hard work and sacrifice and dedication are enough to get my now 54 year old bones around 26.2 miles......I guess we'll find out in the morning......
To Be Continued.....

Sunday, November 12, 2017

The Hay Is In The Barn Now.....

Two day,three runs,20 miles and that's all she wrote for the preparation for the 2017 Philadelphia Marathon folks........

As I mentioned last week this was my final week of taper and while I was grateful for the fact I didn't have to tackle runs of any distance in the dark I won't have that crutch for much longer.
That said as a runner it's almost impossible NOT to run but I feel I've earned this taper so I "kept my powder dry" until the weekend.

Sat {Sham}Rocky Run
Two things out of my control almost derailed this,the sudden dip in temperatures and Septa!!!!
While the Arctic conditions couldn't be helped the cock up in the trolley tunnel probably could've been
W/ a 7.15am gun time for the 5k I figured the 22 block trolley ride didn't need to be till 6.25,15 mins at worst,a 10 min walk to the Ben Franklin Parkway,that gave me 25 mins to warm up,stretch and wait till the last possible moment to strip down to my race gear......that part I did manage!
Just outside 33rd St there was a signal failure and we sat there for 20/25 mins,when we finally reached 30th St it was now 7am.........
My warm up was me running up the Schuylkill footpath towards the Art Museum,thank Christ I'd picked up my race number on Thursday as it was 7.10am when I got to Eakins Oval,the 5k runners were lined up at the start and the National Anthem was being sung as I frantically stripped down to race gear and made my way into the corral.
Insult to injury my Garmin wouldn't load in time for me to use it so I have no idea of  my pace or splits,I do know even w/ thermal gloves on my fuckin' fingers were Novocaine numb!!!!
Given I've done no interval or tempo work I had no idea what to expect of myself over 5k,what I got was a 26th place finish overall in 18.36 and winner of the 50-54 age group.....
24 mins later the gun went off for the 10 mile race........
At least by 8am it was warming up a bit but given my piss poor circulation my fingers were still numb,nowth like 10 miles of open road ahead of you to try and distract you of that.
Said Garmin was now up and running so my mile splits were as follows:
6.34-6.28-6.37-7.31-5.57-6.49-6.56-6.53-6.38-6.26,if you're curious as to the disparity of miles 4 and 5 mile 4 had two major uphills.....and mile five had two major downhills!!!!
22nd overall in 67.02,again a clear winner in the 50-54 age group{although no age group prizes or first Masters award on offer......{really????} off of 6.40 mile pace
If the 5k had been a mild disappointment time wise this made up for it,to put things in perspective on May 5th at Broad St I ran 10 miles in 78.18 off very little/next to no training,fast forward six months and I ran 10 miles in 67.02 after a 5k!!!!!

Sunday easy/recovery 7 miles
The original plan was 5 miles as I planned to have a mile warm up/cool down either side of my races Saturday....that didn't happen so 7 miles it was to round out at 20mpw
If I thought I could blow off one last run{I didn't but given I was up at 5.25am for yesterdays races I could have been forgiven for wanting at least one lie in this weekend!!} I was sadly mistaken as my upper thighs were sore while doing my pre run stretches so"once more into the breech" and once more for old times sake!
Mercifully it was nowhere near as frigid today as yesterday,that said once again  long sleeves and three quarter length bottoms were the order of the day and even at 9.20am I was ruing not going w/ gloves{curse you my piss poor circulation!!!!}thankfully said long sleeve running shirt pulls down to cover my hands on days like these
And that was it,an easy uneventful final run,time to sit back this week,hydrate like it's going out of style,eat well try and get some early nites and not over react every time I sneeze or someone in my general vicinity does likewise!!

Have I done everything I can to prepare for my first marathon in 12 years? I have to hope so,like I said the hey is in the barn now I have to hope for no Septa cock ups race day and warmer temps and a firm belief that everything I've done since August 1st is enough to carry The Pale Kenyan" from start to finish over 26.2 miles.........
To Be Continued......

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Almost There

So as the countdown continues to November 19th and my first marathon in 12 years it was a 3 day/40mpw

Tuesday 11 miles
Having logged 189 miles for October I opted to "go the extra mile" on Tuesday and make it 11 to round out at an even 200 miles.
Had I had leeway I might've pushed the run back to Wednesday but losing the chance of 200 miles was less than having to deal w/ "Trick Or Treaters" as the final mile was me slowing to avoid kids hoped up on Sugar not looking where they were going it got so bad I spent most of the final mile out in the road rather than the sidewalk,having seen my marathon plans almost go up in a puff of smoke two weeks ago w/ a small child clattering into me I think I could be forgiven for being a tad leery and throw in the fact gone 6pm it was now dark I wasn't taking any chances.

Thursday 9 miles
Having gone the "extra mile" Tuesday I was rewarded  w/ a mile less on Thursday
W/ the clocks about to go back Sunday and this being my final mid week run till post marathon I also knew it was my last weekday run in shorts and short sleeves and finishing in daylight,I made sure to take one last lingering look over my shoulder at 6pm as I closed the door behind me to take in the daylight,it'll all be very different come Tuesday November 28th when I resume training post marathon.

Saturday 20 miles
Final 20 miler/long run of the campaign
I was concerned that Friday's evening of revelry at The Electric Factory to see Flogging Molly may have a negative effect on the run,on my feet most of the evening/not hydrating as much as I would sat on my futon, not getting home till almost 1am and getting up at 8am etc etc.......
Out the door by 9.30am for a few miles early on I feared I may've erred in my wardrobe choices,while the sun was out it was a little brisk when not in the direct sunshine but I hedged my bets that a 2.5 hour run between 9.30am-12pm would heat up an hour or so into the run and frankly too many clothes might see me overheat,it's not like I have  sag car/bike behind me to retrieve any layers I chose to peel off so shorts and short sleeves it was.
As is my won't I wore the Garmin even thought this was my third 20 mile run out and back to Manyunk,I pretty much know every mile mark now but I was somewhat shocked to see at mile 4 a 6.53 split followed by a 6.45 split at mile 5.
In 41 years of running I still can't judge pace but the fact I was clipping off sub 7 minute miles w/out feeling it was maybe a feather in my cap.
Reaching the turnaround in just over 1.10 I figured a 2.25 finish was there for the taking and ended up finishing in 2.24.44 off of 7.14 mile pace
For the record my mile splits were:6.55-6.40-7.05-6.53-6.45-6.57-7.06-7.08-7.20-7.20-7.20-7.34-7.29-7.38-7.19-6.58-7.20-8.01-7.25-7.19
And that was all she wrote folks....more or less, this coming week I will go for a 2day/20mpw no midweek training runs,both races at the Rocky Run next Saturday 5k and 10 miles w/ a mile warm up and cool down for 15 miles and a easy/recovery 5 miler on Sunday b4 a week off prior to the marathon.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Embracing The Taper

Ah,the promised land.....the running taper three weeks out from a major race,along w/ the Garmin perhaps the greatest thing to happen to running in my humble opinion!
Technically I was having the same week as the previous week,a 4 day/50mpw w/ another 20 miler on the weekend but only because the week b4 didn't allow for a 5th run but this coming week will only be a 3 day/40mpw and the following week a 2 day/20mpw so yeah.....taper.....

Tuesday 10 miles
Two concerns going into this one,my right upper thigh after last Saturdays collision and a six hour flight to Seattle Saturday afternoon and a five hour flight coming back Monday morning......
Neither thankfully proved to be an issue,my thigh was still a little sore but not as sore as Saturday after the collision and fatigue/jet leg did not get the better of me as I made sure to get my arse out the door as soon as I got home from work to kick off the week how I drew it up.

Wednesday 10 miles
More of the same,nice easy uneventful run,once again 10 miles feels like a "cheat" given the 12,13,15 milers I put in since early August but now I'm reaping the rewards of the hard miles early on in this campaign.
Coming hard on the heels of a Spurs loss I was it's fair to say "a tad pissy" so when I made the turnaround at mile 5 I was cognicent of someone coming up behind me,on some of my early runs when my fitness level wasn't there yet or some of my longer runs when I didn't relish a "pissing contest" I'd let these runners go by me.....not today!
Where my attitude had been"go ahead if you want it that much" this evening it was"you want it?????earn it!!!" and an impromptu tempo run broke out,I did hope said runner would turn off at Lloyd chance,Art Museum....still behind me,Market St bridge still hard on me heels,yours truly had to maintain  tempo mode till I got to the steps of the South St bridge but it was good to know when I have to pick up the pace that gear is still there,post marathon that may get more of a 2.5 miles it was prep for the upcoming Rocky Run 5k on Nov 11th

Thursday 10 miles
Highlight of this run,the crisp evening air,I keep saying at some point,sooner rather than later my long sleeve running shirts and three quarter length bottoms will have to move to the top of the pile when I select my weekly running gear,based on this evening that could be as early as next week....or not,I only have two more mid week runs on tap next Tuesday and Thursday but I won't be playing fast and loose w/ my choices,I've worked too feckin' hard to allow cockiness to undo all my hard work thus far.........

Sunday 20 miles
Ever the Boy Scout I had checked the weather forecast on Saturday and saw rain, from 10am onwards SO I went to bed early Saturday evening and got up at 6am to get my 20 miler in in the hopes of if not beating the rain at least getting the run in.
Dug out a long sleeve running shirt and three quarter length compression shorts{if the fit below my knees are they really shorts???? feel free to discuss amongst yourselves!!!}
Out the door just after 7am b4 sunrise I was relieved to see other like minded souls on the Schuylkill footpath and Kelly Dr....I was also relieved not to see A 5k race gathering in front of Lloyd Hall....this joy lasted briefly as I began to see regatta folk ahead.....fuck!!!
I suspected this could be the case on Thursday run when I saw railing fences along the outside of Kelly Dr after Girard Ave bridge,thankfully at a little after 7.30am there weren't too many folk or rowing boats to negotiate around.....would I be so lucky on the inbound leg?
At a tad past mile 9 it began to rain,hey ho I have little issue w/ the heavens opening once I've gotten into a run,for some reason going out into the rain at the start of the run often causes me and other runners to baulk,as I mentioned to a co worker on Friday what am I going to do marathon morning if I wake up to rain? roll over and go back to sleep????
The rain at least kept the footpath along Kelly Dr reasonably clear.......w/ the notable exception of the section between mile 15 and 16 of my run where I was forced to weave around people,speed up,slow down etc,my biggest concern was not to expand too much energy there and have fuel in the tank for the final 4 miles.......
No worries a 2.28.44 finish off of 7.24 mile pace,10 seconds quicker than last Saturday but in much different conditions and dropping my mile pace from 7.27 to 7.24

A job well done today and a week of good  mileage under my belt,only 40 miles over three days on tap this coming week w/ one final 20 miler to tackle

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Ifs,Ands & Buts

In what was technically my last week to log serious mileage b4 I begin my three week taper I had to settle for a 4day/50mpw,had it not been for my final road trip of the year to Seattle I might've gotten 60 or 65 in but as the saying goes "if my aunt had balls she'd be my uncle".......

Monday 10 miles
Given I was playing w/ a short week to begin w/ I had every intention of getting a rare Monday run in.
The biggest take away from this run was the crisp evening air around 5pm,the like of which I hadn't felt for a while but trust me said cheque is in the mail.
It's questionable if I'll get thro my last three weeks of marathon prep w/out having to pull out long sleeves and the three quarter length bottoms.

Wed 10 miles
Having lost Tuesday to a Spurs Champions League game first and then having"media commitments" post game{I co host a Philadelphia Spurs Podcast "Broad & Hotspur"}I toyed w/ the idea of making this a 15 miler....but w/ Sunday a non starter to begin w/ given the time constraints of my Seattle trip at best now I was looking at 55 miles over 50,was 5 miles going to make that  much difference?
So I settled for another 10 miler,pretty much from here on out it's 10 milers on a week nite w/ 20 milers on the weekend

Thursday 10 Miles
Back out there again out and back along Kelly Dr to a quarter mile beyond Spring Garden bridge,unlike Monday that crisp evening air had warmed up somewhat,I can't be arsed to chop and change running attire each day from sleeveless,to sleeves or long sleeves preferring to make do w/ short sleeves.
The bigger issue was why I didn't request Friday off work for this weekends Seattle trip,had I have done so another 10 miler could've been easily squeezed in giving me a minimum of 60mpw and w/ a tweak of say a 15 miler Wednesday OR 13 Wednesday,12 Thursday I could've had my proverbial cake and eat it...........

Saturday 20 miles
A huge psychological boost getting a 20 miler in,hopefully the first of three over the next three  weekends
However it could have all turned out horribly horribly wrong for me at mile 4,as I made the left hand turn onto Kelly Dr I looked up to see a crowd gathered in front of Lloyd Hall for a 5k race
My first reaction was "oh  fuck I'll have to weave through a crowd of runners.".........SPLAT!!!!!!!
Out of nowhere this kid runs right into my right upper thigh head first,boom he goes down like a sack of potatos,I lose my balance and end up loosing my footing and "kissing the asphalt".........
It could have been ten times worst,if my knee had connected w/ his forehead I dread to think of the outcome.......
I instinctively hit the stop bottom on my Garmin and went back to make sure the kid was ok,he was a little shaken up but no cuts or bruises,his mother was  apologetic to me which helped,I felt terrible but it really wasn't my fault,thankfully good karma came back ten fold, rather than pick myself up and carry on running I stopped made sure he was ok and continued my run despite what feels like some deep bruising on my right upper thigh,upshot I clocked a 2.28.54 20 miler off of 7.27 pace

So a 4day/50mpw but w/ a 20 mile run,I'm now officially on taper time the next three weeks but I'm hopeful of another 4 day/50mpw next week upon my return form Seattle on Monday,thankfully two rest days Sunday & Monday should allow my upper thigh a little recovery time

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Bustin' A Little {Re}Cap In Yo Arse.......

So apologies for the lack of bloggin' of late.......somedays Wifi in the Rift Valley is next to impossible......,ok I've been a cat of meny hats recently and finding time to sit and blog has been difficult,plus I have missed a few runs{tsk tsk bad runner,shame shame!!} so here's recap of all things Pale Kenyan since San Diego.

Between spending long overdue quality time w/ my Sister in LA and then jetlag upon my return and throw in a Stiff Little Fingers gig the week of Sept 25th-Oct 1st just got away from me,glass empty lost miles I can never make up,glass half full less miles on my almost 54 year old legs heading towards the Philly Marathon on Nov 19th.......

Tue Oct 3rd easy 6 miler to "get my feet wet" after an 11 day hiatus,could and would have gone longer but for the Eddie Izzard show at 7.30pm,as a fellow marathon runner I'm sure Eddie would've understood me being late for his show......not so much the audiance at the Merriam Theater......

Wed Oct 4th 15 miler,maybe because anything less than double digit mileage feels like a cheat the 15 miler felt easy after 6 the day b4,that and the fact 15 miles has become "the new normal"

Fri Oct 6th another easy 6 miler having skipped a run on Thursday,if I felt ok during and after the run Wednesday, fatigue caught up w/me Thursday ergo no run but w/ 27 miles on tap 60 miles was still there for the taking w/ a 15 miler Saturday and an 18 miler Sunday......sounds easy when you say it....

Sat Oct 7th Early on I felt 15 was wishful thinking and rather than grind it out at the risk of scuppering the more important 18 miler Sunday I settled for 10 miles and took a half hour soak in the tub w/ cold water in the hopes it would refresh my legs for Sunday.........

Sun Oct 8th BOLLOCKS!!!!! early on it was clear 18 was not happening and the further out I went along Kelly Dr the longer back home my walk in the rain was going to be,in running as in life somedays you just don't have was one of those days.....

At this stage the last thing I needed to do was "throw the baby out w/ the bath water" and or "throw my toys out of the pram" so I took a day off from running or even thinking about running......

Tue Oct 10th 12 miles,again I could've gone longer but for a social event at 8 pm but 12 felt good,at the time I marveled at the continuing Indian Summer we were enjoying in mid October,but as I always say treat those days as if they are the last because sooner rather than later they will be......

Thur Oct 12th So that 12 miler would prove to be potentially my last "Three S's"{shades,sleeveless,shorts} run the rain on Wednesday caused me to baulk at a run that evening,I had reluctantly decided that 5 days a week marathon training had become counter productive and ran up the white flag but swore that come hell or high water I'd run 15 on Thursday and as I stood in my kitchen in the wee hours of Thursday am popping my daily vitamins I was reminded by a quote on the kitchen cabinet"Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today" and even though it was 5pm b4 I got out the door I was driven to get the miles in.
Grey and overcast I ditched my shades plus knowing  15 miles clocks in at roughly 2 hours and sunset is around 6.30pm I couldn't risk tripping up in the final few miles if I went w/ shades
This would prove to be one of my final 15 milers,I will miss the out and back along West River Dr to Falls bridge and back but it has served me well

Sun Oct 15th,SO I had set the alarm Saturday for 6am w/ every intention of getting up and getting out the door by 6.30am for a 15 miler like I had a few times in Aug and Sept......I guess it was a tad easier then when it was either dawn or daylight,a much harder sell in mid Oct,glass half empty another missed run,glass half full fresher legs for Sundays 18 miler....
W/ 17 miles as my longest run todate I had to nail 18 today and I'm happy to report I did,out the door by 8.30am in grey overcast skies the game plan was 8 min mile pace for a 2.24 time,I managed 7.38 mile pace to clock 2.18.08
I haven't ran 18 miles in 12 years since my last marathon training cycle but w/ my 15 milers providing a solid base I honestly felt comfortable out there this morning.

So the trick now is to log three 20 milers the next three weekends,again easy to sit and type that as it is to mentally write a training schedule while I'm out there running for two plus hours but as we're getting to the "business end" of my training cycle I have to hope putting all my faith in "going long" over 20 miles the next three weekends will be enough to get to the finshline of the marathon in five weeks time.