Sunday, November 26, 2017

Thanks For Nothing Philly.......

I have said more than once on Kevinrunningfree that it's never easy to sit and blog when things have gone pear shaped.....last Sunday is NOT the exception to that rule and while my lack of blogging the cock up that was the 2017 Philly Marathon had more to do w/ a lack of sufficient time to do the debacle justice it must be said that a whole week later I still harbour resentments and anger towards who ever was responsible for  cock ups of biblical proportion that ruined my race b4 it began and thus took my three and a half months of hard work and sacrifice and basically pissed them up against the wall......thanks for nothing arseholes!!!!

I 100% accept that we live in a time when terrorism and or the treat of a lone wolf attack on a major event is a concern so while the security check of all runners entering the runners area was maybe required I do ask where was this at Broad St when 40,000 runners gathered to run? where was this in September for the Rock & Roll Half Marathon? or even last weeks Rocky Run both of which used Eakins Oval a la the marathon?
If memory serves me correctly in my last Philly Marathon bag check was in a tent on Eakins Oval.....but this year any and all tent space seemed to be utilized for either commercial or merchandise purposes,hooray for the all mighty dollar but fuck you to the runners who like myself had devoted weeks/months of training and sacrifice to this day.
While the UPS trucks have worked for gear check for several years they dropped the ball BIG TIME last Sunday,the lines were ungodly as time was ticking down to the 7am start and then to add considerable insult to injury as I got w/in five feet of the truck I'd spent 20 mins in line for they pulled the shutter door down and told us they were full and we'd have to join another line.............are you fuckin' kiddin me???????
If you've ever watched the news when there's a natural disaster and a relief truck shows up to offer food,water,blankets,medical supplies to the needy Sunday was a reversal of that,instead of hands outstretched to claim bags you had hundreds of runners w/ out stretched  hands trying to hand bags to the UPS was so bad I saw runners towards the end of the marathon running w/ their gear bags on their 26.2 isn't difficult enough!!!!!!!!

By now the National Anthem had been sung,the Wheelchair athletes had started and the corrals were being sent off in 5 minute intervals,I forget what I used for my seed time as I entered in May post Broad St but when I picked up my race bib on Saturday I was given a Maroon corral place.....just behind the elite athletes......problem was having finally gotten my gear onto a UPS gear truck I was stuck at the very rear of the far back was I?????? I was behind the pace runners for the five hour runners............
Someone had the bright idea to "pen in the runners" w/ railing fences either side of the Ben Franklin Parkway,there was zero guarantee I could work my way on the outside of the pen to find a gap to squeeze in ahead of the rear of the field and given the overnight rain had only just stopped between 6 and 6.30am it would be my dumb luck to slip/trip climbing the railings so reluctantly I stayed put w/ the five hour runners preferring to try and stay positive and not use up energy ranting and raving about the cock up unfolding b4 me,eventually at 7.25am some 25 mins after I should've begun I got to start.

Prior to Sunday I had ran 14 marathons..........NEVER between Harrow in 1985 and Athens in 2005 had I encountered a situation where the mile markers were only posted on ONE SIDE of the road.......evidently said mile markers at miles one,two and three, miles were ALL  posted on the left hand side of Arch St and Delaware Ave..........I had elected to run on the right side of the street and thus didn't see a mile marker till mile FOUR   on Front St......ALSO on the left hand side of the street,I had swung left left to avoid the water station otherwise I would have missed that one also..........
Had I seen the mile marker at mile one I would've seen my split was 6.04 and eased the fuck off the gas,the plan was 7 minute mile pace but by the time I hit mile 4 in 25.36 the damage was done
I heard runners complain about a lack of clocks out on the course and while most runners prefer to use their own timing frankly a running clock from the gun going off at 7am and then 7.25am when we started would've been pointless

8 of my first 10 miles ended up at sub 7 mile pace so it is NO SURPRISE at mile 21 I just ran out of gas,my final five miles were a painful combination of walk,run,walk as my splits ballooned to 11.26-10.29-11.53-12.21-12.00 hence my 8.04 mile pace and 3.34.07 finish.............
Had I thrown caution to the wind and said "fuck it I'm going balls out to break three hours" and up my record to 9&6{nine sub three hour marathons,six plus three hours} and blown up at mile 21 fair enough but thanks to a catalog of cock ups by the Philadelphia Marathon I got well and truly STUFFED four days b4 Thanksgiving............

The blueprint coming into Philly was to notch a marathon in my 50s to go w/ the 14 I'd ran in my 20's 30's and 40's that way IF in my 60's there was a desire to try one I wouldn't have a missing decade,I had also planned to return to track in 2018 post marathon.......that has now been shot to shit,I cannot,nor will not allow this shit show to be my last marathon until Nov 2023 when I turn 60 so I'm looking into options for 2018.....I can tell you next November's Philadelphia Marathon will  NOT  be an option,this was my 4th and final Philadelphia Marathon after the shit show they produced.
I need a little time to lick my wounds" before regrouping and beginning to train again not to mention save the required airfare,entry fee,accommodation/travel expenses that coming w/ an "out of town" marathon but the Philadelphia Marathon can go fuck it's self..............

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.