50 State Challenge Map

50 State Challenge Map
States completed

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cherry Blossom 10-miler

The Cherry Blossom 10-miler is this Sunday.  Since moving to DC, I've never run this race or seen the Cherry Blossoms.  So this is a win all around. 

The Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run is an annual 10-mile race in Washington, D.C.  It was founded in 1973 and originally a precursor training run for elite runners planning to compete in the Boston Marathon.  The race is scheduled for the first Sunday of each April, meant to coincide with the bloom of the cherry blossoms given as a gift in 1912 from the mayor of Tokyo. The race is part of the National Cherry Blossom Festival of late March and early April in the city.

The race course covers many historic and memorable sights in Washington, D.C. Among the landmarks along the route are the Jefferson Memorial, the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, the Washington Monument, Arlington National Cemetery, the Lincoln Memorial, the Watergate complex, Rock Creek Park, and the Tidal Basin.

Pics will be up Sunday!

2012 calendar

I am working on getting a map up on my blog so everyone can be current on where I stand with the challenge.  Below are the remaining Halfs I have for the year.  It is possible I may add one or two to the list.

April 21 New Mexico

May 6 New Jersey

May 20 Ohio

June 3 Minnesota

June 24 Connecticut

July 22 Illinois

August 19 Rhode Island

September 16 Pennsylvania

September 23 Kentucky

October 13 W. Va.

November 4 New Hampshire

December 1 Maryland

Monday, March 26, 2012

Two Halfs a month?

I just completed two Half Marathons a week apart.  Now, I'll be honest.  I was concerned that that time frame did not offer enough recovery time.  But, in the end I felt great.  I ran DC in 1:36 and a week later Wilmington in 1:34.  This does not mean that I want to make running two races a week apart a habit.  Not at all.  But, it does tell me that I can do two races within the same month and be OK.  Perhaps next time a couple of weeks apart for more recovery time.

After I got home this evening I looked over my 2012 race calendar.  I wanted to see where I could fit in another Half within a month I've already booked.  I then realized a couple of things.  First, July 20 is the Chicago Half.  It's not that far away but I had yet to book my flight.  So I took care of that.  This will be my first time to Chicago.  I'm excited because not only will I get to see a city I've always wanted to visit, but also my good friend Amanda who recently moved there from Cleveland. 

Second, I had deferred the Annapolis Half from 2011 to this year due to a last minute scheduling conflict.  I was under the impression that it would fall in November as it did last year.  I just checked the site and the Annapolis Half is taking place on December 1.  That means that my November is wide open for another Half.  So I did a little bit of research and settled on booking New Hampshire.  The race I selected is the Manchester City Half.

Manchester is the Granite State's largest city, sitting on the banks of the Merrimack River.  The Half will take me through its historic mill district and includes a climb to one of the city's highest points offering views of the Queen City and the surrounding areas.  It should be a great race.

I now have a Half Marathon scheduled every month from June - December.  I've got to be careful not to over extend myself.  An injury would terrible and disrupt the entire year.  I won't be going insane trying to schedule two races in every month.  But, perhaps two of those months can have two races booked a few weeks apart. I think that's a safe bet.

I'll end this post with a very nice comment I received today from my colleague Rachel.  I was chatting with her at the office about Wilmington, the hills it introduced me to, and how the race went overall.  She has run in the past and the impression I got today is that she would like to get back into it.  That's excellent.  This impression was only further highlighted when I got a very nice message from her as I was preparing to leave the office.  She says, "You've inspired me, I think I'm going to start running at least a 5K once a month."

It's a great feeling to know you've inspired someone.  I thought that was really nice.  I told her I'd record it here so I don't forget and maybe ... just maybe ... others will get inspired.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Delaware Half

Thank you Wilmington for a great race!  Finish time:  1:34:28 (Pace: 7:13)

I'd say this was certainly a Half that sided more on the hills than the flats. It was hilly and according to commentary that my sister heard from others crossing the finish line, many agreed.  If you're looking to work on this aspect of your run, this is the race for you.

The race began with opening commentary from Senator Tom Carper.  This was actually his 30th Caesar Rodney Half Marathon.  I'll say that's impressive. The race is often described as "the granddaddy of Delaware road races" and clearly Senator Carper is a big supporter.  Very cool.

It was a great route starting in downtown Wilmington near Rodney Square, and from there heads out for stretches along Brandywine Creek and the river, including stretches that run past the Russell Peterson Wildlife Refuge, Brandywine Park and Rockford Park. You finish the race just a few blocks from where you start, at Rodney Square.  It was nice to see Carla at mile six and of course the finish.  I capped the race with a high five that I'm hoping was caught by the finish line photographer.  If so, I'll be sure to post it.  I think it'll be pretty awesome.

I placed 188 out of 1100.  Here are the splits.  I ran the 3 mile in 20:45 (pace: 6:55), 10 mile 1:12:08 (pace 7:13), and overall, 1:34:28.  I haven't been good in including these in my posts, but I'll be sure to provide them in future races.

The weather held up with only a light drizzle throughout the morning.  It was a cool 47 degrees at 9:30 once the Half started.  I was happy with that.

Up next:  New Mexico. 

I fly to Albuquerque April 20 for the Half in April 21.  So I've got a little break.  As always, I'll be gunning for 1:30.  The elevation above sea level ranges from 4,900 - 6,700 so I am a bit concerned about that.  I'm going to do some research to see what - if anything - I can do to alleviate the effects.  

A great weekend.  Thank you, Wilmington.

Delaware race day pics

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Hi, Delaware

A rainy start to the day as we departed DC for Delaware and the rain continues to come down.  The drive didn't take long. It was just a little over two hours.  Not bad.  Temps are holding steady in the lower 60s so I think we'll be OK tomorrow.  However, venturing out to see some of Wilmington has been put on hold as the rain seems to not be fun at the moment.

We arrived at the downtown Sheraton and the nice guy at checkin talked me into opening a Sheraton account.  I figure if I'm going to be jumping from state to state over the next few years for this challenge I may as well start racking up the points and get some free rooms out of it. So sure.  Sign me up.

We're just relaxing at the moment and will look into a good meal to carb up for tomorrow. The start time tomorrow is 9:30.  That's nice considering I'm used to races starting between the 7-8 o'clock hour.

Fingers crossed the weather holds up tomorrow.  I'm hopeful we'll have a great race day. 

DC to Delaware

Downtown Wilmington

Delaware Memorial Bridge in the background

Friday, March 23, 2012

Up next: Delaware

It's off to Delaware tomorrow to run the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon.  I like this race because the American Lung Association sponsors it to raise money to fight lung disease through education, research and advocacy.  I like that.

I'm leaving early to get to Greenville to pick up my packet.  Pick up time closes at 2 so we've got to be leaving DC no later than 9.  I think that's a good departure time to be safe.  By we I mean my sister Carla and I.  Her plans for the weekend fell through so she decided to come along to cheer for Team Alberto.  If you're anywhere within the state of Delaware, listen up for the lady screaming her head off around 10 Sunday morning.  That will be her.  She's loud.  Very loud.  We're talking sirens here.

I'll find a good place around the hotel to carb up tomorrow night and be sure to update everyone on how the race went Sunday.  It's in Wilmington, starting at 9:30.  The left ankle is feeling better now after a week of taking it easy.  So I don't think that will be an issue.  The weather does call for a chance of rain but we all know they're not the most accurate.  I'm hoping it passes us by.  As always, I'm gunning for 1:30.

Talk to everyone later on Delaware time.   

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The "wall"

A great article on what to do when you hit the "wall"


Saturday, March 17, 2012

DC Half

Thank you for a great Half today, DC!  Finish time:  1:36 (07:20 pace)

The day started pretty early at 6.  Start time was 8.  You'd think at that time in the morning the metro ride to the start line at the Armory wouldn't be so bad.  Nope.  This is DC.  It's among the biggest running cities in the nation.  The good thing about that is obviously the city has a lot of runners.  That means it makes for a fun race day with plenty of crowds and entertainment.  The bad thing about that is that DC has A LOT OF RUNNERS.  That means the commute is going to be quite chaotic.

After nearly an hour of invading fellow runner's personal space on the metro, I arrived at the DC Armory.  I was lucky enough to meet up with some of the loveliest ladies in the DC metro area.  Claudia, Lorin, Jeanette, Teresa, and Melinda are part of my running group (aka The Coven) and if you're so lucky to run with them you'll not only have a great time but also know you've arrived as a serious runner.  They're the best.  And now my good friend Claudia will be forever enshrined in the blog!  Welcome, Claudia!

The race started right at 8 and I crossed the start line at 8:02.  It wasn't no more than 5 minutes in that I already had a concern as my left ankle was sorta bothering me.  I'll address that later.  I hit my 5K at 8:24.  10K at 8:47.  Along the way you had a nice mix of running spectators and St. Patrick's Day enthusiasts in full costume enjoying some beers and wondering why the hell everyone was running and not drinking.  I was sorta wondering the same thing at one point.  I think this may have been my first time running a race on St. Patrick's Day.  It certainly added to the entertainment.  But, I've got to say the best part of the race came at mile five when I came across my biggest supporter of my 50 state challenge.  That would be my sister Carla.  There she was screaming and jumping as I approached.  I'd expect nothing less from her.  That's just her awesome style.  I was able to ask our friend Chris to snap a quick shot before I took off.  For those of you who have never met my sister ... I'm sorry.  You're really missing out.  She's pretty great.

I crossed mile 10 at 9:15.  Once I cross mile 10, no matter how tired I am, I always get a burst of energy.  3.1 left to go.  It happens every time.  And as the crowds get bigger and louder it only carries you to the finish.  I crossed at 9:38.

I'm icing the ankle now and taking some Aleve to see if that will make things a little better.  I'm sure it'll be just fine.

Next up:  Delaware (March 25)

Thanks again, DC!

DC race day

Friday, March 16, 2012

DC Expo and packet pickup

It's unfortunate the Expo didn't have a nice human sized course map to take a picture in front of for the blog.  I settled for a "finish line" shot.  It almost looks like the real thing aside from the fact I'm still wearing my work clothes.

Race starts at 8.  Metro opens at 6.  Time for bed.  Race day pics will be up tomorrow.


Up next ... DC

It's been a while now since Austin but I'm back on the blog.  We've got a fun day tomorrow.  2012's Half Marathon #2 is up.  The DC Half.  Now, technically this doesn't fall under the 50 state challenge being DC isn't a state.  So this doesn't do anything to advance my efforts on that front.  But, as a DC resident who just happens to be a runner, I simply couldn't pass up the opportunity.  So it's game on.  

Now for those of you who haven't been following the record temperatures we've been experiencing in DC, it's not exactly ideal for race day.  We're talking 70+ degrees here.  It's hot.  And I'm not a big fan of running in high temps.  The Half starts at 8 so I'm thinking it'll be OK at that time.  It's still hard to imagine a March "winter" at 82 degrees.  Yep, you read that right.  It was 82 yesterday setting a new record for the District set back in 1990.  

But, before you think I'm nuts for complaining about such nice weather in March, there is a silver lining.  Tomorrow is not just an important day because of the marathon here in DC.  It's also the day we celebrate the Irish.  Yep, it's St. Patrick's Day.  The weather is going to be perfect for sitting outdoors and enjoying some post race beverages.

Packet pickup is at the DC Armory.  I'll be there after work today and will try to snap a shop in front of the course map.  I like those shots.  

I also noticed that I'm in corral one having placed my expected Half time at 1:30.  I ran Austin in 1:41.  This is going to be interesting.