50 State Challenge Map

50 State Challenge Map
States completed

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Up next: West Virginia

So I'm pretty excited for my upcoming Half in W. Va on October 13 for reasons aside from the race itself.  I haven't blogged much about my interests outside of running and travel.  Well, this Half touches on one of them.  And that would be U.S. history.  Specifically, I've always enjoyed reading on the history of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.  The details and players surrounding these two major events in history have always fascinated me.  And it's interesting that this past weekend was the anniversary of the Battle of Antietam.  The Half runs through parts of the famed battlefield.

The Freedom's Run Half in W. Va takes place in Shepherdstown.  The Half will run a short segment on the C&O Canal after leaving West Virginia across the Potomac.  I will actually get a chance to run the hills of Antietam and through the historic Civil War town of Sharpsburg, Maryland to return over the Rumsey Bridge and back to Shepherdstown.

The start takes place on a loop of Murphy Farm, a site where 12,000 Union troops surrendered to Confederate Gen. Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson.  Today it provides beautiful and scenic views of the Shenandoah River.  We'll be passing the site where Lee retreated over the Potomac after the Battle of Antietam, the day where 23,000 Americans either lost their lives or were wounded.  I read on the race home page that the land and farms appear today as they did in 1862 thanks to the efforts of preservationists.

I'll be arriving on Friday, October 12, to pick up my race packet and get settled into my hotel.  I'm not certain of arrival times yet so I may be seeing the sites on Saturday after the race.  That has yet to be determined.  Regardless, it'll be a nice weekend of running and appreciating some of our nation's history.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Triple Crown on the way

I received a nice email last night from my friends over at the Rock n Roll Series.  A nice email with a great twist.

The email was a congratulatory email on completing my third Half this year (Rhode Island) under the RnR Series.  My immediate thought .. Rhode Island was my third?  I thought Rhode Island was my second after Chicago.  So I go back to my 2012 calendar and found that I forgot to count the DC Half back in March.  That too was a RnR Half.  So the order of RnR Halfs this year actually goes DC, Chicago, Providence, and now Philadelphia.

This means their email not only informed me that I've got a Triple Crown medal on the way (and my memory sucks) but that I've also qualified for the Grand Slam medal having completed my fourth RnR Half this past weekend.  

Sweet!  Pics will be posted once I've received them.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Philadelphia Half

A great Half Marathon, Philadelphia!  Add to the fact that the Rock n Roll Series put together a great race, we couldn't have asked for more perfect weather for this weekend.  Sunny skies and cool temps in the morning giving way to a breezy afternoon. 

I arrived in Philadelphia to meet Maria and Rich early afternoon yesterday.  We did all the essentials from picking up my packet at the Expo to seeing the sites of the city.  It was a very fun day (photos to follow).  However, in the back of my mind the entire day was my foot and if this was really a good idea.  In the car on the way to Philadelphia I felt a pinch every now and then.  This obviously added to my concern.  I'd continue pondering throughout the day if running a Half as the arch in my left foot was still bothering me was a good idea.  But, I carried on.  We saw the city and I even got to meet up with my good friend Jill prior to calling it an early evening.

My sister, Jill and I headed out early and arrived at the corrals where I was happy to see the race started and ended by the Rocky steps.  Yes, I'm a huge Rocky fan.  We started at 8 and I immediately began on a light pace to make sure I did not push myself too hard.  To my surprise, up until mile 10 my foot never bothered me.  I did not want to push my luck so I kept a consistent pace the entire race.  My pace ended up being a 7:54 mile.  At mile 10 I focused on the last three miles and ignored the pinch that got consistently worse with each step.

In the end, I was very happy with the results.  I clocked in my 10K time at 47:42 and 10 mile at 1:17:23.  I placed 1,742 out of 15,116 participants with a finish time of 1:43:34.

There's no question I was aided considerably by the fact that this was a flat course.  I have no doubt that if this was a repeat of my Connecticut Half the outcome would have been much different.  Also, I have to mention the great crowds of Philly.  These guys were great and so was the music and cheerleaders along the route. 

After I crossed the finish I headed towards the steps to meet up with Maria and Rich and took some good touristy shots.  From there it was back to the hotel where I touched base with Jill via text before her trip back to NYC. 

This was a fun weekend and now I look toward West Virginia on October 13.  Between now and then I will be paying a visit to the doctor to take a look at my foot to be safe.  I'll be resting this week and hope to be back up and running by next.

Thanks for a great race/weekend, Philadelphia!

View from hotel room of Cathedral St. Peter and Paul

Downtown Philadelphia

Congress Hall

Independence Hall

Liberty Bell (not the best shot through the window)

The famous Pat's

City Hall

Jill and I at the start line

Maria and I

Down to the finish line

Finish line shot

No I did not run up these steps after 13.1 miles

I found the Rocky statue

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rock Encore

It's a nice feeling after you complete a Half (or any race for that matter) to finally get your medal placed around your neck.  It's a feeling that never gets old.  However, an even better feeling is when you get one and you didn't even see it coming!

Yesterday, as I checked my mail, I got a package.  I wasn't expecting anything so was a little surprised.  I opened it and found a thick, heavy, silver medal with the simple engraving "ROCK ENCORE" on top of two guitars.  I seriously had no idea what this was or why I was getting it.  I took the elevator to my apartment and started going over all the recent race emails I had received.  Nothing came to mind.  So I went to Google and discovered that my friends over at the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series gave this to me because I completed two Halfs in one calendar year (Chicago and Providence, RI).  

Wait.  It gets better.  I see that there are medals that are given for upwards to FIVE Halfs completed in a single calendar year and then others for upwards to TEN (ten doesn't have to be completed in one year).  I was flabbergasted.  After I complete Philadelphia this Sunday that will be three Halfs this year qualifying me for the TRIPLE CROWN.  But, I've already decided that I want to go all the way in achieving ROCK IDOL status.   That's ten Rock 'n' Roll Half marathons.  I can do that.  I'm going to do it.  

So this challenge has now become a combination of completing 50 Half in 50 States and achieving ROCK IDOL status.  As I've stated before I'm looking to start my 2013 calendar next month.  I'll see if I can give the Rock 'n' Roll Half count a little bit of a boost. 

More blogging this weekend from Philadelphia.  Later.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Plantars .. please go away

One word:  OUCH

My left arch is hurting.  I wish I could say that I've been attentive to my body and heeded all the warning signs, but have not.  My left arch has been bothering me for a while now.  Ever since Rhode Island.  I took two weeks off of running after the Half due to both work and just wanting to rest my foot.  After Rhode Island my left arch was hurting switching over from my right foot.  I found that to be a bit interesting.  I wasn't in agony or anything.  But, it was bothering me.  So I took a few days off and then headed to Tampa for the Republican National Convention (photos below).  It was for work and the hours got me up pretty early and to bed late.  In a way it worked in my favor as I did not want to run to avoid putting pressure on my arch.

After I got back from Tampa the Democratic Convention began and that kept me in the office pretty late.  However, I managed to get in a light run last week on Thursday (four miles) and felt good.  I then went for a six mile run two days ago on Sunday.  That night I was limping.  Yesterday I was limping and last night it hurt.  It felt like someone had punched me front and center where the arch meets the heel.  I am not going to run the rest of this week and will head to Philadelphia on Saturday morning.  I am meeting Maria and Rich at the hotel before heading to the Expo.  

In the meantime, I've gotten a new pair of sneakers, am icing my heel, stretching it, and keeping it rested whenever I can.  If I have to, I will walk a good portion of the Half.

A smart move?  I don't know.  Probably not.  But, if I come out of Philadelphia requiring a visit to the doctor I will most likely cancel my next Half in October.  I really do not want to miss Philadelphia for both the visit (political history buff!) and Half.

Stage set for the Republican National Convention

Michele Bachmann

Herman Caine

The 2012 RNC officially opens

Rudy Giuliani

John McCain

Diane Sawyer

With my colleagues Brian and Tom