Where Has The Time Gone?
13 weeks ago, when I started training for my first full marathon, I told myself I would write more about it in my blog. It is now almost exactly 60 days since my last post. I will verify that while missing out on writing in my blog I have not missed a single run on my schedule. I am also not ready for my training to end and logging 30 miles a week has not taken a toll on my physically or mentally. I chalk all of this up to having proper training which leads to a better approach to running. I could use an extra hour of sleep but that;’s what Sundays are for. Besides, who couldn’t use an extra hour of sleep and rest?
My coach has amazed me at putting together a great plan for me. I feel strong, even after my long runs. I am stretching properly before and after so I am limiting the chance for injury. I am running at a slower pace, to a designated heart rate, and am even taking 5-10 minute walk breaks, limiting the possibility of injury, once again. My weight is dropping and when it is not it is at a plateau. I am eating healthy 80% of the time. When I am not eating healthy, or having a large plate of food that 2 people could easily share, my weight still manages to drop or stay the same. I love this, especially since I have a huge appetite. In what other sport or training can you run 14 miles then come home and eat a plate of chicken tenders, a double cheeseburger and fries and feel fulfilled and not gain 5 pounds?
Eating healthy does help me to run better. I save the binge or the junk for after the run. Thursday nights I run long runs, besides the weekend. last eek I ran 9 miles. I had to leave work early so that I could be home at a reasonable hour. At mile 6 I sent my wife a text: “Stromboli for dinner!” I would like to mention this again how much I love being able to feast and keep losing weight. During my last long run, all I could think about for the last hour was food.
Most of my recent runs have been solo runs. My running partner, Erin, just finished her first full marathon at Chicago. I am very proud of her for doing this. I got a chance to do a short 3 mile run with her followed by some beers after to hear how it went. It only makes more excited and nervous for my first 26.2 miles in Florida at the end of November. She made a promise to me to keep running with me for some of my long runs for support. This Saturday, with the weather predicted at barely 45 degrees, I will run half of what I hope will be 15 miles. My coach has me running for time on the weekends so it’s hard to gauge what mileage I’ll cover.
Nip Strips = Miracle
I have to thank Erin for introducing me to these wonderful things. As runners you share stories about the gross things that happen while you run. For Erin it’s the occasional toe nail falling off. For me it’s the dreaded, male runner, bleeding nipple syndrome. Sorry to be gross but this is the truth and it does affect runners, especially men. This issue was causing me serious pain. Not so much right after the run but when I’d get in the shower it would sting. The next day any shirt I wore would just rub them raw and hurt like hell.
My original solution was to wear a tight compression shirt with a loser shirt over it.The compression shirt acts like a sports bra, which is why this problem occurs more with men than women. Erin sends me a blog via Facebook. In the blog a gentleman describes these nip strips and he,too, suffers from the bloody nips. He goes on to say how comfortable they are and how he even left them on for a few days.
Well, on a few occasions that has happened to me. Just yesterday, I ran at 12:30., got back to the office around 1:30 and didn’t realize I had them on until 11:00 that night when I went to shower. Here’s the original blog on them and Amazon will deliver them right to your front door or office!
Oh, The Places I Will Go
Another wonderful thing happened while training for this marathon, I discovered my city that I lived in for 24 years. In the past I would take my runs either over the Ben Franklin Bridge and back or do part of the Schuylkill River loop that includes Kelly Drive and West River Drive. When I started running with Erin she was very adamant about not doing that loop. She would tell me how it’s so boring to do an out and back and Kelly Drive, especially by Boat House Row, gets really congested mostly with people who are standing in the middle of the bike / run / walking path, aloof to the notion that they are preventing a flow of traffic.
I understand the congestion part but for me I was seeing it that this was a path uninterrupted by traffic lights, stop signs and intersections. You can easily run and get your pace down without stopping for cars. The river is either immediately on your right or left and I love running so close to a large body of water. So we ventured out all along the city and saw every part of it from West Philly to North and South. I found new routes that I still use as my 3-5 milers. Philadelphia is a major city but covering anything more than 5 miles can take you through several neighborhoods and sections. Think of it this way: the Broad Street Run, a 10 mile course, goes all the way down the city from the northern most part to the Navy Yard, and that is just 10 miles.
The city also did something wonderful this year to build along its Delaware River front with pop up beer gardens (I didn’t know beer grows in a garden) Spruce Street Harbor popped up just South of Penn’s Landing and even further south is the newest greenery, Washington Park. This year also saw the opening of the Schuylkill Boardwalk, an amazing stretch of boardwalk that goes directly over the Schuylkill River from South Street to Locust Street. You are literally walking over the river with a gorgeous 360 view of this beautiful city. Erin and I took part in the inaugural 5k run before the official ribbon cutting that the mayor did. The race wasn’t official but it was fun and we got free beer at the end, a special session IPA made by Philadelphia Brewing Company called ‘Runner’s Ale’…mmmmmm! I also discovered Penn Treaty Park. This place is not new, rather, to me it is. You can walk up to the river and touch the water. There is a beautiful view of the Ben Franklin Bridge and often barges will be streaming down river. It is breathtaking, especially at dusk.
Philly has a lot of trails,too, most of which are a stones throw from Kelly Drive. The famous Boxers Trail.
“When Muhammad Ali wanted to challenge Joe Frazier, he came to the Boxers’ Trail because he knew he could find Frazier there. Even today, young boxers still jog along the trail.”
It is extremely hilly and loops between Kelly Drive and Strawberry Mansion. You get a perfect view of the river and the crowds along Boat House Row. This trail leads to several other trails and gives you the option to cross the Strawberry mansion Bridge into Fairmount Park, or to head east along Ridge Avenue which leads to my home, eventually.
So with less than 5 weeks to go I continue to discover this beautiful city, my city, Philadelphia. I was told by several people that the photos I take of this city, and a few short films I did that I make Philadelphia look beautiful. I am thankful for those comments but I feel that the city’s beauty is right in front of me. You just have to know where to look and with the right eyes.
Boxers Trail / Strawberry Mansion Bridge
Penn Treaty Park
The New Schuylkill Boardwalk
Penn’s Landing and South Philly
The Schuylkill River : Kelly & West River Drive
And…the rest of the city