Category Archives: Physical

Pounding the Pavement

Broad Street Run

It’s that time of year! The time to sign up for a lottery in hopes of being able to do my favorite run.I don’t like that it now has a lottery system but now that running is the new fad it can’t be helped. The popularity of this run has grown so much over the years and why not, it is a fun course.

Now it’s time to start training even though the weather isn’t cooperating. For a few weeks I’ll be on the treadmill logging miles but then come mid to late February, I’ll be back outside.

I’ve had a few people ask for tips on how to train for a long run or even how many miles I log a week.  When I tell them they are often shocked at how much I run. Below is a link to the training schedule I used when coming back from my injury a few years ago. It’s formatted to be imported into Outlook and Google Calendar or viewing in Excel or any other spreadsheet program you may use. Sorry Apple users, no idea how to help you.

If you look at the miles you may notices it’s a bit short for where I am but I’m working on speed this year so I’m pulling back and increasing my effort. You should run at your own pace if you plan to follow my regimen. Also don’t be afraid to change up the mileage to fit your abilities but keep the ratios the same.

Don’t let the desk keep you stationary

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Not everyone sits at a desk for work but I do. Sometimes I havre long meetings on the phone so rather than just sit there I whip out my balance board and work my legs.

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It’s a pretty simple workout, either work it in a semi-circle, full circle, back and forth or just hold your balance for as long as you can.

Just make sure you have something to hold onto in case you can’t keep yourself up. Many coworkers have tried and not many can keep from falling over.

Broad Street is on!!!

Broad Street Run

Before I get to far in, I will be running in this years Broad Street Run. Yay!

Due to popular demand, the race organizers have implemented a lottery system to determine entrants.  Last year, the race sold out in 5 hours! Within those 5 hours, there were problems accessing the website and I almost waited until after work to register.  If I did, I wouldn’t have got in.

Enough of last year, this year I will be training without a group so I will be self motivated. It will be a true test of will to set a PR. This year I will beat 1:45:40!

If you want to recap last years’ race check it out here.

2 Seconds from Glory

Sorry I didn’t get this out sooner but Sunday was a bit busy for me after the run. I didn’t get home until after 10:30 PM and Monday ended up being an even lazier day than I had planned. But enough excuses. What follows is a nonfictional account of my run. Any names used here are totally true because none are used but my own…

Unfortunately no PR for me on Sunday. My time was actually 2 seconds slower than my fastest time in 2007 which was a bit disappointing. The night before the run I found out that I could live-tweet my pace during the run which was pretty cool so I signed up for the service then went to bed. The next morning I gather my things, hopped in the car and began to drive. It wasn’t until I got to I-95 that I realized that I had forgotten my phone. It hit me that I would have no running partner or music to encourage me during the run which was a bit disappointing…but…there was no turning back at this point.

I parked my car next to reluctantly next to Citizens Bank Park due to the Sixers selfishly re-claiming the Wells Fargo Center parking for themselves and headed for the subway. What awaited was a half-mile long line (I measured) of people trying to get on. I jammed my way onto a subway car and proceeded to the start. Once there I moved up a corral in confidence of my new found ability thanks to my training with my group.

Our time came and I approached the line then started at my comfortable pace. I took a look down the street and saw City Hall in the hazy distance began my run. There was the usual passing of slower people who don’t understand the corral system or overestimated their finishing times. I reached Temple University, gave a few high-fives to Hooter (their mascot) and the football team and got charged up.

At the runners expo the day before, I upgraded my water bottle to a larger one which made this the first Broad Street Run I got to be my own water station which was pretty cool. It felt a little funny at first to not be one of the people clamoring and crashing into each other in hopes of quenching a much needed thirst but after the second station I confidently moved to the center and ran on turning my nose up at the gloved volunteers with their cup-filled tables.

I was feeling good, running at a good pace but subconsciously something was strange. My pace was normal, my breathing was good, other runners shirts were entertaining enough and people were doing their usual dash behind buildings…and then it hit me, I had to go too. I tried to hold out; passing long line after long line for a porta-potty but then shortly before mile 5 I couldn’t take it any longer. Thinking back I tried to get it out before the run but there was nothing there to give so I went towards the starting line. I had to take a short stop since there was a line only 5 people deep.

Freshly relieved I continued down the street and suddenly City Hall came out of nowhere. I had reached the 5 mile mark without even knowing it. I was still feeling good and after a sharp right, a left and then another sharp right I was back running down Broad Street again then wouldn’t you know it, mile 6! Only 4 more to go I thought as I ran on. I looked for my usual high-five from former Gov. Rendell but I couldn’t find him in his usual spot.

I slowed a few times to cool down as my temperature started to rise but I ran on. The 1 time I stopped to walk in hopes of cooling down was short lived as a woman came running by shouting “Don’t stop! You’re my pace person! I need you to make my 1:45.” So of course I had to continue on down the street. I stuck with her until about mile 9 before she faded, still urging me not to stop. I looked at my watch and saw that my PR was escaping me but mile 9 has a tough start and a gradual incline.

Halfway up the hill I saw Anne-Marie under the Fleet Feet tent but I was on the other side of the street so I had to pass by and keep going. Over the hill with the Navel Yard gates approaching, I could hear the relieved shouts of “Look, the finish line!” from the rookies and the crushing “No, you have ¼ mile to go!” from the veterans followed by collective sighs. I glanced at my watch to check my time then poured on what little energy I had left. Whipping and weaving though the people in an attempt to come in just shy of my fastest time but the crowd proved too much. The spots to weave ran out and the finish line grew closer. In my efforts to cross the finish line I forgot to stop my watch so it ran 2 minutes over what it should’ve but they had my time.

Saddened, I got my medal and bag of goodies and made my 1 ¾ mile walk back to my car (I measured). A quick hello to Anne-Marie along the way then off I went. As I shut the door to my car I vowed that come the Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon in September, it’ll be a sub 2 HR run…maybe even a 1:44 run.

01:45:42

Those who don’t know their history…

A warriors garb

It’s the night before and I’m feeling great!  Three months of training all come down to the results of tomorrow. I went through my results from the last couple and they are as follows:

Year

Finish

Avg. Pace

2006 2:03:11 12:19
2007 1:45:40 10:33
2008 Injured N/A
2009 1:48:12 10:49
2010 1:58:11 11:49
2011 Injured N/A

A little background on the results, my first organized run was a 5K in 2004 at Jefferson Hospital Philadelphia Distance Run (now renamed ING Distance Run). I finished in 32:51.  The following year I decided to step it up to the full half marathon for the run.  That one I finished in 3:05:56 because I pulled a muscle around mile 9 and I had to walk the the rest of the way. The reason was because I didn’t train properly.  The next run I did was the Broad Street Run in 2006.

As you can see, my times varied widely over the years. All due to training. This year I took the route of structured training with a group to improve my abilities. Proper hydration, hill training, speed work and pace were the focus of our training. And now in the morning I will get to see the how well that training pays off. My prediction is a personal record.

Achievement Denied

To help you understand how I’m feeling I’m going to have to set a tone. I’m going to be name dropping like crazy to illustrate my point. To do that the best you will need to start the song below prior to continuing to read.

Imagine it’s 6:30 am, 43 degrees out side. You had a terrible run the night before but today you’re feeling good. You grab gear to go run and get your non-standard ear buds that you bought from MeritLine.com

Ear buds

and plug them into your T-Mobile G2

G2

You have a funny feeling in your hip early on but that isn’t stopping you so you stop and stretch for 10-20 seconds.  Later on this song comes on. You look down at your Garmin Forerunner 305 GPS Watch to check your progress.

Not my watch, just an example

It’s mile 2 and your are about to reach a milestone. You’re almost at the 10 minute mile mark on your run. Maybe even faster  Kanye is revving up to start his first inspirational bars and suddenly you are interrupted but Russian blaring in your ears!!

WTF? It’s from your lessons you’ve been taking so it’s not something that’s too far out of the ordinary. You reach into your Nathan Hip Pack because running is the only thing you can do where it’s cool to wear a hip pack.

Nathan Hip Pack

You stop for a second because the moment is spoiled by the random sound coming out of your phone. Your run has now been slowed to a walk due to the bewilderment. As you pull out your phone, the music kicks back in…hhhmmm. that was weird. Maybe Win Amp had a glitch but the music is back, no biggie.

WinAmp

You regain your tempo when suddenly the song changes again. Son of a… Your rhythm is broken yet again. This is crazy. You slow to a walk once again then reach for your phone. The thought crosses your mind that you may be pressing the controls on your HTC headphones cord so you check.

HTC Head Phones

Oh right, I’m not using my usual headphones, I’m using the backups which don’t feature the controls. Time to think quickly. Let’s see, the buttons on the headphones send an electronic pulse down to the phone which the phone receives and interprets as a command which causes the phone to control the software. Now I know that sounds really advanced for 6:30 am but if you’ve ever run you know that your mind is clear and active once you get into it. Especially at 2 miles.

Anyway, you looks at the connector to insure it’s plugged in all the way.

Head Phone Jack

Of course it is, damn. Maybe if you wiggle it something will happen. That sounds logical because it’s in your hip pack and has a little movement to it.  Wiggle…wiggle…song change. Ah ha!!! Wait, that could’ve been a fluke. Wiggle…wiggle..song change. Yes, I figured it out!!! But wait a minute, wasn’t I trying to do something? Oh right, I was about to set a PBR. I look down at my watch again and see that I’m now off of my record. Shit. Have to try to pick it up and get back on pace but it’s too late. I finish my run and realize that I’m 2 minutes off!

Watch

If you know anything about running or distance/time ratios you know that 2 minutes is huge. I mean hhhuuuuuuugggeeeee.

Huge

In my head I know that 2 minutes was caused by the confusion with the music but there are no asterisk in my book. I go by the official record and the official record is my watch. It says I’m off so I’m off. Next time I will use my usual headphones or just ignore the music and keep going.

Don’t leave home without it

Inhaler

First I have to get this out of the way…I haven’t given up on this site.  I’ve just been posting on my twitter account and not here but I won’t do that any more.

Second to bring you up too speed quickly, I’ve joined a running group to train for the upcoming Broad Street Run. I have a schedule of 4 runs a week with 2 of them being a group run on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings.

Now to the topic at hand. Tonight out my run I short group run which is 6 miles. This run has been hit or miss for various reasons but tonight it was because I forgot to use my inhaler prior to my run. I don’t always have to use it but when the weather shifts as it has in the past couple days I have trouble with my allergies and asthma.

Lesson re-learned, always listen to your body and know how it behaves in certain conditions. It could be the difference between a failed run and a good run.

I’ve been MIA and not the one in Florida

Once again I’ve been relatively silent for a whole month! But I haven’t been inactive. Since my last update I started a “Biggest Loser” competition with my co-workers and joined a training program for a half marathon (13.1 miles).  While I won’t be participating in the run that the straining is slated for because the previous week I will be participating in the Broad Street Run as part of my normal run schedule.

As part of my training group we did have a fitness assessment which included some flexibility testing. The results are below.

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I don’t know about you but I consider a “fair” rating as not satisfying. Worst is the one that actually says “work on” next to it. This was a big blow to my ego at first but then I viewed it as the way to know what to target. To compliment the assessment they gave me exercise to make improvements which will help me in the future. I will be including them in my usual routine.

Flexible Spirit

So the month of crunches is over and I got 60 crunches. One less than the beginning of the month but that’s ok. I excelled at the beginning of the month so 1 less isn’t that bad.

Now we move on to flexibility. I tried this position in the picture and it didn’t end pretty. I won’t be able to do it by the end of the month either but I can improve my flexibility. Tomorrow I will be administering my first test. It should be interesting.

The Moving Exercise

house_move[1]I hope I never become one of those people who count calories in and calculate calories out (what you burn). I do however pay attention from time to time at the gym while on the machines but they are just rough estimates based on an average formula created by the manufacturer.

Yesterday I helped my mother move from a 3rd floor 2-bedroom apartment to another 3rd floor 2-bedroom apartment. If you’ve ever moved someone from the 3rd floor without the help of elevators you already know the fun I had. By the end of the day I was exhausted, covered in sweat and my muscles were sore.

This morning I thought to myself that this had to have been a great workout. The soreness I had this morning said so. But then I wondered how many calories I burned which was funny given how I began this post. I fired up my browser and a few clicks later I discovered the good folks at SparkPeople.com were on the job. They have a calculator to figure out roughly how much I burned.

The most work I had to do was figure out how many minutes the move took. With some simple math I estimated that it took me 360 minutes or 6 hours. After adding my weight into the mix, they told me that I burned a whopping 5,166 calories. I had to double-check my figures there again after seeing that number.

Granted it’s only an estimate, under normal circumstances I would think the number is lower but with the many trips up and down steps with heavy objects, sometimes twisting them to fit through doorways, I can see that as very accurate.

Before you start to wonder about my time or activity, the actual move took 8 hours including travel time. I took out 2 hours to account for travel (about 30 minutes each way with 2 trips) and rest time. I’m constantly in motion during a move and my rests usually consist of carrying a lighter object to get the move done but there are times when activity must fully stop so I can take a full break.

Better late than never

crunches[1]He makes it look so simple doesn’t he? I almost did as well. Coming back for this challenge I surprised myself. I got 61 crunches in a minute. Based on the chart that’s an excellent rating. Even better than that is that I did 55 on my initial assessment 1 year ago and 57 at the end of the month!

That’s one hell of an improvement and I’m not sure how I can do better but of course I’ll try. And in the process I’ll be strengthen my core which as they say will help benefit everything else.

Since I didn’t record myself doing it, here’s a girl that looks much at it than I do demonstrating proper technique.