New York Racecation Update

So, just a quick update for my loyal readers.

Wednesdays trip north from home was pretty much uneventful, except for clouds, wind and rain almost the entire 630 miles.  I never got tired, but did experience some back pain due to just sitting for that long.  I work on my feet, so I never sit for very long.  That 10 hours in the car kinda did my body in.  I did get to see some very beautiful Fall foliage though along the way, the most impressive area being my drive through the Shenandoah Mountains.  Just beautiful!

After getting to Dad’s, we relaxed.  Caught up on the journey, and what was to come before heading to bed.  I hadn’t seen my Dad in just over two years, so we did talk quite a bit.  He looks great, too.  For an 80 year old guy, he has recently really been watching his diet, and has managed to lose about 30 pounds since spending last Christmas with my sister in Ohio.  We took this photo together down at the bottom of the hill where he lives.

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Yesterday we went out for a late breakfast, and toured around some local favorite spots.  I moved away from the area about 26 years ago, and some things have changed a lot, other things haven’t changed a bit.  I miss my Dad, but I don’t miss where I grew up.  Moving to North Carolina was one of the best decisions I ever made.  The quality of life is just so much better where I am now!

After a quick trip to The Cider Mill, and buying some donuts, candy apples and cider, I had the chance to go visit my cousin Michelle.  It was nice to see her, even though we only had about a half hour together.

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Late yesterday afternoon we got packed back up, and headed out.  We drove back down into Pennsylvania, and then through the Pocono Mountains and on into New Jersey.  We are staying with my brother for race weekend.  He has lived in this area for years and years.  It’s too hectic here for my liking, but it’s certainly worth a visit now and then.  My brother was supposed to run the race with me, but recently got some bad news from his doctor that he needs a double hip replacement, and won’t run again.  It was shocking news, but he will be a spectator in full force.

Today is all about some rest, and my final shake out run before the marathon on Sunday.  I actually haven’t run now in a full week.  It wasn’t my plan, but between working right up until I left town, my sons soccer, and the rain, I just never got out for a run in the past week.  So, I am going to head out onto the Towpath here close to where my brother lives, and where Bob did most of his training for the race.  I’m looking forward to a peaceful and chilly four mile run.  I think I am going to take Dad along so he can get a walk in, while I run.

We are hitting the race expo in the city tomorrow morning early.  Lunch in the city, and then feet up, and preparations for the race.  I will update again when I have another chance.  For any of you running New York with me on Sunday, have a great race and enjoy!  The weather looks very promising at this point, so fingers crossed for perfect running conditions.

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The Buzz is The TCS New York City Marathon

Lori is one of my running/blogging/fundraising friends that will also be completing the Chicago to NYC back to back marathon journey like myself.

runningwithfaith

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Every November, here in New York City, we celebrate Marathon Sunday, a legacy of deceased runner and race director of New York Road Runners (NYRR), Fred Lebow. The  New York City (NYC) Marathon is a stalwart tradition to NYC runners and New Yorkers alike. Indeed, it has become an event of international standing and is chief among its other counterparts: Chicago, Boston, London, Tokyo and Berlín, which together make up the World Marathon Major Series.

The Marathon is now in its 46th year and running stronger than ever with 50,530 finishing last year and 50,000 plus the year before that. This year a strong elite field and many sub-elite and competitive althletes will vie for a place among the top finishers while many others, like myself, will settle for raising money for a great cause, a personal record (PR) and a medal. Still others will be in it for the…

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New York Road Trip

Travel day is here.  Normally I would not find a nine hour car ride a lot of fun, but today is going to be even more challenging.  The weather!  Tons of wind and rain to travel through today, but my 80 year old Father will be waiting my arrival once I cross the state line into NY.  That will get me through it!

I worked extremely early in the morning the last few days, so I didn’t get a lot of sleep.  Last night I went to bed fairly early, to try to catch up before my journey begins in a few hours.  What’s left?  All of my packing.  Not just race packing, but vacation packing.  Packing for being gone nearly a week.  My plan is to be out the door in about two hours.  Yep, waiting for rush hour to be over before heading out on my way north.

Regardless of my long drive today, I am very excited.  This trip, this race, has been a long time in the making.  I still can’t believe that I am actually running the New York City Marathon this Sunday.  An epic race, represented by runners from 139 countries around the world.  Should a 45 year old man be this giddy about running a race?  Eh, I don’t care if it seems odd, but I am truly excited abut it.

I really owe a lot of thanks to my charity partner, the James Blake Foundation, as they are the real reason I am running this race.  They accepted me onto their charity team back in February, and I have been fundraising for them ever since.  Quite a long journey, and an unfamiliar one at that.  I have never been on a charity team before, or even raised money for anything other than selling cookies or booster stickers for little league when I was 8 or 9 years old.  This has truly been a unique experience.  Challenging, and unique.  I’ve have learned that it’s not easy convincing people to part with their hard earned money.  I guess it’s about being relentless in driving a cause that you feel passionate about.  But, I am passionate about this charity, and running.

Setting a goal of $3,000 to fundraise over the course of several months was my top priority.  As of the moment of this post, I have raised $2,311.  Yes, I am just $689 away from my goal, with the help of these amazing folks!

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That’s the back of my charity team race shirt that I will be wearing this Sunday during the race.  *hint, hint, there’s still tons of room for more names.  I haven’t even started putting names on my sleeves yet!

So, now that I have exactly two hours before leaving home, one more shout out and push for donations. Don’t worry, just because I am leaving home, you still have time to donate.  Plus, I am taking my markers with me, so that I can put your name on my shirt even at the last minute before heading to the start line on Sunday.  Here is the link to donate.  100% of donations go directly to the James Blake Foundation supporting cancer research.

Thanks everybody, and see y in New York!

In a NY state of mind

Yep, it’s pretty much all I can think about.  The race next Sunday, wait, this Sunday.  The race is this week!  Six days away!  Right, like I said, it’s pretty much the only thing on my mind.

Still have a ton to do leading up to the race.  Slowly but surely I have been working on my race shirt.  Since I am running for the James Blake Foundation, I have a charity shirt to race in.  Want a sneak peak?  It’s a work in progress, and I have about 20 more names to add to the back.  As promised, any donor who has made a donation gets their name on my shirt.  Hers what it looks like so far.

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So there’s that.  The emails, and communications have been increasing, and I expect a ton more since it’s now RACE WEEK!  The Marathon App is to be released this week, so folks all around the globe can track me during my race.  Will be looking for that communication today.  It will show me as a tiny blip on the race course so that all of my adoring fans can meet me at appropriate places at the right times in a crowd of over a million spectators.

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Can you see me?

As far as the week goes, I still have a ton to do to get ready for my trip.  This isn’t some easy, quick trip either.  It involves about 20 hours in the car, over the course of about a week.  Packing, not only for the race itself is key.  Lots of weather variables.  I am actually glad that I am driving, because it will allow me to pack more of what I might need, and not have to worry about luggage constraints.

So, yeah, I have a meeting time with Staten Island in less than a week.  It’s going to be epic, and a journey I will document in pictures and words along the way.  Can barely contain my excitement!

Oh, and there’s still time to donate to my charity partner.  I still haven’t met my fundraising goal, so please consider a donation today, or sometime this week.  I’ll take my markers with me on my trip so you’ll still get your name on my shirt right up until Saturday night.

You can donate here:

Thank you so much for being a part of my journey to New York.  Many updates to come throughout the week!

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Fundraising Friday -NYC Marathon 9 days away

We’ve just crossed into taper madness mode.  We are now in the single digits of the countdown to the 2015 New York City Marathon.

I haven’t been running my whole life, but I’ve been running long enough now.  Over five years competitively.  Well, running became a passion of mine five years ago.  Each year the New York City Marathon has been run since I became passionate about the sport, I’ve always been envious of those runners.  I mean, who wouldn’t want to run this amazing marathon?  The biggest in the world.

I finally get my chance, and it’s just nine short days away!

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Its also Fundraising Friday.  The final push to reach my fundraising goal.  I still need all the help I can get to fully fund my charity partner with my pledge.

Today I start writing the names of all of my donors on my charity team shirt.  If you’ve donated already, watch for upcoming posts, as I will post pictures of my race shirt, and you can see your name.  If you haven’t donated yet, there’s still time.  You can make a donation in any amount you wish from $10 and up.  Every dollar helps in the fight to treat cancer patients. Please consider a tax deductible donation today.  I thank you!  The following link will take you directly to my fundraising page on Crowdrise.

And to all of the other runners out there running for a reason, happy Fundraising Friday!

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10 days til @nycmarathon

Only one race remains on my 2015 running calendar, and it’s a big one!  It truly has been another epic year of running for me, and I get to cap it off with another of the six marathon majors in just 10 days!

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Yes, the New York City Marathon is quickly approaching.  Deep into taper mode at this point, it’s really all now about the planning.  Logistics and mental preparedness.  The body is ready.  Legs have recovered from Chicago, and the only things that remain for me before the race are a few short runs, and a road trip to New York.

Tomorrow is my last day off from work until I leave on my NY journey next Wednesday.  I plan on getting my race shirt emblazoned with the names of my charity donors.  It’s not too late to donate.  I still have not hit my fundraising goal, so with any donation to my charity partner, the James Blake Foundation, your name will be proudly inscribed on my shirt!  Your thoughtfulness will get permanently written on my shirt so that you too, will get to run the streets of NYC with me.

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Click on the following link to be taken directly to my fundraising page on Crowdrise, where you can make a donation in any amount with just a few clicks.  Thank you so much for your help in the fight against cancer.

Because of the fact that I am going to absolutely slay this race, I have been placed into Corral 1, right along with all of the Professional men.  Yep, starting with the likes of Meb Keflezghi.  Yes, he is my special friend and inspiration.

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I gest.  Yes, we’ve clearly met, but I doubt I’ll even see him on race day.  Only in my dreams could I run as fast as he can.  :). I do, however, plan on giving this race my all.  I will be running with inspiration.  Running for my charity partner.  Running for those suffering with cancer.

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So, as the countdown to New York continues, tomorrow we enter the single digits.  It’s all becoming very real.  The countless hours I’ve spent fundraising, the countless hours pounding the pavement will all culminate as I line up on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at 9:50am for a three hour plus run through the streets of New York City.  I couldn’t be more excited!  It all begins in just ten days.

Bull City Race Fest 2015- Race Recap

The Bull City Race Fest is an amazing event, and was held for the third time in Durham, NC, on October 18, 2015.  The event includes a 1 mile, 5 mile, and signature Half marathon distance race.  It is truly an amazing event, that has gained popularity each year.

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This race has it all!  It is very family friendly, and one that I would recommend to any runner looking for a world class running experience.  Everything from the ease of packet pick up and expo, to the post race food truck rodeo and relaxing finisher village.  The highlight though in my eyes, is the race itself.  The course, with all of its hilly challenges, is both scenic and exciting.

This race was both a recovery run from my Chicago Marathon a week ago, and my final longish training run for the New York City Marathon just 12 days away.  The perfect way to run this race for me was to be a pacer!  The opportunity to pace it didn’t come until just a few days before the race itself.  I quickly jumped on it, and signed up my son to pace, as well.  This would be his first time pacing, and probably around my 10th time pacing a Half.  The best part?  Pacing together as Dad and Son.  In the same pace group, pacing the 8:30 (or finish time of 1:51:25).  Two years ago I paced the 1:45:00 finish group, so I knew the challenge of the course, and knew that we could both easily handle the job.

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Race morning went off without a hitch.  Parking was easy and we made it to the starting line for some pre-race photos with the pace team members at 6:50am.  The race was to begin at 7:30, so we had a chance to stretch and use the bathroom and get lined up with our fellow 8:30 pacers in plenty of time.  A cold front had come through our area overnight, and we had unusually cold temperatures for race morning.  It was like 36 degrees, so we tried to stay warm until the start.  It had been so long since running in temperatures like this it was kind of exciting.  When the sun rose, the sky was cloudless and blue.  It was going to be fun!

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The Half Marathon had over 2,200 people running and it was obvious when we all began lining up.  It was a sea of runners both in front of us and behind us.  I think we had 6 pacers in our group alone.  We talked some strategy on how we would pace the group right up until the gun went off.  With a challenging course like this one with all of its hills, I knew I wanted to be a few seconds ahead of target pace.  The final few hills can be PR killers, so staying one or two second ahead throughout the race would leave us in good standing for the final mile.

The first few miles are crowded, and run through downtown Durham.  You get a taste of the hills right from the start.  We nailed our target pace though right from the start.  We talked a lot with the group, but it was also obvious right from the start that we would be pacing about 40-50 people and we were all spread out.  I think the most exciting thing for me was how into it my son was.  He has a few trepidations about pacing when we first talked about it, but after I convinced him that he had everything it took to be a fantastic pacer, he really warmed up to it.  He was very excited!  I told him to stick as close to me as possible, but the excitement of the race had him out in front of me a ways quite often.

The course continues on trough Trinity Park, and Duke Campus, hills abound.  With every uphill though comes downhills, and it’s a really nicely varying race.  Occasionally there were neat signs along the course, and chalk drawings and encouragements on the road.  Our group waxed and waned, but our pace was right on the mark.  It was such an enjoyable run.  Offering words of encouragement to runners as they passed me, or encouraging every runner up the numerous hills.  The weather was so cooperative that I never felt like I needed to stop for hydration along the course.  I did, however use my GU’s at miles 5 and 10.

As the final mile approached and we were nearing the finish I started turning and running backwards to encourage runners behind me to push hard and pass me.  My son and I met up side by side with about a half mile remaining.  I wanted to be as close to the target of 8:30 as possible without going over so I ran backwards for pretty much the majority of the final tenth of a mile.  I have so much fun getting those racers to the finish!  Pacing is a truly awesome way to pay it forward.

I crossed the finish line in 1:51:14.  Eleven seconds under our pace goal.  Perfect!  My son finished about 45 seconds under the goal, so we were both within a minute under.  After the finish we were stopped numerous times and thanked for our pacing efforts.  I know several runners even had personal bests on that tough course, so it’s super satisfying to me.

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The post race village is amazing, and absolutely packed with runners and families.  Food trucks all over, lots of refreshments and food.  It was the perfect day for relaxing and relishing in a victory of the course.  Durham is such a fun happening city.  Relaxing on the lawn in front of the Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) was so much easier after we ran back to the car to change out of wet shirts and grab a jacket.  It was chilly!  Well, it felt down right cold to me.  A few more photos on the lawn to commemorate our accomplishment, and a visit to the Baguettaboutit Food Truck before we called it a day and headed home.  Don’t ask me how, but I knew about ten people racing that day and managed to not bump into any of them after the race.  A bit of a disappointment, but there will be other races to meet up.  I had the best time with my son pacing that day.  I only hope the opportunity comes up again sometime.