So Jealous…

…of the people I know running the INGnation Rock n’ Roll Philly Half Marathon!

When I first started my training, I went at it alone. I didn’t think it would matter where I picked. Of course, all that has changed. I sucked it up, met some people through an informal run and next thing I know, I know a hell lot more people in my area that run. Now it sucks I won’t be running with them, but according to Sergio, there’s a flip side to that – once you have so many races in Philly, you get tired of the same damned course ad infinitum. And he’s been racing for 5 years or more.

And once I start graduate school, I will be forced to doing only one race per semester, with all of my races in Philly. So I probably should race outside Philly whilst I’m able to and enjoy the different sights whilst I can. For that matter, if I can find another race instead of the ODDyssey half in Philly 22 May, I probably should, 1 May Long Branch and Broad Street Run are both out as my friend is getting married out of town the day before. So I have to pick something else in May, but the spring halfs are few and far between within 50 miles of my residence, and Lancaster County has nothing good in the spring. Hershey, PA, Harrisburg, PA, Atlantic City, NJ and both the HoH and Bird-in-Hand races in Lancaster County are all in the fall.

But now being connected with more people, it’s nice being able to run with people I know…too bad I am not ready to quite join them this Sunday. I need to break 12+ miles comfortably, and last week I was stretching for 11. I have to keep at 11 again and then work up to 12. My body’s first time through training up for this has been a real struggle past 10k. I just wasn’t used to this, and whilst it’s getting easier, every new mile is some adjustment for me. I’m not used to this. But I will get used to this. I want to challenge myself, and staying with the running community, a network of friends, gives me new motivation to keep at it, that I’m not the only one doing this.

I could have done the Philly Half during the 11/20 race weekend, but I had another conflict that precluded that date. Plus there were other things that made me wary of Philly being my very first race – but I’ll blog on that one later.

But yeah, wishing I could be with my friends Sunday morning in the RnR. Whether I’m in their corral or not (for you non-runners, you are grouped in corrals based on your running pace – fastest people are at the first one in front.) I know I’ll have fun with them at the end. If not now, at least by next year when I’ll be racing more consistently in Philly and will hopefully run/train/corral with someone I know to make it more fun.

Of course, at least the Amish half allows me to listen to my mp3 player as I run so I don’t drive myself mental. Shamrock on the other hand disallows that due to insurance policies, so I’m hoping the music on the boardwalk is good so that I don’t go ballistic mentally. I either need to reflect over music or be talking to someone to keep me going. Of course, if I know someone from the DC crew that is swinging down, you better believe I’ll be hitting them up.

As for the people I know running Sunday, of all of them, I know two people – one being Sergio himself – running under relatively serious knee injuries, so I hope they get through to the end, PR (personal record) or not. Sergio and I had had a long talk in the office on Wednesday as he was debating whether to pull out of the RnR as he has to continue training for the Philadelphia Marathon in mid-November. I had told him to see a doctor Thursday or Friday, which he’d done Thursday, and whilst the doctor told him not to run Sunday, he feels well enough to do it, though he probably may not reach his PR of 1:46. I told him not to obsess about his PR and to focus on his longer-term goal; a tougher intensity puts a runner more likely for risk. Another thing that I told Sergio that I didn’t understand was why he doesn’t believe in running or aiming to run negative splits, which I think especially in his current situation would help. (Negative splits are when one runs the second half of the race faster than the first.)

But Sergio is quite hard on himself and pushes himself to an extent with running that others in the office cannot understand; on Wednesday, two of our other coworkers berated him for pushing himself too hard and told him not to run outright. But the stress tests revealed it wasn’t quite as bad. So he will rise Sunday morning to run. As for my other friend, she is taking a much slower pace, and winging it alongside a friend. She revealed on Twitter that she will give her knee the attention it needs after the race, and pretty soon, she will train up early next year for the 1 May Long Branch Marathon, her first ever.

That said, best of luck to everyone running Sunday. I’ll be there with you guys…next year.

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