Fall 2013: Let the Season Begin

It’s that time of year. The autumn brings moans and groans from students across the nation, but moments of glee for us runners. The Rock n Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon is coming up again, and having run the race both in 2011 and 2012, I know exactly what to expect for 2013. My summer training took a hit with a knee injury through mid-August, and though I’ve since resumed training, I cannot help but think that despite conditioning and rest and such, my knees still feel a bit jittery after these longer runs. I need to build in a complete week of rest in somewhere, and it is likely to come after I run Rock n’ Roll.

The start line. 16 Sept 2012

The start line. 16 Sept 2012

In exactly two weeks’ time I will be heading over to the expo. The Nike Women’s Half Marathon all of a sudden seems ages ago, and nothing serves as quite the mentality booster as a running expo. A reminder that all of the hard work you have done is about to pay off, an area where you can meetup with other runners and network and mingle a bit. I am so looking forward to that feeling again.

Entrance to expo. 14 Sept 2012.

Entrance to expo. 14 Sept 2012.

In July, due to the excessive heat, Philadelphia’s Back on my Feet, a non-profit dedicated to using running as a vehicle to help the homeless ready themselves for the job market, postponed their initial 20in24 run to the weekend of 20-21 September. Last year, I ran 20in24, as part of the silver relay team, and had a blast like no other camping out and running the different legs all night. Even so, one of the most impactful elements of that race were the volunteers.

Coming home in the distance. 14 July 2012.

Coming home in the distance. 14 July 2012.

Last year, I was hesitant to run the west part of the loop by myself, especially at 4:30am, but the escorts kept us great company, and all of the volunteers gave quite an amazing atmosphere this year. Without a team to run with this year, though, I want to give back and be a part of that atmosphere, so that Saturday night, I’ll be out there, meeting other runners, and supporting them on their journeys. And I am psyched.

Later this fall, I will be running the Philadelphia Half Marathon as a prelude training run to Walt Disney Marathon in January. This will have been my third try and third go at this half, also having run it in 2012 and 2011. I debated doing the full marathon in November, especially with having been forced to pull out (or rather cut back to half) last year due to extended illness the month before. But with grad school dragging on, I decided not to risk it again, and now that we’re closing in on November, I am very glad I decided to just stick with the half. I’m confident I will be fit enough and prepared for January particularly since my finals are clearing up a week earlier than expected, so I can focus on my gruelling 16+ mile runs after finals end and not have to worry about studying or writing dreadful papers. Mentally I’ve checked out of the studying-exam drudgery given the toll it has taken on me.

I expect the long runs to continue through the holiday period before tapering would occur right around Christmas time. The marathon has me a bit nervous given my last experience with Marine Corps Marathon and that the calibre is more casual, that is, stocked with more beginners, who may not know all the rules, hindering, and possibly injuring others, as happened with me at MCM. At the same time, I’ve learnt a lot of things since 2011, I’ve submitted my latest PR times to the Disney Sport team so hopefully my assignment will give me a fair start. From what I’m told, corral assignments are enforced well at this race, so I shouldn’t have issues out of the game unlike, say the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, this past April. (And somehow, I managed to PR at that race, I still have no idea how it happened.)

But that’s where I stand through January. As I see old friends and Tweeps post their pictures on their race experience, I just tell myself that I will be doing the same. I plan on live tweeting any and all expo happenings and any post-race thoughts most of this fall. And even though I’ll be on a 6-8 month blackout on Facebook starting next month for personal reasons, I definitely plan on posting as many pictures here and on Twitter as possible. The Disney experience is one of the best out there, so I’m told, and I definitely plan on enjoying every moment of it. January cannot come soon enough.

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