Last Half of the Year

During the past 6 months, Jim and I have stayed focused on training and ran 3 half marathons. Our last scheduled race of the year, Gettysburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon, was yesterday. We ran it and got our best times of the year.

We may drop into a few races over the winter because have been frustrated with being snowed out of winter races in the past. We will not preregister for anything until Spring but will continue with a less intense training schedule over the winter.

Do go out to Run Pennsyltucky and give a listen to our 25 minute podcast that covers the 2016 Gettsyburg Blue-Gray Half Marathon.img_6615

Hellbender Half Marathon 2016

2016-08-20 13.08.58 HDR2016-08-05 15.19.39A new Run Pennsyltucky podcast, perfect for a short run. I recap the 8th annual Hellbander Half Marathon this past weekend and my first distance race in well over a year! Jim and I are recovering well and hope you will give my quick unedited podcast a listen and hear what race we have on our radar next!

Nittany Valley Half Marathon 2014

NVH_panJimmyNVH_2014Jim set another PR yesterday at our local half marathon. He shaved off about 5 minutes from when he ran it 2 years ago and 4 minutes from his PR he set about a month ago! I interview him at the beginning of the December 2014 recording of Run Pennsyltucky podcast then jump right into talking to runners who were tackling their first half marathon. Their enthusiasm was inspiring!

My running has taken a back seat as I have been catching up on so many things I had put off while marathon training. I look forward to catching the running bug again soon but am still not quite back to it. I decided not to run the local half when I was resenting the training, not a good thing.

Kraken 1,000

K is the abbreviation for Kilo (1000 grams) which has been extended to multiply any quantity by 1000.

This weekend I cracked through the ceiling of 1,000 miles run this year. I wanted to last year but injury prevented that as well as participating in a full marathon. I made both of those goals this year and Jim ran his first half marathon. It is wrapping up as a pretty nice running year for both of us.

Jim had his first run after the Nittany Valley Half yesterday; he ran the Sleigh Bell 5k in Burnham. I encouraged him to treat it as a recovery run and he was a good man and heeded my advice. I too ran this local race as well as about 75 other folks.

We ran into 2 ladies that Jim works with, Patty & Jenny and it was their second race of the year. It was a lot of fun to have someone else to cheer for that we knew.Screen Shot 2012-12-09 at 2.50.32 PM

I think this will be one of the very few races I will ever come in ahead of Jim, he was hot on my heal from Ewardtown Rd until the finish line. Our different running styles had him catching me on the uphills and my gaining distance on the downhills. I did my best to Release the Kraken and the final time has us coming in at the same time which is pretty cool since we both ran our own races, mine was a PR at 26:30.

I was glad we were together to have seen the crazy guard turkey at the northern most turn of Ewardtown Rd. We could see it running back and forth in its yard even when we were a block away. He and I both assumed it was a wild turkey looking to cross the road but was scared of the runners. One time there was a gap and it did run out onto the road but it then ran back to its own yard. He really was a stunning bird but a little intimidating too, I was glad the owner was there to make sure he didn’t get out of control.

A bit farther on was a Christmas decoration, a nativity set up on the second floor of an out building in someone’s yard. It included lights to represent the star but the figures were oddly faceless and it gave a really eerie feeling to it, like they were death eaters from Harry Potter. We returned late that night to take a photo of it and it was even more spooky. A lot like what your would see on a ride in a haunted mansion.

Today, I ran my favorite half marathon that includes going past Poe Valley Lake and ending in Poe Paddy State Park. It starts at a highway and ends in paradise. The weather was what I consider the worst, 38° and rainy, but I loved every step of the way. I am not sure if I have run the route faster before but I know I have taken it at a slower pace. It was a great way to break into 1,000 miles for the year.

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First 10 miler!

Jim ran his very first 10 mile training run this past weekend. He is training for the Nittany Valley Half Marathon, a local race here is Centre County. Because it was not a weekend that clogged campus with heavy Penn State football traffic, Jim decided to run the last 10 miles of the actual course.

Speaking of the course, it was the very first half marathon I ever took notice too. I read mini reviews of it on their web page stating:

“I thought the course was good and challenging. I wouldn’t change a thing.” —Rob Guissanie

“You have redefined the meaning of ‘somewhat challenging’.” —Jerry Heinz

“It’s a very tough course, especially after about mile 7. The last mile is designed to make you see God.” —Marty Mazur

“I was looking for God during the last mile, but I didn’t see him. I guess he finished ahead of me too.”— Albert Mabus, last male finisher at the 2001 NVHM

All I could think as a beginning runner was that the 3 hour course limit would never allow me enough time to make it that far. By the end of the year, I ran it and finished in about 2 hours 15 minutes. I was so proud.

2010 Nittany Valley Half Marathon, Mount Nittany in the background.

Now Jim is making it his very first and I am so proud to support him in his training. I wrote some fun chalk messages for him over the last couple of miles in the course where it gets really rough and went to wait for him at the car. I mixed up a Hammer Nutrition Soy Protein drink for him to have then realized I might be able to see him coming up the last hill. The last mile of the course is visible from the finish line because the surrounding hills spiral up for the final mile and a half. Locals have come to know it as “The Spiral of Death.”

I looked at might watch and walked to where I could see almost to the base of the hill in the breezy grey morning. It was just spitting a little drizzle and was not a good temperature for just standing around but I knew the exertion of coming up the hill would keep him warm. I could see something moving at the bottom and it wasn’t a car. I determined it to be a bicycle because it was moving in a very steady and brisk way as it started the more level section. Wait! It was a yellow vest and it really WAS Jim! Awesome pace and right on time!

He climbed the first and steepest section, finally cresting Orchard Road. He then turned into the wind on Park Ave. Even though the climb moderates for a bit, I knew he had a head wind and really felt for him. His pace was steady and he just kept coming. It was really impressive to watch him running well for the longest distance he had ever done to date. I was so proud of him and cheered as he approached.

I did notice he was a bit fatigued on the last few yard of Park Ave. and determined to let him know that his right arm gets a little stiff when he gets tired. He was moving well but he was just a little off balance in his stride; knowing that can always help for future runs.

As he turned onto Porter Road the course gets a little steeper again and I heard him groan out loud. I knew JUST what he was feeling, having trained on the stretch and run the race twice myself. He was thinking, “More uphill! When will it quit!?” I think his groan even made me smile becuase training on this stretch makes you wise for what to expect race day. Jim was going to be ready; he looked like he could run another 3 miles as well as he was doing.

I crossed the parking lot as he ran uphill to the final few turns to run the official course. I cheered loudly for him and stopped my watch. He was under a 10MM, much better than I did on my first time to train that route. As we started to walk together and I praised him and handed him some sports drink, the reason for his lopsided gait because apparent when he produced something he had been carrying for the last 5 miles of the course. It was a huge…

Well, I can’t quite share with you what it is. Not because it is pornographic or distasteful but because we have some serious plans for it and want to keep it a surprise. What I can say is that I about fell over with surprise when he showed it to me. It is fodder for some serious future tom-foolery. When I asked where he got it and I exclaimed my surprise at how far he carried it, all he could say was, “I couldn’t risk anyone else picking it up.” This is why I love this man with my whole heart. He keep our lives FUN!

Jim holding the crazy thing he found and carried along on his first 10 mile training run. It is disguised until we can unveil it in the future.