Great Pumpkin Run, a Wrapup

Well, another fun 5K in the books.  The Great Pumpkin Run, held at Savidge Farms by Sour Fish Events, proved to be another interesting race experience.  And since we are such good parents, we enrolled our children to tag along as chaperones.  The course was a winding adventure through corn fields, some woods, fields again, a pumpkin patch and wrapped up with a cattle chute finish through a narrow corn maze.

The good stuff:
The event itself was fun and family friendly. Make no mistake, we enjoyed the atmosphere and thought all-in-all the course was challenging and exciting.  Our chaperones did okay considering this was their first “off-road” course.  It my rookie mistake only training with them on smooth paved trails. The rocky fields and wild corn husk now and then of Savidge Farms, proved to be a little more tricky than dodging cyclists on our home training grounds.  Despite having to stop to fix a shoe, walking in sections that were deeply rutted by farm equipment and my irritating words of encouragement, the kids maintained a 14 min pace.

If you read my previous post about 80/20 running, my slow runs are around 11:30-12 min pace, so this was a good test of remembering to slow down.

The not-so-good:
The course was fun, but certain sections bottle necked runners close together. (Small rant Warning) I’m all for loving thy neighbor, but there seemed to be a lot of people in a hurry to catch a PR and made for rude attitudes, yelling, and a few elbows in the way.  Now, mind you, this race has your typical waves, so the more “advanced” runners should have put themselves in an earlier wave or at least started at the very front of the slower waves.

Just a side note: If you want to catch a PR, sign up for the first waves dedicated specifically for Running. Leave the Run/walk waves to those of us with kids that just want to have fun.

I realize I’m just complaining about circumstances out of the event organizer’s control, so take everything I’m saying in strides.

The race metals were pretty sweet, (see picture above) but I think the shirts lacked a little something.  The screen printing on some of the shirts were damaged and I noticed a few people went to Facebook to complain about the quality of the tech shirts.  Again, all minor details, we had fun and that’s what counts.

Family Finish Time: 44 mins 40 seconds

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Endorsed by Brooks!

Thank you, thank you – autographs at the end of the presentation please.  I decided to adopt an official sponsor and seek endorsement deals for the 2017-2018 racing season.

I’m happy to say that Brooks Running has decided to endorse me this season, their support has been fantastic and a welcome addition to the KenStandsOnThings Raceteam.

I’ve been running for the last two years and have had my share of running shoes.  I started out with Nike, and found them to perform very well.  The Bike running community is pretty strong and was happy to follow other Nike Runners. Always looking to change things up, I switched to New Balance.  My New Balance shoes were a breath of fresh air, and did me well through a handful of 5 and 15Ks.  The New Balance community was a little more uptight, and I felt welcomed in a weird “this is my cousin tagging along with me” to your popular cousin’s friend’s party.   After the New Balance stint, I jumped to Mizuno running shoes.  I fell in love with my Mizunos, they were light and airy and packed a powerful punch when I had to dig deep. But noticed that they lacked the sense of community that I felt with my other running shoes.

Fast forward to Brooks Running Shoes. The sense of community is strong from Brooks and they are all too happy to reach out and be a part of my running experience.  Not to mention the Launch 4’s I picked up super awesome and a great running shoe. The Launches feel light and springy and during my runs I can still feel the ground beneath me. Since I need a neutral running shoe I’m super picky about groundfeel and cushioning.  If a shoe is too soft or lacks ground control I end up injuring myself, so when I laced on these Brooks and hit the road, I was pleasantly surprised.  So, now that I’m endorsed you probably are thinking about striking a deal with them as well – head on over to The Big Endorsement Deal

Anyway, what shoes do you prefer? Let me know in the comments and share your reviews! I’m always interested to see what other people are running in these days.

Half Marathon Training!

I’ve neglected to update this poor blog, so in an effort to maintain some level accountability here’s an update on training.  I recently discovered Matt Fitzgerald’s book “80/20 Running” and have taking stock in adopting the principles of slower running.  In a nutshell 80% of my training will be dedicated to slow run, like really slow running.  Running so slow that I’m slightly embarrassed to post my 5K runtimes in the 40 min range slow. Buuuuuuut, if it means I can crank out a Half Marathon under 2 hours, I’ll take it.

Speaking of a half marathon finish under 2 hours, will it happen in a few weeks?! Not sure, yet.  I have been maintaing weekly averages in the 10-15 miles range, and only as of lately strayed to scale things up.  I’ve got 4 more weeks until the Hershey Half, so I’m not going to get too strung out if I don’t hit my under 2 hour goal.

Week 1 (6 weeks until the half)
Training consisted of two (2) 3 mile runs during the week and ending with a 6 mile run on Sunday.

Week 2
Training consisted of one (1) 3 mile run, and one (1) 4 mile run during the week, ending with a 6 mile run on Sunday.

Week 3 (current week)
Training this week included one (1) 3 mile run durig the week, one (1) 5k Pumpkin Run Race this Saturday, and ending out on Sunday with an 8 mile slow run.

Next week’s training (week 4) will include 3 mile runs during the week and another repeat 8 mile slow run.  After that (weeks 5 & 6) will include light 3 mile runs during the week and then my long runs will increase from 8 miles to 10 miles on Sundays. The follow Sunday (week 7) is the Hershey Half and will end the week with a 13 mile run.

Hot Chocolate 15k – Follow-up!

Oh man, I’m I excited to share with you all my Race-recap of the Hot Chocolate 15k in Philadelphia! This is the second year I’ve run this race and I have had a great time so far!  Oh and best of all, this race counted as my long run prior to my half marathon so I basically got rewarded for training.

If you are planning on doing the HC15K in Philly, here are my tips for the newcomers:

  1. Parking is a horrendous nightmare! Get there early and look for parking near the backside of the art muesun. If you are daring, feel free to park on the street, bonus points if you make your own parking on the concrete islands that serve as lane dividers. Tip: This seems like a no-brainer, but- Get there early.
  2. The inflatables attract a lot of attention, so if you want your picture with the giant marshmellows, do it first thing when the crowds are small. Again, early bird gets the worm.
  3. If you arrive early and want to stock up on Merchandise- buy gloves and hats before the race because these are the first things to sellout. Tip: Wait until after the race to buy clothing (sometimes they’ll have a discount rack to move product faster).
  4. Bring layers! April in Philadelphia can be unpredictable, but so far every year it’s been biting cold and rainy in the morning and then getting nicer at the conclusion of the race. Tip: Wear old clothing you don’t mind discarding, they’ll donate discarded clothing to the local shelters. 
  5. When you have to use the bathroom, the port-a-johns closest to the starting gates are always packed. Tip: Take a few extra steps and walk toward the end of the long line of facilities and you’ll either have a short wait or not wait at all. 
  6. At the end of the race, collect your medal (you deserve it!) and head to the tents to collect your finishers mug! Tip: Again, take a few extra steps and walk away from the crowds to the lines furthest from the finish line- there’s usually never a wait.

Cheerish these tips, they have served me well! Now, about the race: the course is fairly flat, so this is a great time to turn up the speed! In my case this counted as a long training run before my half marathon next week, so I took it easy. I ran at an average 10:22 pace but found myself passing a lot of people along the way. If your like me and carry your own hydration, stay to the outside of the course and just keep moving along. There are several hydration stations and bathrooms along the way, and also the park is alongside the entire course so if you want to avoid the crowds or take a break there is a walking trail that parallels the course.

There were over 6,000 participants so the event can seem a bit crazy at times. Kudos to the event organizers for keeping things moving and keeping the crowds under control.

I usually start in the corrals near the back: One, I know I’m not super fast runner so starting in the front doesn’t mean much to me. Two, I like to pass people vs. getting passed repeatedly. 🙂 Lastly, it gives you a chance to walk around and take it all in.

I started off nice and slow, with an average pace around 11min/mile just to get warmed up and a feel for the pack I was running alongside. After the second and third mile I picked up the pace and started to focus on my cadence and breathing. In through the nose and out the mouth, feeling good. Miles 4 and 5 were closer to 10 min/mile pace- I wanted to go faster but just didn’t want to over do it.

Mile 6 into 7 I started to hydrate – I didn’t feel thirst, but I could tell my mouth wasn’t was moist and my nose wasn’t as runny as it normally was during the beginning of the race. My pace slowed slightly because now I was catching the large crowds that were in the corrals ahead of me. At some points during the congestion I was trying my best to navigate through the walkers and abrupt stoppers.

Mile 7 into 8 I started to feel a little tightness in my calves, but nothing that warranted stopping so I pressed on and picked up my pace a little.

Coming into the final stretch I realized that the course barely had any photographers- in fact it wasn’t until I approached the finish that I saw the event photographers. Not that I wanted photographers catching me every 10 minutes, but just an observation I picked up on from last year. The last and final approach is on an incline, so just remember to save a little bit of extra umph for a strong finish.

I had a great time, picked up a little extra swag afterward and enjoyed getting out and running the 15k for another year.

This Week in Running

Running Log Monday March 20th through Sunday March 26th
Miles Run: 13.3 

Well, I did it, I’ve officially began tapering for my upcoming 15K and 1/2 Marathon.  I’ve been keeping the mileage low to avoid injury and also, let’s face it – I’ve been slacking.  I’ve been struggling with finding the motivation to run lately – and trust me, it pains me.  I’ll jump on Instagram and see everyone’s running pictures and I’ll hear that voice in my head say, “you should be running” and I agree, I should be running…

But I’m not.  So let’s start with the not so good news.

Last weekend I decided to run in some new shoes, since then I’ve been getting wicked shin splints – an issue I’ve never had before. So I’ve been semi-nursing some sore shins while running, trying to “take it easy”.  To snap out of my funk, and while traveling for work in New York City, I thought I would take advantage and run along the East River.  The thought was awesome, but the logistics just weren’t in the cards (early morning start, long and late days).  An inside run in the treadmill would have to suffice, so before the rest of the guys were awake, I hit the gym and pounded out a little over 3 miles.  It was the longest 3.1 miles ever.

In better news, the weather has been cooperating and is fantastically warm outside so here’s the hoping a few outdoor runs are in order.

Muck Fest 2017

This seems to be the year of new things for me… and new races!  On race day, it’s amazing to see the crowds of people that turnout for the event.  Not only will we (mostly I) be running in the Hot Chocolate 15K on April 1st, also signed up for a 1/2 Marathon the following weekend, then the Hard Cider 5k at the end of April – but now we’ve added on Muck Fest! (Use code: TAKE15OFF to save $15 on your registration – expires April 3).

The greatest thing about all these wonderful races (aside from the bling and swag) are the charities they support!

MuckFest® MS is the fun mud run in support of a world free of multiple sclerosis. The run is pure athletic hilarity on a muddy course full of outrageous obstacles. MuckFest MS is something that must be seen to be believed.

Support Me and the National MS Society with a Donation
The “MS” part of MuckFest MS stands for multiple sclerosis, an upredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.  Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, and MS affects more than 2.3 million worldwide. This is the reason we come together: to rally friends in support of people living with MS in our community. That’s why 100% of your donation benefits the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

You can support me by making a donation HERE

It’s greatly appreciated!