1st Annual Asbury Park Marathon Relay

Today I ran the 1st Annual Asbury Park Marathon relay. This race is put on by the NJRRC, who also manages the NJ Marathon and which I happen to be a member of. The race director sent out emails months ago introducing this race to participants in the last NJ Marathon. The race is a relay which consists of teams of up to 8 people. There was also the option of registering as a “Team of One”. Registering early and being a member of the NJRRC got me into the race as a Team of One for $30, so it was hard to pass up considering it is towards the end of my Philly Marathon training cycle. There was also the added bonus of Mrs. Progman registering a team consisting of several friends and family. And I was able to talk a couple of other marathoning nutjobs, including Flyers26, into running it, so it all but guaranteed a good time.

This race is an eight loop course which I knew would be a bear mentally so companionship was key in not going crazy. Luckily my buddy and experienced marathon pacer Colleen was also running today so I hitched onto her for most of the race. My approach to this race was just to run it as a slow training run. The weather forecast was for cold, rain & 20 mph winds, so I was not looking forward to it when I woke up Sunday morning. I had a great run though, ran comfortably through the entire thing and finished in 4:26:51.

Perfect weather forecast for Race Day (um, not)

Mr & Mrs Progman (first time we got to run together in a race!)

Me with Flyers26 post race showing off the hardware
Former college roommate and Mrs. P teammate Sandy

Colleen & Sarah, my pacing team for most the day
Mrs. P & her brother and teammate Scott
Mrs. P, sister in law Beth & Sandy
Joanne & Tara from Mrs. P’s team
Coming into the convention center for the finish

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Playing Catch Up

Wow, no blog posts in September – I’m lame. Does’t mean I’ve stopped running though. I logged 187 miles in September and have already run over 1500 miles in 2009, surpassing my 1401 total miles in 2008. I had a back pocket goal of 2009 miles in 2009 but that doesn’t seem likely now unless I crank it up a couple of crazy notches (hmmm…). I’ve got the Asbury Park Marathon next weekend and then the Philadelphia Marathon in November, so if I can keep from getting injured, who knows.

So, my September recap, in pictures:
Mrs. Progman rocking the Susan Koman 5k at Great Adventure (#3082, so proud that she is not wearing a MP3 player):

My new Fall Marathon Hat – the Brooks Nightlife hat – It is far brighter than the much uglier RRS Sports Hat I retired this year, I love it:

Me running a 20 miler with ShoreTurtle last weeked (picture shamelessly poached from his site):
That’s it. Hope to have some cool Asbury Park Marathon photos after next weekend.
Posted in Asbury Park Marathon 2009, Mrs. Progman | 4 Comments

Back from Vacation

I’ve been on vacation for the past week in Ocean City, NJ. I managed to cram in about 51 miles in the six days we were down there. Something about running someplace new, along the ocean, when I don’t have to be heading to work afterwards that just makes me want to lace them up and go (the fact that I was guilt ridden over eating like a pig helped also). I’m pretty sure I would have went well over 60 miles but I did take a day off due to my achilles squawking at me a little bit one day. Otherwise, I maintained a steady diet of 10 mile days. Now that I’m back I think I’ll concentrate on adding in a strong midweek tempo run and stretching out my Sunday long runs in preparation for upcoming Fall marathons.

Mrs. Progman has also been hitting the road hard in preparation for the upcoming Asbury Park Marathon relay on October 18th. She is considering running the the Pier Village 5k this coming weekend. I have also been looking at races to run in the next month or so to gauge my current marathon fitness. The Jersey Shore Half Marathon is tantalizingly close but the desolate two loop course kind of turns me off. Two other interesting possiblities are the Brielle 10k Challenge on September 12th or the Newport Liberty Half Marathon on September 27th. Or I could just whimp out and run a bunch of easy miles sans race fees. We’ll see.

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Turkey Swamp 25k

I ran the Turkey Swamp 25k this past Sunday. I credit ShoreTurtle – even though this race is only about 25 minutes from my house, it did not occur to me to sign up for it until I read about it on his blog, and it fit in perfectly for my marathon training. I ran most of the race with ShoreTurtle and Hurley, which was a huge boost and a nice change from the solo long run schedule I have been keeping lately. Turkey Swamp has events of 50k, 20 mile, 25k and 10 mile. This race is too close to not consider running the 50k at some point – maybe I’ll think about taking a shot at it next year. My time for the 25k was 2:35:40.
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What Are You Doing on November 22nd?

Yeah, so much for my “wait and see what happens” approach. I just couldn’t resist the temptation of registering for Philly. I got injured last year training for it and had to fall back to the half marathon. It just wasn’t the same. Supposedly there is some town called Manayunk or something in the second half of the race that is cool to run through and has hills? And there’s an unofficial water station up there where people serve beer? I don’t know, but this marathon was just sitting there mocking me since I bailed on it last year so I had to register for it again. Plus I think I may know a few people who are running it. So shout out if you are in for Philly. Looking forward to kicking asphalt in November!

Posted in Philadelphia Marathon 2009 | 9 Comments

Change of (Life) Plans

I am officially starting a new job in the beginning of August. My new gig is in New York City, which means I will be joining the throngs of New Jersey people heading into the city every day on NJ Transit. Not sure yet how this will effect marathon training – at the very least I will need to be getting up (ugh) a little bit earlier to fit in the morning stuff before hitting the train.

I have been going back and forth about whether to register for the Philadelphia Marathon or the Harrisburg Marathon. The new job thing kind of throws another wrench in the mix since I’m not sure how easy it’s going to be to fit all of this stuff in. I have resigned myself to hold off on registering for Philly, since I don’t want to register and then change plans since I did that last year because of an injury. Harrisburg is one of those rare marathons where you can actually still show up the morning of the race and register, so I am keeping that as my back pocket race after the Asbury Park Relay Marathon on October 18th.

Yikes, Asbury Park is less than 13 weeks away. I’m taking suggestions anybody has on a nice 12 week training plan. As it is, I have been holding steady on 40+ miles a week (give or take) with a speed workout or hill workouts sprinkled in. Any suggestions are welcome.

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Long Time No Blog

I know I’m lame – it’s been over a month since I’ve put anything on here. I have seen a couple of other fellow runners retire themselves from the blog-o-sphere in the past couple of weeks so I think there is a bit of blogging malaise going around. In my case it is due mainly to:

(a) busy with little league (last game this weekend)
(b) busy with work related stuff
(c) running (yeah, still doing that)
(d) general lack of anything interesting to say

So little league is done after this week and school is over after next week – that means a big collective sigh of relief in the Progman house (Mrs. P is a teacher after all, end of school year = hectic hectic) and life will become a little more leisurely.

As far as running goes:

– I did not get into the NYC Marathon. Kind of glad about that one, part of me is actually dreading when I do get in and have to deal with the big registration fee, dealing with getting to the expo, race start, etc. I have become a running recluse, preferring smaller races or no races at all in favor of just running a bunch. NYC is definitely on my to do list though.

– I am working on getting my MPW back into the 40 mile range after officially recovering from the NJ Marathon. I would kind of like to then bump it into the occasional 50+ zone. I would prefer to do this by bumping the distance of my average weekly stuff as well as the occasional double thrown in, as opposed to relying on heavy weekend long runs. I think the 18 – 20 mile stuff is where my body starts to squawk a little at me. I am leaning towards limiting my max long run to 18 miles or less (during marathon training), in favor of greater weekly volume. I have seen a lot of knowledgeable folks plug this strategy and think it may be something worth trying.

– I have been registered for the Asbury Park Marathon Relay as a team of one for some time now (October 18th). I have planned all along to treat that as a long slow training run with the thought of a later Fall marathon (yeah, kind of contradicts my previous bullet). Still haven’t decided if or what that later Fall marathon will be. Philadelphia seems to make the most sense. I would love to hear from other people committed to Philly or with any other marathon suggestions.

Oh, and I’ve been meaning to get back out and run with this group. It’s been a while since I’ve twisted an ankle or taken a mud induced fall on my ass. They should be able to remedy that.

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Race Results & Photos

My official finish time for the NJ Marathon was 4:11:21. I wanted to come in under 4 hours but I am pleased with that. More than that, I am pleased that I stopped my Garmin at 4:11:25, so I was 4 seconds off of the chip time. I’m usually a bonehead when it comes to stopping my Garmin, even in the shortest of races. I think the fact that I was 4 seconds off in a marathon means I am maturing as a runner (it does, right?). Here are some of my race pics from Brightroom, the official race photographer (I think the last one is my favorite):

Am I the only one that got a porta potty shot or what? Way to go Brightroom, I will cherish that one forever. As a side note, this is pre-race. I cruised for 4:11 hours without having to make a pit stop, which is also a small success for me. I think I have my hydration strategy nailed for the next marathon.

Posted in NJ Marathon 2009 | 12 Comments

13th Annual NJ Marathon

Second marathon is done and in the books. It was a great morning – I headed over to Long Branch early and got to the host hotel before 6:00am. I thought I was early but immediately saw Joyrun and her husband who already had a spot staked out. I was hoping to meet up with some RunnersWorld online folks but once the crowds rolled in it did get a little crazy. I did manage to bump into RbbMoose from RWOL who finished in an impressive 4th place overall. I was hoping to catch some of his speedy karma (didn’t happen). I also got a chance to meet with some of my pacing buds from last year, as well as fellow bloggers Flyers26, Shoreturtle, & Mr. & Mrs. Ted.

JoyRun & JoyHusband

Colleen & Dana (4:15 pacers)

My confidence took a hit this training cycle once a minor IT injury cropped up around week 14 of my training. I ended up changing up my race goals to:

(1) Sub 4 hours
(2) Sub 4:15 (can’t let Colleen, Dana & Jack catch up to me)
(3) Sub 4:27 (last year)

I figured I would start off with the 4:00 hr pace group (9:09 pace) and then pick it up closer to a 3:50 (8:48) pace after the first 8 miles. That sounded like a great plan, but the 4:00 hour guys started off running closer to an 8:30 pace, something I was hoping to push in the second half of the race. I backed off of them after the first few miles because I realized they were going too fast, and waited until closer to the half to pick them off (they were definitely cruising too fast and wasted a lot of the 4 hour folks).

I ended up meeting up with T.Lee & RW_Strider from RWOL somewhere around mile 16. They recognized me by the trademark ugly yellow RoadRunner Sports hat (I was going to ditch it after this race, but that thing is key for races, I think I will hang on to it). They were looking great, and I felt the cramps coming on and knew a fade was imminent. Mrs. Progman and the kiddos came out and surprised me at mile 17 and snapped a couple of cool pictures.

T.Lee & RW_Strider (and me getting ready to high five my daughter)

Kiddos with signs of support

I knew I was crashing but made every effort to push it beyond where I had problems last year. I hate the 20 mile mark of the marathon – I’m starting to think I should just train to run the fastest 20 miles possible and then plan on limping in the last 6.2. It didn’t help that the bulk of the rain fell in the last hour of the race which made it a little ugly. I ended up with a 4:11:25 Garmin time, still waiting on the official results.

I love the NJ Marathon, but desperately need another marathon to run. I feel like I know every inch of this course by heart, and know the exact street corner where I’m going to start feeling it. That combined with the double loop and I need something new. At the very least I have the Asbury Park Marathon in October – I may try to fit another Fall marathon in there somewhere.

RW_Strider & T.Lee post race

Posted in NJ Marathon 2009 | 10 Comments

T Minus 4 Days and Counting

This is the last week of taper before the NJ Marathon. I have been battling some kind of ITBS thing over the last couple of weeks, which forced me to cut my last 20 mile run short, but am hoping that a couple days of rest this week will go a long way in healing it (gulp). It has caused me to shuffle my A, B, and C goals a little bit, though, with the C goal now being limping across the finish line with a smile if the leg acts up. My A goal remains the same however.

This past Sunday I took my kids to 7 Presidents park in Long Branch to hit the beach. This is also where I plan to park on marathon morning, so it was good to get out there and get a little positive mojo going. Surprisingly, it was 90 degrees inland on Sunday but I still froze my butt off on the beach. Not sure what that means as far as weather this weekend – I am guessing it will be somewhere between 35 degrees with wind gusts to 90 degrees with 95% humidity. Yet another mitigating factor for anyone who is chasing a goal.

I know there will be some other running bloggers out there on Sunday (JoyRun, Flyers26, ShoreTurtle and BommaMomma just to name a few), as well as a slew of non blogging running friends (what, some people don’t blog?). Hopefully I will see some of you guys. Good luck to anyone racing this weekend!

7 Presidents Beach, Long Branch

DD being a drama queen on the beach

The “other” training in Progman’s house

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