Sunday, March 27, 2016

Spending a relaxing Easter Sunday at home, after a 10-mile training run this morning, I now have time to reflect on the week that was (March 12-20).  Even though it’s been over a week the long holiday weekend has come at a perfect time for me to recover and rest.  Which will become imperative as I slowly plod along toward what I hope will be a memorable TCS New York City Marathon and the training that will come along with it.  Getting in was just step #1.  I received an email this past week alerting me that the next step will include choosing my transportation to the starting line and how I wish to check any personal belongings to be taken to the finish line.  Certainly not the type of excitement race training or race week itself can deliver, but with over 7 months to go, you take what you can get.  I did receive my official training shirt and hat in the mail a few weeks back and I have already prepared my training plan that will begin on July 18.  For now, I just continue to build upon a base of mileage and work for the few foundation races I will run.  Those races include the Island to Island Half Marathon on April 30 which will start on Assateague Island and finish in Ocean City, Maryland.  In addition I will be doing the St. Michael’s Half Marathon in St. Michael’s Maryland on May 21.

No doubt there is much running to do in my future.  But the point of this post is to discuss the running that took place between March 12 – 20 a few weeks ago.  It all actually began on Friday, March 11 when Becky and I headed to Baltimore where we checked into a hotel near BWI Airport for an early morning flight the next morning to Phoenix.  I had a work conference in Scottsdale, Arizona that began on March 13 and ran through March 16.  We departed early in order to spend a little time taking in some spring training baseball and while I was researching things to do I came across a half-marathon/10k run in North Scottsdale for the morning of March 13.  The Run for Ryan House provided a challenge that I hadn’t experienced in quite some time.  With just over 350 feet of elevation change that rolled over the 13.1 mile course my legs hadn’t done hill work like that in a long time.  Most likely since I ran in Western Pennsylvania over two years ago.  Despite the challenges of the run, my goal time of a sub-1:45 became a reality as I cruised through the early stages of the race and left enough in the tank to hold onto a 1:42:58, which was good for 2nd in my age group and 17th overall.

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Finish line photo with my half-medal and my age group place medal

The crazy thing about heading west is always the time change issues, but it was also accentuated by the fact that Arizona does not recognize daylight savings time.  When we arrived there on Saturday afternoon, we were two hours behind our east coast time.  By Sunday morning, when the rest of the country (practically) was updating their clocks, it threw us behind by 3-hours.  Waking in the morning I was not even sure what time it really was, which made my performance even more incredible from my standpoint.

By Wednesday afternoon, we headed back home and arrived just before midnight.  After two quick regular work days we took a planned trip back to western Pennsylvania to visit some family and friends.  The primary purpose for our trip was to give some people back home an opportunity to visit with our dog Jasmine, who has unfortunately been diagnosed with a mass in her abdomen.  We are not sure how much longer she has with us, and our plans have included taking her on a few “bucket list” type trips in the coming weeks/months for whatever time we may have left with her.  I am sure to write about this at a more appropriate time, but for now, we are simply trying to make memories.

With such a hectic travel scheduled, the reward was this Easter weekend of some rest and relaxation.  However, keeping up with my running miles along the way has been difficult, but not impossible.  Within a week I ran a half-marathon, completed several training runs in warm “Phoenix-type” temperatures dodging cactus, and had to bundle up while running Western-Pennsylvania temperatures in the 30’s.  In addition, I was able to not skip a beat running on what has become my familiar home-turf where we had unseasonable temperatures in the 70’s upon our return.  It made for one hella-week that I’m sure I’ll remember for years to come.  We now focus on the spring season and a more relaxed schedule with building mileage and a laser focus on New York City.

Run on…

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Packet pick-up at Ryan House. I liked the painting.

Pre-race

Pre-race

Hilly course #1

Hilly course #1

Hilly Course #2

Hilly Course #2

Hilly Course #3

Hilly Course #3

Finish Line at Ryan House

Finish Line at Ryan House

Run for Ryan House in the Mountains!

Run for Ryan House in the Mountains!

Finish photo

Finish photo

Double medal! I think I'll make room in my carry-on.

Double medal! I think I’ll make room in my carry-on.

Scottsdale Sunset

Scottsdale Sunset

Jasmine is travel-weary

Jasmine is travel-weary

Still doing well despite her illness. But more tired than usual.

Still doing well despite her illness. But more tired than usual.

She'll always be my champion. Enjoying wearing my medals while in her favorite position.

She’ll always be my champion. Enjoying wearing my medals while in her favorite position.