Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Day Parade 2012

This year Dave and I went in to town on Wednesday to spend the night. We had reservations at the Hilton Garden Inn at the Convention Center complex. We took the train in Wednesday morning. Our first stop was the Franklin Institute to see the IMax movie "The Rocky Mountain Express" about the building of the transcontinental railroad in Canada.

It was a beautiful day.
Here is the view from the FI steps

Dave getting his street vendor cheesesteak.
He says they are way better than Pat's OR Geno's.

We went to the Wannamakers (aka Macy's). The light show was all set up but not operating until Friday. We stayed to listen to the pipe organ for a little bit then went over to the Comcast Center. Their 2012 show doesn't start until Thanksgiving Day but we were treated to last year's show. We tried to go back after the parade but the next show would have made us late for our return train.
Thankful for Wawa coffee at 4:30 a.m. !!

Our balloon assignment for 2012. I was given a jacket and hat
rather than a jumpsuit. I was balloon captain this year. Not
sure which job I prefer. I'll have to think about that before next year.

Our crew (plus about 20 other handlers) took care of the
Snowman Balloon this year.
This is me and Chris, our ballon rep. He is from Louisville,
Kentucky. He was excited to be in Philly for the first time.
On Friday his group heads to Santiago, Chile for a parade there.
But before he leaves he planned to run the Rocky Steps. Not today
though. They were a little bit occupied today.

It was a gorgeous day for a parade. For more photos go here.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Philly Half Marathon 2012

This one was rough. I had no real expectations going in. My training for the last few weeks has been almost non-existent. I ran a decent 10 miler two weeks ago but have done nothing since. The highlight of the day for me was seeing all the folks from the running/walking group before the race; seeing Dave at mile 8ish and seeing some new first time marathoners approach the finish and learning that some fitters got PR's out of the day.

I started out running water stop to water stop. I only got as far as the second stop (around mile 3) before I switched to 3 and 1 run/walk interevals. My feet were numb, my legs felt like lead. I felt like I was going backwards - on the downhill. My head was out of the run early. I saw Dave at his usual spot between mile 8 and 9 and asked him to walk with me a bit. I told him I likely wouldn't cross the finish line until after the 3 hour mark on the clock. I was figuring a 2:45 finish at that point. (Remember, I don't cross the start line until well after the clock actually starts)

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Packet Pick Up and New Bike

Today is a whirlwind day. I slept until I woke up. Of course that was not as late as it could be because I COULD sleep in. Isn't that the way it goes? I caught the 9:09 train out of Media to be at the Convention Center at 9:50. The expo opened at 10 so I figured this was good timing. Well so did several hundred other folks. The line was looooooooooooooooooong. Once the doors opened it moved but unfortunately others arriving later just fed in from the main hallway which aggravated a few people who had been waiting in line much longer than me. No fisticuffs but a few choice words.
I love this mural by the escalator from
the train station to the Convention Center
I picked up my packet and looked in vain for the ACS booth to see if Roy was there. Finally I called him and found out he wasn't coming down until 1 p.m. I forgot he ran the Rothman 8k today. I never did find the booth but I got to talk to Roy "Attidue of Gratitude" Kardon anyway and that's enough to get anyone race ready!

I caught the 11:05 train back to Media and had planned to go straight to Bikesport to pick up my new bike. But, I had to pee so I went home first. The good news is that Jimmy was there picking up some mail and we were able to chat for a bit before he headed back to the city.

Ginny, at Bikesport was awesome. She helped me put together a spare tube and tookit, took my old bike for their "Pedals for Progress" collection and answered my any many questions I had. I'm sure some of them had her rolling her eyes secretly. To me thought she was very patient. We adjusted the seat and she showed me how to release the brakes to remove the tire. I had a lot of trouble with that. It's not a quick release like my old bike. I have  weak thumb on the right hand so it will take some practice for me to do this smoothly. I was able to get it back together when I got home but it was rough.

I love the bike. I want to ride but today wasn't going to work. I knew that but I decided to squeeze picking it up into my day so at least it will be here when I do have a chance. Unfortunately that looks like it will be Friday!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Taking a break

Today I went for a two hour hike at Ridley Creek State Park with Julius and Kristi. It was a gorgeous morning and perfect weather for a hike. In fact, it turned out I was overdressed with a long sleeve shirt on. We had a wonderful time wandering around the trails. We got a little turned around at one point but it's impossible to really get lost there. We talked and walked and all three agreed we had a great time.

This adventure reinforced my recent thoughts that I need to take a break after the Philly Half. My training schedule for Bob Potts Marathon doesn't start until December 10th. I'll take advantage of those three weeks to do whatever I feel like. More hiking, walking, biking and exploring with no purpose or goal but to enjoy what's out there to enjoy. Maybe some trail runs because I really do enjoy them. And of course getting acquainted with my new bike! More on that later when I have it and can show a picture.

So what are my goals for Philly Half? At the beginning of the year I had hoped to make this my PR race. I signed up with a goal of 2:15 (My previous best was 2:17 and change). It is unlikely that will happen. I haven't been consistent enough lately. My runs have felt good but I don't feel any significant improvement from the RNR in September. I've fallen off the schedule and truth be told I'm kind of anxious for the race to be over so I can take a break and start fresh for Bob Potts. I'm basically going through the motions right now.

So my goal will be to finish and have fun and try to keep it under 2:30. I love the Philly Half course and I'm counting on that to pick me up a little. I'll try to run water stop to water stop and just let the time fall where it may.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Run for Sandy Relief

For an event that was originated less than 48 hours before the start it was incredibly well organized. The idea came from a women in Hunterdon County, NJ who was schedued to run the NYC Marathon. She decided to skip the Marathon (before it was officially canceled) and organize an event to raise money for relief for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. I saw it on Facebook from a friend around 5 pm on Friday. I was going to be doing my own 10 miles alone on Sunday (or try to find a local running buddy) and thought that for $20 this seemed like a good idea. Another of my training buddies - Kristi Y - decided she would put in her miles there as well.

The event was promoted to runners and walkers as an opporutunity to complete anything from 1 to 26.2 miles. The suggested donation would go 100% to Sandy Relief. Facebook sent the thing into overdrive and by Saturday evening they had 130 registrations. When we arrived (at 9:55 for a 10 am start - more on that later) they were still managing walk up registrations. I just read on the FB Page that the final total was over 200 with 50+ doing the full 26.2 miles.