Thursday, November 27, 2014

Smoother Than a Fresh Jar of Skippy

I've got a confession:

I only have access to a computer and the Internet when I'm at work now that my laptop crashed and I have no Internet at home. So I typically piecemeal writing these things when I have a few minutes here and there. But, since it's the day before Thanksgiving and it's slow, I'm getting a lot done!

Last year, Richmond and Philly Marathons were the same weekend, which made for one awesomely exhausting road trip. This year they were back to having 8 days of separation, and it was back to the typical JFK50-Philly double. Saturday was the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the race's namesake, whose legacy of encouraging fitness as a lifestyle led ultimately to the creation of this race. It's the oldest continually run ultra in the US. In the town of Boonsboro, 15 miles west of Frederick, the race begins by climbing up South Mountain, before hitting the Appalachian Trail. This section is incredibly rocky, and staying upright is a challenge. After about 15 miles the runners exit the AT and pick up the C&O Canal towpath for a straight (flat) marathon. The last 8+ miles are on the road, and seem excruciatingly long. This year it was 16 degrees and the start. Graham was on scene supporting his dad and sister. Mr. Peck is a beast and finished in 7:42, beating his age (he finished 56th) and running not much slower than he did last year. Kaylyn struggled in the middle but stayed tough and found that little bit extra to finish strong in 8:33 for her first 50 miler. Josh Dawson had an excellent day, finishing 23rd in 7:02 (big PR) and Wookie Kim ran 8:17 for his first 50 miler.

Meanwhile, up in Philadelphia, a couple of the guys took to the streets for a fast and furious 8k. Once again they were led by Steve Febish, who finished 39th in 26:47. Tim Burns was 47th (27:49) and Dan Miranda and Nick Klastava were 49th and 50th, both in 27:58. Febish became the first person to complete the Philly Marathon trifecta, having run the marathon (2013) and half marathon (2012) in the past two years. He also raced Broad Street this year. Man really loves Philly!

The weather performed a little better by Sunday morning, with a race-time temperature of around 42 for the marathon and half. For those of us standing on the street, sun blocked by buildings and wind barreling down the avenues, it felt much colder. In a bit of a change-up, we didn't have anybody racing the half - it was all marathon or bust! First through was Sean Caskey, who was dripping with swag. Hitting the half in 1:17 high, the piano then fell squarely on his head as he ran a 1:30 back half to finish in 2:47:39 for 103rd place. Still, a 10 minute PR for him on just his 2nd attempt! Emily Hurley is a PTPer. Brings her A game whenever she steps out for a big one. I haven't seen much of her this year but always assume she's gonna bring that Uptown Funk. She ended up running 2:57:06 - missing her PR by just 13 seconds. When I looked back at the splits from MCM 2011, she hit the half in 1:27:06 and 20k in 2:04:27. In Philly she was 1:27:46 and 2:05:25, so she ran her last 8 miles faster by 45 seconds this time around. Incredible. And amazing! She was 21st.

Dr. Emily Shin, who in early October ran 3:10 at Twin Cities, pulled off something I haven't seen done very often: ran her second fall marathon faster than her first. She finished 53rd in a new PR of 3:06:45.  Jackie Range was all smiles on her way to a negative split 3:09:05, and PJ Anderer muscled through a 3:12:32 - not what he was hoping to run but all things considered, a pretty good day.

Bryn Burkholder came into this race with a whole lotta doubt. She didn't know how fit she was, her knees have been giving her a hella hard time, and she didn't expect she had any shot at being closer to her PR of 3:21. But she loves Philly. She used to live here, go to school here. Played basketball on the courts in West Philly. This year was her 10th time running the Philly Marathon, and you know what they say - 10 times is more of a charm than 3! Bryn hit the half in 1:41 before going on a rampage, negative splitting the second half and absolutely burning up the final 5k to finish in a new PR of 3:20:08. So close to that sub 3:20!

Elsewhere, Kevin McGrath ran 36:37 at the Manasquan Turkey Trot 5M, which is the fastest he's run in a couple of years. It may legitimately be faster than I can run right now. He and I will do battle this weekend as the Terps take on their new B1G rival, Rutgers, in College Park.

Diane Heiser scored a win at the Portola Turkey Trot 5k, and Brennan Feldhausen "won but lost" a prediction race in Wisconsin. The race got taken out by a 6th grade girl, and Brennan decided he would rather be way off on his prediction than get beat by an 11 year old.

Just a week off her fantastic half marathon, Lillian Pinault was right back at it, winning the Columbia Turkey Chase 10k in a 2 minute PR of 41:03. She had to stop to tie her shoes in the first mile, which probably cost her those precious couple of seconds. At least it wasn't 40:03. And Max Hacker won the Run for Shelter 10k in NoVA in 34:20, by 70 seconds. Wow!

The Purple Drink Athlete of the Week went to Emily Hurley.

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