Road to Boston SLR 8

Long runs don’t always go as expected, but sometimes you get what you need.

After running a water stop for SLR 7, I jumped back into running the Road to Boston SLR 8.

The Road to Boston goes through Injuryville

Many runners get some sort of an injury while training for a marathon.

Running a marathon is a big under-taking and if you don’t prepare properly there is usually hell to pay on Marathon day. Once committed to running 26.2 miles there isn’t much that will stop most runners. Even pain.

I can’t say that I’ve ever run a marathon that didn’t involve pain at some point. Even the elite runners will tell you that.

The idea behind training and putting in those grueling training miles is to push the pain point out as many miles as you can into the race.

Over the years I’ve solved most of the things that can go wrong during the actual marathon, but I have not found a fool-proof way to avoid injuries.

Running Road to Boston SLR 8

The pain in my knee changed recently, so I cut back all running last week and only ran the Super Sunday 5K with the running club. My knee felt fine the entire race.

But I know that long distances and down-hills will beat the shit out of my left knee. And this week’s run was both hilly and 18.1 miles! 

Since this is my twentieth rodeo, I know what to do when the bull throws me into the dirt.

So I went into today’s run with caution and low expectations.

I didn’t know if I’d make it out of the parking lot, to the first water stop or by some miracle, the entire route.

Starting the Road to Boston SLR 8

Sunday Long Run 8 with the Melrose Running Club. Road to Boston SLR 8

Kneeling for this photo was a little painful for all of us. Not too many youngsters in this group.

As we ran out of the parking lot I took it really slow, around a 12 minute pace.

Even after stretching, my knee was tight. But I was pretty sure that it would loosen up after a bit of running. And that’s what happened.

I didn’t feel like sprinting, but I was pretty sure I would make it to our first water stop.

The segment to Breakheart Reservation I ran mostly with Bobby Taylor and Joe Winslow. They were looking to run 10+ minute miles which was fine with me. But, we had to intentionally do that. We’d get talking, I’d check my watch and we would be running 9:20.

2023 SLR 8 Course Map, 2023 Boston Marathon training

Just before mile three we reached the road into Breakheart. It seemed to come up quickly and I was grateful for that.

After the water stop most people went left to get the hills over with. A bunch of us went right to run them old school.

As we went around the loop we got to see everyone else coming from the other direction.

I was able to maintain my speed pretty well going up the hills. But going down had to be controlled.

People think running down hill is easy, or easier. But it involves a lot of pounding and that usually gets your quads or knees.

On a steep decline you can kind of get out of control, go to fast and really slam your legs. It’s not good.

I found my self extending my right leg and holding my left leg back so as to minimize the impact on my left knee. It’s generally not a good idea to alter your stride like that, but I was only doing it on the downhills.

Finishing the Road to Boston SLR 8

We finished the loop in the parking lot back at Water Stop 1.

I knew that the longer I staid the tighter my knee would get. So I took a cup of Gatorade and cut the conversation short.

Joe Winslow and I made our way down the park road and turned right onto the Fellsway. He was doing okay and was nice enough to hang back and keep me company.

At the next corner, at mile seven, we took a right onto Main Street in Saugus.

This is a long, mostly uphill, slog to Wakefield High and our next water stop.

Joe and I have daughters in their twenties, so we always have plenty to talk about. It was fun.

In the parking lot of Wakefield High I decided to cut the run short. We were just short of mile nine and I knew that 18 miles was not in the cards.

Joe was going to run long so I headed out to my short cut. Dan Slattery was also going to cut it short and headed out a minute or so after I did.

All the way up Farm Road in Wakefield I expected Dan to catch up to me, but he didn’t catch me until Water Stop 4 at Nick’s Pizza.

My knee was aching at level 2-3 now and I knew that hanging around was not going to help.

Just like the previous water stop, the first 10-20 steps were painful. The promise of less pain was the only way to keep going, and we were headed for another freaking hill!

Dan and I ran in the last three miles or so pretty much together. When he picked up the pace at times, I just let him go. As he said, it was really about getting in the time on my feet.

As we got into down town Melrose he went ahead and at 12.6 miles I decided to walk. Even that hurt!

We chatted a bit in the parking lot and headed our separate ways. A run well done.

Run well my Friends,


Saturday Long Run January 14, 2023

A Saturday Long Run

This week the Melrose Running Club held their Holiday Party on Saturday night, so we had our Sunday Long Run on Saturday. Some people don’t like to stay out all night and then go for a long run.

Since this is the third week of our program, the Saturday Long run dropped down to 10.5 miles. After the hilly 12.5 miles the previous week, it was a welcome distance.

Last week, my Garmin showed that I climbed the equivalent of 77 flights of stairs on that run. And my legs certainly felt it!

This week we left our starting area behind Brueggers on Main Street in Melrose and headed north on Main Street. Somehow, we forgot to get a group photo!

This Saturday the temperature was around 33F with an occasional breeze and a constant, light drizzle. I think the precipitation kept our group small, probably 25 people?

The first mile out I ran a 10:57 pace in an effort to warm up and see what was going to hurt this time. And I did run a bit with Marty Hergert this week!

Over miles two and three the group settled into groups of runners by pace and I ended up running with Joe Winslow and Dan Slattery. We ran around 10:15 over those two miles and my left knee was bothering me.

This early in my Boston Marathon training, this had me a little worried. Knee pain has been a constant issue but I have learned a few tricks.

When I first started back to running, my PT would have me walk four minutes and then run one minute and slowly progress to running a 5K without walking over the course of about five weeks.

When I got to the point in this process where I was running more than walking, almost every time my knee would hurt. So the walking breaks were welcomed.

What I discovered by doing this progression was that often my knee pain would go away after I took the walk break. Even if I did more than the usual pre-run warm up my knee would still hurt. But walking almost always made it feel better.

So when we got to our first water stop at about 5K I took an extended walking break to the men’s room at the local McDonalds.

Sunday Long Run number 3, Boston Marathon training
Zelia Magliozzi photo

Don Cranley is the guy in the red jacket next to me in the above photo. We both have a Boston Marathon number through our club and both really needed to get this run in.

Don wasn’t really feeling it, so I told him I’d catch up and run with him after my pit stop.

Now, Don might not have been feeling it, but it took me almost four miles to catch up to him at the bottom of Lake Q. I ran all of four of those miles well under a 1o-minute pace. So he was cruising along.

Finishing the Saturday Long Run

As I ran down North Ave in Wakefield I could see Don’s red jacket way down the road. And I could see him taking walking breaks. When I caught up to him he asked me which direction to go in, so I think he had been checking the map on his phone.

This is the second week that someone has asked me for directions, which is generally not a good thing to do. Fortunately, I know these courses very well and they are some of our easiest.

But if you add in a few rotaries and intersections with five roads and poor signage, I could get you lost!

As we ran down Main Street in Wakefield almost every driver let us cross the street and were just great in general. I think both of us really appreciated that.

When we got back to the water stop Bobby Taylor was there manning the stop and the only person there. Then Zelia showed up and started snapping pics. Just like she did last week.

We were about seven and a half miles into the run at this point. I didn’t feel great but my back and left knee were manageable. And while my cardio wasn’t in marathon condition, my breathing was comfortable.

After a minute or so, Don and I headed out for the last 5K of the run.

Don was kind of struggling and he told me later that I helped push him along. He was only going to do the half distance.

Soon after we left the water stop we hit a small hill and both of us felt it, but we kept on going and talking.

It’s always a good sign when you can talk and run!

At around mile nine Don said he had to walk and that I should go on. We’ve all been there and it’s no slight to run on ahead of someone during a training run. Especially when you are almost done.

I ran in the last approximately 1.7 miles by myself around a 10 to 10:30 pace. It felt comfortable and my pain was manageable.

My total distance was 10.81 miles at an average of 10:02 which was the pace I wanted on this run. Now I want to try and run this pace at the longer distance next week.

I had to do some club business in town after the run, so I didn’t hang out for coffee afterwards. Maybe next week.

I hope your training is going well,


BAA Athletes Village

I just signed up for the BAA Athletes Village

BAA, Boston Athletic AssociationThe Boston Athletic Association has officially announced the 2021 Boston Marathon.

The In-Person race will be held on October 11th and the Virtual Boston Marathon will be held October 8-10.

The in-person race will be limited to 20,000 runners. Even with COVID-19 those numbers will go faster than Meb!

If you have any interest in registering for one of those 20,000 highly coveted bibs, you need to sign up on the BAA Athletes’ Village.

Athletes Village Brings it all Together

If you have run a BAA race or volunteered at a BAA event, you should have an email from the Boston Athletic Association in you inbox.

Registering is quick and easy. If you do not have your volunteer number you can look it up on their site.

Once you are registered you can easily register for any BAA event either as a runner or volunteer. Your volunteer history and number will be on the page.

Even better than all of that, all of your official BAA race results are listed with all of the details!

I keep track of all of my races, but I started running 18 years ago and a lot has been lost to the fog of the long run!

If you have run as many BAA events as I have, this page will be quite interesting to you. I found it fascinating.

I’ve Run Boston 10 Times!

It may be hard to believe, but I didn’t really know how many Boston Marathons I’ve run. You know.



I thought it was 9.

I ran My First Boston Marathon in 2003 and finished in 5:11:07! I was so slow that my finish place was 16384 / 0 !

I know that I wasn’t the last person that day, but that number implies that I was.

I have pictures to prove that I wasn’t last!

That day in 2003 is a real testament to the Boston Marathon crowd.

All I remember is “running” down Commonwealth Avenue and making those sacred turns onto Hereford and Boylston Streets. I felt like I was in the middle of the race and everyone was there for me!

Hereford felt like a mountain and I really thought everyone had waited for me! Endorphins can be better than, well…

My Boston Marathon PR

In 2014 I ran my 6th Boston Marathon and achieved my Boston PR of 4:04:15.

I finished 18964th out of 31925 runners. In 2014 officially there were 12,961 runners still behind me when I crossed the finish line.

That placed me firmly in the 60th percentile of all runners. With a field like Boston, I’m proud to say I finished behind 40% of Boston’s finest runners.

April Showers bring My Hypothermia

Boston Marathon 2018, marathon runningIn 2018 we had horizontal rain and the temperature was in the 30’s all day. The wind chill made it feel much cooler than that.

With the cold, rain and wind I still managed to finish in 4:46:20. On a normal Marathon Monday I wouldn’t feel too hot about that. But nothing felt hot that day.

I finished 21997th out 25831 finishers, which put me in the 15th percentile. That’s still better than 2003 when I finished in the bottom 5%, or worse!

That was the coldest I’ve ever been and it wasn’t even snowing!

Every year the Boston Marathon is a unique adventure.

Last year we ran it virtually and made up our own courses all over the world.

This year 20,000 lucky runners will get to run from Hopkinton to Boston. 70,000 other lucky runners will get to run the Virtual Boston Marathon on a course of their choosing.

If you want to get in, you have to register for the BAA Athletes Village.

Good luck and Run Well!


2019 Running Review

It’s time to review my 2019 running goals and take the lessons learned along the way. Have you had a 2019 running review to take some lessons?

It’s that time of year to look back on the past twelve months and look forward to the coming year.

I don’t like to make New Year’s Resolutions as they seem to be short lived by nature. I prefer to set out goals for the year. They are pretty much the same thing but goals tend to persist.

For 2019, my goal was to run 1,000 miles. My stretch goal was to run 3 miles per day or 1,095 miles.

I’ve never run 1,000 miles in a year and I didn’t do it this year either!

2019 Running Review

I did run 957.37 miles on 152 runs. This includes 250.2 racing miles which is an all time high by about 45 miles.

I ran 31 races in 2019 including The Boston Marathon and The Philadelphia Marathon, 9 half- marathons, 4 10Ks, 2 5 Milers and 11 5K or close to 5K races. I also ran a 1 miler and a 15K race.

Hangover Classic 10K 2019, Salisbury Beach, MAI started the year off with The Hangover Classic 10K in Salisbury, MA. Over the past 10 years, I’ve run this race seven times. One year I ran the 5K with my daughter, another year I ran another race.

Getting 6.2 miles under your belt on January 1st is a great way to start the year.

There are a few races I run almost every year like The Hangover Classic, but I like to mix things up.

A few times in 2019 I gave away my registration due to unforeseen conflicts. Over the years I’ve been the recipient of such generosity.

A few years ago I had to pass on to a colleague a Boston Marathon charity bib with the fundraising obligation covered! That’s like a Willie Wonka golden ticket! Who hasn’t seen an Umpa-Loopa somewhere out there on Comm. Ave?

BAA 10K Running Streak

Melrose Running Club, BAA 10K 2018The BAA 10K is my only streak race. I’ve run each one since they added this race in 2011. My goal is to keep running this race until I can’t run anymore.

It’s a great 10K that starts on The Boston Common, runs out Comm Ave to the BU Agganis Arena and turns around.

Held the 3rd Sunday in June, it’s usually hot. Sometimes blazing hot. A few years ago in poured cats and dogs right up until the race started and then turned into a sauna. Steam was rising off of the pavement!

It’s a massive race with well over 5,000 runners. There are so many runners that they start the race in waves. I’m not sure if they did this early on but the race has become very popular.

Two Marathons for 2019

I was fortunate enough to get a 2019 Boston Marathon charity bib again. This was my ninth time running Boston over the past 17 years.

Between work and laziness I didn’t do all of the training that I should have. My training went pretty well and I had a decent 20 mile long-run. Better than some of my previous year’s 20 milers.

I ran Boston on April 15th and finished in 4:14:56. Excepting for 2018, this was my slowest Boston in five years. 2018 was 4:46:20 but we had horizontal rain the entire way and no one set any world records that year.

Philadelphia Marathon new the finish, Andy NagelinIn November I traveled to Philadelphia with two friends to run The Philadelphia Marathon. While not my first destination marathon it felt like it.

Leading up to Philly I ran five half marathons for training. All of them felt pretty good and were well under two hours. The relative success of these comfortable halfs had lulled me into complacency.

But experience kept reminding me to respect the distance and that you get back what you put in.

Philly is a great marathon and I’d encourage anyone to run it. It is a big city marathon but doesn’t feel as big or produced as Boston.

The weather was cold, it rained the last hour of my run and I did not execute well.

My finish time was 4:21:09. I had hoped for 4 but deserved nothing better than 4:30. So no complaints on my finish time.

The race organization left a few things to desire, but you can read about that in my Philadelphia Marathon Review.

2019 was the third year in a row that I’ve run two marathons. I hope to keep that streak alive in 2020.

Goals set and Goals missed

The closest I’ve come to running 1,000 miles was in 2014. I ran 977.82 miles over 123 runs including three marathons.

When you have three marathons on your calendar you do a lot of training. By the time my third marathon came around, The Baystate Marathon, a certain amount of joy of the run was missing. I ran my 2nd fastest marathon at Baystate – 3:49, two minutes off my previous year’s finish.

That same year I ran one of my most magical races, The Bay Of Fundy International Marathon. I went with my oldest sister and we ran into friends of hers, went to the runner’s dinner and met a physics student from Heidelberg. He had hitch-hiked from Boston and was Air BnBing on someone’s couch. Everyone in town knew him!

He didn’t have a ride back to Boston, so I drove him. We spent the night at my sister’s and I think he had a great experience with us Americans. I dropped him off at North Station so he could get to Syracuse University for some physics experiments.

2019 was my 2nd highest miles run. So having a goal, even without three marathons, helped me.

Lessons learned

Over the past seventeen years, I’ve had a variety of injuries. These effected the number of miles I ran and my speed.

Runners are always learning and avoiding injury and recovery is probably the most important lesson to learn.

My knees bothered me so much in 2018 that I consulted with an orthopedist and had PT. By the end of the year I was well enough to run Honolulu and improve my finish there by almost eleven minutes.

In the past, if I had inflammation I’d take the maximum dose of ibuprofen. And I’d do this for months at a time.

In 2018 I stopped that and began to use spices with anti-inflammatory properties. It may sound crazy but I ran Honolulu in December 2018 and didn’t have any significant running issues in 2019.

Looking back on 2019 that seems pretty remarkable to me. I probably took 5 ibuprofen all year and those were for headaches.

Food as medicine is real.

In 2018 my sister also turned me onto Arenica gel. It’s a topical anti-inflammatory and it seems to work. When ever my knees or IT bands are sore I rub that gel on and the pain and tightness goes away.

You can get in at any pharmacy and it’s relatively inexpensive. Best of all, it doesn’t mess with your liver or kidneys.

The biggest lesson that I’ve learned over the past 17 years is consistency.

It’s better to run shorter distances five times a week instead of two long runs. You’re more likely to get injured running two long runs. And the ease of shorter runs helps keep the motivation level up.

When setting a goal such as 1,000 miles or 3 miles per day, consistency is also important.

I was within 50 miles of my goal early in December. I could have pushed hard and hit my goal but I would have risked injury. I had too many other obligations and I just had to let it go.

This is similar to running a race. There is always a point in a race where I question how much I want it. I tell my self I didn’t train for this race, didn’t train enough period. I’m just running for fun.

Those moments of doubt and hesitation can be the difference between a PR or achieving an incremental goal and just another finish.

Large goals like 1,000 or 1,095 miles need to be chunked and each chunk needs to be met. Otherwise, you end up in December with the goal within sight but out of reach.

I didn’t reach my goal for 2019 but I learned a few things, and I’ll take that.

Run well my Friends,


Philadelphia Marathon 2019

The 2019 Philadelphia Marathon was a destination race for me. State number six of 50! It was cold and wet, but not as bad as Boston in 2018!

The Philadelphia Marathon was a destination marathon for me.

At age 55 I still hold onto the dream of running a marathon in all 50 states. Pennsylvania was my sixth state.

Friends have run Philly and had good things to say about it, so why not? I’m not getting any younger!

The 25th Philadelphia Marathon for 12,985 registered runners. The official results show that 10,061 runners completed the course.

At the Expo Bart Yasso mentioned that he had run the marathon in the 80’s. It had either been discontinued for a few years or held in a different location for a few years. We didn’t get the details on that.

Philadelphia Marathon Weekend

Like all big city marathons, Philadelphia makes it a weekend event.

The Expo opened on Friday with meet and greats with Meb Keflezighi and Desiree Linden. Meb and Desi also participated in discussions moderated by Bart Yasso on Friday and Saturday.

Bart and Bill Rodgers also spoke on Friday and Saturday on “Marathon Running Over the Years.”

Three Olympians with six Boston Marathon wins between them!

Marathon weekend running begins with the The Rothman Orthopaedics 8K and the Dietz & Watson Half Marathon on Saturday for a combined 20,000+ runners. The half begins at 7:30 AM and 8K begins at 10:40, so you can run both races and the marathon on Sunday.

Running all three races constitutes the Freedom Challenge.

You can also run the marathon and the half or 8K for the The Independence Challenge, or the half and full for The Liberty Bell Challenge, respectively.

Also on Saturday morning they had the Dunkin’ Munchkin Runs for kids from 3-12. There are non-competitive age-group dashes and then a 1.5 mile run for kids 6-12.

On Sunday at 7:00 AM The Philadelphia Marathon begins.

The Road to Philly

I registered for the Philly Marathon on June 10th and planned to go with Durm Cahill and Mike Sikkema.

We made hotel reservations and bought train tickets. Then about four months ago Durm got broke.

On one of his long runs he torqued his hip and barely ran all summer. Everything was paid for, including the marathon and he had to take a pass. It just wasn’t going to happen.

About two weeks before the race another friend Jose Viveiros heard us talking about the marathon and Durm offered him his number. It was totally last minute.

Jose has had his own health issues over the summer and wasn’t really in marathon shape. He’s more of an Utra guy and I guess those are quite different than a marathon.

Philadelphia Marathon, Andy Nagelin, Mike Sikkema, Jose Viveiros
Three Amigos at Philadelphia Marathon

We met at South Station in Boston for the six-hour Amtrak ride to Philly.

Mike put in some good training over the summer but didn’t feel fully prepared. I ran most of the Sunday Long Runs and then used half marathons on most weekends for my long run training. Jose hadn’t really done much distance training in a few months.

Mike was shooting for a 3:05 finish but didn’t feel like that was going to happen. Jose just wanted to finish before the six-hour cut-off. I was hoping for four-hours but knew that 4:30 was more likely.

We had fun talking and watching the cities and towns go by. It was a very comfortable ride.

The Notary Hotel Entrance - Philadelphia We stayed at The Notary which was only about five minutes from Union Station. The building was the former City Hall Annex which was built in 1926 and turned into a hotel in 1986(?) by Marriott. In the deal with the city Marriott kept many of the historic details.

It was a great location and not just another hotel.

Hanging and Chillin in Philly

Mike lived in Philadelphia for a few years and Jose had hoped to do some sight seeing.

We arrived in Philly late in the afternoon and took a short cab ride to our hotel.

I made the reservation for three adults and requested a roll-away bed. When we arrived the roll-away was not on the reservation and it took several hours and two requests to get it delivered.

While the guys waited in the room, I got in a much needed 3.2 mile treadmill run. My taper had been quite severe!

After I showered and changed and the bed arrived we headed out for dinner. We were up for an adventure, but needed to save our legs. We ended up eating at a sports bar down the street from the hotel. The food was really good. I had one beer and helped Jose finish his.

On the way back we stopped at a 7-11 for some food for the room.

We got to bed around 10PM but Mike and I woke early. Mike went out for a five mile run and I took a shower. Jose got up after Mike showered and we headed for the Expo after Jose showered.

Philly Marathon Expo

Saturday morning we headed for the Expo. Durm and I had paid the $20 fee to have our packet mailed to us. When we registered travel arrangements were unknown. Mike needed to get his packet.

It was a short walk to the Convention Center in the crisp fall air. Mike got his packet quickly and we started walking around.

The Boston Marathon Expo is packed. Those vendors pay a small fortune to be there and they get about 40,000 runners and friends looking for cool stuff.

The Philadelphia Marathon Expo was more like the Honolulu Marathon Expo. Honolulu had about a third of the vendors of Boston. Philly had about the same space as Honolulu, but there were empty booths!

We got there around 10AM so all vendors should have been in place. The vendors that were there didn’t have many hand-outs. We all love free samples.

We did stumble upon Meb Keflezighi and Desiree Linden’s presentation at 10:35. I really wanted to see them speak and it turned out to be worth it.

Both of them are so humble and normal and they have both reached the highest heights of our sport.

Desiree Linden, Meb Keflezighi, Bart Yasso, Philadelphia Marathon Expo 2019Meb talked about growing up literally dirt poor in Eritrea. No running water or electricity and they ate dirt sometimes. Just to survive.

In six months he learned Italian when they finally made it to Italy. Eventually they made it to The United States and pursued The American Dream.

One day in gym class the gym teacher had them run a mile. The winner got a t-shirt and a medal. Meb ran something like a 5:20 mile and the gym teacher told him that he was going to The Olympics!

Meb didn’t know what The Olympics were, but he wanted that t-shirt and the medal!

Desi talked about loosing The Boston Marathon by two seconds! Instead of being defeated, she used that memory to win the 2018 Boston Marathon.

She told us how she almost dropped out of the 2018 Boston Marathon because she didn’t feel it that day. We all felt the pride when she won the race less than two hours after that moment of doubt!

I have to tell you that when Meb was telling his story, my eyes were not dry! He has such gratitude for what this country has given him. And he gave us Boston in 2014.

The three of us loved their talk.

After the Expo we headed to Reading Market for lunch. We tried to get in Friday night, but they closed at 6PM.

Mike got a Philly Cheese Steak and I got some of the best ribs eva! Jose got a smoothy. We headed back to the hotel to eat and hang out.

When room service showed up we were laying on the beds watching TV with our feet up. We had to explain that we only needed more coffee.

Later we went to Mariano’s for dinner and then went to 7-11 and Dunkin Donuts for race day supplies.

Running The Philadelphia Marathon

Cold Streets of PhiladelphiaWe got to bed around 10PM but we all woke up several times during the night. Around 3AM I gave up and started checking my email and the weather.

It looked like the rain would hold off until after or late into the race.

By 5AM we were all dressed and ready to run. Since we were so close to the start, Mike and I didn’t leave until 6AM. Jose headed over after us.

The security seemed tighter than Boston. We had to take off our stuff and walk through a metal detector. I used magnets to hold my bib on and they didn’t set off the machine.

The entire start area was dark and chaotic. We made our way through a lawn of mud to UPS trucks for the bag drop. Good idea for the trucks, poor idea for their location.

Then we looked for porta-potties inside the perimeter, but most of them were outside of the start area! WTF! What genius decided to separate runners from the porta-potties?

We managed to find about 10 tucked off to a side. Fortunately the line moved along. As we got our shot, Mike had five minutes to his start. I was a few corrals back and had an extra 10 minutes.

Andy Nagelin, Mike Sikkema, 2019 Philadelphia MarathonI didn’t see Mike until I got back to the hotel!

I headed for my corral through the sea of chaos. I found an opening in the barricades and made my way to my group. About five minutes before the start I started my watch.

As the group before us left, we moved up and then they started us. It was freakin cold!

I was on the wrong side of the road, but Meb was on the announcers platform giving high-fives as runners went by! How awesome is that!

The first two miles were packed and wound through the historic district. We passed the US Mint and close by the National Constitution Center. At about 2.5 mile we turned right to run along the river at “Race Street Pier.”

We ran along the water front for about a mile and turned right near the US Coast Guard Station. We looped back and ran about half a mile to “Head House Square” where we turned left onto South Street.

South turned right onto 6th Street. As we ran passed the Mother Bethel AME Church I heard this pumping, gospel, R&B, funk music pulsing through the air.

Philadelphia Marathon mapI was waiting for “Cool and The Gang” to break into “Celebrate Good Times” but it was the church choir with a drum kit and a popping bass line that made me want to dance! They kept repeating “God is in you”.

I don’t know about god, but that popping beat got the groove into me! It was awesome.

Just past the church we hit mile five and my average pace was 8:50. Just where I wanted to be.

At about 5.25 miles we turned left onto Chestnut Street and began an almost two mile run to cross the Schuylkill river. We hit mile seven just before the bridge and my average pace was 8:41. A little too fast.

After we crossed the river we started to hit the hills. Mile eight gained 67 feet and mile ten gained 100.

Mile eight ran through The University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University. We hit mile nine in The Philadelphia Zoo.

In Honolulu we ran past the zoo but the Philly Zoo had a much stronger odor. And we spent more time in proximity.

After The Zoo we ran through The Central District and hit those 100 feet of elevation gain. It was beginning to feel like a run!

Miles 11 and 12 wound through Fairmount Park. I had finished one of my bottles and was dipping into the second one. I began to take water at the stops and was happy to get a gel out here.

After mile twelve we ran along the river again until we reached the MLK Bridge to cross the river at mile 14.

At mile 13.1 they had a timing mat, but no special signs or anything.

My goal was to hold onto a 9:00 minute pace until the half-way mark and my watch said I still had that pace as I crossed the mat.

I knew that this was an overly ambitious pace and I knew it was going to slip away from this mile on. It was beginning to feel like survival time!

Surviving Philly

A marathon doesn’t really begin until twenty miles have been run. But on this day 13.1 was where my race began. The care-free tourist miles were behind me. It was time to get down to work.

I had done what training I could and was now paying for too much time at my desk and not enough long runs.

After we crossed the MLK Jr Bridge we headed up the north shore of the Schuylkill River towards the hair-pin turn around. For some reason I thought it was a mile or so up to the turn.

It turned out to be about seven miles! When you think something is a mile away and it turns out to be seven miles away and can really mess you up!

Over those seven miles we had about 200 feet of elevation gain and 140 feet decline. Lots of rolling hills.

I was enjoying the scenery as much as possible. Pennsylvania is different than Massachusetts. The houses, businesses and names on those businesses often are different than what I see daily.

When you run somewhere new you should take in as much as you can. Running is a great way to see a lot of an area, even if your feet hurt!

All the way out to Manayunk, PA I took water and often Gatorade at the stops. I even did some walking!

I tried to keep running until the turn but I wasn’t sure where the hell it was.

At some point the lead runners started passing us and then the lead of the heard started passing us on their way back.

I knew that if I saw Mike he was having a rough day and if I saw Jose, I was having a rough day. I didn’t see anyone!

About a mile before the turn I saw a house under construction with a porta-potty out front. The official ones were blue. This one was brown and white.

The official ones always had a line and for some reason I felt waiting in line would kill my time!

I ran to the left side of the road, saw that the handle was green and went in. It was reasonably clean but I was a stinking mess anyway.

As I sat there I heard people yelling and it seemed like someone pulled on the door. But it was the gusting wind trying to pry the door open.

I pulled myself together and managed to avoid dropping anything. Unlatching the door, I ran back into the race like nothing had happened. I never even noticed if anyone said anything or even looked my way. I was on a mission.

The Second Half of Philly

We hit the turn around in Manayunk at about 20.5 miles. There was a small crowd at this turn. Not as many as I expected. But what was I expecting?

Mike said a guy in front of him had slipped on a man hole cover at the turn and he grabbed a-hold of a sign post to swing himself around!

I just did a sloppy turn and felt grateful to be heading east. Philly was somewhere down that freakin road.

As I ran along I realized that we were now past mile twenty and there was less than a 10K to run. But could I?

I was out of juice. Nothing hurt beyond what one would expect from running over three and a half hours.

I had fueled properly, but it wasn’t enough. My cardio conditioning just wasn’t up to par.

Even though I did not need them, earlier in the race I had been taking deep breathes. When I am out of shape sometimes I experience shortness of breathe.

To avoid this, I do deep breathing.

Now it was an essential part of my finishing this race. The last thing I wanted was to visit a medic station or to get hauled off of the course. A fate worse than death!

I jogged, walked and ran the best I could the rest of the race.

My four-hour race was out of the question. Now it was just a question of getting in under 4:30.

I felt that it was possible, but I had to be careful and manage every step.

Finishing Philly

After the turn around the thought popped into my head, “I took a dump in Many-yunk” I laughed out loud with the little breathe I had to spare. That pit stop was a necessity and it kept me laughing!

At several places people had Dixie cups of beer. Even just a little beer seems to give me lead legs.

At mile twenty-five my legs were beyond lead. A group of Canadians were giving out beer, so I took one. It only had two swallows in it, but it was some of the best beer I’ve ever had.

The beer didn’t effect me at all.

I was aware of my muscles contracting and swelling with each step. Each step forced more blood into my muscles and my legs felt like they were bulging.

Getting to mile twenty-three was a relief. We only had 5K to go. Anyone can run 5K even a guy whose legs felt like plump sausages could do it.

I just had to do it. I walked some, I ran some and I jogged some.

The world closed in around me and I didn’t pay much attention to anyone or anything. All I wanted to do was put one foot in front of the other and hope that the back foot would continue to come off of the ground and land in front of the other. That’s all I wanted. Simple stuff.

It seemed like all of a sudden the crowd grew and I could hear the finish line announcer. Even though I now knew that the turn around was seven miles out, it still hadn’t clicked that this meant there were only five miles to run to the finish line.

Philadelphia Marathon new the finish, Andy NagelinAnd I had run almost all of them. I was coming to the finish line!

Somewhere near the finish my friend Courtney Koschei took this photo.

When you are this close to a finish, you have to run.

I ran 26.55 miles somehow and my last 0.55 mile was at a 10:25 pace.

Nothing special, but better than the previous six miles!

I just really flamed-out the last five or six miles.

Running so many half marathons lulled me into complacency. There is a reason that half marathons are the most popular distance.

I can probably run a half marathon every weekend for a year and feel pretty good during the week.

As I crossed the finish line, I didn’t feel pretty good. It had been raining the last hour or so, it was getting colder and the wind had picked up. Conditions deteriorated considerably.

A guy rolled out a Mylar sheet for me and helped me get it over my shoulders. A few steps further on a lady put the medal around my neck. Even before this someone gave me a 500ml of water which I sucked down in three guzzles.

I made a B-line for the UPS trucks and got my drop bag. All it had was my fleece which I promptly put on. Then I headed for the Deitz & Watson tent for a hot sausage. They were all out! WTF!

They were a major sponsor of the race and they ran out of food? I was far from the last person to cross the line. I felt bad for the 5,6 and 7 hour runners.

The weather was getting bad and the hot food was gone. Brilliant.

I asked about the beer tent and immediately decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

At this point I looked for a way out of the finish area and headed for my hotel.

Not exactly a festive finish area. I’d say it was more than a bit of a let down. Boston is stingy with their post race food, but this was beyond the pale. A bottle of water? Come on!

As I hobbled back to the hotel the rain turned into wet snow! This went on for about ten minutes, all the way back to the hotel.

Apre Philadelphia Marathon

When I got to the hotel, Mike had already showered and packed. Before I headed for the shower Jose showed up. He ran much better than the six hours he had expected.

We didn’t have a lot of time to be tourists or even get something to eat.

We were checked out by 2:30 and in a cab to the train station.

Normally I can eat and drink all kinds of beer after a race. This time I just wasn’t hungry and had to force my self to drink water.

The train wasn’t full so we had room to get our own double seats and stretch out a bit. Being able to walk around on the train was nice also.

When we got to South Station I called an Uber and the guys headed for The Red line. As I was headed for my Uber they came out of the Red Line. They needed to take a shuttle bus to the ext station. Gotta love The T!

Philly had a few issues in the start/finish area, but I would recommend this race if you are looking for a Pennsylvania marathon.

Run well my Friends,



2019 Race Directory Updates

2019 Race Directory Updates are on-going. Be sure to check back for updates and additions as the year goes on. Have a great 2019 running year and run well my Friends!

As we roll into 2019 I’ll be making Race Directory updates with new dates and hopefully a few new races.

The most popular race directory that I keep is the New England Marathons Fall. I started tracking these marathons in 2015 and last year the post just took off.

Now that winter is officially here I’ll be changing the name to New England Marathons Fall 2019 this week. Not to worry, I will keep the same URL for the blog post. If you have it book marked you won’t have to make any changes.

I’m glad that the Fall Marathons directory became popular and not the Summer Marathons post. Fall has enough marathons in New England to keep things interesting without it becoming a full time job for me.

5K Race Directory Updates

I will also continue to update the 5K race directories for local cities and towns. Just like for the marathon listings, I’ll keep the same URL and change the title only.

Unlike most directories published by the big web sites, I will not inundate you with ads and pop ups. I will mention the My First 5K medal on occasion. Many 5Ks only award the top three runners over all and often age-group winners.

Unlike the corporate web sites, I often speak with the race director. This lets me get dates listed quicker and get the latest updates.

Without all of the ads and clutter, it is much easier to find a race in your town on my directories. Here are two popular listings that I will be updating shortly:

Somerville 5K Race Directory

Cambridge 5K Race Directory

GBA St. Patrick’s Day Races

Most other cities and towns only have a handful of races, so it’s hard to put together much of a listing. I may consolidate some of these other directories into regional directories.