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Monday, March 31, 2014

The LOVE Run Philly Half Marathon Race Report

In its inaugural year, the Philly LOVE Run Half Marathon(held by CGI Racing) was a spectacular success despite the challenges involving weather.  My experience went a little something like this...

It's always sunny in Philadelphia...


The day before the race I went out on a solo trail run which in hindsight was pretty stupid given the chance of injury as well as risking fatiguing myself right before the race.  It all worked out in the end though, I had fun, got in some good vert, and enjoyed some nice views:

Hawk Rock

Continuing with the "being dumb" theme, nutrition for the remainder of the day was well, less than ideal.  The only thing I did right in this department was constantly sip water all day, probably getting in 100+oz.  I mean, that'll offset my stellar pre-race dinner of Loaded Fries, Fried Cheddar Broccoli Bites, BBQ Wings and diet soda...right?

The weather was crappy all weekend, hovering in the low to mid 40's and constant rain at varying degrees of intensity.  But the 2 hour drive out to Philly was uneventful and I arrived at the expo around 2pm.  Getting to the expo was a little difficult, even after arriving at the convention center; LOVE Runners had to navigate through the labyrinth of Gospel Singing Conventions and Karate Competitions.

Being its first year, the expo pretty much blew me away.  It felt like I was at a race expo for a big city marathon (albeit a little smaller in square footage).  There were hundreds of volunteers and everything went as smooth as it possibly could.

Signing the LOVE floor

The remainder of the evening consisted of a healthy dose of Curb Your Enthusiasm on demand, and the aforementioned junk food "dinner".


I slept very comfortably on my sister's couch till the 6am alarm sounded, and I hit the snooze, twice (pretty sure the lousy weather had something to do with this).  By 7:30am she was dropping me off along the Ben Franklin Parkway, and into the cold, spitting rain that would linger throughout the day.

Being 30 pounds over my ideal racing weight, there was no way in hell I was going to PR this race, so it was more about having fun with the other runners, as well as testing out my new monopod and Garmin Virb during a race.  I was still going to give it a solid effort, but I knew there was no point in trying to average a 7:30ish pace for 13.1 miles; that would have led to lots of pain, and possibly vomit...ummm - no thanks.

Having done the Philly Half in 2011, I knew the basic gist of the course layout and while I'm not a fan of out-and-backs in races (or training runs for that matter), it was a well designed run, giving the runners a chance to pass by LOVE park twice in the earlier parts of the race.

Most of my camera work was done in the first half with the idea that fatigue would be setting in by mile 8 and all I'd want to do by that point was finish the run.  That plan was solid, especially considering the downpour that started around mile 9.

Happy with the way my legs and lungs felt at that point, it wasn't out of the question to step up the pace a bit and I ended up with a considerable negative split.  It's also an amazing mental boost to be passed by just a handful of people in the final 30 minutes of a race.  The rain seemed to pick up in intensity as we neared the finish, and I crossed the line at 1:48 according to the gun.  My chip time ended up being 1:46 something: about 10 minutes off my PR, which was pretty much what I expected.

Next up was medal time, then grab some post-race grub and try to get warm!  I definitely would have stuck around the finish area for longer if it wasn't for the weather.

After a quick drive back to my sister's place in South Philly and a shower, we headed to The Industry for brunch and ran into a group of ladies who had just finished the race as well.  One of them had just finished her first half in around 2:15!  Other runners continue to impress and amaze me with what the body and mind is capable of.  Which is one of the biggest reasons why I find my limits.  But we'll save that for a different blog post.

Hopefully I'll be capable of back-to-back half marathons again, cause I got one this coming Sunday!

Thanks to CGI Racing and all of the volunteers who made this race possible, and certainly very memorable.

Keep on the lookout for my race video on YouTube later this week!


Video has been published!

As always, here are all the details from the run:

Training leading up to the race:

  Monday: 8 miles moderate, trails
  Tuesday: 4 x 800m @ HM pace (8:00/mi) with 400m recovery jogs
  Wednesday: 4 mile sunset run/hike, leisurely
  Thursday: 1 mile flat walk
  Friday: Gentle Yoga
  Saturday: 5 miles moderate, trails

Race Gear List:

  • HTC One in sandwich baggie
  • RoadID
  • DIY Monopod

Race Nutrition:

  • Clif Bar and Coffee for Breakfast
  • Water @ every other stop

Friday, March 28, 2014

DIY Trekking Pole + StickPic Monopod

So I've been playing around with the Garmin Virb quite a bit over the past couple of weeks.  Various mounting options and techniques have been explored, shot down and tweaked.  The latest iteration is a Franken-mount of sorts, in an effort to save on weight, cost, and most importantly, meet my specific needs as a runner and hiker.


- Reuse as many materials on hand as possible
- As lightweight as possible (within reason) without sacrificing function
- Usable in all-weather conditions
- Versatile, and usable in various action shooting scenarios


- One Trekking Pole ($40 for pair, already own 2 pairs of this model)
- One #2 The Stick Pic ($14 + S/H)
- Garmin Virb Cradle (comes with Garmin Virb Elite)
- Tennis Racket Grip Wrap ($4 @ Target)
- About a foot of duct tape

Step 1: Remove any baskets and dirt

Step 2: Twist (or flip, depending on model) to unlock lowest section of pole and remove

Step 3: (For twist-lock poles only) Screw down expanding mechanism to lock in place and apply duct tape to secure all moving parts.

Step 4: Wrap "handle" section (opposite of pole tip) with tennis racket wrap.  Secure according to wrap instructions.

Now if you have the StickPic with any other camera, you're pretty much done and can essentially wiggle the StickPic onto the tip of your new creation, mount your camera and go to town!  For the final steps regarding my engineering on!

Step 5:  Secure the Virb Cradle --> Tripod Mount  --> StickPic

Step 6: Twist StickPic onto tip end of pole!

Step 7:  Go record some videos of you and your friends doing some cool shit!

Of course, this whole process wouldn't be any fun if I didn't record a video using this new here you go:

Some final notes:

- I didn't "kill" the trekking pole; it was simply taken apart and some tape applied.  If I need to reassemble to create a complete pair of poles, it'll only take about 5 minutes.
- The monopod is not telescoping.  I can use the other trekking pole for this, plus I wanted to shave weight for use while running (8.5 oz less)
- One could argue that the cost makes absolutely no sense because you can find a similar product online for a reasonable price, but I'm certain my product is of higher quality, plus recycles/repurposes items that I already own.
- With the Virb weighing in at 6.4oz, the entire rig is only 10.9oz...not too shabby!

Happy Customer