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Tag Archive for ‘Philadelphia’

Chasing 26.2: 2012 Philadelphia Marathon



“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham


It seems I’ve been chasing this number for a very long time. A quiet idea born during my first 5K race in 2009 that keep getting stronger and stronger as I continued to run.

It hasn’t been an easy road with disappointing injuries and the work required to get back into shape.  In truth, I would not be at this point without the excellent training and guidance from Team Philly and Goals Fitness.

Redefine 2012


I’m excited and looking forward to completing this marathon with my running friends. Yes, there will be a race recap :) Stay tuned to this post!

“You also need to look back, not just at the people who are running behind you but especially at those who don’t run and never will… those who run but don’t race…those who started training for a race but didn’t carry through…those who got to the starting line but didn’t in the finish line…those who once raced better than you but no longer run at all. You’re still here. Take pride in wherever you finish. Look at all the people you’ve outlasted.”
– Joe Henderson





Day of the Dead

The beginning of November ushers in a remembrance of those who have departed this life. Call it Day of the Dead or All Souls Day, it is time set aside to remember those lost to us. What better way to reflect on the passing of loved ones is to plan a visit Laurel Hill Cemetery located in sunny Philadelphia.

Setting A Soul Free

Laurel Hill Cemetery is one of few cemeteries designated as a National Historic Landmark. Established in 1836, the designers had three unique requirements – it had to be situated in a picturesque location well outside the city; that it had no religious affiliation; and that it provided a permanent burial space for the dead in a restful and tranquil setting.

Not Changed but Glorified

Laurel Hill was designed not only as a cemetery open to all faiths, but a picturesque retreat for the living. The cemetery overlooks the winding Schuylkill river, the amphitheater design of the cemetery was designed around the views of the Schuylkill river.

Weeping Woman Memorial

What is a cemetery without any ghost stories? Legend says she lost her child in the Schuylkill river running below the cemetery and now spends eternity morning and searching for her lost child.

Dr. Hugh Mercer

General Meade and thirty-nine other Civil War-era generals reside here, in addition to six Titanic passengers.

Crushed Hope

This memorial to a lost daughter gets me every time. It is dedicated to Blanche, only and beloved child of Louis R and Louise C Stille. The side of this heartbreaking memorial depicts an unwritten scroll with two words engraved at the top – ‘Crushed Hopes’. Ohhh, that hurts to look.

Enjoy my little slideshow from Laurel Hill Cemetery:


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Rebuild America Bus Tour Rolls into Altoona, PA


H/T Marathon Pundit.

Rebuild America bus tour is holding a rally this Friday, November 2nd (voting day for some of you) in Altoona, PA. This organization has identified 5 swing states that it plans to focus its energy – Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. They believe that winning 3 of the 5 states is key for a Romney/Ryan victory and to that end have planned rallies in each of these states.

The Pennsylvania rally details are below. If you have time go check out the rally and don’t forget to take photos!

Friday, November 2nd
5:00 PM – 6:30 PM

Rally Location:
Bavarian Hall
1509 13th St
Altoona, PA 16601

Pennsylvania is showing signs of breaking from the tradition of electing the Democrat Presidential candidate this year. Although nothing in politics is certain until election day, polling data is beginning to show a trend towards both the Romney/Ryan ticket and Republican Senate candidate, Tom Smith. Rasmussen is now reporting the US Senate race in PA is essentially a tie.  While I am hesitant to call both of these races in Pennsylvania, this election will go one of two ways in PA: Tom Smith and Mitt Romney win PA or Casey JR and Obama will take PA.  This election comes down to a numbers game in Pennsylvania as there are more registered democrats than republicans. The outcome of the election depends upon which party can get more people to the polls. For Romney and Smith to have a credible chance to win in Pennsylvania two things need to happen – Republicans need a strong GOTV  drive in the suburban counties especially around Philadelphia combined with a sluggish, dispirited Democrat voter turnout in both Allegheny and Philadelphia counties.

 And that is my two cents on the election predictions. What are your thoughts on the PA presidential and senate race?


How to Survive Hurricane Sandy

Stormy Weather

While I don’t live in a flood prone area of Philly, I’m still taking precautions in advance of weather events due to Hurricane Sandy. The most pressing concern in my section of Philly would be a power outage. This afternoon, I put together a power outage kit containing a dozen pillar candles, 100 tealight candles, 4 long lasting jar candles, three flashlights – two which glow in the dark and one solar powered, a case of bottled water, assorted batteries and matches. Tomorrow, I plan to sweep away the leaves and garden debris from the back patio and remove all planters and trellises into the garage.

I’m ready for Sandy’s wrath.

Philly OEM released this alert:

The City of Philadelphia is preparing, and asking residents to prepare for  major flooding and power outages in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy. A Flood Watch, Coastal Flood Watch and High Wind Watch is currently in effect beginning Sunday evening into Tuesday afternoon for the City of Philadelphia.  Heavy rain will begin Sunday and continue through Tuesday.  Between 4  -8  of rain is forecasted for Philadelphia. Significant localized and coastal flooding is anticipated for the city. Residents and businesses in low lying areas with a history of flooding during storms should prepare immediately.

Residents should call 311 for updates or to report issues.  The 311 Call Center has extended its normal operating hours and is currently operational 24/7 to help residents cope with the storm.

 The best bit of advice for any emergency is to stay calm and have a Plan.


The Art of Running

The Art of Running

Nearly all my training runs start at Lloyd Hall and I’ve found that guaranteed parking is available at the Philadelphia Museum of Art (PMA) parking garage located next to Lloyd Hall. By guaranteed, I mean no worry of being ticketed for parking for more than two hours and actually finding a parking spot. Oh, forgetting the thieves lying in wait on Lemon Hill.

The price of convenience and safety is not cheap, you may pay up to $30 to park in this garage IF you are not a member of the Art Museum. I can happily report my museum membership paid for itself in parking fees I do not have to pay.   Over the past two years of training for races, I’ve developed a post run habit of spending time taking in world class artwork before leaving for home, even developing a ‘must see’ list of paintings. Nowadays it does feel strange not to take in Van Gogh’s Sunflowers after a long run.

Indeed, I think I’ve perfected the ‘art’ of running :)

Running and Art = Bliss


2012 Philadelphia Rock & Roll Half Marathon Recap

Heavy medal Philly style @runrocknroll

Finisher Medal – Philadelphia 2012

2012 Philadelphia Rock and Roll Half Marathon is run and done. This is the first distance run I’ve done with the Rock and Roll/Competitor group. I have read mixed reviews about this company and the races they organize, but I have to say they ran a well organized race in Philly.

My official chip time: 02:14:41. My goal was to beat my previous time and arrive at the finish line in 2 hours. That idea was crushed two days prior to the race. On Friday morning my IT band decided to flare up and cause excruciating knee pain. Walking was pure misery on Friday and steps were out of the question.  While I questioned whether I should run in this event, I started working out the knots in my quad with a foam roller and a little device called ‘The Stick”.  Saturday the knee started to feel better, but steps still bothered the knee. At the Expo, a ‘Stick’ sales rep used their product to work out the knots in my right quad and the knee felt remarkable better afterwards.

Sunday morning I awoke and walked up and down a flight of stairs and found no pain in my knee. If I felt any twinge of pain, I was prepared to stay home. I would not have been happy, but I have a marathon to complete this year and I need to stay injury free.

At 6:45 ish I met up with my Team Philly running friends to stretch and warm up before the race.  I find it is so much better to run with friends, especially Team Philly friends:

Running Trio - The world's greatest!

Trish, Moi and Pink at the start of the race.

The morning brought with it perfect running weather. The course started on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and wound its way through downtown Philly for four miles before turning back towards the Parkway and to ‘The Loop’ through Kelly Drive, crossing the Falls Bridge then looping back to the Parkway on MLK Drive. Live bands and cheer stations lined the entire route encouraging and invigorating the runners. My favorite – a little boy in a wheelchair cheering the passing runners with all his might. Seeing that little boy put into perspective how beautiful life can be – don’t waste a minute of it!  It is a flat and relatively fast course, no hills except for a tiny incline right at the end of the course. My advice to new runners –  just sprint up the incline and get it over with.

I’ve mixed feelings about my effort in this race. I felt capable of a faster pace per mile, yet did not want to push the knee as it did start twinging around 2.5 miles into the race. I’m happy my finish time did not fall beyond 2:14 but would have been ecstatic if the time were much closer to the 2 hour mark.  Patience, grasshopper, patience –  you will achieve your time goal.

After finishing the run, collecting a finishers medal it was time to eat, drink and be merry!  Seriously, the organizers feed the runners well post race. The registration may be a bit expensive but you get your money’s worth with the post race food.

If you have ever considered running a half marathon, Philly Rock and Roll Half Marathon is a great choice for beginners and advanced runners.


August 20th – Help Celebrate My Birthday with an Act of Kindness

Tomorrow is the day to help celebrate my birthday!
Colorful Cupcakes

For those wondering – the only gift I ask is an act of kindness done in my name on my birthday – August 20th. Wherever you are in the world on August 20th; dedicate a moment, a few hours or the entire day to an act of kindness. Volunteer at an animal shelter, hug your parents, check on an elderly neighbor, donate books, clothing, or food where needed. Indeed, use the day to do what you love. Let me know what you have done on August 20th – leave a comment, link a photo or a blog post sharing your act of kindness.

A big thank you to long time reader, Trevor Hilton, for volunteering to donate blood tomorrow. That truly is a life-saving gift.  THANK YOU!


2012 SheROX Triathlon Philly Recap



Indeed this is a year of firsts.

On Sunday, August 5th, I successfully completed my first Triathlon; the Toyota SheROX Sprint Triathlon. The event was held in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park, Martin Luther King Blvd at Black Road. The triathlon raises funds and awareness for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund via Team Hope.

This day was the culmination of months of training and I could not have asked for a better event. When I registered for the Triathlon, running was the only sport in which I had any competency.  As for cycling and swimming, I put both of these sports into the ‘Needs Improvement” category. Indeed, in order to safely complete this triathlon, I had to relearn the basics of swimming and cycling.

Not only did I have to build competency in swimming and cycling, I had to learn the vocabulary of triathlon – laps vs length, transition time, floating start, wetsuit legal, drafting, and so on.  It has been an amazing learning curve these past few months.

Two reasons why I signed up for this triathlon. 1. To add additional cross training to my running plan. I am scheduled to complete a full marathon in November and wanted add a solid cross training platform to my training. 2. I like a physical challenge and this event pushed that button. Little did I know what a world of work I stepped into with this challenge; yet  at the same time I’m quite proud of myself for sticking with the training and completing the Triathlon safely.

 Would I do this again? Absolutely and plan to PR as well.  If you are a woman looking to jump into triathlons, SheROX triathlons are a great place to start. Their mentor program gives guidance and crucial training to help make this event a positive experience. I signed up for the Mentor program and found it gave me quality information and skills to improve my swimming and cycling. Also, I was able to meet representatives from local Tri groups and now have a larger resource of training options. A win/win situation all around.

Combined time: 02:15:17 —-> Much room for improvement.

As I write this post,  I have not received any breakdown of the combined  time.



Garden Judgement Day

I was delighted to show my garden to judges from the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) last Thursday. They visited my urban garden to evaluate it for placement in the annual City Garden Contest.

They viewed my garden and left for me a lovely compliment:

PHS City Garden Contest Judges Visit 2012

This will be the third year I’ve participated in this contest and I’m hoping to continue my winning streak.

Fingers crossed!!!


2012 Independence Hall Occupation

Introducing ‘Occupy Unmasked‘. Let’s start with what we know about this group. You can read my early posts on Philly Occupation HERE

Philadelphia was chosen to be the site of a national conference (General Assembly).  What the city has been enduring  a tattered band of roving fringe activists trying to annoy as many Philadelphia residents and visitors as possible.  Organizing marches during rush hour traffic in the city endears you to exactly NO ONE.

Yesterday, 26 Occupation supporters were arrested during a protest outside our beautiful convention center. Again, this activity does not garner public sympathy, just arrest warrants. *sigh*


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