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  Chicago Marathon 2004 New York City Marathon 2003 Boston Marathon medal 2005 Caesar Rodney Half Marathon 2007 Anchorage 2003 Marathon Man Ray Christensen
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Training for 2003 Marathon Season

Two Marathons?   Are you kidding me???

From sea to shining sea........Anchorage to the Big Apple........
Largest state to largest city........Alaska in August, New York in November!
I'm running with 1,000 other runners (and a few moose) in Anchorage... then 11 weeks later, I join 30,000 athletes from every corner of the globe to traverse the 5 boroughs of my hometown.

Training for Anchorage, Alaska

Getting a good base...

Ray and Duncan
Ray with Duncan after Ceasar Rodney Half-Marathon


It was a cold winter, but if I was going to do another Marathon this year, I wanted to start early to get a good weekly base mileage to start from. Now that I considered myself a legitimate runner, I'd focus on improving every aspect of my training, from stretching to hydration, to nutrition. Motivation came from entering races.

The Icicle Run in January was a frigid "pre-season" event that got me going early in the year. Ceasar Rodney was the first big race (largest in Delaware) and made a good benchmark for my progress. The Broad Street Run was fun and a real confidence booster that got me thinking seriously about qualifying for Boston someday. It was in early May, about one month after I finally agreed to re-sign as a member of Joints in Motion to run in Alaska.

Confusion, New Shoes and some PR's
For a while in May, it looked like I might not do Alaska after all... Arthritis Foundation decided to combine the Delaware Chapter with Philadelphia, and the DE team was tiny. I'd have to train and travel with people I hadn't met and might not see often. But after some thought, I decided to join them and make the best of it as the sole Delaware representative.

Some of my email notes:
3/16/03 - An update on my running endeavor--- today I took 317th place overall (out of over 1000) in the Caesar Rodney Half Marathon here in Wilmington. My official time was 1:42:38 in the warm sunshine. I beat Senator Carper by a few minutes. Serious runners use half-marathons as "warm-ups" for marathons. I threw my name in the lottery for November's NY Marathon and am now considering an August run in Alaska with the Arthritis Foundation folks. And I'm looking for people to join me...
Would you like a free trip to Anchorage, Alaska (in August) or Walt Disneyworld (next Jan)?
Challenge yourself to run or walk a marathon or a mere half-marathon. I had a super experience in Dublin last fall and even enjoyed the long road to get there.

Spring and Summer
Running this spring meant running in the rain. I'd switch between wearing my old hall of fame 1121 shoes (of Dublin glory) on wet runs and the lighter 715's on dry days. Trail running was out of the question for quite some time. Again, most of my running is alone since I can decide when to go on a moment's notice.

In May, I finally joined Pike Creek Valley Running Club and started attending their Thursday evening runs at Delcastle. It's great to meet so many veteran marathoners! And my training has been given a boost by trying to keep up with the speedier runners.

Arthritis Foundation decided to combine their Delaware Chapter with the Eastern PA Chapter this spring, so I'd be joining the large "EPA" group of 80 athletes! Coach Amy Blithe would remain a resource for Delaware participants. She trained hard all winter to run the 2003 Boston Marathon and did so in warm conditions. Congratulations to Amy for finishing in the top 2% of female runners!!!

5/4/03 - This morning I did the "Broad Street Run" in Philly and was thrilled to finish in the top 16% overall and the top 25% of my division (male 40-44). There were a total of almost 10,000 runners.

5/18/03 - I ran again at Delcastle Thursday evening and finally met up with some people from Pike Creek Valley Running Club. I'll find some people to run with on a regular basis by joining their group. It turns out that Terry Rodgers is the new webmaster of their site ( . The person I met was Dave McCorquodale, who I later found out has done the Boston Marathon 6 times!
So now I'll be taking advantage of living right near where all these runners come anyway.

6/2/03 - Yesterday I did my longest distance since Dublin: 15 miles. I felt good, so training is back on track. I'm wearing out the 1.75 mile loop at "Delcastle Park". There's always plenty of people there to push out of my way. (No, not really) I joined the local running club and found some fast guys to run with at least once a week. They're veteran runners who've got many marathons under their belts. One guy has done Boston 8 times! I'll be travelling to Alaska with about 15 other runners/hikers from the Philly area.
Now I'm getting ready to stuff myself with pizza.

6/9/03 - I'm thinking of getting up to Tower Hill either this afternoon or next Monday.
If not today, then tomorrow I'll hit Carousel Park. I've gone there 2 weeks in a row. Training is going well. My Saturday run was just 12 miles, but quite wet. Last week was 15 miles, with 14 the week before. I've been getting in Tempo runs with the Pike Creek Valley group on Thursdays, since there's always at least one or two fast runners there.

6/12/03 - Am I out of my mind? It's now official. Instead of running one marathon this year, I intend to run two.
Last week I learned that I was accepted to run in this year's New York Marathon!!!!!! I'm pumped!! Mark your calendars for November 2. That morning I'll be challenging 30,000 runners from every state and all over the globe as we kick off a little road race by crossing the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

But first things first. I have just 9 weeks until Humpy's Marathon up in Anchorage. The update:
Training is in gear. Today I did 15 miles on some hilly trails a couple miles from my house. It wasn't easy in moderately humid 82 degree conditions. Tomorrow I'll do some speed work with my coach.
Fundraising is picking up a bit. I've raised 1/3 of the $3000 minimum amount. If you haven't given yet, please try to soon or let all of my friends off the hook by finding me a rich benefactor.

So for the next several months, when not at QVC pumping out jewelry to the nation, I'll usually either be sleeping or running. I joined the local running club and last week did 5 miles with a veteran of 18 Boston Marathons!
Be fit and stay healthy!

7/5/03 - My training continues to go well, with Anchorage just 6 weeks away! Today (Sat.), I ran a grueling 18 miles in the humid 92 degree weather. I drank water like it was water! Even bought a new pair of running shoes afterwards. Last weekend I got in a couple days of "hill running" up at my parents' place in the Catskills.

7/11/03 - After 6 days of running in a row, I'm giving my legs a day of rest. One was starting to get sore. Training has been going very well and I'm running with others at least a couple days a week. This Sunday is 5 weeks until "Humpy's Marathon". It turns out that it gets this name from the main sponsor, none other than Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse. Now that's my kind of sponsor!

Marathon Man   Lackawack Hill   Ray at the Farm
Ray gets in some hill running at his parents' house in the Catskill Mountains of NY.

7/28/03 - 3 weeks to go...
Way to go, Lance!
Here's a little Marathon Man update, now that I've got under 3 weeks until Humpy's Marathon in Anchorage. In general, training has been going according to plan, but believe it or not, it isn't always fun running under a hot sun on a humid day!

Lackawack Hill
During several summer visits to my parents' place, I've gotten in some beneficial "hill training". It's helpful that they have an unlimited supply of delicious, cold spring water, which I bottle and take home with me. (Delaware tap water is deadly.)

The Long and Winding Road
I've been a little concerned about my weekly long runs (10+ miles). They are the cornerstone of a marathon training program and have seemed more arduous than they were last year. I've completed four 18+ mile runs. The good news is that I haven't had any injuries, other than recent soreness in my left leg. Bad news is that I've struggled through some of them, with a fair amount of walking included. Walking is not against the law in a race, but should be kept to a minimum if you're seeking a PR (personal record).

I'm still $1000 short of my goal. If you haven't given, please visit my site. I was happy and honored to have received some donations from teammates of last year.

Why is it called Humpy's?
At first, I was afraid that it referred to difficult hilly terrain. Then I figured it was named by someone with a dirty mind. Finally, someone noted that it may refer to Humpback whales. That was the closest. The wonderful news is that the main sponsor is Humpy's Great Alaskan Alehouse.

Of course, I'll be snapping photos to place on the website. These should include a glacier tour and a trip to the mountains. In the meantime, I'll be putting on a slideshow of photos of the marathon route so you can get a feeling of where I'll be running.

8/10/03 - Just one week to go...
Here's my final update before Sunday's marathon. We fly out on Thursday. I look forward to getting out of this hot, sticky summer weather to enjoy cool race day conditions of temps in the 50s under clouds, but hopefully little rain.

Limping Along
My left leg has been pretty sore for the past 2 weeks as I eased up on training. But I was still able to set a PR of 50 minutes to run 7 miles at my park a few days ago. Today (Sunday), I did 10 miles in the thick air. I'm afraid I'll have to depend on Advil to maintain my form, because limping along for 26.2 miles isn't healthy. On Tuesday evening, I'll meet the rest of the "Joints in Motion" PA team I'm part of. We're having a send-off party at an Irish Pub. I'll pump myself up by recalling the fun I had in Dublin last year (while hoisting a Guinness, of course!).

"Run with me"
Get a feeling for where I'll be running by visiting a slideshow of the marathon route. You'll be able to check my results by using the links at my site. I'll get back to Delaware next Wednesday in time to go to work that night. The trip photos will start appearing that day.

Finish Line
January - Icicle Run finish line in Wilmington
  Ray's 2003 Philadelphia Distance Run Stats:
1433rd place (of 6814 overall)
245th of 718 (Male 40-44 division)
1:40:56   chip time
7:42   pace/mile

Humpy's Marathon Course

Click Here to view slideshow of the hike/bike trails
in Anchorage, Alaska which are used for the entire 26.2 mile race!

Training for ING New York City Marathon - 11/02/03

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge
Marathon Man himself took this photo while driving on the Belt Pkwy

As soon as I received my participant handbook in July, I read it cover-to-cover...

Jump to my results, photos and commentary at Marathon Man: New York 2003

Recovery from AK . . . Training for NY

9/5/03 - The road gets bumpy
Difficult days for Marathon Man.
With 2 weeks until the Philadelphia Distance Run and 8 weeks to New York, my left leg remains sore and seriously impacts my running. I had figured on doing just a few light jogs in the two weeks after Humpy's, but as it stretched to three, I finally paid a visit to my doctor. Naturally, when I was in his office, the leg felt pretty good, so we just chatted about hydration, getting enough protein to repair my muscles and stretching adequately. That evening, I did a 5K "fun run" with my running club and limped more than ever. (It didn't help that I had forgotten to take my Advil and had run the previous day). By now, I had become so frustrated that I made an appointment with a Physical Therapist the very next day.

I went to PRO Physical Therapy to see none other than Duncan Outslay, my Dublin coach. He checked my feet and legs, commenting on how tight some of the muscles were. Duncan showed me several new stretches to do sets of twice daily and even gave me a riser (insert) for my right shoe since it seemed that the left leg was slightly longer. This combination gave me hope, especially since I was continuing to take Glucosamine 2-3 times daily to strengthen my joint ligaments.

9/9/03 - Warriors relish a challenge
I've been stretching religiously, twice a day and completed a ten mile run, my longest since Anchorage. My left knee and right upper hip are still sore, but workable. The next day they were sore, but I'm optimistic that I'm turning the corner on the road to recovery. Training has suffered, but there's nothing I can do about that except progress slowly and carefully. A six mile run on the soft trail at Carousel Park would be crucial in determining if I was truly recovering...

9/21/03 - Philadelphia Distance Run     (half-marathon)
My longest run since Alaska was just 10.5 miles, due to training through the leg injury. I made sure that I didn't run on consecutive days. With the additional stretching and Advil, I was slowly recovering. I made my traditional pasta dinner the night before the race and would run on two days rest.

On Sunday morning, I drove to a parking lot to meet other Pike Creek Valley Running Club members and hitched a ride with Lori and Laurie. We parked in the lot under "Love Park", just steps from the race finish area in plenty of time to do some stretching and wander to the start area. Weather conditions were favorable: low 60's with slightly overcast sky. Besides using the handy parking lot restroom, I found a handy dumpster down an alley just 15 minutes before the 8am start. Good to go!

I lined up at the back of the 7 minute pace area and before long, 7,000 runners headed toward the Delaware River on Market Street. We looped around downtown and headed up the Schukyl River on the same fast course as last year. I was shooting for a consistent 8 minute pace and eventually wound up with 7:42 (per mile).

PDR '03 PDR '03 PDR '03 PDR '03

I ran alone for the whole race. It was helpful that I had run the course before, since there were no surprises. I stayed away from the curbs and potholes and walked through some of the water stops while sipping Gatorade. A high school band boosted our morale, besides the same drummer and bagpiper as last year. Very little hint of leg pain!

It was great to reach the glorious finish, and even better to get in line for refreshments: Gatorade, bran muffins, bananas, popsicles and fruit drink were on the menu.
I could now look forward to New York (6 weeks away) with more optimism.     TOP OF PAGE

Ray can design a site for you!

10/5/03 - Long Training Run     (Queens mini-marathon?)
I spent a short weekend in Queens to attend my 20th college reunion. Since I had to get home to work on Sunday night, I decided to do my weekly long run before departing New York. I hadn't gotten a full 8 hours of sleep, but the weather was cool and crisp and I looked forward to running farther along the wonderful greenway that starts at Alley Pond Park near my brother's house. I did my stretching, took my Advil, and downed a bowl of Cap'n Crunch (not my usual choice, but readily available) and laced up my venerable 1121's. Didn't even require a sweatshirt!

The paved trail winds through Alley Pond Park, along a fairly flat greenway and into Cunningham Park. Several baseball games were in progress as I passed the fields and through some neighborhoods before arriving at Kissena Park, about 50 minutes into the run. A highlight was when a guy yelled across the street to ask if I was "running the marathon", obviously referring to the NYC Marathon. I proudly responded, "Yes!" and he congratulated me. So I figured my form was pretty good at that point.

The greenway eventually evaporated, so I ran along Kissena Blvd. I did a U-turn once my stopwatch showed one hour. My stride stayed fairly strong on the way back, only easing to a walk while I downed a granola bar 1:45 into the planned 2.5 hour run. Since I maintained a consistent pace, I did a few loops around the neighborhood until stopping in front of the house, confident that I had gotten in 17-18 miles. Time to stretch, shower, and enjoy my brother's chicken cutlets!

Grete Waitz with Fred Lebow
Nine-time New York City Marathon winner Grete Waitz, shown here with New York City Marathon co-founder Fred Lebow in 1992, was named as the Grand Marshal of the ING New York City Marathon 2003.

10/11/03 - 21 Mile Training Run     (Pike Creek mini-marathon?)
It had been a busy week at work, but my Thursday tempo run was quite successful. I ran my second best 4 laps at Delcastle in the debut of my Brooks Trance shoes. I even found someone to do my Saturday afternoon long run with...
Scott was training for his first marathon and turned out to be my age. He always ran alone, due to time constraints (family of five). I met him at his house in Pike Creek and we immediately set off on his usual route, which included some significant hills. We chatted the whole way, agreeing on a good pace of around 8:30/mile. We triumphantly returned to his house after exactly 3 hours of running. I had taken in some Gu (gel) and a granola bar, but a highlight was dropping into the athletic facility at Goldey Beacom college (Scott's alma mater) to refill our nearly empty water bottles. Sipping icewater while stretching on his deck under a fiery sunset topped things off nicely.

Now I could begin my taper with just 3 weeks to the big day and a strong 20 miler under my belt!

10/26/03 - One week to the Big Apple!     (The Kenyans are shaking in their shoes!)
My legs are back in shape. Shoes are ready. Destiny beckons.

The three weeks of taper (reducing mileage as the race nears) have gone well. I've been switching off between 3 different pairs of running shoes, getting in some hill work and tempo runs. Now I'm starting to watch the weather channel, fearing cold, blustery, rainy conditions... But so far, the advance forecast looks a little too warm, if anything! A couple of my running club buddies ran the Chicago Marathon a couple weeks ago. Darlise did under 4 hours, and Don (who did NYC last year) ran an awesome 3:03!
Now it was my turn...

Check out my results, photos and commentary at Marathon Man: New York 2003

Official results at NYC Marathon.
Race started 10:10 ET Sunday, November 2, 2003.   My number was 13115.
Highlights aired on NBC-TV 2-3pm ET.

NYC Marathon route

NYC Marathon - Runner's World photo
Verrazano-Narrows Bridge   NYC Marathon - Runner's World photo

Verrazano-Narrows Bridge

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"We are different, in essence, from other men. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon."

Emil Zatopek


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