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My Favorite Songs of 2016 December 29, 2016

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Well, 2016 sucked…there’s no way to sugarcoat it. I mean, even this list of my favorite songs of 2016 kicks off with two icons – David Bowie and Leonard Cohen – we lost this past year. But both gave us such wonderful musical parting gifts in Blackstar and You Want It Darker, respectively. And there was PLENTY of great music in 2016 – one of the bright spots of such an awful, awful year.

You’ll see/hear a lot of Field Music, Young Gun Silver Fox, Margo Price, Kishi Bashi and Sing Street – a band that only exists in the grossly under-watched 2016 film of the same name (it’s on Netflix…watch it!). This is because Field Music’s Commontime, Young Gun Silver Fox’s West End Coast, Margo Price’s Midwest Farmer’s Daughter (in my opinion, one of the most egregious Grammy nomination snubs), Kishi Bashi’s Sonderlust and the Sing Street soundtrack were among the albums I kept going back to in 2016. Many of the other songs here were staples of my favorite radio station, Philadelphia’s WXPN, over the course of the year and stuck with me. And this playlist is by no means complete…it just represents the songs I listened to a lot, whether that was stuff I own or heard played on WXPN.

The playlist above (see track list below) is presented in no particular order…I just hope it takes you on a journey as you experience the music I was listening to in 2016.

  1. “Lazarus” – David Bowie (6:23)
  2. “You Want It Darker” – Leonard Cohen (4:47)
  3. “Hands of Time” – Margo Price (6:10)
  4. “Disappointed” – Field Music (3:06)
  5. “m’lover” – Kishi Bashi (3:50)
  6. “You Can Feel It” – Young Gun Silver Fox (3:16)
  7. “Up” – Sing Street (2:44) – from the motion picture “Sing Street”
  8. “1979 (Smashing Pumpkins cover)” – Darlingside (4:06)
  9. “Call Off Your Dogs” – Lake Street Dive (3:30)
  10. “White Flag” – Joseph (3:20)
  11. “No Matter Where We Go” – Whitney (2:42)
  12. “Emilia” – Young Gun Silver Fox (4:07)
  13. “Nothing More to Say” – The Frightnrs (4:13)
  14. “Love & Hate” – Michael Kiwanuka (8:01)
  15. “Let Me Be Me” – Night-Funk (4:34)
  16. “Drive It Like You Stole It” – Sing Street (4:00) – from the motion picture “Sing Street”
  17. “Say Yeah” – Kishi Bashi (4:41)
  18. “Better” – Young Gun Silver Fox (4:03)
  19. “It’s a Good Thing” – Field Music (4:27)
  20. “I Can’t Give Everything Away” – David Bowie (5:48)
  21. “Traveling Light” – Leonard Cohen (4:25)
  22. “One More Night” – Michael Kiwanuka (3:55)
  23. “About to Find Out” – Margo Price (3:13)
  24. “A Beautiful Sea” – Sing Street (3:04) – from the motion picture “Sing Street”
  25. “So Bad” – Young Gun Silver Fox (4:03)
  26. “SOS (Overboard)” – Joseph (3:00)
  27. “Honeybody” – Kishi Bashi (4:27)
  28. “Black Man In A White World” – Michael Kiwanuka (3:34)
  29. “Four Years of Chances” – Margo Price (4:34)
  30. “See Me Slumber” – Young Gun Silver Fox (3:20)
  31. “The Noisy Days Are Over” – Field Music (6:25)
  32. “Can’t Let Go, Juno” – Kishi Bashi (4:23)
  33. “Fallin’ Rain (Link Wray cover)” – Karl Blau (10:04)

 

A song for these times December 19, 2016

Posted by Brian in Brian Kelley, Music, NJ, SoundCloud.
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Don't want to be a pest...but I still need your vote!I wrote “Get Back Into Line” in 2013 and quickly recorded a demo-grade version of it in GarageBand on my MacBook. I hadn’t written anything politically or socially charged in ages, but I was angry about what was going on with Congress at the time and this came together fairly quickly (and includes a couple of choice “adult” words). Musically, it was inspired by Midge Ure (of Ultravox and Band Aid fame), who I had seen live in Philly in January 2013. The sparse intro was influenced by the Ultravox classic “Vienna,” as is the buildup toward the middle of the song. There’s also some art/prog-rock touches thrown in.

Anyway…here, now, at the end of 2016, not only has a certain group of people not found the passion to care for all of its constituents and the world in general, but they have found a new leader who amplifies, endorses and empowers all the worst elements of this nation.

As the Electoral College casts its votes today to send this nation into a very dark chapter, I felt it was appropriate to share this song again. I recently started to reimagine it a bit, focusing more on the piano, so maybe I’ll record a new version of this soon.

Back in Training: 2017 New Jersey Marathon August 18, 2016

Posted by Brian in Back In Training, Brian Kelley, New Jersey, NJ, running, training, weight loss.
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Running in the 2015 Trenton Half Marathon

Running in the 2015 Trenton Half Marathon

Hi there…I know it’s been awhile. Although I haven’t posted here much lately and haven’t published a series of “back in training” posts in quite some time, I have very much been in training for a few weeks now — most of which is chronicled on my Instagram account.

What am I training for, you ask? Well, once again, I will be running in this year’s Trenton Half Marathon and a few smaller races before that. However, a couple of months ago, I decided that I was going to target 2017 as the year I run in my first full marathon. And I recently decided which marathon I will make my first…

It’s the 2017 New Jersey Marathon on Sunday, April 30, 2017!

Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon

Novo Nordisk New Jersey Marathon

I grew up at the Jersey Shore and it seems the logical place to do something I never dreamed of doing until the the last two or three years. And this way, I hope family and friends and can see me accomplish this.

My primary goal is to, of course, finish. My secondary goal is a bit ambitious…I want to complete the marathon with a sub-4 hour time. To do that, I need to run at about a 9:10-per-mile pace. My training times have been kind of all over the place recently, but when the weather is just right and I’m feeling good, I’m right around that pace—or better. In a chilly rain back in early May, I completed Philadelphia’s 10-mile Broad Street Run with a 9:11-per-mile pace. Granted, that’s 16.2 miles short of a marathon, but I’m fairly certain I could have run another five miles, at least, at that pace on that day. I don’t know if the crappy weather inspired me to run faster than usual, but I felt extraordinarily good running that race.

Currently, I am carrying a few extra pounds (15 lbs. or so, to be precise) that I’m hoping to shed by April 2017. Obviously, it would help if I could reduce the load my legs are carrying for a 26.2-mile run.

Of course, I’ll see how I do in the Trenton Half Marathon in late October and adjust my marathon goals accordingly. With very little training last year, I finished the race in 2:15:43 (10:21/mile pace). In 2014, when I was doing much more training, I finished the Trenton Half Marathon in 2:07:12 (9:42/mile pace). I’m looking to finish this year’s Trenton Half in 2 hours or less and, based on my 9:11/mile pace in the 10-mile Broad Street Run earlier this year and my more regular training/conditioning runs, I strongly believe this is possible.

Stay tuned…

2015 Hightstown Triathlon recap September 14, 2015

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Well, I wasn’t expecting to do all that great in Sunday’s (9/13) Hightstown (N.J.) Triathlon. I knew I wasn’t going to have a lot of time to train this year and that was made even more limited when I broke my left hand July 12. In my last post, I wrote that my first open-water practice swim of the season came the day before the event. And guess what happened the next morning, on the day of the event?

I got hit with a stomach bug of some kind. After throwing up at 5:15 a.m., I convinced myself it was out of my system and managed to get to the triathlon to give it a shot. Somehow, I made it through. In fact, my 500-yard swim was a few minutes better than I had expected with such little training (although two minutes slower than my time in last year’s event). Even the 11.2-mile bike ride was faster than my two previous practice rides of the same distance.

The 5K (3.1-mile) run is where I lost it. I finished the run in 35:18, which is my slowest 5K time in years. Honestly, I had to walk decent stretches of it, as running was agitating my stomach issues.

At least I managed to finished the triathlon, but it was probably a terrible decision to go through it. I spent the rest of the day throwing up and in a near-fetal position on my bed, hoping for the pain in my stomach to go away. It pretty much sucked.

Anyway, below are my results from Sunday’s 2015 Hightstown Triathlon:

500-yd swim:  12:40
Transition 1:  4:34
11.2-mi bike:  39:29
Transition 2:  2:20
5K run:  35:18
TOTAL:  1:34:19

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Get my results from the Hightstown Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 13 September 12, 2015

Posted by Brian in Brian Kelley, Hightstown, NJ, training, triathlon.
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Despite my summer training getting derailed by a broken left hand for most of July and August, I’m still competing in the Hightstown (N.J.) Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015…and you can follow along:

Brian Kelley’s 2015 Hightstown Triathlon Result

I did this sprint-distance tri last year as a warm-up to the Atlantic City (International) Triathlon a month later. Both were my first triathlons at those respective distances. I actually medaled at Hightstown as I finished at the No. 3 male newcomer, but I didn’t expect to medal and didn’t realize there was such a medal until two weeks after the race when I happened to read it on the event’s web site so I never received it. Thankfully, this year’s organizer allowed me to take one of last year’s medals when I explained what had happened.

Anyway, because I’m not in the greatest shape and didn’t get in as much training as I had planned, I don’t expect to do all that great. I’m thinking the 500-yard swim will be around 15-17 minutes, the 11.2-mile bike ride will be around 40-45 minutes, the 3.1-mile run about 30-32 minutes, and my two transition times about 6 minutes each. Add that all up and you get somewhere between 1 hour, 37 minutes and 1 hour, 43 minutes. I finished in 1:34:05 last year and that was with a longer bike ride (about 15 miles).

In fact, I hadn’t done an open-water swim since Atlantic City a year ago – until I covered about 500 yards in a practice swim while picking up my race packet today (9/12) in Hightstown. It was rough, but I didn’t die so I have that going for me.

OK…time to get to sleep and get ready to swim, bike and run.

Princeton Ironman 70.3 canceled and it’s not surprising April 13, 2015

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2014 Princeton Ironman 70.3 at Mercer County Park in West Windsor, N.J. (photo by Brian Kelley)

The inaugural Princeton Ironman 70.3 triathlon was a huge event held in Mercer County in September 2014. Nearly 2,500 athletes competed and the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce estimated the economic impact on the area was between $3 million and $6million.

However, the 2015 Princeton Ironman 70.3 has been canceled because it could not secure a satisfactory bike route in the area. Here is what was included in a recent e-mail sent to participants:

We regret to inform you that the 2015 IRONMAN 70.3 Princeton triathlon will not take place this September. IRONMAN is responsible for securing a race course which meets the high standards of our brand and provides our athletes an unparalleled race experience. Race courses must also be approved by the local authorities. Unfortunately, after numerous attempts, we were not granted the necessary approvals for the bike course.

And that bike course is where last year’s Princeton Ironman 70.3 was ridiculously problematic and NIMBY-istic.

The problem is that, despite the name and the fact that both the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce and Princeton Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau were the driving forces behind the Ironman coming to the area, the Princeton Ironman 70.3 had absolutely nothing to do with Princeton.

The event started and finished in Mercer County Park in West Windsor, N.J., roughly two miles away from the southernmost tip of Princeton. The 1.2-mile swim took place in the park’s lake and the half-marathon component was a double loop within the park and on adjacent roads and properties.

The 56-mile bike ride also started and finished in Mercer County Park, but that didn’t even go into Princeton. In fact, the course went in the opposite direction of Princeton, heading south into the Mercer County communities of West Windsor and Hamilton, and the western Monmouth County municipalities of Allentown and Upper Freehold before looping back toward Mercer County Park.

This meant that there were a number of road closures in these locations — again, NONE OF WHICH were in Princeton. Yet, the event was marketed as taking place in Princeton and by Princeton-based marketing entities. Excuse the language, but that’s pretty much bullshit.

If Princeton wants to reap the economic benefits of an Ironman event so badly, it should at least accept some of the logistical burdens of staging such a major event, such as road closures and expenses.

Now, without any knowledge of what actually went down, I’m guessing the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce convinced the municipalities involved that the course selected in 2014 was simply the best fit for the Ironman 70.3. And I’m guessing these municipalities decided to give it a try and see if they saw any economic benefits from hosting elements of the event there. What probably happened is that they didn’t, and when they were approached about the 2015 bike course, they justifiably declined to have their residents and businesses inconvenienced for nothing.

The truth is, Princeton has a lake for a swim course, and they have plenty of roads for a half-marathon (in fact, Princeton hosts a half-marathon every year) and part of a bike course. If Princeton wants to host an Ironman event, it should actually host it instead of imposing on neighboring communities, businesses and residents.

Back to the 80s: My 2014 live music recap December 29, 2014

Posted by Brian in Brian Kelley, concerts, links, Music, NJ, Philadelphia, video, WXPN, YouTube.
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Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins

Tom Bailey of Thompson Twins performs “Hold Me Now” at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pa., on Aug. 22, 2014. YouTube screenshot courtesy of user Steve Vitalidol.

Although my concert-going days have been limited since 2012, when my first son was born (and another one coming in early March 2015), I still try to make it to shows in my area—especially if it’s a band or artist I REALLY like and haven’t seen before or in a long time.

It wasn’t really by design, but many of the concerts I attended in 2014 were acts known more for their activity in the 1980s—Johnny Clegg, Gary Numan, The Fixx, Midge Ure (of Ultravox/Rich Kids/Visage/Band Aid fame), Howard Jones, Tom Bailey (former leader of the Thompson Twins), China Crisis and Katrina Leskanich (of Katrina & The Waves fame).

My year of live music kicked off in March with synth-rock legend Gary Numan at the Trocadero in Philadelphia. Numan’s “Cars” was a childhood favorite of mine (it was released in late 1979, when I was 8) and led to my picking up various Gary Numan/Tubeway Army records, cassettes and CDs over the years. When I saw he was playing in Philly and could get the evening free, I took advantage of the opportunity to see a legend who influenced so many electronic/pop/rock artists I love, including (most obviously) Nine Inch Nails. Here are a couple of YouTube videos from this show:

Gary Numan – “Are Friends Electric?”
Trocadero, Philadelphia, Pa., March 23, 2014

Gary Numan – “Cars”
Trocadero, Philadelphia, Pa., March 23, 2014

Later that month, I was at World Cafe Live in Philadelphia for one of the greatest concert experiences of my lifetime. Since I first heard “Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World” by Johnny Clegg & Savuka in the late 1980s, I have admired Clegg’s music and mission. Also, he’s one of the most interesting human beings in the world. You can check out his Wikipedia entry for details, but very few people can claim to be a singer-songwriter/French knight/professor of anthropology/Zulu dance master/political activist/human rights champion…AND performed on stage with a dancing Nelson Mandela in front of thousands.

Recently, I had been thinking that Clegg’s life and music would be a perfect fit for a stage musical and was thinking of how to connect with some people I now work with to explore that possibility. Well, according to Clegg’s Wikipedia entry, he is already working on one. If Johnny Clegg somehow sees this…if you complete the musical and would like to bring it to the United States, I might be able to convince a prominent theater in central New Jersey to take stage it there.

Anyway, here is an excellent write-up on the show, which also included Johnny’s son, Jesse, as the opening act. What was cool about this for me was that “Cruel, Crazy Beautiful World” was written as a pre-emptive farewell to Jesse when he was a young boy, at a time when Johnny was under threat of assassination due to his part in the fight against apartheid in South Africa.

I’ve only found one YouTube video from the show I saw in March, but it’s a good one. Here is Johnny Clegg performing “Giyana”…

Johnny Clegg – “Giyana”
World Cafe Live, Philadelphia, Pa., March 30, 2014

In July, my family tries to spend at least a few hours at WXPN’s annual XPoNential Music Festival in Camden, N.J., since there are always acts we enjoy–and this year was no different. We managed to see Ingrid Michaelson (to whom my wife and I first danced as a married couple), Nicole Atkins, Diego Garcia, Strand of Oaks, Lake Street Dive and Commonwealth Choir, among others. Unfortunately, the last time I looked, there weren’t any videos from the three-day festival on YouTube that I could find.

My 80s-themed concert-going experiences continued, though, in August when I went to Jenkinson’s on the boardwalk in Point Pleasant Beach, N.J.–right next to my hometown of Brick Township–to see The Fixx, who I hadn’t seen since a May 1991 at The Stone Pony in Asbury Park, N.J. My wife and I brought our kid to the boardwalk about two weeks before the show at Jenk’s (as it’s colloquially known) and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them listed on the concert schedule. I decided I had to go and I’m really glad I did, because they freakin’ rocked. I mean, this isn’t frontman Cy Curnin with some replacement guys. While not the original Fixx lineup, it’s still the classic version of the band that had a string of hits in the 1980s like “Saved by Zero” (now, a staple of car commercials promoting 0% financing or no money down gimmicks), “Red Skies,” “Stand or Fall” and “One Thing Leads to Another.”

There are a few YouTube videos of The Fixx in action at Jenk’s, but most are just parts of songs. Here is a full version of Cy & Co. performing “Deeper and Deeper,” which is pretty awesome…

The Fixx – “Deeper and Deeper”
Jenks Club, Point Pleasant Beach, N.J., August 5, 2014

Later that month, I put an exclamation point on my 1980s-themed concert year when my wife and I attended the RetroFutura Tour show at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Pa., on August 22, 2014. This show featured sets by several artists who many consider as “80s acts” like Katrina Leskanich (who has left The Waves behind), China Crisis (whose “Arizona Sky” is one of my all-time favorite songs), Midge Ure (one of my all-time favorite artists who I also saw in January 2013 and in June 1989), Howard Jones (this marked my fifth time seeing HoJo, another all-time great in my book) and Tom Bailey of the Thompson Twins, who was returning to the stage for the first time in 27 years.

I put together a playlist of YouTube videos from that memorable night, but below is the show’s finale…Tom Bailey performing an extended version of the Thompson Twins’ classic, “Hold Me Now.” This was the second night of the tour and on the previous (opening) night in New York City, the song just ended on the final drum hit. But the next night, something kind of magical happened–and I was proud to be part of the audience (which redeemed itself for being pretty lame for most of the night). As Bailey and his band played out the final measures of the song, the standing crowd was singing the chorus. But when the music stopped, the crowd kept going. Obviously moved, Bailey brought his all-female backing band to the front of the stage to sing along with the crowd…FOR ANOTHER THREE CHORUSES!

I was so happy to witness and participate in this…it still brings chills when I watch the video.

Tom Bailey (of Thompson Twins) – “Hold Me Now”
Keswick Theatre, Glenside, Pa., August 22, 2014

What’s even more awesome about this video is that if I pause it just before the end at the 8:27 mark, I can totally see the backs of our heads near the bottom of the video window.

I actually saw a few more live acts at a special WXPN donor party celebrating 10 years at their home adjacent and within the World Cafe Live complex in Philly. The event took place a couple of hours after I ran in WXPN’s first-ever 5K to benefit its Musicians on Call program, so I cleaned up a bit, changed clothes and–after some walking around University City–came back to watch up-and-coming Icelandic singer-songwriter Asgeir and one of my favorites, Mike Doughty (formerly of Soul Coughing, back in the 1990s). Again, though…no YouTube videos from that event.

With another kid on the way, getting to some live shows in 2015 is going to be a huge struggle. Sure, we might try to get in a few hours at the XPoNential Music Festival again in July, and I’m going to try to get to a Kasim Sulton show at Tin Angel in Philly in late January (and I just saw Sophie B. Hawkins is going to be there a few days later on January 31…I’m going to have to choose). The recently reunited Spandau Ballet is going to be at Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank, N.J., on February 10, but I’m not sure about that one. Midge Ure is returning to World Cafe Live in Philly on February 24, but unfortunately that’s way too close to my wife’s due date (although I would really like to see Midge three years in a row after not seeing him for nearly 24 years).

What I am most excited for, from a musical standpoint, in 2015 is the long-awaited release of the new Tears For Fears album, which Roland and Curt have been working on for close to a year now. That’s supposedly coming out late in 2015.

Happy New Year!

Some quick thoughts on Band Aid 30 November 17, 2014

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So there’s a new, reworked version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” that’s been recorded to help in the fight to stop the spread of Ebola in West Africa–and it just happens to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the first version of the song, which was the work of Bob Geldof and Midge Ure (one of my personal musical heroes).


Buy the song. Stop the virus. #BandAid30
Download now on iTunes – http://po.st/DoTheyKnow
Google Play – http://po.st/DoTheyKnowGp
Please donate: http://www.bandaid30.com/donateCD single pre-order here: http://po.st/CDsingle
Pre-order it on Amazon here: http://po.st/DoTheyKnowAm

Overall, I really like the new version, which I didn’t really expect. I know it’s not the greatest song in the world–and both Geldof and Ure are its harshest critics at times–but it was groundbreaking for its time in 1984, when the goal was to help fight hunger in Ethiopia.

The Independent | Band Aid 30 lyrics: Reworked Ebola-themed ‘Do they know it’s Christmas?’ revealed

Upon repeat listenings of the new version, I’d have to say the two weakest links are Sam Smith and Chris Martin. Smith has an interesting vocal quality, but needs to hone the actual skill of singing. In his first line, his “Christmas time” sounds more like “Christmas dime.” I have no freakin’ clue what he’s slurring in his second part during the bridge–that’s a mess and I can only assume that was the best take they could get in the limited time they had to record the song (which happened this past Saturday in London). I know Smith is one of the hottest artists on the planet right now, but I just don’t get it. The blandness of his songs doesn’t do anything to cover up the many flaws in his vocal style either.

And Chris Martin’s voice is just grating as usual–like nails on a chalkboard. Of course, I’m one of the biggest anti-Coldplay folks in the world so I’ll admit to bias on that one. Sinead O’Connor’s vocals are kind of weak, too, but there’s a hint of desperation in them that kind of fits the song so I’ve become accepting of them.

Everyone else does a real nice job. I’m a huge fan of Elbow and frontman Guy Garvey’s part (at the 1:26 mark of the video above) is fantastic…wish he got more to do, actually.

In my opinion, though, the real star of this latest version of “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” is Rita Ora, who amazingly only had 90 minutes to record her parts so she could get back to her filming commitments on UK’s version of The Voice. I’m not sure if it was planned going into the recording or if Ure and Paul Epworth picked up on it while producing the track, but she got some prime spots to shine here. Ora sings the first line as the beat kicks in after the One Direction/Ed Sheeran introduction, and then she gets the soaring vocal that leads wonderfully into the “feel the world/heal the world” chorus (as opposed to the original’s “feed the world”). Plus, she gets a little lead part during the chorus. It’s subtle in the mix, but once you see it in the video, you can pick it up with your ears.

BuzzFeed has a post identifying who sings what in the 2014 version.

 

Update No. 18 – Back in training 2014: Trenton Half Marathon result November 10, 2014

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Trenton Half MarathonWell, with my completion of the Trenton Half Marathon this past Saturday—my first-ever half-marathon—this year’s series of “Back in Training” posts comes to a close. I finished the Trenton Half Marathon in 2:07:12, and my 10-mile split of 1:34:03 bested my 10-mile time in the 2014 Broad Street Run (1:36:21) by more than two minutes. The course through Trenton, N.J., and Morrisville, Pa., is fairly challenging, with a decent number of inclines. There is one uphill road in Morrisville that kicked my ass when I ran the 10K race last year, so I was determined not to let it get the best of me again. This year, I eased up just a bit as I approached the turn onto that street and hit it hard. I blew by quite a few people at that point and, honestly, I felt great when I reached the top of that hill. It was totally the right way to go.

BK with Trenton Half Marathon finisher's medal

Me…after finishing the 2014 Trenton Half Marathon.

But…there were plenty more climbs, especially right after mile 8 on the approach to Cadwalader Park. Within the park itself, there were a few hills and dips. Between that and the fact that I had only run longer than 10.1 miles once before, this is when my legs started tiring. You can see in my splits that I ran a 10:39/mile pace between miles 10 and 13.1—nearly a full minute slower than my pace over the previous five miles and 1 min., 22 sec. slower than my pace over the first five miles of the race. But the important thing is that I finished without ever having to walk. I may have slowed to a very slow jog at spots, but I never walked. I know there’s no shame in walking for a bit during a long-distance race, but I went into this event thinking it might be the only half-marathon I ever run so I didn’t want to have any regrets. And a lot of my training this year was about finding a pace that would allow me to complete running events without having to walk. It would have been disappointing to me if I had done so.

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Video of my finish… Here’s a quick recap of the other three major athletic competitions I competed in this year:

Now, I also had a background goal this year to get down to 168 pounds. Well, I wasn’t able to hit that one, but I am down to around 177 so I’m still within 10 pounds of that goal. The important thing is that I physically feel the best I have in, well, my entire adult life. I would love to continue doing these events, but 2015 is going to be busy for me as my wife and I will be welcoming into our lives our second child in three years. And my transition from a work-at-home/freelance position to an office gig back in August has severely curtailed any time I would have for training. So I seriously doubt I will be doing a “Back in Training” series in 2015…but check back in 2016. – BK Note: See the January 18 update and original post below for background information…and please see the Training Tracker below to follow my major training swims, rides and runs.

1/18/2014 UPDATE: Earlier this month (see original post below), I wrote about training for my first half-marathon, the Trenton (N.J.) Half-Marathon taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, and my other goal of reaching a target weight of 168 pounds. Well, when I wrote that, I was also eyeing another ridiculously ambitious goal…competing and finishing in the Atlantic City International Triathlon on Sept. 14, 2014. However, I was still waiting to hear back from the organizers regarding a question about my bike. Well, I was given the information I needed and have officially registered for the event, which includes a one-mile swim, a 20-mile bike ride and a 10K (6.2-mile) run. I’ve never done an official half-marathon before, but at least I’ve run 13.1 miles in training  so I know I can do it. I have completed a swim of around a mile, have ridden 20 miles on a bike many times before and have 6.2 miles several times. However, I am in no way ready to do all of these in sequence at one time, but I’m learning as fast as I can how to get myself trained and conditioned for it. So I must revise the 2014 fitness goals I listed in the original post. They are now: 1) get weight down to (and stay at/near) 168 pounds, 2) complete the Atlantic City International Triathlon, and 3) complete the Trenton Half-Marathon. Wow…when you write it all out, it looks daunting. What was I thinking? Oh well, nothing to do now but to get in shape and ready to compete. At the bottom of each of these posts, you will find a training tracker so you can follow my progress.

Original Post – January 9, 2014: Last year, I tracked my training for the Trenton 10K, which took place Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. It was the first organized race I have run other than a 5K. I finished the Trenton 10K with a chip time of 59:46.399, and my goal was to finish in less than an hour…so mission accomplished. But as I watched the half-marathon runners start their race that morning, I regretted not being more ambitious with my running goals. After finally shaking off a persistent head cold I came down with the day after the race, I mapped out a route and completed a test run of 13.1 miles in 2:27:27—and, admittedly, that included about a half-mile of walking. Now that I know I can do it, I want to announce here that I have registered for the 2014 Trenton Half-Marathon, taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014. I also want to use this opportunity to finally get into the proverbial “best shape of my life”— a sports cliché used by so many aging veterans heading into training camp. The holidays and two bouts with colds have basically put me back to square one as far as conditioning is concerned, but next week I’m going to start getting serious about working out everyday and tracking my caloric intake. And, of course, I’ll be tracking my training runs here on the blog. In addition to training for the half marathon, it is my goal to finally get down to 168 pounds, which means losing about 23 pounds. I had lost 35 pounds back in 2006 after a false heart disease scare, but my weight-loss efforts stalled at 173—leaving me five pounds shy of my goal. Unfortunately, I gained nearly all of the weight I lost back again within the following year and have only been able to lose about 10-15 pounds a couple of times since then. So…those are my two main goals for 2014: 1) complete the Trenton Half Marathon, 2) get down (and stay at/near) 168 pounds.

Training Tracker I’ll be posting updates on my progress here every so often. The table below includes my swim/bike/run distances and times during this training period. Items in bold are personal records or other milestones. Also, I finally reversed the order of the table so that the most recent activity is at top…
Date Swim/Bike/Run Distance Time
11/8/2014 13.1 miles (run) 2:07:12 (personal best half-marathon, personal best 10-mi. time of 1:34:03)
10/26/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:26
10/26/2014 10.1 miles (run) 1:36:28
10/18/2014 8 miles (run) 1:16:42
10/5/2014 5K (run) 23:04 -WXPN Musicians On Call 5K (results) – my Nike+ only registered 2.84 miles instead of 3.1
9/28/2014 6.5 miles (run) 58:16 (includes personal-best 10K time of 55:11)
9/21/2014 4.9 miles (run) 48:52
9/21/2014 5.5 miles (run) 50:27
9/14/2014 5 miles (run) 50:20.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results)
9/14/2014 20 miles (bike) 1:08:52.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results) [Transition 2 time – 6:45.20]
9/14/2014 1.0 mile (swim) 52:16.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results) [Transition 1 time – 6:18.20]
9/7/2014 6.27 miles (run) 57:08 (56:39 10K time – personal best)
8/30/2014 0.5 mile (swim) Approximately 25 minutes
8/29/2014 3.15 miles (run) 26:14
8/17/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:01 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/17/2014 15.3 miles (bike) 50:16 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/17/2014 0.25 miles (swim) 10:24 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/9/2014 2.34 miles (run) 19:40
8/9/2014 600 yards/0.34 miles (lake swim) N/A…first time swimming in a lake in a wetsuit…had to “float” frequently during swim and rest for about 15 minutes between the two 300-yard loops.
8/8/2014 3.11 miles (bike) 27:22
8/8/2014 15.55 miles (bike) 52:48
8/6/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:12
8/6/2014 14.99 miles (bike) 49:32 (in a bit of rain)
8/4/2014 3.11 miles (run) 29:05
8/4/2014 14.42 (bike) 51:19
7/31/2014 19.55 miles (bike) 1:06:54 (tracking was a bit off toward the end of the ride due to device issue)
7/29/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:17
7/17/2014 3.11 miles (run) 30:42
7/16/2014 3.11 miles (run) 28:36
7/16/2014 20.03 miles (bike) 1:09:05
7/10/2014 3.1 miles (Nike+ recorded 3.19 miles) (run) 26:47.15 (RWJUH Strides for Stroke 5K) / 27:14 (Nike+)
7/10/2014 20.05 miles (bike) 1:09:45
7/8/2014 2.01 miles (run) 18:28
7/8/2014 10.04 miles (bike) 33:59
6/30/2014 5.00 miles (run) 48:02
6/27/2014 6.2 miles (run) 59:51
6/27/2014 20.08 miles (bike) 1:07:31
6/23/2014 3.30 miles (run) 31:15
6/23/2014 20.03 miles (bike) 1:06:44 (20-mile personal best)
6/20/2014 3.12 miles (run) 28:20
6/20/2014 15.01 (bike) 51:08
6/17/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:09 (included personal-best mile time of 7:33)
6/16/2014 4.06 miles (run) 41:37
6/16/2014 20.28 miles (bike) 1:08:34
6/10/2014 6.22 miles (run) 57:02 (10K-distance personal best)
6/6/2014 3.12 miles (run) 26:43
6/4/2014 4.54 miles (run) 52:46
6/4/2014 20.24 miles (bike) 1:08:27 (20-mile personal best)
5/29/2014 6.21 miles (run) 1:02:37
5/29/2014 16.6 miles (bike) 58:48
5/29/2014 4.67 miles (bike) 17:39
5/27/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:42
5/25/2014 6.21 miles (run) 58:57 (Brigantine, NJ)
5/23/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:15
5/20/2014 6.23 miles (run) 57:16
5/19/2014 2.35 miles (run) 20:02
5/12/2014 5.01 miles (run) 46:18
5/9/2014 3.11 miles (run) 25:58 (5K-distance personal best)
5/4/2014 10.0 miles (Nike+ recorded 10.2 miles) (run) 1:36:21 – Broad Street Run (10-mile personal-best)
5/2/2014 3.1 miles (run) 28:15
5/1/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:23 (5K-distance personal best)
4/28/2014 4 miles (run) 35:44
4/24/2014 10 miles (run) 1:39:04
4/22/2014 5.02 miles (run) 50:18
4/21/2014 5.02 miles (run) 46:38 (5-mile personal best)
4/13/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:57 official chip time – Barnabas Health Lakewood BlueClaws 5K
4/9/2014 3.14 miles (run) 26:52
4/2/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:51
3/27/2014 10 miles (run) 1:45:49
3/21/2014 15.25 mile ride followed by 6.21 mile run 59:25 (bike)/1:05:14 (run)
3/11/2014 18.46 mile ride followed by 3.11 mile run 1:10:09 (bike)/30:40 (run)
3/6/2014 6.21 miles (run) 58:45
2/21/2014 6.21 miles (run) 1:01:34
2/11/2014 3.11 miles (run) 30:55
2/10/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
2/6/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
2/4/2014 0.57 miles (swim) – 40 laps (25-yd pool) unknown
1/31/2014 1.14 miles (swim) – 80 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 1 hour
1/29/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 50 minutes
1/27/2014 0.71 miles (swim) – 50 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
1/24/2014 0.37 miles (swim) – 26 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 30 minutes
12/5/2013 13.12 miles (run) 2:27:27

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Update No. 17 – Back in training 2014: Preparing for a half-marathon November 1, 2014

Posted by Brian in Brian Kelley, links, New Jersey, NJ, Philadelphia, running, training, weight loss.
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1 comment so far
Trenton Half Marathon
Broad Street Run
Hightstown Triathlon logo
Atlantic City Triathlon logo

So…this is looong overdue. Work and family life have kept me incredibly busy recently, but I have managed to get a few training runs in for my last athletic event of 2014–the Trenton Half-Marathon on November 8.

On Sunday, October 26, I completed a 10-mile run in 1:35:51–a new personal best at that distance, eclipsing my 2014 Broad Street Run time of 1:36:21. Unfortunately, my Nike+ kept going for a bit after I stopped so it wound up recording a little more than 10 miles at 1:36:28. The week before (October 18), I ran 8 miles in 1:16:42.

I’m going to try to get in one more short training run before the half-marathon.

Oh, I also ran in the in the inaugural WXPN 5K Run for Musicians On Call on October 5 and completed that in a personal-best 5K time of 23:04 (although I’m 99.9% sure the course was not measured out right, as my Nike+ app registered that run as just 2.84 miles instead of 3.1).

To recap the other three major athletic competitions I competed in this year…

  • I completed the Atlantic City International Triathlon on September 14 in a total time of 3:04:33.90 (52:15.80 1-mile swim/6:18.20 T1/1:08:52.80 20-mile bike/6:45.20 T2/50:20.80 5-mile run), which is pretty much what I expected. (Full recap)
  • I finished the Hightstown (sprint) Triathlon on August 17 in a total time of 1:34:05 (10:24 .25-mile swim/4:26 T1/50:16 15-mile bike/2:59 T2/26:01 5K).
  • Completed the 10-mile Broad Street Run in 1:36:21 on May 4.

Note: See the January 18 update and original post below for background information…and please see the Training Tracker below to follow my major training swims, rides and runs.

1/18/2014 UPDATE:
Earlier this month (see original post below), I wrote about training for my first half-marathon, the Trenton (N.J.) Half-Marathon taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014, and my other goal of reaching a target weight of 168 pounds.

Well, when I wrote that, I was also eyeing another ridiculously ambitious goal…competing and finishing in the Atlantic City International Triathlon on Sept. 14, 2014. However, I was still waiting to hear back from the organizers regarding a question about my bike. Well, I was given the information I needed and have officially registered for the event, which includes a one-mile swim, a 20-mile bike ride and a 10K (6.2-mile) run.

I’ve never done an official half-marathon before, but at least I’ve run 13.1 miles in training  so I know I can do it. I have completed a swim of around a mile, have ridden 20 miles on a bike many times before and have 6.2 miles several times. However, I am in no way ready to do all of these in sequence at one time, but I’m learning as fast as I can how to get myself trained and conditioned for it.

So I must revise the 2014 fitness goals I listed in the original post. They are now: 1) get weight down to (and stay at/near) 168 pounds, 2) complete the Atlantic City International Triathlon, and 3) complete the Trenton Half-Marathon.

Wow…when you write it all out, it looks daunting. What was I thinking? Oh well, nothing to do now but to get in shape and ready to compete.

At the bottom of each of these posts, you will find a training tracker so you can follow my progress.

Original Post – January 9, 2014:
Last year, I tracked my training for the Trenton 10K, which took place Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013. It was the first organized race I have run other than a 5K. I finished the Trenton 10K with a chip time of 59:46.399, and my goal was to finish in less than an hour…so mission accomplished.

But as I watched the half-marathon runners start their race that morning, I regretted not being more ambitious with my running goals. After finally shaking off a persistent head cold I came down with the day after the race, I mapped out a route and completed a test run of 13.1 miles in 2:27:27—and, admittedly, that included about a half-mile of walking.

Now that I know I can do it, I want to announce here that I have registered for the 2014 Trenton Half-Marathon, taking place Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014.

I also want to use this opportunity to finally get into the proverbial “best shape of my life”— a sports cliché used by so many aging veterans heading into training camp. The holidays and two bouts with colds have basically put me back to square one as far as conditioning is concerned, but next week I’m going to start getting serious about working out everyday and tracking my caloric intake. And, of course, I’ll be tracking my training runs here on the blog.

In addition to training for the half marathon, it is my goal to finally get down to 168 pounds, which means losing about 23 pounds. I had lost 35 pounds back in 2006 after a false heart disease scare, but my weight-loss efforts stalled at 173—leaving me five pounds shy of my goal. Unfortunately, I gained nearly all of the weight I lost back again within the following year and have only been able to lose about 10-15 pounds a couple of times since then.

So…those are my two main goals for 2014: 1) complete the Trenton Half Marathon, 2) get down (and stay at/near) 168 pounds.

Training Tracker
I’ll be posting updates on my progress here every so often. The table below includes my swim/bike/run distances and times during this training period. Items in bold are personal records or other milestones. Also, I finally reversed the order of the table so that the most recent activity is at top…
Date Swim/Bike/Run Distance Time
10/26/2014 10.1 miles (run) 1:36:28 (includes personal-best 10-mi. time of 1:35:51)
10/18/2014 8 miles (run) 1:16:42
10/5/2014 5K (run) 23:04 -WXPN Musicians On Call 5K (results) – my Nike+ only registered 2.84 miles instead of 3.1
9/28/2014 6.5 miles (run) 58:16 (includes personal-best 10K time of 55:11)
9/21/2014 4.9 miles (run) 48:52
9/21/2014 5.5 miles (run) 50:27
9/14/2014 5 miles (run) 50:20.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results)
9/14/2014 20 miles (bike) 1:08:52.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results) [Transition 2 time – 6:45.20]
9/14/2014 1.0 mile (swim) 52:16.80 – 2014 Atlantic City International Triathlon (results) [Transition 1 time – 6:18.20]
9/7/2014 6.27 miles (run) 57:08 (56:39 10K time – personal best)
8/30/2014 0.5 mile (swim) Approximately 25 minutes
8/29/2014 3.15 miles (run) 26:14
8/17/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:01 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/17/2014 15.3 miles (bike) 50:16 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/17/2014 0.25 miles (swim) 10:24 – 2014 Hightstown Triathlon (results)
8/9/2014 2.34 miles (run) 19:40
8/9/2014 600 yards/0.34 miles (lake swim) N/A…first time swimming in a lake in a wetsuit…had to “float” frequently during swim and rest for about 15 minutes between the two 300-yard loops.
8/8/2014 3.11 miles (bike) 27:22
8/8/2014 15.55 miles (bike) 52:48
8/6/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:12
8/6/2014 14.99 miles (bike) 49:32 (in a bit of rain)
8/4/2014 3.11 miles (run) 29:05
8/4/2014 14.42 (bike) 51:19
7/31/2014 19.55 miles (bike) 1:06:54 (tracking was a bit off toward the end of the ride due to device issue)
7/29/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:17
7/17/2014 3.11 miles (run) 30:42
7/16/2014 3.11 miles (run) 28:36
7/16/2014 20.03 miles (bike) 1:09:05
7/10/2014 3.1 miles (Nike+ recorded 3.19 miles) (run) 26:47.15 (RWJUH Strides for Stroke 5K) / 27:14 (Nike+)
7/10/2014 20.05 miles (bike) 1:09:45
7/8/2014 2.01 miles (run) 18:28
7/8/2014 10.04 miles (bike) 33:59
6/30/2014 5.00 miles (run) 48:02
6/27/2014 6.2 miles (run) 59:51
6/27/2014 20.08 miles (bike) 1:07:31
6/23/2014 3.30 miles (run) 31:15
6/23/2014 20.03 miles (bike) 1:06:44 (20-mile personal best)
6/20/2014 3.12 miles (run) 28:20
6/20/2014 15.01 (bike) 51:08
6/17/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:09 (included personal-best mile time of 7:33)
6/16/2014 4.06 miles (run) 41:37
6/16/2014 20.28 miles (bike) 1:08:34
6/10/2014 6.22 miles (run) 57:02 (10K-distance personal best)
6/6/2014 3.12 miles (run) 26:43
6/4/2014 4.54 miles (run) 52:46
6/4/2014 20.24 miles (bike) 1:08:27 (20-mile personal best)
5/29/2014 6.21 miles (run) 1:02:37
5/29/2014 16.6 miles (bike) 58:48
5/29/2014 4.67 miles (bike) 17:39
5/27/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:42
5/25/2014 6.21 miles (run) 58:57 (Brigantine, NJ)
5/23/2014 3.12 miles (run) 27:15
5/20/2014 6.23 miles (run) 57:16
5/19/2014 2.35 miles (run) 20:02
5/12/2014 5.01 miles (run) 46:18 (5-mile personal best)
5/9/2014 3.11 miles (run) 25:58 (5K-distance personal best)
5/4/2014 10.0 miles (Nike+ recorded 10.2 miles) (run) 1:36:21 – Broad Street Run (10-mile personal-best)
5/2/2014 3.1 miles (run) 28:15
5/1/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:23 (5K-distance personal best)
4/28/2014 4 miles (run) 35:44
4/24/2014 10 miles (run) 1:39:04 (10-mile personal best)
4/22/2014 5.02 miles (run) 50:18
4/21/2014 5.02 miles (run) 46:38 (5-mile personal best)
4/13/2014 3.1 miles (run) 26:57 official chip time – Barnabas Health Lakewood BlueClaws 5K
4/9/2014 3.14 miles (run) 26:52 (26:35 personal best 5K time)
4/2/2014 3.11 miles (run) 26:51
3/27/2014 10 miles (run) 1:45:49
3/21/2014 15.25 mile ride followed by 6.21 mile run 59:25 (bike)/1:05:14 (run)
3/11/2014 18.46 mile ride followed by 3.11 mile run 1:10:09 (bike)/30:40 (run)
3/6/2014 6.21 miles (run) 58:45
2/21/2014 6.21 miles (run) 1:01:34
2/11/2014 3.11 miles (run) 30:55
2/10/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
2/6/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
2/4/2014 0.57 miles (swim) – 40 laps (25-yd pool) unknown
1/31/2014 1.14 miles (swim) – 80 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 1 hour
1/29/2014 1.02 miles (swim) – 72 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 50 minutes
1/27/2014 0.71 miles (swim) – 50 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 40 minutes
1/24/2014 0.37 miles (swim) – 26 laps (25-yd pool) approx. 30 minutes
12/5/2013 13.12 miles (run) 2:27:27 – longest distance run

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