Sunday, November 14, 2010

Tyranena 1/2 Marathon

I made the 2 hour drive with my wife Terri and friend Billy on Saturday morning. It was cold but the sun was shinning & I was feeling good. They had a large tent set up with tables so after the race you could get out of the cold. After we picked up our race packets and walked around a bit it was time to go to the starting line. It was a small race with only 1,500 runners.

We started out and I was running with Billy. We hit the first mile at 8:45, which was fast for me considering I had 12.1 to go. We kept the pace going and started to hit some pretty good hills. I slowly climbed uphill and ran like hell down. We paced between 9:10 to 8:45 for the first 6 miles. After the 6th mile Billy started to kick it up and I was running solo. Somehow I managed to keep the pace going for my first sub 2 hour 1/2 marathon. I finished with 1:58:46. I have come close but never broke the 2 hour barrier before. Needless to say I was very excited. Billy finished at 1:53 and Terri 2:07. A PR for both Billy and myself. Terri was only seconds off of her PR as well.

After the run we went inside for a lasagna lunch and to sample some Tyranena beers. We had sampled a porter which was great, a pale ale, amber alt and a honey blonde.

After we ate and had our sampling we went inside for a tour.

All in all a great race. I will be back next year for sure.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Crazy Summer

I wonder if anyone is still out here since I have disappeared from blogging. I'm not sure where to begin. I have been busy running and with life all summer. I did run and complete my first marathon on May 30th and ran a second marathon on September 17th. In addition I ran 2 half marathons, five 5k's and a 10k. I have another 1/2 marathon next weekend in Lake Mills, Wisconsin at the Tyranena Brewery. That will conclude my racing schedule for the year unless I find a Turkey trot or something else presents itself.

I have to say my first marathon experience was a bit brutal. It was the Madison Marathon and the weather was not my friend. I did struggle and had to walk towards the end. I did finish, but not with a time I was happy with 4:57. Since I had trained and was in decent shape, I decided to try another one to redeem myself. I found an inaugural run in St Charles,Illinois called the Fox Valley Marathon. This was the best supported race I have ever seen. There was aid stations at every mile and just a well thought out and put together race. I struggled a bit with knee pain after mile 20 and ran walked the rest of the way in. I think I went out to fast and that hurt me later in the run. I hit the 1/2 marathon point at 2:01 and that was a PR for me. I have not run a 1/2 that fast before.Nonetheless, I finished with a time of 4:38. I will definitely run this event next year, weather it's the 1/2 or full I'm not sure yet. I have to say I have never been so proud of myself when I crossed the finish line at these races. It was the hardest thin I have ever done, but I feel so accomplished.

I certainly have tons of respect to all of you marathon runners out there. It isn't easy and I know what kind of effort goes into it.

I have been reading about everyone's efforts and endeavors, even if I don't comment. Finding time has been my biggest problem. I have not been a very good friend and for that I apologize.

Now that summer is over, I have closed my place in Wisconsin for the winter. That means more projects at home. I am currently redoing the master bathroom. New mirrors, toilet, vanity, tile and ripping out the tub for a big shower. I am actually procrastinating the demo by typing right now.

I will continue reading all your posts and I thank those who have reached out to me over the past months. I hope to be able to get back and post more often.

Happy running!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Wisconsin 1/2 Marathon

Fist off I want to apologize for not being around to support you who have been there for me in the past. I have been extremely busy, but am not making any excuses. A new firewall went up at work and I can’t access anything related to Blogs there. Not that I only did this at work, but with training and my train commute, I am really short on time lately. I also have a friend who is going through a divorce and we had opened our home up to him for the past few weeks until he could find a place for himself. I need to get a new smart phone so I can use my time on the train to catch up with everyone. I promise to be better, please don’t be mad at me.

Marathon training has been going well, with the exception of a self diagnosis of foot/toe pain I have been experiencing. I think I may have Morton’s Neuroma. It is a painful shooting pain that feels like electrical impulses shooting through my toes and often feels like a tingling sensation. After the marathon, I need to have this checked out and diagnosed by my doctor for sure. In the mean time, I loosened my laces in the toe box and am hoping for the best.

This past Saturday I ran the Wisconsin ½ Marathon in Kenosha. I was hoping for a sub 2:00 time but it wasn’t in the cards this time. I am proud to say I finished officially with 2:02:16. I ran with a running buddy of mine, Billy, who ran his first ½ marathon. He has been training with my wife and I over the past months and we talked him into running the Madison Marathon with us since he was doing all the training runs anyway. He did very well and finished with 1:57:34. The course itself was a little rough on some of the roads and I don’t think I have seen so many potholes ever. It made a great obstacle course trying to avoid the bigger ruts and not get injured. The weather was a little warm and pretty humid for this time of year. The wind coming of Lake Michigan helped cool things down but also caused another challenge.

One of the highlights of the race was that I got the chance to meet Kim and her husband Steven. They both live pretty close to me in the suburbs and ironically we both work in downtown Chicago. It was really great to meet them both. Kim had a rough go at the race, but she pulled through and ended up doing great!

I have a 20 mile training run this weekend and then I am in taper mode. This week I will end up running 40 miles. I call this hell week, but am keeping my eye on the big picture. I know this will help me get used to the pounding it will take for the full marathon in Madison on May 30th.

Again, I truly am appreciative for all your comments and support. I promise to be better at reciprocating.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm Still here

I think work and training has gotten the better of me lately. I have fallen of the face of the earth. I have found it difficult to keep up with everything lately. I suppose I need to get better at time management.

It has been a while and I am unsure of where to begin. On Saturday the 3rd, Terri and I went to see Michael Buble. I purchased the tickets a while back and was pleasantly surprised to have such fantastic seats. We were in the front row off to the side. It was great concert and a welcome relieve from training.

The past two weekends have been my longest runs to date. I now have 2 new distance PR’s (15 and 16 miles). The 15 miler was hard, but it was cool and raining the whole run. Last Saturday’s 16 mile run was sunny and a bit warmer which turned out to be brutal for me. I had been experiencing some toe pain and when we stopped for a break to use the porapotty at the park, I took my shoes off to stretch my toes out. I was getting an intense pain and not sure why. It seemed that they were cramping, but when I stretched them out the pain went away.

The 16 miler started to go downhill around 10 miles when the guys I was running with decided to pick up the pace and Terri and I were continuing on the same pace as we had started with. When we started to run as a group we said we were going to stick to a certain pace.However, after 10 miles into the run two of my group decided to slowly kick it up and after a while they had gotten so far ahead that were not even in site. Anyway, I was a little perturbed that they just took off without asking if we would be ok. My wife runs with music and therefore doesn’t talk while we run. To me, talking helps make the time pass by much faster and I don’t even think about it. After they took off, I was a little ticked and I started to feel negativity take over my thoughts. I thought if we were running in a group and we agreed upon a pace, we should stick together. At this point, I was thinking I would have better off if I had run this alone, because I wouldn’t have the negativity creep into my head. The negativity really threw me off my game. Maybe I am wrong and this is normal in group running. If so, I need to accept this and not let it bother me. I am hoping you guys can enlighten me on the acceptable etiquette for this type of training.

Around mile 13 I had to stop and stretch my toes again and I motioned Terri to keep going. I was only stopped for about 30 seconds and was back at it. I could still see Terri and she was looking back to see that I was there. We got to mile 13 and there were the other 2 guys waiting for us at the park. I was still upset and just kept running past them. I also had run out of fluids at this point and was starting to tank quickly. I was short with my responses to their questions and didn’t feel like conversing. The more I went on the more sporadic the pain seemed to shoot into my toes. We soon were all split up again, but this time, it was my own doing since I was not keeping the pace. I didn’t expect anyone to wait, if I wasn’t keeping up. I still had Terri in my sight and followed her since we had not planned an official course. We all had GPS watches and knew when we hit 16 miles so it wasn’t necessary for a course. I got back to my house, where we all met and there everyone was waiting.

I decided not to say anything and let it go. Terri took a quick shower and then made pancakes for all of us. These are good friends and I did not want to cause a scene. For all I know, I may be the one who is in the wrong with my thinking.

Sunday we ran a local 5k race (Run Thru the Hills) in our town. One of my training partners, 2 of my poker buddies, Terri and my son Dante ran as well. I came in 6th place out of my age division but was pretty tired from the 16 miles the day before. It was no PR but I was ok with 26:35.

This week we scale the mileage back a bit and the long run is 12 miles. I never thought I would be relived for a 12 mile run, thinking that was a break.

Thursday evening after our 5 miler, Terri and I are off to an Elton John concert. I was planning on taking Friday off and making a late night of it, but I have a meeting at work I have to be at.

I hope I figure out or get passed my toe issues, but training is going pretty good despite my rough run last Saturday.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

A Day late and Dollar Short

I have such trouble keeping up with posting lately. Between work, running, maintaining the house and reading everyone else’s wonderful stories and anecdotes, I seem to be running out of time. Oh well, I can only do so much.

Last weekend, the Chicago area was blessed with a round of more snow. Enough snow to keep me running my 13 miler in the gym again last Saturday. I managed 7 miles on the treadmill then jumped on the indoor track for 3 miles (27 loops) and back onto another treadmill to finish with a 3 miler. I think it helped break the run up by jumping around, but I would rather have been running outside. The good news is that the weather has warmed up and there is not a trace of snow left in site.

Saturday evening Terri and I had dinner plans with some friends and had people over at our house later in the evening. I was a little worn out from the run and cleaning the house afterwards that I ended up falling asleep pretty early Saturday night. I left Terri to entertain our guests while I was sound asleep. Luckily she didn’t say a word to me and hopefully understood I was just wiped out. I also had a few glasses of New Glarus Stone Soup, but that had nothing to do with it, I swear.

Sunday morning Terri and I were pretty tired and we did not do any cross training at the gym as Hal Higdon said was on our schedule. Instead we swapped our rest day with Monday. On Monday evening after work we both headed to the gym and I lifted and rode the bike while Terri did the elliptical and bike.

Tuesday was quite nice when I got home from work and the temps were in the low 60’s. I ran my 3 miler in shorts and a short sleeved shirt. Amazing that just a few days prior it was snowing like crazy. I know I shouldn’t be shocked and this happens every spring but I am so ready for winter to go away. Tonight I have a 7 mile run scheduled and tomorrow a 4 miler. We are also on a taper week and only running 10 miles on Saturday. I think my legs are going to appreciate the break.

Earlier this week, I was talking to a few of my friends who signed up for the Chicago Marathon, scheduled this fall on 10-10-10. I was actually contemplating running this with them, even though I haven’t even completed my first one yet. I knew that the race would fill up fast and I needed to decide soon to secure a spot, but it closed yesterday. I know there are charity spots available but I would have rather just paid my entry fee and trained by myself. I was a little disappointed because it would have been nice to run in Chicago, but I kind of think I need to get one marathon under my belt before I think about running a second. I guess if I still have the bug, I could search for another fall marathon, but I was kind of looking forward to running Chicago. Maybe it’s for the best and I should focus on my current goal before I go looking for trouble elsewhere.

I hope everyone has a splendid week of running!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

12 Miles, Sushi and New Glarus

I ended up having to run my 12 miler indoors on Saturday. The weather was to crappy and I didn't feel like going outside in the rain and cold. I know it rains and can be cold on race day, but I just wasn't feeling up to it. My wife came to the gym with me and I used one of the 6 guest passes they gave me. Family hours at the gym weren't until later in the day and I wanted to run in the morning so I had to use the pass.

I ran 6 miles on the first treadmill with no problem. The machine only would allow you to run one hour before shutting off so I moved to another location in the gym for a change of scenery. I ran 3 miles on the different treadmill and the last 3 on the track. It was actually nice to break things up and it didn't seem to bad. My wife did 6 on the treadmill and 6 on the track. It is 9 laps for a mile and I didn't feel like making 54 turns around the oval.

After our run, we went home and Terri jumped on the computer to see if she could get Elton John tickets that went on sale earlier that morning. We actually were able to get 2 tickets that weren't too expensive and decent seats. So we are going to Michael Buble in 2 weeks and Elton John next month.

Staurday evening Terri and I headed out to some friends for a party. It was a wine & sushi party. They did it to raise money and/or donations for their local food bank in their town (Wacounda). They have had this party for the past few years and I think it is an awesome concept. They are very generous to host this every year. I actually tried sushi for the first time ever. I do like fish, but didn't think I would like sushi. I liked the spicy tuna roll and the sashimi. They also had other items besides sushi and they had other things to drink besides wine but I wanted to try it anyway. I was the designated driver this time so I had one glass of wine for the evening.

I have previously mentioned that my friend, Jeff lent me his snow blower earlier this year. We actually made a swap. I made him oak window cornices and he gave me the snow blower. Sunday morning after waking up an hour later, due to the time change, I headed out to his house to install them for him. After the installation we went to lunch and I had a couple of Boddington's and a burger. Jeff lives near the Wisconsin border in a town called Rockford and since I was that close, I headed up to Madison after lunch for a new 1/2 barrel of New Glarus beer. I was hoping to get the newest brew, Moon Man, but they did not have it in 1/2 barrels. I ended up taking home Stone Soup. By the time this runs out, they will be brewing one of my other seasonal favorites, Totally Naked for the next keg. I loaded up on a few other New Glarus product and made my way back to Illinois. After the beer run, I went home, picked up my wife and son and we went to the gym for family hours. I lifted weights, Terri rode the bike and Dante played basketball and ran a few laps on the track. Afterwards we all went swimming in the pool and Dante played on the indoor water slide.

Last night I came home from work and was feeling the onset of a little cold. I went to bed earl;y to get some extra rest and today at work, I was taking daytime cold medicine. Luckily I only have a 3 miler to run tonight and I plan on getting to bed early again for some rest. I think I just have been running myself around so much and not resting.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Almost no Bull!

I had a nice dinner last Friday with my fellow Alumni and professors from my college (EIU). It was starting to get late and I needed to head out to catch the 10:30 train. I said my goodbyes and promised to visit the campus soon, when one of the professors approached me and asked if I liked basketball. I said sure and didn’t know why he would ask, but he then asked if I would like tickets to the Chicago Bulls game to take my son to for that Saturday night. I said thanks and told him my son will be thrilled. I called Dante on my walk to the train and told him about the game and pulled out the tickets to give him the seats location so he could look it up online to see where they were located. I put the tickets in my coat pocket and looked at my watch and realized I needed to hustle to get to the train on time. I arrived at the station with about ten minutes to spare and felt in my pocket and the tickets were gone. I had a few options at this point, get on the train and forget about it, retrace my steps in the hopes of finding them and miss my train or run like hell to try and find them and try and catch the 10:30 train. I chose the latter option and ended up running three blocks to discover the tickets sitting on the sidewalk. I was incredibly lucky that they were still there. Now I just needed to make it back to the station before the train took off otherwise it was another hour wait for the next one. I sprinted back with everything I had and run up the stairs into the station and onto the platform. I just made it before the doors closed and grabbed a seat. I was all gross and sweaty and I am sure looked like hell, but I made the train and had the tickets securely in my pocket this time.

The next morning I had a seven mile run and I was still a little sore from sprinting in dress shoes the night before. I managed the seven alright but it wasn’t my best run by any means. After the run I had an appointment to go to speak with my Dr. about my recent blood test. I was the last patient of the day and the doctor was very casual and took all the time answering questions that I needed. That was a welcome change. My doc told me that the cholesterol medicine was not causing my increase in the kidney BUN test, but asked if I was taking a supplement with Creatinine in it. I said no, but told him I was training for the marathon possibly running more and that I joined the gym and had started lifting weights. He thinks that could be the cause for the extra creatinine in my blood but wants me to take another blood test to be sure. I can’t work out for three days and need to have a blood draw to see the level. I worked it out with a morning run 2 rest days and then an afternoon run so I only am missing a cross training day. I also asked if I could stop taking the expensive non-generic medicine (Zetia). He said it was not the reason my numbers went down and told me to stop taking it. I was thrilled as this will save big $$$. I have my fingers crossed that the extra muscle building is the cause for the increased creatinine.

After the doctor, I had my son’s All Star basketball game and then we went to dinner and into the city for the Bulls game. After finding reasonable parking accommodations of $18, we walked to the United Center. We found our seals, first row in the club level and sat down. Down on the floor in front of us was Lovey Smith (head coach of the Chicago Bears) and the three new players they just drafted. My son was in sports heaven. The Bulls lost to the Mavericks, but we had a great time nonetheless. It was a nice way to spend the evening bonding with my son. Dante is 10 years old & I know these days are numbered.

Sunday I did taxes and afterward Terri, Dante & I all headed to the gym. I did a little lifting and biking, Terri biked and used the elliptical and Dante ran 2 miles on the track. Afterward we headed to the pool to relax. It was a busy weekend, but I enjoyed it.

Last night the weather was unseasonably warm (45 degrees) when I got home and I decided to run outside. I grabbed a flash light, put on shorts and headed out. I ran a quick 3 miler and then back home for dinner. I have 6 miles to complete tonight and I hope the rain stays away long enough for another outdoor run. I really miss running in shorts outside.

We are up to a 12 mile run for this Saturday’s training run. I haven’t run that distance since the last ½ marathon I did back in August. I am sure it will be fine.