Thursday, December 17, 2009

Knee Jerk Reaction

Since I signed up for the Madison Marathon I have found out the friend I was supposed to run with might not be able to run. He has a serious injury that may require surgery and will be out of commission for a few months. I am not going to let this deter me.

I have been able to go for a few longer runs on the weekend 10.5 and 9,5 the past few weeks and felt pretty good. Monday I was at the back door grilling and stepped backwards into the house and onto the dog who was behind me. I stepped on her paw and immediately jerked my leg up smashing my knee into the door frame. I still am feeling a bit of pain especially when I go up and down stairs.

I feel like a slacker, but I haven't been running since Sunday. I know I should rest it, but I feel very guilty for not running. I don't know what I can do that doesn't impact the knee. By the way the dog was fine. I never hurt her, she's pretty quick for a 13 year old Jack Russel Terrier.

Anyway I am frustrated that I can't run and don't want to push it to injure myself. On the other hand, this is the worst time of year to not be able to get out there with all the extra calories that I will be eating and drinking.

I also made another road trip to Madison this past weekend for a beer run. Unfortunately, I can't buy New Glarus Beer here in Illinois and I have to go to Wisconsin. I made the trip worth it since things are cheaper in Wisconsin compared to Illinois.

Any suggestions about the knee would be appreciated.

Friday, December 4, 2009

I Took the Plunge!

I can’t believe it but I just signed up for my first marathon. I am registered for the Madison Marathon May 31, 2010. I am excited, happy, nervous and scared all at the same time. I know many of you seasoned veterans out there have run this sacred 26.2 before, but frankly I never thought that I would be here. I have a long road ahead of me for training, but in my mind the first step was registering and now it’s for real. I verbally committed to do this with a friend of mine a month ago and I signed up first. I am going through with it even if he doesn’t. Call it my bucket list or what have you but I need to do this for myself and prove to myself that I can do it.

Whew! Did I mention I signed up for a marathon today?

Seriously, I have been non existent out here but have been training still. I have been getting around 18 hours/week for the past month. I know I need to kick it up big time to prepare for what’s ahead, but I feel confident that I can follow a plan and get it done. I will certainly be keeping all of you in mind while I’m training. You will be that voice in the back of my head telling me to keep going, when I feel like giving up or slacking. I do appreciate all your input, advice and stories you share through your own blogs and it makes me feel as I am there with you. Although I would feel more like I was a participant if I could attend Jamoosh's 12 Beers of Christmas, but unfortunately not this time.

On the Garage front things have progressed wonderfully. I have the floor painted, walls done, molding installed and flat screen installed. I have some touch up painting on the molding to do and then I will post some photos.

Even though I haven’t posted forever, I have been trying to keep up and post on everyone’s blogs. Having trouble finding spare time to read everything and post myself. I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Vet-Run 2009 Race Report

I have been nursing a cold (hopefully not H1N1) the past week but still managed to drag my but out for a few runs. I figured I would try and sweat the cold out of me by running. Unfortunately, I couldn't shake it and am still taking cold meds this morning again.

Last week I managed to get out Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday prior to my Sunday morning 10K. I managed to get in 20 miles for the week, which is great since I have been slaking throughout the month of October. I feel like I am getting back on track. It 's funny how I can run this mileage sick, but last month being healthy, I had problems. I think motivation and burnout were my bigger issues, hopefully past me now.

We have had unseasonably great weather in the Chicago area the past week and the weekend was no exception. Sunday morning was the most perfect running conditions you could ask for. My wife , Terri and I headed out to the race Sunday morning and picked up my friend Billy to join us. We also met another couple at the race. I always enjoy running when you have a great group of friends there. I love having the support and being able to support them as well. Anyway, the race was to support Veterans and they had a whole series of events to pay homage to our Veterans. They had opening ceremonies before the race with military present and even a flyover with a WWII plane. They even had the moving miniature Vietnam wall on site. What an impressive site to see.

The race went off without a hitch. They ran a 5k and 10k simultaneously so things were a bit bunched up at the start. It took a good 1/2 mile for the crowd to break into their pace groups and from there everything was fine. Like I said, we had spectacular running weather with blue skies, sunshine and temps in the 60's. Unfortunately I knew I wasn't going to PR since I was on dayquill, but nonetheless I still felt good. It really felt great to be out in the sun and running in November in Chicago. I ran the course with my friend Billy until the split where the 5k and 10k separated. Billy was itching to get moving a little quicker and I told him to go and not let me hold him back. I slowed down during miles 4 and 5 but picked it up again from there to finish strong. I unofficially had a time of 55:45. This is about 3- 1/2 minutes off my PR time but I am still happy. When I crossed the finish line my two friends were there to greet me and we stayed and waited for my wife and my other buddy's wife to finish. Everyone in our group crossed within minutes to finish under an hour.

Last year when I ran this race it was my first 10k ever and longest distance run to date. I feel like I have accomplished a lot since this point last year. I have completed 2-1/2 marathons and numerous 10ks and 5ks throughout the running season in 2009. I look forward to 2010 and what it may bring. I think I am going to try the Madison full Marathon this May and see what I can do. I know I need to get my ass in gear and stay the course for some heavy duty training, but I think I may be ready for this next step. It is encouraging reading everyones journey in blog land and seeing how you progress in your own training and racing. I hope I can keep motivated through this great support network of people out here.

My buddy Wes had his camera and her are a few photos.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Missing in Action

Where the hell have I been? What happened? Let me tell you. I have been missing lately. I have been running but not nearly as much as I should have or wanted to. Like most runners we have Type-A personalities and become focused on a goal, project or whatever the task at hand is. I have been obsessing over a project that I have spent too much time, effort and money into. I have been fixing the garage (man cave) up. I hung drywall, taped and mudded, primed and painted and even put in crown and base molding. My wife thinks I have gone over the deep edge. I do host a weekly poker game and we play in the garage so we do get use out of it other than parking the vehicles in it. It is also heated so even in the coldest of Chicago weather we stay toasty. I have also hung cabinets (from our old kitchen) and have a fridge and kegaerator. There is a TV and stereo as well. My project doesn’t stop here it just has begun. I plan on painting the floor with the epoxy coating and basically minimizing all the other items I have kept in it by cramming it into the shed. I don’t think it’s obsessive but more like focused.

Now as far as running goes, I have been feeling severe guilt as I have basically cut my mileage in half of where I would like it to be and where it should be. I went out last night, before working in the garage and had a great run. I almost forgot how much I enjoy fall running with the cooler temps, leaves crunching under foot and the awesome smells wafting in the air. I am making a promise to myself to not be so obsessed focused on the garage thing and put my health as a priority. I will run because I enjoy it, need it and want it!

I will post pictures once the Garage Mahall is completed. If you have any additional ideas that I could incorporate into my project, please feel free to share.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Hanging Around

I haven’t felt like I had anything worthwhile to say lately so I have been keeping a low profile. Running has been going well. This past Saturday, I did a nice 10 miler with a friend of mine who is doing the trail ½ Marathon. I declined on running this due to my inexperience with the trail side of things. I wouldn’t mind trying to do some trail running but I think I should set my aim for a few miles before I commit to anything such as a ½.

I haven’t signed up for any races in October. Partly because I haven’t found anything that is of interest and partly because I seem to have quite a few weekend social obligations for the month. I still am trying to get my 20-25 miles during the week in so I don’t feel so guilty for indulging in too many Octoberfest brews. There are some mighty tasty beers that I am coming across as well.

I am closing up the summer place next weekend and it seems somewhat bittersweet. I will surely miss spending weekends at the lake, but I need to catch up on the projects at home I have been putting off for the summer. I know April/May will be here before I know it and the cycle will start again.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friday Night PR

Last Friday I ran a local 5k in my neighborhood, the Lake in the Hills Sunset Fest 5k. Terri, Dante and a group of other friends I badgered into, ran as well. Some of the group I talked into running are new to the scene and I thought it would be a nice jester to host a post-race get together at my place afterwards. I even talked a Face Book friend (John) that I haven’t seen since high school to make it out for the evening. From looking at his pictures my friend John was a bit heavier a few years back and took up running to control his weight. I tell you he is in great shape and very fast. I was certainly impressed; he ran 22:06, his first 5k ever. He runs 5 or 6 days a week at home but not so many official races. I think almost everyone in the group PR’d or it was their first race. My son, Dante came in second place in the 10 and under group, my wife Terri had a PR of 26:32 and I had a PR of 25:16. I think we ended up with about 20 people showing up afterwards for the get together. I can’t think of a better way to end a Friday evening race than with a cold beer and some food.

The week prior to the 5k I barely ran. I think I was still trying to let my body recover from the ½ Marathon the week prior. I felt a little guilty but when I started running the 5k I was feeling the effects of the longer run the week before. On that note I didn’t run the entire Labor Day weekend and yes I did feel a little guilty about it.

We spent the weekend in Wisconsin, as we do almost every weekend, to celebrate the end of summer. We managed to go boating, tubing and swimming in the lake and in general just hung out, cooked and sampled a few good beers.

I was pleasantly surprised to find the New Glarus Staghorn Oktoberfest at the store on Saturday. Staghorn was just released as their fall seasonal beer and was just available starting September. I only picked up a 6 pack just in case I didn’t care for it, but it was damn good. So good in fact I ended up driving to Madison on Monday before we were going to leave and picked up a ½ barrel of the stuff. I called the liquor store to see what they had in stock for New Galrus in a ½ Barrel and was surprised to find the new Staghorn. I jumped all over it and now have it sitting at home in the kegerator. I need to put a warning sign since Staghorn is 6.25% alcohol by volume.

I find myself without another race until November. I am not sure if I should take the time to wind down or if I should look for another race in October. A friend of mine is trying to persuade me into a 13.1 trail run in Madison but I am inexperienced in trail running and think that would be a long distance for my first attempt.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Madison Mini Marathon Race Report

Friday afternoon Terri and I went with two of our friends up to Madison to pick-up our race packets. We had to pick up from the student Union at the University of Wisconsin campus. Unfortunately the packet pick-up and freshman move in day coincided on the same day. Traffic was a little hectic, but we made it to the union on Lake Mendota and even found parking. I was a little disappointed that they just handed me my bib, timing chip and a shirt. There was no race swag to speak of but the shirt was a short sleeve Brooks technical shirt so I shouldn’t complain.

After getting our stuff we put everything back in the car and walked outside at the Union. The temperature was almost 80 degrees and I was surprised to see such a beautiful place on the water. There were tables everywhere and a path that ran around the lake. The path had boat docks with sailboat and canoe rentals as well as the paths full of runners and students and the docks were full of sunbathers. How can this get any better you ask, the Union even served beer. Back when I was in college, my Union was nothing like this, I was truly impressed. So of course we had to have a pre-race beer for carbo-loading purposes.

Race day came early and the temps were quite a bit different from the day before. The morning temps were in the high 50’s to low 60’s and overcast. The weather was perfect for running but not so much for the post race party they had at the Union waterfront. I was supposed to try and meet Heather prior to the race but unfortunately the crowds were pretty hectic and we had planned to meet at the bathrooms and did not clarify which ones. Even though we did not get to meet, I thought I saw her driving out of the parking garage and later got confirmation it was her. I guess I should have said something, but did not want to seem like a stalker or something if it wasn’t her.

Terri and I started off running together. That lasted for about ½ mile when she waived me to go ahead and I started to make my move through the crowd. The course turned out to be really beautiful. We went through so many different areas and got to see a real sampling of Madison. We ran through campus to downtown around the capital building and by lake front trails and quaint neighborhoods. For this run being the inaugural race, I think they planned well, had plenty of water stops and volunteers to man each station. I also enjoyed the support from the crowd, they seemed to really show up and support everyone out there.

Previously I had said that I hadn’t been training as hard for this run as I did for the last ½ I ran so my expectations were nil. I also woke up Friday with the start of a head cold. I guess you know where this is going excuses, excuses. I actually PR’d this race by 2 minutes and 40 seconds off my last time. I ran the race in 2:02:00. Once I was running everything felt good and I seemed to be running well. I really was pushing to try and break the 2 hour mark, but unfortunately started the push a little too late. I still am happy with the PR and have 2 minutes to shave off for the next time. Terri finished slightly longer than her last ½ but a good effort nonetheless (2:09:23). This was a great course and I will definitely run this race again next year, I had a great time!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Taper Mode

I am in taper mode for the Madison Mini Marathon this upcoming Saturday. Last Saturday was my last long run (10 miles) and Sunday was a 17 mile bike ride. This past week I received a note from Heather, who decided to sign up for Madison this Saturday. She just made it before the race closed and we are going to try to have a blogger meet up this weekend.

I am glad that this is my last long race of the year. I put to much pressure on myself this year with hopes of being ready for a full Marathon. I just don't know if it is in the cards for me. I would sure like to put it on my bucket list, but I don't know if I can commit to what it takes to train for it, let alone run 26.2. I sure give all of you who have kudos. I guess I will be sticking with the 1/2 for a little longer and see where that takes me.

I am running this weekend with no time fame in mind and plan on running a comfortable pace so I can take in the scenery and the crowds. On my 10 miler last weekend, I ran with my wife and a friend of mine. We talked the whole time and before I knew it 10 miles were done. I enjoyed that run and would like to be able to not worry about my pace, time or anything else and just enjoy a run just like last weekend.

This has been a great summer and today was back to school for my son. I feel like I have been on vacation the whole summer, I took every Friday off, a week in July and a few other days here and there. I sure can get used to that. Next week is may last Friday off. I now have to stretch the rest of my time off (7 days) until the end of the year. Luckily we have Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years to help out.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Breaking out of the Funk

It’s been so long I don’t know where to begin.

I had a wonderful 40th B-Day party on the 9th. I celebrated by spending the evening with family and friends. My wife had dinner catered in and we had plenty of food and drink on hand. Funny thing is I don’t feel older, or even old for that matter. I am glad that I am able to run and be in the healthy condition I am. I am sure that has everything to do with how I feel. I even feel this way despite the fact that my wife plastered the lawn with fake tombstones and “Over the Hill” signs everywhere. I’ll take the good and the bad as long as I can still feel as healthy as I do at this time in my life.

I have 10 days until the Madison Mini (1/2) Marathon. I have to admit I haven’t been training as much as I should have been and I am getting a little nervous. Ever since vacation last month, I seemed to have been slacking a bit and not running the longer distances I should have to prepare for this. I do get motivation from reading a lot of wonderful blogs out there and it really seems to help, but for some reason after my 12 hours days of working/commuting, I seem drained. I know exercise gives you energy and all and I have been running just not like I should have. Lately my body has been aching more than its normal pains. I am not sure if has anything to do with running a few miles on concrete everyday to get to the paths I have near my house or worn out shoes or psychological. I changed my shoes, tried staying off the concrete as much as possible and tried to get my head out of the funk I was in. I read a great post over at Runner Dudes blog yesterday that seemed to help. So last night I started off my evening run and ended up doing 7 miles at a quick pace (quick for me). I left right after I got home from work at 6:00 and didn’t get home until 7:45. After my return and showering, I was exhausted and in bed by 9:00. During the week I don’t normally have the time to commit to these longer runs, but I just felt I needed to get the cobwebs off and needed to break out of my routine. I was sore but felt great afterwards. Today, I assumed I would be feeling a little beat up but not a bit. I hope to get out tonight for an easy three and then cut the grass. I have 10 days to get my head and body in the right place. I have come to terms that I am not going to worry about a PR and just enjoy the race as much as I can. I have a long run scheduled with a friend of mine for Saturday morning and I am off work for a 4 day weekend so I hope to get a few quality runs in preparation for the upcoming ½.

Last weekend we had some college friend visit us up in Wisconsin for the weekend. We had a great time and a friend of mine took us all out in his boat for the afternoon. We docked at a sand bar and were able to let the kids swim and enjoy the day.

Summer seems to be coming to a quick end. My son starts school next week and for me that signals the end of summer. I am ready for some cooler and less humid weather for running anyways.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Over the Hill

This past Thursday evening I ran a 5K downtown Chicago, or so I thought. The weather was perfect, but the organization of the 2009 Race Judicata sucked. Not to mention the 5K turned into a 3.41 miler. Seriously when you move the starting line you know that the rest of the course will be affected. My Garmin told me something was wrong by mile 2 when there was no split time around. The timer was much farther away as well as the water stop. The crappy part of the whole thing is that I was running my fastest 5K pace ever. The final approach was under Columbus Avenue and uphill. Unfortunately when you are pacing the finish line to be .31 miles closer, it adversely affects you. I know it was only a 5K, but this still pisses me off. Not to mention this little race cost $38 to run. You think they would have gotten it right.

I digress from my ranting. A few good things happened out of the whole thing: (1) I have a new PR for a 3.41 Miler (2) There was cold Goose Island 312 beer waiting for me at the finish line and after each one I seemed to be less annoyed about the whole thing (3) A friend of mine drove me home, so I didn’t need to worry about that aspect of the evening.

On Friday I played in a golf outing with my uncle and his buddy's. We played at Evergreen Golf course in Elkhorn Wisconsin. We had a great day, beautiful weather and didn't play to terrible either. I only play golf a handful of times a year so I was elated when I got a birdie on a par 3 hole. Of course I started to fall apart on the back nine, I am not used to swinging a club around for 4 hours. I was pretty tired after that. After golfing they cooked steaks over a large grill and had door prizes. I won a bottle of merlot and my uncle got a Tasmanian devil head cover. He gave it to me to give to my son for his clubs (he loved it).

I am approaching the colossal milestone of turning 40 this weekend. We are having some friends over at the house to help celebrate my old age. I honestly don’t feel different physically, but I do have to admit, there is a bit of a mental thing going on for me. I can’t exactly pinpoint what it is, but maybe I have to recognize I am no longer a kid and officially an adult, or should this have happened already?

I am trying to stay focused and keep up with training for my ½ at the end of the month, but my knees have been a little sore this week. I ran a few times over the weekend after the Thursday night race and my legs felt heavy and sore. I took last night off from running and took the dog out for a walk around the neighborhood instead. Maybe my body is getting ready to shut down at 40 years old. I guess I will just keep plugging along, I would feel too guilty otherwise.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Vacation & a 10K PR

I seemed to have fallen into a black hole lately. After vacation, I have found it difficult to find time for everything. Anyways, I am still out here and still running.

Vacation was wonderful. Having eleven days away from work was refreshing. I did however find myself overindulging in food and drink a bit too much. The fun thing is that there are a group of friends that take vacation the same week that have summer places by us so we have the option to do things with friends if we want. I did run on vacation, just not the miles I probably should have. I did find a 10k race on the morning of the fourth of July. It was a great way to kick off Independence Day. My last 10K back in April, I managed a 55:41 and this time I was hauling ass (for my standards) and finished with 52:16. That is 3:25 faster than last time. I don’t know why, the course was hilly and out in the country running past corn and cows and other animals but something snapped and I broke my plateau I was stuck on. I hope this continues through my next races. Anyway I was stoked to have improved my time by that much for a 10K.

In addition to the 10K there were a few scattered runs, varying in distance, not pushing myself to hard, after all I was on vacation.

One of my trip highlights was going to New Glarus, Wisconsin to tour one of my favorite breweries, the New Glarus Brewing Company. They had just opened their new hilltop brewery, so new in fact, the varnish on the woodwork and paint on the walls still smelled wet. We walked into the brewery and immediately proceeded to get a pint to sample & walk around the brewery with. I was surprised that they gave you us a glass and let us wander around with it. The building was an impressive display of copper kettles and stainless steel pipes traversing throughout the building. Each area was open to view by a glass wall as to see the operation & each brewing process. I ended the tour with a visit to the gift shop to load up on souvenirs. Next we headed to the lower level where all the beer was. New Glarus is only sold in Wisconsin, so I tried to get a decent sampling for the rest of vacation and to share with my poker buddy’s back home.

A few days after the brewery tour, a group of us went tubing down the Wisconsin River in a town called Spring Green. Spring Green is also famous for the home of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin House. We actually floated right past the house on the river. It was a real treat to see, especially if you are into architecture. There were sand bars all along the river; we stopped for lunch and then just to let the kids run around and play. A good time was had by all.

The rest of vacation was spent visiting with friends and spending time with my family and just relaxing. I often feel I need a vacation to recover from my vacation once I get back. And don’t get me started about catching up at work!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Vacation Preperations

Things have been going well, despite the fact I have been a no show on the blog world lately. Last Saturday I went for a run with a faster friend of mine who pushed me during a 6 miler. We started out at a 9:30 pace, which is my normal speed for this distance and by mile 5 he was pushing me at 8:45. I was having a hard time keeping up, but glad I did. When I downloaded my Garmin, I realized that I had run at an average pace of 9:13 for the six miles. I was happy with my progress and albeit out of breath thanked him for pushing me.

The rest of Saturday, I helped him finish installing/building a screen porch on his deck. I figured he had a few hours of work left but found myself still there 8 hours later. I was late to dinner at party my wife and son were already at. I showed up late, apologized and they were kind enough to keep everything out for me. I was glad to help my friend finish and look forward to breaking the porch in some time in the future.

Sunday I didn’t run but played tennis with my son. I got him 2 rackets for his birthday a few weeks ago and had not had the opportunity to play. We just tried to volley the ball back and forth, as neither of us are very good. It was nice to spend some time together and I did manage to get a little exercise in chasing the tennis ball all over the court. I was just reading they have different size tennis balls that have different compression to bounce slower and faster for practice. I need to investigate and find some that have a slower bounce so we can practice a bit.

I am looking forward to the upcoming holiday weekend, especially since I will be on vacation and away from work for 11 days starting this Thursday. We are heading to Wisconsin for the week and a few other families we know will be up there vacationing at the same time. We are trying to coordinate a few activities such as tubing down the Wisconsin River past Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin, a Brewers game, the Madison zoo and just hanging out at the lake and pool. I am planning on taking a day trip to New Glarus, Wisconsin, home of the New Glarus brewery. New Glarus is only sold in Wisconsin and I can’t get it anywhere in Illinois. I am planning to stock up on my trip to the brewery. I do plan on keeping up with my training. That is why I signed up for another ½ marathon in August to keep me accountable and on track.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Fourth of July celebration!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Father's Day Weekend

I had quite a busy weekend. After spending Friday morning watching a movie in the basement while the tornado warnings passed, we headed up north to Wisconsin for the weekend. My son got a new bike last week for his birthday, but we had to return it because it wasn't put together very well. We returned it at the Target in Wisconsin, so I knew it was put together by a different person. Luckily this one worked and we picked up a new hybrid for my wife as well. Of course we had to go on a ride Saturday morning so they both could try their new rides out. We went 10 miles on the trail and everything was good. I attempted to do a run immediately after biking and that is such a strange feeling. My legs felt like rubber bands. I didn't go far, I just wanted to know what it felt like.

I washed my golf cart for the first time this year and it was cleaning up nicely. That is until I cleaned the tires and found out that 3 of the valve stems had dry rotted. I lost air in all three tires as soon as I touched them. I am glad it happened while I was cleaning it and not driving. I had to remove all the tires and put the golf cart on blocks so I could have new stems put in the tires. I thought the picture looked a little funny, like I had just gotten my rims stolen. Anyway, I returned home with 4 new valve stems and was cruising around. At least it cleaned up well and no one was hurt.

After spending the afternoon fixing the wheels, I headed to the pool where my wife and son were all day. I did get to relax and have a little fun at least.

On Sunday, my son & I went and golfed 9 holes. It was our first time out for the year and we both were a little rusty. The course was packed for Father's Day and we were waiting at every hole. I should have picked a less hectic day for our first outing of the year. Hopefully the next time we go, we got the cobwebs out and will play a little better. It was nice to spend the time together with my son, nonetheless.

On Sunday afternoon, we headed home and went to my sister's for a cookout. It was nice to go to someone else's house while they did all the cooking for a change. Terri and Dante were able to relax a little as well.

All in all it was a busy weekend, but I enjoyed myself. Oh and by the way, my official time from Thursday's race was 25:44. A new PR for me by 1 second. Now I need to buckle down and sign up for my next race, the Madison mini marathon on August 29th and see what I can do about a sub 2:00 time.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Thursday Night at the Races

Last night I ran the Jim Gibbons 5k at Chicago's lake front. The weather was humid and quit muggy, but there is nothing like running along the lakefront after work. Like most races this was for a good cause, leukemia research. I talked one of my buddies I ride the train with to run with me and in turn he recruited someone from his office as well. I have not been able to find my official time yet but my Garmin indicated it to be 25:47. If that is the case, I missed my PR by 3 seconds. It is motivating to see so many peole running and I really enjoy running these Thursday races after work in the summer. Now that I have been running longer distances, I found it hard to pace myself effectively for a 5K.

I am looking into another 1/2 marathon in Madison. They are having a mini marathon in August and I think it will keep me on track to keep my weekly mileage up.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Go Cubs!!

Last Friday was my son’s 10th birthday. We surprised him with tickets to the Cubs game that day. He opened a box and it had the tickets in it for the game that day, he was so exited and it was great to see his reaction. We also gave him a bunch of sports gear, because he is a sports nut. He got two tennis rackets, golf shoes, a bat and a bunch of miscellaneous smaller stuff. We took the train down to the city that morning to see the game and stopped for lunch in Wrigleyville. We went to a bar & grill called Moran’s and $70 later we were off walking around at all the vendors outside the stadium. My son was looking for a youth fitted hat and we finally found a vendor that had them for $21. At this point I knew this was going to be an expensive outing for the day. Inside the stadium beer was $6.50 and soda $4.50, hot dogs were $4.25 and it goes on and on. Don’t get me wrong I am not being a whiny cheap ass, but these prices are a little over the top take your family to the ballgame. Once inside I drank a few beers, relaxed and enjoyed the day, knowing how much my son was enjoying his B-Day. At that point, I knew that I couldn’t put a price tag on any of it.

On Sunday, my town was hosting a Sprint Triathlon. My wife, son and I got up early and headed out to the driveway, as the running portion was running down our street that morning. We saw the lead guy run by with a police escort and all the others soon to follow. We encouraged and cheered for every one of the participants. It was amazing how many said thanks and I really needed that. We had so many encouraging comments back, I was so amazed. I truly can’t believe how a few words can give someone that extra boost when they are struggling to complete their race. Since my family has been on the other side of the running, we knew how important it was to encourage every last one of them. It was an amazing thing to watch and inspiring to see. So inspiring that my wife and I went out and ran 7 miles after the runners went by.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Onto the next one

I seem to be slowly getting back into my grove since the ½ marathon. I ran almost 20 miles last week and biked as well. After the race I became a little lax on my eating and have gained about 4 or 5 pounds. I am not too happy with myself about that and need to focus on getting rid of the extra weight. Those damn carbohydrates!

My wife and I were looking into running the Chicago ½ marathon in September. I was first looking at the Chicago Rock and Roll ½, but it is sold out already. I can’t pull the trigger on a full marathon just yet. I am not confident enough in my ability to complete such a task. The good news is that the race in September will put me in the 40 year old group. On second thought that group may be better than the previous age group, crap.

I think I need to do this to keep motivated in my running. Why can’t being healthy be motivation enough?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

No More Rest

It has been a week since I last posted, I seriously seem to have fallen off the blog world. Since the 1/2 marathon on Memorial Day weekend, I have been pretty tired and I did my first run this past Sunday for 4 miles. I feel like a big slug, but I just needed to rest. I shouldn't have waited so long and need to get my ass back in gear. What is a reasonable amount of time to recoup after running the 1/2?

I received an e-mail with my race photos, except one of the photos is not me. The only photo isn't very good and I think I will pass on buying it.

I signed up for the Jim Gibbons 5k race in Chicago on June 18. This is on a Thursday evening so I can just walk to the lake front after work and be ready to go. This is my first 5k race of the year. Last year I ran mostly 5k's with the exception of my first 10k in November. With running the longer distances, I need to try and remember how to pace for the 5k. My PR last year was 25:45 last year, but I think I may have gotten slower with the longer distances.

I realize how important it is to write about my training because it actually makes me think about what my goals and training need to be. I also like signing up for races because it keeps accountable and doesn't allow me to slack off, or at least as much.

I am also feeling guilty that I haven't been biking since early spring. When I got my bike last year my intention was to cross train on my rest days from running. Unfortunately, I haven't gotten into that yet. I need to map out my game plan and start sticking to it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Madsion 1/2 Marathon 2009

Madison was awesome and of course I PR’d since it was my first ½ Marathon. My official chip time was 2:04:40, which I am happy with, even though I was hoping to be closer to 2 hours. I am proud of my wife Terri who finished right behind me with a time of 2:08:40, which is incredible because this time last year she was still smoking. The course was beautiful, we ran past the University of Wisconsin, the capital building, and were able to take in beautiful lakefront scenery along Lake Menona and Lake Mendota.

I have the utmost respect and admiration for anyone of you who have run a full marathon. After experiencing the ½ I can only say you guy’s rock! What dedication that must take to complete 26.2 miles.

I started out running and Beth’s mantra kept running in my head, “start out fast lose your ass”. I tried to keep the pace between 9:30–10:00 for the first few miles. We ran with another couple, Wes & Jen. Wes and I started out running together because he wanted me to pace him for the first few miles using the Garmin. We ran together for about an hour and he took off. Wes finished just under 2 hours with 1:59:20. Jen and Terri started out together but Terri needed to hit the porta-potty shortly after we started so they parted ways early on. I was amazed that when we went through the area where the college kids lived they were passing out Bloody Marys and beer for the run. They were only filled up about a 1/3 full but of course Wes took a Bloody Mary and I opted for the beer. I am not sure if this hurt, helped or was indifferent but was something I remembered to say the least. Around mile 12 I was tiring. And again Beth’s mantra of “Shut up and run” was wailing in my brain. My feet were hurting and I just said screw it and kept going. I am still a little sore but feel good about
myself for the accomplishment. I don't know if a full marathon is in my future or even possible for me, but I am feeling the high after this race and can't wait to get back out there again.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Track Discovery

I am on my taper down starting after tonight. On Tuesday I ran an easy 5k and luckily everything was still in working order and didn't feel any pains, except for the normal old age. Last night (Wednesday) I had to take my nephew to baseball practice at his middle school and noticed a track in the distance. I went home and changed into my running gear and ran at the track while he practiced. The track is really nice because the school is only a few years old. I just found my perfect place to do speed work. I brought my nine year old son (Dante) with me. He was pissed because they had a one (1) mile run at school the other day and he didn't do as well as he would have liked (9:15). I told him he has to practice if wants to get faster. We did a fast run around the track and then a fast paced walk for a lap. I just wanted to stay loose and help him get some practice. We did this for a few miles and then I finished with another 1.5 miles by myself. I am taking Jamoosh's advice from Das Mixture and making Thursday my last real run for the week.

I want to thank everyone for all the comments and support you have provided me. I am very appreciative and happy to have discovered such a wonderful community of people out here in blog land. As I am running on Sunday, I will be thinking of you and look forward to sharing my experience with you after the race.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

8 Mile Advice

I headed everyones advice and ran 8 miles on Saturday at an easy pace of 1:15. The run felt pretty good and the foot and knee were not hurting and felt fine afterwards. I ran on the trail in Wisconsin I spoke about previously. The trail is a combination of blacktop and limestone so I think it was less impact on my body.

After getting up on Sunday, I felt like I wanted to run again, but stayed closer to home and just ran locally for 3 miles. I was a bit sluggish.

After sitting at my desk at work on Monday, my knee started to tighten up again. I can still feel a little discomfort if I move it a certain direction. Apparently it has not healed all the way. I took Monday evening off from running and just took it easy. I will attempt a 3 miler tonight just to make sure everything is in working order.

I am getting nervous and excited for Sunday. I need to make a trip to Madison on Saturday to pick up the race packets and visit the expo. There is no race day pick up but luckily Madison is only 30 minutes from our summer place so it isn’t too bad of a drive.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

I'm Back

I can happily say that my knee is good. I think I just may have hyper extended it and needed a few days rest. I ran last night for the first time since Sunday and I went for an easy 4 miler with no problems. I am anxious to get out again, but I have to go see my son 's play at school tonight after work. After the play it is poker Thursday and our beer tour continues to England tonight. Since we started the beer tour at cards our weekly number of players has steadily increased. I am anticipating 8 -9 people for tonights game.

My 1/2 marathon is rapidly approaching on the 24th and I am unsure of how I should taper down or if I need to at all. The past couple of weeks I have not run as much as normal and feel like I need to build my mileage back up again. Any advice from you seasoned pros is appreciated.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Da Coach

After I hurt my foot last week, I took most of the next week off from running. I got back out on Wednesday for 3 miles, Thursday for 3.75 miles and then again on Saturday for 6 miles. Not a high mileage week to say the least. I did have thoughts that it might be plantar fasciitis, but it started feeling better and I hopefully dodged that bullet. I think I just had some lingering affects from a twist and compounded by continued running. I appreciate the help I received from the Runner Dude with the information about plantar fasciitis.

Last Thursday, Mike Ditka, former Chicago Bears head coach, was at the grand opening of our local Binny’s liquor store. My son is a big sports fan and wanted me to take him. I picked my son up on my way home from work and we headed out. When we got there the line was about 100 people deep and some of them appeared to have been there for a while. Luckily my neighbor and his two kids were among the crowd. They were announcing that Ditka was running late, a couple hours late and luckily for me, my neighbor offered to let my son wait with him and his kids and said he would bring him home later. My son wanted to stay and I hadn’t even gone home yet so I left him with the neighbor to wait. I gave Dante my camera and a Bears football he had brought just in case he could get it autographed. A few hours later, Dante showed up back home and got his picture taken and the football signed. I am glad things worked out for Dante and I managed to get a run in.

This weekend we were quite busy. On Saturday my wife and I ran in the morning and we had a communion party to go to at 12:30. The party was at a local reception hall with lunch and a magician for the kids. The reception lasted 4 hours and I was really ready to go after that. Later that night we had a party to go to with my group of friends that I ride the train with. In between parties we had to go shopping for the cookout we were having for Mother's Day. I am glad we ran in the morning because there was no time after 12:00 to do anything else but run around.

On Mother's day we had family over for a cookout. There were 12 adults and 5 kids so we had a pretty good crowd. I know I shouldn't have done that to my wife but of course I helped out as much as possible. I hope she didn't mind to much. We had a nice afternoon and I was wrestling around with my son and nephews in the basement. I felt my knee move in a direction it wasn't supposed to and woke up in pain this morning. I just started to run again and I do something stupid and somehow tweaked my knee. I walk a few blocks to work once I get off the train and it was very stiff. As the day progresses it seems to be getting better, but not good enough to run on tonight. I seem to be trying to sabotage my half marathon race in a few weeks. I am hoping I just did something minor and I can be back to normal after a few days of rest.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Foot Injury

This weekend flew by and was way to short. The weather finally cooperated and was quite awesome. I left work early and headed North to Wisconsin on Friday and it was nice. Friday night was low key and we ended up having some friends drop by and we just visited with them for the evening.

On Saturday morning, my wife and I went for a run together. We headed out to the trail and proceeded to get a ten (10) miler in. Neither of us had been on the trail that far and we were not sure what the trail was like at that distance. We ran to the Rock River in a town called Fort Atkinson and turned around shortly after we hit that mark. Even though the trail is marked with 1 and ½ mile markers, I found that my Garmin is more accurate and that their marks are off. Anyway, we hit 5 miles and turned around for 5 more back to the car. I maintained a 9:36 pace for the run and was satisfied with effort.

After we got back and showered, we had yard work to complete. I cut grass, even though it was very wet, I had no choice since I was not going to be back for a few weeks and it was already long. I also noticed my neighbor had not been there yet this year and his grass was getting long as well and of course I cut his too. My wife raked leaves and sticks and burned them in the fire pit. I also had to get on the roof and clean out the gutters, how fun. At this point, I was pretty damn tired from all the day had to offer. I finally had a chance to sit down and enjoy a cold beer (New Glarus Spotted Cow) for all my efforts. I just sat there and enjoyed the rest of the afternoon.

After I while I started to feel a pain in my left foot. It was actually becoming painful to walk. My arch was really sore and I have never had this happen before. Unfortunately, it is two days later and I am still feeling a bit of pain, albeit not as much. Not sure what this is or what I did to cause it.

We drove home on Sunday morning so we could do more chores at home. Of course the grass needed cutting and my wife wanted me to put new mulch in around the place. I had also been eyeing a screen gazebo to put on the back deck. I never get to use my deck in the summer because of the heat and mosquitoes. With the new gazebo, I hope we get some more use of it. After returning from the store with 16 bags of mulch and the gazebo that needed to be put together we put the mulch down and it went quickly and easily. I recruited my wife and son to help with the gazebo; I needed all the extra hands I could get. After 1 ½ hours we had it together and it turned out pretty good.

I will be taking today off from running in hopes of a quick recovery from whatever I have done to myself.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Just Cutting Grass

I don’t know about where you guys live, but Chicago has had the crappiest weather lately. We have had so much rain lately that I am thinking of trading my car in for a boat.

Running has gone well so far this week:

Monday 4 miles

Tuesday cut grass because it is growing crazy from all this rain

Wednesday 4.5 miles

Thursday 3 miles

Friday rest

Saturday planning to run 10 miles

Sunday planning to bike

For last night’s poker game we continued our tour around the world of beers and choose Germany. We had a sampling of five (5) different German beers. Most were hefeweizens and one pilsner. I have enjoyed taking this tour, it is fun to discover different beers I normally wouldn’t have tried on my own. We just had a new store called Binny’s open up by us and I was like a kid in a candy shop. The only thing I didn’t take into account was that the German beers we choose had a higher alcohol content than most American brews I am used to. After consuming my sampler, I was feeling the effects of what 5.5% alcohol means. I went to bed at 11:30 while the rest of the group continued the tour without me. I actually overslept this morning and ended up taking a later train into the city.

I am going to take an early train home from work today so I can get a jump on traffic and head north to Wisconsin for the weekend. Unfortunately, I have more grass to cut up there. I hope to use my new bike rack this weekend and haul my bike with me so I can ride on the trail we discovered. I will be without internet so I will have to catch up with everything on Sunday when I get back. That is, after I cut my grass again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Just Do It!

I feel like such a slacker lately. I have been super consumed with work and am having difficulty keeping up with my normal routine of things. I keep having Beth’s influence run through my head with “Shut up and…” run, blog, get living and stop complaining.

Enough of the excuses and I will try to get back to normal ASAP. Running has been going well and I am getting exited for my first ½ marathon in about 3 weeks. I am feeling good about the distance but concerned of my time. I know this is my first one and I should be more focused on completing this and getting it under my belt, but I would love to be close to the 2 hour mark. I guess I should just “ shut up” and focus on having fun and enjoying the race.

My wife and I went out this past Saturday for our long run. Unfortunately the weather was a little iffy. We had hoped to get 11 miles in, but it started raining after 8 ½ and I was concerned because I had my cell and mp3 that I did not want to ruin. It turns out it only was a drizzle, so we could have kept going, but my paranoia made us stop. On our way back, I broke my hydration belt and ended up carrying it for the last mile.

We have had so much rain here lately, my grass needed to be cut badly. I figured I would get the grass cut and go for a run last night. Unfortunately, my plans were foiled by a non-cooperative weed trimmer and blower. After sitting in the shed for a year, it took a little coaxing for everything to start up. After putting in new gas and taking 100 pulls to start, all the equipment was up and running, except for me. After all that I was a little tired and did not make my run. Now that I have that chore out of the way, I will be out there running tonight and the dog won’t get lost in the jungle of a back yard anymore.

To quote Andy Dufresne from one of my favorite movies, the Shaw Shank Redemption: I need to Get busy living, or get busy dying”.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A little Surprise Visit

I have been having trouble finding time to get all my stuff done lately. Work is getting a little hectic and thus requiring more of my time than ever. I feel so behind. Anyway, last week at poker, we did the inaugural beer tasting. We started with Mexico and the samplings ended up being Sol, Dos Equis Amber Ale, Modelo and Chili-Beer. The beer actually had a chili pepper in it. Someone got confused and brought Murphy’s Irish Stout, they thought we were doing beers from around the world and that Mexican beer was being covered . I even broke out a bottle of Cabo Wabo tequila I had been saving for a special occasion. Normally we have around 5 or 6 people show up, which is normally good enough for a game. We had a great turnout with 10 people for this night. The table only can hold 10 so we were pushing maximum capacity. You may say ten people, no big deal, but this is on a Thursday night and most had to work the next day. The thought of the tasting going on without me got the better of me and I was easily persuaded to postpone my blood test to another day. I know I ‘m weak, what can I say. All in all everyone had a good time. I think we may try to continue this once a month and see how it goes.

Well Friday morning I wasn’t feeling the best and actually felt guilty that I postponed my blood work for such a silly thing. Anyway I dragged my ass out of bed and mustered up enough strength to get dressed into my running gear. It was a beautiful day (sunny and 70’) and I had no excuses not to go. I stumbled walked out the door and commenced my run. I have to say it was a difficult 4 ½ miles, but I needed it. I was able to rid my body of any leftover toxins from the night before.

After school let out, my wife and I picked up our son and headed north to Wisconsin. We left early enough to avoid any traffic and were at our destination in no time at all. I unlocked the door, not knowing what to expect, since we hadn’t been there for 6 months. Everything appeared to be fine and we began to clean everything. I turned the water, gas and electricity on and my wife started to vacuum and wipe everything down. I filled the dog’s food and water bowl up and went on my way. We were outside for a while cleaning the yard up and went back inside and I noticed the dogs food was gone. This is unusual as my dog can go for three or four days before finishing the bowl. I thought she must have been hungry and filled it halfway this time. We proceeded to unpack and had everything put away and soon it was bedtime. I was awoken at 3:00 am to the sound of something eating. My dog was sleeping next to me in the bed, so it wasn’t her. I guess we had a mouse in the house. Gross! The mouse had stolen the food and hid it under the couch for later

The next morning, I had a run planned with my buddy and we hit the trails while my wife and son went to the store to get mouse traps. I did a nice five miler at 7:30 in the morning and when I got back my wife had just arrived before me with about 10 traps. She bought a brand of trap that you don’t see the mouse after it is caught. The trap has a sensor to tell you if it is full or empty. We put some peanut butter in one of the traps and set it. I loaded up the bikes and we went back to the trail and my son and I rode while my wife ran. Since this was a new trail to us, my wife was not so comfortable running on it by herself, so we accompanied her for her six miler.

When we returned home, I checked the trap the second I walked in and sure enough we got it. What a relief. I am not so keen on sleeping with a mouse in the house. We had to tell our son that mice can’t climb stairs and that he would be safe sleeping upstairs the night before. Thank goodness he is still young enough to believe that.