Friday, February 27, 2009

Fabulous Friday!

Happy Friday! Last night was my usual poker night and I told myself that I wasn’t going to stay out too late this week and was going to get a decent amount of sleep for the night. Well, a few beers later and that idea went out the window. I went to bed at midnight and got up at 5:00 this morning. Surprisingly, I feel pretty good today after five hours of sleep. I did exercise some self control and dragged myself away with six people still playing cards. Since the game is at my house, I feel obligated to stay up, but over the years I should realize that it doesn’t matter to anyone else if I am there or not. When the guys are finished playing, they clean the place better than I would myself.

I woke up this morning and headed into the, heated garage, to get my car and realized we played cards in the garage last night and my vehicle was outside (sh@#). It rained all night and the temp had dropped below freezing so my car was a sheet of ice and the door was frozen (fu%*). After a few good tugs, it opened and I was able to start scraping the windows. Luckily, I made it to the train station on time to catch my normal 6:04 train.

Prior to cards last night, I did a 3.1 mile run on the treadmill. I found it difficult to get motivated, but was trying to tell myself positive thoughts”Running never takes more than it gives back” and other motivational stuff like that. Of course, I was glad I decided to run and felt better afterwards. I plan on doing my long run on Saturday, hopefully 8 miles. I am hoping that the weather is going to cooperate with my schedule, as I don’t want to be on the treadmill. I am anxiously counting down the four weeks left until to my first race of the 2009 season, the Shamrock Shuffle 8k in Chicago.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes!

What a difference a day makes. Today is overcast and foggy, unfortanately no sun in sight. The god news it is still around 45 degrees. The photo above was taken out my office window today. There are 3 guys washing windows on the building acrross the way. That is one job I could not, nor have a desire to do. The building to the left is the Sears Tower, you can see that the fog is pretty thick and visibility is only up to 25 floors or so.

I did manage to get my ass out to run last night after work. I did go outside, in the dark, but enjoyed every minute of the warmer temps. I seemed to quickly run 4.5 miles and shaved about five minutes of my normal treadmil time for the same run. I only saw one other person as I was starting out. The rest of my run was in solitude by the moonlight and stars (very peaceful). I am not sure if I will venture outside again tonight or will be stuck on the tradmill. I will have to see how the weather is later on.
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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Sunshine at Last

It is a great day in Chicago today! The sun is shining and the temps are in the mid forties. It is only going to last a day or two, but I am thankful for it anyway. Today at lunch, I took a nice walk near my office building. While I was out, I snapped a few photos as I was in shock to see the sun and any activity outside. I think I walked about 2 miles and was gone for 45 minutes. It was hard to think about returning to the office, I just wanted to go home and run.

Last night I was still tired but managed to coax myself into getting dressed into my running attire and headed down into the basement for the treadmill. I seem to have a love/hate relationship with this thing lately. I started out with a few sets of push ups (100 total) and then jumped on the treadmill for a 3.5 miler. I even managed to complete 4 sets of curls afterwards. Really, the hardest part is to get dressed and get going, once I can do that, it seems to be fine.

I hope the sun light keeps me in good spirits by the time I get off work and take my train ride home. I leave the office at 4:15 and pull into my driveway at 6:00, so the commute really can wear on you after a while.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I am felling a little guilty this morning as I took Sunday and Monday off from running. I got home last night and just wasn’t feeling it. I had a slight pain in my knee and did not have the energy and/or motivation to get on the treadmill. I suppose this is normal, but why do I feel so guilty. I feel like I am cheating myself somehow. I know I feel better after the run, but just couldn’t motivate myself to do it.

This morning I feel refreshed and rearing to go and would love to leave work and go run. Unfortunately, that is not an option at this point. I went to bed early yesterday (8:30) and got up at my normal time this morning (4:50). Perhaps that is why I feel so refreshed, maybe I just needed to catch up on sleep and give my body some rest in general. I hope I can carry this energy I have today into the evening after I get home. I gotta get on the treadmill tonight and run.

I often wonder if I could get up earlier in run before I get ready for work. I think that would entail me getting up around 4:00 am. I don’t know if that is even possible. I just seem to lack motivation at the end of the day lately and am looking for alternative ways to fix it. Maybe it is just winter taking its toll on me and things will change when it starts to warm up and daylight is longer.

Garage Door Dilema Tackled

Well, the garage door turned out to be a minor problem, whew!!! My friend Marc stopped by Friday evening and five minutes later it was back together again. It turns out the belt had separated and just needed to be screwed back together.

We did get snow, as predicted, on Friday evening. Saturday morning, I headed out to clear the driveway and sidewalk. I tried to get my snow blower started but it did not sound right. I proceeded to shovel my driveway and sidewalk, by hand and try to start the damn snow blower again. I couldn’t believe it, the snow blower started right up. At this point, I decided to do the neighbors driveway and sidewalk as well. I guess I can chalk it up to more exercise that I needed anyways.

After the driveway I headed into the basement for a run on the treadmill. My wife, Terri was finishing up, so I started out with a few push ups. I warmed up with a set of 10 and then for set two I was able to kick out 50 push ups. I was happy with 50 and continued with 2 more sets of 20 for a total of 100 for the day. By the time I finished, Terri was done and I hopped on the treadmill for a nice 6 mile run.

Later in the day, my son, Dante had his last basketball game for the season. He played a great game and scored 8 points. His team won 24 to 2. By the way these are nine year olds, hence the low scores.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Treadmill Bliss?

Happy Friday! The weekend is upon us and the forecast is predicting 6”- 8” of fresh white powder starting tonight for the greater Chicago area. I guess I can count on running on the treadmill for a little while longer.

Seriously, I have been having a good week of running, all of which occurred on the treadmill. I have been starting to embrace the treadmill and use the positive aspect of being able to easily track my intervals. I have a simulated red blip that circles around a 400m track, so you can identify to actually running on a ¼ mile track outside. It actually seems to help me with my speed work and I am trying to remain positive, with hopes of the weather breaking soon. I guess it helps that I was able to get out last weekend for an outside run to break the monotony as well. Nonetheless, I feel strong, positive and rearing to go, for some reason this week. It could be that I have been closely watching my diet and have stuck to my running schedule. I have a scheduled rest tonight and will also partake in a few liquid refreshments later on with some friends.

On a sucky note, I received a call from my wife this morning while I was on the train and she on her way to work. It appears my garage door has decided to breakdown. I just replaced the thing a year ago with a quiet drive belt instead of a chain drive, in hopes that it is a better unit. Luckily one of my poker buds used to install garage doors for a living so I was able to recruit him to help me. By help me, I mean install the whole thing while I watched and fetched tools. I called him this morning and he told me he would be over later this evening to check it out. I feel a little more at ease and can relax a bit, but still wonder how these things can happen after the opener is just one year old.

I will try to remain positive and hope that it is a minor fix and hope to carry this positive attitude into the weekend while it lasts.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday Night Speed Work

Running has been going well, despite the fact I haven’t written about it lately. Last week, Friday, I had a night out with old school friends that I reacquainted with through Facebook. The get together was nice, but I just seemed to have not only lost touch with a lot of people, but our interests seemed to very different as well. I am concerned with trying to maintain my health, while it seems others are more consumed to partying. I did my fair share of that back in college, but now that I am almost 40 years old, I have a different direction in life. I am not saying their choices are wrong and mine right, I am just citing the difference in our existence. I am happy with my lifestyle choice and feel the wonderful affects that running and exercise bring me and would not change that for anything. I do enjoy going out once in awhile and a nice bottle of wine or a good beer, but try and limit this to moderation.

On my running front, I took off on Saturday, due to a late Friday night. I had every intention of running Saturday morning, but by the time I got going, I had to take my son to his basketball game and the rest of the day was just consumed by errands. I did get out for a great run on Sunday morning, albeit a little on the cool side at 18 degrees. I went out with no particular goal in mind but did a little over seven miles. That left me at 18 miles for the week. I probably should have had a little more in but I will try this week to be good.

I did start my speed work last night on the treadmill and it seemed to go well. I did 400m intervals and it was a little more difficult than I had thought but I felt great after four miles worth of this. I guess you’re never too old to learn new tricks.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Friday the 13th Night Out

I have run on 3 days so far this week, for a total distance of 12 miles. Last night I was having pain while running, so I took it easy and only ran for 2.25 miles and did bicep curls to complete the workout. I think I need to alter my training to incorporate more spaced out rest days as well as work on my speed training. I plan on taking today (Friday) off as a rest day and do some quality distance this weekend. I would like to finish around 25 miles for the week.

I have been spending way to much time on Facebook lately. I did however, manage to arrange a Friday the 13th meeting tonight with a group of friends that I haven’t seen or heard from in quite some time, so I am happy for that. I am heading out to a couple of drinking establishments, so I must try and be good so I can get a morning run in. I am also going out solo, which means I even have to be more careful since I won’t have any telling me otherwise.

Since going away to college, many moons ago, I seemed to have lost touch with so many people and I have become intrigued with Facebook. I think my wife is starting to get annoyed with the amount of time I spend on it.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Father/Son Run

Well I did get home earlier than normal, but not as early as I was planning. I made the 3:40 train, which got me home around 5:15. The temperature was still nice at 55 degrees. I ran in the house and changed into my gear and was finally able to wear shorts outside. My wife was already out running and my son was across the street playing basketball with some neighbor kids. I had finished getting dressed and was going to gather my music and water belt, until I heard my nine year old son, Dante call out “Dad, are you in here” I said “yes, why”. Apparently he had decided that he was going to run with me. I thought to myself, great, what a nice way to get some quality father/son time in.

We headed out and I pushed the start button on my Garmin and we were off to the races, or so I thought. Dante had run a 5K with me last fall and finished in about 30 minutes, so he was able to run at a 10 minute pace before. Unfortunately a winter full of inactivity had made him a little slower and not ready to keep any kind of speed. I asked him how far he planned on going and he told me to the rock, which is the 1.5 mile point, one way. I just couldn’t do it. I had come home early to specifically get a good run in with some sunlight. I told him we were going back and he started to get sad and angry with me. I tried to explain that I needed to run for my health and that I was training for a specific goal. I told him that I would love to run with him anytime, as long as he mentioned it to me in advance so I could plan my workout around our run together. I felt like a real a-hole for making a 9 year old cry, but needed him to understand that I was serious for my training and health. It did not mean that I didn’t love him or that I did not want to spend time with him, just that I have a plan and was sticking with it. I still feel bad and am not sure if I was wrong in my thinking.

I headed back out after dropping him back at the house. By this time, the sun was starting to fade quickly. My head was consumed with me trying to determine if I had just been the biggest ass in the world or if I did the right thing. I choose not to put my headphones on and just listened to the passing cars on the road and think to myself. It was nice to get out in the warmer weather and I ended up with a 5.6 mile run, albeit in the dark. Later that night, my wife told me I did the right thing, however I still feel bad.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Making a Break for It!

I went out for a walk today at lunch and did not want to return. The temperature is in the 60', which is unseasonably warm for Chicago this time of year. I am trying to figure out how to take an early train without causing to much attention to myself. I feel like I am stuck in the ivory tower of my office and can't get out. I took yesterday off as a rest day and I am itching to get out there and run!!!

As you can see, it is an awesome day. The streets were full of people who had been hiding in their offices all winter long. Some were having lunch outside, some running and others just out for a walk.I managed to get out for a short walk and take in the sun and warmth, which has been nonexistent the past few months. I think I am going to make a break for it and take the 2:30 train home so I can get a daylight run in this afternoon. All right, here I go!!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Treadmill Free Weekend

It felt good to get out on Saturday morning after my zombie like state on Friday from the Thursday night activity. The temperatures have been so frigid around here lately, we were ecstatic with the forty degree reprieve. Terri and I went out running together Saturday morning. The sun was shining and there was a flurry of other walkers out. We ran a new route on the street this morning because the usual path was still covered with patches of snow and ice and did not want to get hurt. We had to avoid numerous puddles as the snow was melting at a rapid rate but it felt great to be outside and off the treadmill. My wife’s Garmin died at the 2 mile mark, but I still had mine and announced the miles. As we got back closer to home we split up and she headed home and I finished with a comfortable seven miler with a 9:45 overall pace for the day.

After our run, Terri and I took Dante to school for a fun fair and then to his basketball game. His team won and he had 8 points for the game. We ended the day by going out for an early dinner at Famous Dave’s. I love the ribs and brisket combo platter.

On Sunday, I got up before anyone and made coffee and read the paper. I was finished and Terri and Dante were still sleeping so I got dressed and headed out with no particular goal in mind. It was a bit colder at 30 degrees and overcast, but nonetheless, I was happy to be outside and not on the treadmill again. I started out on the same course as we ran Saturday and enjoyed the new scenery. I enjoyed my run with my wife yesterday, but seemed to get into a good zone running by myself this morning. I was able to push myself a little faster without worrying about someone else keeping up. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy running with others, but sometimes you just need to get out by yourself. I finished my 5.75 miler with a 9:15 pace. My new goal is to start to work on my speed.

All in all, I was happy with my progress for the week.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Back Into the Grove

I took off on Wednesday because I was just too tired. I got home from work and changed into my lounging attire and chilled out watching TV.

Thursday I felt energized and apparently benefited from the much needed rest from Wednesday. I got home from work and did five miles on the treadmill, with a little speed work for the last mile. I recently discovered that this helps me overcome some of the boredom of running on the treadmill. I need to try and incorporate speed work and hill work on a more regular basis to my running to step up my game.

Thursday evening is reserved for poker night and we had enough available participants to form a game. The poker table was in the basement, because of the frigid temps lately, so we had to carry that thing upstairs and back into the garage. What a pain in the ass that is. I don’t think it was worth the effort to put the table inside, lessoned learned for next time. Last night was in the 20’s so the garage heater worked well and was at a comfy 70 degrees without any problems. Starting time for cards is set for 9:00, originally 7:30, but has slowly crept up for some reason. Here I was at 9:00 promptly and no one to be found. These guys know I have to get up at 4:50 in the am for work on Friday. Finally at 9:20 the guys stared to roll in, A few beers and rounds of poker and it was 12:15 and I said I was done. I host the game in my garage so the guys can continue without me and I can lock up the rest of the house and go to bed, but they all stopped at 12:15 anyway.

Here I am on Friday, a little tired to say the least. I had a cup of coffee for my hour long train ride to work and still feeling the effects of a few beers and serious lack of sleep . I headed to S-Bucks for another cup of motivation to get my day going. I hope this helps or I am going to close my office door and curl up under my desk for a nap.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A kick in the Ass

I guess I just needed some motivation last night, like a kick in the ass from my wife. I came home yesterday feeling sluggish and declared I was tired and sore and was not going to run. My wife kindly mentioned to me that I took Friday and Sunday off and that I really should get my ass on the treadmill. I certainly couldn’t argue after she had just run 4 miles herself and was heading to the shower. I certainly couldn’t take the night off and feel good about it. After all, I never have said to myself after a run, I wish I hadn’t done that. Not to mention my wife, who just started running a few months ago, and was a smoker until last summer, just ran four miles. On a side note, I am very proud of Terri for this accomplishment, which was all done on her own accord. Although I like to think she may have seen me going through a metamorphosis, racing, excessively talking about running and having a better attitude about my health and the obvious benefits that go with it and felt that she wanted to do the same for her own health. My son and I are happy she has chosen this endeavor and support her in her journey.

With that being said, I humbly changed into my running gear and headed to the basement. I put in a movie (My Best Friend’s Girl) that I was watching on Saturday during my run, that I hadn’t finished yet. I started out at a slow pace for a quarter mile and proceeded to pick up the speed until I reached my normal pace. Before I knew it, the movie was over and I had gone 4.25 miles. I was happy with the results, especially since I hadn’t planned on any mileage last night, and felt energized and refreshed. I guess I just need a little kick in the ass once in a while to keep going, thanks Terri.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Feeling Unmotivated

Not much going on, I just seem to be moving along in a zombie like state. I have been running, I just seem to be going through the motions and not feeling it. I feel more motivated in the day at work, while I am supposed to be working. By the time I get home from work, I am tired and push myself to a mediocre run. I guess a mediocre run is better than no run at all.

I just signed up with Runner’s World to track my work out progress. I think if I can see it written down in front of me, it will help to achieve a goal, which I need to set for myself. This winter is really starting to get to me, however it is supposed to warm up into the forties this weekend and I anticipate getting outside for a run and change of scenery with some daylight.

I logged in a total of 15.2 miles last week, a total of 39 flights of stairs up and 54 down and did push ups (total of 258) four days last week. I see a lot of people in the 100 push up challenge; I am not ready to commit to that quite yet, however I was able to do 41 at on time.

Although incredibly tired from the weekend, on Monday I managed to climb stairs at work (16 floors up and down), get a 3 mile treadmill run in last night, a total of 65 push ups and some dumbbell curls. I felt recharged and energized after the run and slept soundly through the night.

I went to the library a few weeks ago and picked up a few books on running: 50/50, The Complete Book of Running and the Encyclopedia of Sports & Fitness Nutrition. I just finished the 50 Marathons in 50 Days on Monday and found it to have some great tips and motivational for me as well. I read on my train ride to work and it motivates me in the daytime, however the day takes it toll on me and I just don’t seem to have the same enthusiasm at night.

I am just going to keep pushing along and see what happens.