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.