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!