Monday, December 30, 2013

Obligatory end of year recap

As the end of 2013 draws near I look back on the running year.  Honestly I feel like my running year ended over a month ago.  But as I sit and think I found out, and soon you will too, they are two and the same.  My running year and 2013 as the same.  I know that may sound very logical, but the point I am making is running is my life and my life is running.  What happens in life effects running and my running sheds light into my life situations.  Some hard things happened in 2013.  Running helped me stay calm at times.  Other times I realized that running was labored because of the hardness of life.  But I was okay with this new found ideology, or so I now admit.  This month I have covered 14 miles.  I found that running helps you connect to yourself.  And if you want to call that selfish go ahead.  I would like to argue that getting to know myself better I have become a better person.  In 2013 I learned that not all will go the way you want it to, and that is okay.  I learned to cherish that what you do have.  I learned to love every mile, one day you may not be able to run even one mile.
Looking back there are some major things that got accomplished.  None of them were done on my own.  God was my help in time of trouble.  Many times I thought if I just worked harder a result would appear.  At times the results did appear.  But who was it that allowed it, God.  This is my view as a religious man.  Not all would believe this, I get that.  If you do, you understand that all is to God's glory.
I was able to run 50 miles.  Let me say that again because I still cant believe that.  I ran 50 miles.
in 2013 I was able to pace a half marathons.  I love the feeling of helping others.  And in the selfish sport where so much time is spent alone working on our bodies I was able to give back to the running community.  I also gave back by volunteering at the Ice Age races and the USA Triathlon Nationals.
Personally I officially set a PR in the marathon, half marathon, and 5k.  I was able to cover more than 1300 miles this year.  Most ever.  2013 was a good year for what I accomplished in running.  However life is more than running.  Running will enhance your life.  It will help you see life and appreciate it more.
I have no idea what 2014 will hold.  And I am okay with it.  No lie!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Winter Running.

It is that time of year once again.  And no I am not talking about Christmas and yule logs.  It is winter running time.  The roads are icy and the sidewalks snowy.  What is one addicted runner going to do?  If you are training for a spring marathon you need to keep the intensity up through the winter months.  Than means 15-20 mile runs in the snow.  Some people head indoors for three months and use the treadmill.  By March everyone is calling it the dreadmill.  I prefer to run on trails and occasionally at an indoor track.  Personally I cannot run on a treadmill I give those who can credit.
What I do to battle the snow and ice is screws in my shoes.  Some people use a product called yak tracks that attach over a shoe to give them added grip.  I prefer the grip screws give me.  Go to a local hardware store and ask for sheet metal screws.  I use #10 hex bolt that are 1/2 inch long.  If they are longer they may poke through the bottom of the shoe.  If they are shorter they may not grab in the shoe.  Use a screw driver or ratchet to tap them into the foam.  Where do you place the screws is a question I get.  I like to look where your current tread is worn down and place a screw there.  If the tread is worn on the bottom that is a frequent place your foot makes contact with the ground and would be a best place for added traction.  Divide the sole of the shoe into three sections that run from toe to heal.  Inner, Middle, and Outer edge.  Place two screws in each zone.  One towards the toe and the other towards the heal.  You can see form the picture below how I have placed the six screws.  If you have a forefoot strike place more of your screws under the forefoot where you will be landing most of the time when you run.  You will find that you can still take a fall even when running in screw shoes.  But I believe you will have better footing with screws.
Another way to deal with winter running is to not run at all.  But then what kind of running addict would you be?  Get out there in winter and run.  Bundle up you will be amazed at the places your feet can take you!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What's been going on.

It has been over a month since my last post.  Life has been busy, in fact it always is.  As I grow older my focus changes.  I place more importance on lasting relationships and people.  I will always have a heart for running.  It is a place my soul feels free and a way I can communicate with my creator.
During this holiday season I encourage you to run.  After all it is a great way to counter act some of those extra calories.  But connect with your loved ones and spend time with family.  Help a stranger.
I am happy to report my cast is off.  I am working through a twisted knee from sledding with my kids last weekend.  I have not run much in the last two weeks.  I opted to spend time sledding versus a run for myself.  Now I did wear my Garmin to see how many miles of hill repeats I covered sledding, just cause.  You can curb the runner in me, but it is part of my life.  I recently took down my running medals that were displayed in the main hallway.  I felt it was showing off and felt too prideful to my guests.  If you truly know me, you know I am a running geek.  I want to help others bring out the geek.  But I wanted to hang something more important to my life in that place of honor.  My wife found the perfect thing and put up some of my kids artwork!
I did not run that 20k.  Money has been tight so I opted to use the money and spend it on a pizza party with my kids.  I don't if they will remember this exact party.  However it is about investing time and building a relationship with them.  I don't know if I would remember a 20k event 5 years down the road.
I am still shooting to run the John Dick 50k or at least the first 10k.  No medals, just running in the woods me and my creator and some running buddies.
Get back to family this season, share the love.  It is okay to take a break.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Addicted to sugar

I love sugar.  Let me say that again, I LOOOOOVE SUGAR.  Cookies wont last more than a day in this house, because I eat them all.  You would think I'm covered in blue fur the way I eat cookies.  It is not because I am hiding in the closet or waiting till the kids go to bed.  I am eating them in the wide open,  in the daylight with the curtains open.  No shame in my sugar game.  It's not just cookies, but chocolate too and mints from the drawer at work.  Did I mention ice cream, or should I say custard.  Custard is like ice cream, but way better.  I have lost all control.  When I was in training for my 50 I gave up a lot of sugar.  I knew that if I limited my body sugar, when I needed it during a run in the form of a gel my body would respond better.
Fast forward two months and 8 pounds heavier.  I am not running nearly as many miles I used to.  And I have no event to work for.  Add to that stress.  My diet has been lost.  I've been eating pizza because its easy.  Extra bowls of cereal after eating a big dinner.  Stress eating is nothing new to me.  I discovered that frightening truth about myself on my journey.  I just got off the scale 173.4.  Something needs to be done before it gets worse.  Holidays are right around the corner too, a usually difficult dieting time of year.  My summer running weight is around 165, +- 2 pounds.

 The way I see it I can either run more miles or face the issue.  If you have any ideas let me know.  I plan on eating lots of apples.  I heard an idea to melt dark chocolate in peanut butter and grab only a spoonful when faced with a craving.

 Until I can figure a way to cut sugar from my diet and fight cravings I will be cranky and irritable.

  Pass the cookies please.  

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Marathon Man

Never have I read a book about a persons life that was so encouraging.  I recently finished "Marathon Man" a story about Bill Rodgers.  Until I picked up the book I never head of Bill Rodgers.  Reading this book was like a fun run.  I breezed through it and was highly encouraged when done.  Rodgers talks of himself and others that started the running boom of the 70's.  The names he dropped I've heard before but never really knew of their accomplishments or relation to the foundation of the sport I love, running.  I find myself much like Rodgers, yet far apart.  I have a great love to move and run, but I will never run 5 minute miles in a marathon.  I work with emotionally disturbed children, just like Rodgers did.  Knowing that was highly encouraging.  I love to walk outside with the kids at work, it really does help them think and process better.  I was proud to read that he disagreed with war and stood up for his beliefs.  I see many parallels to his life and mine.  I think I found a new running hero.  Rodgers is a fierce competitor and trains even harder.  There is much as a runner to take away from this book.  Every chapter has a quote within the text that could be written on your walls, running truth!  Bill Rodgers has penned a runners gospel.  So much of this book speaks to me, and I encourage you to read it too.  After reading this book I would love to one day run with Rodgers, or push myself to qualify` for Boston someday.  On the top of my Christmas list is a Bill Rodgers Running Center t-shirt, and maybe a snoopy hat.  If you are a runner pick up this book or even better get this book for a runner in your life.
"Never quit"  "Always keep moving forward"  

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Hanging in there

I found a 20k race that I am going to enter.  The local running club I am part of is having an inaugural event.  I have never done a 20k race, come to think of it I don't know if I've ever run 12.4 miles exactly before.  My mind immediately thinks why not add the extra .7 and make it a half.  I am going to run the 12.4 hard I will wish not to run the last .7.   This event is to raise money and toys for Toys for Tots something that we as a family support.  Also this event is indoors on a .285 or 443 meter track.

I hope that this event being near Christmas doesn't turn into something of a gimmick.  I have seen a slew of Turkey runs and Santa or Elf this and mustache that.  Not to mention all the color and electric runs. Most, if not all of those events are 5k.  3.1 miles is a long way if you don't run much, or are coming back from an injury.  Some people love that distance and will run 5k's all the time.  Nothing against bettering yourself.  I love running because of how we can all relate to each other but at the same time is very individualistic.  I see 5k's as the gateway drug to marathons and beyond.  

This week also got my cast changed.  It was rubbing and pinching my hard, rubbing it raw.  The temporary fix only made things worse.  So this time I got a cast that would match all my running shoes.
This week the forecast is supposed to be under 40 for highs all week.  Normally I am gun ho about running.  But the stress lately, combined with weather plus this cast is harder to run in that the last,  I think I will take a break this week.  I have no real running goal to accomplish this week.  And that is okay.  
Till next run....6 on Saturday!

Sunday, November 03, 2013

What's next

     I am wanting to challenge myself but not knowing how.  Not being able to start P90X till December 1st.  I started adding distance to my daily mile.  1, 1.23, 1.45.  I have been running those miles in my zero drop shoes.  So for the time being that is what I am doing.
     2014 is still a big question mark.  After starting to read "Marathon Mam" I would love to run Boston or New York someday.  That will require a lot of money, that wont be happening in 2014.  Chicago again?  Maybe if I can figure a way to make it cheep, aka sleep in my car.  Now that I know Lakefront better, improve my time to under 4 hours?  Do I improve my time on the half?
    When I think of a running adventure what comes to mind is Badwater Marathon, running all night long,  ascending a mountain.  Some ideas I've had are running to Chicago and taking the bus home.  Running the whole river to river trail (140 miles).  Completing the whole Ice Age trail (1100 miles).  I could take the cost of a race and apply that to running all weekend in the upper peninsula of Michigan. I don't really foresee any of that happening in 2014.  
    I have even been thinking of shoes for 2014.  Ever since reading "Born to Run" I have began to question the need for support shoes.  Are they really needed.  Everyone is different but I have been fine with light miles in zero drop and walking to work daily and using zero drop shoes everyday.  Last year I went from a heavy support shoe to a more moderate support platform and have had no issues.  Maybe its time to take another step in minimizing my footwear choices.
    I have resolved to live in the now and enjoy what I have and can do with the gift of running.  My goal is to get near 3 miles a day and see what happens...till next run!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Twist in the Adventure

Well it is more like a strain or tear.  My thumb that is!

     Two weeks ago I hurt my thumb at work.  Right when it happened I thought it was broke.  My nerves were on edge and I was shaking uncontrollably.  After getting X-rays I was sent home with nothing saying that I hurt my thumb.  A week later it still hurt so I went for a follow up.  This time they put me in a Velcro brace for a week and said come back and see a specialist.  Today was my next follow up.  I saw the hand specialist today,  a man with a long white beard that I imagine doubles as Santa Clause at the mall during the holidays.  I knew he was the specialist because he wore an old ball cap with an embroidered hand logo upon it.  In about 40 seconds he moved my thumb in 70 different directions.  PAIN! He moved my thumb, reiterating, "when I do this it hurts the most?"  "MMMM," I say through clenched teeth.  "You mostly likely tore or strained this ligament in your thumb, I'd like you in a plaster cast for 3 weeks then we will check if you need an additional 3 weeks."
     Fun times.  
     I was going to finally start P90X November 1st.  Guess again.  Can I even do that?  I can barely type this blog.  I am so mad that I have been gaining weight too.  I am almost to 170.  I am dangerously flirting with that mark I never wanted to get to ever again.  Do I run with this thing on?  How smelly will it get?  I did go out and run a mile tonight.  It went okay, it was cumbersome. 
   Going forward who knows.  This is a new adventure for me.  

Friday, October 25, 2013

Running from death

Much has happened since my last posting.  Last Thursday my brother called me and asked to come over.  The doctors did not think there was much time left with his wife.  She was battling cancer of various kinds for three years.   This time it reached the fluid in her brain and spine.
    My wife and three young kids went over there that evening to spread our love and say goodbyes.  The stress and emotion were insurmountable so after I went for a 10+ mile night run.  I don't like running at night, but this was not that bad. Maybe I could get use to it.  I did notice my pace was slower but I wasn't worried about that.
     Friday was a very large amount stress at work and add to that I was sick.  Saturday I planned on doing 10k.  When my wife returned home from her overnight I took off out the door.  I ended up setting a PR for my 10k.  I always knew I could break 50 minutes and never had the chance.
     Breakfast on Sunday morning was followed by a phone call by my brother.  It was the call we all knew was coming but still didn't want to hear.  Her battle with cancer was over at 29 years old.

    We went to church that morning but I wanted out of there.  I wanted to do the only thing I think I do well, run.  I wanted to run 30 miles because she never got to see 30.  I was going to do 30 laps of the mile course from my house.  I wanted to stay close so that I would never be too far away so I could help my family if need be.  After the first slow lap I didn't have it in me.  I felt an urge to call my brother.  After one mile I came in and called him.  I kissed my family and went to his house.  We did a lot of talking and even took a mile hike in the local woods.

     Monday I went to work for an hour, and left.  That afternoon I ran a mile at moderate pace.  It was great to move but I was stuck between moving to feel normal and moving not being normal.
     Tuesday I ran one mile after work before some friends of the kids were coming over.  
    Wednesday.  Nothing.
   Thursday.  The day of the funeral I tried to run in the woods.  I intended to run 13 miles.  I thought time in the woods would do me good.  Since that is a place I feel comfortable and at peace when I run.  That day there was no peace.  I could barely run.  I was hiking a lot of steps.  Somewhere after a mile I gave up.  When I got to the Ice Age trail I would run that back to the car.  I sat down at the bottom of a massive set of stairs and looked up lost.  I searched left and right, even forward, but couldn't tell what I should do.  So I stared into the run, turned around, gave up and ran home.  3.1 miles is all I had in me, if that.  The last half mile I ran barefoot.  I was searching for some connection and excitement, anything for feeling.

   Shortly I am leaving to accompany my brother at the burial.  I don't know who else will be there.  I am sure I will run a mile today....till next run.
Kelly will be greatly missed.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Memories of Chicago

I did the one thing as a runner I should have never done.  Said I would never run a road marathon next year. A week later guess what I want to do?  I want to run Chicago next year.  I had a great time at lakefront but it made me miss Chicago.  I thought I would include my write up from 2012 after running Chicago with some pictures.  I cannot wait to tune in online to the live broadcast and read everybody's race recaps!  I have been searching twitter for strangers pics of the expo.  I am going through withdrawal.  If you could sign up now for 2014 I would do it!  Till then enjoy....
Chicago Marathon 26.2 mi 04:47 10:56 pace
Full review
Started the morning by waking up at 3am, so I lay around the hotel room. Put on a pace tattoo, but half of it wouldn't stick and fell off. Never tried that before and you know race day is perfect for that kind of stuff. So I only had pace info till 13.1. Ate my Wheaties for breakfast of course, and left at 6:15. I got to walk down with my two cousins to the start area. We checked our gear and waited forEVER in the potty line.
From there I said our good lucks. I lined up near the 4:10 pace group, but later would decide that was a mistake. I wore some of my old fat clothes that I was going to donate to charity anyways. Man was I nervous and excited. I stayed near the 4:10 group the first few miles. They were pissing me off so I dropped them for a few miles. They were wildly inconsistent, 10 seconds too fast, 20 too slow, 15 too fast. They would jump in and out of traffic, easy for a pacer, but the whole crowd would do the same to stay on their heels, it was a mess. At about mile 10 when I started feeling a blister form on my toe they caught back up to me. I figured at that time I would wait till the first aid station after 13.1 to use the restroom to keep the kidneys working and tie my shoe tighter to fix the blister from getting worse. It wasn't a bad blister just knew I would have one there.

After 14ish I stopped to use it and fix myself up. Before that I got some stomach cramps like I did at BLS half after eating a Cliff Razz gel. No more of those for me when running under 10's. Just did some Tai chi while I ran...blowing clouds.

Not long after that mile 16-17 I started to feel a twinge in my right quad. So I changed some of the water stops and opted for Gatorade. That didn't work and I took a second gel at 15ish. By mile 18 my legs was IN pain. I started having to walk the aid stations to recover enough to run on it again. Some where along there I had to stop for a pit stop again as I thought I was going to pants my poop. Got some bio freeze for it, some vasiline for my ummm ummm, and a s-cap that I dissolved into a Gatorade. At this point I was taking frequent 5 minute walk breaks.
Your mind sure likes to play tricks on you during a marathon. Mile 20.8 came (the place I blew up last year) and my body had all kind of funny aches. I simply said STFU and kept running.
I love running through the different neighborhoods. Pilsen was my favorite. Next was Chinatown or the loop areas. And Old town gets an honorable mention. There were parts you would come over a bridge and there would be a huge crowd of people waiting to cheer you on. In Chinatown it was full sun, so I stripped down to just at shirt and finally pitched my hat, gloves and long sleeve. (If anyone has shirt less pics of a sexy ass runner in Chinatown please forward them to me.)

Most times I saw a camera man I gave them a thumbs up and rock on for my three daughters. I thought about them frequently on my run today. It was go great to run up Michigan, cold too. When I got to 400 yds I thought about the runner that died last year right there. My mind placed tricks on me and my heart was skipping a beat. STFU and keep running! I hit 26, ONLY 385 more yards, turned that corner and saw the finishline. It was so glorious!

It was not the time I wanted, but I should have been smarter. I was sick for a week. I even took off of work on Friday. It's not an excuse, but just a lesson for next time. Maybe, right now I want to sleep. Thank you to all who follow me your encouraging keeps me going!
This is my first official marathon finish. I did it un-supported last year in 5:34. So this by default is a PR. I always set the bar too high for myself and then second guess and get all moody at my events. Should I have taken music? I am so glad I didn't I was able to experience Chicago. Should I have taken a handheld? I think what I did was fine, I would have drank less with a handheld. I would have skipped aid stations. Should I have ran with the 4:25? That is maybe a yes. I think that is my downfall there.
I love Chicago and am so happy to finally be a Chicago Marathon Finisher...till next run!

Thursday, October 10, 2013


Does this image remind you of anything?
When I was a kid I loved playing Nintendo.  While playing a game if it ever froze you could press the reset button and try again.  

I think it is time to reset my running.  I do not know what or how long the reset phase will take.  When I first started running I would go out for 1.3 miles.  It took me near 20 minutes to finish the first time.  I slowly got faster.  When I felt good with my time I graduated to a 2 mile route.  From there a 2.83 and then a 3.22 route.  Why those numbers?  It was distance to a local park via a parkway.  Two months after I started running I tried a half marathon.  It took 3:30 and hurt like HECK!  But I was so proud and hooked.  

    With nothing on the running calendar I have no idea what to do.  I wanted to get faster but didn't know how much speedwork to do.  So I got the idea to restart my running and do what I did the very first time I went running.  I laced up my shoes and went out to run a mile as hard as I could.  It felt weird to almost take more time to get ready than to actually run.  I also used my zero drop Saucony Viratta's.  I tried to use them back in the spring and would go half a mile a day then up to a mile after a few weeks then to a mile and a half.  I had the great idea of using them for a 4 mile track workout since the running part would only be 2 miles and 2 miles walking rest.  Well that was too much too soon.  So while I reset my running I am also trying out to transition to these shoes.  I walk 1.3 miles a day and stay on my feet very active all day at work in Altra Instincts.  My plan is to run at least a mile 3-5 times a week and 6-10 on the weekends.  
   We will see where this plan takes me, but it is my plan till the end of the year, for now.  Below are some pics from last weekends Lakefront Marathon.  

Monday, October 07, 2013

The day after

     Some say that the day after a long race is the worst.  Others say it is the second day after.
I have been dead to the world mentally and physically all day yesterday.  I think I might have taken two or three showers to loosen up my muscles.  I lost count.
     Recovery is key to staying healthy and active.  Recovery is that phase after a long run or race that your body heals.  Everybody does it differently.  Some do nothing, others continue to be active even run!  When you beat up your body that hard there is waste products in your legs and muscles.  The best way to get rid of it is to keep it moving.  The blood carries away the bad "stuff"  How do you carry away the bad stuff faster?  Get the blood moving faster.  That is why some people like to walk or run the day after.  I would suggest do anything that gets the blood moving but reduces the impact on your body.  Swimming, biking, or walking.  If you can run go for if just be careful.
     Today I chose to take a 1.2 mile walk with my wife and kids and the running buddy and his wife and kids.

     Last night I pigged out and my body still wanted more food.  Today I tried to eat like normal, minus the half a cheeseburger I had at 8:30am.  To recover from a hard effort I have been adding whey protein to almond milk or soy chai lattes from Starbucks.  One day I thought I would try whey protein in soy chai.  It tasted good and made me feel great.  Later I researched soy and whey proteins only to discover that combining both types can have greater recovery benefit that one kind alone.  Somehow my body and mind just knew it.  My wife made me a protein laced sandwich for lunch, that was a bonus!  The week before a hard effort I like to eat protein heavy in the beginning of the week and gradually move to a no meat and little protein diet by the end of the week.  The extra protein is great for helping to repair all the damage done in the body.  Another thing I found that helps has been tomatoes.  I don't know how yet or why, I just looked it up on the internet today.  But lately after long runs we have had tomatoes with or in dinner.  I swear they have helped me recover faster.  I did find some stuff about anti oxidants and lycopene.  Tomatoes have always been good for the heart in preventing cancers, but maybe they help repair it too?
    Where do I go from here?  The reality of not running a major race for a while is setting in.  Just like the soreness that begins to wear off and you can tell what really hurts.  Would I like to improve my time of 4:18?  Of course I always want to improve.  This year I wanted to work on my official 5k time and I did, I smashed it.  29:09-22:03 I have one official 10k time its near 1:15 something.  I would like to see if before the end of the year unofficially I could break 50 in a 10k.  I also have only one 50k time 8:17.  I know I could beat that.  So until then thoughts of running bounces around in my head while I recover.

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon

 Race day began when I woke up.  Well it began long ago before that.  In a galaxy far far away... I could even say it started when I began running back in 2010, or when I started my summer training schedule.
     Friday at work I hurt my left hamstring.  I backed into the arm rest of a park bench.  I never saw it coming and it was probably better that way,  I would have tensed up too much.  That left me in a very poor frame of mind.  I couldn't sleep I was so upset.  Two days before the marathon.....
     Saturday morning my oldest said "I don't feel well" and proceeded to start vomiting.  After that I didn't want my wife taking the kids to see me run and risk vomit in public.  I was a little bummed about that, but it was for the better on many levels.  I took the middle child to the expo with me.  I was amazed to see many young kids there too.  That was cool that runners will involve the family with the whole running process.  After all running is more than an individual sport, it effects many around you.  I saw Trae from Performance Running Outfitters who offered me some advice on my leg.  Went home and did what he said.  Right as rain some light work and an hour of icing did the trick, not 100% but 95% good!
    I went to sleep at a reasonable time after finishing my pre-race Mac and Cheese.  I usually go for rice but this was a game day audible due to sickness in the house.  I still couldn't decide what to wear for race day so I posted this pic on twitter.  I asked running buddy and said if you do blue so will I.  "Done!" followed up with, "Good night my little champ!"  I love sweet text messages for running buddy guy pal.

  I woke up at 2am to two of my children saying they were hungry.  Not being able to sleep either I got up to finish my football game and then watch some cartoons.  4:30 my wife woke up too.  I took my pre-race shower and ran for some donuts.  I like to have an apple fritter from Greebe's before a race.  It's something I did once and became a habit.  Also my wife ask everytime, "Why shower if your going to get sweaty?"  It helps me relax is my reply.

   Going to get donuts it is raining out!  I thought this was supposed to be done!  One more check of the weather and I packed garbage bags just in case.  Drove over to pick up running buddy and we were off to pick up the bus that would transport us to the starting line.  I was impressed with how many buses there were.  I wanted to take a picture of the sign that said, "Get Loaded Here"  My lubed up finger would not allow it.  On the bus ride I had the thought of a marathon event that would be a mystery.  No one would know the course they were to run.  Get on a bus that has no windows and have them drive you to an unknown location.  Get off the bus and run! You could have multiple starting points and one finish line.  To make it more exciting have participants stay at the same hotel and have a random wake up and get on the bus time.  The more I think about that the more that sounds like the mob or a prison camp.    
Marathon Mustachio and Marathon Mohawk 
 This start line is 26.2 miles away at a local High School.  Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon is a point to point course.  The school was crawling with runners in every crack and corner.  It was not too over crowded at all.  It was easy to find a place to sit and wait.  30 minutes of hanging out and playing marathon bingo with runner friends it was time to go out side and stage.
     The beginning of the race was packed.  All the pace groups were lined up 5 feet from each other.  The sidewalks were lined with spectators we had to snake through to get to the street.  The national anthem was sung and the gun went off, no delay.  Ran into fellow twitter pal and running buddy .  Jeff warned us about the movement on the bridge, and it was weird.  My mind went instantly back to 1999 when I was in a 6.5 Earthquake in Belize.  Same exact feeling.  For the first few miles the course made lots of turns followed by long straight stretches.  I did not know what was was east or north or what till we got to Concordia college.  Most of the way from the start to the college is rural farm land.  The landscape was pretty and serene.  Some sections remind me of the trail except there was a road. I was not there for 3-4 years and it was neat to see the upgrades made to the campus.  There were a lot of people out to support and cheer runners here.  It was amazing to run through, even a marching band!  This was also the first time runners could actually see the lake.  I spotted fellow blogger, runner, and all around awesome person .  Great to see support you know on the course.  More twist and turns here and there.  I think we were going south, but I never really knew.  Many people say this is a down hill course and the statistics may show that, but it didn't feel like it.  Nothing as far as a big hill but lots of litter rollers.  Splits for the first 8 miles were 9:03, 8:51, 9:02, 8:47, 8:46, 9:00, 8:58, 9:05.

There was an unscheduled pit stop just before 13 that set us back two minutes.  Our time was great.  The A goal was to hit 9:00's the whole way.  Miles 8-13 splits  were 9:05, 8:58, 9:04, 9:11, 9:00, 11:00-two minute pit stop 9:00.  It was mostly sparse houses and trees through mile 13.  Every once in a while we would cross railroad tracks or run parallel to the freeway.  I do remember one house with lots of bells ringing.  It was nice to see kids and families on their driveway cheering on us runners.  Some people has music others were performing the music themselves, polka and bluegrass.
    As far as A goal went we were still on track through 13.  Once making the turn on to Fairy Chasm Road the homes began to get closer together.  As close as million dollar homes can get.  Assessing the race we looked at it as back to back 10k's.  Mile 14 was in 9:10.  Mile 15 we began to slip a little 9:23, but still okay.  Mile 16 we took our first walk break.  We decided to walk the aid stations,  10:40 mile split.  After that walk break my body just did not want to move.  I can deal with pain and overcome that, but I have not found how to will my body faster.  I know there is speed work to help but I am talking about when your brain somehow slows down your muscles to preserve them.
     Somewhere in the late teen miles I took a pain killer and that began to help a bit.  My fuel strategy was a GU every hour.  And since I only started with two, pick one up on the course.  First GU did wonders.  I love the salted caramel.  I maybe could have hit it at 45 minutes but I wanted to draw it out since my resources were thin.  Near mile 13.1 about 2 hours I took a Powerade vanilla gel I picked up at an aide station.  NASTY.  They are like water.  I tried them on training runs and they were okay.  I joked then that they were so watery you could add them to coffee or chai tea.  I took about half of it and pitched it.  It wrecked havoc on my GI.  I had gas the rest of the race.  A little jet propulsion.  Wheeeee!

    Mile 17 our new goal was to hit 10's the rest of the way and see what happens.  We wanted to get to 20 miles in 3:15 or less.  The previous goal was 20 miles in 3:00.  I kept counting back from 20 to where we were on the course.  3.8 miles in 45 minuets or less, we got this.  Then after 20 miles a 10k race left.  Get to 20 was our war cry.  Mile 17 split 9:54, right on for our new goal.  At this time we began to think A goal was out the window.  No 3:55 for us.  Next up, break 4.  To break 4 we needed a 9:09 overall pace.
    The next mile we got tired quickly and took a walk break right before an aid station.  That resulted in back to back walk breaks.  10:55 for that mile.  We made it another mile before we needed to take another unscheduled walk break, 10:33 for mile 19.  Our overall pace was starting to slip and so was my mind.  I was waiting to reach Klode Park.  From there course is mostly familiar territory.  It seemed to take forever.      I didn't cross reference to what exact mile it was and I should have.  Reached Klode Park at mile 19.4 and walked that aid station.  Finally mile 20 arrived.  10k to go! The course started making a series of right and left turns following the lake shore south.  I loved how this broke up the run and made you feel fresh.  By the time we got to mile 20 my mind was back in the game.  Just after mile 20 was a kid with a plastic hammer smashing a cardboard brick wall.  Mile 20, 9:57.
     I never feel like I hit a wall because I kept moving forward.  Miles 21-26 were 10:25, 11:11, 11:40, 10:58, 11:15, 10:24.  7 walk breaks in the last 10k.  I was hurting but not dead.  Since I had my heart and mind with me I kept charging, this time towards 26.2.  I knew that I needed salt and asked every aide station.  None of them had any.  Bless their hearts for servings us runners on a Sunday.  But some of them looked at me perplexed as to why I would ask for salt.  I asked a pacer that passed but no such luck.  I resorted to taking Gatorade or GU but that just continued to irritate my stomach.  It was all I had with the most amount of sodium.  I could have started licking other runners, but I don't know if that would have gone over too well.  Mile 22 someone yelled out something encouraging followed by my name.  I didn't think much of it.  With your name printed on your bib in bold letters many people yell your name.  For some odd reason I looked over and saw Trae from PRO.  A big boost!  When I got into sections of full sun my eyes would start to get blurry.  I was getting tunnel vision and knew I needed to slow down or seek more salt in fluids.  Before the finish I had to stop along Lake Shore Drive to get the kidneys flowing, aka pee in the bushes.  I still have not learned how to pee on the run.  TMI warning!  Out came the darkest brightest yellow.  Time to push more fluids even if my stomach was sloshy.
     The amount of people at the finish was amazing to see.  I could feel the energy permeated my bones.  It was that or the aching from running 26 miles.  Miles 16-26 were harder than miles 40-50.  Running buddy took the surge of adrenaline and finished less than 30 seconds ahead of me.
4:18:24.  A PR by 28:15.  Only need to cut off 1:08:25 to qualify
for Boston.
Chicago pace
Lakefront pace
        As a numbers guy I compared my 5k splits from this year to 2012 Chicago Marathon.  You can see that the overall shape is about the same.  Maybe I need to start slower.  I hold steady till about 16 then the pace creeps up higher and higher.  In 2012 the pace really took off.  This year it was not as drastic, but a fade still occurred.
     I remember but don't know exactly when it happened.  The thought of sticking my head in a bowl full of pretzels and seeing how many would stick to my sweaty face.  Seeing Matt J from, he just BQed in Boston.  What a BEAST!  Seeing fellow twitter follower .  She yelled out, "I follow that guy on Twitter!"
At one point of sheer exhaustion a car honked really loudly and scared the crap out of me, I thought I was going to pass out.  Two hours later I find out its my friend Kim L.
    My main takeaway from this race is...Respect 26.2.  Anything can happen.  I did not make my A goal, nor my B goal.  I did beat my C goal.  Let's call it a B and a half Goal marathon!
   Training with a running buddy doing many races together is like marriage.
You really get to know each other!
You are aware of each other bowel movements.
You get mad at each other, but love running so much.
You spend more of your Saturdays together than your own family.
When the going gets tough you are there for each other.
You take naps together before or after a race.
You slap each other on the butt from time to time, for motivation.
You kiss each others race medals?

     Getting home the kids created some signs and hung them on the door.  It was better having them safe at home ready to celebrate when I got home.

    Other than a recovery run and a double digit trail run for fun I don't know what is next....till next run!
My Reward 
I've never been this tired after a race
But I made the bed after I was done.