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.