Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Year in Review . . . Running Style

Well, here it is, the year in review for my running. There was the good and there was the bad and there was the OK all wrapped up into 365 days known as 2008.

The year started slowly. After 2 months I was only at 92 miles. Very slow I guess. I keep a running log in Excel so it is easy to look back and see what I did. March 1st though I did a 20.5 mile run so the mileage starts to grow. It is at this time I had decided to run the St. Louis Marathon in April. After a 1 week trip to Panama City Beach, Florida to stay on the beach with my parents, I came back home and left 5 days later for St. Louis with Mike, Chaz, and Paul. Unfortunately, the race came and I was under the weather but since I already signed up and was already down there, I decided to run with a fever and upset stomach. At half way and after 3 stops already, it is just a run to finish and not for time. I end up running 4:27:40 and feel nauseous the rest of the day and the entire 6 hour drive home. But it does count as a completed marathon. Chaz ended up taking 3rd place in the Masters division.

The next month is easy running as I was planning on running a 2 person relay in the Madison Marathon in late May with Paul but he ends up hurting himself so the relay is off. I decide to run the Madison Marathon in its entirety. The race was on May 25th and I was feeling good on this day, at least to start. I decided to join a pace group that was going for 3:45 marathon pace. I must not have been in this good of shape and the course was hilly so after about 9 miles, I drop off the group and run on my own. After 15 miles and a long uphill, I am beginning to slow down. After 18 miles I am, again, just there to finish. I finish in 4:14:16. Don't let the picture fool you, the clock showing is the Half Marathon clock that started 15 minutes after the Full Marathon. The course here is beautiful and I love running in Madison, but the course is also tough with lots of hills. Chaz, Mike, Art, and Laura also run this marathon and Sally and Cherylynn run the Half Marathon.

The next race I will end up doing is a 5K on the 4th of July in Fish Creek in Door County. I end up pushing the youngest Princess in the race, Katelynn. The race started up a big hill so I was lagging a lot until the top of the hill. About 1/2 mile into the race, my Garmin said I was at 10:30 pace but it was all faster from there. The pic is of Katelynn and I in a race a little over a year ago but I thought you may want to see what we look like pushing the Jog Stroller. The last mile I was able to drop the pace to about 6:45 as I pass lots of people. Let me tell you, people DO NOT like getting passed by someone pushing a stroller. It inspires some to go faster and some to make interesting comments, most good. Final Time: 22:44

I continue training over the summer as the next race is suppose to be the Twin Cities Marathon. I incorporate a new interval series called Yasso 800's. To me these are easy but I come from a middle distance background in college. Yasso 800's are an 800 on the track with equal time running as rest. The time you run is your target marathon time. IE, if you want to run a 3 Hr 45 Min Marathon, you run your 800's in 3 Min 45 seconds with the same rest between. Over a few weeks, you work you way up to 10 of these. I end up doing them at 3:20 or faster but that did not correspond to a 3:20 marathon for me.

August 30th, I end up running a local 15K race but I decide to run 10 miles before the race for 22 1/2 miles. I end up running the entire run at 8:35 pace with a 20 minute rest before the race.

September 25th comes and I decide to run the Fox Cities Marathon. This was my debut marathon in 1994 and my PR back then in 3:40:30. This year it is a warm up run before Twin Cities. I still wanted to break 4 hours though. At mile 20 and 3 hours into the race, the sun comes out and gets quite warm and my legs decide to stop working as well as they have the first 20 miles. Once again, I slow and finish disappointed in 4:15:57. And again, I feel nauseous after the race. I do not like this. 2 weeks rest now until Twin Cities. Mile, Paul, Chaz, and Laura also run the full here with Cherylynn running the half. Mike breaks 3 hours for the first time here and Cherylynn breaks 2 hours for the half. Both significant milestones for them.

October 5th is the Twin Cities Marathon. My first National Championship Marathon! Ok, not really, nut it is the USA Marathon Championships. Goal once again, Sub 4 (sensing a trend here?) This was a beautiful course and there is a reason they call it The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon. 3 miles into the race and it starts to drizzle. 4 miles into the race and it starts to rain. by mile 5 it is POURING rain and does not stop until I get to mile 17 or 18. I like running in the rain, but not THAT MUCH rain. It is fun though but very cold as it is windy as well. At mile 12, i meet up with some lady and we talk for a bit. We run together for the next 9 miles keeping a great pace until the hill at mile 21. My legs are getting tired so I slow and she goes on. By mile 25 I am shot and I end up walking a lot from mile 25 to mile 26. My slowest mile in a marathon ever. I see the finish so I pick it up as a I get that mental boost from seeing the finish line. I get to 20 meters from the finish line and my left calf muscle completely seizes up in a HUGE cramp. I end up looking like a big puddle in the road a mere 20 meters from the finish line. 2 medical guys come out to me but I refuse their help as I needed to finish this thing on my own. I end up standing and 1 leg hopping it over the finish line to the delight of the crowd. I did get a nice cheer from them. The 2 medical guys crunched out the muscle which hurt like hell, but I could walk without much problem 5 minutes later so they must have done something right. I end up in a time of 4:11:40. Paul, Mike, and Art also run in the rain.

4 weeks later and it is time for the Rails to Trails Marathon in Norwalk, WI. This is run on the Elroy-Sparta Bike trail so it is a soft surface the entire time. My goal is, well, you know! This is the first time they did this race and the organization was very poor. The only part they did well was the water stops. No chips for timing,very congested start (a bike trail for 400 runners) and more problems. I did enjoy the run though as the course was nice. 1 mile into the race and we hear cows "moo'ing" from a field near by. 3 or so miles into the race and we get to the signature part of the course, 1 3/4 mile old railroad tunnel. You can see the tunnel in the picture. It is pitch black in there so you bring along a flashlight to see. It is crowded in there and wet (it drips water year round), plus there are ditches on each side to filter water out so we had to watch for those. After the tunnel is a 7 mile railroad downhill section. The half marathoners turn around at 5 miles so it is very thin after this. I am on a great pace through the turn around at 11 1/2 miles and the half way point but then we go back up the 7 mile hill. It is not steep at all but 7 miles will wear out most people including me. At mile 19, I enter the tunnel again and i can't see anything even with the flashlight. By mile 20, I am already a little slower than pace but now the down hill section, 2 miles. I can't muster up the energy and 4 hours is out of the question once again. One bad thing about this race is that at mile 23, you pass right next to the finish line and have to run a 1.6 mile out and back to the finish. This SUCKS. I muster up the rest of my energy and finish in 4:11:10. But then another crappy thing, when everyone finishes, they DO NOT have medals for us. We have to wait about 2 weeks or so until the mail them to us. Who came up with this idea!?!?!? I don't think I will be doing this one again anytime soon. Cherylynn ends up running the half marathon after Chaz has a small injury and decides not to run.
The rest of the year is runs that I have talked about in this blog. I end up with a total of 1237 miles run this year. This is 33 more miles than in 2007 and only 8 miles more than 2006. I also run 5 marathon which is the most I have ever run in 1 calendar year. I start a blog and meet some new Runner Blog Friends who are really cool.
So hear is to 2008 and a better 2009! The Year in Preview coming soon . . . maybe.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Last run of the year?

I may have had my last run for the year tonight. I ran 7 1/2 miles at 8:04 pace on a combination of the Bridges Loop with the Hills Loop. The first 3 miles were flat and the last 4 1/2 were the hills. I took it a little faster but not quite to the pace of a tempo run but it felt good anyways.

I may not run tomorrow, I have not decided yet so this may be my last run for the year. No worries. I plan on starting up right away on the 1st or 2nd. It is only 18 days or so until the Icebreaker Marathon so I can't rest quite yet. Then only 4 weeks after that until the "Heart of Texas Challenge."

As the princesses are watching "The Little Mermaid II", I was trying to add a new gadget to my blog page. I signed up for Site Meter and not have to figure out a way to add it to this site. If you know how to do this, please drop me a note as I could use the help. If you see it somewhere on the site, I must have figured out a way to add it. I am interested to see where people come from who come to this site and how many people actually come here. So far I know of only 3 for sure based off of comments left, but I am guessing more show up. Only 3 viewers would be kind of pathetic but then again, I don't do everything right. In fact, very little. LOL

I am planning on going out tomorrow night for New Years Eve. The plan is to meet Chaz and his wife, Cherylynn at a local club to go see a cover band. Chaz is a friend of mine who runs marathons and has broken 3 hours quite a few times. Cherylynn runs a few half marathons herself. I am not sure if she is working her way up to a full marathon but I secretly hope she joins the club.

The band we are to see is called "Chery Pie". The do covers of 80's Hair Bands like Van Halen, REO, Bon Jovi, journey, etc. I have never seen them but Chaz and Cherylynn have half a dozen times and like them so I will give them a shot.

I leave all of you today with a toast to a great new year with lots of great running in your future.

Monday, December 29, 2008

All Signed Up

After work today I did a quick 5 miler on the Hills Loop. I ran it at about 8:20 pace. It was a good run that started out in the light of late afternoon and ended in the dark. Not too much ice and snow so that was good.

I did make it official on the "Heart of Texas Challenge". Life is a Marathon... gave me the idea for the name of this challenge Paul has given me. Melanie is from Tennessee and has become a good Runner Blog Friend of mine and she is also a great runner. The challenge is official because I signed up for both races today. Again, the challenge is to run the Surfside Marathon on Saturday, February 14th and the run the Austin Marathon the very next day! I do not know how I will do in this challenge, but once I start a marathon, I will finish it. "Death before DNF" is a slogan I saw on a shirt once.

I have never been signed up for 3 marathons at one time before. It is kinda weird but cool to think what I will be doing. I have run 13 marathons including the Disney Goofy Challenge once so far so I have a little idea of what I am getting myself into.

When I got home and after some Chinese food from "Chopsticks", I took 2 of the princesses (Mellisa and Megan) to the local budget theater to go see "High School Musical 3". Melissa had seen this once before but Megan hadn't yet. In fact, this was Megan's first time to a movie theater (she is 4). She did well for the first half of the movie sitting on my lap, then she sat in her own chair and lost some interest playing with the chair but she stayed quiet. Melissa (6 y/o) was into the movie the entire time though. I have seen all the other HSM movies way more than any man my age should as the princesses like to watch the DVD's but the movies are not all that bad. A little better than watching Disney Princesses all the time.

Coming soon: The Year In Review

Sunday, December 28, 2008

East Troy Run

I did a medium length run yesterday morning with Mile and Paul. Paul picked me up at 6:30 and we were unsure what the weather was going to bring us. On Christmas morning, it was -3 F, on this morning it was already 45 F. When Paul was leaving his house, he called and said it was pouring rain and wanted to know if we were still on for the run. I told him it wasn't raining here and the radar on the Internet showed mixed stuff. We decided to go for the run anyways.

We got to East Troy where Mike lives and met at "The Square". Again it was warm so we were all in shorts and 2 t-shirts. I found out way early in the run I should have just put on 1 long sleeve t-shirt as it was too warm with 2.

We started out at a nice slow pace of about 9:00 and we stayed together for about 2 miles. After that, I was feeling very sluggish and let Paul and Mike go ahead of me. Not long after that, Mike left Paul and we were all on our own. I could see them off in the distance but stayed at my slow sluggish pace.

Once we turned onto Cty D (about 5 miles into the run) I was feeling better. Paul was about 2 minutes ahead of me and Mike was way up there. I decided to pick it up and see if I could catch Paul before the end of the next 6 1/2 miles. Little did I know Paul was picking it up to see if he could catch Mike. Mike was running now in the lower 7 minute pace. I had dropped my pace over the last 6 1/2 miles over the hills to 7:50 which I was very pleased with but I kept getting further and further away from Paul and he was dropping it to the lower 7's trying to catch Mike. No worries, I still enjoyed the run.

Mike and Paul are running in 2 weeks at Disney World doing the Goofy Challenge. The "Goof" is a half marathon on Saturday and a Full Marathon the next day on Sunday. I did this 2 years ago and it was fun, Mike did it for the 1st time last year and Paul has done it every year they have had it. This will be his 4th "Goof"

Now I told you before how much of a Nut Paul is, 1 week after he does the "Goof", he will be running in the Icebreaker Marathon with me. He is also the one who challenged (and somehow got) me to do the "Heart of Texas Challenge". This will be 2 marathons in 2 days in Texas in Mid February. I have no idea what I got myself into by being friends with him. Well, I did say before I was insane so I will chalk it up to that.
And now for a little fun.

I also mentioned before how I like to go driving looking at Christmas lights, well, we drove past the local house I have given the "Clark W. Griswold" Lifetime Achievement Award to. I had my camera along and while it was foggy out, here are 2 pics of the house: These pictures really do not do justice as to the magnitude of lights this guy has. These 2 pictures are of the same house and you can see that in one picture, the house has colored lights all over it and the other one it has white lights all over it. It changes back and forth every 30 seconds or so. That big thing in the front of center of the yard looks like a waterfall with the lights blinking making it look like flowing water. Something must have happened to his big rotating globe he used to have displayed. It was missing this year but was about 6 feet in diameter.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Slow Easy Run

I decided this afternoon to go on a short 5 mile run to try to burn off some of the calories I consumed yesterday and that was a lot of them. I was going to go on a short Christmas morning run but it was -3 F outside so it was cold. With 3 days off, I needed to get out there for a slow easy run and that is what I did.

I ran from home and went to a local park that has a road about 1 1/2 miles long. When I go there, it was plowed but icy but no worries. I went around the loop and returned back home. It was much warmer outside, so i was sweating a bit on the run. By the end, I was only holding my earmuffs and gloves instead of wearing them. It was 34 F outside today so it was shorts weather for running. I am sure I got some looks from the cars driving by but I really don't care what they think. I was able to use some new shorts I just bought at a big discount from a local running store. Only $15. If you ask me, that seems not like a discount to me but is you look at the prices these places charge, it is no wonder they can pay the professional athletes so much.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. Icebreaker is only 3 weeks and 1 day away!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas ! ! !

I want to wish everyone out there a Merry Christmas! And if you are one not to celebrate Christmas, then I wish you a Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Winter Season, or whatever you choose to celebrate.

We will be celebrating at my parents today. We will have all my brothers there and their wives along with my 2 nieces, Grace and Mya. They are 4 and 2 now. More celebrations tomorrow and Friday. Having a big family with LOTS of cousins makes Christmas hectic but more fun since we get to see so many people. Seeing all their children is great as well as I don't get to see them often and it is fun to see how they have changed over the year. I will also get to see 2 of my cousins new babies who are 3 weeks old and the other is about 3 month old. It is amazing how small infants are and how fast they grow up. Babies are truly a miracle!

Hope you and yours have a wonderful Christmas.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Another Cold One

It was cold yesterday. From reading other blogs, it sounded like it was cold running in lots of the country.

I went out on a 5 miles on the Hills Loop again after work yesterday. It was my last day of work this week as I am taking Tuesday off to get some chores done (Pay the property tax bill, cash some checks at the bank, go to the grocery store, clean the house, etc. Notice: I didn't say go shopping for Christmas, that was done over a week ago!) It was cold on the run, 2 F! I didn't even start the watch as I wanted to run easy and at whatever pace I went. It was an easy run and I had to tread easily quite a few times through peoples sidewalks who didn't shovel yet. Once in the neighborhood part of the run in the hills, it was just a relaxing run looking at all the decorated houses and enjoying the run as much as I could.

When it is this cold, I wear layers to stay warm. The problem is I do not wear sweatpants (I don't wear those to run, but I do wear running tights which help a lot up to a certain level. When it was this cold, my legs never really warmed up. My face is always cold and I am sure I get A LOT of funny looks by the cars driving by (if I could only see them or hear what they say.) It was also a Booger Freezer out there. Sounds Gross, huh. That is what we called in in college when I was at Oshkosh. If you had the sniffles and breathed in quickly through your nose and . . .well, you get the idea.

I get a lot of questions before and after these runs from people. The most common question is "Doesn't the cold air hurt your lungs?" Is there some urban myth out these that running in the cold makes your lungs hurt? My are just fine out there.

Here is a picture of one of my favorite ornaments on my Christmas tree.

Have a wonderful and joyous Christmas this year!. Remember to let Christ's Light Shine!

Monday, December 22, 2008

100 Christmases

Sunday was a nice cold day here in Wisconsin. Temps were maybe getting to 0 F but usually stayed under with lots of wind. The wind chill was between -20 and -30 F all day.

The evening was warm as we went over to my Aunt & Uncle's house for a family celebration. The best part was that my Grandma was there. This year is her 100th Christmas!!! Holy Cow! She will turn 100 in May, yet her 100th Christmas (you are 0 when you have your first Christmas in case the math seems fuzzy to you). Anyway, wanted to post a pic of her along with the princesses. Also for your reference, Katelynn is the one on the left in the dark purple dress, Megan is the other one sitting in Red and a white fluffy collar, and Melissa is the one standing. And, of course, we are still blessed with Oma and hopefully for a much longer time.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

14 laps short of a Marathon

Today was my long run for the week. In fact, it is my longest run before the Icebreaker Marathon which is 4 weeks away. I got up early was drove to the Pettit Center as we had 14 inches of snow on Friday so the roads were in no condition to be running that far on. I pulled into the parking lot at Pettit right at 6 AM and was off an running at 6:15. Paul is suppose to meet me a little later so I start without him.

My plan was to run 24 miles (87 laps) but decide at 22 miles (80 laps) if I should stop. The last time I ran here 2 weeks ago, the last 2 miles of the 20 miler were no good at all. My plan was also to take a 30 second walk break every 5 miles and take a Vanilla Bean Gu. I started slow at about 2:26 per lap which equates to about 8:40 pace. I was pretty much on this pace for the first 5 miles until my first walk break. After 30 seconds and a Gu, I was off and running again.

Paul showed up and joined me right at lap 29 (~8 miles). He is running the Goofy Challenge in 3 weeks AND running the Icebreaker 1 week later. As I posted previously, Paul is a NUT! He usually runs faster than me in races but likes to run with me when we do long runs. It was good to have company as the laps ticked on.

After 36 laps (10 miles) it was break #2 and just as planned, a Gu and 30 seconds later I was back to running. My laps has slowed slightly to about 2:28 to 2:30 but this is about 8:45 to 9:00 pace so all is good since I didn't want a melt down like 2 weeks ago.

It started getting quite crowded on the track and since it is only 2 laps wide, at times it makes it hard to pass. Most people abide by the rule of run in lane 2 and pass in lane 1, but it get bunched up often. There are about 5 or 6 guys running faster than Paul & I and about 40 or so running slower but it is good to see so many people running and keeping in shape. (The Icebreaker has a max of 100 people so that will be quite crowded.) There is even a local Team In Training group getting ready for the Rock & Roll Marathon in Phoenix. I think this is a wonderful group that does great things. I have seen them in Phoenix, Chicago, New York, and Disney. The only thing I wish they would teach there runners is a little runner etiquette about not running 2 to 3 abreast at Pettit and not running 6 or more abreast during races.

15 Miles (54 laps) came and went right at the same pace. ( I usually run at a consistent pace). Only 1 lap after the 15 mile break, the Speed skaters start the National Anthem. So I stop for another break. Most runners stop even though this is for the Speed skaters. Runners are such good and respectful people for the most part. (I have encountered my share of running jerks though).

At about 18 miles or so, Paul decided he want to pick up the pace. I said to go ahead and take off on me as I was just trying to keep pace. My legs were getting pretty tired by this time. He takes off and drops his pace to probably close to 8:00. I think he want to laps me multiple times. Mile 20 couldn't come soon enough. My legs were very tired and I needed my break. I passed 20 miles at 2:58 so I was still under 9:00 pace which is my goal pace for the Icebreaker. I took a longer break this time. It was hard to get going again but I forced myself to get going. I still kept the laps right around 2:28 to 2:31 but I was losing it quickly even with the Gu. I decided at 20 1/2 that I would stop at 22 miles and concentrate on making the last 6 laps good ones.

It is amazing how the brain works. With 2 laps to go, all of a sudden I was able to make my legs go faster knowing I only had 2 to go. My last lap was even my fastest of the day while having to negotiate a log jam with 1/2 a lap to go. Paul was done as well. He only lapped my 2 times since he took off. We walked a lap and drank some water while I stretched some very sore muscles.

Even though I did not get done with the 24 miles I set out to do, I am happy with the run since i didn't slow to a crawl before ending like 2 weeks ago. 22 miles is a long was and so is 80 laps of that track. Only 4 more miles and I would be done with the marathon. Only about 14 more laps. No problem! 4 weeks to go so hopefully a good taper will refresh these tired legs.

No time to relax though. Went to the bank to get my Property Tax check. Got my DSL fixed (good to have a brother in the business). Did some snow shoveling. Cleaned out the Fire Hydrant. Tucked the Princesses in for nap. Ate a little food, though not nearly enough. And now sitting a typing the blog. I think I need to go buy some driveway/sidewalk salt. The entire family will be here for Christmas. Don't want them slipping on any ice or snow although they are all from Wisconsin and should be used to it.

Hope your weekend is doing well. Keep though Texas Challenge Names coming.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Am I Insane?

OK, recently I have been mentioning a challenge Paul has given me and I have not said what it is because I haven't decided if I was going to do it or not. Well, I think that I am going to be doing it now and I would love to hear your comments on this so please leave a comment if you would.

The Texas Challenge!

Art has now moved down to Austin and is going to run the Austin Marathon on February 15th. he invited a bunch of us down to run with him and it looks like Paul, Larry, and I will join him for the marathon. This will give me 4 weeks to recover from the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon at The Pettit Center in January. So far this is not too large of a challenge since I have already ran 13 marathons and once with 2 weeks recovery. Here is where the challenge comes: Paul and I are going to run the Surfside Marathon the day before Austin!!! AM I INSANE!?!?!?!

2 Marathons in 2 days? I am nuts! The Surfside Marathon seems to be a very small race with only 700 people total in both the half and full marathons. It is also the only marathon that runs completely on a beach! WHAT!!!! the beach there is hard packed sand that cars ride on and they say you leave a footprint of only 1/2 inch when running. So times are a bit slower there because of this but the pounding should be a lot less. Also when we are done, we have to world's largest cold water bath to enter.

I have once tried something crazy like this before but not nearly to this extent. I did run the Disney World Goofy Challenge 2 years ago. That was a half marathon on Saturday followed by a full marathon on Sunday. That was fun but still a big challenge. How will I be able to do a full followed by a full? I guess I will just have to figure it out. I have not come up with a strategy yet except to just finish both. i might shoot for a specific time on Saturday and let Sunday be just for fun and who cares what the time is. I don't know. I do know that I am not looking forward to the plane ride home on Sunday but maybe there will be a nice snowbank I can stuff my legs into, that is if they don't fall off first.

Let me hear your comments. I am interested in what you have to say! Also, I need to name this Challenge. What do you think I should call it? The Great Texas Challenge? Something else?

Hot Chocolate

I love Hot Chocolate! But I also hate it. What I mean is I love the taste of Hot Chocolate but I have the calories involved and what it does to me. I bought a big family size tub of Swiss Miss and took it to work. I am already on my 3rd mug today and when I make a mug, I usually put extra scoops in it and it is like 160 calories per regular serving. That is way too many calories for me to ingest unless I do workout like Michael Phelps! I hope this tub goes fast so I can get the sugar free stuff with a lot less calories.

I could drink coffee instead but I have never liked the taste. Way to bitter for me. I could load it with cream and sugar but why mask it that much. I do love the smell of coffee brewing though. I have been known to start coffee in a hotel room just for the smell, but I think I will stick to Hot Chocolate in the winter.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sports massage . . . maybe

No running today :( I had a chiropractor appointment this afternoon. Dr. Mark said things were looking good with my back and it feels so much better than when it tightens up. He asked me if I have ever had a sports massage before. I told him no and he wondered why. My reasons are odd I think. I would love to have a massage and I think it would do me some good, but I am afraid. I am afraid that I will get hooked on them and always want one and that is one luxury I cannot afford right now. He told me that for Christmas that he would let me have one for free from the massage therapist lady in his office. (Maybe it is weird, but I think I would prefer it from a lady and not a guy). So I guess I will be having my first massage in the near future. He says I should have it about 2 to 3 weeks before my marathon and that is January 17th so looks like near the start of the New Year. Sounds like a good time since the Holidays will be over and the stress from work will continue to grow.

There is stress at work. I am apart of the group that is in charge of converting us from our old business software to our new ERP software. We are moving to Oracle and I am in charge of our production scheduling and forecasting. It is at this time I try to make sure I get my runs in. Running is such a good stress release and lets me rest at home more.

I also briefly spoke awhile ago of the crazy challenge Paul asked me to do with him in Texas. I have almost decided yes or no and should be sure of that decision in a day or so. Once I have decided, I will let you in on the Extra Goofy Crazy Challenge Paul has in store for us.

Wait 5 minutes . . .

I recently posted about how most of the snow had melted over the weekend and that I wondered if we were going to have a White Christmas (we don't always have them here in Wisconsin). Well, 5 minutes is up and we already have 3 inches of snow from last night. Also, there is a winter storm warning for tomorrow with predicted accumulations of 6 to 10 inches of snow. Hopefully it will be the fluffy stuff like last night but the princesses would like it the heavy "packing" snow so we can build a snowman. 5 minutes is up and look what happens. Christmas is still over 5 minutes away so this could all be gone again. Should make for some interesting runs over the next few weeks.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

C-C-C-C-Cold and Snow

I was trying to post my blog yesterday when I lost my connection and completely lost what I had typed. I will summarize quickly.

Sunday was a warm day here in Wisconsin. It was 45 F and we had some rain. Most of the snow melted leaving lots of bare spots and piles of dirty snow. There goes the White Christmas I thought we would have. But there is a saying here in Wisconsin: If you don’t like the weather, wait 5 minutes.

The weather definitely changed on Monday. I woke up to it being 2 F with lots of wind. Froze myself on my walk from the parking lot into work. Despite all this, I decided to go on my after work run. I ran the Hills Loop 5 miler and was it cold. I think it was 8 F with a wind chill factor of -8 or so. Some of you from the south might not know what a “Wind Chill Factor” is. Well, when it is cold and the wind is blowing, it feels that much colder. So when I ran at 8 F, it felt like -8 F because of the wind blowing on me. I warmed up after a mile or so but I was also out of the wind. I ended up averaging 8:40 pace so I was OK with that since it was so cold.

Today was not quite as cold but it started snowing at about 3PM. It was a balmy 11 F today on the run. Mike joined me and we did the Hills Loop 5 miler again. We do this one in the winter a lot because the bike trail is covered in snow and the main roads are busy. We go into a close neighborhood with little traffic to keep from getting hit. Again it started out very cold as the snow was blowing in our face. And again after a mile or so, we warmed up. Mike kept the pace going but we were slowed a lot because of the snow accumulating on the ground. Some of the hills were quite slow trying to get traction and not slipping. While it felt like we were going faster that I was yesterday, it actually took us about 1 minute longer. Snow can really slow you down I guess but then again, I have been running in it for many, many years now. I know we get many funny looks from people as we run past, but we look funny a lot as well. When we finished, we saw ourselves in a mirror. I have white eyebrows and hair from the snow and a pink face. I keep telling myself that this kind of running makes me stronger in races, and I think I will just keep telling myself that. It helps me keep my insanity.

I did see a funny headline on the Internet today. It said something like “The current cooling trend just illustrates increase speed of Global Warming” Now if anyone can explain that one to me, I would love to hear it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas Lights and a small Christmas Disaster

Last night we went for a drive with the princesses to look for Christmas Lights. We had 2 destinations and the first was Miller Brewery. MILLER BREWERY? Yes, they have a display of over 400,000 lights choreographed to Trans Siberian Orchestra music. it is about a 6 minute or so show and is really cool. Perhaps you have seen this in the past on one of their commercials but it is much better in person.

Next was on to Candy Cane Lane, a local area of 3 or 4 square blocks that go all out. They also collect money for the MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes against Childhood Cancer). Many cars go through there so it is quite crowded but it is fun to see who is there helping out. Last night was Santa along with the Milwaukee Brewers racing sausages. The Chiriso tried to get in our van but was too big. Bango the buck was there and and ice cream cone and Sub sandwich. Odd things I would say but all fun. Did see one house that is the front runner for the Crap-tacular award though. I wish I had my camera, it was so crappy.

This morning I went over to Mike's house in East Troy for a 13 mile run with him. It was suppose to be 9 F with wind making the windchill be -2 F but the warm front must have come though so it was more like 27 F but the wind still there. As I went into his house before we started, I saw the disaster that was there Christmas Tree. During the night, it had fallen over and many ornaments were on the floor broken. Some will be able to be fixed but others are toast. At least he will be able to fix the one he got last year when we was at Disney doing the Goofy Challenge.

We set off and he decided to run at my pedestrian pace compared to his usual pace. The route we took had many hills and the first 6 miles were mostly right into the wind. that made it quite cold and tough but I kept saying it was a character builder. After 6 miles, our pace was averaging 9:12 and after 9 it was only down to 9:08. I said to him that we have to get this under 9:00 before we finish so while we ran with the wind, we took the pace down to close to 8's and kept grinding it out. The last mile was all into the wind but we finished with an average of 8:50. I am OK with it since it was cold, windy, and hilly but I would have prefered faster for only 13 miles. We'll see next weekend as it will be a nice long one at Pettit. Most likely 22 or 24.

I have some pictures to share but I need to re-download my camera software onto my computer and I first need to find it. I will look tonight so I can share some more.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Big Lunch

Yesterday (Wednesday) was my companies annual Christmas Lunch and Service Award ceremony. Last tear they moved this from doing it in the building to a local restaurant and got 4 school buses to lug us all over there about 1 1/2 miles away. The owner of the company then gets up and gives a little talk and the presents service awards for those who have been with the company 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 years etc. Art will roast some of the people up there while being real nice to others. We do this again in the summer and I will be up for 15 years. Time does fly! I will have to prepare for the royal toasting as he did to me 4 years ago. it is all in fun though and all get a good laugh.

After the ceremony, we have a very nice buffet lunch and great selections of pie for dessert. In the end, I ate way to much which made for a somewhat uncomfortable run that evening.

It was a bit cold, 20 F, but still a nice night. I had all intentions of going 8 miles like I did on Monday, but the lunch was still making itself known in my stomach so the run turned into a nice easy 5 on the hills loop. The pace was extremely easy but I think that is what was needed. The plan is to run a shorter long run this weekend. I may go out to my friend Mike's house to run Saturday morning. I was going to cut it down to 13 miles since I had such a horrible finish last Saturday and wanted a week of recovery running. I may just do a "Single Looper" bu his place which is ~11.5 miles over many hills but I will do these at a nice easy pace. I may add 2 miles or so to make it at least a half marathon but maybe not. Depends on how I feel. I was to rest a bit before I go real long the following weekend. The plan there is to go either 22 or 24 at Pettit. The race is just over 5 weeks away so Tapering is coming soon.

I think Friday will be a Christmas Light Drive. Maybe we will find new houses to give out our awards to.

Monday, December 8, 2008

72 Laps

The long weekend is over and now the new week has begun. It was a very busy weekend with running, the Living Nativity, and a friends Christmas Party.

The weekend started on Friday evening which was the first day of the Living Nativity at church. My job was to play the part of a Roman Guard. This was not a part of the actual presentation but I was to walk around both outside and inside and 'harass' people like a Roman Guard would have done back 2000+ years ago. I would ask people what their business was in Bethlehem and remind the to sign the Census. I had a lot of fun with kids who found it fun to be 'harassed' and I charged the a Cookie Tax which meant they had to go and get me a cookie. I did this on Saturday and Sunday evenings as well. It was cold but a nice fire pit helped when I was outside and the seeing the people come and watch the presentation made it worth it.

After Fridays presentations (9 per night) and a good sleep, I was up at 5 AM to head off to Pettit for a long run. It was snowing during the night so it made it a bit harder to get there but I got there without incident. I was the first one there right at 6 AM and started my run. A lap or 2 into the run, Chris showed up. Chris is the guy who is the Race Director for the Icebreaker Marathon which will be held at the Pettit Center on January 17th. He was in the mood for a slower run so that fit right into my pace. We had emailed each other some in the past but this was the first time I met him face to face. We started out at a good pace of about 8:30 or so for the first 10 to 14 miles. After 14 miles, he was done and I continued on. At about 16 miles, I was forced to take a break as the speed skaters started the National Anthem. Most of the runners stop during this and I did as well. I feel it is wrong to just run through it even though it is for the speed skaters and not the runners. The break helped but after 18 miles, all started to fall apart. The pace had already slowed to about 9:00 but for the last 2 miles just sucked. I just wanted it over but I finished all 20 miles I set out to do and averaged close to 9:00. Finally 72 laps are complete. Seems like I have some more work to do to get ready for the Icebreaker. One cool thing Chris told me is that my race number for the Icebreaker will be 4. I have never had a single digit for a number before so it sounded cool. Let's hope it gives me good luck in the race.

After the Living Nativity that evening, I went over to my friends Terry & Lori's house for their Christmas Party. I got there at about 10 PM and stayed to about 1:45 AM. I was very tired after that but their parties are always a good time so worth it. I got to see other friends I haven't seen in awhile.

Monday came and off to work. After work it was time for a run from work. We are expecting a big winter storm tonight so I decided to go a bit longer since I most likely will not be able to run tomorrow. So off I was to do 8 miles. I ended up doing the Hills Loop and added 3 miles though town. It was an easy run at about 8:50 pace. Now time to save energy for the much snow blowing and shoveling to come in the morning.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Santa Clause

Tonights Christmas movie is "The Santa Clause" on TBS. I think this is only the 150th time it has been played this season so far. Slightly more than "Elf" and "The Polar Express".

I ran 5 miles on the Hills Loop again tonight by myself. A nice 8:30 pace today but it was colder. 18 F. I will be doing a longer run on Saturday. I am leaning toward doing the whole 20 instead of just 13. I may be running with the race director or The Icebreaker Marathon, the one I am doing in January at the Pettit Center.

I have some friends running in races this weekend and some that are injured and may be missing races they trained so hard for. That totally sucks! I hope all goes well for them and that they will be back running ASAP.

Tomorrow is the start of The Living Nativity. Should be fun.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Hills Loop

Today I ran with Mike after work. We did the hills loop and it was a bit icy and snowy but not too bad. Nothing we haven't dealt with before but it is always a bit nervy to run when you can always see the ice on the road. Mike is my friend that just ran a marathon this fall in under 3 hours for the first time. When he runs with me, it is as if he is just jogging while I am struggling to keep a good pace. We started out at a somewhat easy pace with the first mile in about 8:38 but little did I know that we would be picking it up the rest of the way. Mile 2 was 8:07. Mile 3 had some hills but we picked it up to 7:41 and mile 4 was 7:40. Mike decided to taunt me in the last 1/2 mile dropping it to 7:13 pace but all in all a good run. In the end, our easy 4.5 miles turned into a Tempo run but that was good since I needed a good harder run.

I am debating what I will run this weekend. I will either run a shorter 13 or raise it up to 20 at Pettit. My plan before the Indoor marathon is to still run a 20 miler, a 22 miler, and a 24 miler before I taper. I still need to do some harder tempo runs in there to get a faster pace. I am still not sure of my goal for the race but I know it will be at least a goal of Sub 4.

I am concerned about a long run this weekend as I will also be busy Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights at our Church partaking in our "Living Nativity" I will explain more later on that but I did it last year and it was fun.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Once again I write as I am watching a Christmas movie, this time it is "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" on ABC family. I don't like this one as much as the original Cartoon with Boris Karloff, but it is still OK.

It started to snow yesterday and continued most of the night. Woke up this morning to about 4" of blowing and drifting snow. I got up, started the snow blower (only took about 14 pulls this time) and took are of the driveway before I left for work.

My run today called for 5 miles on the hills loop. It was icy and snowy out but no problem for only 5. Just have to take it a bit easier and watch the footing. Pace went OK and I felt good despite the cold.

I was able to see Paul today. Yesterday he ran the Space Coast Marathon in Florida. He was quite psyched when he found out he took 5th in his age group. He will be running the Icebreaker Marathon with me in January.

I did some more Christmas decorating on Sunday and we sent out Christmas Cards today. I know it is early but since we moved last February, we didn't let everyone know the new address. So in the card was a little note giving the new address. Also, everyone who hasn't seen the princesses recently is always asking for a new picture so I included this one. Melissa is the oldest sitting in the middle, she is 6 now. Megan is on the left and is 4. Katelynn on the right is 3. They are so looking forward to Santa coming. Melissa is even memorizing a 3 page musical for her school Christmas service. She has been working at it for a few weeks and has a few more paragraphs to go. Wish her luck!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I am writing this as I watch the movie "Elf". This is one hilarious movie and has taken over as my favorite Christmas movie. Just moved ahead of "A Christmas Story" with Ralphie another classic. So forgive me if I stray off course during this as I am looking over the monitor and watching. Buddy is about the meet Jovie for the first time.

I hope all of your Thanksgivings were good. I, for one, ate too much once again. I read that the best way to handle all the extra food you may have eaten is to go on a long slow run the next day. Did I do this on Friday? Nope, I slept in some and worked around the house. I was not one of those who was up at 4AM getting the best bargains around though I do know some people who have. Not much thrilled me in the ads. Instead it was Christmas Light Decoration day. I was on the roof and up 24 foot ladders putting up the lights. I didn't fall off the roof or the ladder so that was a plus. The ladder did fall over once though and put a nice gouge into the siding on my chimney. I wasn't happy about that especially when I went over to my neighbors house to tell him I bent his ladder I borrowed. We did fix it though. That made me happy as I thought for awhile I would have to buy him a new $250 ladder. I put up some more lights today but I can always put up more as I love Christmas lights. I will see if I can get a good picture sometime and post it.

This morning I woke up early as I was planning on 18 at Pettit. The plan was to run at 2:23 per lap for all 65 laps without a break. All did not go exactly according to plan. For the first 10 miles, I was averaging around 2:27 per lap but none at 2:30 or higher. Pettit has a restroom to use every 0.27 miles which was good at mile 10. This messed up my plan to go all 18 without a break. I got back out there as dropped the laps to about 2:23/24 and went the last 8 miles without another break. All in all an OK run and no laps were 2:30 or higher but I did have 1 break. My miles were all between 8:40 and 9:00 so that wasn't too far off goal. My arm was a bit sore during the run and not muscle soreness. That stayed most of the day but did go away a couple house ago so that is good. A nice good Papa Murphy pizza did the trick tonight.

Time to watch more Elf. Don't be a Cotton Headed Niggy Muggins!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jef fuh fuh Dun Ham

Happy Wednesday to you. Yesterday I did another quick 5 mile run on the hilly route I do often in the winter near where I work. Went pretty well for a somewhat easy run. Averaged 8:35 pace.

I got home and after the princesses went to bed, I popped in the new Jeff Dunham DVD. Jeff Dunham's Very Special Christmas Special. Jeff Dunham is a Ventriloquist Comedian and has about 5 characters he brings out. From Walter the old grumpy guy to Achmed the Dead Terrorist, to Bubba J the beer drinking Nascar watching Redneck, to Peanut a green haired purple monkey, to Jose Jalapeno on a Steeeek. The show was really funny and was recorded here in Milwaukee in July. JULY I SAID! I had 2 different friends that went to this show back in July so they have an entirely different perspective on the show. You can tell it is summer by what the audience is wearing. They were told to wear Christmas stuff as they knew is was being filmed for the Christmas Special but you can see plenty of people in shorts, something you don't see too often around Christmas in Milwaukee. Jeff Dunham throws out a lot of Politically Incorrect jokes but that made the show very funny. I recommend this to watch for a good laugh. I checked Comedy Central and it is playing again on 11/27 (Tomorrow) at 8PM and Friday 11/28 at 5PM. Not sure which time zone this is for, most likely eastern.

Thanksgiving weekend is upon us starting tomorrow. I wish everyone in Blog land a wonderful and Happy Thanksgiving. I most likely will not be running today or tomorrow but the days off will be nice. Hopefully a couple of longer runs on Friday and Saturday can happen. I can train hard up to just after Christmas then I will start my taper for the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon. Not yet sure of my goal for that on yet. It is hovering between 3:45 and 4:00 right now. The race is on January 17th so plenty of training still to come.

Paul has challenged me to a very insane challenge in Texas for February. I will let you know more about this later.

Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Today I woke up and looked out the window to see a fresh white blanket of snow had covered the neighborhood. While it looked very pretty, it did mean I had to get out the shovel quickly and clean the driveway before I left for work. Not a lot of snow but it was the heavy kind. I got a call during the day and was informed that when my 4 y/o princess woke up and looked outside, she said "Look, it is Christmas outside" How cute!

I did go on a run today despite the snow outside. Snow usually won't stop me from running outside. I try to keep the runs to 7 miles or less when snow is out as ice is harder to see, but I was only going 5 today. Living in Wisconsin, you get used to these things. I am sure people give me odd looks when I am out there. It was 33F today when I ran so, to me, that meant shorts. My legs don't get cold when running unless it is in the 20's or less. I have even run when it was snowing in shorts and I can only imagine what people say in their cars when the see that. Today was shorts, 2 short sleeve T-shirts, 1 long sleeve T-shirt, and a pair of short socks over my hands and I worked up a good sweat. I use these socks as keeping my fingers together keep them warmer that if I wore gloves.

I ran a route that has lots of hills and I like that to build up my ability to race on hills. No one joined me today so I was out there alone. No worries though. Running alone at times is nice. I get a lot of good thinking done during that time. I wrote the toast to my best friends wedding I was the best man at during a run.

Have a good day. Turkey Day is 3 days away!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Random Thoughts

Today I have been chugging down Chocolate Milk like mad. i bought a gallon on the way home from my 15 miles yesterday and can't stop drinking it. It tastes so good! It is also a great recovery drink, though I am too late for that plus, again, I am drinking too much. Studies suggest that chocolate milk is as good as Endurox for recovery after a hard workout and much better than Gatorade due to the mix of proteins and sugars. I just know it tastes awesome. Too bad they don't have a lactose intolerant version for those who need that.

My legs are a bit tired today from last nights run but I feel good everywhere else.

Today, my Alma Mater UW-Oshkosh was running in the Division III National Cross Country Championships. It has been 16 years since I have run for the team but I still watch and support them. Turns out the finished in 9th place as a team, close to where my coach thought they wood. Way to go guys! Also, Willy Kaul from the team, finished 2nd overall. The 2nd time someone from UW-O finished in 2nd and the 11th time someone finished in the top 10 with 36 All Americans. Not too shabby!

Life with the princesses can be quite interesting. One minute my 6 y/o likes the Disney Princesses, the next she doesn't. Peer pressure from her friends at school. Peer pressure at age 6!!! Their teenage years will be way too much for me to handle. I already know more about Disney Princesses, Hannah Montana, and High School Musical than any grown man should.

Thanksgiving is not even here but I have to think Christmas as the entire extended family will be here on Christmas Day since this is our first year in the new house. Therefore I assemble the new Christmas Tree today since I had time. The ornaments are not up but I had to see how it would look. I bought it last year a few days after Christmas from Lowe's on discount. Regularly price at $250, I got it for $25. 90% off is not too bad. Looks pretty good too.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Went to the Chiropractor today and had an adjustment. He gave me the OK to run tonight so I left from there to go to Pettit. I called Paul as he was going to meet me there sometime.

The plan was to run 15 miles (54 laps) and then take the weekend off. I started out right at 8:30 pace and it felt good. Again I was going to try to run the entire 15 miles without any 30 second walk breaks. Some speedskaters were finishing their workout on the ice and even some running a little on the track. I ended up talking to one of them that I caught up to. I think it was Shani Davis (not sure though), the speedskater that won multiple Olympic medals at the last Winter Olympics. Seemed like a nice guy the whole 1 minute I talked to him as we ran.

After 2 minutes of running, Paul showed up. He joined me the rest of the way. With 14 laps to go, my legs were getting pretty tired. but I broke the rest out into 2 different 7 lap milestones. & laps until the Half Marathon Point and 7 more until 15 miles. I used this as a good opportunity to try to keep up the pace even with being tired. I didn't slow and kept the pace and went through the half marathon close to 1:52. Paul and I finished the last 7 laps with a little pick up the last 2 laps and then left for home. It wasn't a great run nor was it a bad run for me. I am still working on the long run without breaks and this is the exact pace I am thinking of attempting at the Icebreaker in January.

I hope you all enjoy your weekend, i know I will with no running and lots of rest.

Have I ever . . .

Here is a little fun thing I found at (History of the Harvey's) blog. They borrowed it from someone so I hope they don't mind me borrowing it from them. Let me know Rachel and Grant if you do!!! Thanks!

Bold the ones you’ve done...
01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said “I love you” and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights - Not north enough to see colors though.
15. Gone to a huge sports game - Went to a lot of the Atlanta Olympics
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper - 3 Princesses at home, All the time.
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope - U of Wisconsin's Telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight - I live in Wisconsin after all
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster - I love coasters!
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and didn’t care who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states - I think I am up to 33 or so.
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched whales
42. Had amazing friends
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing - I suppose a rock wall does not count
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero - All little boys do this
58. Sung karaoke - Badly though
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain - I love to run in the rain!
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest - No, but did win a Christmas Light Contest once.
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on a television news program as an “expert”
83. Gotten flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house - On #2 now
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children - Well, still raising the Princesses
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Passed out cold
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking with the windows open
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray
110. Broken someone’s heart - sucks to do this
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a TV game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon - No but did see Sunrise at the South Rim - AWESOME!!!
122. Slept for 30 hours in a 48 hour period
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. States
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi - Did not like too much though
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad and The Odyssey
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating - Does a fish count?
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head - no but have thought about it.
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone’s life - Maybe, not sure

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Lights Already?

It was quite cold this morning. I woke up at 5 AM to go on a 5 mile run before work. The local high school track is only 1/4 mile away so I ran over there and hopped the fence to do some laps where I don't have to worry about traffic. The wind was going good so the wind chill was low. I started well but after 1.2 miles I started not doing well. My back was a bit sore still so I decided to cut the run to 3.5 miles and run later in the day.

After work I went to my chiropractic appointment and got 'cracked' which felt good. But the Doc said no running to let the adjustment settle in. No running until Friday. Puts quite a damper on the training but a good run on Friday will remedy that.

As I drove home, I saw a lot of houses with Christmas Lights up and lit up. My rule of Thumb is that they can be up but not lit until December. But if it makes you happy to have them on, then more power to them. Me personally, I LOVE Christmas lights. I love decorating the house to best I can and then throughout December, we, as a family, drive around looking at all the nice houses decorated, and the not so nice ones as well. He jokingly give out awards every year. We only do it for fun and not actually tell the people about them but it is fun. We give out 4 awards each year:
1. First Place Award - This goes to the house that is decorated the best overall. A real nice display not over done.
2. The "Why Bother?" Award - This is to the guy who decorates so little that we say :Why did they bother ever decorating"? This could be a house that has many windows but only 1 window has lights and lots a trees but only 1 with lights. You get the point.
3. The 'Clark W. Griswold' Award - Named after Chevy Chases character in Christmas Vacation who puts lights on every open part of his house. There is even a house in the area here that does this to an unbelievable level. I think his electricity meter is smoking it is moving so fast. We have given this person the Lifetime Achievement award already.
And the final award is
4. The Craptacular Award - This goes to the display that is so horrible and with no thought that all you can say is that it is craptacular. Could be icicle lights with half out or lights strung up with no rhyme or reason.

Maybe this year I will try to take some pictures and post them for you all. Maybe you will get a kick out of it.

Looking forward to Friday's run!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No Running :(

I did not get out for a run yesterday. I took one of the princesses with me to the chiropractor and let him twist me into a pretzel. I don't know if you have ever gone to a "Crackopractor" or not, but to me it is a bitter sweet experience. First I am put on electrodes to tire out my back muscles so the 'adjustment' goes better. Then I go into a room with a table to be "Cracked". The crack he dose in the middle of my back feels OK, not problems there. He also cracks my neck which feels very weird as it sort of seems like he is going to pop it right off my head. Then on the my lower back where I have been having my trouble. I lay on my back and he puts my knee over the other leg, he then puts my arms in some sort of a crossed formation. then while holding my knee in place, he exerts lots of quick pressure in the opposite direction with my back and hips which makes a firecracker sound with my back. It hurts quite a bit for a few seconds but the relief in pressure afterwards is wonderful.

The drive home was challenging as the road suddenly froze over wit black ice which is ice you cannot see and can make you into a wreck before you know it. I drove 15 MPH for 4 miles before the roads got any better.

I go again tomorrow!

No running today as well. I was suppose to run with Mike after work but a meeting went late and I had to pick up a different princess from school (We call Day Care School). My plan is to wake up before work and put in 5 miles before I leave. Then after the Chiropractic Appointment, another run, possibly a Tempo run at Pettit since I will be close by. I cannot run on Thursdays as my wife plays bells in the Church Bell Choir and has rehearsals on Thursdays.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Sunday Afternoon

It has not been a good day for me so far today. Not horrible, but not good. Right now 2 of my "Princesses" are not being to royal by not napping good. They become little monsters with lack of sleep like most toddlers. Second, I pulled some muscles in my back again. I did this a few weeks back and they are sore again. Time to make that appointment for the Chiropractor again.

I just got done watching my Packers beat the Chicago Chipmunks yet again. So that is good news.

Anyways, to get to know me better, I thought I would list out all the marathons I have completed so far in my life, 13 and counting:

1. 1993 Fox Cities Marathon in Appleton, WI. This is still my PR of 3:40 and I did this right after college but did not train properly at all. I totally missed my opportunity at Boston here with the shape I was in after college.
2. 2004 Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee, WI Bonked at the end, did not taper properly.
3. 2006 Disney Marathon, Orlando, FL
4. 2006 Chicago Marathon, Chicago, IL Windy, Rainy but broke 4 hours
5. 2007 Disney Goofy Challenge, Orlando, FL Half Marathon on Saturday, Full Marathon on Sunday.
6. 2007 Trailbreaker Marathon, Waukesha, WI Ran this as a training run with Paul. Very hard run with trails and 600 ft elevation gain to half and then return to start. Best part was at the halfway point, we had to climb an observation tower and climb down to return. Worst part, No Medal, No Certificate, only 7 water stops.
7. 2007 Chicago Marathon, Chicago, IL This was the hot one! 93 and humid. By half way, no one cared about times anymore, just merely finishing was the goal.
8. 2007 Grand Rapids Marathon, Grand Rapids, MI I loved this one. PR since the first marathon 14 years ago. 3:43 I recommend this one to everyone.
9. 2008 St. Louis Marathon, St. Louis, MO I was running a fever when I ran this one so after half way, all I wanted to do was finish and that is all I did. great road trip with Mike, Chaz and Paul though.
10. 2008 Madison Marathon, Madison, WI I thought I was in better shape than I was and went out too hard and suffered to the end.
11. 2008 Fox Cities Marathon, Appleton, WI Again not good, but oh well!
12. 2008 Twin Cities Marathon, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN Pouring rain and wind from mile 3 to mile 16 but oddly fun. Beautiful course, probably more so with the sun out. Ran great through 21, then all fell apart.
13. 2008 Rails to Trails Marathon, Norwalk, WI This is on an old railroad bed and runs twice through a 3/4 mile tunnel which was pretty cool. 500 foot elevation gain from 13 to 21 did me in. Worst organized marathon I have ever done though. This was their first year in their defence.

More later!!!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Post #2, I am on a roll . . .

Time for blog post number 2. I am at work right now catching up on what I was unable to complete this week. Need to be prepared for Monday morning. Our "Muzak" station is on a 50's music station and it is God Awful to listen to. I recognize about 1 in 7 songs. Maybe this will be a short post so I can get out of here and go home to the princesses who are napping right now.

This morning was the 15 miler inside The Pettit National Ice Center. It was rainy and mid 30's this morning and I wanted to stay dry today for the whole 15. My goal was to try something new today. usually when I run 10 or more miles, I take short 30 second walk breaks every 2 to 3 miles to give the legs a short rest, this time no breaks was the goal. Mike is trying o help me improve my late race endurance and the last 5 marathons I have petered out after 20 and my mile splits creep up and I lose out on my Sub 4 goals. Goal today: No Walk Breaks!
I was meeting Paul this morning and he showed up a little after me. I was just competing lap #1 (of 54) when he joined me. We started out at about 8:35 pace and that seemed pretty good. After a few laps, Paul decided to catch up his lost lap to me and go ahead and "catch up" to me. After quite a few laps he came up behind me and we were even on distance. After 5 miles, we dropped the pace to about 8:10 and kept going. Paul told me he had to leave soon but I convinced him to run at least 13.1 miles. I passes the half marathon at 1:48 and Paul left to go home. 7 Laps to go on my own. My legs were a bit tired from no breaks but I convinced myself to pick up the pace anyways.
By this time, there were speed skating time trials going on the oval. Helps break up the monotony to see these people skating a breakneck speeds. I finished the last 7 laps in a good pace and even dropped the last mile to about 7:15 which made me happy. this is the place I am running my next marathon so it is good to get the feel for the course. Hmmm, I guess I sort of ran the course 54 times today.
It will be an unusual marathon for sure at Pettit. About 94 or so laps and about 1/4 inch of hard plastic rubber right on top on cement. No so good for the legs but proceeds from this marathon are going to make a new running track in its place. Hopefully one more forgiving on the legs. I was checking their race website and the course map is quite humorous. Here it is: O The race director has a sense of humor!!! The hard surface is the bad, but the good will be no rain, no snow, no sun, no wind, Temp. 50-55 degrees and an elevation change from the highest level to the lowest lever of 0 feet. This will be the flattest marathon in the history of the world.

Friday, November 14, 2008

My 1st Ever Blog

Hello to all! This is my first ever blog if you can believe it or not. Why did I decide to Blog? I am not sure. A runner co-worker of mine did a blog a few years back and still does but does not update as much as he used to and I liked reading that and seeing all of those who responded to him all over the world. Seems exciting! Then a week or so ago while just surfing around, I came upon a blog that goes by the name of "Life is a Marathon..." by a runner named Melanie from Tennessee. I do not know Melanie at all but after reading some of her blogs about running and about life, she seemed like a cool girl and had similar interests as me. Maybe someday she will see this blog and wonder what kind of weird guy from Wisconsin sees my blog and starts his own? All that made me decide to try out blogging and specifically a runner blog.

I am will have to try over the next few weeks to learn how to modify this page to show all the other cool stuff I see in other blogs like mileage reports and other stats. Time will tell if I can actually learn that stuff.

Well, if you want to know about me, here goes: I am 37 years old and live in Muskego, WI. I have a wife who sometimes runs half marathons (and did 1 full, NYC at that) and 3 little Princesses named Melissa, Megan, and Katelynn. they are currently 6, 4, and 3 respectively. They see Daddy running a lot or wake up on a Saturday morning a wonder where did Daddy go?!?!? Then later that morning, Daddy come through the door and they come running for a big hug. A sweaty hug that I try to decrease how wet they get, but a hug none the less. My wife on the other hand wants nothing to do with me when I first get home from a run. After a nice shower and that is a different story.

I have been running since about 5th grade. I still have my 2 awards I won in the 6th Grade Olympics my school ran many years ago. 1st in Cross Country and 2nd in the 600 Yard Run. I ran in High School and was pretty good but not great. I did win a conference title in the 800M as a Senior and the Region Title that year as well but missed out on the State Meet. I was pretty bummed about that!

I then ran on my college Track and Cross Country teams. The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. I was an average D3 runner in Track by the time I was a senior. I competitively for the Cross Country team and we had a great team. We even won the National D3 title Championships 2 of the years I was there. No thanks to me as I was the slowest runner on the team. I think I was #26 on the team. I was so excited my second year when I finally beat someone from my own team in a cross country race. But in truth, I ran cross country to help train for track as I ran the half mile there. I had a great time in college on the team and my coach was a great guy and he still coaches there. His name is John Zupanc and I would recommend any kid wanting to run in college to check his program out. Year in and year out they are one of the best D3 teams in the country. He is the guy who inspired me to run my first marathon a half a year out of college. He was and still is a great Marathoner. He won the Milwaukee Marathon at least once and took 2nd a few times as well. i think his PR is about 2:20 or close to that. I am way off that time.

My first marathon was in was the 1993 Fox Cities Marathon in Appleton, WI. I was fresh out of college and is great half mile shape. Too bad you need to be in marathon shape to run a marathon. While it is still my PR marathon (3:40), I suffered bad after mile 18 when I strained some leg muscles who have never run further than 14 miles at a time before that. I lived and learned by not running another marathon for 11 years.

I have just completed my 13th marathon about 2 weeks ago and my 5th this year. It has been a down year for my marathons as I haven't been but 23 minutes off my best time from 2007. Oh well, I still train and am training for my next which is scheduled for January 17th in Milwaukee. WHAT! JANUARY IN MILWAUKEE?!?! ARE YOU CRAZY?!?! Well yes I am crazy, but not because of this race. It is the Icebreaker Marathon held INSIDE the Pettit National Ice Center on a 450M track. This is the place where lots of the US Olympic speedskaters train and race like Bonnie Blair, Dan Jansen, and Chris Witty. They have a 2 lace running track on the outside of the ice oval. Great for long runs during the winter to avoid icy street and crazy drivers in the dark. Th race will be 94 or so laps. I run there often for long runs during the winter so I am used to the monotony of the laps. My goal (as with all marathons) is Sub 4:00.

I do train with a group of friends that we all like to do marathons and we travel to them together as well.

There is Art (The guy who also has a blog), he has run 7 marathons so far.

There is Mike, another coworker of mine. He has run 28 marathons and this year PR'ed with his first Sub 3 Hour Marathon.

Paul is also a coworker of mine. He is a nut a likes to run marathons a lot and do all this crazy stuff like climb mountains and do IronMan competitions. He has run close to 20 so far. Including 9 last year and maybe 9 this year wile climbing part of the way up Mt. Everest.

Chaz is a friend of mine I met playing Volleyball. He ran his first marathon when I ran my 2nd in 2004. Is consistently runs Sub 3's now and is up to 14 or so marathons and Ultras.

Larry is also a coworker of mine who tags along sometimes but is more a Triathlete than a marathoner though he has goals of Boston like Paul and myself so. He does those crazy IronMans as well.
There are others that run with us occasionally and we have actually created a small running boom where I work with people doing fulls and half marathons. I think in the past 3 years, we have had 9 people where I work run a full marathon and we only have a little over 200 people work in the building. I have many running friends including Cherylynn (Chaz's wife), Laura, Angelo, Pat, and Ken & Wendy (from Church). We all share our experiences running a love to talk about running as well as all sorts of other stuff. I hope you enjoy this bog and please reply and let me know what you think. I hope to perfect this blog thing soon.
15 Miles tomorrow morning at Pettit! 54 laps! Will share more soon!