Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thoughts on the Icebreaker and a few Photos

My last 2 posts were about my races during the Icebreaker Marathon and Half Marathon. I detailed how I did and how I felt during the races. Now I would like to tell all of you what it was like to run the race and other perceptions I had of the entire event.

To start, the package pick up was extremely easy. I arrived less than 1 hour before each race to get my timing chip and packet. There was maybe 2 people in line and many at the packet pick up table to help. After that, there was a room upstairs with windows looking over the track to stay and relax before the race.

I know a lot of you are thinking that running either 47 laps (Half Marathon) or 95 laps (Full Marathon) must be extremely boring. I know this because even my friends I run with think this when they haven't ever run there. I did not hear one person who thought that during the race and the posts on Marathon Guide say the same. Others have said that they thought it would be crowded on the track. Again, not the case. Each race had a little over 100 runners and with them all spread around the track, it was quite smooth. There was a rule to run in the outside lane unless passing and most everyone followed this making the race go very smoothly. In fact, the ONLY time I ever had to say "Track" to get someone to pull over was on my final lap of the Full Marathon when i was sprinting pretty fast.

The announcer was great! In both races, I was announced as a runner of note being the Race Director of the WELS Kid's Marathon. Paul was mentioned because he ran a marathon only 1 week earlier and many others were named for other various reasons that were fun to hear. I will talk to Chris, the race director, and suggest that people could mention something on the entry form and the announcer could mention that at some point during the race. I would think most people would like to hear their name during the race. In fact, most everyone did hear their name as the announced when each runner was on their last lap and then congratulated them after finishing. I hope they get the same announcer for next year. He did a great job.

I know some of you also like to run with headphones. In this race they were not allowed for good reason. The rack is only 2 lanes wide so being able to hear other runners was very important. Besides, when registering for the race, they asked for 3 songs you wanted to hear during the race and then they played them at some point. This year they even turned up the volume as last year it was too soft.

Another thing that was unique to this race is that you could watch the entire race unfold in front of your own eyes. The announcer kept everyone informed on how the leaders were doing. How often do you get to see the winners of the race when you are running in the same race? Well, unless you are the winner or just behind them, you can't. But here you could see leads forming or shrinking. Passing and changing of leaders and even some of the problems the leaders encounter. My friend Dana was leading the race by 2 laps at about the 21 mile mark until he had to pull off and drop out because of an ankle tendon injury. I saw him on the side of the track stretching it before he dropped out which caused me concern as I was pulling for him to win, but in a regular marathon, I never would have seen any of that.

Do you have family or friends that like to watch you run marathons? There is no better place than at the Icebreaker. With 95 laps of running, they can just sit in the bleachers and cheer you on every lap and even give you high 5's. No need to drive ahead and wait until you come by not knowing how long it really would be. The only thing you need to be aware of is that you should bring a jacket if you plan on cheering, it is dry and cold in there, about 45 to 50F. But they were selling hot coffee! And you could go upstairs to the "Hall of Fame" room where is was warmer and watch through the windows.

Water stops? How about 95 of them with them handing you your own person bottle. Also they were very friendly and enthusiastic. Bathrooms? 190 portolets along the course. You never go more that 220 meters before the next one! Don't want to carry your Gels or want to start with a warmer shirt before you take it off? Each runner has a personal bag drop area that is no more than 15 feet from the track.
In case you can't tell, I love this race and plan on doing it again and again. But not everything is good. The track is about a 1/4 inch of hard rubber on top of cement. Not very forgiving at all. But proceeds of this race are collecting to purchase a new running track for the Pettit Center. I am not sure how many years that will take though. The medal is only marginal as well. I can't complain too much though because they get it from the same place I get the Kid's Marathon medals from.

There was a group in the Marathon Relay from Fit Milwaukee that put a video on YouTube so if you would like to see a little of what the race was like, just visit there.

Here is Paul and I only 30 meters into the Full Marathon. Wonder what I am looking at on the ground?

Here I am somewhere in the first 10 laps of the full.

Chris running in the first Half Marathon.

Dana looking smooth before his ankle injury.

Paul running well in the Half Marathon. You have to love the girl's ponytail mid-air behind Paul. She is a local news TV Sportscaster. The girl next to her is running across the country starting in March in San Fransisco all the way to New York raising funds for MS.

I am going to try to post 1 more time about one special runner in the race.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Race Report #2 - Icebreaker Indoor Full Marathon

I finished the Gold Medal Challenge of the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon and Half Marathon here in Milwaukee at the Pettit National Ice Center. The good news is just that, I finished, the bad news is...well...not too much. I did not meet my main goal but did achieve some minor goals. I finished the full marathon today in 4:23:48 good for 55th place overall. Combine that with the 1:54:53 I ran yesterday in the half marathon, I ran the 39.3 miles in 6:18:41. This earned me 19th place overall in the Gold Medal Challenge out of 35 Gold Medal Finishers. The one goal, besides finishing, that I did achieve, was that I beat my time from last year in the full marathon by a mere 21 seconds and last year I did not run a half the day before.

The day started at 6:00 AM and did the usual before the race, same as yesterday. This time, though, my legs were already tight and sore before I even left the house. My hope was that they would loosen up once I arrived or after a few laps of running. I did not loosen up during the pre-race time and hoped for better results during the race. I decided, as planned, to go out a bit slower and I did just that. My first 20 laps were all between 2:33 and 2:39 which equated to a 9:20 to 9:40 pace. It was about at this time I knew that I could be in trouble if I kept this up as the legs were very tired and still tight.

My other plan was to take my usual 30 second walk breaks every 10 laps (~2.75 miles). My plan was to do this through 70 laps and then possibly change that to a break every 5 laps for the last 26 laps. I know from experience that if I take an "unscheduled walk break" that this spells doom for me and I might as well let the crash and burn commence. So far I kept to the plan.

Since I was still tired, I backed off the pace a little to the lower 2:40's. I kept this for quite a lot of laps and I went through the half in about 2:06:30ish. By lap 50 or so, I slowed down slightly to about 2:50 per lap. I was getting quite tired but still kept to the plan but now that plan had changed some to avoid the complete meltdown and try to keep running. By lap 70 or so, I has slowed down some more to the upper 2:50's and some laps in the low 3:00 minute range. 3:00 per lap equates to a pace of 10:55 per mile and I really didn't want it to get much slower if possible.

It was at this time that my girls showed up to watch me the rest of the way. This was the first time they saw Daddy run a marathon. It was great to get high 5's from theme EVERY lap the rest of the way and from some of their Teddy Bears as well. But just after they showed up, I had the defining moment of the race for me. On lap 74, my legs said, "that is it, I need a break", but I concentrated a lot and said "no, I will not stop to walk some" and kept moving knowing that if I stopped, it would be curtains for me. It was a very hard lap for me to bear but I was so glad to get over it and keep going. I had another problem suddenly when I started noticing a little problem with my vision that I know means I am getting dehydrated. I listened and picked up my water bottle that lap, kept running, but got some more water in me.

Lap 80 came and I took my scheduled break and took an extra packet of salt to hold off any cramps that may be forming. I now knew that I only had 5 laps until the next break but I did stop where my girls were and got a quick salt kiss on the cheek from each of them before I kept going. Lap 85 came and I took my break and continued on. After starting up again, I heard Paul was on his final lap from the announcer and I looked at my watch and it said 3:58. He passed me at 3:59 and I began yelling at him to sprint it in so he cold break 4 hours. He did with a final time of 3:59:28 (he had one hell of a kick). Paul ended up finishing in 34th overall in the marathon and 9th overall in the Gold Medal Challenge.

I took my last break at lap 90 and had only 5 laps to go when I started up again. There was a lady I talked to quite a few times in the race that was in the Gold Medal Challenge as well that had passed me 2 laps before to be only 1 lap down from me. She finished 10 seconds ahead of me in the half marathon so I knew it could be close for final Gold Medal standings so I used her to motivate me to the end. I also knew that if I put up a herculean effort, I might be able to beat my time from last year. So with 4 laps to go (1.1 miles), I pick up the pace and suddenly feel pretty good as I begin to pass other runners at a fast pace. Suddenly lap 92 was at 9:30 pace. Lap 93 was at 8:51 pace. Lap 94 was at close to 8:00 pace and the final 1.37 laps were at 7:31 pace. I found something that was hidden very deep in there. The final mile was by far my fastest mile.

So I finished 21 seconds ahead of last year but more importantly, I finished. I didn't feel good during any point of the full marathon but that doesn't mean I didn't have fun. I had quite a few friends there cheering me on as they volunteered during the race. It is really unique to have so many opportunities for friends and family to cheer you on during a marathon. My girls had lots of fun with the 2 medals I earned today (Silver for the full marathon and Gold for the Gold Medal Challenge).

The Icebreaker Marathon and Half Marathon is a really great event that I plan on doing every year that I can. I am going to do one more post on this event next time detailing more of what happened during the race and my observations and opinions of the race as well. Most of them good, a few maybe not so good but I really want to share them with for those of you maybe interested in entering in future years.
Thanks to all of you who were cheering me on from all over the US (and maybe the world). I think I will take tomorrow off from running!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Race Report #1 - Icebreaker Indoor Half Marathon

I woke up at about 5 AM this morning for the start of the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon and Half Marathon's Gold Medal Challenge. I slept pretty good all week and pretty good last night so all was well so far. After getting all my stuff packed, ate 2 packs of oatmeal, and off to the Pettit Center I went. It wasn't really cold this year like last year so the drive in was no problem.

I get to Pettit, sign in and get my packet, running numbers, and racing chip and head upstairs to relax a bit and get ready. I decided that I was going to tun the first 10 laps in a long sleeve shirt before I took it off and ran just in my singlet. This was a good decision as they raised the temperatures a bit in Pettit so it was probably in the lower 50's. I find Paul and Chris we head to the start line. I remind myself of the plan which is to break 2 hours but do it as effortlessly as possible saving energy for tomorrow.

The gun goes off and about 100 of us start circling the track for a total of 47.68 laps of pure enjoyment. My first few laps were a bit fast by about 6 seconds or so per lap but it was all good as I settled down and maintained lap times of 2:26 to 2:28 for the next 20 laps or so. I was getting past quite often and really wasn't passing too many myself but I expected this. I was in the "fast heat" of the half marathon (there was a second half marathon after the first one completed). About half way I was at about 58:30 so all is going according to plan.

Chris and Paul seem to be doing good as they pass me every once in awhile. Chris happens to be the Race Director of this entire event but was able to get into the first half marathon and mix it up some. He ended up running 1:29:49. Paul, like me, is doing the Gold Medal Challenge and tried taking it a bit easier and finished in 1:42:46.

During the second half of the race, I found myself picking it up a bit without trying to about 2:23 per lap. And in the last 7 laps, I felt really good and even though I tried to maintain a slow conservative pace, I was doing laps near 2:15. I finished strong in 1:54:53 for 65th place in the fast heat. I think about 6 runners beat my time in the "slow heat" so I ended up in 71st place overall. I am happy with this time but I hope I didn't use too much and risk crashing tomorrow. I don't think so but time will tell.

I was surprised how easy it was to run with the extra runners on the track. We all seemed to run smoothly though I can't speak for the leaders who had to pass runners the entire race. they played the music a lot louder this year which was good and the announcer did a great job keeping everyone informed. He did something I thought was cool, he started announcing some of the "notable" runners in the race. He mentioned Paul because he ran the Rock & Roll Marathon last week. He mentioned some other runners who were minor local celebrities like a local TV Sportscaster woman and a former Milwaukee Brewer TV announcer. Then out of the blue, I hear him welcome me saying "Bill is the Race Director or the Wellness Kid's Marathon". He was close! It is the WELS Kid's Marathon but it was fun hearing myself getting announced to all.

So now I will relax some and get ready for the full marathon tomorrow. I will stick to the plan and try to go out a bit slower and see how I feel halfway to see if I can get a sub 4.

After the half, I volunteered for the second half marathon. My job was to help call off laps if requested but I ended up being more of a gopher and going where needed. I helped the announcer with some stats, was a cheerer for the runners on the track, water jug filler, etc. There was one instance that happened that was odd. Everyone was told to put there chip band on the ankles. Well one guy asked how many laps he had left but there was no record of him on the scoring sheet. I ended up going down the track and talked to him and found out he had his chip on his wrist and no laps were being registered for him! He kept running but I found Chris (Race Director) and after some discussions with the timers, it was determined that he could finish the race and they "calculated" how many laps he should have finished based on his current pace. It was nice to see that he was able to get his half marathon medal but I don't know if he had an official finishing time or place.

After the second heat of the half marathon, they started the Marathon Relay. I ended up only staying for about 45 minutes of this before I headed home but it was wild to see. There were 68 teams running and some really fast. There were 3 teams that ran faster than 2:30 and the winning time was 2:20:20 for a pace of 5:22 per mile. Now that is fast!

I need to go to bed now and get some sleep and rest. 8:00AM tomorrow is the full!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Icebreaker Preview

I did my last run before this weekends Icebreaker Marathon Gold Medal Challenge at the Pettit Center. I ran an very easy 3 miles and felt pretty good. I have been having a little problem this week and I hope it does not affect me. My left quad is a little tight and sore. I think it has to do with the stress from work. I am not sure how stress can make your quad tight but I didn't do anything (that I can think of anyway) to my quad to make it feel this way. I felt this before the Indianapolis Marathon as well. Maybe it is my bodies way of preparing for a marathon. Odd, isn't it? I am not at all nervous about the race, heck it is my 20th marathon, but I still can't figure it out. Oh well, it won't stop me from running.

Here is the time table and my goals/plans. The Half Marathon begins at 7:00AM on Saturday morning. I am in the first of the 2 half races which is the faster runners. My plan is to run easy and finish in about 1 hour 58 minutes. That would be to average 2:28 seconds per lap. this should be no problem barring any unforeseen issues. I am going to keep a pace chart at my personal running area to make sure if I need to pick it up, I can. Sub 2 is definitely the goal here but also do it while using as little energy as possible.

After the race, I am volunteering to help out with the second half marathon. I don't know what I will be doing, maybe handing out personal water bottles (no cups all lowed), maybe something else. Whatever it is, I am glad to help.

Sunday morning is the Full Marathon and that starts at 8:00AM. Here my goal will be to go out at somewhere between 2:30 to 2:35 per lap. This is just at and a bit over 4 hour pace. I will try to keep this pace up for 3 hours and at that point in time, decide if I am going to go for it and go sub 4 hours. This is the ultimate goal, sub 4. I don't think I am all that confident I can do this, but then again, why not? If I can relax in the half and for 3 hours in the full, and then have myself completely mentally into the race, I should have a good shot at it. Realistically I should be aiming for a 4:10 finish time or maybe 4:15.

There are a lot of things about this marathon that you don't encounter in a regular outdoor marathon to take into consideration. The good would be that there are no hills, zero elevation change. The temperature will be in the upper 40's lower 50's the entire race and there will be no wind. There is a water stop every 1/4 mile and I don't have to carry any Gu's, drinks or salt. There is a portolet every 200 meters as well. The bad is that is will be crowded the entire race and I will be passing and being passed the entire race. It is also a very hard surface. About a 1/4 inch of hard rubber over cement.

I am looking forward to a good race this weekend. 39.3 miles is a far way to run but I am up for the challenge, goofy as it is. Wish me luck, I will try to post between races.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Friends at Rock & Roll

Today was the Rock & Roll Marathon in Phoenix, AZ. I did not run it, I was still here in cold Wisconsin. But I did have 3 friends that traveled down to run. All 3 ran really good considering what they were going through.

Chaz ran a 2:57:43, this is 6 minutes off his PR but he has been suffering from a heal problem for awhile. He did end up being the first finisher from Wisconsin in 110th place overall. Mike suffered a hamstring pull a few weeks ago and somehow was able to run a 3:24:35. And as usual, Paul ran well and finished in 3:40:27.

In an upset in the Half Marathon, Ryan Hall was defeated by Simon Bairu. While I think it sucks Hall lost (it was only a training run for him), I can't help but like that is was by Bairu who is a U of Wisconsin Grad and train in Oregon with Matt Tegankamp, Chris Solinski, and the rest of the former U of Wisconsin Track/Cross Country team that is doing so well in the running circuit.

As far as my training for the Icebreaker is going, I did a not so good run today. I ran 8 miles but had some issues at mile 5 that were not fun. I still finished it in about an 8:45 pace but was not happy with the run. I will do a few more short runs this week before the 39.3 miles over the weekend. And crazy Paul, yes the one who ran the Rock & Roll Marathon today, will also be doing the Gold Medal Challenge with me next weekend.

And finally, I spoke to the Principal at my girl's school today and we are a go for the 2nd Annual WELS Kid's Marathon. We have begun the planning already but with his go ahead, we will officially begin the work needed. It should be a lot easier this year since we know what we did right and what we did wrong and what we want to add and remove, etc.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What is Your Pace? I Have No Idea

I am doing a favor for my friend Chris who is the race director for the Icebreaker Marathon and Half Marathon to be held at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. I am creating a spreadsheet that lists lap time at Pettit and converts it to mile pace and marathon/half marathon pace.

In most of the marathons I have run, there are mile markers along the course that lets you know how far you have gone and allows you to see your splits (if you click your watch) along the way. Well, at the Icebreaker, there are no mile markers. If there were, they would be all over and you would be passing them all the time having no real clue how far you really have gone. What about wearing a Garmin? No dice! You can't get a signal through the metal exterior of the building. So what is a guy to do who wants to keep a specific pace? Create a spreadsheet.

Here is what I did. Chris gave me the official certified distance for 1 lap. Officially a lap at Pettit is 442.434264 meters. We all actually run a meter or 2 further each lap, but since we don't run right on the inside line the whole way (there is also a speed skater mat there), the distance is slightly more. This makes a marathon at Pettit 95.3701 laps. I then created a spreadsheet and created laps times from 90 seconds to 240 seconds. Letting Excel do the math, I then showed what each lap pace would mean for a marathon or half marathon time. Also since a lot of us marathon runners like to know our mile pace, I converted the lap time to a mile pace (1 mile =1609.344 Meters).

I know, a little over analytical! Well, that is me and I like to know my pace. So for me, if I want to break 4 hours in a marathon at Pettis, I need to run just under 2:31 per lap. 2:31 per laps would equal a 4:00:01 marathon. Want to run a 3:30 marathon at Pettit? 2:12 per lap would give you a time of 3:29:49. Want to run 3:00 laps, that will give you a 4:46:07 marathon. You get the picture.

They will take the spreadsheet and print it out for anyone who wants the info and it will be my little way of helping those who want a good time, to help achieve it.

Numbers aside, you still have to run the entire distance. 26.21876 miles. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

(Most) Runners are Really Cool

Do you ever feel line you have run faster than it shows you have? Well, I felt that way today.

I woke up early and went to the Pettit to run for 2 hours on my last "somewhat" longer run in my training for the Icebreaker Marathon and Half Marathon which is in 2 weeks. I wanted to run a little faster than my previous slower runs at Pettit but not too fast. When I arrived, I started out doing laps at 2:30 seconds for the first 20 laps or so. Some faster, some slower. Not too long into the run, my friend (and Icebreaker Marathon Race Director) Chris showed up and we ran together talking for about 10 laps. He took off and ran with Dana'

Not long after that I found 2 ladies running that were running close to my pace. I sparked up a conversation with them since I have seen them at Pettit quite a few times. I had to pick it up slightly to keep with them but we chatted for about 5 laps. They were nice ladies who are training for Boston this spring and have similar marathon PR's to me. (3:45ish). Even though they run at Pettit often, they were amazed that I would even think of running a marathon there. i told them about the relay and it being open still and they might do it.

There are all kinds of runners at Pettit. Slow, fast, big, petite, smelly (see my post last weekend). There were all kinds there today. Some very nice like the ladies I ran with for a bit. Some jerks who think they own the track and don't listen to anyone. In particular are the slow runners who keep running in lane 1 instead of lane 2 (there are only 2 lanes). One particular guy today was running slow in lane 1 and was told several times that lane 1 was for passing and lane 2 was for running. He would have none of it and caused commotion his entire run, at least from what I see. I have met lots of runners at Pettit, it is easy to talk there as no matter what pace you run, you see the same people over and over.

(Most) runners are great people. I think we all know this. Most are very respectful. Most runners at Pettit even stop when they play the National Anthem for either the Speed Skaters or a Hockey game on the inner rinks. (Most) runners are very cool people. I know those of you who I have communicated with and have met via my or their blogs are very cool people and I know I would be good friends with them if we lived in the same area or met someday. it is the nature of us runners! So way to go runners! You are way cool!!!

Anyways, I felt like I ran faster than the 8:58 pace I ran. I may have forgotten to count a lap which would make me about 445 meter more faster. it is hard to keep track at Pettit, but the company is well worth it, even if there are a few rotten eggs.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snow Fun

Well, we are getting snow again as I write. We are got about 5 inches throughout the day and expect 5 or so more before work tomorrow. Lucky for me, actually my back, it is the light, somewhat fluffy snow. That makes shovelling so much easier. frugal me still uses the old shovel instead of spending $300 to $500 on a snow blower. I will break down since my girls are still way too young to help. Helping to them was making snow angels in the yard as I cleared the driveway. They did have fun.

I did get in 4 miles yesterday with Mike and I plan on running 2 hours on Saturday morning with Paul at Pettit. Both of them along with my friend Chaz are running next weekend in Phoenix at the Rock & Roll Marathon. It will be interesting to see how the do. Chaz has a sore heal. Mike pulled his hammie a bit on a run but will still run. And Paul hasn't done many miles recently but always pulls a good time out of his ---. I wish the good luck down there. It should be a lot warmer there than here, and no snow.

Also good luck to everyone running at the Disney World Marathon this weekend. It might not be great weather for enjoying the parks, but it sounds like great marathon weather. Extra good luck for all the Goofs out there!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2010 Year in Preview

I had a great run this evening. It was cold and Mike and I were planning on running 4 miles, 2 laps of a 2 mile circuit near our work. It was about 16F out and clear, no wind and getting dark when we started. We took off at a moderate pace while we talked about the day and about Mike's upcoming marathon, the Rock & Roll Phoenix Marathon. Lap 1 was 16:50, average 8:25.

On lap 2, we continued our moderate pace and averaged 8:24. We were close to finishing this circuit and I wanted to go another 2 miles (or 1 lap). I tried to convince Mike that I would pick up the pace for him since the pace we were going was pedestrian for him. He decided to do the lap with me and we pick it up. We pretty much stop talking as I am trying to push it faster and faster as we go on. The final 2 miles end up at14:20, or 7:10 average pace. This is why the run was a great one. We could have gone faster if it was warmer, but since it was cold, my quads were at about the fastest they could go without pulling something. It almost felt like they were on the verge near the end. So overall for the 6 miles, we averaged 8:00 pace so I am going to call this a tempo run.

So what do I have planned for 2010? I would like to increase my miles to about 1700 for the year, this is 220 more than last year. This should be doable if no major injuries occur. That is the key.

The next goal is to get my marathon time back down to 3:45. Of course a sub 4 will still feel good, but I would like it back down to where I know I can run, but just haven't in 2 years.

I want to get my 5K time back under 20 minutes. This could happen in the later spring or summer when I am back to running more tempo runs and track workouts. These would be the major goals for the year.

Now, what races do I have planned? Well, January 23rd and 24th is the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon and Half Marathon. The Half is on the 23rd and the Full is on the 24th. Ultimately I would love to go Sub 2/Sub 4, but realistically a goal of 4:15 is what I should shoot for in the Full.

I am taking the girls to see my parents in Panama City Beach, FL in early March (they are now officially snowbirds) and I found a nice smaller marathon to so on the way down. Saturday, March 6th I plan on running the Snickers Marathon Energy Bar Marathon in Albany, Georgia. I have read that this is a pretty fast one so I may try to go for a good time. The problem with this is that I will be driving 16 hours to get down there so I may be wiped out from the drive. I plan on taking 2 days for the drive, leave after school on Thursday, drive halfway, then drive the rest of the way on Friday to get to the Expo before it closes.

In early April, I plan on running the Trailbreaker Marathon here in Wisconsin. It starts only 11 miles from my house. I put a race report on this one in the spring last year and one of the organizers wanted more of my opinions so I wrote him some of the things I liked and what I thought needed improving. I would like to see if they took my advise or not. This one would be run strictly as a training run, slow and steady. they have not update their website recently so I hope they have not decided to scrap the race like they did in 2008.

There are 2 5K I like to do, 1 in April and the other on the 4th of July. I hope to run both of these again. There also is a short Triathlon in late April I may attempt. If not this one, maybe one in the summer.

In May, I plan on running the Door County Half Marathon again. I really liked this race and it was organized very well. If things go well, perhaps I can PR once again and break 1:40 here. there is also a possibility of running another full marathon in May or early June.

The summer should be major training months with maybe some short 5K's or 10K's and then in the fall, run 2 full marathons. I have not decided on any full marathons so if you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

So that is the plan so far. It will change many times during the year, but it is good to start with something set in pencil.

What are your plans?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

2009 in Review

2009 was a pretty good year as far as running was concerned. It wasn't a good year in terms of race times though. I had my ups and I had my downs. I was mainly healthy the entire year but yet had some festering problems that continue into 2010. I have met some cool runner blog friends (cyberly that is) and even follow more people via their blogs. I have put on a lot of miles and intend to put on even more this year. So here are some stats from my year:

  • I ran a total of 1481 miles in 2009, that is 244 more miles than I did in 2008.
  • I ran 20 or more miles in a single run 13 times.
  • I ran 15 or more miles in a single run 21 times.
  • I ran 6 marathons in 2009, a new high for me. I am up to 19 total.
  • I added 2 new states in my quest for all 50. Texas and Indiana. I have 8 total.
  • I ran my first Indoor Marathon in January.
  • I ran one last 5K race pushing my youngest daughter. This may be the last race with the jog stroller.

Here are some of the highlights for me in 2009:

  1. The Heart of Texas Challenge. In February, my friend Paul and I travelled to Texas and ran the Surfside Marathon followed the next day by running the Austin Marathon. 2 marathons in 2 days was quite a challenge. They were not fast by any means but I did finish both of them.
  2. I ran the Whistle Stop Marathon in October in 3:55. My first sub 4 in 2 years.
  3. In May, I ran the Door County Half Marathon in 1:40:02, a PR for me for a half marathon by itself.
  4. In the Spring, I started to organize and was the race director for a Kid's Marathon in Milwaukee which finished in September. We had 197 kids participate and received many compliments. We are planning a second Kid's Marathon in 2010 and anticipate double the participation.

Not everything went well, here are some of the low-lights for 2009:

  1. Of the 3 marathons where I was running for a good time, 2 of them were "crash and burns". Those were the Icebreaker Marathon and the Indianapolis Monumental Marathons. Funny thing is that even though I ran poorly in these races, it had nothing to do with the course, weather, or marathon itself. I highly recommend both of these.
  2. I had a persistent ankle issue since March. I have learned to deal with it but will work with the Chiropractor in 2010 to try to solve it.
  3. I am a better short distance runner than a long distance runner so I was disappointed that in the 2 5K races I ran, I did not break 20 minutes. This is a time I plan on breaking once again in 2010.

There are other running memories I have from 2009 that were fun such as running an 8K race in Naples, FL, doing a 20 mile run in Door County, WI, watching friend run PR's in their marathons and even some breaking 3 hours for the first time. I ran lots of time with my friends Mike and Chaz over many miles and many hills. I traveled to quite a few destinations for races which is always fun.

Now it is time to plan for a great 2010. I will share some of those plans in the next post or 2.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

2010 - Off and Running

I am working on my 2009 review. I need to write a few notes first or I will definitely forget some things.

I did get back to the Pettit this morning for 18.25 miles (or 66 laps, you pick). I did it a little faster that I wanted to, I averaged 9:15 per mile but there were a lot of runners there and I was getting passed and passing lots of people so that kind of makes you go faster even though you don't want to. It was a good run though. I felt like I could continue at this pace for quite a few more laps (A full marathon? I don't know) and this after running 13 1/4 miles on Thursday at 8:28 pace in the cold.

They finally had some speed skaters racing time trials on the Oval during the run. I always like to see these racers, except for the starters pistol going off, especially when I am right next to it.

These was one annoying thing during the run. There were 2 guys running faster that me and passing me every 7 or 8 laps. One of the guys had a really bad stink on him. It followed him like perfume or cologne and all the runners had to choke on it until he was about 40 meters ahead. I know I was not the only one annoyed by this because right after he passed me one time, 2 ladies ahead of us saw him coming and ran off the track until after he passed. As I ran ahead, the ladies were giggling and commenting on him. And when I waved my hand across my face/nose while I was ahead of them, I heard them laugh even louder. I know that I must build up a stench when I run like most of us, but this was ridiculous. But I digress as it is all over with now.

Happy New Year to all of you! May 2010 be an even better running year for you that 2009 was!