Sunday, February 28, 2010

Finally, Shorts!

My long run this weekend consisted of only an 8 miler. I decided to sleep in a Saturday since I don't get to do this often at all. Then I slept in normally on Sunday, attended church, and then once I got home, put on the running shoes and out the door I went. OK, OK, I changed into 3 tshirts (1 long) and shorts. YES, shorts! Finally I was able to run outside in shorts. It has been a long time since I was able to do this. It was in the mid 30's so shorts were definitely in order. Some of you have asked me when will I wear shots vs. running tights. Well, usually that is about at 32F out. I can go in shorts into the upper 20's without problems but I prefer to wait until the freezing temperature. Honestly, my legs don't get cold in that weather. Wind does make a difference, but with not much wind and lower 30's are just fine with me. The legs might be a bit cold when I first get out the door but once I get going, they are just fine. Bet that sounds cold to you runners from the south, huh.

So today was an 8 mile run in my shorts. Pace was comfortable but I felt a bit tight. I averaged 8:44 pace which is faster than I plan on running the marathon next Saturday but I felt good. I don't feel I tired out the legs at all either. I will do a few short runs this week and then try not to get too 'tired' on the drive down to Albany, GA. Yes, I am driving down. Should be a little over 16 hours to get there but I am cutting it into 2 different days.

So here is the marathon plan this time. I am going to join the 4 hour pace group and try to let the easier opening pace settle my issues later in the race. If I have energy after 21 or so, I will take off and go for a better time but I am trying to avoid the dreaded crash and burn. This should, and I emphasize "should", not be a problem for me. I did run the Whistle Stop Marathon in October in 3:55 and only 2 years ago, ran a 3:43. I know I can run this fast but just haven't put all the pieces together. So a slower start will be in my future. Oddly enough, the pace for the 3:50 group is one of the ladies that was a pacer in the group I ran with at Grand Rapids 2 years ago when I did run that 3:43. I flirted with the idea of running with that group but thought better of it.

On another note, I am watching the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics right now. I absolutely loved the Olympics this year. I won't watch events like Biathlon, Cross Country Skiing, or even Curling ever, that is unless it is in the Olympics, then I can't get enough of it. Now I can say I have had enough of it for 4 years, then I will watch again.

Here is a funny little Olympic story (sort of). As you all know by now, I do a lot of my long training runs at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee where a lot of the Olympic Speed Skaters train. Well, one day I was actually ice skating (I am not very good at it) on the oval and I was wearing a 1996 Atlanta Olympic jacket I had. Someone seriously came up to me and asked me if I was an Olympian. It was kind of cool, but I had to say, sorry I was not.

I did love seeing the Opening ceremonies 2 weeks ago. I feel Canada did a great job considering the were following what Beijing did and there was no way to top that. The closing ceremonies are a different story. The first half, before NBC went to 'The Marriage Ref', was actually quite boring and annoying. I was glad they went to The Marriage Ref. There was suppose to be humor that just wasn't funny. They brought out all these Mounties and just way over did that part of their culture. The second part is on right now with concert footage so it is OK now.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Easy in the Sun, Easy in the Snow

I had to polar opposite runs (weather-wise) on the same course 2 days in a row. Yesterday I ran 5 miles. We were experiencing a snow burst in Waterford. It was snowing small flakes for awhile then large flakes, but none-the-less, snowing the entire time. I did 2 laps on a 2 mile route and then 1 lap on a 1 mile route. It was interesting to see my footprints after each lap to see how much snow fell in the last 2 miles (~17 minutes). Sometimes it was difficult to find them, sometimes not. It was a good run though. Cold, yes, but comfortable. I ended up averaging 8:30 pace and it wasn't difficult.

The today it was cold again, but it was bright and sunny. It was nice to run in the sun again since we don't get too many of those days here in the winter. Plus I usually run after work so in December and January, it gets dark so early. It was so bright that at times I had to look down to make sure I was running in the right place. Too much glare, I love it! Today was only 4 miles, 2 laps on the 2 mile route. today was faster, I averaged 8:13 pace but I really didn't try to run that fast. It is much easier to run fast when you don't run on snow.

Speaking of snow, I am looking forward to running where there is not any snow. Well, maybe there will be snow in southern Georgia, but not nearly as much as here. I am also looking forward to running outside in shorts. I can run outside in the cold in shorts, but it has been just a bit too cold so I have been in the running tights for a long time. Hopefully we won't get anymore snow (of significance) before next week. I would prefer not to shovel anymore.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Great Girls Basketball Game

Good News! It looks like Mike and Paul will be coming down to Albany, Georgia to run the Albany Marathon with me. They were booking some flights today. Paul is going down on his own but Mike plans on driving down with me and my family and flying back. It makes these out of town marathon more fun when you have friends there, even if we don't run together. It will be nice to have someone there at the finish line to share in the joys of a great run (or the disappointments of a poor run, but this won't happen). It will definitely be fun. None of us have run a marathon in Georgia so we can all add another state. Once done, Mike and Paul will have 14 states completed and I will be up to 9.

As most of you know, I have 3 daughters. I have always wanted the best for them and try to show them that girls can do just about anything. So with this in mind, I like to take my 2nd grader to the local High School to watch the Girls Basketball team play. We have a neighbor who is on the team so she likes to watch her play as well. So I took her to the game tonight in which they were playing the #1 ranked team in the state. The local team are not slouches themselves, they are ranked in the top 10 as well, but we were treated to a great game tonight. Our team defeated the #1 team in a close game all the way. It was a very exciting game and our neighbor played a great game.

Melissa likes going to the games but sometimes I think it is because of the cheerleaders and sometimes just being with all the people, and sometimes I buy her some candy. Which do you think she likes most, LOL.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Little Snow, A Lot of Wet

I ran with Mike again this morning. We decided to run a single looper out by his house in East Troy early int he morning. We started at 6:37 AM and it was snowing some. It had snowed about a 1/2 inch over night so not enough to really bring out the plows or the salt trucks on the county roads.

I was feeling sluggish and mike didn't want to run too fast because his knee was bothering him. It was slippery out so we really didn't get moving too well over the hills. Then at about mile 9, a small white "yip yip" dog comes out and runs after us and in to the road. There were a few cars around so we stopped running for a bit to make sure the dog would not keep following us. I thought if we kept going, there would be a good chance a car would hit it. So I walked back toward the house and had to wait until the owner walked through the snow to get their dog. It kept barking and circling me but I figured it would not bite me.

After we started again, I looked at the Garmin and it showed we were at an average of 9:09 pace so far and Mike said we needed to get back as he was going to work on his basement and his Dad was coming over. So I told him I would try to suck a little less.

We turned onto a a busier highway for the final 2 miles and they salted this road pretty good. So good that it was very wet and slushy on the sides. Not a half mile into it and I felt like I had 2 really big soakers in my shoes. The next problem was that it was a COLD soaker. This made me want to finish even quicker because it really wasn't all that comfortable. Mike pulled away some from me, maybe 30 meters or so, but made me want to catch him. I did near the end and we did indeed pick it up. We ended the final 2.64 miles with times of 8:02, 8:03 and 6:52 (pace). The downhill at the end really helped.

The run was only 11.64 miles but I am OK with that. I won't be doing any long runs before the Albany Marathon which is 2 weeks away. I didn't even get in that many miles this week. What can I say, I like a good taper :).

Time for me to watch some more Winter Olympics. These are the best Winter Olympics I can remember. (I don't remember 1980 very much).

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pet Peeves?

I am in a good mood about my running recently. I am starting to reduce my miles in order to try to run a good race in Albany, Georgia in 2 1/2 weeks. Yesterday was a nice 5 miler that was sort of a Tempo run. I did not intend to run that fast, but I felt good so I averaged 7:48 pace. Today was a nice run of about 4.5 miles at somewhere near 8:25 pace. Both runs were by myself but I am OK with that.

How abut running with others? Do you have some running buddies that you run with? If you read my posts, you know I have a few friends I run with from time to time. I think it DEFINITELY helps you get better if you can train with someone else. But as I was talking to Paul today, he brought up something that i thought I would write about. Annoying things your running friends do.

We were talking about the Albany Marathon we are planning on running and I told him they have pace groups and he may want to join one. He said he would like to run with a group but often the other in the group are annoying with all the chatting they do. So this is something that annoys Paul, too much chatter during races. So here are a few things that annoy me whether I am on a run with a friend or in a race.

1. People who start a race in the front that are either slow runners or walkers. They just get in the way.

2. In the same breath are walkers or slow runners who run 3 or 4 abreast in a race just chatting away not caring how difficult it is to get past them (when they started up front). I find this to be too often the "Purple People" in races. I have no problem with the cause of the Purple People and I appreciate all they do for charity, I just with their "coaches" would teach them all runner etiquette before races.

3. I run often with faster runners and I like this. It makes me elevate my own training. But on an easy run, a pet peeve of mine is when a friend runs 1 to 2 steps ahead of me the entire run. Just run next to me for crying out loud. And when I pick up the pace to get even, they regain that 1 to 2 steps. aaaarrrrgggghhhh!!!!

4. And finally, this is something one of my friend I used to run with would do. We would be running on a busy road and he would run just inside the white line. I try to tell him to run on the gravel when a car comes but he just responds with "I have a right to be here" or "If I get hit, it would be their fault". Yes, you are correct, it would be their fault, absolutely, but you are still dead.

Like I started this post, I am in a good running mood so this post does not reflect how I feel about running today. It just seemed like something to write about, that is all. So, what are you running pet peeves? I would love to hear them!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

It Was Cold Out There

{I had a major problem with my computer so I wrote some of this on Saturday and the rest on Sunday}

Mike was unable to run this morning so I decided to go to East Troy anyways and run a modified looper. I woke up nice and early and even though I knew it was cold, I has no thoughts of bagging it and just crawling back in the warm bed. It was 5 when I woke and still very dark. Heck, it was still dark when I started at 6:06AM from the Square. But I have to tell you it was cold, no, I take that back, it was F'ing cold. The sun was still down and the temp was a nice 9F at the start.

I was only planning on running 17 miles today since I had to be home buy 9:30 the latest as it is Pinewood Derby day for 2 of the girls. I ran 6 miles last night so at least in a matter of 15 hours, I would get in the 23 miles I had planned for today earlier this week. I had also looked at the map and found a nice 17 mile loop that uses a lot of the usual roads we run out in East Troy, but adds a road I was interested in seeing what was like.

So, like I said, it was cold when I started. After 1 mile, I was actually contemplating going back to my car as I was so cold. The chill was going right through my running tights and my hands were quite cold through my gloves (socks actually). I also do something that is not so smart when running in the cold, I do not wear a hat! I can't stand the feeling so I only wear ear muffs. Dumb, I know. I decided to keep going hoping I would warm up after a few miles and when the sun came up. I was right, sort of, I did warm up at times and also got colder at times.

At about 2.25 miles, I took my first short walk break and got a little water in. At mile 4.5 or so, I stopped for more water and found out I had a problem. My water bottle caps were frozen shut. I could shake and feel some water moving, but I could not get any out. This made me nervous since I had 13 miles still to go with no water but at least I wasn't sweating too much. Good thing I drank a lot of water the night before and while this helped me last the entire run, it caused a new problem. I had to pee. The roads were not travelled much so being seen wasn't an issue, the issue actually was my fingers. They were already cold from the socks only working a little, but when they were in the open air, it was frickin cold. During the run, the tingled often from the cold. I ended up pulling the sleeves of my long sleeve shirt down further to cover my hands for double protection.

At about mile 6, I had a "Forrest Gump" moment. I was running down the new road I had never run down before while passing some horses that were startled by me going past when I looked over just at the moment the sun was rising over the horizon. It was spectacular to see and the light was so bright. I couldn't stop looking over again and again as it felt like it was just me and the sun out there. I was one with the road and the ice and the cold for just a moment.

The roads I took had quite a lot of hills so I was able to work out that part on my training. One part of the run that was a little annoying was that when I got to the bottom of some of the large hills, it was really cold, something like 5 to 10 degrees colder than at the top. The cold air just sits in the valleys.

By mile 10, I looked at my Garmin for the first time and noticed I was at 9:25 pace which actually surprised me because I thought I was going much slower because of the cold.

{It is now Sunday Evening}

The computer seems to b working now so I will try to finish the post.

There was a major hill at about mile 11 that is quite steep. To maintain running form, I have to run on my toes like a sprinter. This caused some discomfort in my ankle that has issues but by now (Sunday Evening), it is feeling better. The rest of the run went well and I maintained close to the same pace. The run ended up being 17.25 miles.

After I finished, I went into a coffee shop to warm up and put on some warmer clothes. As I was changing, a guy asked me about my Garmin. He was interested in getting one for Cross Country Skiing. I told him there are newer versions but they work very well. He was looking at it and saw the 17.2 miles and asked if that is what I just ran. I said yes and he just looked dumbfounded. Yes, the normal folks out thee just don't understand us.

Time to watch some Winter Olympics. The Moguls are on right now. I love to watch the Speed Skating and a lot of the skaters live in the Milwaukee area and I see them at times at the Pettit Center where I run at times. Good Luck to Shani Davis as he skates later in the Olympics. I ran a few laps with him once at Pettit. He seems like suck a nice guy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Slow and Sloppy

It was snowing pretty good here today. I woke up early to shovel the driveway before I went to work for the day and then shoveled a lot more when I came home. So today I did a double workout. After work, Mike and I actually put on the running shoes and went for a slow and sloppy 4 miles through town. It was actually rather fun. The roads had a lot of slop on them but nothing we are not used to. We ran really slow, I think about 9:20 pace or so but kept up a good conversation. The only problem was at one point, the snow was falling so much and blowing right into our face, that it stung our eyes and made it difficult to see. Ahhhh, that is what makes you tough! Or as my Dad used to say "It builds character"

The second workout? You guessed it, the snow shoveling. There was about 7 to 10 inches on the driveway when I got home and lots of drifts so out I went and spent about an hour and a half removing the snow. It is still falling so I will have to wake up early to get out there again. I am ready for spring!

I am not complaining about the snow here (though my back says otherwise). I know there are many out there in DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia that got a lot more snow that we did. I feel for you guys, you will get though this and spring will come. Hey, where is that Global Warming when you need it, LOL.

Monday, February 8, 2010

More Snow to Come (But Not Too Much)

I was planning on running today after work with Mike for about 5 or so miles. I went to change and suddenly realized I did not have my running tights with me. It was 25F out so I thought I could handle one run in shorts but alas, there are no shorts in the bag either. So I told Mike I was not going to be able to go with him and went home knowing I could run once I get there.

The good thing about running from home is that I could get a little more miles in than if I ran from work. I decided to run to a particular road and back which ended up being a total of 6 2/3 miles. It was a good run as I kept a decent pace up and averaged 8:16 pace.

I wanted to make sure I got my run in today as I may be unable to tomorrow. We are expecting snow. Now it is not as much as they had in DC and Baltimore, but it is suppose to be between 10 to 16 inches. I hear it will be the light fluffy kind so my back is thankful. With all this snow going on all over the country and the large amounts in areas not used to so much, I wonder what the Global Warming/Climate Change people say to explain this. I usually get a kick out of how they keep changing their answers to fit whatever is the latest type of weather. Just like you don't really hear "Global Warming" much anymore, instead you hear "Climate Change". I have news for everyone, the climate has been changing the entire history of the world. Perhaps people have forgotten the multiple times we have had ice ages and then melts and back.

OK, off my soap box now.

It is less than 4 weeks until the Albany, GA Marathon and I am seriously thinking of joining a pace group during the race. I did this at Grand Rapids a few years ago and had great results but also did this in Madison and had bad results. I think that was because I joined a group a little too fast for me on a hilly course. Another long run planned for this weekend then I will begin to drop the miles again. I would like to run well in this race but I am driving all the way down there and that may tire me out some. I think it is like 16 hours or so but I will take 2 days to do it driving a little over half way on day 1. Nothing like a good road trip.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Skaters, Door County, Paul, 20 Miles, etc.

This morning I attended the World Sprint Speed Skating Championships . . . sort of. I went to the Pettit Center to run my 20 miler this morning at it just happen to be the first day of the International Event. The announcer mentioned all the countries where participants were from and I remember hearing Canada, Italy, Finland, Norway, Germany, Netherlands, England, Russia and of course, the USA. Masters would consist of skaters over 40 years old.

While they skated, I ran lap after lap after . . . 73 total laps. I stayed slow most of the time with miles in the lower to mid 9:00's. After 15 miles, my legs were getting quite tired. I am not sure if it was from the great tempo run I had this week or if it was still from the marathon 2 weeks ago. I knew I was close to finishing so I kept p the spirits and trudged along. With about 10 laps to go, I found myself running the same pace as another guy so I caught up to him and started a conversation. Greg is training for Boston and is a former track coach so we had a nice chat for about 20 or so minutes.

I finished, I was tired, my legs were spent so I went home, took a shower and then took the car in for regular maintenance at Firestone. The girls and I also watched the movie "Up" tonight. We had not seen it. It was cute and good. A little sad at times but I would recommend as a good rental.

I posted a few days ago about a gentleman named Paul who is 86 years old and has run 100+ marathons, ran the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon, and also lives in my city. Little did I know I had more in common with him that I knew. Turns out Paul and I are members of the same church. Our church is not a small church so I did not recognize him during the race. But then again, when I am in church, I don't look around and ask myself "Is that 86 year old guy a marathon runner?" I will definitely look for him in the future and introduce myself to him. I wonder if he attends the same service I do?

Here is another bit of interesting things to me. I mentioned before I use Site Meter to see how many people go to this blog site and I can see where the come from. It is very interesting to see where everyone comes from and how the found me. Well, this past Thursday was the highest amount of people to come to my site and read. I checked the tab "By Referrals" and saw that a bunch of them came from an email site. I know I did not send my site address out to anyone so I wondered who did? after a little searching it turns out that my site was linked to a mass email sent out about the Door County Half Marathon. I ran the race last year in early May and posted my race report here. I guess they liked what I had to say (I did like the race) so they linked it saying "One Runner's In-depth 2009 Race Report - One 2009 runner posted a blog with a detailed report about his training for the race and his Door County Half Marathon Experience." I had no idea they were going to do this but it is pretty cool though.

I ran a total of 35.3 miles this week with 20 today so I am going to take tomorrow off and look for Paul at Church. It is only 4 weeks from my next adventure in the state of Georgia. I have 1 more long run planned for next weekend.

Happy Running!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Does It Take To Run A 9

If you look to the right side of my blog, you will see that I have a Runner's World Running Totals. It gives weekly, Monthly, Yearly, and Total distances that I have run since January 1, 2009. I have a log on Runner's World dot com that I log all my runs and it totals in all up for me. On the log, I can rate my workout on a scale of 1 to 10 for effort and quality. It is rare for me to rate my runs above an 8. Well, today I gave myself a a 9 for both effort and quality.

Mike joined me for 2 loops after work on our 2 mile route. We were going to do a tempo run, at least it would be tempo for me, just a slightly faster run for Mike. I did not wear the garmin as I did not want to wait outside in the cold for it to synch up with the satellites in the 24F temperatures. It can take a few minutes sometimes.

I knew were were running pretty good on the first loop and after 1 mile, Mike thought we were at about 7:30 pace. The roads were pretty clear so there wasn't much snow to contend with so a fast pace was safe and we took full advantage of it. After 1 loop (2 miles), I wanted to pick it up some but didn't know if I had it in me for 2 more miles at that pace. Mike was ahead of me by about 15 meters at 1 lap and I tried to catch up to him but he inched away little by little. Not too much though as after 2 laps, he was only maybe 30 meters ahead.

I was spent pretty much after the run and that is why I rated the effort a 9. And my average pace for the 4 miles was 7:05! That is why I rated the quality a 9. If i was under 7:00, I may have given myself a 10 but feel it takes quite a great run to get a 10.

I am back to the long runs this weekend. I am planning on 20 miles at Pettit with Paul (my friend, not the 86 y/o). On Saturday it will only be 4 weeks until the Snickers Marathon Energy Bar Marathon in Albany, Georgia. So far it looks like Mike will be joining me down in the Peach State and quite possibly Paul as well. That will be pretty cool if they can make it. I will let you in on my goals and plans soon.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Meet Paul Gionfriddo, 86 Years Young

I may have been a slacker this past weekend by no running at all but I haven't been a complete slacker since the Icebreaker. On Friday, after work, I was able to get in 6 miles and felt surprisingly well. I ended up averaging about 8:05 pace and didn't feel the marathon still in my legs at all. Then today, Mike and I went 5 miles and I did feel the marathon in my legs. I think I averaged close to 8:45 pace tonight. It was good though.

I do now want to introduce you to one amazing marathon runner. His name is Paul Gionfriddo.

Paul is a young 86 years old and ran this year's Icebreaker Marathon. He ran last year's Icebreaker as well. So far Paul has run 105 (I think) marathons total so far. The crazy thing is that he didn't start running until he was 68 years old! He was just featured on one of our local TV News stations. I had a chance to talk to Paul for a short bit during the marathon. Every time I passed him, I gave him encouragement and sometimes a high 5. He was always courteous and very kind to all the runners. After I was done and was picking up my stuff, there Paul was trudging along now at a half the time running, half the time walking. I was able to walk with Paul for a bit and just chit chat with him. Turns out Paul lives in the same city as I do and only about 5 miles down the road.
The Icebreaker officially ended when the clock hit 6 hours and at that time, there was only 1 more runner still on the track. Paul. But something that the race director, Chris Ponteri, does, is that he does not let anyone behind. Chris stayed there and encouraged Paul the entire way. When the official timers and lap counting equipment was taken down, Chris became Paul's official lap counter. The running track was now open to other runners but Paul kept moving. I really wish I would have stayed to see this but on his final lap, Chris was able to get some of the walkers and runners to give Paul a big hand and applause as he finished. Paul is not listed in the official results but as far as the Icebreaker is concerned, he is an official finisher.
Paul is a pretty cool guy and I hope to be able to be running when I am 86 years young. He is a true inspiration to me as well as a lot of other runners in the area.
Congratulations Paul!