Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Caught Up In The Moment

Yesterday was Volleyball night again. My match was scheduled to begin at 8:30 so I got there early and was planning on running 9 miles before hand. I left in plenty of time and it was a real nice evening. The temps were in the low 70's or upper 60's and the humidity was almost all gone. So I left at an easy pace and enjoyed myself.

At about 3 1/2 miles, I was turning onto a bike trail when I was passed by another runner, a younger guy. We exchanged pleasantries and struck up a conversation as he slowed to my pace. Turns out he ran the Chicago marathon last year as his first marathon and was training for the Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon in the fall. He asked my opinions on a lot of the marathons I did and we just chatted for a bit. All of a sudden I realized I missed my turn around spot and had gone 3/4 of a mile too far. I completely spaced out. I turned around and headed back toward volleyball and luckily got there 2 minutes before the match was to begin. Instead of 9 miles, i got in 10.65 miles at 8:43 pace. It felt good except my right knee felt sore the last 3 miles. Hope that doesn't last.

Today, Mike and I headed to the track for our first track workout of the summer. We did 5 X 800 with about 3 minutes rest between. Times started out at 3:30 and ended up just under 3:00 so that was pleasing. Mike had been running the whole time in lane 2 and finishing about 15 seconds ahead of me each time. Jokingly, I said for him to try that in lane 8. He asked me if that was a challenge to which I relied that if he could beat me running the entire time in lane 8 while I was in lane 1 the entire time, that I would quit running right then and there. My running life was on the line so good thing I pulled out the 2:56 and he was no where near me. Of course, he ran something on the line of about 850 to 875 meters. We ran back to work afterwards since I did not need to quit.

I am going to take tomorrow off and end June with 141 miles. I will start my quest for 200 on Thursday with an 8 miler or so. Saturday is looking like a nice long run at an super easy pace. Could range from 22 to 24, that is if the knee doesn't keep getting sore.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Humid and Lots of Sweat

It wasn't what I would call "hot" this morning but it was very humid. I went to Mike's house so we could run the hills of outer East Troy. It seemed like a good day to get a somewhat longer run in but with lots of hills since one of the marathons I am planning on running this fall is insanely and ridiculously hilly. Today was a good preview since there was very little flat ground we ran on. We ended up getting in 13 1/4 miles at 9:20 pace which was fine with me. Mike likes to go faster but he is trying to heal a sore hamstring so my pace was fine.

This week has been good so far. I have in 41.4 miles so that is a nice increase from the last 2 weeks but not too much. I didn't want to go further because of that reason. July is looking like a big mileage month for me, at least that is what I am planning on. A few small races but nothing I am going to taper or anything for. Right now the goal is to get to 200 miles in July. I am not sure I have ever ran 200 miles in 1 month before so this may be a first. July works out well for this goal since there are 5 Saturday's. Barring some unforeseen injury, I am confident I can do it.

Side Note: We ran past Alpine Valley Music Theater on the run this morning. Jimmy Buffet is playing there tonight so all the Parrot Heads are in town. Should be one heck of a party in East Troy tonight!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Dodging The Tornado

It was hot and muggy yesterday. Mondays are my volleyball night and now have also become my longer, mid week run night. This time, the volleyball match began at 7:30 so I got there early and started running at ~5:50. I was going for a 9 mile run and it was quite humid out, so I took it easy. The run went well but my stomach didn't feel all that great. Felt sort of like I needed to stop but to . . . but I didn't. Turns out I went 9.3 miles and averaged 8:51. It felt much slower so I am pleased with the pace.

Volleyball was another humid endurance. the skeeters were out in force so I am glad Terry brought along the repellent though I think I sweated it of rather quickly. I put a new shirt of my the match and it was soaked halfway through the first game. We ended up losing the first 2 games very closely and then sort of got crushed in the third game. I wanted to stay afterwards and have a beer with the guys but lightning was everywhere to the west and closing in fast so I drove home hoping to beat it.

At home, the sky was an awesome show of lightning. It was just about always lit up there was so much lightning. It was a rather cool display of mother natures art. It was until i heard that a tornado warning was in effect and that it was headed right for my town. I quickly got he girls and headed for the basement with computer in hand to see what was going one. It was nasty out there with the very high winds and rain. The power went out about 9:30 and I lost the Internet since I use DSL. At about 10:00 or so, it had passed us so I put the girls to bed and headed outside to see what happened. One neighbor lost half of his tree and there was garbage everywhere. Unfortunately, a tornado did hit in 2 areas. One was in the town of Eagle which is about 16 miles directly west of me. the other hit only 1 mile north of me knocking down lots of trees and damaging the post office and fire station. Eagle was hit much harder with 20 or so home completely destroyed and another 100 or so heavily damaged.

While God was showing us His power, He was also smiling down on Wisconsin. With all those homes destroyed and trees down, only 1 person was injured and no one was killed. Even with it hitting after some would have gone to bed. We were very lucky! Please do say a prayer, if you would, for the town of Eagle as they try to recover from the damage.

Today was another hot and humid day. I went running after work and it was in the upper 80's. I decided to finally get some hill reps in so I headed over the Mountain Rd. where we usually go. I got in 5 reps with each one faster than the previous one. The first 2 felt tight but I loosened up and really tired myself out. the 2 mile cool down was more like run some, walk a bit, run some, walk a bit . . . That part sucked but it was a good workout.

Tomorrow, my oldest starts her first day of Soccer, or as I am thinking it may turn out to be "herdball". You know, look for the herd of kids all around the ball. Maybe they will teach them good, I never played soccer so what do I know.

Here are a few pictures Paul took during the Great Milwaukee Race with his camera phone:

To get 10 minutes off our official time, we had to find AJ Bombers Tavern and get a picture of out whole team in the "Big Chair".

Another bonus was to have a team picture taken near a food cart. The popcorn wagon did the trick.

One of the spots we had to find was close to the "Bronze Fonz" as it is called here in Milwaukee. That is a life size bronze statue of Aurthur Fonzerelli, aka "The Fonz" from the TV show Happy Days which fictionally took place in Milwaukee. Judging on how it looks, I think he had already "jumped the shark".

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Race Report - The Great Milwaukee Race

Today was The Great Milwaukee Race in downtown Milwaukee. This is a unique race, more of an urban challenge which took us all through the main downtown area of Milwaukee. We were required to find 11 different spots via clues and then complete a challenge at that spot before going on to the next challenge spot. All in all, this was a very fun race and challenge and I know they will do it again.

My team consisted of my friends Mike and Paul who run with me often. We were the green team but then again, so were about 15 other teams. There were a total of 60 teams participating with teams of between 2 to 4 people. Before the race began, the race director went over the rules and then we got our packets of clues and off we went. They supplied us with map of downtown (I already had one), a card to get stamped after each challenge, clues, and a Bonus Clues sheet where we could find certain things to have time "taken off" our final time. The map I brought was more detailed than the one supplied which ended up helping us a lot.

We read the clues and knew 9 of them and marked them on the map before we took off. We wanted to try to run the shortest possible distance while getting to all the spots. We ended up starting off in a direction most teams did not go. Only a yellow team was close to us and they were close to us most of the race. We were on the phone asking for help on the clues we did not know (this was OK by rule) and marked them off on the map.

The first challenge was at a park where we did a small word search. The remaining letters we did not use spelled out a clue for bonus time off (get any city bus schedule). We left and went to our next spot and also found a bus schedule. We ended up being the first team to this spot which was at MacAurther Square near the courthouse. Mike did this challenge which required him to run up and down some steps 10 times. Then we were off to the to the Wisconsin Walk of Fame right outside the US Cellular Arena. There we had to find the plaque for the famous coach from Wisconsin with one of the most prestigious NCAA career as a coach. Of course this was Al McGuire. Mike found it before Paul and I did and the off to Pere Marquette park where Paul and I did a 3 legged race.

Off to AJ Bombers bar for a quick picture in front for some bonus time and then to the River Walk to find the Red Phone Booth were a clue was hidden inside. We relayed the clue to the judge and then we made the first mistake of the race. I decided to try to go to the fire station we needed to find and we ran 3 block in that direction (finding a food vendor cart for another time bonus) but realized it was too far in the wrong direction so we back tracked to Cathedral Square for our next challenge. Paul did this one where he had to to a sack race around a few parts of the park before we could go on. We ran to Juneau Park next where we had our first 2 small injuries. Paul and I did a "wheel barrow" race. I carried Paul's legs first and the half way we switched for a bit and then switched back. As I was leaning over to pick up Paul's legs, he kicked one leg up right into my chest really hard. Almost knocked the wind out of me and hurt like hell for a bit. Also, Paul's back was hurting after this challenge.

We headed off to Veterans Park. It wasn't too far there but you had to go down a steep hill. We decided to take a short cut through some trees down the hill but since it rained last night and yesterday, it was muddy and slippery as I found out as I fell and tumbled through the brush and trees. We made it down and did the next challenge which was finding the Medal of Honor recipients at the Veterans Memorial. We then hoofed it to the bridged to Lake Shore Park where we had to count the spokes on the bridge. Mike counted one section, then counted how many sections and we did the math.

Here is where we made the second and biggest error. This spot was on the lake east of the Summerfest grounds. Instead of running through the park to the next challenge which was located just north of the Marcus Amphitheater, we ran completely around the Summerfest Grounds adding (we think) about 5 minutes. this added about 0.6 miles to our route. the good thing is we found some people to make us a 6 person pyramid to get us more bonus time. At this spot, we had to throw bean bags into wood holes before going to out last spot, the Fire Station which ended up being right on our way to the finish. Here all we had to do was guess how many pieces of bubble gum in a jar. We didn't know that this could have given us more bonus time, we guessed too high.

The race ended at the Milwaukee Ale House where once we arrived, we had to find 30 different 3+ letter words with in "The Great Milwaukee Race". After we turned that is and showed pictures of all our bonus items, we were done. Tired, but done. There were already some teams there before we arrived which surprised Mike a lot. He thought we kicked butt. All in all, we ran a little over 8 miles to complete all challenges and get to the finish line.

We drank some beer and had some food while we waiting for the results. The top 5 teams received prizes and turns out we ended in 5th place! We were awarded some gift certificates for AJ Bombers Pub (hey, I know where that is). It took us about 1 hour and 45 minutes to do the entire race so with the bonus time taken off, we did really good. Mike and Paul had a really good time (except Paul and his back). this was a very unique and really fun race. I would love to do it again and next year I will either run or or volunteer for it.

Paul took some pictures of the bonus clues we needed to find so I will post a few of those when he shares them with me.

I know most of you who do not live near Milwaukee won't know any of these places I said we went to. Just imagine your closest city and running through the downtown area looking for statues, parks and monuments. I just hope I am not too sore tomorrow morning.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Summer has begun, how about a run!

Saturday morning was my long run for the week. I have now started the build up this summer but I didn't want to build up the miles too quickly, so I only ran 16 Saturday. A total of 36 miles for the week. The goal was to run easy. It was a bit foggy and it looked like it could rain at any moment the entire run but it didn't. I ended up running quite well and averaged 8:56 for the run. I was a bit surprised by this but it was a pleasant surprise. It certainly didn't feel like sub 9 pace, more like 9:15.

Sunday I ended up going down to South Milwaukee for a group run put on by my friend Greg as a part of the Kids Marathon. About 10 or so kids showed up and a few parents as well. Greg and I ended up running a short 1 mile warm up and then did 4X400 at about 1:53 each. This was Greg's first run of the the year so he didn't want to take it too hard but he did quite well. Some of the kids ended up running up to 3 miles, my Melissa ran 2 miles.

I have been working quite a lot on the Kids Marathon over the past few weeks so I have not been able to Blog as much as I usually do. My apologies to my few loyal readers. I should be able to do better soon but in the mean time, we are finishing up the registration process. I will give an update on the kids marathon soon. Some very exciting news on it!

Today was the first week of my annual Volleyball league. I have been playing with my friend Terry for about 15 years now. We don't play as well as we used to but it is still fun. Just like last year, I take this day to go on my mid week longer run. No exception today. I ended up going 10 miles after the match. It felt really good as I ran 8:34 pace. It was a nice evening for a run. Good temps, partly cloudy, slight wind.

Summer has begun, how about a run!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

New Shoes

I took the entire weekend AND Monday off of running. It was a nice break for the legs and for the mind to get me ready for the long summer of lots of miles. I need to train my legs and body to be able to handle all 26.2 miles and not slow toward the end of a marathon. I also want to be able to run a faster pace. I think 3:45 is definitely within reach.

So I got back to running today. After work, I was going to tun 8 miles on the trail but it was raining and after 100 yards on the trail in mushy puddles, I turned around and decided to run on the roads. It wasn't raining hard but enough to make my shirt completely stick to me after a 1/2 mile. I ran a route I have never run before and since my Garmin is toast, I really didn't know how far to go. I just followed where the road went until about 38 minutes and turned around. It was windy and cool but I love running in the rain so it was fun. Actually I don't like starting running in the rain, but once I am wet, I rather enjoy it. I finished in 1:11:58 but I didn't know what that meant for pace since I didn't know how far I went. After a check on GMap Pedometer, turns out I went 8 1/2 miles for a pace of 8:28. Felt good.

I just bought a new pair of running shoes. My old ones had waaaaayyy too many mile son them and the toe part of the sole was beginning to tear. I am a Nike guy. Always have been. I went away about 2 years ago as an experiment and tried some Brooks and Adidas but they didn't work for me. I was running in Nike Skylons but they discontinued them which sucks since I liked them. So I am trying out a new style. I ended up buying some Nike Lunarswift Breathe. They are light but have a more rigid sole. Not sure I will like this but they were reasonably priced.

I would have run in them for the first time today, but I didn't want to wear them so quickly in the rain, so I used the old pair one last time. there is one thing I do not like about these Lunarswifts already, the color. What is with running shoe companies and the odd color designs they come up with. My last pair of Skylons were not bad but I have had my share of rather ugly running shoes. And with the models I get, there isn't a choice of design/color.

Orange really isn't my color but in the end, my time won't be slower because I run in white and orange shoes. I have had uglier looking running shoes so it can be worse.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

A Rest Weekend

I am going to take it easy this weekend and maybe not even run at all. Here are my thoughts on this. I have run a lot over the past few months, ran races the last 2 weekends and I am planning on putting in lots of miles over the summer to get ready for fall marathons so I feel I need a rest. So I am giving myself one.

I did go on 2 longer weekday runs on Thursday and Friday though. Longer as in they weren't the usual 5 milers but not longer in that I want to have many midweek 10 milers or so during the summer or possibly even 2-a-day runs. I ran a little over 7 miles each day and each day felt the same way. I would start and feel tired and a bit sore for the first 3 or 4 miles and then suddenly everything started feeling better (not great though) and I was able to pick it up a bit. Thursday all I could muster was a 9:00 pace while yesterday I was able to get to 8:37 pace. Maybe it was not being used to the heat yet as it was warm and humid. Maybe it was tired legs from the recent races. Maybe it was just bad days. And maybe it was just what my body wanted to do those days. Whatever it is, I will rest up and then the training begins again Monday.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Maifest 10K

I know I ran last week Thursday and told you all that I felt recovered from the Fargo Marathon. Funny how an easy pace and a few days off can make you 'think' you are recovered when you may actually not be.

Sunday was the Maifest 10K Run in Jacksonport, Wisconsin. Jacksonport is in Door County, WI which is the peninsula that extends into Lake Michigan from Wisconsin. Think of it this way, take your right hand and look at it palm facing you. Now think of that as a the rough (very rough) shape of Wisconsin. Door County would be the thumb sticking out. Door County is a very popular touristy place with many small shops and even more art galleries plus hiking, biking, and views that are spectacular of Lake Michigan, the islands, and the bluffs. I love going there and have been since I was a baby. So over the weekend, I took the girls and headed up there 3 hours, got a place at a resort with an indoor and outdoor pool, brougt up the bikes and had a really good weekend.

I have never run the Maifest 10K before so I decided to give it a try. It was warm and sunny but the course was about 80% shade covered to help with the temps that were in the low to mid 70's already at the 9:00AM start. After a 2 mile warm up, I was ready to go with a goal of trying to run 7:15 pace. My garmin took a dump after Fargo so I was going to have to try to wing it for pace, just like the old days. Turns out I am still (at least that day) a good judge of pace as I went through he first mile in 7:10. Mile 2 & 3 were still at a fast yet relaxed hard pace with 7:19 & 7:02. I hit the turn around of the mostly out and back course at about 22:15 and felt pretty good. I tried to count how many people were ahead of me and I think there were about 22 or so.

Right at the turn around, I passed one guy and another was right in front of me. This would be the last time I was near ANYONE in the race. The guy in front of me took off and caught up with the others in front of him and I took off on the guy I just passed. I ran the second half all by myself. With 2.5 miles to go, I was suddenly feeling Fargo. Mile 4 dropped to a 7:34 and mile 5 was a 7:47. I was drifting in and out of competitive spirits but did not want to be passed by anyone. I was able to pick it up for the last 1.2 miles and ran 7:31 pace and finish in 46:03 drenching with sweat. 7:25 pace, only 10 seconds off my goal pace but in a 10K, that adds up to a full minute plus. The last 0.6 of a mile was all in the complete sun with no wind and felt very hot. Maybe it wasn't all that hot for your southern folk, but we are not used to it yet up north.

This is a smaller town race so there were no results posted so I don't really know my final place. My guess is somewhere between 20th and 23rd but I did take 6th on my 10 year age group, that I could see since all they do it rip off the bottom of your race number and put it on a board in your age group.

There are no extras with this race except for a bottle of water at the end and a pretty cool shirt. But what do you expect for only $18. I got back to the hotel area and cleaned up, jumped in the pool for a quick swim and then off biking I went with the girls. Sort of my own little triathlon. the girls had fun so that is what mattered most to me.

I was able to run 4 miles today with Mike and realize that I am not recovered from Fargo yet. It's all good.