Saturday, July 31, 2010

200 and then some!

I made it to 200 miles in July. For kicks, I actually made it to 210.7 miles. I believe this is the most miles I have ever run in a month. I may be wrong as I don't have all my records from my college days when I was on the track team, but I seem to remember those miles were usually around 40 per week. I was a middle distance runner back then, half mile.

I woke up this morning at a little after 4 to the sound of rain. Not the way I wanted to start out a long run. I did my usual morning routine before a long run but waited a little longer as the radar showed the rain was close to ending. Finally at about 5:40, I got out there to a misty drizzle. It was this way for about 5 miles and then stopped.

I had run out of Gu and AccelGel so I planned on stopping at a grocery store and buy a banana at about mile 7. This helped. I also stopped by a hotel at mile 16 and bummed another banana off them since Walgreens across the street did not have any bananas. I needed these to keep going as the oatmeal I had before the run was not going to cut it.

We have had a lot of rain here over the past few weeks and the rivers are running high so I was worried at certain point if I needed to go a different way on some bike paths I was running on because the water could high. At one point, I needed to climb an embankment to a road to avoid the water and then at about mile 21, I came to a place where water was completely over the bike path. It looked like it was just a shallow flow over so I decided to go for it. I was a little wrong as I got major soakers. No worries, I have run with worse.

I finally finished in 3 hours and 43 minutes for just over 24 miles. An average pace of 9:16 which is good for me on a long run. The legs have had enough and the knee was bothering me quite a bit on the run. It needs a rest and conveniently, I have a camping trip planned for the girls next week so that means not so many miles.

And for those of you interested, I spoke to Mike today and he and his family are back from San Fran. The rest of the trip went really good for them.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Closing in on 200 and the BoDeans

I am taking today off. Why? When I am so close to reaching my goal? Because I am planning a long run in the morning and want to be ‘somewhat’ fresh for it.

I have put in 26 miles so far this week. Monday was 8 easy miles. Tuesday was a 6 mile fartlek run with 12 pick ups in the middle of 1 minute each with 1 slow between. Thursday was a 7 mile easy run and yesterday was a 5 mile easy run as well.

So as of right now, I am 14 miles shy of my goal of 200 miles for July. I need to just get up early on Saturday and go. It should be no problem but you never know. My knee has been acting up like on yesterday’s run. It was quite sore for the first ½ mile or so but then it felt fine the rest of the run. Hopefully there will be no issues tomorrow.

Tonight, instead of running, I will be taking the girls to the Racine County Fair. I am sure it is like most county fairs across the country with lots of farm animals for the kids to see and tons of junk food to eat. They have fun especially in the petting zoo area where there are all kinds of different animals, ducks, pigs, dogs, cats, rabbits, chicks, etc., you get the picture.

I went to the fair last night to see the main stage concert. It was a band called “The BoDeans”. Perhaps you have not heard of them. They are from the Milwaukee area and have had a few minor hits in the last 80’s to early 90’s. They are most know for their song “Closer to Free” which was the theme song for the TV show “Party of Five” which was 6 seasons starting in 1994 and gave the start to Neve Campbell and Jennifer Love Hewitt and a few others.

I have seen The BoDeans quite a few times and they put on a good concert. If you haven’t heard of them before, I understand, and if you haven’t, you may want to check them out. I am sure they are on YouTube somewhere. I am trying to think of a band they sound like but can’t really do it. Maybe a little like The Dave Mathews Band??? They have 2 lead vocalist who sing different songs and also harmonize really well together.

Of all the concerts I have gone to over the years, they did the most incredible thing in concert I have ever seen. At a show in a smaller indoor theater (maybe 1000 seats) in Madison, Sammy Llamas, one of the lead singers, went out on stage and asked the crowd to be completely silent for the entire next song. Once the crowd was quiet, we walked to the front of the stage with his acoustic guitar and with no microphones or amplifiers, just himself and the guitar, blasted out the song “True Devotion”. It was incredible to hear and see. Anyway, just wanted to share that concert moment with you.

July Quest for 200 Miles Update: 186.6 miles completed, 13.4 to go

Sunday, July 25, 2010

A Little Story For You - Part 2

As the title of this post states, the little story continues. I spoke to Mike today after the San Francisco Marathon to see how he did and see what his thoughts on the race were. Turns out he ran a 3:30 which is about where I expected him to finish considering his training and the issues before the race detailed in the last post.

We left off yesterday with Mike getting to the Expo, getting his number and going back to the hotel for a little rest before picking up his family from the airport at 8:00PM. That pick up went with out any issues and quite smooth according to Mike. They were all pretty tired but they were also hungry so they stopped at a restaurant for a bite to eat. Dinner was also good. Then they got back to the rental car and found out someone smashed the window and stole 2 bags from their car. His daughter's bag (backpack) with clothes, a DS system, an iPod, and other items. Also his wife's bag that held the camera was taken. They didn't leave the restaurant area until after 11:00 PM with dealing with the police.

This has been a trip from hell for Mike and his family so far. I feel so bad for him and his family and I wish there was something I could do to help, but what could I possibly do.

Mike woke up early for the marathon and his hotel located in the downtown area only 2 miles from the start did not offer a shuttle to the start. So Mike decided to run to the start area, maybe a slow jog, I am not sure. His kids were quite freaked out about the previous night so he did not wake them up so he could have a ride to the start area. He also walked back after the race because the car had glass all over it still. When I spoke with him, he was resting some before going to the rental car place to exchange cars.

He also said that for most of the race he was running with anger because of all the crap he had gone though to run this race. It helped him get through miles 17 to 24 as he just cruised though whatever pain he was in. But now he is done and he can cross California off his list of states.

I hope any of you who ran in San Francisco had a better experience. I didn't get into too much detail about how Mike felt about the race alone but I will soon.

Congrats to Melanie for finishing the San Francisco Marathon. I certainly hope her trip is going better than Mike's.

While they were running this morning, I did 10 miles of my own. I ran on the track near home and had a pretty good run. The temps were low to mid 70's but the humidity was very low and I ran well. I ended up averaging about 8:20 pace and didn't really feel like I was pushing it at all. I even ran the last 3 laps all in under 2 minutes per lap. Good Run!

Quest for 200 Miles Update: 160.6 miles completed, 39.4 to go

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Little Story For You

I don't know how much press this got around the country, but we got some rain in Milwaukee on Thursday. Actually not some rain, but A LOT of rain. Some parts of Milwaukee got over 7 inches in just a few hours. There was major flooding in areas and rivers down streets no where near where rivers normally are. So how does this story relate to running? It relates because of Mike.

Mike is one of my running partners and is registered for this weekend's San Francisco Marathon. His flight for him and his family was scheduled to leave from Milwaukee Friday morning, plenty of time to get to San Fran in time to get to the Expo on Saturday and race on Sunday. But I said his flight "was" scheduled, past tense. It was cancelled due to the flooding in Milwaukee as the airport didn't open until around Noon Friday and his flight was early in the morning.

Apparently the airline industry does not care about the flights that are cancelled but tries to still get the later flights still to leave on time. During this time of unknown departure, Mike didn't know if he would be able to get to San Fran in time for the Expo and the race. You may be thinking that the Expo really isn't all that important and the race is when he needed to be there. As I talked to him on Friday late morning, I said the same thing. Just call the San Francisco Marathon and see what they can do about picking up the race packet on Sunday before the race. So he called the number on the website only to get a message saying that the office was closed and no one would be back until August 2nd. WHAT!!!!!! Apparently there is no person to talk to in cases of emergency, or perhaps we should call it extraordinary circumstances.

I have never run the San Francisco Marathon but I already don't like it. Now it is not the San Francisco Marathon's fault Mike can't get there on time. But a race that size and knowing people travel from around the country to attend should have a person available for these exact reasons. And if they don't, I don't like them.

So here is the rest of Mike's story (to date). Friday night, Mike and family flew to Kansas City and had a 6 hour lay over that was over night in which the airport said they could not stay there so they proceeded to get a cheap hotel for 4 hours. Since he needed to still get to the Expo to pick up his packet, he decided to buy a 1 way ticket from Kansas City to San Fran via Phoenix (his current flight was to get to San Fran at 8PM Saturday, after the Expo closed). That flight was delayed due to mechanical problems so he ended up flying with his family to Denver on the way to San Fran. Denver was again a long lay over before the flight to San Fran so Mike again bought another one way ticket on a different airline to San Fran and this time got to San Fran on time.

I talked to him about 5PM today (3PM San Fran time) and he was just leaving the Expo to go to his hotel to get a little rest before he had to go to the airport to pick up his family. A little luck was on their side as his wife was able to get a complete refund on his one way ticket from Kansas City to San Fran but he still had to pay $271 for his one way ticket from Denver.

This is not the end of the story but it is a true life story that is still being played out. Sounds like Mike will be at the start line at 5:30AM tomorrow so I again wish him good luck, I think he needs it more than ever.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

I Trudge Along

So far this week I am keeping to the schedule of lots of miles. As I mentions many times recently, I have a goal of 200 miles for July, a number of miles I don’t think I have ever had for 1 month. The short term benefits of this are rather slim, only perhaps the peace of mind that I actually CAN run 200 miles in 1 month. The short term Cons are plentiful. I picked a month that is quite hot and humid so the pace has been slowed. I am feeling really tired in the legs all month as well. The long term benefits could be good, I just won’t know that until the fall. I am hoping this adds to my endurance base and helps me get though those dreaded miles 20 through 25. I would really like to run a marathon back down near 3:43 where I did 3 years ago. I think I am on the right path.

One thing about my running is that I like to mix it up and run “different” type runs or routes occasionally. Monday I decided instead of running from Volleyball and back, that I would instead get a ride to Volleyball and just run home afterwards. It was 12.75 miles home and the last 3 were in the dark. I actually felt good even though my pace wasn’t overly fast, just under 9:00 pace.

Tuesday was at the track with Mike. Why he decided to run 800 repeats with me only 5 days before his next marathon is beyond me but he did. We only did 4 due to time constraints and they were not too fast (3:23, 3:16, 3:13, 3:06 w 3:00 rest) but it usually feels good to get the legs moving faster, and it did.

Yesterday was a 7 miler while my oldest was at Soccer. I averaged 8:44 pace but it felt slow and tired.

Today I am doing a double workout. I did 5 this morning and I felt slow and tired again. I don’t know the pace as I didn’t wear a watch, but it was slow. This afternoon I am planning another 5 miler with Art who is in town and I haven’t run with for a long time.

I did the double so that I can do a short long run this weekend. Maybe only 10 miles on Saturday. A little rest before the last week of July when my miles may increase a lot and I do a long one on Saturday the 31st. I should hit my goal of 200 miles this way

I want to wish Good Luck to my friend and running partner Mike and also Melanie who are both running the San Francisco Marathon on Sunday. Have fun!

July Quest for 200 Miles Update: 145.6 miles completed, 54.4 to go

Saturday, July 17, 2010


I am struggling. My confidence is dwindling. My energy level is extremely low. Does this mean I am giving up? NO WAY! I am just having a hard time this month. It is hot and I have been running a lot of miles so far so it is to be expected that I feel this way. I keep telling myself that in the fall, when the temperatures drop and I drop the miles, I will feel awesome and full of energy and ready to bust out a great marathon. In the mean time, I will continue to do my best and continue to keep up the miles in the heat in hopes it will provide me with the base and training I need to run that awesome marathon.

This morning I was planning on running 20 miles but I ended up only getting in 17 and that was enough. It was 75F at 6:20 in the morning when I started and about 85F when I finished. I didn't plan the run too well which helped with the poor run. I had enough water but I didn't bring any Gu or AccelGel so nothing to eat along the way and only my usual 2 packs of Oatmeal before hand.

About 3 miles into my run, I ran into Greg on the trail near the lake. I knew he would be running in the area but we didn't know if our timing would mix, I guess it did. I decided to turn around and run the final 6 miles he needed to do with him. He was doing 10 miles training for a half marathon in August or September, he hasn't chosen one yet.

After we reached his house, I kept going the 8 miles back to where I parked. The final 4 miles where trouble but I knew I was going to finish and didn't slow too much.

I took the girls out for a bike ride in the afternoon and for ice cream and then after a short nap, we all went to church for Saturday evening service. I plan on sleeping in tomorrow, it has been awhile since I could do that and I need the rest, so I am going to take it.

I hope all of your training is going well. I know it is hot all over and it is definitely difficult to run in the heat and humidity, but keep it up.

July Quest for 200 Miles Update: 116.3 miles complete, 83.7 miles to go

Thursday, July 15, 2010

I Made It To A Social

It has been hot here in Wisconsin this week. That has made it more difficult to keep up the motivation and the energy to run. But I am done my best to keep up the pace and the goal.

Tuesday was hills. This time I did 6 reps up and all faster than the last time so I was pleased with that. Tuesday wasn't extremely hot, just hot. Wednesday was extremely hot and humid. I ran during my daughters soccer practice at 5:30 and it was still 93F, sunny and humid. I somehow got in 7 miles though they were quite slow.

Today I only did 3 1/2 miles. I joined my racing teams monthly social. I haven't been able to go to this social ever until today and I picked a day where not many showed up, only 5 of us ran. A lot of the guys on the team are extremely fast runners, one guy who ran today does a 5K in 15:20 and another runs a marathon in 2:42. Needless to say, I didn't run with them for too long. I ended up running with Jamie who is the InStep store manager and who runs a marathon at about 4 hours, just my pace. We chatted and got to know each other a bit more so it was a nice run along the lakefront. After the run, we all talked in the store for awhile so I got to know so of the others on the team more.

The weather calls for the hot to continue but only upper 80's to lower 90's and the humidity to stay high. I plan on taking Friday off before a long run on Saturday morning, early morning to stay out of as much heat as I can.

July Quest for 200 Miles Update: 99.2 miles complete, 100.8 miles to go.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Sun, Heat, and Humidity - Must be Summer

Since I was a the Kids Triathlon on Saturday morning, I did my long run on Sunday morning with my friend Mike out by his place. It was sunny, hot and humid which made for a very challenging run. I was very sluggish and ran out of water too soon so I ended up only doing 19.6 instead of the 22 I was going to do. Mike did the entire 22 but was still out there when I was done. Usually he would have been done but the warm sunny weather got to him as well and we suffered pretty much out there. It goes down in the books as a pretty poor run but still one that will help me come this fall.

Today I did 8.3 miles before volleyball at a very easy pace again. The legs were still pretty tired so I took it easy. I am still on pace to get my 200 miles for July but it would be nice to have a few less humid days. But you get what you get in the summer.

July Quest for 200 miles update: 83.2 miles done, 116.8 miles to go.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Pewaukee Kids Triathlon

Saturday morning, I took Melissa to the Pewaukee Kids Triathlon. This was her first ever triathlon which seems obvious since she is only 8 years old. She had a lot of fun and said she really liked the swimming and the biking, but didn't like the run too much.

Here is what she was required to do. She had to swim 200 feet along the beach in waist deep water. Since I was volunteering and designated to the transition area, I was unable to see her swim. She told me she only stopped 2 times to rest during the swim. I saw her come out of the water into the transition area in the middle of the pack of 8 year olds. She got on her bike and off she went for a 1 mile ride. After than, she did a 1/4 mile run to finish it off. She ended up in 6th place out of 19 in the 8 year old girls division. She was given a ribbon upon finishing. She seemed quite proud of what she did and kept her marked number on her arm and leg on for the rest of the day as her own badge of honor.

Like I said, I was volunteering in the transition area so I got to see a lot of interesting things. First of all, the Kids Triathlon was open to as young as 3 years old. This seemed quite young for me but it was kind of cute to see the kids off on the "bike" portion of their tri on their big wheels and tricycles. What disturbed me about the 4, 5, and 6 year olds were some of their parents. 6 and under were allowed to have their parents in the transition area with them. I saw way to many kids crying their eyes out while their parents were "pushing" them to continue and hurry up. This is no way to get your child to like triathlons or any other events you would like them in.

The other thing I found odd was so many kids decked out in full triathlon gear. Wet suits for a super short swim and way too expensive bikes (at least in my opinion). Well, if the parents want to spend that kind of money, of well.

In any case, I had fun volunteering and helping the kids on their triathlons, whether it was their first tri or 100th tri. Some parents just need to let their kids be just that, kids, and not live their lives through them.

That afternoon was my daughter Megan's birthday party. She and her friends had fun and went to a gymnastics gym for some fun. The gym is M&M Gymnastics & Dance which is not too far from home. The gym is the home of 2008 Olympian and 2005 Women's All Around World Gymnastics Champion Chellsie Memmel. The cool thing was that Chellsie was actually at the gym toward the end of the party so the girls all got to meet her. The problem is that the girls were all too young to know anything about her and were far more impressed meeting her cute little dog instead of her. Maybe someday they will think differently. I was able to ask her if she would be willing to donate some autographed pictures for the Kids Marathon which she was extremely happy to do.

All in all a busy day but a good day. And thanks to all of you who read my blog regularly and who were cheering Melissa on in her first Triathlon. She thought it was totally cool that people all over the country were rooting her on.

Megan and her friends and sisters at her birthday party.

Melissa finishing the bike portion of her triathlon.

Melissa starting her run coming out of the transition area.

Melissa finishing her first triathlon. I have no idea who the guy is with the funny look on his face.

Melissa proud of her finish with her well deserved ribbon.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Vacation Schedule Havoc

My company had the 5th of July off in observance of Independence Day and we also has the 6th off as a floating holiday. So since we had Monday and Tuesday already off, I decided to take Wednesday, Thursday and Friday off as well. A little mini vacation from work. I like taking off, who doesn't? My running schedule doesn't like it.

When I am away from my usual running routine, I find myself having problems getting the running in. I stay up too late making it hard to get up for an early run or something comes up to delay it. This week is no exception. I guess I like my running to stay in a routine.

I finally got running on Wednesday morning with a 10 miler on the track near my house in the morning. Why the track instead of the road? Well, I got up and wanted to run right away and without getting to personal, I usually need time for Mother Nature to take its course and there is a solution located at the track. Get the drift?

It was hot and very humid. I ran slow for my usual pace but managed to get in the 10 miles. I could have rung my shorts out they were drenched with so much sweat. I then took Thursday off for no good reason at all other than I was tired from being up late Wednesday night. I did get out to the track again this morning for another 10 miles and it went a little better and I did manage to get all the laps in, but they were not high quality miles.

The weather has been hot and humid up here this week which helps in training the body to run in hot and humid weather. I know that sounds redundant, but it certainly helps in the fall when the weather cools off for a nice fast marathon, I hope.

I drove the girls down to Six Flags Great America on Wednesday on a last minute decision. Turns out they were warning all to keep drinking fluids as it was 102 in the park. We all had a good time and even snuck the 4 & 5 year old on the big wooden roller coaster. (They were slightly too short) and they loved it. It is weird how kids can love the big roller coaster and also love the little "Wiggle's Big Red Car" ride which does nothing but move along a flat track at about 2 MPH. Ahhh to be really young. they really enjoyed their first upside down roller coaster as well which they did about 8 times when there was no wait near the end of the day.

Thursday was my middle girl, Megan's, 6th Birthday. So today I was cleaning the house as tomorrow she has all her friends from Kindergarten coming over for a Birthday Party and Gymnastics outing. Again, ahhh to be really young.

Tomorrow, my oldest, Melissa, the one who did he first 5K last Saturday, will try her first Triathlon. It is a Kids Triathlon in Pewaukee, WI where I will be volunteering anyways. She will need to swim 100 ft (in water waist deep), then bike for 1 mile, and the run a quarter mile. She is excited and I will do my best to get pictures this time.

July Quest for 200 miles update: 55.2 miles done, 144.8 miles to go.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Melissa's First 5K

The 4th of July seems to be a great day for a race. They seem to be all over so once again, I headed out for a 5K race. This time, however, I wasn't the one racing, it was my 8 year old daughters racing her first ever race. I was going to run with her along with pushing my youngest in the jog stroller. Melissa has been running a little as a part of the kids marathon but no real training. I decided that the best thing for her would be to do some running and some walking though out the race and that is what we did. It was quite warm so she was complaining about how hot she was, but she was a real trooper and finished in a time of 37:22.

She was happy to finish and proudly wore her race shirt the rest of the day. I made one big mistake, I forgot to take a picture of her before of after the race. I'll remember next time.

I finished a good week of running with that 5K. I ended up with just over 50 miles. Saturday I did 24 miles in the morning. It was a nice morning and not too hot like it got in the afternoon. I started at 5:05 AM and 3 miles into the run, the sun was already up. here was a slight breeze that helped and I was mostly running to the west meaning the sun was behind me which helped. At about 20 1/2 miles, I started to feel tired for about a mile and then it went away right before the final hills. The final 3/4 of a mile is was up Government Hill Road (Sounds bad, doesn't it) and then to the observation tower. 210 feet of elevation gain in 3/4 of a mile and then a tower climb of about 50 feet. And for the first time, I was able to (somewhat) run up the tower steps.

It was a good run and I felt great the rest of the day including going to see Toy Story 3 with the girls. The day ended at the beach near my home with a little swimming, a water ski show and fireworks.

I hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend.

Quest for 200 in July Update: 35 miles down, 165 to go.