Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hoping for a Smooth Lakefront

This weekend is Milwaukee’s Lakefront Marathon out on by the local Milwaukee running club called the Badgerland Striders. If you remember my post about the lakefront Marathon last year (I went to cheer friends, not run), there was a bit of controversy. Here is a recap: The woman that won the race was disqualified because she took water or fluids from a friend along the course. The rules stated that you can only take aid from friends IF they were adjacent to an Aid Station. This rule was on the website even for a few days after the race and then suddenly disappeared.

Now, did she take aid adjacent to an Aid Station and what exactly does ‘adjacent’ mean? 10 feet? 100 yards? I am not suggesting she didn’t take aid right somewhere no where near ‘adjacent’, but the rule seems like it needed more defining.

This was the USATF Wisconsin Marathon Championships and the winner was to receive $300 (I think it was $300) so I presume the marathon race director was between a rock and a hard place on this one. But then after a couple days, the second place woman who then became the winner after the DQ was also disqualified when it was discovered via a picture that she was wearing headphones during the race. No race official saw the infraction, just a photo. This one was against the rules but when is that rule EVER enforced. Since then, the USATF has changed the rule to let it be the discretion of the race director.

Anyway, she was disqualifies and now the woman who can in 3rd place and was the defending champion was now declared the winner quite a few days after the race. This woman is one classy lady. She ended up taking her “winnings” and donating them to the Jenny Crain Make it Happen Fund. Jenny Crain is a local runner who qualified for 4 different Olympic Trials and on a run a while back, was hit by a car and has severe brain damage now.

Let’s hope there is a smooth race this year. I don’t really know anyone in the race this year. Chaz and Chris ran last year but Chaz is injured and Chris is running Chicago. Paul is out of the country, Mike is injured, Art now lives in Texas and I am running Grand Rapids. There is one guy I know a little running and he ran a 2:58 last year. Maybe he will have a great race. The weather looks almost perfect. 40’s and mostly sunny. Winds from the NNE and the race is a point to point course going mostly south. I will be down at the finish to watch the Kids Marathon final 1.2 miles but then I need to leave quickly.

I will do another 6 miles today at an easy pace and that will bring my September total to 183 miles, quite large for me. The tapering has begun though and I plan on only 13 or so this weekend. It is too early to look at weather for Grand Rapids but I am praying for ideal conditions like the last time I ran there.

If you are running the Lakefront Marathon on Sunday, good luck. And good luck to everyone else running other races around the country this weekend.

Update: I just got back from my run. After 1.5 miles, I felt good and had a pretty fast pace going at about 8:20ish so I decided to turn the run into a tempo run. I didn't feel like I was picking it up because it felt so smooth. After 3 miles, i turned into the wind for a solid mile and a half and it felt like I was slowing, but when I finished, I think i just was maintaining. I ended up going just over 6 miles at 7:52 pace. I feel good! And by the way, I am just over 1 week and 49 miles into the new shoes and I really like them. Saucony Kinvara incase you were wondering.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

In The Long Run . . .

I went on an easy run on Friday, one of those Naked, no watch runs. I took it really easy since I knew I had a long run scheduled for early Saturday morning.

I woke up a little before 4AM Saturday. Ate some Oatmeal, drank some water, got my stuff ready and off the East Troy I went for my long run. The plan was to run the super hilly loop 4 times. I have done 3 loops before but never 4 loops before. 4 loops would equal 26.3 miles over nothing but hills. This should give you an idea of the elevation changes in the loop I did.

Like I said, I did 4 loops but every time I finished a loop, I reversed directions for the next loop.

I started running at just before 5:00AM and it was still quite dark. The moon was sometimes peeking out from the clouds, but otherwise, this is the country so no street lights or the such. It was windy and cool (Mid to upper 40's) so I made sure I put on my orange reflective vest, at least for the first 2 loops I did.

Right before mile 4, a deer jumped out of a corn field about 100 feet ahead of me. It startled me and I hoped there were not any more, at least I didn't see anymore. Every loop I took 2 breaks for water and 30 seconds of walking. these grew longer on the last loop but otherwise short. I finished the first loop in 1:05:36, slow but just as planned. Still dark. Finally at about mile 11, the sun peeked out and was it bright. I was running with the sun to my back for 2 miles now and had to make sure I went way into the gravel shoulder as cars approached because I could tell they couldn't see me at all. Loop 2 was 1:05:31, a full 5 seconds faster.

Loops 3started well but the legs were a bit tired already. I got the the long, steady downhill portion of Hwy 120 when I could hear a car behind me slowing down. Nothing unusual as I get asked for directions often when running. End up it was Mike saying "hi". He was going to a local 5K, knew I was out here, so drove to say Hi and see how I was doing. After he took off, i had 1 1/2 loops to go. I finish loop 3 in 1:06:23, a bit slower but OK.

I dreaded loop 4 as I knew what I was in for. The legs were already tired and I had over 6 1/2 miles of hills to contend with. The worst of the hills were in the first 2 miles. One so steep you couldn't run down it, you had to mostly walk/run otherwise you would lose control. Then the way back up where at some points, the only way to keep running is to be up on your toes pushing. Mentally I stayed strong and muscled up the big hill and didn't even stop for a rest until 1 mile later at the 'regular' rest area. I also had to go up the long, steady hill on Hwy 120 (between miles 2 & 3 on the chart) but surprisingly, that went good. I knew I was slower this loop and the finally 2 miles had quite a bit into the wind. I was still slow but looked at the time with a little to go. If i picked it up, I could possibly still do this loop in under 1:10. I picked it up and pushed but ended up at exactly 1:10:00 for loop 4.

My total time for 26.3 miles was 4:27:31. It is slow compared to what I can run that distance in, but the goal today was a slow steady run. Check. Another goal was to get another long run in with lots of hills to get ready for the Monkey. Check. Get in my final long run before tapering for Grand Rapids in 3 week. Check. It was very hilly so I can't complain. I have just over 50 miles in for the week so now I can enjoy decreasing those miles as I prepare for the fall marathons.

I know some of you race this weekend. I hope it went good.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

New Shoes

I think I have told most of you in the past that I am a Nike guy when it comes to my running shoes. I wore them through High School, College, and since College. I did go away from Nike about 3 years ago when the discontinued the Skylon for the first time. It was a disaster when the 2 shoes I got did not work well. I tries some Asics first but they were very heavy and then tried some really stiff Brooks. Nike then brought back the Skylon and I was back but a bit different than the first version, not as good but still OK.

Earlier this year, Nike once again discontinued the Skylon and replaced them with the LunarSwift. First of all, my usual size 11 1/2 didn't fit and I needed to get a size 12. I ended up getting extra blisters I usually don't get and they just didn't seem to be a good shoe for me. Nike doesn't offer any other light weight trainer shoe so I was stuck.

The store I go to sometimes said others who lies the Nike Skylon were trying this new shoe so I tried them out. It is the Saucony Kinvara. I walked around work in them today to get a feel for them and then after work, I went on a 5 mile run in them. So far I really love them, They feel a lot like the original Skylons but are much lighter. They have nice heal support but feel a lot like a racing flat. Somewhat feels like wearing a comfortable slipper and they are flexible on top. They felt very fast today even when my legs felt tired. I will run in them again tomorrow and then maybe on my really long run on Saturday morning.

I also had an interesting run on Tuesday evening. I left work for a 5 mile tempo run knowing a thunderstorm was brewing and closing in. 2 miles to go and the rain started but very light. then with ONLY a 1/4 mile to go, all hell broke loose and winds picked up to about 50 mph and the rain was pouring parallel tot he ground. Problem was I needed to go directly into the wind. The rain felt like hail and almost like it was piercing me. I could not look up and just looked straight down muscling through the wind, sometimes almost stopping me. I was completely soaked in 10 seconds and while it was not fun during it, in retrospect, it was fun to have survived it (from a running point of view). How quickly the weather changes here in Wisconsin.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Am I Crazy?!?!?!

I already know the answer to this but you can come up with your own opinion.

OK, here is why I know I am crazy. Tonight I signed up for not 1, not 2, but 3 marathons in a matter of 10 minutes. WHAT??? Not only that, but I am now signed up for 4 1/2 marathons that I have not yet competed in. That is a new record for me. At one time in the past, I was signed up for 3 marathons at one time. So why the 1/2? Does that mean I am signed up for a half marathon? Let me go over the list.

First will be the Grand Rapids Marathon taking place on October 17th in, you guessed it, Grand Rapids, MI. Paul will be signing up as well and maybe Mike. This will be the race I will try to run a fast time in. Hopefully the weather will cooperate like it did the last time I ran this race 3 years ago. It was cold and sunny, I loved it.

The second marathon is the Haunted Hustle Marathon taking place on October 30th in Middleton, WI, just outside of Madison. Paul may run this one as well and Greg may come and run the half marathon. This one will depend on how I recover from Grand Rapids. I will try for a faster time if I have recovered well. Otherwise I will just have fun.

The third marathon in the nutty and crazy Harpeth Hill Flying Monkey Marathon taking place on November 21st in Nashville, TN. This race has only 200 runners and sold out in 32 minutes! I have no aspirations of a fast time here as there are many, many hills. 3500 foot elevation gain and loss so I am told. But I hear it is a very beautiful marathon so I will be soaking up the scenery and enjoying the pain. Is that possible? Mike is joining me on this road trip to the south and we will both be able to add Tennessee to our list of completed marathon states. Should be my 11th state. Plus I get to meet a pretty cool friend, Bonus!

The fourth marathon is the 1/2 I was talking about and it is the Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon taking place on January 9th in Northfield, MN. I am not officially signed up . . .yet. This race allows only 40 runners and are selected by a lottery. I didn't make the cut. But they also continue the lottery to pick 11 for the wait list in case some drop out. I am told that 6 to 12 drop out each year for whatever reason so 6 to 12 more runners get the chance. While I did make the waiting list, the problem is that I am number 11 on that list. Chances are slim but they still are there.

Finally, my fifth marathon I am signed up for is the InStep Icebreaker Indoor Marathon taking place on January 23rd in Milwaukee, WI. This is one of my favorite marathons so I am excited to be running my 3rd in a row. The price was right as well. Since I am on the committee helping out, I was given a complimentary entry in return for all my work.

Am I crazy? Nutty? Loony? Insane? Etc? Post me a comment and give me your opinion.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Up Early For A Shower

I had plans for my weekend runs that didn't fully come to fruition. The plan was to get up very early Saturday morning to put in 10 miles before my daughters Cross Country Meet and then get up early again Sunday for 10 miles before early church (the girls were singing in the early service).

I actually woke up 2 minutes before the alarm for to go off Saturday morning (some may still say night) and went to get ready to run. I heard some noise outside and attributed it to wind. When I stepped outside at 4:45AM I realized it wasn't the wind but instead some distant thunder. Storms were on the way but I decided to still go. I headed to the local track, hopped the fence and began doing laps in the dark. Well, mostly dark with brief flashes of light as I was the audience for a really cool light show in the sky to the north and west. It would light up the entire track for a half second at a time. I had no idea of my pace as I was in awe of the show above and beyond me.

Finally 30 minutes into the run, I felt the first drop of rain. A lap later and it picked up. 1 lap later and it was raining good. I was only about 3.5 to 4 miles into the run so decided to keep going. Then the skies opened up completely and I was deluged with water feeling like I was under a waterfall of sorts. It felt awesome as I was soaked beyond wet. The track was full of puddles, every step was a squish-fest for the feet but the temps were just warm enough to not be cold. Being dark I couldn't fully tell, but it seemed like it rained harder than the Twins Cities marathon 2 years ago.

Finally, after 20 or 30 minutes, it slowed to a steady drizzle and I finished my full 10 miles. I had to be very careful hopping the fence back as it is about 7 feet high and I didn't want to crack my head on the pavement. Success. A warm shower, my second 'shower' of the day, capped a great and fun morning run.

I then picked up my daughter from her sleepover party and went to her CC meet where it was wet, a little rain, but a success none-the-less.

Sunday morning, I woke up at 4AM and it was raining again, not a full downpour, but a good steady pace. My shoes were still wet and I didn't want to get soaked again, so I crawled back in bed and slept some more. I was able to get in 5 miles later at CC practice. I did a 4 1/2 mile pace run at 7:58 pace and was able to finish the week with 43 miles.

Next week will be the last full mileage week before I start to drop miles getting ready for Grand Rapids. I plan on a very long Saturday long run at a very slow pace. I may go to the hills again, we will see.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Paul Finishes Ironman Wisconsin

It was a very busy weekend. Saturday I went in to work to catch up on some scheduling I was behind in. In the late morning I was able to get out and do my longer run. It was raining most of the morning so it finally stopped right before I went out. I ended up going for 13.2 miles at just under 2 hours.

Sunday was just a short run with the girls cross country team my daughter is on. With a little encouragement and a small treat (bribe), she was able to run 2 1/2 miles without stopping once. It was slow, I think like 11:30 pace, but she did it.

I got home from that and continued tracking Paul in his Ironman competition. Paul was competing in Ironman Wisconsin taking place in Madison, WI. He wasn't 100% as far as running going into the race, but he did well. This was his 3rd Ironman distanced triathlon. His swim was 1:23 and his bike was something like 17+ mph on a hilly course. Then came the run. It was 81 degrees when he started and he was dizzy for most of the first half. Once the sun went down or he was in shade, he said he could run, but otherwise it was a problem. He finished the marathon portion in the 5:40 range and with transitions, that gave him a finishing time of 13:48:36, a PR for him. Pretty cool if you ask me and it makes me want to do one someday. Note, I said someday, not tomorrow or even next year, just someday.

I did get in a few more workouts on Monday and Tuesday. Monday was a nice 5 mile no watch run. That was a nice run. Then today, I did another interval workout on that same trail I ran last week. This time I did 8 intervals with all faster than the last time except for 1. I was pretty tired afterwards so that felt good.

Tomorrow is my daughters first Cross Country race. Being so young, she should have no expectations except to try to run the entire race without walking. I am guessing she will go out way too fast with all the excitement and not really knowing how to pace at all. I just hope she has fun!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Backup Plan

I am not talking about the movie "The Backup Plan" here. I am talking about the backup plan to the workout today.

After work, my plan was to go to the local high School track near where I work and run 8X800 with 200 meter jog rest. That ,at least, was the plan until I arrived at the track. Like most High Schools, the football field is in the middle of the track and today, there was a JV football game being played therefore I was unable to use the track. Since I knew this was a possibility, I have a backup plan.

On the grounds on the High School, is a wooded area that has a nice mostly dirt trail though it. If you run the entire rectangles trail, it is somewhere just under 3/4 of a mile per loop. The trail has a few roots but not too bad. The trees are mostly clear and the path is pretty wide most of the loop. So I decided to change the workout to 6 loops with about 1:40 seconds jog between. It was definitely slower than on the track but easier on the legs. There are 2 small hills on the loop to make it interesting as well as pine cones scattered to remind me to keep my eyes down on he trail.

I really loved this workout and will plan on doing it again. There is always the risk of turning an ankle on this trail, but that would be the case anytime you run on a trail. Running thorough the woods also gives you the feeling like you are running faster than you really are. It was windy, but not in the woods. After warm up, intervals, and cool down, I ended up getting in about 7 miles today. It was good!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Double Run?

So I did a double run today . . . sort of. After work, I ran 7 easy miles on the trail near work. It was windy but cool, mid 60's so it felt real easy. Then I drove home and Melissa was waiting for me to go on her run. We ended up doing about a 1/2 mile to the track and then she did her first ever interval workout. I would run a lap on the rack with her and then she would walk and rest while I continued another lap. When I came around, we did another lap and so on for 4 quarters for her. She didn't do too bad either and it was quite windy. Her laps we between 2:18 down to 2:07.

As we were warming up, I found it quite funny when I told her that is was just over 1 week until her first race. "WHAT?!?!? I get to run races?" She didn't know that there were races in Cross County. Sometimes it is hard to think the way a 3rd grader does. She was excited about racing though. I am trying my hardest to teach her to go out sssssllllooooowwwwww in the race. It is a 1.5 mile race and kids always seem to go out balls to the walls fast and then are walking in no time. She won't have Daddy there to keep her slow at the start, she will just have to be smart about it. I know it won't happen, she will go out way to fast and just have to learn the hard way, just like most everything else in her life. Ahh Kids, you gotta love them.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Cool Front Comes Through

Suddenly on Friday, the weather turned up here in Wisconsin. It was windy and cooler, maybe in the lower 60's. I was able to get in 4 miles and it felt really easy to go 8:30 pace. I didn't want to go faster since I had a planned long run the next morning.

Saturday morning came a little too fast for my liking but I was able to get out of bed and out to East Troy where I planned my long run on the same route with lots of hills I ran last Thursday night. Only this time I planned on 3 loops instead of 2 loops. It was cold which was a nice change of pace from the heat and humidity of the summer. It was so cold that I actually wore a long sleeve technical shirt, about 47F when I started with some wind. I like running in the cold. My best marathon times have been when the temps are in the 30's and 40's.

Mike said he may join me at some point on my run so I left a note on the car letting him know when I left so he would know about where I was. 1 loop is about 6.55 miles and takes me about 1:02 to 1:05. I take off about 10 minutes before the sun came up and at an easy pace. I took this course to help prepare me for the hills that The Monkey will be handing me in November, I think this should help as there is only about 3/4 mile flat each loop and many hills going up and down 250 + feet twice each loop. The first loop went well and I finished loop 1 in 1:02:20.

Loop 2 started well and I ran into Mike as I reached a little after 11 miles. He turned around and ran the rest of loop 2 with me and the first 2 miles of loop 3. Loop 2 was 1:01:09. My knee was sore but not enough to stop. Curse that tendinitis. I leave Mike at about mile 15 as he heads home and I head down the long steady downhill of Hwy 120. This feels good but the big, never seemingly ending hills of Kneip road await. No problem this loop and I feel good all the way through loop 3 and finish this loop in 1:00:37. I knew this would be just under 20 miles so I continued a little further to make sure I hit that milestone. Turns out I go a little over 20 miles and average 9:20 pace and I am very happy it was that fast considering the hills after hills after hills...

It is now Sunday and my left quad is a but tight and sore. I think it was pushed a little more that it wanted to be but I feel strong from the run. I feel confident. Next week will be a long run but on a flatter course but I am contemplating coming back in 2 weeks for 4 loops???? 4 loops would be a full marathon full of hills, be assured that if I do this, it will be considerably slower and just to work hills and build endurance. Last year I did a 26.2 mile training run as well, but no where near the hills. I am not sure I will do it yet or not.

No running today though. First day off in a week. The body needs some rest and it feels good.