Thursday, December 30, 2010

Closing out the Year

I may or may not have had my last run of the year yesterday. I ran 5 miles after work by myself in comfortable weather. It was about 35 out, warmer than the past few weeks and I took it easy and it felt relatively good. Only 11 more days until the double so resting the legs is important right now.

I will work on a "Year in Review" as well as a "Year in Preview" post for next week if I can find time. Lots going on.

Tonight will have some good friends coming over for a night of Wii, it is new to us since Santa brought it this year. NYE will be a dinner/movie and maybe going out to a party. Nothing set yet. New Years Day will be rooting on my beloved Wisconsin Badgers in the Rose Bowl! Go Bucky!!! After that, who know. Maybe a run or 2? Nothing hard.

It has been a pretty good year running wise. I hope to continue that in 2011.

Happy New Year to all of you! Have fun and be safe!

Monday, December 27, 2010

To the Threshold

It was somewhat cold today. When work was over, it was 22F out and dropping slowly. I still do not have my new tights as they just came in and I need to pick them up so what to do? I decided to run outside in shorts. WHAT?!? Usually I will run in shorts outside until 25 degrees but not under, that is, unless extenuating circumstances exist. Today was one of those.

It wasn't windy out so I figured it really wouldn't be a big issue and in the end, it really wasn't. The last 1/4 mile was the coldest as I had to run back down the road to work right into the little wind there was. After inside again, my legs and face were quite pink. My girls would have loved it!

On the 23rd & 24th, I was able to get my 13 and 10 miles in at the Pettit Center and with the 5 miles I ran today, I am now only 9 miles shy of 1600 miles for the year. I am trying to run easy now as there are less than 2 weeks until the Mississippi/Alabama double. I will try to get a little running in tomorrow and Wednesday and maybe a few on Thursdays as well.

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and I wish you all a great New Year.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Slushy and Slippery

It was a little slushy and slippery on the run today but that is running in Wisconsin in the winter. Mike and I went a little over 7 miles in the Fog. Since it was a little warmer and just over 32, there were lots of puddles and slushy snow all over so going up and down the hills were a challenge but we remained unscathed.

I am planning a double run on Thursday and Friday morning to prepare just a little for the double marathons in early January. Paul and I will head to Pettit on Thursday for a 13 miler and then again on Friday early for a 10 miler. Then it is rest the legs up as the marathons are on January 8th & 9th.

I did do some calculations and I may still just squeak past 1600 miles for the year. We'll see, it is not one of my priorities though.

And finally, I wanted to show you a cute picture of my girls with Santa from last weekend. I know I am biased but I think they are just adorable here.

They wanted to bring along their "Build a Bear" bears. On the left is Megan with Anna Bear, in the middle is Katelynn with Michelle Bear, and on the right is Melissa with Claire Bear. Melissa is my running girl!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Out of Gas

I did something a little different for my long run this weekend. I ran it on Friday night after work so I could be home with the girls in the morning.

My plan was to run 20 miles at the Pettit Center which is just under 73 laps. So I headed there after work and was able to start running at about 6:15PM. My first mile was a little fast but then I settled into an easy pace of about 9:20 per mile and clicked off the laps. Speed skaters were training which was cool to see. I even saw a young teenage girls practicing that looked really good. Maybe she will be an Olympian someday, a lot of speed skating Olympians come from the Pettit.

45 minutes into the run, the ice oval was for open skating which is fun to run during. All sorts of different sized kids and adults skating at all different levels. Some falling, some cruising, some holding hands, and some just trudging along. It made the run a little more entertaining. I only wish I could have run the opposite direction as they were all skating so I could see them better.

By the time I got to about 15 miles, I was the only one left on the running track and there was only about 15 minutes left for open skating. Suddenly a young girl was skating next to me while I ran and saying she was going to try to keep up with me. She made it 1 1/2 laps before she had to rest. It was funny to see her try to keep up and made me think of what my oldest girl could look like in a few years. She asked if I skated and I said yes, but not very good and I told her that my oldest daughter wanted to learn to skate and was getting ice skates for Christmas. After she rested, I didn't see her again.

Open skating ended and I was all alone around the oval except for the Zamboni driver. Hockey players were in the center rinks and some fans, but that was it. Then with 8 laps to go, I was gassed. My lap times dropped 5 seconds, then 10 seconds, and then 15 seconds. It was all I could do to keep going. I gave myself 1 last break with 4 laps to go and the slowly finished up. It was a real bummer end to a run that was OK until then.

Here is something I have never done. While I ran, they were playing a local radio station that was playing all Christmas music. I have never run to Christmas music before. While it is not the most inspirational music to run to, there are a few surprisingly upbeat song that were able to get me moving. 2 that come to mind are "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" by Mannheim Steamroller and "Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24" by Trans Siberian Orchestra.

I am now over 100 miles for the month and I said before that I have a minor goal to reach 1600 miles for the year. I am currently at 1550 miles but I think I am going to scale back now are rest up some. I felt a twinge in my right hamstring at about 14 miles and I have no desire to let that get worse. I also was to rest my knee some in hopes it will improve. And most importantly, since I am running 2 marathons in 1 weekend 3 weeks from now, I think rest will do me good.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Merry Mas!

"Merry Mas, doesn't sound right without Christ, does it?" I saw this on the sign of a church I pass on the way to and from work. This church has a lot of good messages on their sign, but I think I like this one the best. Let us all not forget that Christmas has everything to do with Christ, not presents or lights or cookies or decorations or trees or . . . (although those are nice as well).

I had another Christmas related conversation I had at work today. One of the ladies that answers calls from customers told me she was going to stop saying "Happy Holidays" and instead, start saying "Merry Christmas". I wondered if anyone would be offended by that. In today's world, there is no doubt someone will claim it does, whether it does or not. Just an average day for a Christian being ripped on for our faith, even by those who claim to be Christians themselves. Odd, isn't it.

This got me to thinking more. Would I be offended if someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah? No, I wouldn't. Happy Kwanzaa? Nope! Happy Festivus? Besides it being a made up holiday, I think I would give it a little laugh and then say "Thank You". Maybe it is just me?

So allow me to wish you some holiday greetings: Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! I know it was December 1 to 9, but better late than never?!? Happy Kwanzaa! And Happy Festivus (December 23rd). Good luck putting up for Festivus poles, feats of strength and airing of grievances.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Freezing! I has been friggin' cold up here the last few days. But that did not stop me from running. After a 20 miler on Saturday morning with Mike on a mild day, the weather turned for the worse Saturday night into Sunday and now it is very cold.

Yesterday, Mike and I ran 4 miles after work and it was about 9F out with some wind. That made it very cold but layers saved me again. Today I ran on my own. It was a little colder, 8F, but it felt a little warmer as the wind was low. I did 7 miles today.

I don't mind running when it is cold, I just can't run fast, nor do I try. I feel that if I did, an injury would be right there. First of all, my muscles take a long time to warm up, if they ever do, so slow running is good for that. Second, there is so much ice still on the road, that easy running is safer to help avoid slips and falls.

As for injuries, my right knee tendinitis is sure making itself known in this cold weather. I have decided to bite the bullet and ice it at night and just deal with the pain that comes with that. I just got done with that and now have a warm corn bag wrapped on my knee. I will continue this so hopefully the tendinitis will either go away or reduce itself.

I did have a new problem on my run tonight, but one that is easily solved. Seems my running tights are too old and have now caused some rather irritating chaffing on my inner legs. I went out tonight to find some new ones but the stores I went to either had super expensive technical running pants or stuff I had no interest in. I just need some simple running tights, nothing fancy. I did find some at one store but they color I wanted were too small and I really didn't want bight blue or red tights. I will look again tomorrow.

It is now a little over 3 weeks until the Mississippi/Alabama double. I will run long again this weekend but then start cutting my miles back. While I have run a double long run for 3 years in a row (twice a half/full, and once a full/full), I still have no idea how to do it properly. Mike and Paul will be there so the main goals are to finish both and have fun. I am confident I can do both.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Just What I Needed

Running outside in the winter time can really drag on you. It is cold and you really have to watch your step the entire time to make sure you don't slip on some ice or snow.

The weather didn't help at all today as it began snowing in the early afternoon but I had a planned run at the Pettit Center so I could not have to worry about the cold or ice (even thought I was running only a few feet from ice the entire run). It took me a lot longer to get to Pettit since the roads were slippery and others seemed to have forgotten how to drive in snow. Once I got there, I knew I only had just under 1 hour before the Icebreaker Marathon meeting and I wanted to get in 7 miles of Tempo, so I got going right away.

I began running around 7:45 pace and wanted to see how long I could keep that up. I was doing well the first 10 laps trying to relax to conserve energy for the last 15 or so laps. Dana finally found me on the track as he was late from the snow as well. He ran with em for a bit and then he would run ahead of me and go fast for 4 or so laps and then run with me again. He is a lot faster than me so my pace was far to easy for him even though I was pushing it hard.

For my last 6 laps, I picked it up even more trying to get the laps down to 2:00 flat per lap which equated to a pace of 7:16 per mile. The final 3 laps, I even picked it up more and was running sub 7 pace. I finished just over 7 miles at an average pace of 7:34 and felt really good. It was a real treat to get that kind of a workout in since it was quite a log time since my last hard run. It was just what I needed.

After the run, we had our meeting on the Icebreaker Marathon. The Full and Half Marathons are full as well as the Marathon Relay. The 5K has only 7 spots left. The race is about a month and a half away and everything seems to be coming together. It should be a very exciting weekend!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Winter Is Here

Winter has arrived in the upper Midwest. It is cold! I have run the last 3 days after work, 2 of them with Mike from work, and one from home. Each time the temps were between 13 and 18. Monday it was about 15 but it was windy pushing the wind chill below zero. I ran from home and found myself ruuning quite fast over the first mile and a half just trying to get warm as it was mostly into the wind. I ended up doing 5 miles at sub 8:30 pace just wanting to get home to warm up. My girls found it quite fun to feel the skin on my arms and tummy after the run because is was pink and cold.

Tuesday, Mike ran the first 4 miles with me and I continued on a little more than 3 more miles. The wind was less but it was cold. Today, Mike and I did 5 miles and it felt warmer (if there is such a thing at 18F).

The usual winter running hazards are all around and not just the frost bite. There is ice on the ground that is tricky to see as it is dark when we are running. There are the cars that think that if they put on their bright lights, all can see better, NOT! Blinded hoping I don't step off the road is more like it. To be safe, I do wear an orange reflective vest. I hope that is is not interpreted as a target instead of a warning. Sometimes I feel it is both.

Tomorrow I will get to run in the semi cool/warm confines of the Pettit Center as we have another Icebreaker Marathon meeting. I think I will do a tempo run as it is difficult to get those kind of hard runs (or track work) outside in the winter.
I am now up to 1486 miles this year. I have surpassed my 2009 total and still have 3 weeks to go. I am not sure if this is a record total for me in my life. In college, I did keep a log for my coach but I never totaled it for a year. I am guessing it wasn't this amount though as I was a middle distance runner.

I do get to do something new on Friday after work. The place I work volunteers to do bell ringing at the local grocery store for the good ole red kettle. I am going to bring along my oldest daughter, Melissa, to help me ring the bell and wish all a wonderful holiday season and a Merry Christmas. Hopefully it is not too cold or too windy, but if it is, we will dress in layers and still have fun!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Avoiding the Snow

Snow started falling sometime in the middle of the night last night. By the time I woke up at 5:30AM to get ready for my long run, there was already a blanket of white over the entire ground. It was still snowing and they forecasted that it would continue for quite awhile. So I decided to head over to the Pettit Center for my long run.

I arrived a little after 6 and was on the track shortly after. Only 4 others were on the track when I started and there was no one else on the ice oval or the hockey/figure skating rinks so no music was playing. I didn't have a desire to run fast so I started with laps around 2:30 which is just over 9:00 pace. My plan was to go 65 laps which equates to about 18 miles. 2 times in the first 25 laps, I needed to stop for a restroom break so there was something not quite right with my stomach. It felt better after that but I still kept the slow easy pace going.

By about mile 12 or so, a guy ran past me and we ended up talking some. He recognized me from running the Icebreaker Marathon. Turns out it was Matt who won last year's Icebreaker so obviously he had to slow waaaaaay down to run those laps with me. Turns out he ran High School Cross Country and Track the same time I did but on the other end of the state. Nice guy.

I finally finished my laps and miles with an average pace of 9:03 per mile but my right knee and the tendinitis was really bothering me. I ended up doing a short second workout when I got home by getting out the shovel and clearing the driveway as the girls played in the snow for the first time this winter.

Tonight, I took the girls down to Miller Brewery in Milwaukee for a small holiday lights tour. The FREE tour starts with the girls getting a light up Christmas light necklace then a short walk down to watch the 300,000 LED light show choreographed to music. Then a walk in the the underground caves where they used to chill the beer in the old days about 70 to 90 years ago. Finally, we went to the miller Inn for some quick beer sampling. Did I mention this was all FREE. Pretty cool. They do have tours year round for free with beer sampling, but the holiday lights are only for the next 2 weekends.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Winter is coming

The forecast calls for snow on Saturday, the first measurable snow of the year. Only 3 to 6 inches are expected. It is actually a little late this year as we usually get measurable snow in November. But winter is definitely on it way.

It was less than 2 weeks ago I was in Nashville running a marathon on a warmish 70 degree day and not long later, I was running in 28 degree weather with light snow falling. Crazy! OK, 28 was in Wisconsin, not Nashville. But colder none-the-less.

Yesterday it was even colder as I ran after work. It was 21F out and I broke down and wore the running tights for the first time this winter. I will avoid wearing running tights when possible. Usually my threshold is 25F so 21F and wind was a no brainer. Today it was 27F out so I opted for the shorts and I think I made the right decision.

So winter is on its way and I think I am prepared for all that is involved with that and running. I do not look forward to snow sticking on the bottom of my shoes during running, but I am prepared. I do not look forward to hidden ice on the road, but I am prepared. I do not look forward to single digit temperatures (or colder), but I am prepared (plus the Pettit Center is open).

At least I think I am prepared.