Saturday, December 31, 2011

Jennipede Victory Lap

Today I was able to get together with a few of the World Record holding Jennipede team for what we called "A Victory Lap". We were invited to participate in a local 5K here on New Year's Eve called "Run into the New Year". About 15 or so of us Jenniepede showed up for the race.

Here is our fearless leader, Robin on the right and Craig on the left.

Before we lined up for the start, we were able to get a group picture with Jenny who was able tun run with us today. She was in her special made adult stroller so she could join us after being bundled up.

A group shot of most of us who ran today. A few of us missing. Jenny Crain with us of course!

My daughter, Melissa, was able to join us and for the day, was a honorary Jennipede. She ran the entire 5K with us. Bri lead us again but unfortunately Lieutenant Dan was not with us to lead us in some chants along the way. We were able to entertain ourselves anyways with whatever came to our minds. At points we were just yelling out food items like a vendor at a baseball game. Stupid? Yes. Entertaining? Yes.

Lined up before heading outside for the start of the 5K. There were about 5 or 6 more of us at the end of this group.

It is unusually warm for New Year's Eve here in Milwaukee so the temps were not a problem. I was actually surprised how many people were bundled up as much as they were. It was sunny and like 35 to 40 out. We didn't take any breaks this time, but no need for a 5K. We ended up running just under 36 minutes.

Amy is on the right here and sorry, but I didn't get the name of the lady on the left. My Bad.

I am hoping that we will be able to get a Jennipede reunion sometime in the future. Somewhere where we can talk and just have fun. I will get to see a few more Jennipedes in a couple weeks as I know some that are running at the Icebreaker Marathon Relay.

Keep on Running!!!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for me finishing cleaning the house and deciding to get a quick runner blog post in. All the children were snug in their beds with visions of DS games, digital cameras, Princess stuff, Wii games danced in their heads. And I in my PJ's just settled down for hopefully a not so long post.

Yes, it is Christmas Eve and I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. Please keep Jesus in your Christmas celebrations and I wish you all only the best this Christmas season.

I did get in a long(ish) run this Christmas Eve very early in the morning so I could be done for festivities with my family. I was out the door dark and early at 5:57 this morning and it was the coldest run this new winter season. In fact, it was the first run for me in running tights as it was something like 16F out when I left. the first 5 miles were pretty dark out and right by mile 9, I was able to see the sun just coming over the horizon as I looked over near a clearing. It was beautiful. As far as the run, it wasn't exactly a good one, not horrible, but very sluggish and somewhat slow. I ended up going 11.8 miles and the average pace was 9:33. There were a few hills, but nothing really to complain about. I just wasn't on top of it this morning and that is OK. I have only 2 weeks until the Goof so better to get the sluggish run out of the way now instead of later.

The 11.8 miles this morning brings me to a total of just over 1620 miles for the year, a new record total for me. Not the only record for me this year, no Marathon PR though, but a high total of mile. Last year I just crept over the 1600 mile mark and with 1 more week to go this year, I should end up somewhere near 1640 would be my guess.

I won't put in too many more miles since I do have the Goof coming up and I am not fixated on a specific mileage goal now that I am over last year's total.

The return of the Jennipede!

There is a New Year's Eve race in Milwaukee called "Run into the New Year" held at Noon on New Year's Eve (don't you think midnight would be better?), and the entire Jennipede team has been invited to run compted. That would be a good final run of the year, at least I think so. I am not sure how many teammates we will have but it should be fun linking up again even if it is only for 3.1 miles. I am planning on bringing my oldest daughter along so she can run next to us. She needs a run in before the Disney 5K anyways. I hope we get a bunch of the team but time will tell.

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas this year, or maybe a Happy Hanukkah. I hope Santa leaves you a new pair of running shoes under the tree, or maybe a new Garmin watch, or a running singlet and shorts? Either way, I wish you all the best!

Keep on Running!!!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Last Long Run of the Year

I wanted to get in a final long run since the Goof is only 3 weeks away. I also wanted to get in one more long run at the Pettit Center as a tune up for the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon which is in only 5 weeks. So a Saturday morning run at Pettit would seem to have solved all of that . . . except that the running track was closed on Saturday morning due to a USA Speed Skating Championships going on. So I rescheduled my run on Friday evening instead.

My plan was to get in 20 miles and at least 73 laps. Mike was joining me a Pettit as well for his first ever run there as he prepared for his first Icebreaker Indoor Marathon. When I got there, he was already 7 laps in and was planning on running 50 laps but at a faster pace than me. We ran a few laps together before he ran his pace and I did mine.

I was taking my usual breaks of 30 seconds every 10 laps (~2.75 miles) and when Mike was finished, I was just coming up on 40 laps and stopped to talk a bit before continuing. By 50 laps in, my legs were starting to get tired and I was running a little faster than I wanted to (1:58 Half Marathon Pace). By this time, the open skating was done and they had turned the outside track lights off and only the hockey rink lights were on but still plenty light enough to run but I was the only one on the track as I got permission to keep running.

If I was feeling good, I was going to keep running to 80 laps which is just over 22 miles. I wasn't feeling all that good but I ran to 80 laps anyways and was beat by the end.

You might think it is easy to run on a track for 80 laps. It is completely flat after all, but it really wears on you. I also was taking my breaks a little less frequently that I am used to on a long run.

I am going to take the next few weeks to rest up a little. I would at least like to run the Disney Half Marathon somewhat fast but with the 5K and the half right before the Disney Full, I don't anticipate a fast time, in fact, I anticipate a very slow time. And with all the work on my feet the days before the Icebreaker, I think a sub 4 there is out of the questions as well. But I will go out, have fun and run the best I can.

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Christmas Light Run

I couldn't run right after work so I had to wait until about 7:30PM to leave. So I decided to run through the close neighborhood to my house and just look at all the houses decorated with wonderful Christmas lights. I had such a blast seeing all the designed and new features I had not seen before. I ended up going 6 miles at 8:39 pace and it felt really easy since I was distracted so much.

I am sure the drivers that passed me thought I was nuts but who cares as long as they don't hit me. I was in shorts (it was a warm 39F out) and made sure I wore my bright orange reflective vest

So it was a good run today, I really enjoyed it.

Keep on Running!!!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Good News / Bad News

There was some good news and some bad news in the world of local sports here in the Milwaukee area.

First the good news. There is a local high school runner from University Lake School near Hartland, WI (about 25 miles from Milwaukee) named Molly Seidel. She just won her 4th straight State Cross Country Championship this year being only the second girl in the state to ever do so. The first was Suzy Favor Hamilton so she is is pretty good company. Just this Saturday, she won the Foot Locker National High School Cross Country Championship in California in a time of 17:22. That is pretty amazing. I haven't has a chance to see her run yet but maybe I can find a track meet this spring she will be in.

Not the bad news. Perhaps you have heard the news about Ryan Braun from the Milwaukee Brewers. He won the NL MVP award this past year leading the Brewers to the NL Central title and the playoffs. He is a real pleasure to watch. But the news is bad as he apparently tested positive for higher than normal levels of testosterone or some performance enhancing drug. It is a real shock since he didn't seem like the type to do so and even was very vocal against performance enhancing drugs. He is denying that he used drugs and says that there are extenuation circumstances that will clear his name which I really hope happens, that is if it is false. If it is true, I will have to not like him anymore.

I am against performance enhancing drugs big time. I think anyone who uses them intentionally is a cheater and really take away from those who do it legally. Suzy Favor Hamilton, whom I mentioned earlier, was screwed out of many National Championships when Regina Jacobs was using. Not only did she not win the Championships, but all the extra endorsements and prize money as well. This is why I am no fan of Barry Bonds, Marion Jones, and also Lance Armstrong.

Yeah, I know, I have heard it a hundred times, "Lance Armstrong never tested positive". Yeah, well neither did Barry Bonds or Marion Jones forever but we all knew. Lance does do some good things, that is for sure, but he is also a cheater. He 'stole' prize money and championships away from others as well.

Other good (and not exactly new) news, the UW-Whitewater football team will be playing in the Division 3 National Championship football game again this year for the 7th (YES 7) straight year. But the isn't the most amazing thing, the most amazing this is that they will be playing against Mount Union for the 7th straight year for the title. CRAZY!!! They both have 3 each the last 6 years, who will take the lead?

As far as my running, I did get in 51 laps (just over 14 miles) at the Pettit Center on Friday evening. My knee gave me trouble at about 44 laps but I finished and rested it the rest of the weekend. I plan on getting in 20 miles at Pettit next weekend. I want to get in one more long run at Pettit before the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon and with the Goof taking place 2 weeks before, I won't get another chance.

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Miserable Out

On Saturday, I had a planned long run with Mike out by his place. We had looked on line at some maps and decided to try a new road a little off a route we sometimes take. Explore some. We mapped out a good 20 mile route and planned to meet at 6:30AM.

I woke up and it was 39F out, raining a little and windy. I contemplated calling him up and telling him I was going to Pettit to run but decided to tough it out, that and I needed to borrow his ladder so why not go down there.

Mike ran with a poncho but I decided not to. Not sure if that was a good idea or not as it was raining when we started but not hard. We ran slow and talked most of the time as he slowed to my easy pace for the run. He would go ahead of me on the up hills and I would catch him on the downs and flats. By mile 6, I was soaked all the way and even my earmuff was soaked enough that it felt like I had swimmers ear plug.

On the second half, we were less running into the wind and we picked up the pace a bit but the rain was pretty steady most of the time. It would stop for a bit but it didn't matter with how wet I was. Like I said, Mike had on a poncho but it just rattle and was noisy in the wind. I think I would have preferred to not wear one.

Somewhere around 14 or 15, Mike was ahead of me by about 50 meters or so and he yelled back to me. I looked up into the wind and while being pelted in the eyes with rain, we saw 6 deer cross the road ahead of us. I commented on how they must have been the survivors as gun deer hunting season just ended. It was cool to see them.

We ran the last couple miles without slowing down but still as wet as all run and finished with some good chocolate milk at Mike's place before putting the ladder in the van for the drive home. Yeah, it was miserable weather to run in, but it just makes me stronger so I'll take it. I am used to it so when it happens in a race, I won't be affected as much.

Sunday the first annual Girls on the Run 5K here in Milwaukee at the comfortable confines of the Pettit Center. While I didn't run it, I did take my 9 year old daughter to run. Once again, she ran awesome and crushed her 5K PR with a time of 26:40. She had a ton of fun and loved all the cheerleaders and others cheering her on every lap. It might not be too long before she is beating me so I better . . .

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Race Report - 2011 Talmer Turkey Trot

Thanksgiving morning was the Talmer Turkey Trot in Burlington, WI. I went to this race not to "race" it, but rather run it and help my 9 year old daughter, Melissa, run her first ever 4 mile race.

It was a cloudy and cool morning in Wisconsin but a really good morning for racing. After a quick breakfast, Melissa and I picked up my friend Amy to give her a ride to the race. Amy was a teammate of mine on the Jennipede Marathon team back in October and we found out we live very close to each other. Now she is a new running partner of mine and also writes a blog Running (Reading) is cheaper than Therapy.

One really cool thing about this race is that they had an indoor packet pickup / post race /awards ceremony area. It wasn't exactly freezing outside but indoors definitely helped. After packet pickup, almost getting run over by a crazy old man driving his car, and a short warm up, the race started. Amy was running by herself way ahead of us but I was running with Melissa helping her pace. Our goal was to run an ever 9:00 pace and finish in 36:00. She had one time earlier run 4 miles but that was with a break or 2 along the way. She ran easy and we passed mile 1 in 8:53. Mile 2 was 9:02 and mile 3 was 9:01. Then in mile 4, she really wanted to run hard but was getting tired. With some encouragement, we were able to pass a lot of runners who were slowing down and sprinted to the finish for a time of 35:07. She finished in 110th place out of 245 and she ended up in 4th in her age group of 14 & under. Only two 13 year old girls and and a 12 year old beat her. I was so proud of how well she ran and was able to handle the pain that comes late in a race.

After the race, an older gentleman (maybe 50 to 60) complimented her and said she inspired him to run as fast as he did. We must have passed him later in the race.

We found Amy who was able to break 30 minutes and take 3rd in her age group and headed to the past race area (Indoors!) There they had cookies, pretzels, crackers, bananas and best of all, chocolate milk, lots of chocolate milk! We won a couple raffle prizes and then headed home for a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

Here is Amy, Melissa, and I before the race!

After this weekends shorter run and today's easy run, I am up to 99.9 miles for the month. I hope I can squeeze in another 0.1 this month (LOL).

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

D3 Cross Country and a Monday Long Run

It was a pretty busy week last week and weekend so I wasn't able to get in all the running I would have liked to. I did get in 2 different runs with my daughter and a run with Mike on the track, but the weekend was absent of running.

Well, absent of running by me. On Saturday, I did take my daughter and drive up to Oshkosh to watch the NCAA Division 3 National Cross Country Championships that was being hosted by my Alma Mater, UW-Oshkosh. She had never been to a top level Cross Country meet before and just loved watching all the really fast runners and teams competing. We cheered on UW-Oshkosh as much as we could where the Men finished in 5th place and the lone Oshkosh woman runner took 2nd place overall.

Since I did not get in a long run over the weekend and I am off of work this whole week, I decided to get in a longer run this morning. I traveled to the lakefront and ran a bike trail I like to run a few times a year. It was great weather for running this morning, overcast and about 40 with a bit of wind. It turned out to be a good 15 miles today averaging 8:38 pace with every mile under 9:00. I felt pretty good the entire way. I did get nervous a bit a few miles in when I realized I forgot to take a salt packet before I left. I kept going and made sure I took one when I finished so no cramping and the muscles still feel good.

Thursday is the Talmer Turkey Trot. I think Melissa is ready to run 4 miles without stopping, she is confident.

Also, congrats to the University of Wisconsin Badgers Cross Country team for winning the NCAA Division 1 Cross Country Championships today.

Keep on Running!!!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

A Run in Chocolate City, USA

After a weekend off of running, I was able to get back to it this weekend with a 17 mile run.

I have a friend who is starting a new Thanksgiving Day race in Burlington, WI, about 20 miles from my home, and I decided to look up the course on line to see what it was like. As I was looking at some satellite images of the area, I noticed a new trail I did not know existed. I followed it from the images and noticed it was a little over 6 1/2 miles long. So I thought to myself that this might be a good trail to run, to see what it had to offer, to see where and what I would see.

So I got up early Saturday morning and drove to Burlington and parked near where the Thanksgiving Day run would take place. Just as the sun rose, I started my run in the cool morning and did a close to 2 miles before I hit the trail.

The trail is called the White River Trail and it has the same name as a trail that goes west (this one goes east) from Burlington to Elkhorn. For some reason, the trail is not completed through the town which would have been really cool if it did but I understand that isn't always possible. This one is also very straight. The only turns on the entire 6 miles is when the trail needs to go under the newly constructed highway and the continues on it's straight course. Elevation doesn't change much at all and the trail is maintained nicely. The trail was also almost empty. I saw 1 runner at the start of the trail as I went out, 1 person at the turn around walking his dog, and another near the start again on my way back. The solitude was nice, just me and my thoughts on the trail.

I kept a very even pace almost the entire way. The average pace only fluctuated between 8:56 to 9:00 since mile 2. It felt good.

With 2 miles to go, right where the trail starts, I passed the Nestle Factory. Burlington is called Chocolate City, USA and if you have never lived or gone near a chocolate factory, it can be a real treat to the nose. The smell was wonderful for about a half mile. Brought back memories of going to Marquette U basketball games as a kid and passing the now gone Ambrosia Chocolate Factory in Milwaukee.

I finished strong and felt good afterwards.

Keep on Running!!!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Good-bye to Summer

Summer is definitely over here in the upper Midwest. We enjoyed a very nice autumn and we are now getting closer and closer to winter. Today I saw the first snow of the year. It didn't accumulate on the ground but it was coming down fast for awhile. By the time I ran in the evening, the snow was gone and there was a light rain (maybe a touch of sleet). It was like 35F and windy so the 'wind chill' was said to be 22F. Yep, summer is gone.

Also, not that daylight savings time has ended, now my after work runs are mostly in the dark, which changes the options that I have. I can still run on the bike trail, but I risk tripping or turning an ankle on the uneven ground or unseen object on the trail. So I am back to some routes I run in the winter months along roads that are less travelled but have much bigger hills.

The colder and darker months are here, but as always, I ...

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Weekend Off?

Well, almost off.

I figured after 3 marathons in October, each 2 weeks apart, I deserved a weekend off. I went into the weekend thinking I was going to run, but each morning I woke up and decided not to. I had a couple friends who were running a half marathon somewhat close by, but when I looked into it late in the week, it was already full so I couldn't sign up. So (almost) no running.

I say almost because I did go running with my 9 year old daughter. She finished her Cross Country season a few weeks ago and now there are a few races coming up that we may sign her up for. So to keep her 'in shape', we went on a 3.4 mile run. We were going to take a small break half way but I convinced her to keep going. Soon enough, i convinced her to try to make it all the way to a 5K without stopping, then we just ran the rest of the way non stop. In the last 100 meters, she kicked it in and I had a hard time keeping up with her.

Her PR for a 5K is 28:41 and during this training run, she went through the 5K mark at 29:07 so I think she is ready to break that PR. The next race for her will be on Thanksgiving morning where we will run a 4 mile race. It will be her longest race ever. then on December 4th, we are looking to sign her up for a "Girls on the Run" 5K. I will cheer her on and do my best to keep her on pace. That one is held at The Pettit Center in Milwaukee where the Icebreaker Marathon is held. Then in early January is the Disney World Marathon Weekend 5K (she doesn't know about this one yet) and then in Mid January is the Icebreaker 5K.

We ran another 2 miles tonight during my 5 mile run. She is having fun running with Dad.

Keep on Running!!!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Couple Haunted Hustle Pictures

Jamie is a friend of mine I met last year right after the Haunted Hustle Marathon. She writes a runners blog names Running Diva Mom. Check her out. We met before the race for a little bit. With her was her cute kids and her parents supporting her on her 26.2 mile journey.

Dan and I ran the first 6 or so miles together. Dan was in the Jennipede Team with me so we both wore out Make It Happen Jennipede Shirts for the race. I think there were at least 5 Jennipede runners in this race. Maybe more that I did not know of. This picture was about 4 and a half miles into the race.

Here I am somewhere near 17 or 18 (I think). It was around here I had my on point where I did not feel so good. I was happy that it only lasted a mile or so and then I felt strong again.

Jamie (or should I say Dorothy) ran her first marathon since last fall. She ran awesome! Maybe there were some flying monkeys from Nashville chasing her. Maybe it was that she wasn't in her Ruby Slippers. Either way, she ran really fast. And she will run a half marathon this weekend, one 1 week rest. She takes after me, Crazy Jamie!!!

Halloween night was only 2 nights later. It was chilly here in Wisconsin, maybe the mid 40's for Trick or Treat so I decided to set up a fire on the driveway while I gave candy to all the kids dressed up. I even gave a few "warm me up" shots of Rum Chata out to some of the parents.

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Race Report - 2011 Haunted Hustle Marathon

Last Saturday was the Haunted Hustle Marathon in Middleton, WI. This was my 10th marathon of the year and my fastest! We had almost perfect weather and a very well run marathon.

This was the second year of the Haunted Hustle Marathon and the second time I have run it. Last year, they did a good job but had a few problems, not unexpected for an inaugural year. this year, they fixed a few of the problems but had a couple new ones. But each problem was really minor in the whole picture.

First the Pros: The course was quite nice and not necessarily easy. It wasn't the toughest course I have ever run (I did run the Flying Monkey last year) but it is not easy. There are hills the first 3 miles and the last 3 miles, just when you DO NOT want hills anymore. There are also a few bigger hills from miles 10 to 13 that can cause some issues, but the course is quite beautiful with running through some residential areas, some shaded bike paths, some country roads, and a very nice crushed limestone path through the Pheasant Branch Conservancy.

There is wonderful volunteers along the course, very friendly and very helpful. There were plenty of aid stations along the way, in fact, probably too many. I found myself passing a few of them up since I had just gone through the previous one less than a mile earlier. I would much rather have too many aid stations as opposed to too few.

New this year, they started the full marathon 30 minutes before the half marathon. This was a welcome change which made the course much less crowded. The size of the full marathon was just over 500 (almost perfect) and with the half over twice the size, it made it much easier on the course. The first 9 miles of the half and the full were the same and only 2 or 3 half marathon runners actually passed me before we separated.

I did not attend the Expo because I had a friend pick up my packet for me so I did not have to stay overnight in a hotel but for the dinner speaker, they had Suzy Favor Hamilton speak. I almost wish I would have had to be there. Suzy is a multi-time US Olympic 1500 meter runner from Wisconsin and I grew up watching her career (she was only 3 or so year a head of me in school) and I would have loved to hear her speak. I hear she is a great motivational speaker so I missed that but it sure sounded like a great addition to the dinner.

Parking for the event was awesome. I got there just under 1 hour before the race and was able to park less that 100 meters away from the start/finish line. Even closer than last year.

The race encourages runners to wear costumes which is pretty fun to see. Each race even had prizes for the top 3 costumes. I saw a ton of fun costumes along the way and a few very disturbing ones as well. I did not wear a costume this year but may consider it for next year. And I did not have to pick it up at the end just to beat a bumble bee.

Now for some of the Cons: No race day packet pick up. I understand that they want runners to use the local hotels and to attend the expo, but for us who live only an hour and a half away, it seems pointless. They did let others pick up your packet but they needed a signed waiver and copy of an ID to get it. How many people really take other people's packets? Maybe more that I realize but it seemed like a lot for someone else to get.

At mile 14 1/2 of the marathon, the full marathoners met up with the half marathoners at mile 9 1/2. Not a big issue expect for my pace was much faster than the half marathoners at this point. We ran about a mile and a half on a together on a bike path and in reality, I did not have big issues passing the other runners, but I could see it being a problem.

What should have been a Pro for the race turned out to be a Con. At the end of the race, they had beer for the runners even with a beer coupon on out race bibs so everyone could get their 1 free beer. I finished in under 4 hours and the beer was gone!!! WHAT!?!?! I am not a big beer drinker, not at all, but if you promise a beer for a runner, then have some. I heard they did not control the beer distribution after the half well and many spectators were taking advantage of it. They also did not have ANY chocolate milk after the race. I thought all races knew this was mandatory now. Guess not. They did have hot chocolate, oh wait, they HAD hot chocolate, it was also gone, like the beer.

All in all, not a big deal on these Cons for the race, more like annoyances. It would not stop me from running this race again or recommending it either.

Now for my experience.

Like I mentioned earlier, I was able to get my friend Jamie (Running Diva Mom) to pick up my race packet for me so I did not have to stay overnight in a hotel, saved a few bucks which will help on the Disney trip in January. Jamie is a good friend of mine I met last year because of this exact race when we found each others blog reports on the race. We have been friends ever since and even been able to see each other at a few races here and there. I don't get to see her enough, so it was great to catch up, even if it was for only 15 or so minutes before and after the race. So I woke up a little before 4:00AM and left the house a little after 4:30 to head to Middleton, just west of Madison, WI.

I arrived and it was cold and dark, it was breezier that I had hoped for but I like the cold. By 6:45, I found Jamie along with her 2 adorable kids and her parents. Jamie was dressed in a Dorothy costume that she was going to run in. Her daughter was also dressed in a Dorothy costume so that was very cute. After catching up with her, I found Dan. Dan is a guy who I met because he was on the Jennipede team with me. He was running his first 'real' marathon (I said the Jennipede counted) and we were going to pace together.

The race started at 7:30AM, right at sunrise and it was cold (33F), I loved it. Dan and I started at an easy pace and were basically easing into the race for the first 3 miles over rolling hills. After the hills, we picked it up a bit and headed into the bike trail feeling really good. After 5 or 6 miles and a quick stop in the bushes, I caught up to Dan and passed him thinking he was keeping with me. A little later, after I passed a big group of runners, I looked back and did not see him. I knew he was feeling good so I assume he would catch me sooner or later. Interestingly enough, the group I passed the 3:50 pace group which was way slower than the needed pace. I felt bad for the group that wanted to run 3:50 since the pace leader basically screwed them out of a good chance of running a 3:50.

At mile 10, I entered the middle of the course hills and found myself running with Elvis. I ended up running on and off with Elvis for about 4 miles over the hills. At a little after 11, I was able to see Jamie's family and got some encouragement from them which is always nice. Right before the half way point is a large hill that slowed us all down some. I reached the top of the hill and the half way point at 1:58:09 and I felt good. I did not realize Dan was only 34 seconds behind me. He said he could see me most of the race so I was still sort of helping him. Now that the large uphills were done until the last 3 miles, I decided to pick up the pace. I was running with the half marathoners for a bit and passing them a lot. This was fun but hard to pace yourself passing so many. I also lost Elvis at this point.

Once the half marathoners turned off around mile 16, I found myself running a lot more by myself but still passing a few runners here and there. At a little past mile 17, we enter an out and back portion of the course that is about a mile and a half long. After I turn around, I see Dan not too far back and encourage him to start to catch up to me. Then just before I turn onto the new part, I see Jamie. To be honest, I was surprised to see her as she was aiming to run a 4:30 and I was under 4:00 pace so I knew she was having a great race so far.

Mile 19 to 20 are the most boring part of the course as we run through an industrial park with very little spectators. I wasn't feeling very good from 18 to 20 and was a bit worried, but at 20, I was feeling good and strong again and my average pace on the Garmin was 8:55 and I really wanted to try to finish at an average pace of under 9:00. I took a small break at mile 21 and then began to try to pick it up some more. At mile 22, I found myself feeling very strong for 22 miles into a marathon so I tried my best to keep it up and attack the hills over the last 3 miles.

Right before 23, there is a steep hill that I ran up and was passed at the top by a lady I had passed somewhere around 15 or 16. She wasn't running a lot faster than me so I decided she was going to be my goal, keep with her. There was some more hills ahead of us so I kept behind her by about 25 meters for a long time as we passed quite a few runners. At 24, there is a long hill that isn't very steep, just long. After that, a downhill and an uphill until we reach the 25 mile mark. I always seem to give myself a break at about mile 25 as a reward for running hard before that, but this time, I kept going as not only did I feel pretty good (well, pretty good for 15 miles that is), but I also still wanted to catch that lady ahead of me, not about 50 meters ahead.

With a half mile to go, we head onto a bike path and wit only 150 meters to go, a small uphill where I passed a few runners who walked up or slowed a ton. I knew we were so close to I actually pumped the arms and started my finishing kick there. A short downhill and 2 turns and the finish line was there. I felt great coming down the final stretch and heard my name loudly yelled by Robin who was watching from the side lines. I crossed the finish line in a time of 3:52:30 for a pace of 8:52 for the race.

Only 5 minutes later, Dan crossed the line in a time of 3:57:49, a 2:21 PR for him. No, not 2 minutes and 21 seconds, 2 HOURS and 21 MINUTE PR. His only other marathon was the Jennipede so a huge PR for him. I bet not many people in this world have PR'ed in a marathon by over 2 hours.

I then head to the top of the hill with only 150 meters to go and find Jamie running great. She finishes with a smile of her face (as always) in a time of 4:09:16. (sure Jamie, going to run a 4:30?!?!). I was able to talk with Jamie for a bit after the race before she headed home for a well deserved break. I head over to talk with Dan and Robin for a bit before I decide to head to the food tent to see if anything appeals to me. Most of the time, I can't eat anything after a race as my stomach is usually queasy for a while. No exception this time. They did have some food that looked like it could be good maybe a hour later but I didn't want to wait around.

I don't have a picture of this year's medal but it is bigger that last years and the lanyard is really cool. The design of the medal is OK, not as cool as last year. The shirt was a long sleeve technical short in orange (Halloween Orange). I wish it was a short sleeve shirt like last year, but, oh well.

All in all, a pretty good race for me. I was happy with the time of 3:52 considering it was only 13 days since my last marathon. It is also my 4th fastest marathon to date. I negative split the course as well which was fun (1:58:09 to 1:54:21), and I passed a total of 58 runners since the half way point finishing in 161st place out of 511.

I think I am done with marathons for 2011. 10 is enough, right? Though I am sure I could be convinced to do another is close enough. But then again, the Goof is right away in early January and the Icebreaker right after that. It has been a fun year.

Did you run the Haunted Hustle this year? Tell me all about it.

Keep on Running!!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Recovery Taper

I am in that recovery taper mode again. Recovering from the marathon a week ago and tapering for the marathon 1 week from now. I didn't get int too many miles this week. 2 runs of 4 and 5 miles each earlier mid last week to just get the legs moving. The runs felt good, very easy and just loosening up. They did their job.

Saturday was my "long" run of the week. Well not really long at all, only 8 miles easy, but it was the longest of the week. I woke up early on Saturday at it was almost perfect outside. Well, almost perfect for me. Finally a cold day outside. The sun had just rose and it was like 33F out so running felt very easy and no real chance of overheating. I love it when it is cool out!

I ended up running with a new friend of mine named Amy. She lives about a mile and half away and was on the Jennipede team with me. She is also very close pace to me so I was really looking forward to it. It is always good to find another running partner. I ended up running a little over a mile and a half to meet her on a crushed limestone bike path we live both near. We then ran the next 6 miles together at an easy 9+ pace just talking and getting to know each other better. Amy is a really cool lady, we had a lot of fun on the run. I am sure we will run again sometime soon. She is signed up for the Icebreaker Half Marathon so I will get to see her run there.

This coming Saturday is the Haunted Hustle Marathon and I am not sure how I want to run it. Since I was disappointed in my time from Louisville somewhat to blame on the heat later in the race, I really still feel I can run a good time. Right now almost a week out, the weather looks to really be in my favor though. A low of the mid 30's the night before and a high of the low 50's. It is way too far out to be reliable but I can hope. If the weather is nice like that, I may try to go for a fast time again. Maybe not, we will see how I feel later in the week.

Keep on Running!!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Race Report - Louisville Marathon

There are well organized small marathon races and there are not so good organized small marathons. Some have great locations and great amenities, while others do not. I would put this one toward the lower half. Not the worst marathon I have run but below average.

Last Sunday was the Louisville Marathon in Louisville, Kentucky. I decided to run this race because of a few reasons. First off, I could then scratch Kentucky off my list of states. I now have 14 states completed. I also wanted a smaller marathon because I generally enjoy them, maybe not this small (only 113 finishers), but better than the huge marathons like Chicago or New York. Third, the course looked to be a good one, mostly flat and suited for a faster time. No disappointment here. My friends Mike and Paul ran this one a few years ago so I didn't go into it blindly.

Before I go into detail on how I ran, let me go over some of the Pros and Cons of this race. Here are some of the Pros: The course was good for a fast time. A little tight in some locations, especially in the first 6 1/2 miles when the half marathoners were running as well, but clear after that. A few small inclines to work the muscles differently but nothing steep or big. Besides the first and last 100 meters, the road and paths was in good condition except for a few points through the wooded areas where there were a lot of leaves and other items that have fallen off trees that were slight hazards. Some shade on the course but not at the end. Another Pro is hotel location to the start/finish. I stayed at a Ramada that was only 1/3 of a mile to the start/finish paid under $70 per night. The medal was also mostly cool. No mention of the year on it, but cool. They also had a free post race massage which came in handy before my 6+ hour drive home. The volunteers at the aid stations were great and even gave out smaller bottles of water which made it easier to still run and drink.

Cons are the city of Louisville. You would think that a race called the Louisville Marathon would bring out a few spectators. Nope, hardly anyone along the course. The Expo was . . . wait, there was no expo, only a packet pickup that was extremely hard to find. Nothing to look at there, just pick up your bag and shirt and go. the first and last 100 meters were basically a joke for a marathon. It was down a sort of gravel driveway going right into what looked like an older apartment building or hotel next to a baseball field. There was an open covered shelter afterwards but besides bananas, a rice and bean mix, and water / heed, I didn't see anything. Another Con would be help on the course direction you were to go. Later in the race at about mile 21, I didn't know if I was on the course or not. The mile markers were only spray painted on the road and easily missed as well as course marking. If there wasn't anyone close in front of you, you could get lost easily. There were great volunteers at the water stops but they could have used maybe 2 more to make them closer. No water stops in the last 2 1/2 miles. The website is also a joke. No info at all on the site at all and the other site has limited info at best. There is no course map on the site and the only course map I found was on and it was outdated and had a different start and finish location. It really isn't hard to get a website with basic information so there is no real excuse for this.

Not a Pro or a Con would be the shirt. It is a cotton T which I like, but unless you really knew what it was, you wouldn't guess it is a marathon shirt. No advertisements which is nice but they gave me the wrong size at packet pickup. No frills with this race. There was also a chicken (Rooster actually) that was roaming around near the start/finish line. It must have wondered what was going on as everyone passed by at the start.

So how did I run? OK, not bad but not good. The weather played a role in that as it was pretty hot by the end and sunny the entire race. I did break 4 hours (my 10th time) and finished in 3:57:23 but struggled near the end. I did finish with the highest overall placement in a marathon I have ever had, 23rd place out of 113. I also was in 5th out of 16 in my age group. Funny thing is that I looked at all the other age groups and I would have placed in the top 3 in all the others. Oh well.

Temps at the start were about 55F so I started with just my singlet. Slightly chilled but running soon gave to sweat. I started easy and did the first 2 miles in 8:53 pace. I was in a crowd of runners as the half marathoners were running at the same time. The first 3 miles are down an open road which I wanted to name "Roadkill Road" as I saw quite a few squirrels (Doug from 'Up' would be so happy!). After 3 miles, we went through the downtown area along the Ohio River. Louisville really screwed up when planning the city because the put a Freeway right along the banks of the river so we basically ran under it. We ran right though and outdoor Church service going on at about mile 4 which was interesting.

About mile 4 I was running with a guy named Scott for awhile. Scott was running his 5th marathon and trying to break 4 hours for the first time. He did it with less than a minute to spare. Good Job, Scott!

We ran along a bike path near the river for awhile and all I could think of is how Louisville is really messing up by not making this a place to be. It was an over grown mess of weeds with graffiti and a beautiful view of the river. After passing 6 1/2 miles, the half marathoners turned around and it was only us full runners left. I picked it up a bit as I really wanted to try to get down to a time of 3:45 if possible. By mile 9, I began passing people as I dropped the pace to closer to 8:30 per mile. I found myself running with Christopher for about 5 miles. We chatted and I found out this was his 50th State! How cool is that.

We passed the half way point (Not marked out) at about 1:55. The average pace for me got down to as low at 8:43 per mile. Near 14, someone was calling off the unofficial place we were in. He said I was in 34th place at the time. I ran well through 16 passing a few people.

Miles 16 to 19 were a little struggle. It was getting pretty warm now and the winds had picked up pretty good. I didn't feel the best but hoped it would go away and it basically did. In miles 19 and 20, I passed a few more runners and I knew I was somewhere near 25th place. I felt better too though my pace does not show it. My miles were closer to 9:15 to 9:30 now. At just passed mile 20, I passed someone and then ran by myself for a long time. I got to about miles 22 (under the freeway again) and thought I was lost or possibly off course. there was no one directing the runners and I had to look for duct tape markers on cement, not easy to see. I finally recognized something and then knew I was still on course. Not a good feeling not knowing though.

After mile 23, I really began to struggle as we were directly in the sun and it was probably in the low to mid 70's. My pace dropped to just over 10:00 and I couldn't wait for the next aid station. the last one was 2 1/2 miles from the finish so I made a deal with myself to go to mile 25 and then take a short break. I was running by myself from mile 20 on with no one in sight in front of me or behind me (though I didn't look back). I suddenly saw someone walking way in front of me and thought maybe I could pass them. I caught him by mile 25 and took my short break a little passed him. Suddenly I was passed by someone and I tried to keep with her but couldn't. So much for no one passing me from mile 10 on!

I made it in with 2 1/2 minutes to spare under 4 but still disappointed it wasn't faster. I struggle in the heat and I had bad luck with the weather. Nothing I can do about it though so I just dealt with it. I was happy though that it was under 4 hours.

After the race, I walked around for a bit before sitting down in the shade and deciding I would like to free post race massage being offered. I was next in line when I started to feel really bad. At first I thought I was going to throw up but then I just felt really pale. I was on the ground and I am sure I looked really white in the face. Some people were asking if I needed Medical so I must have looked bad. But a couple minutes later, it came back. I think my blood pressure must have just dropped suddenly, it has happened to me before after a marathon. the post race massage got the blood flowing and it felt back to just after marathon shape. The massage on the legs did feel really good.

I took a couple bananas and headed back to my room for a late checkout shower before getting in the car for the 6 1/2 hour drive home. And now 2 days later, I am still a little sore. more sore than I usually am 2 days after a marathon but not too bad. I will try an easy run tomorrow.

Not much time to recover as my next marathon is in 1 1/2 weeks in Middleton, WI. The Haunted Hustle Marathon. I ran this one last year and it was pretty good. Plus I hope I can run some of it with my friend Jamie who lives near Middleton. I am not sure if I will try for a fast one or not. We will see how the recovery goes and if the weather cooperates. Last year it was great weather.

So Marathon 36 is in the bank now and State 14. I am not sure what the next new state will be but the next few marathons are already on the schedule. Should be a fun next couple of months coming up.

Keep on Running!!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Right Said Who???

I am leaving tomorrow to drive down to Louisville, Kentucky for the Louisville Marathon that takes place on Sunday. I am pumped. I am ready (I hope). I am concerned (WHAT?) I looked at the weather forecast for Louisville on Sunday at it calls for Sunny and a high of the low 80's. OK, at race start time, it won't be 80, but toward the end, it could be in the mid 70's already. I am not a good runner in the heat so I am concerned. I will take it as it is and run the best I can.

I guess my ultimate goal would be to run about 8:30's and finish close to 3:45. With the heat? Maybe not. We will see how I feel on race day. I do have another marathon planned for 2 weeks later (The Haunted Hustle Marathon in Middleton, WI) if this one doesn't work out and hopefully it will be cool . . .I take that back . . .cold for that one. I like my marathon temperatures to start in the upper 30's and end in only the upper 40's tops.

Here is something I thought was pretty funny. 2 weeks ago was the Lakefront Marathon in Milwaukee where I was part of the Jennipede Tethered Run. When we came toward the finish line, the sides of the finishing chute were packed with people for at least 150 meters. They were all clapping and giving us High-5's and just showing us support. It was one of the coolest things I have even experienced. One thing I did not notice but I was able to notice upon watching a video of us finishing (Watch a short video here from YouTube). You can see how crowded it was for us even over 6 hours after the start.

The song that is playing for us when we finished has become sort of a "Theme Song" for the Jennipede and is titled "Stand Up (for the Champions)" It is a pretty cool song for a sports themed song and I may use it next year for the Kids Marathon. The funny thing is that is is performed by a group named "Right Said Fred". Perhaps the younger readers here may not remember who Right Said Fred is, but some of you may remember Right Said Fred for them being a One Hit Wonder in 1991 with the song "I'm Too Sexy", a pretty funny song from back then.

Anyways, that made me laugh that our theme song is sung by a group who also sings "I'm too Sexy".

I kind of wish I was going on the trip with my friends Mike and Paul. They are headed out to Connecticut and Rhode Island for another Double Marathon Weekend. 2 more states for them, 1 more for me. I will still have fun and hopefully run faster than they do (at least faster than day 2 for them).

So off to Louisville and hopefully a good time. We will see.

Keep on Running!!!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Between Marathons

I am now in the middle of the 2 weeks between marathons. OK, the first one didn't really tax me too much. It was the Jennipede Run at the Lakefront Marathon where we ran a time of 6:18 with a ton of walking at then end. Still, it was 26.2 miles long and my legs were sore because of the different pace than I am used to.

Monday was the last Cross Country practice with the kids I coach followed on Wednesday with the final meet. I got in something like 4 miles sprinting all over the park for the 4 races cheering on the kids and giving splits. It was a very great day for the team too. My daughters goal all year was to win a medal in this meet. Top 20 get a medal and she finished in 20th place. Her team (JV) won the JV meet so they received a rather large team trophy. She was actually the 6th finisher on her team so they ran very well as a team. I was so proud of each and every one of them.

I did get a few more small runs in and this morning I got in an easy 10 miler at about 9:00 pace. I will be travelling to Louisville, Kentucky next weekend for the Louisville Marathon. I am hoping for cold weather though it doesn't seem that way. Here in Milwaukee it is in the mid 70's today. I like my marathon weather in the 40's.

On a side note, I am excited for Monday to come as I have tickets to the Milwaukee Brewers game against the Cardinals in the National League Championships. I was able to go to Game 1 of the series versus the Diamondbacks and what a great atmosphere. Hopefully the Brew Crew can pull off another series win.

Keep on Running!!!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Race Report - Jennipede World Record

Let me start by saying it was a true pleasure and honor to run for a woman who has meant so much to the running community, not only in Milwaukee, but all over the country. Jenny Crain is a true inspiration more now than ever. She fights harder now more than when she was a World Class Runner. I am going to use this race report to explain what happened all day not only from me, but from the Jennipede Team, at least from what I could see from 57 runner back in line.

I also want to say Thank you to all my teammates on Team Jennipede for such a wonderful, life changing, never forgetting day. You guys all Rock! I may not have gotten a chance to meet all of you, but we are all family now and we made history together. 62 of us ran the entire marathon linked together, so cool.

Team Jennipede was created to raise funds for Jenny's rehabilitation which cost close to $85,000 per year. I am proud to say that Team Jennipede raised close to $110,000 toward that amount.

The day started a little before 4:00AM as I picked up my friend Chris at 4:45AM for the ride to downtown Milwaukee so we could hop on a bus and ride 26 miles north to Grafton, WI for the start. I was able to easily find Team Jennipede as we prepared ourselves for our world record quest. We made sure our race belts were zip tied closed to there was no chance of them popping open, a requirement from the people at Guinness for the world record. About a half hour before the start, we all headed outside to line up, take last minute restroom breaks, and sign a sheet recording that we started the race in order. We secured out carabiners as well so they would not open right after we lined up, but not before the "Running Reverend" led us all in a quick prayer and a pep talk from our leader (our caboose) Robin.

The "Running Reverend" leads us all in prayer before we head out on our 26.2 mile run. You can see the cool shirts we all got to wear.

Right ahead of me in line were the last 3 ladies in the group. I couldn't have asked for for a better group of ladies to follow for 26.2 miles. Tammy, right in front of me, is an alum of my college 1 year ahead of me. We wonder if we took any classes together as we graduated with the same degree. Jess was 2 ahead of me and is a very dedicated and fast marathoner. She ran the Green Bay Marathon earlier this year in super windy conditions in about 3:35. Amy is almost my neighbor. While we have never met in person before, knew of each other from a joint blog friend. She lives only about a mile from me in my hometown and runs about the same pace I do for a half marathon/marathon. We are planning on scheduling some runs together sometime in the future.

Jess, Amy, Tammy and I right before we head to the start line. You can see that we are already roped in.

It was a cool morning in Grafton, maybe upper 30's in the shade behind the school. Once we headed to the start line, we got the sun and it warmed a bit but still cool. Great temperatures for running, at least at 7:30 in the morning. The temps rose all day and peaked near the finish in the lower 60's.

As we headed to the start line, we got our first taste of major cheering as the crowd cheered loud as we walked to the start line. Everyone in the race knew about our quest as it was not only on the local news, it was also listed in the race brochure every runner received. It felt so cool for people to cheer us on not only at the start, but the entire course long.

Lined up at the start (the arch in the distance), we are all ready to go and ready to warm up too!

The race officials have a little humor at the start line. In the picture above, you can see signs telling runners where to line up. The last sign said "Same Day". We were even behind that line. The other sign I saw that was just funny was the sign right in front of the 3 hour sign, it said "Under 2:02:00". Was there someone in race that wanted to crush the World Record Marathon time?!?!?

Under 2:02:00? I think the winner was 2:22, not quite fast enough.

We started cheering loudly and made sure we crossed the timing mats in single file as required for the world record. Then we were off at about 11:30 pace toward Milwaukee. The group was lively and festive, at least the people in the back were. I can't answer for the people in front as they were a good 50 to 100 feet ahead of me. We stuck to the plan of taking a 1 minute break at every mile. We did have quite a few first time marathoners on the team and runners of all abilities. It was going to be a long day and we were prepared.

By close to mile 2, Dan (#61) started a great and long Army Style Marching chant. There weren't too many runners around us as we started at the back of the pack, but the ones around us either thought we were nuts, or just had fun along with us. This was a ton of fun. All of us in the back had no problem with the pace so talking, chanting, and just good goofing off was all fun for the day.

At about mile 7, we hit Concordia College and our first major restroom break. The rules of the Record Breaking attempt are that you have to stay in the same order and you cannot detach from the line for ANY REASON. This makes the restroom breaks a challenge. This stop did not have any tree or bush coverage so guys had to use the portolets as well. Slack in the rope was given so whomever was in the portolet would still be attached and hopefully not yanked out. We wasted a lot of time at this stop and you can imagine it took a long time for most of the 62 runners used the 8 portolets.

We must have been there for close to 15 minutes before starting again so sore muscles from too long of a break were there when we started. Not long after Concordia College, we had our first of 3 almost major catastrophes. Luai was 4 runners ahead of me and didn't see a pot hole in the road and turned his ankle while tumbling to the pavement. He was hurting for a bit but was a real trooper and after some quick stretching, was able to continue with the aid of some Ibuprofen. Even through the tumble, the rope stayed put and we stayed within the rules. The Ibu took awhile to kick in but after awhile, Luai was back to a good gait and kept going. I hope it is not a major issue for him as he plans on running the Chicago Marathon next weekend.

It wasn't but a couple miles later when a lady up near the front of the group took a tumble on a high drop off to the gravel shoulder. She seemed to be good. And then a few miles after that, my running mate next to me, Tammy, did her best Chellsie Memmel keeping her balance as she tripped over a traffic cone. It was quite a site to see her do it.

If you ask me, this course needs some help as there were WAY too many pot holes or missing pavement along the course. It would be easier not being roped in as your line of site is less, but still a few too many potential problems. I wonder if other runners had any issues.

He is the Jennipede past the halfway point. We are still feeling good at this point.

At about mile 16 or 17, Team Jennipede had our first major problem that would affect us the rest of the race. One of our members suddenly had major cramping in his legs. He was way ahead of my position so I didn't even know who it was. They worked on his leg and gave him salt/electrolytes, but I think once it was cramped, it wasn't going to be the same. We began running for 2 minutes then walking 2 minutes and after mile 17, it turned into a power walk. Let me tell you, 9 miles of power walking is really hard to do. The pace was too fast for me to walk but too slow to run. We would end up walking a bit and then jogging back to close up the slack. We kept trying to send up positive MoJo in hopes we could run again soon.

It was also getting warm out as the sun was beating down on us. The crowds were small but many people waiting for the Jennipede to show us were not disappointed when we passed by. I even found a few videos posted on YouTube already. Here are 4 links to videos I found so far: Jennipede Video #1, Jennipede Video #2, Jennipede Video #3, Jennipede Video #4.

As we closed in on the finish line, the excitement grew more and more. We were able to break into a run for the last 1/4 mile as we passed mile 26 and entered the finishing chute. For a good 100 metres on both sides, the chute was lined with people cheering very loudly holding up there hands for high fives. Kids and adults a like! It was awesome to run through this but better yet, we met up with Jenny who did the last 200 meters with us. Bart Yasso from Runner's World Magazine was there pushing Jenny in her wheel chair as we all passed her until she was with Robin at the end of the rope for the finish line. She held each of our hands as we passed her and we gave her our love as we passed.

Passing Mile 26, we are ALMOST there!

Once we crossed the finish line, we were not done. As required, we had to stay tethered until we signed the same sheet of paper we signed before the race began. We had members of the team being congratulated by family and friends and the post race refreshment tent even sent over some food and water for us since we couldn't get over there. Some of the runners were even interviewed by the local media. Once the Guinness World Record was officially declared, we could finally cut the rope. Some of us cut off pieces of the rope for a souvenir. I took a longer piece and used it as a second lanyard for my Lakefront Marathon Medal.

Here I am with the "Back of the Pack Guys". Next to me is Craig (#58), Jim (#59), Our helper (Sorry, I forgot your name, forgive me please), Chad (#60) and Dan (#61) and also known as our Chant Leader! Last, and #62, Robin was being interviewed at this time. We are still roped in.

Honorary Team Captain was Bart Yasso from Runner's World. He did not run the marathon but did help Jenny cross the finish line with us.

Here I am with Bart Yasso from Runner's World.

After all of Team Jennipede broke free, we headed over for a group photo and the reading of some proclamations. I wish I had a picture of the entire team, but it was too crowded to get that. It was officially "Jenny Crain Day" in Milwaukee as declared by the mayor as well as "Jenny Crain Day" all over Milwaukee County as well. Bart Yasso even declared it "Jenny Crain Day" for the entire running community over the entire world. I hope you celebrated!

Jenny Crain Day in Milwaukee and the entire Running World!

After all the proclamations have been read, Jenny was presented with a check for $100,000 for the Make It Happen Fund. Then a nice banner marking our new World Record was presented as well.

After all this, Peter Crain (Jenny's Brother) stepped forward and gave the team a very heartfelt Thank You from himself and his whole family. I can't even imagine what it must have felt like for him at that time. He was also a part of the team and finished his very first marathon. I was able to meet him afterwards and have a brief conversation with him. I also was able to talk with Jenny's Mother, Donna, for a bit. She was able to bring Jenny to the Kids Marathon I organize a month ago so I wanted to catch up with her.

After this, Robin got up and as our official team captain, gave a talk thanking us for our efforts. He then pulled out a very cool surprise. Every member of the team was presented with a second personalized medal proclaiming our new Guinness Book of World Records accomplishment. This was so cool. He called up each member of the team and put the medal of each of our necks personally.

Here is the medal we all got from Robin for our New World Record.

This was no ordinary marathon, it was an adventure. 62 runners from all around the area and some close states met up without even knowing each other with one common goal, raise a few bucks for someone in need. We wanted to give a little hope to a person who gave us all hope for years. We were not fast, we finished in a time of 6:18:32, but what we lacked in speed, we overcame in spirit and enthusiasm. We had our problems on the course, we had our tumbles, trips and cramps, nothing I have not experienced in the past, but nothing dampened our spirits and NOTHING was going to stop us.

Thank You Team Jennipede and Thank You Jenny Crain.

Keep on Running!!!

Saturday, October 1, 2011


No, the Lakefront Marathon this weekend is not my 57th marathon, instead 57 means the number I am in the order for the Jennipede.

Yes, it is finally time for the Jennipede World Record Marathon attempt tomorrow morning. There are 62 of us ready to link it up run all 26.2 miles for Jenny Crain. As a team, we have raised over $100,000 to help pay for Jenny's daily care and rehabilitation. It is truly special to be a part of this team and an honor to be able ti run for Jenny. Even if something happens and we do not get the world record, it will still be worth all the effort everyone put into this adventure. I believe everyone on the team feels the same as I do.

Yesterday I went down to the Expo to pick up all my gear and race uniform that all of us Jennipedes will be wearing. the Expo at the Lakefront Marathon has a relatively small expo if you compare it to like Chicago or Disney, but enough booths to get what you need. I picked up a white and pink Christmas Ornament for my daughter that says "Runner Girl" and also the Bart Yasso book "My Life of the Run". Bart Yasso is the honorary captain of the Jennipede team and will be running the final bit of the marathon pushing Jenny across the finish line with the team. He will also give the team an inspirational talk right before the start. He had a small booth at the Expo selling his book with $5 from each sale going to the Make It Happen Fund for Jenny.

I had gone to the Expo when it wasn't too busy so I was able talk to Bart for about 10 minutes or so uninterrupted. That was cool as he gave me some advise to help me in my training. I used to run Yasso 800's in my training but since I am a middle distance runner from my past, they are really easy for me to do a lot faster than they claim I can run a marathon at. He suggested less rest (which I am already doing) and also to add some longer runs at a little faster than marathon pace. He suggested a 2 mile warm up followed by 10 to 12 miles at a little faster than my marathon pace and then a 2 mile cool down. I will have to add this to my training schedule in the next sequence.

It was a little fun at the Expo as I felt a little like a celebrity. I had a lot of people asking me about being on the Jennipede Team and wishing the team luck. There is also a lot of local news coverage about us as well. The local NBC, CBS, ABC, and Fox stations have all done some coverage on us. the local paper has written a few stories and even Runner's World is covering us. This is all great as the more people that see us, the more that will donate to the Make It Happen Fund.

Other than all that, it was an exciting day as I went to the Milwaukee Brewers playoff game at Miller Park. Great Game! Brewers Won! Now I am watching college football as #7 Wisconsin is playing #8 Nebraska in their Big 10 debut. Cornhuskers are up by 1 right now, hope that changes as I will most likely not be able to see the second half as it is time to go to sleep as I am picking up my friend Chris at 4:40AM to head down to the marathon.

I also had one of the last Cross Country practices for the team I coach. The final big meet is on Wednesday, sort of like a conference meet for middle schoolers.

Keep on Running!!! I will for all 26.2 mile tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Women Only?

I was reading Runner's World Online today, as I do most days, and came across a very interesting article linked from Running Times. It was titles "Why do Men Run Women's Races?" Check out the link if you care to read it yourself.

The article basically was about how there are men that join races that were intended for women but no rules prevent men from running. These races would include the Nike Women's Marathon and the Disney Princess Half Marathon among others. In both races, a certain small percentage of the runners are men. Should men be allowed to run these races? It definitely got me thinking. Here are a few thoughts of mine. First of all, I like the idea of the women's only races. It doesn't bother me in the slightest. Sort of like Curves gyms. No issue there. I, personally, would not join one of these races. As I read about the Disney Princess Half Marathon, the article talks about a guy who won the race one year but was entered in the Coed Marathon Relay Division. COED?? In the Disney Princess? Yes, according to the article, they have a coed division. The relay consists of 2 runners running the entire half marathon and then combining the times for the team's final time.

So what is the deal here Disney? Why have a "women's race" but allow men in a competitive division? Here is more about it. This guy, who's team won the Coed Relay Division, had to start 8 minutes AFTER the race because he was a man. He then ran that much faster than the top female passing her with somewhere around a mile to go. I assume most of the women int he race didn't know there was a Coed Relay because he was subject to insults along the way like "He is no Princess" and even as he passed the leading female, she says she called him a "tool". Then Disney screwed up big time in my opinion. As he came down the final stretch, the announcer told the crown to be quiet and made him run off to the side across the finish line. There is a picture with the article. That was really crappy Disney!

I say, have the women only race, make it a rule though that men are not allowed. Can you do this in a PC world we live in? Not sure. Would women be upset if there was a Men's Only race? Yeah, I know that is the way it used to be, but that was way long ago. Would you be upset? I don't see the point of it but it would be equal.

In other "Women Running" News, the International something or another (not sure exactly who it is) is apparently changing the rules for what would be considered as World Record for women in road races. The new rule says that the record need to happen in a women's only race or a race where the women start early. What the heck? Is it because women can then have men pace them? SO WHAT!! Men get paced in races all the time. They are even going to retroactively change some of the world records back to the races that were women only. What a crappy, stupid rule. If you can explain it to me so I can understand this rule, I would love to hear it. Have you run either of these races and if so, did you mind seeing men in the race?

As for you women out there, keep on running, I shall stay out of 'your' races and cheer you on from the sidelines.

Keep on Running!!!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Little Injuries

Maybe it is just me, but do you notice little injuries more the closer you get to your races? I am noticing a few more little injuries that could explode into large ones if I don't be careful. I have my knee problem that has been there for about a year and half now. It comes and goes in severity but not a large issue. I have an issue with the middle of my left foot now. It usually goes away when I run but comes back afterwards. I was at the Chiropractor last week and he checked it out. Good news is that he does not think it is a stress fracture. He something that it could be but I can't remember what it was.

The biggest possible issue is with a tendon on my upper leg. I have to be careful stretching it and when pushing it while running. This one concerns me, especially with all the marathons I have planned over the next month as well as in January and February. I will be careful and hope for the best.

I was able to get a nice 15 miler in yesterday at just under 9:00 pace in light rain. The first long sleeve run of the fall. I needed a long run at a good pace since the last long run was quite slow running with the Jennipede. This will be my last good long run before the potentially 3 marathons I am doing in October.

The first one in next weekend and will be the long slow run marathon. It is the Jennipede World Record Attempt marathon in Milwaukee. The team is planning on running a 5:45 for a time so it won't hurt me too much for the next marathon as long as I am careful with the little injuries.

The second one is 2 weeks later. I plan on going to Louisville, Kentucky and running the Louisville Marathon. It is a small race, maybe 250 in the full and another 600 in the half. A size I like. I will sign up for that one after the Lakefront Marathon and I determine no escalation of the injuries.

The third one on the plan is the Haunted Hustle Marathon in Middleton, Wisconsin (Madison). I ran this one last year and it was pretty good for an inaugural marathon. I hope they get the mile markers right this time. It is fun to see all the runners in costumes here as well, at least as long as I finish ahead of them. LOL

Keep on Running!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jennipede Training Run #2

Sunday morning, the Jennipede Nation, as our team captain Robin calls us, met for the 2nd and final training run for our World Record attempt in less than 2 weeks. This time, we had an amazing 39 (I think) runners linked together for a 13 ½ mile run/jog. I have never had more fun running so slow.

We met at the Lake Park Pavilion and queued up right before 8:00AM. I was queued toward the back of the group, maybe only 6 runners behind me. This is where I want to be. I don’t know what the runners up front are like, but us in the back have a blast telling stories, jokes, and whatever comes to mind. We even had a few Combat Ranger chants along the way. All of us in the back are pretty veteran runners so the pace was quite easy for all of us.

While running, we go around 11:30 pace and stop every mile for a 1 minute walk break. This is necessary for some of the runners in the group who have never run a marathon before. (What a way to break into the marathon world!) We did practice restroom breaks again, this is very slow. I think we were there for over 10 minutes. I say the guys, if possible, just go on the side of the road. I mean, in a marathon, who really cares? I think in the race we will plan a couple early stops and then maybe one later on if necessary. Personally, I only seem to need them in the first 5 miles then I am good. I may try to under hydrate just to make it easier on myself and just hydrate during the race.

In front of me on the run was Mary. Mary is not going to be running the marathon as she was just trying to see if she could do this. It is not because Mary can’t run a marathon, quite the opposite as she has run over 160 marathons/ultras in her life, the issue is that Mary is blind and has been since birth. Seems running attached to a rope was a little too nerve racking for her and I completely understand. Her guide, Brandi, tried her best but it was a challenge. My job was to control the slack in the rope as we ran for Mary. I would wind it up in my hand as it loosened up and let it out when needed to. That was a challenge enough to help make sure Mary didn’t trip on the rope. Mary was a great sport about it and I actually hope she decides to run and I would be more than happy to be the “slackman” again.

Another lady a few in front of me was getting married later that afternoon. Nothing like running 13 ½ miles tied up before some nuptuals. I guess I’ll hear how the wedding went in a week.

So the Jennipede training run was a success again. Now we will increase the number to over 60 for race day. The plan is to run a 5:45 marathon, maybe a little slower. The best part is that we will all have raised over $75,000 for Jenny’s care.

Keep on Running!!!

Disc Golf Running

The Cross Country Meet last Saturday for the team I coach was cancelled only 3 days before the race. Instead of the race, I took some of the older kids took a local park for a 2 mile run and then a game Disc Golf. If you don’t know what disc golf is, it is Golf but using special Frisbees. The only difference was that since this was still Cross Country practice, I required them all the run as we played. It was a ton of fun even dodging discs as they were flying all over toward the “hole”. Most of these kids have never played disc gold before and they seemed to have a blast. No score was taken, only fun and running.

Later that afternoon, I had to be in the same city for a party so I took my girls to play another round. The 2 youngest only play a little but my oldest likes to play all the “holes”. Turns out I had about the best round I have ever had (I don’t play that often so I guess that isn’t so impressive). But I did get my first ever Hole-In-One on a 170 foot hole through tons of trees. Somehow the disc managed to avoid all the trees and crash into the chains of the hole. I was pumped! It was fun.

Tomorrow is the second CC meet for my team. They are a bit tired but are eager to run fast.

Keep on Running!!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Hazy Shade of Intervals

There is a very large forest fire in Northern Minnesota, almost 400 miles away from where I am. How would this affect me. Well, suddenly in the mid morning, everyone in the area could smell smoke and there was a haze in the air. Seems the smoke from the fires have moved all the way down here. Kind of weird.

After work was a scheduled interval workout at the local track and I was hoping the smoke wouldn't affect me. It was not very heavy at all, just a light hazer and a slight odor, nothing like running in the autumn when neighbors are burning their leaves, but I was still hoping for no issues. Good new, no problems at all. I was able to get in 4 sets of 800's with 1:30 jog rest between intervals. It felt good.

The haze should continue tomorrow but sounds like it will be less. Good thing since it s my daughters first Cross Country race of the season.

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, September 12, 2011


Since I started coaching my daughters Cross Country team, my running workouts have been inconsistent. I try to get my runs in with the team but they are not my normal runs as sometimes I am coordinating the workout instead of running in. Today we did a 3 mile Fartlek run. The kids are liking doing not the usual just go out for a run workouts. I work them hard and have had a few rewarding moments already. The first meet in Wednesday.

I did get in a good 3 by 1 mile workout with mike last week. My splits were 6:46, 6:53, and 6:15, each with about 4 1/2 minutes rest. Then on Saturday, I got in 14 miles in a Jeckly & Hyde workout. I started the first 8 miles at an average pace of 9:27 feeling sluggish. Then the last 6 miles were all under 9:00 and I finished with an average pace of 9:07. I wanted to get under that 9:09 (4 hour marathon) average pace.

Tomorrow, Mike and I will hit the track for a few 800 repeats. This weekend is the second of the "Jennipede" training runs. Only 2 1/2 weeks until the World record attempt. It will be a blast.

As inconsistent as I have been, I continue to train and hope for the best. A little problem with my left foot right now. As I get older, I seem to keep getting these little problems that don't seem so little at the time, then they go away only to be replaced by a different little problem. Some last a few days or weeks, some last months upon months. Life goes on though, pain free or not.

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Report - WELS Kids Marathon

A week ago Saturday was the Final Mile of the WELS Kids Marathon, a program that I began in the Milwaukee area. If you recall, kids (grades K to 8) who join the WELS Kids Marathon run 26.2 miles over the summer while also reading for 26 hours or 26 books. All the kids have been running and reading since the end of the school year and have worked hard to finish their marathon. This year, we had over 430 kids participate including some from up to 2 hours outside Milwaukee.

Earlier that morning, I had run the Eisenbahn Marathon and after laying down for about an hour, I was up loading the van with all the supplies I needed to bring. By 4:15, I was a Wisconsin Lutheran College's Raabe Stadium where we were having the final mile. The committee and volunteers began to set up the registration area and the post race food area.

Suddenly I realized I had made a huge mistake, I had forgotten to bring the master list of participants which was in alphabetical order, something that would have made the packet pick up about 1000 times easier than it ended up being. By 5:30, kids and parents were showing up and the volunteers of the registration table were struggling without my list. AARRGGHH!!!! The line got considerably long and I am sure some in the line were frustrated. I apologized to as many of them as I could until we came up with a plan to move the line faster. The plan worked and we were able to get everyone through the line in time for the first of 2 final mile races. This was the only major hiccup of the evening.

Before the races, we had a guest warm up leader. A lot of the kids gathered on the track and Tracy lead them through all sorts of exercises to be ready to run the mile.

Tracy Falkner, in the blue shirt on the ground facing the kids, lead a warm up for the kids.

After the warm up, we were able to introduce our 2 special guest for the evening. The first guest was Jenny Crain. Jenny is a local runner who had qualified for 4 different Olympic Trials in the Marathon and on the track in the 10K and 5K. 4 years ago, she was on a run in Milwaukee when she was hit by a car and barely survived. The Make It Happen Fund was set up to help Jenny pay for help huge medical bills. The Make It Happen Fund is the charity the WELS Kids Marathon chose to make a donation to. Jenny was our official starter of the race and gave lots of the kids high-fives along the way. She seemed to really enjoy watching the kids run and we made her an honorary WELS Kids Marathon Finisher complete with Finisher's Medal.

Jenny Crain, honorary WELS Kids Marathon Finisher along with myself and my youngest daughter Katelynn

The other special guest was Trevor Marsicano. Trevor is a current speedskater living in the area and training at the Pettit Center. Trevor in a World Champion speedskater and former World Record holder in the 1000 Meter Long Track event. Trevor also won a silver medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and brought along his medal to show everyone. Trevor is a really nice guy and after giving the kids an inspirational talk before the race, also handed out finisher medals to the kids as the finished.

Trevor Marsicano handed out finisher medals to the kids. I think he held on to his Olympic Silver Medal.

2010 Vancouver Olympics Silver Medal. It was really heavy!

The music was playing and the kids and parents were having fun as the first race took off. I was running all over the place getting things done and giving high fives at the finish line that I didn't even get to see some of my friends who's kids were in the race. Our announcer did a great job once again even interviewing some of the kids after their races.

The younger kids ran in the first race. They took off in almost a complete sprint. Pace yourselves!

After the races, the kids were given Chocolate and white milk to drink along with spring water. Bananas and cookies were also their to refuel the kids.

A little later, we had awards and door prizes for the kids. By this time, it was getting pretty dark out and the lights of the stadium were on which made it really cool for the kids. They all sat on the football field hoping their name would be called for prizes ranging from Water Bottles or books to large gift certificates for local stores and even Milwaukee Bucks tickets. Some of the kids received a special award for completing our "Ultimate Challenge", these kids did double the work, 52.4 miles and 54 hours or books worth of reading.

Katelynn running the last few yards of her marathon!

The 2011 WELS Kids Marathon was a great success once again this year. We look forward to planning the 4th annual WELS Kids Marathon next year and inviting many more kids to participate and earn their finisher's medals.

I love this picture. Before the race, someone laid out all the finisher's medals on a table by the finish line. I may use this picture to advertise next year.

Keep on Running!!!