Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Not My Best Week of Running

This week hasn't been the best running week for me. Not horrible, just not great.

It started on Saturday, I joined Chris for a long run in the morning. Chris is the Race Director for the Icebreaker Indoor Marathons (Milwaukee & Salt Lake City) and the Great Milwaukee Race. He ran up toward my house and I met him about a half mile into my run. We ran 15 miles together before he urned for home and I had 5 miles to go. Those first 15 miles were really good and fun. We ran really slow and talked the entire time about all sorts of things. It was sunny out and getting warmer as he left for home. That is when I started to struggle. You see, I was starting to run out of water and I also made a big mistake before I started running. I forgot to bring along any GU's or food at all. I was hungry and out of energy. I ended up doing the last 3 miles 1 mile at a time with a longer(ish) walk between miles. I did finish though and downs a ton of Chocolate Milk when I was done. I felt better that afternoon.

Monday I ran with Mike for 5 miles. I still felt tired from Saturday so I wasn't too happy about my recovery. My knee is getting a little more sore so that bothered me and I also has a new toe issue that just come up. It was pushing up against the front of my shoe and causing some discomfort. Turns out it was a blister completely UNDER my toe nail. Never had that happen before. I was able to get to it with a needle and drain it this afternoon for some relief so that was good.

I did run today at my daughters Track Camp. I started running on the track so I wouldn't be too far away in case I needed to stop. But Paul showed up and we ended up running on some grass trails around the school. This actually helped somehow. I was able to get in 5 miles with only a little discomfort on the toe so hopefully that was the entire problem. The knee is a different story. I just need to keep icing it after workouts I think, at least I hope that will do it.

Tomorrow is a day off from running. I am taking the girls to Six Flags for some Roller coaster fun. They LOVE roller coasters (my kind of girls!) including the 5 year old. The weather looks great so a day of fun should be a welcome break. Then it is on the a hopefully big mileage July.

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Another Running First

The funny thing about this new Running First is that is actually happened almost 4 years ago. Well sort of.

Here is the picture of what I am talking about:

As you can see, it is an entry form for the 2011 Lake Country Half Marathon that takes place on Labor Day weekend here in the Milwaukee area. It is actually a very beautiful half marathon course that I ran 2 years ago. But is you look closely, you will see a guy on the right side of the sheet pushing a jog stroller. That guy happens to be me.

This would be the first time I have ever (at least knowingly) been pictured on the cover of an entry form/advertising form for a race. I didn't even get this in the mail, a friend of mine saw it and saved it for me. Another friend saw it too and mentioned it to me.

Here is another funny thing, the picture is of me pushing my youngest daughter, Katelynn, who is now almost 6 years old. She barely fits in the jog stiller anymore. She was just under 2 years old when that picture was taken. And I wasn't running the half marathon that day, I was running the 5K since I had done a long run the day before. it worked well for me though, it was a Jog Stroller 5K PR for me that day and I took 10th place overall, 2nd in my age group. And she loved running with me, she still does even as little as we still go out.

Keep on Running!!!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Race Report - Great Milwaukee Race

Last Saturday was the Great Milwaukee Race held in downtown Milwaukee. I participated on a team along with my friends Mike & Paul. We were team "Mothball, Pinto, and Flounder. Why Not?" (If you don't know the name reference, watch Animal House). Funny enough, a friend told me they saw Mark Metcalf down at the race. He was the actor who played Niedermeyer in the movie Animal House and lives in the area. Wonder if he saw our team name?

I am going to only tell you what I thought of the race and how we did overall and not get into our strategy. I know a lot of the racers read my race report from last year and I don't want to give away any strategies we may have (strategy is a big part of this race). Actually, they didn't work out too well this year anyways. Last year we took 5th place out of 50 teams and this year we took 14th. We were so bummed!

Overall, this race is a very fun and exciting race to be a part of. You never really know what place you are in because there is no set course so you keep racing all the way to the end. Not all teams race, some just participate for fun and to see the city a little.

Here are the basics. At the beginning of the race, each team is given a folder with 10 clues, a crude map of the city, a passport, and a sheet explaining some bonuses you can earn. You then solve the clues and go to each destination that the clues says to go to. At each destination, there is a challenge to take part in. Once your team completes the challenge, you earn a sticker for your "Passport" that indicates you have completed that challenge. You are only allowed to walk, run, or use city buses to get around though city buses would only slow you down. If you run the most efficient route possible, you can do the entire race in 7 miles. If you screw up a clue or go a wrong direction, the race could be any longer distance. Challenge destinations are open for 4 hours.

The race started and ended at a bar called AJ Bombers and that is where awards were handed out to the top 10 teams plus a few other awards, one being Best Team Name. We did not win that, a team called "The Knights of the Mars Cheese Castle" won that. If you are from the Milwaukee area, that is pretty funny since there is a Mars Cheese Castle just off the Interstate just south of Milwaukee.

The clues this year were far more difficult than last year and some you actually needed some "Milwaukee Knowledge" to complete. Smart Phones or using the Internet was completely allowed and encourage. You could call friends too, they just couldn't give you a ride. Here is a couple of the clues from this year:

"Clue #7 Just to make sure no teams decide to cheat and use vehicles to take them around, we include this location. It's been known to swallow vehicles" This clues references an incident from last summer during a high rain storm that caused some flooding and actually created a sink hole in the middle of the city and took an SUV down in it. It was actually on the National News too.

"Clue #6 Complete the following equation to get the address of this establishment on North Farwell Avenue: 5,060 minus 3,216 plus 4,724 divided by 8 multiplied by 3 minus 507 plus 2,244 divided by 3 plus 566 = _____ North Farwell Avenue" Not exactly a tough clue, but you still needed to do all the math. Good thing most phones these days have calculators on them. It definitely saved time.

Some of the other clues were far more obscure and definitely needed Internet search help unless you are a complete Milwaukee History geek, which I am not.

Once you arrive at each destination, you have to do a challenge before you earn your sticker. Here are some of the challenges we had to do. There was a putting mat that you had to put the gold ball into a matchbox car and make the car go into the hole. There was a full size game of Jacks where once teammate bounced a large rubber ball and the other picked up "jacks" that were about 10 inches large each. One challenge had us throwing bags into the holes of a corn holing game (big game played at tailgating parties in Wisconsin). One challenge has us walking around a dried up ice rink with a large marshmallow at the end of a plastic spoon held in our mouths. Another had us looking over a blurry picture of Veterans to find a specific blurry veteran. This was held a the War Memorial Building. The challenge I liked the best was where we had to walk up a long ramp looking in the trees around the ramp for a very small sign tacked to a tree. We then had to say the secret phrase to a volunteer at the top of the ramp. the challenge I disliked the most was when we had to go into the Wisconsin Athletic Club (A sponsor of the race) and do lunge walking for an entire lap around their indoor track. This really did a number on my knee that has some bad tendinitis.

There was also things your team could do to take time off your final score. I am not a fan of these Bonuses as it kind of takes you away from the racing aspect to this event. I can see why they like to have them, just not a fan. Unfortunately, they did not tell us how much each bonus was worth ahead of time so you could not easily determine if they were worth while. In my opinion, they were worth WAY too much time off. But here is what you could do to earn time off. Take a photo of your team next to 5 separate statues that are not a part of your clue list. Get a photo of 5 strangers (who are not a part of this race) to form a human pyramid. Get a photo of 5 strangers (who are not a part of this race) joining your entire team in a kick like. Find a monument (pictured on the clue sheet) and take a picture of your team next to it. It is on the route you will take to complete the race. Funny thing about this one was that when I heard where this monument was, we didn't even go past it on the route our team took. there was also a hidden Easter Egg at each challenge that held a time off ticket in it.

It took our team a total of 2 hours to complete the entire race and with time off, we were somewhere near 1:45.

This is one heck of a fun race to do though. It is similar to The Amazing Race on TV but more condensed and with all clues right away. After your team is done, there is the bar to hang out in and have a bite to eat waiting for the final results to come it. You then get to see the teams you saw along the course and talk all about how everyone did and the routes they took. We had a blast doing this race again this year and will definitely be doing it again next year, hopefully with better results. The only drawback I encountered was at the first challenge. When we arrived, there were about 7 teams already there so we had to wait about 10 minutes to take the challenge. I know, I know, why didn't we just get there faster. But it did suck having to wait. We didn't have to wait at any other challenge.

Great job Great Milwaukee Race.

Keep on Running!!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Exactly 1 Hour

I have been going on easy runs all week, Monday was a little over 5 miles and today was 5 miles. But on Tuesday, I ran 7 miles with Paul. My daughter and his son are in a Track & Field 'camp' that is 2 days per week for an hour and 15 minutes. This is a good time for us to go running. So yesterday, we ran 7 miles around the trails near the high school where the camp was. As I finished 7 miles, my clock said 1 hour, 0 minutes and 0 seconds. Not exactly a fast pace or a slow pace but it was just weird it was exactly 1 hour. So I ran 7 MPH.

This Saturday is the Great Milwaukee Race. I will be competing with Paul and Mike on my team. We are hoping to do well again this year but there is not much you can do to prepare for this race. It is not just a running race, it is sort of like the Amazing Race from TV. At the start of the race, we will receive 10 clues to different locations around the downtown Milwaukee area. Once we figure out the clue, we need to run to the location and to a challenge before we go to the next location. Teams can do the clues in any order they want to so that makes it fun. Last year, you could see teams running all over the downtown area in all directions. We will need to run a minimum of 7 miles, but that is if we run the most efficient route possible. Could be 8 miles, 9 miles, more? Depends on if we figure out the clues correctly too.

This is a really fun race to do and I am looking forward to it. I heard the clues will be harder this year. I hope not too hard.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Checking Out a New Race

While I took the weekend mostly off from running, I did do a double run on Friday including one somewhat long.

After work on Friday, I took a nice 4 mile run on a gravel trail near where I work. It was cool out, a lot cooler than it was earlier in the week so I was able to run fast yet it felt easy. Sort of like the way a nice fall day feels after running all summer in hot weather.

I did decide to do a long run that night, much later that night though. I didn't know how far I was going to run for a few reasons.

The main reason has to do with the Ragnar Relay. What?? Well, the Ragnar Relay was in town on Friday evening, and pretty late at that. The Ragnar Relay is something I have wanted to do for a few years now but have never been able to find a team or have enough people crazy enough to make a team. This particular relay was a race from Madison, WI, through Milwaukee all the way to Chicago. 197 mile total. Teams of 4 to 12 runners (usually 12) take turns, in relay, fashion running all 197 miles and it takes anywhere between 20 to over 30 hours to complete. Each runner usually runs 3 times (more if there are less than 12 on the team). The teams each have vans that carry the other runners from exchange points to the next and all get very little sleep. Sound crazy? Sounds like my kind of race.

This year, I happen to know a few people in the race. A friend of mine John was running as well as my Blog friend Melanie. John told me about when his team was going to be running through Milwaukee so I was planning on meeting his team for a little pick me up surprise. I had a pan of brownies, some Gatorade, and some fruit all ready for his team when I found them. The problem was that John forgot his cell phone and I was unable to get a hold of him. I found this out after he called when the race was over. Well, his teams loss is my girl's gain.

Even though I couldn't get a hold of him, that didn't mean I wasn't going to check out what the race was like and run some of the course. I ended up getting to the Rawson Street exchange point a little after 11 PM. This was the closest point the course came to my home. I then began to run the course backwards hoping to run into him and I thought that was the part he was running. It was misty rain out and a little foggy but I had run this area before so I knew where I was going. It was really cool seeing all the runners coming toward me with their head lamps on glowing off in the distance getting closer.

As I was running, I would cheer the runners on even though I could not see a single persons pace as it was really dark and the light from their head lamps made it virtually impossible for me to see. At one point in time, I did run into someone I did know. Skip was running and I didn't even know it. I recognized me as I was cheering him on. We talked for about 30 seconds and then I was back looking for John. I ran to the next exchange which I learned was a "major" exchange with tons of vans and people having lots of fun. I kept running in case I was on the wrong section. I kept going until I almost got to the next exchange before I turned around and ran back.

I stopped at the Martin Luther High School exchange for a while talking with a few of the runners before I ran the last leg back to where I parked. I ended up talking to a few runners on the course giving as much encouragement as I could and then finished with just under 14 miles in.

I don't know what this event is like at the beginning nor do I know what it is like toward the end. I don't know what it is like to run on barely any sleep or running 3different relay legs in under 24 hours. But I do know that it sounds crazy enough for me. I can only hope I get enough runners to join me next year or find a team that.

Keep on Running!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Race Report - The Wisco Mile

If you had asked me yesterday after my run if I would be running The Wisco Mile on Wednesday, I would have said "no way". I was dead from the heat and super tired. It was very hot yesterday and today was only slightly cooler.

But then I woke up this morning and thought that maybe I would run. I was still planning on running after work but then after checking the weather forecast hour by hour, I decided to give it a try. It should be cooler by the 8:00 start and maybe even raining.

What is The Wisco Mile? It is a bunch of 1 mile races held at Wisconsin Lutheran High School here in Milwaukee. This is the 4th year and the idea was born with the thought of getting in one last 1 mile race for the high school kids after the State High School Track Meet the weekend before. It has now grown to 10 different 1 mile races under the lights on the track. And let me tell you, this is one cool event, not only to run in, but also to watch. Here are the different races that they had:

Girls Grade School Mile (Grades 6 to 8)
Boys Grade School Mile (Grades 6 to 8)
Boys Freshman (High School) Mile
Girls Open High School Mile
Boys Open High School Mile
Coed Community Mile (All comers race no matter age)
Men's Masters Mile (35+)
Men's Super Mile (The really fast post college runners)
Girls Elite High School Mile
Boys High School Mile

Some of these races were REALLY fast. The grade school boys mile was won in 4:43!!! The High School Boys Elite Mile was won by a a guy who just won the D1 High School Sate Championship in 4:21 (slow time for him) and 3nd place was the D3 State Champion. They really bring in some fast guys. The Men's Super Mile was the fastest with the winner in 4:08 with 4 guys under 4:20.

I entered the Men's Masters Mile. The race started a little after 8:00 and they try to make everyone feel really special. Before the race starts, the announce all the entrants as we job the straight away to the start line. There is music playing throughout the race and the announcer keep the crowd aware of who is in the lead and some split times.

Since I had just run a marathon a week and a half ago, I knew I wasn't going to be in top shape to run a mile. So I knew to take it out comfortably. I did want to at least break 6:00 if possible and at best go 5:30. The gun goes off and I immediately go to the back of the pack of 12. I knew the fast guys would be running sub 5 so I had no intention of running with them. My first 200 was a little slow so I pull ahead of the guy in front of me. It is fast but I try to keep it relaxed. I think I went through the first quarter in 1:25.

The second lap was about the same and I think I went through the half in 2:55. Lap 3 in a 1 mile race is always a mentally tough lap. I did pretty good keeping pace but I could hear the guy behind me and I knew he was the only guy back there. With 1 lap to go, I needed to run a 1:35 final lap to break 6:00. The guy behind me was breathing down my back and I could tell he was right behind me. I bid my time and with about 150 meters to go, I poured on the sprint and pulled away from him and finished 4 second ahead of him assuring a last place finish was not for me. My final time was 5:49.

I know I can run a mile faster than 5:49, but I don't know about a lot faster. The marathon was still in my legs and the heat was a factor. In fact a storm was moving in and during the race, I could see cool lightning in the distance. No rain during the races but a ton on the drive home.

While this is a great meet for the high school kids, it is also cool for the average Joe runner wanting to know how fast they can run a mile and also for the running fan who just wants to watch a few fast and competitive 1 mile races.

Next race is the Great Milwaukee Race in a week and a half.

Keep on Running!!!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Being Goofy Again

Yesterday, I signed up for the 2012 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge (aka The Goof). I know most of you know what the Goofy Challenge is, but for those of you who do not here is what it is. On Saturday, January 7, I will be running the Disney World Half Marathon. Then on Sunday, January 8th, I will be running the Disney World Marathon. Crazy? Maybe. Nutty? Possibly. Goofy? Absolutely!

I ran this race(s) back in 2007 so I am not a Goofy virgin. I have also run quite a few "double races" over the past few years so I am not worried about finishing though I know fast times are just not going to happen.

I saw this picture on the net and had to share it. Why? Because as of right now, the Goofy Challenge is not the only running I plan on doing down at Disney World. Even though my oldest daughter has no idea we are planning to go to Disney World (Don't tell her, it is a secret), I know she will want to run the Disney World 5K that takes place the day before the Half Marathon. I will run this one with her and I know she will have a blast.

So that will make it 42.4 miles at Disney World. Sounds like a good plan to me. Goofy? Absolutely!!!

Keep on Running!!!

A Scorcher Today

It was hot and sunny here today in Wisconsin. Mark, you would have loved it! Most of the Milwaukee was in the upper 90's with a few communities hitting 100 and it was humid. So it looks like we have joined a lot of the rest of the country where it is hot.

Mike and I did decide to run after work anyways. A lot of our co-workers thought we were nuts but we wanted to get out there. So we got in a slow 5 miles. I didn't wear a watch so I don't know how slow it was but it felt very slow.

It will be hot again tomorrow but the good news for those of you running the Ragnar Relay from Madison to Milwaukee to Chicago, the temps will drop dramatically on Thursday. Right now it looks like temps in the upper 60's to low 70's for that all day and night race. I know Melanie is coming to run that race, so Good Luck to her.

Here are a few pictures of Paul and I from the Madison Marathon a week and a half ago.

Keep on Running!!!