Sunday, July 31, 2011

Passing 200

I made it! I made it to 200 miles for July. Actually, I made it to 212 miles, 2 more than last year July. My body is sore now and needs a little break. I plan on running this week early but then will take off at least 3 straight days over the weekend. I hope that will help the muscles recover.

I passed 200 on my long run on Saturday. I decided the day before that I would try a new route and run around Pewaukee Lake. You can get around the lake in 13.2 miles but I started a little farther out so it would have been longer, even with the extra miles I put on. Before the run, I was thinking that 13.2 miles was too coincidental that they should have a half marathon race around the lake. Some of the route would be on country highways so maybe not as safe as it could be.

I started my run early before the sunrise at 5:00AM. Not even a half mile into my run, a deer jumped out in front of me about 30 feet across the trail. Scared the crap out of me (and it as well).

I got to just before mile 5 when the sun finally rose. There were no clouds in the sky so I was hoping for shade. I did get quite a bit. Suddenly I notice a sign that said "Mile 2". As I pasted the beach area, I noticed they were going to be having a festival so I thought maybe they were having a race. After a large hill, I saw a sign that said "Mile 3.1" Perhaps they were having a 10k? Over the next few miles and up and down quite a few big hills, I saw "Mile 5, 6, 7 & 8" I also saw table set up for water stops. Could they be?!?!?

I turned down a bike trail away from where my car was because I wanted to add miles to the run. I was already 3/4 of the way around the lake but they ran to the town of Delafield where I was able to refill my water bottles with a lot of ice and fresh water. A salt packet too and I was turned around back toward the car. I was feeling pretty good still at mile 13 when I got the water and I was able to keep feeling good the next bunch of miles.

I got to the part of the trail where I turned and resumed my trek around the lake. Only 4 more miles to go and I see the signs again. This one said "Mile 8.3" and was at a water stop that had volunteers at. I asked what the race was and sure enough, it was a race around the lake. So much for my cool idea, already done. They told me the race had started 30 minutes ago but no way they would be to 8.3 already. I knew on the route I was taking that I would not see anyone on my run. They were too far back.

I was able to finish 20.24 miles for the day and it was starting to get very warm. So glad I was done.

I saw something I have never seen before too. There was a guy on the trail running in a with his left arm in a sling. That had to hurt. He finished at the same place I did not long after me so I had to ask. He was training for an Ironman when he got tore up his shoulder some. He said he didn't want to waste 9 months of training for his first Ironman. What dedication.

The day of running was not over. After taking the girls to the county fair, I had a planned group fun run for the kids of the Kids Marathon I organize. We met at a park in Sussex and I was able to get in another 2.5 miles with my daughter, Melissa. So I ended up with 22.75 miles for the day and 212 miles for the month. A new record high for me for a month. I could have run today to add to it but I decided I had too many other chores to do. It has been a good (and hot) month, I hope it has been good for you as well.

Keep on Running!!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

2 Extra Miles

I am closing on on 200 for July. 200 miles that is. Last July I ran 210 miles and this year, once again my goal is to run 200 miles in July. The idea is to build up endurance over the summer and since there are 5 full weekend this year in July, why not try it again. I should be able to do it barring some unforeseen issue. I am at 182 so far with a long run planned this Saturday.

Today was a run at Pettit before a meeting I had there. I was going to meet Dana as well but wanted to get in a couple more so I started early. I ran inside Pettit for the first 4 miles. While it is not as cool in there as in the winter since the ice on the oval is gone, it felt REALLY good to run in nice cool and dry air. I think it was close to 50 to 55F in there and I was able to cruise without much effort.

Dana showed up after 15 laps and we headed outside for 5 more miles before the meeting. Tons more humid out there and probably 20 or so more degree higher in Temps. Since Dana is a much faster runner than I am, he had to slow down to my pace but I kept it faster than usual and we had good conversation along the way. I was planning on only doing 7 miles so I guess I ran the extra 2 miles.

By the way, Icebreaker Indoor Marathon registration opens on August 1st. That is for both Milwaukee and Utah!

I will give an update on the WELS Kids Marathon real soon. It is going to be so cool this year.

Keep on Running!!!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Week in Review

I have been a horrible blogger recently. I have been (mostly) keeping up on my reading of blogs, but I haven't written a post in a week now. I have been so busy with work and Kids Marathon stuff, time just gets away.

So here is my week in review quickly.

I have been working a lot on the WELS Kids Marathon that I direct. This week I finalized the design ordered shirts, I finalized the design and ordered medals, submitted the insurance, and completed a few sponsors. Others on my committee have been really busy with other sponsors and letting me know their opinions of the shirt and medals. We also planned and scheduled 3 group fun runs for the kids who still need to get in some miles before the final mile on August 27th. It is going to be such a cool final event, I can't wait!

I ran everyday this past week. While I am not a "streaker" by any means, I am up to 8 straight days. Sunday was the Challenge Nation Race. I will post my report on that one soon.

If you haven't heard, we have had a real heat wave in the upper Midwest as well as other parts of the country. I know you guys in the south must be thinking "Hey, that is every day for us all summer", but we are not as used to it as you guys. Kind of like you in the winter when it gets a little cold and snowy. Temps here have been between 90to 100 everyday with the dew point near 80 so super humid. Heat indexes everyday from 100 to 115. Didn't stop me from running. If you run carefully, it will make you a stronger runner.

Monday was the hardest day. 5 miles after work and it was about 96 with a heat index at about 110. I took it very slow. A few coworkers of mine saw me and said I looked terrible. I have news for them, I felt terrible too!

Tuesday was a 6 miler on the track while my daughter had practice. Wednesday was the hottest day here and I ran before work. Not as hot (maybe 80) but I was soaked a half mile into the run from sweat. Thursday another 7 miler, Friday and easy 5 1/2 and Saturday was an early morning 13.2 miler. Still humid!

Why so many miles? July is my big month to work on endurance. My goal is 200 miles for the month and I am at 158.4 so far. It is already my largest mileage month of the year and I have a week to go.

I know it is hot almost everywhere so do you best to stay hydrated and get out and do a few easy miles. Have fun and jump in a pool after your run if possible. Wish I had one!

Keep on Running!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Long Run - In Pictures

This morning, I ran one of my longest training runs of the year. I ran 24 miles and it felt surprisingly well.

Last night, I parked my car just past Lapham Peak State Park and planned on waking up early and running to the car, a one way trip. On a map, it looks really far, and it is. It always seems like a longer run when you go one way instead of a loop.

I decided to take a camera phone alone to see if I could get any good pictures. No real wildlife pictures but I snapped a few along the way to share. The pictures are really grainy, the camera doesn't take good pics.

I woke up very early this morning and was out of my house by 4:45AM, before the sunrise. As you can see from the picture, only a little light was coming from the horizon at the time. I took off quite slow as it was very humid out and I didn't want to push it and feel the way I did the last few long runs.

At about 4 1/2 miles, the sun wasn't quite up yet but the sunrise was very beautiful. This picture doesn't do it justice. My shirt was soaked already at 2 miles in but the slow pace was helpful. I think I was at about 9:40 pace at this time. Turning to the west, there were quite a few darker clouds which were a welcome relief from the possibility of running in the sun.

Finally at mile 9, I saw my first person who was not in a car a little after 8 miles. My first runner I saw was after 11 miles. The course I took was planned with 3 different water fountains along the way to refill by bottles. That came it very handy. The first one was at mile 11. I took a small break before heading on the Glacier-Drumlin Trail for 8 miles.

I took another break at the next water fountain where I surprisingly bumped in to Mary Flaws, who I had run a lot of races with. She and her husband run the website Really cool running website.

A couple miles later, I bumped into yet another local runner I see quite often, He used to work with my brother so I see him often a parties, etc.

By mile 19, I had picked up the pace and my average pace was down to about 9:27 where I took my last water fountain break. 5 miles to go, but the toughest 5 miles were still to come. I hit Hwy C and the hills began. I was on Hwy C for about a mile and it is up then down the up a big hill. Then right at mile 21 was Government Hill Road. Yeah, even the name makes it sound bad! 0.4 of a mile and 180 feet up. uugghh. Then at the end of the road, a grass trail up another 35 feet to the observation tower.

What a great view from the top of the tower though. And a nice breeze. I talked with a couple ladies up there for a few minutes before heading out on the final 2 miles to my car. At least the first one was all downhill. Not easy though as it is 250 feet down in 1 mile. Quad and toe buster. I kicked it in the final mile and that was my fastest mile of the day around 8:30 and was able to finish with an average pace of 9:24.

Once done, I walked around and met a couple from Switzerland who has slept in their van for the night. They are travelling across the country visiting all sorts of place along the way, Today happen to be Milwaukee. Very nice people, I hope they enjoy the rest of their trip.

I have a "race" planned for Sunday. It is the Challenge Nation Urban Adventure Race. We are beginning a heat wave here in the upper Midwest so water will be a key. Not really racing it, just out there to have some fun. I'll tell you all about it soon.

Keep on Running!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Runner's Rambling

I have had a pretty good yet slow July so far. The weather here in Wisconsin has been great for outdoor activities, just not of the running sort. I am up to 68.7 miles for the month so far with my goal being to reach 200 like last July. Will I be able to do it? Not sure at this point in time. But the fact that July has 5 weekends in it certainly helps with the ability for 5 long runs.

I did another long run this past weekend. I drove down to the lakefront in hopes of some relief of cooler air but no such luck. I started a little later than I wanted to (about 6:15AM) and it was already warm, but not as warm and humid as the run the previous weekend where Mike and I ran around Lake Geneva for just over 20 miles. This run was only going to be 18 mile at an easy pace again.

It didn't start too good as in the first half mile, one of those darn red-winged black birds attacked me by swooping in and grabbing my hair as I passed somewhere near it's nest. Scared the crap out of me since I didn't hear it coming. Then about 1.3 miles in, I realized I didn't put the glide on my inner thighs so I returned to the car to put that on, again passing the bird who was hovering and squawking at me. I returned to the trail (and the bird) and ran a nice easy out and back with good views of the lake along the way, just no cooler temps. 18.15 miles later, I was done and ready to go home to welcome 3 different 7 year old girls coming over for my daughter's 7 year old birthday slumber party.

My last post was about Summerfest here in Milwaukee. They had their inaugural RocknSole Half Marathon & 10K this weekend and things didn't go too well for some of the over 6000 runners. From the beginning, this race seemed to be put on by amateurs for a few reasons. First, the originally wanted the race to start at 10:00AM. WHAT? 10AM in Milwaukee in July for a half marathon? Are they nuts? Well, they did (smartly) change it to an 8:00AM start which is still too late if you ask me. Second, they chose the name Rock n' Sole Half Marathon. You might be thinking that this race is associated with the Rock n' Roll Marathon Series. Well, you would be wrong. To me, it just sounds like they stole the name. Yeah, I can see the difference, but too close if you ask me. (McDonald's & McDowell's comes to mind from the movie Coming to America). And then to even make it more similar, the logo's are a bit too similar in font and name. You be the judge:

To make things worse for the organizers, they had to deal with quite hot temperatures at race time and the half marathoners who started earlier than the 10K runners, used up most of the water leaving a lot of the 10K runner with no water. Many runners were taken to the hospital and many more needed medical assistance on the course. Poor contingency planning on the part of the race organizers. To the credit of the race director, he was on all the news stations taking responsibility for the errors and promising a better race next year. He has a lot of work to do so I wish him the best of luck for next year.

To be completely fair, I was not at the race so do not know what fully went on. But I was at the Chicago Marathon a few years back when it was even more hot and humid so I know what it is like to run in poor running conditions when race organizers screw up. I think this race is a good thing for Milwaukee and will improve a lot next year. Will I run it? Not sure, depends on my training schedule. There are a lot of pissed off runners out there this part weekend and some have a legitimate gripe while others are just taking it to an obscene extreme. Take this post for example of a lady who didn't even train for the race and then complains like it was the end of the world. She is one of those "blame others first and it's never my fault" types, at least that is the way it seems from this post.

Enough for now, many more miles to run in July.

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, July 4, 2011

A Funny Story

We have a thing in Milwaukee called Summerfest. Summerfest is the World's Largest Music Festival and is a little secret not too many people outside of music circles know about Milwaukee. It is truly one of the gems of Milwaukee and actually has been confirmed as the World's Largest Music Festival. There are 8 large stages of music across the grounds, a few smaller stages, and one 25,000+ seat amphitheater for the very large acts. This year that would include the likes of Toby Kieth, Kid Rock, Katy Perry, Britney Spears and Sugarland. The smaller stages still hold well over a few thousand a them and attract acts like Meat Loaf, REO Speedwagon, Jackyl, Third Eye Blind, Maroon 5, Peter Frampton, Goo Goo Dolls, and one of my favorite local bands, The BoDeans. Plus tons of other nationally known acts.

Typically a stage will have 5 acts on each day with some up and coming acts just hitting the national scene and some local bands as well. Every year I love to look at all the band names as some are really funny (The Bare Naked Ladies played on year before they were known, that caught my attention). Some great names from this year that I liked was:
Rabid Aardvarks
100 Monkeys
Screamin' Cucumbers
Me Talk Pretty

And many, many more great names!

Here is the funny story that happened last Friday evening right outside Summerfest. I was going for a small bike ride with the girls along the lake near the Summerfest Grounds. You can bike along the lake right between the festival grounds and Lake Michigan on a path and island. You can also bike behind the Marcus Amphitheater and behind the Classic Rock Stage. It was about 7:45PM when we went back there and there are not too many people except for a few road crews for some of the bands. On this particular night, Styx was the main act on the Classic Rock stage. Outside throwing a football around was Tommy Shaw of Styx. We ended up biking past him and stopping to talk for a bit. He was very gracious to talk to us for a few minutes. As we talked, my youngest daughter, Katelynn, asked him "Are you a ROCK star?" She said it in such a cute way. He replied with "Well, some might think so" (nice to hear a guy like him not taking himself too seriously). Katelynn the asked him if she sang any songs she knew (Katelynn is only 5 so she would exactly know Styx music). He the started singing a few lines from the song "Renegade" for her. She smiled and then suddenly lunged at him giving him a huge hug around his legs. She was surprised but didn't seem to mind. I had to almost pry her off him and she held on so long.

We wished him well in his show that night and finished our bike ride and was able to find the Styx CD in the van so I could play the songs for the girls.

If you are ever in Milwaukee during Summerfest (last week of June/first week of July), I suggest making a stop in. I will be there tomorrow with the girls for a few hours.

Keep on Running!!!

Independence Day 5K

This morning was the annual Independence Day 5K race in Waterford, WI that I have run quite a few time over the past years. In the past, I would try to tun this one for a fast time since it is a very flat course with few turns so made for fast running. But last year I began running this race with my oldest daughter, Melissa, who has been bitten by the running bug.

Once again this year, Melissa and I travelled to Waterford for the 5K with goal of breaking 30 minutes and maybe placing in the top 5 of the 10 and under age group and win a small wood carved plague. It was a nice day, no sun, a little warm, maybe mid 70's by race time at 8:00AM. The humidity from the previous days was mostly gone so good running weather.

The race started and we were off. I had on my Garmin so I could pace us properly from the start. I had to remind her many times in the first half mile that lots of runners would be going faster than us but not to worry as we would be passing them toward the end. We took 2 breaks during the race for small walks, once at about 0.8 miles and the 2nd at about 2.1 miles on the way back. Mile 1 was at 9:24 so we were right on pace to break 30 minutes but the complaining began.

Melissa is a pretty good runner for a 9 year old, but her mind is very weak as a runner. She is only 9 so I give her a break on this but I have to really encourage her to get past the "cramps" and "breathing problems" that she would make you feel is killing her, but in reality, she just doesn't know how to run through a little pain yet. The complaining wasn't too bad as I encouraged her to have controlled and relaxed breathing and to stay at my side instead of behind me.

For just under 2 miles, there was a cute little girl running just ahead of us all by herself. I found out later she was ONLY 5 years old. She was so well composed as a runner, pacer, and being by herself out there. Her Mom and Dad were also running and I believe her Mom won the Masters Division. We didn't see her after we passed her but I think she did really good.

In the last mile, I kept telling Melissa she was doing good and telling her where some of her "competition" was ahead of us as we passed some of them along the way. She was struggling a bit with about a 1/3 mile to go since she could not see the finish line yet and wanted to walk so bad. I got her to keep going and she finished with a great sprint with a time of 28:41, a pace of 9:12.

Now there was almost a big mess up. When the results were finally posted, it showed that she took 8th place in the 30 to 34 year age group. WHAT!?!?! I had filled out her registration so I was wondering if I had put some bad information on the form but with an age of 34 listed, that made no sense on any level. It could be that they entered her info wrong in the data base too, but instead, I just spoke to the guy about to give out awards and was able to get her name place in the proper place, 4th in her age group!

Afterwards, she was very happy and was showing everyone her award, even at her cousin's Birthday Party. She was so proud! And she said she was happy that I pushed her during the race too.

So did you run a 4th of July race today?

Keep on Running!!!