Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Race Report - Eisenbahn Marathon

Saturday was the Eisenbahn Marathon that took place from Eden, WI to West Bend, WI along the Eisnebahn State Trail. I had a few friends that were running the race so I decided to join them and treat it as a faster training run.

I woke up early in the morning, 2:30AM as Chris and Paul were meeting me at my house at 3:15AM and then I was driving to the race. Along the way, we picked up Dana before driving the rest of the way to West Bend and the finish line. Since this was a point to point course, they supplied school buses for us to ride to the start line.

Paul was only running the half marathon, so his bus wasn't leaving for an hour but Dana, Chris, and I took the 30 minute ride to the start area. 2 of the buses took a wrong turn and headed toward the Half Marathon start line but luckily our bus driver was smart enough to go the correct way. We arrived and scooted out the back door and were first in line for the 5 port-o-lets. Good thing as the line got long very fast.

Paul running toward the end of the Half Marathon. Thanks to Bill Flaws from RunningInTheUSA.com for the pictures.

It was cool, mid 60's and the sun wasn't out yet and we were in a park surrounded by either fields and a few houses. The lines of the port-o-let never seemed to be getting shorter and it was apparent that everyone would not be done before the 6:00AM start. They then announced that they would be delaying the start until everyone was able to use the port-o-lets. This delayed the start about 20 minutes. This upset us, especially Dana who was planning on running a 2:42 time and was ready to go at 6.

Dana in the lead of the Marathon in the first 25 yards.

I tried turned on my Garmin, but nothing happened. I knew I charged it up but something just wasn't letting it start. ugh! I left my other watch in the car so now I was going to have to run the race without a watch for the first time ever, run on feel alone. Oh well, go with the flow.

I started slow and easy. It was a long training run after all. The race is mostly on a crushed limestone bike trail and was flat, at least until it left the trail 2 times for smaller 3 mile jaunts. At mile 5, we left the trail for the first time and hit some hills. Not too bad, the worst part, in my opinion, we the downhills which were too steep to really run down. You really had to hold back and work the quads.

Here I am at about Mile 9. As you can see, it was sunny and pretty warm already.

At mile 11, we left the trail again for some hills and the start of the half marathon. As I passed the half mark, I asked another runner what tour time was (there were NO CLOCKS on the entire course). She said 2:01 so I guess I was running well. I felt like I was running really easy so I decided to pick it up a little to maybe try to break 4 hours. I began passing runners every once in awhile and I knew I was cruising pretty good.

It was a sunny day out and the temps were rising. By mile 20, it was kind of hot out, at least it was hot for running 20 miles already. I was getting blinded by my sweat as I stopped at aid stations with sweat going in my eyes. At mile 20, there was a good 4 mile stretch of trail that had no relief from the sun. By mile 22, my legs were getting heavy and I knew I was slowing. At the aid station at mile 24, I asked what the race time was and one guy was able to tell me about 3:42. I did some quick math and determined I needed to run 8:00 miles to to break 4 and I knew that was not going to happen. I decided to just run as easy as I could and try to enjoy what I could.

Near the finish line, I was ready to stop and drink some Chocolate Milk.

With 1 mile to go, I saw someone closing in on me. I didn't want them to pass me as no one had passed me since the half mark. I was able to keep my place and cross in 4:05:40, not bad for a 26.2 mile training run. I ended up in 64th place out of 172 runners, passing 25 since the half marathon point.

Dana didn't have a great race as he wished. He was disappointed with a time of 2:56:40 (it is all relative, isn't it) but he did take 2nd place overall. Chris ran pretty good and finished in 3:21:34 and in 20th place but he did win his age group. Paul ran the half marathon in 1:55:00 and in 49th place. He took it easy as he was also doing a triathlon the next day.

With 100 meters to go, Dana shows how he really feels about his performance.

Chris ran OK for the day. I would take his time any day.

Here are my thoughts on the race:

They didn't have nearly enough port-o-lets at the start line. There is no reason they should have started the race late. Paul told me that this happened in the half marathon as well.

The volunteers were excellent and very friendly. The aid stations were easy to navigate and we were taken care of great.

I can't say anything about the packet pick up or expo because Dana picked up our stuff the day earlier.

The course was OK. Many times I had small gravel in my shoes from the trail but never stopped to clear them out. It never became and major issue. The hills helped mix up the course from all flat and were not too bad.

No clocks on the course. Why??? At a minimum, they should have had them at the half and at mile 20.

The shirt design kinda sucked. While it is a short sleeve which I like, it has a big iron on like patch on the front that will not breath.

The medal baffles me. At first glance, it looks kind of cool until you realize the name of the race is not on the front. You have to turn it over to see the race name on a plate. The front looks like an advertisement to me.

Aid stations were very well placed. Maybe they needed them a little closer toward the end, but the rest of the course, they were a really good distance apart.

Kudos to the race for having tons of Chocolate Milk at the finish line.

All in all it was a good long run. Will I run this one again, not as a race, but maybe as a training run.

The day wasn't over. I had the Final Mile of the Kids Marathon that evening. I will write about that in its own post.

34 Marathons complete.

Keep on Running!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Big Weekend Coming

Wow, I didn't realize that it has been a long time since my last post.

The busy-ness continues in full force as the final mile of the WELS Kids Marathon is set for this Saturday evening. 431 kids signed up this year and we anticipate about 300 showing up for the final event. There is sooooooo much that needs to happen in such a small amount of time. The bags are all packed. The shirts are all rolled (a cool look I saw in a race this year). The medals are delivered and so are the water bottles for everyone. I ran all over town last night picking up supplies and prizes and tying to make sure I have all my ducks in a row.

I went to the stadium last night and noticed they put up some bleachers right where I was going to have my registration tables. Just need to redesign is all.

The music CDs are burned and ready to be played. Let me tell you, this is not as easy as it sounds. I try to get some newer music that kids like and I am just not that familiar with. Taylor Swift always makes the list but I have to make sure all the other songs are "Safe" for kids ears. I don't need complaints about the music being not appropriate. Sorry Katy Perry, you are out! I was complimented the last 2 years on the music selection so I hope it continues.

We have a ton of cool door prizes for the kids. Barnes & Noble Gift Cards, Milwaukee Bucks Tickets, Ice Skating Passes for the Pettit Center, Green Bay Packers Books and Water Bottles, and a few of the local running stores have donated gift certificates. I can't wait until Saturday evening, it is so cool seeing the kids finish their marathon.

But before that on Saturday morning, I am my own marathon. My friends Dana and Chris are running the full marathon with me (or more specifically, ahead of me), and Paul is running the half marathon (He is doing a triathlon on Sunday). We are running the Eisnebahn Marathon just north west of Milwaukee by 45 minutes. It is in its second year so I don't know what to expect except that it is a relatively small marathon (last year just under 200 runners in the full) and it is run 80% on a crushed limestone bike path. Not any big hills and a net down hill of a bit. It travels mostly South so it is good that the forecast calls for winds from the North. I do not plan on running this one hard, more like a good, long training run. I hope Chris and Dana don't leave without me.

So a VERY busy weekend up ahead. It should be a blast though.

Keep on Running!!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Busy Week

It has been a busy week. Lots of work on planning and organizing the final mile of the WELS Kids Marathon that takes place in just under 2 weeks. A few good runs including a long one on Saturday morning. Cross Country practice has now begun. And 2 of my girls were in a play this Saturday.

Saturday morning, I picked up Mike at 6:30 for a run along the White River Trail near Lake Geneva. It was cloudy and not too hot but we were soaked from sweat as it was very humid out. Mike wanted to run faster than me so after 2 miles, he was gone. I wasn't feeling good at this point. After 4 miles, my pace was averaging 9:21 and I just wanted to stop. As with a lot of my runs, things can change quickly. Suddenly my average pace started dropping. My new goal was to drop the pace to under 9:09 (or 2 hour half marathon pace) by 13.1 miles. Then my goal was to drop the average pace to sub 9:00. With 2 miles to go, the average pace was 9:04. I pick it up and run the next 2 miles at 8:08 and 7:39. Where did that energy come from?!?!?

So a run that started bad ended well, 8:55 average pace well for 15 miles.

Later that afternoon was the play my 2 youngest girls were in. It is a play were auditions were only last Monday. They only 5 days later is the play. Last year, Megan made it, and this year bot Megan and Katelynn made it. It was a play for kids grades 1 to 8 and they did King Arther's Quest. It was so cute! The girls learned a few easy songs and had a few lines. Megan played the Mini Blue Knight and Katelynn the Mini Raven. Her line was "Caw, caw, Nevermore".

Megan as the Mini Blue Knight

Katelynn as the Mini Raven

This coming Thursday is the first of 2 Final Miles for the WELS Kids Marathon. I will be taking Melissa up to Green Bay (2 hours north) to have a mile for the kids up there. Then a little over a week later is the Official Final Mile. Lots of work to still do!

By the way, on my run last week in Madison, I passed 1000 miles for the year. This is about 2 1/2 weeks earlier than last year. I sure hope it helps this fall

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jenny Crain - Make It Happen!

Quite a while ago, I wrote a post about a local runner named Jenny Crain. Jenny was an excellent runner. She had qualified for 4 different US Olympic Marathon Trials and represented the United States in the 2005 World Track and Field Championships in the Marathon. That year she ran a time of 2:39:02.

I had written before about how she would run locally and join the local races and was a very visible part of the Milwaukee Running Community. She is also a very friendly, down to earth runner, very approachable. There were many races in which I was able to see her, well, at least the back of her for a half mile or so until she was out of sight.

In August of 2007, Jenny was on a training run getting ready for the Olympic Trials for a chance to run in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when tragedy struck. She was hit by a car on the East Side of Milwaukee and severely injured, she was lucky to live. With an Olympic spirit in her heart that would win gold a thousand times over, she began the biggest training of her life, recovery. Over the last 4 years, she has worked her way up to being able to walk with the aid of a walker. Last month, she walked 1 mile at a local charity run on her behalf. She has a long way to go.

Many local runners have now supported Jenny the way she supported them over the years. The Make it Happen Fund was set up to help Jenny with her massive medical bills. As the director of the WELS Kids Marathon in Milwaukee, myself, along with my committee, have chosen the Make It Happen Fund as the 2011 charitable contribution. With this contribution, they have invited me to join “Team Jenny” for a special fund raising event in October.

The Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon will take place on Sunday, October 2nd and “Team Jenny” will be attempting to break the World Record for most runners tethered together running a marathon. The current World Record is 47 runners which was set in London (I think). We are attempting to have over 75 runners roped together for this event. The “Jennipede” will not be a fast team as there are runners of all levels joining the team but we are all there with the sole purpose of supporting Jenny! As a part of the team, I am also raising more funds to help Jenny.

If you feel inspired to make a personal donation to the Jenny Crain Make it Happen Fund, please follow this link.

If you would like to learn more about the Jenny Crain Story, here is a link to a wonderful story published in Runner’s World Magazine. Well worth the read.

I will let you all know more about the run and the world record attempt as we get closer to the race. We have a couple scheduled training runs where we will learn how to run tethered together and get some of the logistics figured out (like how does one use the restroom during the race?, What if I need to tie my shoe?) Once attached to the “Jennipede” rope, there is no unhitching until the race is over!

Thank you for your support and as always:

Keep on Running!!! . . . and Make It Happen

A Little Break

I took the entire weekend off! 3 straight days of no running. This was supposed to be my recovery and rest after close to 250 miles in just over a month. My legs feel rested but was it enough?

I ended up going up to Door County for the weekend and camped a little. The girls got to swim a lot (the 2 youngest can now swim on their own!) and we had lots of Ice Cream. Friday night we even went to the Drive In Theater and saw Cars 2. It was a beautiful night outside watching the movie.

While in Door County, I did see a running camping going on. Sure, I wanted to run, but I rested. What a cool camp for these High Schoolers. I was talking to their coach and they did some team building exercises along with mostly 2 a day runs. Games and fun as well. I wish I could have done that in High School.

I did get a long run in on Thursday as I took that day off of work. I went to Madison and put in 17.75 miles along some of the best running routes around. I ran though the Arboretum and along lake Mendota to Picnic point and also along Lame Monona. I forgot my Garmin at home so had to wing it on pace and distance. Turns out I ran faster than normal this summer averaging somewhere near 8:45. It was humid and warm but not hot. I ran easy and it felt as such. It was a good run. I ended up walking into lake Wingra afterwards to cool the legs down afterwards.

Time to get back at it.

Keep on Running!!!