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!!!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

"Jennipede" Training and Other Things

This morning was the first "official" training run for the Jenny Crain Make It Happen Tethered Marathon World Record Attempt. We met at Lake Park in the lower East Side of Milwaukee where there was a scheduled marathon build up run sponsored by the Badgerland Striders, a local running club. On the schedule was a 20 mile run, something I wasn't exactly looking forward to having run the Eisenbahn Marathon just last weekend. But we needed to practice running all tethered together.

I woke up to a thunderstorm rolling in but we were fortunate enough to have it pass by only 30 minutes before we were to start. I find the group and introduce myself to a few of the runners huddled together. We only had about half of the team there but we all got on our race belts and carabineers and latch ourselves onto the rope. I situated myself toward the back to the rope which ended up being a good idea. Not only was I near other runners who usually run close to my pace, but we had a blast cracking jokes and telling stories. About 30 of us were on hand for the training run. We will need at least 55 runners to break the World Record.

We took off at a slow pace and took a 1 minute walk break every mile. Our pace was starting at 11:30 and slowing to 12:00. Let me tell you, it is not easy running 2 1/2 to 3 minutes slower than usual pace. I only wonder how hard it was for the fast runners on the team. It was very humid and our shirts were soaked only a couple miles in. We circled around and were back at the starting point at 13 miles for an extended break. The long breaks really suck when we start up again. I was ready to stop at 13 but was a trooper for the day. Toward the last 2 miles, we slowed some more as a few runners were struggling but we all finished.

Along the way we practiced a few things we will need to do on race day. We usually ran next to the runners near us in line but we needed to practice getting into a single file line for when we go over the timing mats (a requirement). We also practices restroom breaks in the port-o-let. Not as easy as one would think. During the race, no one is allowed to disconnect from the line until the race is over so if you need to use a restroom, you will need to go in with extra rope so slack is built into the plan. This is more an issue for the ladies of the team, but could rear it ugly head for us guys too. Some of the ladies on the team just suggested the guys face one way and the ladies the other and just go. I don't think that will fly, but an interesting strategy.

It was fun today. We ran 20.1 miles and took us somewhere over 4 hour and 30 minutes. Almost 30 minutes slower than I ran the full marathon last weekend. I was sore after the run today. Running a different pace does different things to your muscles. It was fun though and will be a blast on race day 4 weeks from now.

Have you been keeping up with the World Track & Field Championships in Daegu, South Korea? I would wish I could keep up with it more but it is quite difficult with the coverage offered. I suppose I could pay for Universal Sports and watch there, but I prefer good old free (or paid cable) TV. I did get to see a few races today and even a few I didn't know the results of before hand, something that makes watching races more exciting.

I did get to watch Jenny Barringer-Simpson win the gold in the 1500. She ran such a smart race and kicked at the exact right time. I did know the result of that ahead of time. But I did not know that Matthew Centrowitz had won the bronze. That was exciting to see from such a young American. Lots of potential for him. Of course it is always fun to watch Usain Bolt.

The US has never hosted the World Track & Field Championships. I hope someday they will. That would be one fun week watching track! Tomorrow is the last day of the Championships, should be on NBC for a little bit and now that they have Ato Boldon and a commentator instead of Carol Lewis, the coverage and comments are much better.

Keep on Running!!!