Monday, October 31, 2011
Sunday, October 23, 2011
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
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 Louisvillemarathon.org 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 MarathonGuide.com 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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.