Thursday, December 27, 2012

PBD Preparations

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas and received lots of new, fun, running related gifts to make 2013 the best running year!  I also hope everyone didn't get to commercialized at Christmas and celebrated the real reason for season.

I was able to get in 10 miles on Christmas Eve at the Pettit Center.  The doors now open earlier and so I arrive a little before 6:00AM since I had a conference call scheduled at 8:30.  The first almost 3 miles were all by myself on the track.  It is nice sometimes when you are by yourself.  I get a lot of thinking done when running and I was able to reflect on the holidays and gatherings that already happened and ones about to take place that day or the next.  Then a few other runners joined in and the track was no longer mine alone.

Last Saturday was getting ready for the Polar Bear Dash 5K which takes place on New Year's Day.  Chris and I marked and measured the course and knowing where the mile marks would be plus where the runners would enter the water and how far into the water they would go.  It was a chilly morning but no wind and sunny.  Beautiful out for a run, we would be very happy if the same weather happened next Tuesday.

Now it is getting all the final supplies for the race and making sure we didn't forget anything.  Should be a good day to start the new year off on the right foot...and then the left.

Keep on Running!!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

1000 Again

Today I ran 5 miles after work and passed 1000 miles for the year.  This has been a down year for me in miles run.  In the past couple years, I passed 1000 miles at some point in August.  The last few years I have been recording 1600+ miles but with the IT Band injury in January, not recording a single mile in February, and running about half as much as I like to over the summer (fear of the IT Band return), the miles have lapse.

My marathon times this past fall have reflected the less miles run, at least that is what I feel happened.  I think I need to train the legs to handle more miles so when miles 23 to 25 come, they are good to still go.  I plan on working on that again next year.

This is the 7th straight year I have recorded over 1000 miles.  It might be more years, but I can't find my logs from 2005 and before.  Over those 7 miles, I have recorded 9386 miles.  I wonder how many miles I would have over my lifetime?  Hmmm?

Keep on Running!!!

Polar Bear Dash

I am a runner and I am an idea guy.  Not all my ideas are great ones, let's be honest, some of the really suck, but sometimes I hit on something.  One idea that I had brewing in my mind the past bunch of years involved organizing a race that would take place on New Years Day.

I don't put on races.  Well, I do put on the I Run Kids Marathon but that is not the same as a road race.  In the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to be friends with a few of the makers and shakers in the Milwaukee running community that do put on races.  I was asked 3 years ago to be apart of the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon crew and have learned a lot about what it takes to put on a race.  Chris is the director of that race and we have become good running friends so it was a natural for me to approach him with the new idea I had.  I am not comfortable with putting on a race all by myself so it was nice to hear that Chris was interested in my idea and we have partnered up to make it happen.

Here was my original idea years ago.  Have a race (length not too important) with the finish line about 50 to 100 feet into a lake.  Now that may not seem like a big deal out there in some places like the south, but in Wisconsin, generally it is pretty cold in the winter.  The race would take place on New Year's Day, traditionally pretty cold.  The idea was to finish, you had to "Go for it" and get wet on a cold (or freezing) day.

In talking about the race, we both knew that it would be very hard to get people to run this race if the finish was in the water, plus timing the race would become a real bear (pun intented).  We knew only super die hards would do that and there would be no way to cover all the costs if few people entered.  (if you have never put on a race, there are a ton of expenses most people have no idea about).  We brainstormed and have a race now schedule for New Year's Day 2013 called the Polar Bear Dash.

The Polar Bear Dash is going to be a 5K race in Grant Park in South Milwaukee on January 1st starting at 11:00AM (people can sleep in a little after all the revelry of New Year's Eve).  We have a club house rented for registration and keeping warm before the race (and after too).  At the 3 mile mark of the race, runner will have an option of entered the frigid waters of Lake Michigan and running about 50 meters parallel to the shore in about knee deep water before running to the finish line.  Runners who chicken out can run right next to the water but stay dry.  Runners who do the "Polar Dip" are not required to go all the way in, head to toe, but there will be no way to avoid shoes, feet, ankles, knees and most of the legs from getting wet.  No guarantees the ground under the water is even either so watch out so you don't trip.  The final 50 meters will be out of the water to the parking lot to the finish line. 

We will have the usual overall awards and age group awards but we will also have awards to the top 3 males and females that get out of the water.  After the race, runners can go full in the water if the choose (we will have a cold water rescue team there) or head to the heated club house for post race refreshments and the awards ceremony. 

As of earlier this week, we had about 120 runners already signed up with almost half saying they planned on doing the Polar Dip portion of the race. With registration still open and race day registration available as well, we hope to get 200 runners.  After the Polar Bear Dash is complete, only 2 1/2 weeks until the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon.

If you are interested in joining the Polar Bear Dash or would just like more information, you can go to our website

That is my latest running project.  I do have some more ideas that i am formulation through that involve races so who know, there may be more I put on.

Keep on Running!!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Be near me, Lord Jesus!
I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever
And love me, I pray.
Bless all the dear children
In Thy tender care
And take us to heaven
To live with Thee there.


Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Race Report - Kiawah Island Marathon

Saturday, December 8th was the Kiawah Island Marathon on Kiawah Island, South Carolina, just south of Charleston right along the Ocean.  This ended up being my 44th marathon overall and my 7th and final marathon for 2012.

Being December in South Carolina, you really never know what kind of weather you will get.  I like a cold day for a marathon but unfortunately, it turned out to be a warmer day.  You would never think that by all the running tights, sweatshirts, hats, gloves, etc that people were wearing though.  Runners from the south make me laugh at times with how cold they think it is.  But then again, they probably laugh at me at when it is warm for me and they feel it is perfect.

Kiawah Island Resort was the host of this marathon and from what I could tell, there are 2 parts to this gates community.  The first part where packet pickup and the start and finish were in an area in which you could rent out rooms and condos.  The second part of the resort is a community where lots of very nice homes scattered tree lined streets with nice bike paths with golf courses. And from what I could tell, VERY nice golf courses.  So much so that the Kiawah Island Resort's Ocean Course hosted the 2012 PGA Championships.  Unfortunately, we never were able to see this course though we ran close to it for about 4 miles.

At packet pickup, you were not given the usual bag with stuff in it, but rather just your long sleeve race shirt and your race number with chip on the back.  There was a "Store" area where you could purchase stuff too so if you forgot anything, you were good to go.

Since there is limited parking at the resort, as you arrive on race morning, you park in a huge grass field where you then load onto a bus to take you the final mile to the start/finish area.  Once there, there was a large room where runners could hang out in the warmth indoors until race time.

The streets in this resort are a bit smaller than your usual roads so the start area was very crowded.  There were over 1000 full marathon finishers and over 2000 half marathon finishers.  Once the gun went off at 8:00AM to start the race, it took me about 2 minutes to reach the starting line where there was a chip mat (big bonus over the last marathon I ran).  Funny thing was that the chip mat was about 50 or so feet ahead of the big starting line banner!?!?  I started near the 4:00 runners but was not happy with having to pass countless walkers who started ahead of me.  One group of 5 walkers were all abreast making it very difficult for anyone to pass them.  I do not understand why people to this but maybe some pace signs along the starting area would have helped.

This race has a very flat course.  Maybe 6 feet of elevation change over the entire course.  The area you run in is mostly the gated homes roads which were very beautiful and landscaped nicely.  No industrial areas.  No endless country farm fields.  No downtown big buildings.  Not that any of that is necessarily bad, but there were no real ugly or bad areas you ran through on the course.  The course did have some drawbacks.  There were 4 fairly long out and backs for the full marathoners (1 for the half marathoners).  This wasn't as bad as it would seem but does get discouraging seeing all the runners ahead of you running the other direction.

The half marathoners ran about the first 11 miles with the full marathon runner which made it quite crowded.  that wasn't too bad when we could run on the roads, but on the first out and back that was about 2 miles each way, after the turn around, runners needed to run on the bike path which was not near wide enough to pass or get passed effectively.  Other than those issues, the course was very nice and many of the people who lived in the community came out to cheer on the runners.

The volunteers along the course were great.  Plenty of water for everyone when there was water stops.  For the first half of the race, there were plenty of aid stations but were lacking during the last 6 miles.  I think some race organizers think that the same distance between aid stations is OK throughout the course but in my opinion, they need to be more frequent in the last 6 miles.  Going 2 1/2 miles after mile 20 for the next aid station is too far.

The post race spread was really nice too.  The usual bananas,oranges, breads where there but they also had a great soup to have.  Coffee and hot chocolate were available too.  But no chocolate mile :(.  

Kiawah Island Marathon shirt and medal.

This years medals were very interesting and unique.  It was an acrylic or glass like material that is somewhat see through.  It is hard to read but different.  I think that if this were my first marathon, I would be disappointed in the medal but I don't have any other medal like it so I kind of like it, it is growing on me.  I have nothing like it. 

Close up of the Kiawah Island Marathon Medal.

Mike, Paul and I decided a couple months ago to run this race and check off South Carolina from our list.  We had decided to fly to Charlotte, NC to save over $100 per person on the flight and then rent a car to drive down.  We arrived in Charleston, SC on Friday after stopping and picking up our numbers and shirts.  Race day wee arrived near the start area about 1 hour early and proceeded to sit in the ball room resting.

My goal for the race was to run another sub 4 hour marathon and planned to run that pace.  I was worried because the weather was going to be warmer that I like.  I prefer a marathon that starts with temps in the upper 30's and ends in the mid to upper 40's.  This race was beginning in the low 50's and was forecasted to be in the low 70's by noon when I planned on finishing. 

Mike and Paul near the start of the marathon.

I am ready to go on another 26.2 mile journey.

I started the race in my Fargo Marathon long sleeve shirt and planned on ditching it when I warmed up.  After 4 miles, I was sweating pretty good and that was a good time to go to just the singlet on top.  I was running quite sluggishly too, the legs felt a bit slow and the first 3 miles in fact were closer to 9:30 pace with all the slow walkers and runners to pass.  After that, I was able to pick the pace up and gradually increased my pace dropping my average mile pace.  By mile 8, my average pace was down to 9:11 and I was close to the 4 hour pace.  

After the half marathoners turned off the course, there were much less runners and finally room the breathe out there.  My legs still felt sluggish but I passed the half marathon point with a time of 2:00:38, almost right on pace.  I decided to pick it up a little and dropped the average mile pace to about 9:05 but tried to stay in control as it was getting quite warm and I needed to save all I could for the final 6 miles.  

Here I am at about mile 24.  I look much better than I feel at this moment.

I nice thing about all the out and backs was that I was able to see my friends along the way and know how far ahead they were.  At mile 14, Mike was just under 1 mile ahead and from mile 7 until past 20, I could see Paul ahead of me from time to time about 2 minutes ahead.  My goal was to catch in toward the end, incentive to keep going.  Through mile 22, I was still on pace but it was very close.  Mile 23 was very tough but ended up still being faster than 9:30.  I caught Paul at mile 23 and we ran the rest together.  The temperature now was in the upper 60's to low 70's and I was sweating pretty good.  Mile 24 was even more of a struggle but still right around 9:30.  I was behind pace now and my legs were falling apart in the heat.  I still don't think I have the endurance in the legs that I need.  Miles 25 and 26 were terrible as I took a few extra walk breaks where I shouldn't have.  I ended up finishing in 4:07:06.  I made sure I stayed on my feet and drank a lot of water right after I finished to avoid the trouble I had in West Virginia and this time, no problems.

Down the final stretch, I mustered enough energy to have a fast final 1/4 mile. 

Over the course, there were timing mats at miles 5, 10, half, and 20.  They then had a link to show how you did over the course of the race at different sections of the race.  For instance, I ran 6.5 mph for the 10 miles.  From 10 to the half, I ran 6.5 mph.  From the half to mile 20, I picked up the pace slightly to 6.6 mph.  Then over the last 6.2 miles, my pace dropped to 5.9 mph.  But even with the slower pace, it shows that I passed 72 runner during that distance and was only passed by 7.  I guess I wasn't the only one who struggled at the end. 

 The finish chute for the marathon and half marathon.

I did enjoy the Kiawah Island Marathon and if I happen to be in the area again, I would love to run this one a second time. They were not a perfect marathon, but definitely above average.  This was the 35th anniversary of the marathon so they did have plenty of practice.

Mike, Paul and I glad to be done and ready to head out for a nap.
I now have 17 states completed and 44 fulls under my belt.  Up next will be the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon here in the Milwaukee area.  The race is already sold out (except for the Friday night 5K) but I have done it the last 4 years and it is one of my favorite marathons.  I am really looking forward to it again this year.

Keep on Running!!!