Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Running Shoe Dud

I may have gotten some running shoe duds.  I have been getting the same running shoe now for quite a few years.  My philosophy is that if it is working, why change?  I am not the type of runner to keep changing shoes depending on what s popular or what the magazines say is the best shoe.  That being said, I did change a few years back because the company's shoes I used to run with did not offer a shoe to my liking anymore.

So I bought a couple new pairs late last fall.  My plan was to use one of them strictly for racing and the other for training when my other trainers wore out.  I usually beat my shoes in pretty good so it took awhile before I had a chance to try the new trainers.  Here is what happened:

2 weeks before Icebreaker, I tried the new trainers on for a 13 miler at Pettit, a nice clean track.  I was 10 miles in and my left foot started to hurt.  The arch felt like it was stretching and I needed to change my foot fall form to make it stop.  I chose to stop running a take the show off and give that arch a good massage/rub down.  I have never felt Plantar Fascia before but I con only guess that this is what it felt like.  Lucky for me, the next run, I put on the old shoes and nothing bad happened.  I was able to put on the racers for the Icebreaker and no issues arose.

Then last Friday, I was back at Pettit for a 10 miler and used the same new trainers.  After 5 miles, the problem came again in the same foot.  I stuck it out, stretched it and was able to keep going until it came back a couple miles later.  I gutted out 10 miles not to my better judgement but I cannot wear those shoes again.  I just think they are a problem. 

I have only worn them for 20 miles on a clean track so I am tempted to go back to the running store to see if they can help me out on them.  I have used the same shoe for a few years so I really think I have a dud pair and the next ones will be fine.  I don't know if the running store can send them back or even exchange them for me.  I did buy them almost 2 months ago but only recently started using them.  I am not sure I even have the receipt anymore.  But I know the owner and will talk to him and see what he may be able to do.  Fingers crossed here.

I am not naming the shoe here because I don't want to give it a bad review.  Like I said, I use this shoe a lot and really like them.  And I am not going to name the running store either to give them a fair shake as well.  In the mean time, I am back to the old trainers and will continue for awhile that way.

Keep on Running!!!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Race Report - 2013 Icebreaker Indoor Marathon

The 2013 Icebreaker Indoor Marathon (5th annual) was yet again, a big success.  This was my 5th time running the marathon making this marathon the one I have done the most.  I have run one different marathon 4 times and a couple different ones 3 times, but not 5, until now.  Please see my previous post for my thoughts on the entire weekend including the 2 half marathons, marathon relay and the 5K.  I will try to concentrate on my experiences in the full marathon in this post.  

Even though I had been at Pettit all weekend already, I did not pick up my packet and goodie bag until Sunday morning right before the race.  This race does not require you to pick up your packet the day before like most races.  This is a great feature, especially if you are driving in just for the race from 45 minutes or further away.  I had friends that came for the half marathon from the Madison area and it was good that they were not required to show up the day before.

So I picked up my goodie bag, shirt and timing chip and went to the track to set up my own personal TV Tray table of race supplies I like to have handy.  On my table was water bottles, Gu, Salt, Speed Glide and I put a few bananas on there in case I got hungry.  It was a little over 1 hour to the race when I saw that there was a major clean up happening at the Water Tables.  Seems a large container of Gatorade spilled all over the floor and some on the track.  Maybe like 3 gallons of it!!!.  I helped clean up the mess with about 4 others making sure the floor and track was not sticky for the runners.  They did a good job with the clean up and I bet most people had no clue what had happened.

The Icebreaker Indoor Full Marathon Shirt. 

Here are all the Icebreaker shirts, Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, and 5K.

10 Minutes before the race, the National Anthem along with the Canadian Nation Anthem were played/sung before not only the start of the running Marathon, but also the start of the US/North American Long Track Speedskating 50K marathon.  It wasn't long before the gun went off and we all started on our 26.2 mile/ 95.3 lap journey.  Just for fun, like last year, I decided to start at the very back of the runners and crossed the start line in dead last place.

Amy (from Running is Cheaper than Therapy) was going to run with me as long as she felt she could.  She had run the half marathon the day before and was competing int eh Gold Medal Challenge.  It was her first ever "Double" so she was unsure how she would do.  Little did she know that she was a machine and would kick some serious butt out there.  We took it pretty easy to start keeping the pace right at 4:00 finish time.  It wasn't long before we caught Mike and ran with him for quite a few laps.  I was surprised Mike was running with us as he is a much faster marathoner than I am.  My plan was to take a 30 second break every 7 laps (about 1.95 miles) for as long as I could. After about 1 hour, we were still right there on pace for a 4 hour time.  I had to take a short port-o-let break and Amy kept going ahead of me.  I started again and could not see Amy or Mike anymore but picked up the pace slightly in hopes to catch up to them in 5 to 10 laps.

Amy and I pretty early in the race running together and talking.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws from RunningInTheUSA.)

5 laps, still can't see them, 10 laps, nope, 15,  where are they?  I knew we were all still on the same lap as they did not pass me and I never caught them.  I did see all 3 of our names on the main screen all in consecutive places but I just kept the pace that felt good.  The leader crossed the half way point (48 laps) when I was still in the lower 30 laps completed.  I joked with a few of the runners I knew that it felt great that we were all half way done, the announcer said so.  Ha Ha, no such lunk :(.  I did get to the half marathon point in 1:59:30 and still could not see Mike and Amy.  Apparently we were all running about the same pace but on opposite sides of the track.

Mike keeping pace and trying to relax.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws from RunningInTheUSA.)

By about 60 to 65 laps, my legs began to hurt some.  The toll of 14 hours at Pettit on Saturday were starting to wear on me.  My pace was slipping a little but I tried to keep faith.  There were some really cool songs I liked that were scheduled to play right after 3 hours and I had hoped they would pump up up back to pace.  By lap 70, I changed my break schedule to every 5 laps.  I knew I would have to so this sooner or later in the race so it was planned.  If I take an unplanned break, my race usually goes to hell so I tried my best to keep on schedule even if my body was begging for a break.

Here I am feeling prety good.  Must be somewhat early in the race.  (Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws from RunningInTheUSA.)

At about lap 70, I finally caught a glimpse of Mike ahead of me.  My incentive now was to try to catch him and run with him.  Little did I know that while I was beginning to slow, so was Mike.  He was having a terrible day himself (his words) and was not surprised when I finally caught up to him as my pace was slowing dramatically.  I could tell I was dehydrated and I tried to drink a lot more water but it was just too late.  Close to that time, Amy finally caught me and passed me (for the first time).  We had maybe 15 to 20 laps to go and Mike pulled ahead of me again.  I concentrated on my form and pace but it had slowed for a pace of 2:28 per lap and was creeping into the 2:50's now.  4:00 hours was gone and now I had to try to beat my best Icebreaker time of 4:07.

My legs were now toast and it was all I could do to maintain no extra unplanned breaks.  I am happy to say I did not take an unplanned one.  With about 6 laps to go, I caught Mike again and passed him as he was feeling really bad.  Amy had caught me a couple times and in my mind, I was just hoping she could maintain and break 4:00.  She did pass me when she had exactly 2 laps to go and a little over 4 minutes to do it in.  It was going to be close.  She ended up running 4:00:17, a hell of a race considering she ran the half marathon the day before in just under 1:44.

I was able to run my fasted lap on my last lap but the legs were burning and as I crossed the finish line, I was so glad to finally be done.  Mike ended up finishing in the very next place about 4 minutes after me.  My time ended up being 4:13:06, right in the middle of my 5 Icebreaker finishing times.  Am I disappointed in that time, yes I am.  But it is not like I rested too well for the 3 days leading up to the race.  It is all good though.  It was a finish and I am glad for that.

A close up of the marathon shirt as well as the Icebreaker Marathon finishers medal.

After a walk around the track and some water, I was dizzy and feeling crappy for about 10 minutes or so before heading upstairs to the Hall of Fame room for post race chocolate milk, and lots of other foods to eat including the awesome cookies from Mary at RunningInTheUSA.  I did manage to get the very last leg and upper back massage from a very nice lady at Elements Therapeutic Massage.  That helped a lot.

I was able to talk with a few of my friends after the race at a nice table int he warmth of the upper room.  What a great room to have after a marathon with comfortable chairs, a nice table to put down a plate and cups and still be able to hear the race music and the announcer.

Mike had to leave so I finally went back to work. Brian, the marathon announcer, had to leave a little earlier and we had a back up announcer going so I was summoned to the announcer table to take over.  I was there for the last hour or so calling in the final 20 or so runners.

Finally it came down tot he last 2 runners on the track.  Chungyul and Carol, both from Houston, TX but they did not know each other.  The race music list was finally done but I wasn't about to the the music die on them.  I made sure tunes were playing the entire time.  I gathered some information on these last 2 runners as I wanted to make a really cool announcement for them.  With 1 lap to go, they were within 30 yards of eachother and I played the Olympic Theme song followed bu inspirational Olympic music by John Williams.  By this time, the Ice Oval was open to public skating and there were about 150 to 200 skaters on the ice.  I made my announcement on their final lap that Chungyul was the oldest runner in the race at 75 years old and that Carol started running marathons at age 55 and not at age 66, this was her 51st marathon and in her 39th state.  (Wow, how cool is that).  We had volunteers at the race making the last couple laps with them on the track, it was so cool.

I watched for them and as the were half way around the last turn, I loudly announced "26.2 miles, 95.3 laps, Let's hear it for Chungyul and Carol".  And to my amazement, almost every skater on the ice stopped skating and started applauding them.  It was so awesome and I was kind of choked up by it.  Carol ended up finishing a little ahead of Chungyul, I was kind of hoping they would finish together but her, even at that pace, runners can be competitive.

We made sure Carol and Chungyul had some post race refreshments before officially pulling the plug on the 5th annual Icebreaker Indoor Marathon Weekend.  It was another very successful weekend of races and I couldn't be happier than to have helped so great friends.  I stayed and cleaned up some and took down my posters I put up.  I kept the music playing to keep me and the skaters on the track going.

Funny thing happened then.  I decided that I wanted to finish something I had tried a few weeks earlier.  I put my race shoes back on and ran an additional 4.7 laps.  I felt great again and could maintain a pretty good pace and I even broke a sweat again.  Why would I do such a crazy thing?  I wanted to run 100 laps and the 4.7 laps let me do that.  I bet you all have done crazier things.

2013 Icebreaker Indoor Marathon, marathon #45 for me, in the books.  Next marathon?  I am not sure but most likely will be a training run marathon as I call it, the Trailbreaker Marathon in Waukesha, WI.  I only run this one as a long training run.

And don't forget the Heatbreaker Indoor Half Marathon this summer right here at the Pettit Center on traditionally the hottest day of the year in the great cool confines of the Pettit Center.  The Hottest Race in the Coolest Place.

Here are a couple links to others race reports on the 2013 Icebreaker Weekend:

Keep on Running!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Icebreaker Marathon Weekend - Recap

This past weekend was the Icebreaker Indoor Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay and 5K held at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee, WI.  It was a long, long, LOOOONNNGGG weekend.  I will wait to give my marathon race report a little later but as a preview, it was less than spectacular.  All in all, including packet assembly, I spent close to 30 hours at the Pettit on Thursday evening, Friday evening, all day Saturday, and a lot of Sunday.

Friday was our first event, the 5K race which started at 7:00PM.  My family arrived early as we were helping out with packet pickup and I needed to help set up the course some and also set up the music system.  My daughter, Melissa, was also running the 5K for the 2nd straight year.  Most everything went smoothly and the 5K went off without much of a problem.  The Friday 5K is always a good warm up for the crew to see how everything is running and we passed.

There were 88 runners signed up for the 5K with a little more than 60 running.  My daughter wasn't in the shape she was last year but did do the 4 required runs I had her do in order to race so she was welcomed into the field.  Her goal was to run about 28 minutes or a little slower than 9:00 pace and since the 4 runs she did were the first since Thanksgiving, there wasn't much to expect as far as a fast time.  Sher ended up running really well and finished in 26:58 good for 2nd place out of 6 in the 0-19 age group.  She was quite happy with her race, and so was I.

Melissa running in the 5K on Friday evening.
Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws (RunningInTheUSA.com)

We left pretty close to right after the race as I needed to be back at the Pettit Center no later than 5:30AM to set up for the first race of the day on Saturday.  I had to pick up 2 cases of bananas at the store a little after 5:00AM and was able to arrive right around 5:30AM.  I was able to set up the music pretty quickly and also finish up putting some signs up and the runners were already arriving for the first heat of the Half Marathon which started at 7:00.  My friend and one of my running partners, Amy (from Running is Cheaper Than Therapy) was running the first half marathon so we talked a bit before the race.  She also ran the full marathon on Sunday as a part of the Icebreaker Gold Medal Challenge.  Turns out Amy didn't hold back and ran a great half in just under 1:44.

Another friend of mine from the blog world, Jamie (from Running Diva Mom) was running the 2nd heat of the Half Marathon with her boyfriend and some other friends at 9:30 and the arrived early enough to watch Amy finish her race.

Runners in the Half Marathon on the front straightaway of the Pettit Center.
Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws (RunningInTheUSA.com)

The Icebreaker Races are very unique events.  There are other indoor marathons in the US, one is even older, the Zoom-Yah-Yah Indoor marathon in Northfield, MN, but the Icebreaker is the largest.  Each race has up to 130 runners in them and they are run on the largest running track in the US, a 443 meter track that surrounds the Olympic Speedskating Training Center Ice Oval.  The track is 2 lanes wide and can comfortable have 3 runners wide running.   Because the track is so long, there is no need to change directions as there is no problems created by the turns as they are gradual enough.  Basically it is like running in lane 9 or 10 of your basic High School track.  The temperature at the Pettit Center is perfect for racing, a nice cool 50 dry degrees.  The surface is hard though, it is a layer of hard rubber a quarter inch think on top of cement, not very giving, but I have heard there are plans to put in a new track sometime soon.

 Banners of the Olympic Medalist that have trained at the Pettit Center
Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws (RunningInTheUSA.com)

I have gone to many, many marathons all over the country and I love to hype up the Icebreaker and I hear the same thing from almost everyone.  "Isn't that boring running around a track for so many laps?" and I always say the same thing.  No Way, just the opposite.  It is more fun that other marathon in a lot of ways.  If you don't believe me, just check out what others are saying on MarathonGuide.com.  Where else can you see the leaders in a marathon for the ENTIRE race, that is unless you are one of the leaders?  Where else can you run a marathon and see your family watching you 96 times without them leaving their seat?  Where else do you have a port-o-let every 220 meters and an aid station every 443 meters with a volunteer handing you the exact beverage you choose?  Also that volunteer getting to know your name and being your person cheerleader for the entire race?  Where else can you sit after the race is done in comfortable chairs having post race beverages and food while still being able to watch everyone else still racing?

Awesome volunteers at the aid station cheering on runners including aid station captain, Kim, in the white sweater.  You won't find a better aid station volunteer ANYWHERE. 
Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws (RunningInTheUSA.com)

Water bottles and Gatorade Bottle lines up ready for runners at any moment.
Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws (RunningInTheUSA.com)

Some other advantages of racing Icebreaker are not only the perfect racing climate, but free parking within 100 yards of the door for everyone including family and packet pickup on race day.  At Icebreaker, the announcer will let you know how many laps you have left whenever you would like to know and will let everyone know when you are on your final lap.  Since there is an Ice Oval right next to the track, there are a variety of activities going on on the Oval to help entertain you as you run.  This year, on Saturday and Sunday was the US & North American Speedskating Marathon Championships going on.  Saturday was the 25K and Sunday was the 50K on the Ice.  And one skater/runner took part in the Blade-Runner Challenge.  Albertus Rohling skated the 25K taking 3rd place.  And 25 minutes after he finished, he ran the half marathon.  And since that just wasn't enough, he ran the full marathon on Sunday as well.  And just for kicks, there was a teenage girls elite hockey tournament happening on both the hockey rinks that are inside the Ice Oval.  Then at about 11:00AM on Saturday, there was children's ice skating lessons on the oval.  So cute to see kids as young as 3 learning to skate.  Then at 2:00 on Saturday and 1:00 on Sunday, the Oval was being used for open public skating.  Phew, lots going on at the Pettit but sure made it fun for everyone.

Another fun thing we have at Icebreaker is back bibs.  What are back bibs?  It is a blank number bib that you can write whatever you want on so the other runners can see it as they come up to you or as you pass them.  Some people put their names on them while other put jokes or saying on them.   I know I read a Prefontaine quote on one, one about a guy who had 3 daughter, a nurse, a clown and and nun (sounds like the start of a joke, right?), and Mary from RunningInTheUSA.com had "I made the Cookies" on her back.  She loves to bake and made tons of awesome cookies for all the runners in the shape of the US and of running shoes.  Her cookies are an Icebreaker fixture now and she also is a great runner too.  She was the 3 time defending Women's Gold Medal Challenge Champion and took 2nd this year.  Her husband, Bill, also took tons of pictures of the race and sells them on their website.  Check them out at RunningInTheUSA.com , the nations largest online race directory.  A really cool running website!   

Speedskaters competing in the US/North American Speedskating Marathon Championships while the running races are taking place right on the outside of the Ice Oval.
 Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws (RunningInTheUSA.com)

And just to be fair, here are a couple disadvantages to running a marathon at Pettit.  Don't expect to PR even though the climate is perfect and there are no hills.  Sometimes hills can help you in a marathon but the elevation change for this race is 0!  While turns are very easy in the Icebreaker and you never have to reverse directions, you still need to run in the outside lane unless you are the fastest runner on the track.  Lane 1 is for passing which happens a lot in this race.  Lane 2 adds about 1/4 mile to to total length of the race but if you are not running tangents in an outdoor marathon, you may add that if the race has many turns anyways.  By coming up to slower runners constantly, you need to adjust your speed frequently to allow even faster runners to pass you quickly as well.  This isn't really a hard think to do, for me it is a quick look over my shoulder to see if the coast is clear and maybe speed up for a bit if another runner is coming.

Amy runs her first race of the weekend, the Performance Running Outfitters Icebreaker Half Marathon.
Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws (RunningInTheUSA.com)

 Jamie runs in the Half Marathon as well with her usual smile on her face.
Photo courtesy of Bill Flaws (RunningInTheUSA.com)

Saturday afternoon was the Icebreaker Marathon Relay where teams of up to 4 runners race the entire marathon in relay format.  The difference with this relay from other marathon relays is the rules allow you to exchange as many times as you choose to and run for as long as you want to providing your team completes all 95.3 laps.  Of all the races, this one has the fastest runners because of the strategies used.  Some teams traded off every 2 laps and almost sprinted it seemed.  The winning team ended up running a time of 2:18:17, about 5:30 slower than the winning team from last year but only had 3 runners as well.  Not bad averaging 5:17 per mile!  I ended up being the announcer for most of the Marathon Relay and had a lot of fun with announcing the team names.  I always love to see the names that come up.  Some of my favorites this year were: "Ron Jeremy's Kids", "4 Sacks and No Rack", "R2D2", "The Craptaculars", "The Angry Little Lizards", "When in Doubt...turn left", and in an ironic twist, team "Born to Run...Ferociously Slowly" beat out team "Ferocious Tarantulas" by 1 place.  I over heard that after the race, "Blood, Sweat, and Beers", "Wood Lake Drinking Team", "Los Gatos de Cerveza", "Cervesa Amigos", and "Runchata" got together for some post race activities and the local watering hole.

Saturday came and went and after over 14 hours at Pettit, I was able to go home with very sore feet and tired legs, perfect for the day before a marathon, right?  My kids graciously gave me a foot massage at home, about as good as a 7 & 8 year old can give.  You know, it starts out good but after 30 seconds, their attention wanders to the TV or something else.  Ahhh, it was good while it lasted.  On the other hand, my 11 year old gives awesome head massages.  My hair looks like it just came out of the 80's when she is done. Big and poofy.  LOL

Sunday morning came way to quickly but I was able to sleep 1 hour later than Saturday and did not have to pick up bananas. Good thing too, the outside temperatures dropped like a rock and it was something like 5F and windy outside when I arrived at Pettit.  Good thing the race was indoors.  I will give a race report on the marathon in my next post.

Congratulations to all the runners who ran any Icebreaker Indoor Race over the weekend.  I know some of you even completed your very first marathon and some completed their 50th marathons, for me it was only number 45 but that includes all 5 Icebreaker Marathons.

Keep on Running!!!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Icebreaker Weekend

This weekend is the 5th Annual Icebreaker Indoor Marathon, Half Marathon, Marathon Relay and 5K. Time to get this party started! All races are sold out so this should be another great year.

Tonight I am headed to the Pettit Center for a quick 3 mile run before packet assembly for all the runners. I am also going to be testing the sound system for the music that will be playing during the race. When signing up, runners can request a song to be played during their race and this year I was in charge of getting the music organized. Sounds easy, right? Nope. I have to not only get all the songs, but also make sure they are appropriate for all audiences (no curse words or inappropriate subjects), make sure runners will like the song (it is not a snoozer) and also try to get the song placed in the race so they can hear it before they are done based off the estimated finish time they have submitted. Not everyone will get their song played, the half marathon race is not nearly long enough to play all the songs requested but I try to get as many as I can. If you don’t like the music, blame the other runners who requested it (LOL). Hopefully it is good.

Friday evening is the 5K. There are about 90 runners in the 5K and is full. My 11 year old daughter will be running the 5K though I don’t think she will run as fast as last year. She hasn’t run much since the end of the Cross Country season and is out of shape. But she hopes to have fun and run as fast as she can.

Saturday is the busy day. 7:00AM is the first heat of the half marathon followed at 9:30AM but the second heat of the half marathon. 1:00PM is the most exciting race in my opinion, the marathon relay. 100 teams of up to 4 runners will race. The difference with this marathon relay from others is that teams may exchange as many times as they like to. This adds to some VERY interesting strategies. And the winning times are VERY fast too. Last year’s winning time was 2:12, a 5:04 mile pace! Most teams are they to have fun and I always love the team names too. Maybe I will have to post my favorite team names later.

Sunday at 8:00AM is the full marathon. I am running the full again this year. What a way to get out of working it, huh! With all the ‘running’ around I will be doing on Friday and Saturday, I have no expectations at a fast time at all. But this is a great race to run, VERY fun.

If you are coming to the Icebreaker, stop by and say Hi. I’ll be there the whole time.

Keep on Running!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2012, A Mixed Results Year

2012 was a very odd year for me.  I only ran 1050 miles which is the lowest total I have run for a year in at least 7 years and about 600 miles less that I did in 2011.  I had an early injury with my IT band going in the first marathon of the year thus making me take off about 8 weeks of no running at all.  This was a total bummer for me.  I ran 7 marathons but only managed to sneak 1 under 4 hours and that was only by 2 seconds.  I had probably my worst marathon ever as well.

But on the bright side, I did run an all time Half Marathon (only) PR.  I ran my first Ragnar Relay on an Ultra team thus covering 37+ miles in less that 20 hours on no sleep.  I was able to coach some great kids in both Track as well as Cross Country.  The I Run Kids Marathon I organize successfully had its 4th annual race and my friend Chris and I successfully organized my first all comers 5K race (OK, technically this took place in 2013 but all the work organizing was in 2012.)  I was able to add 3 more states (Nevada, West Virginia, & South Carolina) to goal of becoming a 50 state marathoner someday.

Here is a list of the races I ran and links to my reports. 


Disney World Marathon in January.  IT Band injury caused me to have a terrible finish time.
Icebreaker Indoor Marathon in January.  Lots of Ibuprofen got me through this one.
ET Full Moon Midnight Marathon in August (Nevada).  Watch what you eat and beware of the elevation.
Haunted Hustle Marathon in October.  Pacer?  More like Failure.
Wisconsin Dells Honky Tonk Marathon in October.  Pushed my daughter, one of the most rewarding marathons Marshall University Marathon in November (West Virginia).  Never give up, it just might be that close.
Kiawah Island Marathon in December (South Carolina).  Fun road trip with the guys.

Half Marathons

Disney World Half Marathon in January.  5K done yesterday, full marathon tomorrow, give her hell!
Deckers Creek Half Marathon in June (West Virginia).  Surprising Half Marathon PR after injury.
Summerfest Rock n Sole Half Marathon in June.  Paced the group to a perfect 2:20.
Heatbreaker Indoor Half Marathon in June.  Hot outside, nice and cool inside.
Brewers Mini Marathon in September.  Cold and rainy but paced none-the-less.


Disney World 5K in January.  A Family Affair with my then 9 year old daughter.
Gary's Gallop 5K in April.  Another run with my then 10 year old daughter.
Waterford's 4th Fest 5K in July.  Low 90's at 8:00AM?!?!  VERY HOT.

Ragnar Relay Madison to Chicago in June.  Nothing like running a half marathon after running 24 miles in the last 17 hours in 90F heat.

I plan on increasing my miles for 2013 barring any injuries as I feel my endurance suffered.  I need help those last 3 miles of a marathon!  2013 starts out fast again with my 5th straight Icebreaker Indoor Marathon on January 20th.  Not sure what else 2013 has in store for me but you can be sure it will be an adventure.  So in the mean time, I will have to just...

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Polar Bear Dash Review

New Years Day was the 1st Polar Bear Dash 5K.  My friend Chris and I organized this race with a twist.  The 5K race had an optional dip in the frigid waters of Lake Michigan, a New Years Day tradition for many here in the north.  Being our first year and not sure how this race would draw, we had hoped for between 150 or 200 runners.  We were pleasantly surprised to have 246 sigh up and 211 finish the race.

The race took place in beautiful Grant Park in South Milwaukee where we had almost the entire course blocked to traffic and great scenery along with curious deer watching runners as they whizzed by.  Chris and I showed up at 6:30 AM to start setting up for the 11:00 start and it was cold and dark.  We set up some signs and then set up cones on the course along with the mile markers.  At one point, Chris tried to kill me by accelerating too fast and I slid out the back of his van as I set comes on the course.  Luckily I found quick footing and no harm was done, except for my trust in Chris.

After this, we headed to the beach to set up the finish area.  My job was to pound in the poles with Tiki Torches tied to them on the beach and in the water.  I had on knee high rubber boots but at one point, a bigger wave came in and in an effort to stay dry, I slipped and my entire left arm was submerged in the 44F water.  Let me tell you, that is COLD.  We finished setting up in good time and the first runners came at about 9:30 for the 11:00 start.

The Grant Park Golf Course Club House was the registration area and served as a warm spot to stay before the race and for the awards after.  It was crowded in there but not too bad.  Finally 11:00 came and the race was off.  I quickly grabbed the Hot Chocolate Container and headed the 1/4 mile to the beach for the finish.  As I mentioned earlier, we created an optional dip in the water at right about the 3 mile mark.  Runners who dared to join the Polar Bear Division would cross the ice at the shore and run about 75 yards with the frigid 44F water crashing into their legs in the 15F air temperature.  I would estimate that 40% of the runners actually took this option including the top 3 men and one of the top 3 women.  The first place runner even took a full "plunge" into the water.  See the video below taken by Tom Held from TheActivePursuit.com.

All in all, it was a great day with some really encouraging words from the runners.  Lots of good comments and frozen smiles all around.  After all is done, I think I could have done the run through the water but not a full plunge but it does look exhilarating. 

See some pictures below taken by Bill Flaws from RunningInTheUSA.com.

Runners beginning the Polar Bear Dash on a sunny and cold (15F) New Years Day.

It was impossible to avoid all water in the Polar Bear Division.  The Cold waves did crash in.

Some runners chose to go deeper into the water than others.

The lake course was optional.  Many runners chose to stay on the beach and stay dry. 

Some runners wore less than others into the water.

Some runners finished the race and then went back for more water fun.

Video and interviews by Tom Held from TheActivePursuit.com

Did you run the Polar Bear Dash?  Please leave a comment and tell me what you thought.

Keep on Running!!!