Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On the mend

So I did the Polar Dash 14-miler on Jan. 11 and it was a bit of a slog. Temps were in the mid-30s so all the snow and ice we've gotten in the Chicago area was melting. There were quite a few area of standing water and some black ice in patches.

The latter was what cause me problems. Around mile 10 I hit a patch and twisted my left knee. This is the same knee that I partially tore my ACL on more than 20-years ago. Long story short, was supposed to have surgery, had mono, never had it fixed.

Over the years it's given me some issues here and there but this is the longest it's bugged me in seven years. I'm at about 90% right now but am bailing on the half I'm supposed to run on Saturday to rest up some more. I did run a little last Sunday and it felt ok but it's just a little nagging injury that I want to go away.

Though it's not as though I could run anyway, the winter in Chicago this year has been one for the books. We're going to be below zero again this week and there's no break in sight. Ice is a constant issue and after twisting the knee I'm hesitant to go out unless I can see what I'm doing and be safe.

Boot camp is also ending in a little more than a week and I have some fitness decisions to make. I will most likely end up at the XSports that opened nearby but would like to hold off if possible. I just don't think this weather is going to make that easy.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Stir crazy

Excuse me father, for I have sinned, it's been four days since my last run. It's been below zero air temps and more than -40 below zero wind chills. The snow is also almost two feet piled up. I don't know if I can be held responsible if I don't get out for a run soon. Please send help.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013


With only hours to spare I hit my goal of 900 miles for 2013. While this doesn't triple my mileage from 2012 -- 307 -- it's still not bad. As you can see from the photo it was a little chilly, 8 felt like -12.

This month has been tough to get out and run in. If it isn't the single digits temps and negative wind chills it's the ice and snow. I'm happier dealing with the former than the latter because at least then I don't have to worry about falling.

I never would have thought that I would do so much in 2013. From a year ago where my longest run was seven miles to finishing a full marathon while also running three halves, I couldn't be happier.

2014 will be a year of adjustments. In the short term I am running two half marathons in January, a 5K in March and a 10-miler in April. I am also planning to train with a couple of friends for the Wisconsin Marathon on May 3 in Kenosha. I am not committing to run the marathon -- baby is due the end of May -- I need to see how Rory and the kid are doing and I can't have training interfere with any baby classes and getting the nursery together.

But there's a possibility I may do it. I'm going to keep running and since the people I normally run with are training for it there's no harm in keeping up with them. It's also a lot less expensive than other marathons and doesn't sell out so I can do it last minute and Kenosha is only an hour away.

Beyond that it's tough to say what will happen in 2014. I would like to maintain fitness for the half but that's probably a pipe dream once the kid arrives. But hopefully I'll be able to get some miles in still and maintain a 10K at the very least.

2013 has been a great year in the vast majority of respects and I only look forward to better things in the coming year!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Quick update

Last week was almost a complete loss, though there was a time not too long ago where 10 miles in a week wouldn't have been a bad thing.

Winter has come early to the Chicago area and is taking its toll on my running. Did three miles on the treadmill last Tuesday and did another three with the beginner's on Thursday. Had plans to do 13.1 with on Saturday with the group but four inches of fresh snow made that difficult. Still "ran" 4.5 miles -- if you call an 16 minute pace running -- but it was tough.

I did get four in the morning, there was snow on the ground and it was chilly but not too bad. Planning for the same on Thursday and then trying to 13.1 with the group again on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Turkey Trifecta wrap up

A sampling of the medals and shirts from 2013. 
Flying Turkey 5K: 29:36
Schaumburg Half Marathon Turkey Trot: 2:26:50

With Saturday's half marathon I have ended my 2013 racing season. And it was on a high note, with a new personal record cutting almost four minutes off my previous best half marathon time.

Thanksgiving morning was also a highlight, finally breaking 30 minutes for the 5K. Now I'm not going to lie, my official race time for the 5K was 30:05 but my watch had me going 3.2 miles and a new 5K record. The start of this race is so crowded and I had to do so much moving to get around folks I'm going with watch time on this one. This was another cold race, in the mid-20s and gusty winds.

Saturday's half marathon was nice weather, upper 30s. Didn't dress well for that one but still managed to cut some major time off my half. This was another nice race, a little crowded at the start but it eventually thinned out.

This was quite the running and race year for me. Fifteen races all told and a number of highs and lows. The Chicago Marathon would be on the low side of things. Yes, I finished but I wasn't happy with how that happened. Sadly, it will be a couple of years until I am able to avenge the marathon as Rory and I are expecting our first baby in May. The training for the marathon is just too time consuming.

On the up side are my last two races. I know it's just a 5K and 29:36 isn't fantastic but completing a race with a 9:30 pace makes me incredibly happy. And I like that my half marathon times are getting better and I'm inching toward a sub 11-minute pace for the half. After my one long run a couple of weeks ago I was really worried about that race. I also have to thanks one of my training buddies to helping me through that half, she kept me going.

For the rest of the year I have my goal of surpassing 900 miles, which should be doable as long as the weather and my health hold out. I'm also looking forward to doing intervals on the indoor track at Evanston Township High School starting in January.

As for 2014, it will be many fewer races. I have the Polar Dash 14-miler on Jan. 11 and the F3 Half on Jan. 25 and might also be doing the Get Lucky Half in March. I also signed up for the Lakefront 10-miler again. It's a great race and at $40 too good of a deal to pass up.

The Lakefront 10 will most likely be my last race for a while. With the baby due in May I will be taking some time off. I would like to do the Chicago Half Marathon in September and maybe the Monster Dash half in October but I'll have to see what my training regiment will look like. Next year it's likely I'll be pushing a jogging stroller for a couple of the Turkey Trots.

Also, Rory is not only pregnant but out of work. That said, boot camp is coming to an end for me at the end of December and I'm going to join a gym and find some classes that can fill in where needed. Also, can't splurge on race fees with one income.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Lincolnwood 10K

6.2 miles: 1:06:47: 10:45 pace

Turns out I was being optimistic when I said it was going to be in the 20s Sunday. It was 13 felt like three degrees. This was my coldest race but I'll have the opportunity to beat it with the two halves I'm running in January.

A year ago this was my first 10K and I was a good couple of minutes quicker this year but sadly about a minute off my personal best. This is a great race though, inexpensive, nice long-sleeved tech shirt, flat and well marked course. It doesn't hurt that it's three blocks from the house either.

I did end up going to for a little shakeout run Saturday, 3.7 miles. It wasn't as cold but the wind was gusting making that run really tough.

Did boot camp Monday morning, will probably do around 3.5 Tuesday, boot camp Wednesday and Flying Turkey 5K Thursday morning. Going to try and keep up with the fast cousins to see if I can break 30. Then the last part of the Turkey Trifecta, the Schaumburg Half on Saturday.

Woo hoo, negative splits!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Worn out

I need a break, not necessarily just from running but from the daily grind. Work --- don't get me wrong I love my job -- has been hectic. Finishing the fall and winter issue almost back to back and then having to get another supplement done on the heels of that has been stressful. Combine all that with the marathon squeezed in, a conference that we programmed and the wife getting laid off and I'm a little burned out.

Next week is Thanksgiving so I'll get a couple of days off and am thinking about taking some additional time off in the next couple of weeks. I just need a break.

I didn't get the full 13 in last weekend, did 12 though and it was all right, I miscalculated the distance and didn't feel like passing my car and coming back. I was also running out of time since some of the people I was meeting were running late. I wanted it to go better but I'm not hurt. I didn't run Tuesday because I had a stomach thing that kept me up a fair amount of the night. My five mile run this morning less than stellar but hopefully having a bad run before a race is a good thing.

I did boot camp Monday and Wednesday and am planing to go Friday. Saturday will be a rest day and then Sunday will be part one of the Turkey Trifecta, the Lincolnwood 10K. Looking like all parts of the Trifecta will be chilly, Sunday may be in the 20s.