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.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Chasing 900

It's been a rough week. Last Friday the wife was laid off from her job of seven-years. I bailed on my long run because I didn't want to leave her alone. Still got six in later that morning but my head wasn't in it.

Of course it was the day before where I signed up for two half marathons trying to save a few bucks, I want to do the races but am annoyed with the timing. But I am doing the Polar Dash 14 miler -- for 2014 -- and the F3 Half Marathon, both in January.

This week I've gotten some workouts in, hit boot camp three days, ran 3.5 on Tuesday, another 3.5 on Thursday morning and then a quick five Thursday night. I should have gotten a couple extra in both mornings but it was really cold -- wind chills in the teens -- and I couldn't do it. The Thursday night run was the beginner's running group, since nobody else wanted to run five with the 10K group I did and these guys were quick. They all beat me back and I averaged a 10:40 pace.

Tomorrow is 13 with the group, where I'll pass 800 miles for 2013. Along with the upcoming Turkey Trifecta I am not going to try and pass 900 miles for 2013, which will tripe my mileage from 2012. I'll have to average about 20 miles till the end of the year, it may be a little tough but I think I can do it.

Friday, November 8, 2013

I'm troubled

Signed up for two half marathons in January. In Chicago. Yeah, I'm a little crazy. Polar Dash 14-miler and the F3 Half Marathon here I come.

I'll admit that I like running in the cold more than the heat and that if it's in the teens during these races there's a certain amount of bragging rights. "Oh, you ran a half marathon on May, cool. I ran one in below zero wind chills!"

Yeah, I'm sick and troubled.

Runs this week have been fine. Planning 13 tomorrow, which should be interesting since we did a lot of lunges and squats in boot camp this morning. I need to recommit to boot camp and eating clean. I would like to drop another 20-pounds and while I love running but it's the weight training that really makes that happen. Through all the mileage I put in during marathon training my weight pretty much stayed the same. That's mostly because I was hungry all the time.

I also need to break in the new pair of Boost, hit 300-miles on the red pair this week so I know there's only so many more miles left in them before I start getting some aches and pains.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Work is getting in the way of my running problem

Not exactly, but work is getting in the way of my blogging.

I did get some miles in last week, five on Tuesday, four on Saturday and seven on Sunday. Had some personal matter pop up that kept me off the roads. Boot camp on Friday and Saturday last week kicked my ass, my upper body was really sore for the run to boot camp Saturday. And then that workout kicked my ass so bad I got a ride home.

The seven I got in Sunday were rough. Legs and upper body were sore from the previous workouts but the time wasn't awful.

Did the same seven miles on Tuesday morning though and cut almost two minutes off my time. Was feeling sluggish for the first half of the run but managed to flip the switch.

Boot camp on Wednesday and Friday. Will get four or five in Thursday morning and a couple more in with the beginner's that evening. Will hopefully get 13 in this weekend, that's the plan at least.

Signed up for all parts of the Turkey Trifecta. Should be a fun week.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Getting back into it

11/24 am: 3 miles: 34 minutes: 11:14 pace
11/24 pm: 2 miles: 27:09: 13:30 pace
11/26: 9.1 miles: 1:49:17: 12:01 pace

Work has been busy and keeping my from blogging. I'm starting to try and ramp things up again. The Thursday morning run was pretty easy, though we had a brief spell of winter weather last week and the runs were cool.

Thursday evening was week two of the beginning runner's program. I has three runners this time and they seemed to do pretty well.

Saturday's nine miler was up at Skokie Lagoons with a couple of fellow ERC members. I was a bit sore after but was fine the next day.

Skipped boot camp Monday morning, feeling worn out, but am planning six miles tomorrow, probably three on Thursday and then going to do the four mile run to and from boot camp Saturday. I'll also do boot camp Wednesday and Friday.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Catching up

My third pair, these are pretty bright.
10/19: 3.6 miles: 42:23:11:33
10/22: 5.1 miles: 57:23: 11:15 pace

Feels good getting back out there and getting some miles in. I'm trying to take it easy and avoid the temptation for a long run but that may change on Saturday, might head up to Skokie Lagoons and get at least eight in, maybe more.

I am a man without a training plan right now. The next big race is the Schaumburg Half Marathon on Nov. 30. Between now and then I should get a 10 and maybe even a 12 miler in. I'm thinking this week might be the 10-miler and try to get the other one in Nov. 9 or Nov. 16.

I should start breaking in my new pair of shoes. Yes, I bought my third pair of Adidas Boost earlier this month at Road Runner. They were on sale for $40 off and I couldn't pass them up. I' at 265 miles on my current pair and will most likely need the new pair before the end of November.

The other thing I'm doing the next few weeks is volunteering as a group leader for a beginner's running program in downtown Evanston. That was my first run after marathon. I was doing run two minutes, walk one minute for 20 minutes with the group. I'm not sure if I'm going to stick with this group, do the 5K group or something else.

I'm enjoying it, I'm glad I can help other people find some fun in running.

Friday, October 18, 2013

What's next?

My buddy Rob took this awesome photo
just before mile two.
Five days since the marathon and I'm feeling pretty recovered. I'm going to start running again but will ramp up the miles slowly.

I did run a little bit Thursday night. CARA and the Evanston Running Club are starting a beginner's running program and I volunteered to be a group leader. I was doing the level two beginner's, we did two minutes of running and one minute of walking for 20 minutes. I was feeling pretty good with that. I have a four mile run planned for Saturday morning and will get some miles in next week to prepare for my next half.

I have also signed up for two of the three races I plan to end the year with. I am doing the Lincolnwood 10K on Nov. 24 and the Schaumburg Half Marathon on Nov. 30. I also plan to do the Evanston Turkey Trot 5K on Nov. 28. That will round out my 2013 racing year. I'm looking at a couple of half's in January but haven't signed up yet.

With five days since the marathon and a little perspective behind me I am happy to have done to Chicago Marathon and finished. Yes, I had some problems but the most important thing is that I finished. The 24-hours after the marathon I was saying there's no way I will do another full, well, I'm not going to rule it out.

Monday, October 14, 2013

10/13: Bank of America Chicago Marathon recap

Before the marathon.
26.2 miles: 5:44:46: 14:?? pace

I finished a marathon on Sunday, it wasn't pretty but I finished. I need to focus on the positive that I finished and am uninjured but the race did not go like I wanted it to. 

The long training runs weren't easy but I got through them, sometimes kicking and screaming, but I always finished. Even the 20-miler where my ankle was bugging me went fine and I was more or less on pace for what the majority of my long runs had been.

The first 16 miles of the marathon more or less went as I planned, I was a little slower than I wanted to be, 12 minute pace, but then at miles 17 everything went wrong. Both of my calves starting cramping, I would run a little but and then they would fire and cramp up and I would have to walk. This was more or less than last nine miles. I tried stretching out to no avail and I was feeling pretty miserable.

After the marathon.
During a couple of the long training runs I had some minor calf cramping but nothing like what I experienced Sunday. I was drinking water and gatorade and eating the bananas from mile 20 on but nothing seemed to help.

One of my training buddies caught up with me around mile 24 and gave me some salt tablets that helped. I saw another training partner at 24 who gave me a great pep talk that got me through the finish.

The Chicago Marathon is quite the experience, the crowd support was tremendous and I enjoyed the first 16 miles quite a bit. I need to get my head around the fact that I finished and stop dwelling on the problems. At the very least I get to focus on a few days off from running the let my body recover.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Last taper runs

9/8: 6 miles: 1:11:56: 11:58 pace
9/10: 3.1 miles: 35:37: 11:18 pace

Two more days till the marathon and I vacillate between excited and nervous, though the last couple of days have been more excited.

I've read everything I can, gone over the course map repeatedly, watched videos of it and am ready. I visualize myself on the course and the only thing left to do it run it. Getting through the next two work days are going to be tough just because I'm distracted.

My last two runs were good, the ankle is feeling much better and I'm at about 90%. Hopefully the next two off days will give me some more rest, though I fully expect to be limping after the marathon.

I'm hitting the expo Saturday morning to pick up my stuff and drop some cash. I'm also catching up with some college buddies who have run it before.

With the run Thursday morning I hit 1,000 miles lifetime on Nike+. My first run with the app was Feb. 22, 2012 of .7 mile and I had two other runs that month for a grand total of 3.1 miles. Twenty-months ago if you would have asked me if I was going to run a marathon I wold have called you crazy and laughed. But after Sunday I will have run more than 700 miles in 2013 and will likely easily hit 800 for the year.

I will try to write up a race recap on Monday but I'm buried with work so it may not be as quick as I would like.

Monday, October 7, 2013

I have a running problem

I need to stop looking at races in the future and concentrate on Sunday.

I don't know if I'm procrastinating with work stuff -- probably -- but I already signed up for a 10K on Nov. 24, will do a 5K on Nov. 28 and a half on Nov. 30. That will close out my 2013 racing but I'm looking at two half marathons in January too.

Ug, I need help.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

10/5 run - Last long run

8 miles: 1:31:42:11:27 pace

This run was fine, though it's been unusually muggy in the midwest this October, last two runs felt more like July than October.

A week from now I will have completed the Chicago Marathon. Am I going to break any records or set the world on fire, no. But it will be an accomplishment. I'm nervous and excited about the race. I've looked at the course map a number of times, have my strategy and am just hoping to finish strong.

The main thing making me nervous right now is the weather. Temps predictions seem to be pretty consistent between mid-50s and upper 60s, but the wild card is rain. I had one brief rain run on my 18-miler. It rained for about 10 minutes -- a downpour -- but then stopped. I was wet the entire run but it was fine. I just don't know how to deal with the weather if it's constant. I really shouldn't worry until we're two or three days out.

Boot camp Monday and Wednesday, Tuesday will be five and four on Thursday with two days of rest before the big day. I'll pass 1,000 miles all time on Thursday and with the marathon eclipse 700 for the year.

Friday, October 4, 2013

10/3 run - Not great

6 miles: 1:13:11: 12:11 pace

Well, if the goal was to practice my marathon pace I guess I accomplished something, sadly that wasn't my goal. It was a weird, muggy morning, already mid-60s and 90% humidity, which is really weird for October.

The legs were feeling heavy and I was having trouble getting into the groove, I think the deep tissue massage I had Tuesday moved some of my muscles around and it was difficult for me to find my groove. I'm trying not to dwell on how poorly this went.

Last long run tomorrow, an easy eight, and then a total of nine miles next week before the marathon. Planning to do boot camp on Monday and Wednesday.


  • In the last couple of days I've had "Holy crap, I'm running a marathon" go through my head more times than should be appropriate. It's really happening and is only a little more than a week away. 
  • Signed up for Facebook tracking for the marathon. 
  • Made plans to meet up with some college buddies at the expo on 10/12 when I'm picking up my stuff. 
  • Making a list of the people I need to thank with baked goods after it's done. 
  • Volunteering with a beginner's running program that starts on 10/17  and am excited to help people get into running. 

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

10/1 run - Feeling stronger

7 miles: 1:19: 11:17 pace

Two good runs in a row, that hasn't happened in awhile. The ankle is feeling a lot better, I'm glad I took a break last week to give it some rest. I would say I'm about 90% and will hopefully be 100% by 10/13 but I expect to be limping after the marathon.

Had my first deep-tissue massage yesterday. My right calf had been tight for a long time, it would eventually loosen up during a run, but a friend suggested getting worked on. I expected it to be more painful -- there were definitely moments of discomfort -- but it wasn't as bad as I thought. It's also a day later and I don't have the same tightness in my calf as before. I'll be curious to see how I feel after Thursday's run.

The masseur said my legs were "complicated." I don't stretch/foam roll nearly as much as I should and have been fortunate to not have more issues. Something else to focus on in the future.

While I have been filled with fear and dread coming up to 10/13 I am starting to get real excited. This video of the course didn't help.

Six miles tomorrow, boot camp and eight on Saturday. Running with the ERC folks Saturday, looking forward to it since it's been awhile.

Monday, September 30, 2013

9/28 run - Crosstown Classic 10K

6.2 miles: 1:05:28: 10:32 pace

While I wasn't expecting a personal best at this race I did end up with one. The race felt good for two reasons: the ankle is feeling better and I can run faster than an 11-minute mile.

Since many of my training runs are longer I've been really slow, which is fine. But I don't want all my runs to be like that. Even my run last week where I thought I was moving at a decent clip but it was still slower than an 11-minute mile was discouraging.

I know I won't come close to this pace for the marathon but I still have goals when it comes to some of the shorter distances and would like to be able to some day be able to consistently go sub-10 minute mile for 5K and 10K.

The Crosstown Classic 10K was a fun race -- though the black shirts they gave the south siders were a bit of a hindrance when the sun was shining. The only thing it was missing was beer at the end, that would have been a nice touch.

Sunday got away from me a bit so I didn't get another run in this weekend. Did boot camp this morning and hitting that again on Wednesday and Friday. I'm planing seven tomorrow, six on Thursday and eight on Saturday.

And September is over and I didn't hit the century mark but came close: 98.74 miles for the month. I'm glad I took it was last week because I'm feeling a lot better. Five more runs between now and the marathon, probably about a total of 29 or 30 miles.

Friday, September 27, 2013

9/26 run - 'Taper madness'

The next reality check will be when
I pick up my bib and chip. 
3.7 miles: 40:32: 11:04 pace

Friends who have run marathons before were talking about "taper madness." There was even an article in the latest issue of Runner's World on how to deal with it. I figured I would be ready to back off after the 20-miler and the intense training regiment from the previous months.

I was wrong.

I feel like I'm going a bit stir crazy. It doesn't help that my ankle is still bugging me and this run is the only one I got in this week. I could have gone farther, the ankle hurt but it wasn't too bad, but again I didn't want to push it too hard.

I'm running the Crosstown Classic 10K -- Go South Side -- on Saturday morning. As much as I want to break my personal best on this race I don't think it's going to happen. I don't want to push it too hard and aggravate the ankle more.

The training schedule called for 12 this weekend and depending on how the 10K goes and how I feel Sunday I might do another six. Everybody says that I can take it easy after the 20, get some work in, do some cross training and just generally try to maintain. But again "Taper Madness" wants me to try and get one more 10-12 mile run in next week. I might need someone to hide my running shoes.

Boot camp this week has been good, nice bit of cross training and I plan to hit it three days next week. Higdon calls for 13 miles during the week and the long run a week from Saturday is eight miles, followed by a total of nine miles the week before the marathon.

Otherwise, I'm just trying to get the ankle healthy and am thinking about getting a sport massage next week to try and work out some of the knots in my calves.

Monday, September 23, 2013

9/22 - 20-miler

20 miles: 4:01:52: 12:03 pace

As I think about my 20-miler the same phrase keeps running through my head: could have been worse, could have been better.

My ankle was bugging me on this one from the start but around mile 10 it really started barking. I'm on a strict icing regiment all week and will also probably be taking it easy from running. It's better when I'm on it but is definitely sore. I have three weeks to rest it up and let it heal, I might do some biking to mix it up and get some other cardio.

After the marathon I'll have some work to do to fix the instability in my ankles. I already know what I have to do, now it's just a matter of getting stronger.

On the positive note, with everything bugging me I was only 10-seconds off the pace I had for the majority of my long runs.

Most likely taking Tuesday off, maybe I'll try to get a bike ride in. Wednesday I'll hit boot camp and then maybe try a short run Thursday to see how I feel. Have a 10K Saturday I was looking forward to but might have to take it easy on that one and was planning to do another six on Sunday because my training plan calls for 12 this weekend.

And for anyone running a marathon, I cannot recommend the CARA Ready to Run enough. It's not the expensive and you get to do a 20-miler with aid station and a party after. The route from Montrose Harbor south along Lake Shore Drive is also pretty scenic.

Here's my GPS route from the run, I was interested to see the mile signs so close together.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

9/19 run - DOMS

4.1 miles: 48:46: 11:52 pace

DOMS -- Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness -- has been creeping on my this week. The two boot camp sessions I attended this week focused on glutes, lower back, legs and core. Tuesday I just ran through it before my body could tell what was happening but today was a different story. I didn't feel all that bad or slow but clearly I was and am battling soreness.

I also had to cut this run short because of weather. I was about two miles in when I started seeing lightning off in the distance. It was far enough away so I was concerned and the drizzle felt nice. But a half miles later the strikes were getting closer and thunder was moving in so I bailed. I'll run in a lot of weather but lightning isn't one of them.

I would like to get some type of run in tomorrow but it will be in the afternoon. I've been dragging ass all week and need a decent sleep. The question is will I just do an easy three or be ambitious and do six.

Big 20-mile run on Sunday, weather is looking pretty good, should be in the 50s when we start and it's only supposed to get into the upper 60s. Debating carrying fluids, there are eight aid stations, which will probably be plenty but still thinking about it.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9/17 run - Build week

10 miles: 1:51:25: 11:08 pace

Quickest 10-miler yet this morning, knocking a couple of minutes off the one from a couple of weeks ago. Fall has arrived for the moments, lower 50s when we started and pitch black out, that's one thing I don't miss about early morning runs.

I alluded to it in the previous post but this is a big build week with 40 miles. I can't do speed work tomorrow -- dinner plans and feel that it would be too hard in the ankle -- but will probably do seven on Thursday and an easy three on Friday.

Ankle did all right on this run, we stopped for water at one point and it tightened up a bit but wasn't too bad. Will continue to ice, which seems to help.

Very happy with the splits from this 10-miler, almost negative for the entire run, don't know what happened at mile seven though.

Monday, September 16, 2013

9/14 run - Not awful

Looking a little crazed after 16 miles.
They all can't be glamor shots. 
16 miles: 3:10:12: 11:53 pace

I did this run just a few seconds slower than my previous 16-mile run and this run was hillier and I didn't have a tender ankle. That said, I was pretty happy this this run.

I went for an injury assessment on Friday for my ankle because it still wasn't feeling great. The physical therapist said I have some instability due to spraining my ankles when I was younger. He's a runner and knows that I can't really quit so he suggested bracing it during my runs and then icing and ibuprofen.

The ankle was only really bugging my when I was going downhill. I did this run again at Skokie Lagoons. I was the first one parked and ran the first 4+ mile loop with the headlamp. It was also in the low 50s and felt great to be out there. The brace helped and I ordered another one that some fellow runners recommended.

I went solo on this run. The Evanston Running Club folks that I had been doing these longs runs with were doing and out and back route and I wasn't sure if I would be up for it. I didn't want to be eight miles from my car, have to call it quits and then figure out how to get back. Even though I did the same loop three times it wasn't boring.

I kept a pretty strict icing regiment on Saturday that helped quite a bit and then again Sunday. I otherwise felt pretty good, no real soreness. I'm going to keep that this all week to get as close as I can to 100% by the weekend without skipping any workouts.

I did boot camp this morning, will do 10 Tuesday morning, boot camp on Wednesday and then five or six on Thursday. Will rest on Friday and Saturday before the Ready to Run 20-miler on Sunday.

And then it's taper time, will I go crazy? Most likely. Less than a month to go and I am once again experiencing that mixture of excitement and dread.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

9/12 run - Still a little tender

6.1 miles: 1:08:08: 11:13 pace

Passed 600 miles for 2013 with this run, just about twice what I ran all of 2012. Will be curious to see where I end up at the end of the year after the marathon.

Took a couple of days off to rest the ankle. It was feeling all right yesterday and this morning but was bugging me a bit during the run. The discomfort isn't bad -- one or two on a 10 scale -- will be icing and bracing again. I'm thinking about running with the brace too, though I'm afraid that could be a disaster.

Will take it easy as much as possible but don't know if there's a whole lot I can do. I'm still going to do my 16 this weekend and 20 the next and get some runs in between. I start the taper after that and can do my best to heal up but I have a feeling I'm just going to have to deal with this and hope it gets better.

If anyone has other advice I would be up for hearing about it.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

600 will have to wait

After Sunday's half my left ankle was a little sore, nothing out of the ordinary. But last night it started throbbing. I had been wearing a brace for most of the day and iced it a bit. I'm probably being overly cautious but I'm taking a couple of days off.

I skipped this morning's 10-miler -- it was also mid-70s and muggy at 4:30 am -- and am going to skip speed work on Wednesday. If I'm feeling better I'll do six to eight on Thursday morning I think I'll be fine, better safe than sorry. Too much work to get laid up at this point.

Monday, September 9, 2013

9/8 run - Chicago Half Marathon

13.1 miles: 2:30:40: 11:30 pace

Before the race.

This was a much better half than the rock n roll in July where I felt beat and dejected. The conditions were better, cooler though still muggy but overcast which kept the sun from beating down. It was also pretty much entirely along the lakefront so there was a decent breeze for the majority of the race.

I traveled down with some friends from the Evanston Running Club, which was good because logistically this one was a bit tough. We parked at the Museum of Science and Industry and it was just packed. Getting out was even worst.

The course was nice. It winded around Jackson Park and then on to Lake Shore Drive for the final eight or so miles. The concrete street was a bit tough on my feet but not too bad. There were more than 13,000 runners and it was a packed course. I found myself bobbing and weaving more than other races I've done recently.

My strategy for this one was to try and keep a steady pace and then walk through the aid stations. It went pretty well, I would have broken 2:30 if it wasn't for having to take a bathroom break around mile six.

I also had negative splits -- sort of. My first five miles were at an 11:24 pace, my 10 mile split was 11:35 but I was able to bring it down to 11:30 for the last three. My watch had my last mile at 10:33, also my fastest mile of the entire race.

After the race. I don't
look dead!
I'm planning to use this same steady pace/walk though the aid station strategy during the 20-miler I have coming up in two weeks and the marathon. I also mixed up my fueling -- I was taking three shot blocks every five miles but instead too two every three miles. I didn't bonk and the stomach was fine.

I also feel pretty good the next day. My ankle is a little sore but nothing out of the ordinary. I do think my boot camp program has given me a nice base to work with and has helped with recovery.

The plan is to try 10-miles tomorrow but the weather and recovery might make that more like seven or eight. Boot camp and speed work Wednesday, Thursday around four and then 16 on Saturday where it might be in the 50s when we start, come on fall weather! If all goes well I'll also pass 600 miles for the year with my next run.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

9/4, 9/5 runs - Preparing for another half

9/4: 3.6 miles: 36:05: 9:52 pace
9/5: 2.6 miles: 29:04: 11:06

I'm becoming a sick and twisted individual because I am starting to enjoy speed work. I hated doing it by myself but these track sessions have given me a whole new appreciation. I'm one of the slowest people there but something about the track workout has really energized me.

The workout Wednesday was a ladder: 400, 400, 800, 1600, 800, 400, 400. I wasn't sure how to pace myself and did the first 400 in about 1:48, not fast but it felt good to open it up a little.

Shakeout run Thursday morning was tough, it was about 10 hours since speed work, and legs were pretty heavy. Had planned to get three at least but when the group turned around I didn't fight it. With the half coming up on Sunday I could use the easy day.

Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday, hoping to "officially" break 2:30.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

9/3 run - Glorious weather

10 miles: 1:53:46: 11:22 pace

It was high 50s when we started our run on Tuesday and it was spectacular. I do like running in the fall so much more than the summer. And yes, I know I was complaining about the cool weather in the spring, call my a hypocrite.

The run felt good, thought we were moving a little quicker but still not bad, five minutes faster than the previous week but still five minutes off my best mile time. The goal is to try and shave some more time off that next Tuesday.

I know I'm becoming touched in the head because when I saw the speed workout this week my thought was: "That looks like fun." It's ladders: 400, 400, 800, 1600, 800, 400, 400. Yes I need help.

Will do an easy shakeout run Thursday and then take a couple of days off before the Chicago Half Marathon Sunday. Hoping to get an "official" under 2:30 time but it's going to be a little warmer than I would like.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

8/31 run - August wrap up

18 miles: 3:32:10:11:50 pace

Last run of August was a doozy. Ran Skokie Lagoons again. Started at 5:30 am and about a mile in it started raining. Luckily it only rained for about 10 minutes but it was quite the downpour, started out wet and stayed that way for the next three plus hours.

We parked in a different spot this time around so I was able to refuel/rehydrate, making this run a little bit easier than the last one ... well as easy as running 18 miles can be. If I had to rank the long runs the past three weekends I would say the 16 miles last weekend was the best, though my pace was the exact same as the 18 miler. The 15-miler two weeks ago was six-second a miles faster and I felt like I really struggled on that one, running out of water around mile 15.

It's all relative, I felt pretty out of it after the run. I took my first ice bath -- not horrible -- and had a nice three hour nap after heading out for the evening. Though I definitely wasn't firing on all cylinders. Had a headache creep up on me and left me feeling out of it.

It's the next day and my left ankle is a little tender but nothing more than usual. Otherwise I'm feeling pretty good. Slept for a good nine plus hours and with the holiday Monday get another day to recover and sleep in. I might try to go for a short shakeout run tomorrow just to get the blood flowing.

Otherwise, 10 miles on Tuesday, boot camp Wednesday morning, speed work in the evening, four miles on Thursday and maybe boot camp Friday. I'm doing the Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday so a lot of what I do later in the week will depend on how I feel.

Six weeks till the marathon and I would be lying if I said I was ready. These long runs have taken a lot out of me and it's going to be a challenge. My goal seriously is to finish, which I can do, but it's not going to be easy. Only one more big run left, just need to stay healthy for the next few weeks.

August was a heck of a month: 128 miles.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

8/28 and 8/29 - Speed it up, shake it out

8/28: 3.1 miles: 31:50: 10:14 pace
8/29: 4 miles: 45:32: 11:23 pace

I had a frustrating work day on Wednesday. I'm a trade journalist, which can sometimes mean you're a industry hack, but that's not me. I aim to write interesting stories about the different technologies out there to inform my readers so they can make educated decisions.

What has become more of a trend recently is that marketers and PR folks don't want to provide an executive to chat but would rather provide email responses. These responses typically are so water downed and sanitized that they're not worth writing about.

So on Wednesday I finally get some headway on a story I've been following for nine months and they don't want to give me an exec but email responses. I was more than a little annoyed. That coupled with a couple of other minor things put me in a dismal mood.

What does this have to do with running? Well I went to the Evanston Running Club speed workout that evening and it helped me forget about my bad day. In the past I may have popped a couple of beers and dwelled but running was a far healthier way to deal with my stress.

As for the speed workout, it was 1600 meter repeats, that's four laps around the high school track. I knew this was the workout going in and was not looking forward to it but it went well. It was hard -- don't get me wrong -- but it was a good workout and I don't feel like I did that bad and I actually passed a couple of people.

Thursday morning I did a four mile shakeout run just to get the legs moving again. The legs were a bit heavy and tight but not too bad.

Friday I rest and 18 on Saturday. Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

8/27 run -- Any heat/humidity jokes left?

10 miles: 1:58:14:11:48 pace

Summer has decided to return to the midwest this week as it was 80 degrees with 90% humidity when we started at 5:15 am making for a steamy and slow 10 miles. This summer has been perfect for running with low temps the vast majority of the season and I really shouldn't complain but I am still ready for some cooler weather. A nice long run in 50 degree weather sounds glorious to me right now.

Boot camp in the morning and mile repeats for speed work tomorrow. That should be interesting. Four miles shakeout run on Thursday and then 18-miles Saturday. I'm going back to Skokie Lagoons and the light hills with a couple of ERC folks.

Random: With the run this morning I passed 100 miles for the month, first time I've ever done that. If all goes as planned I'll be around 125 miles for the month.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Thoughts on fueling, random notes

Since I've been having issues after hitting about 13 miles a couple of runner friends seem to think I may not be fueling enough during these long runs. I typically take a Cliff Turbo Shot gel before any run longer than six miles and for any run 10 miles or more I will take some Cliff Shot Blocks.

This past week's 16-miler was the first time I went through a whole package of the shot blocks. Took three a mile five and the other three at miles 12. I was probably right on with where I took it at first but probably should have fueled earlier than mile 12.

Going to try every hour on the hour from now on, have to be more consistent. I'm also debating going with a 50/50 water Gatorade mix in the hydration belt. especially this week, it's supposed to get warm and muggy again which is making me not look forward to my 10-miler tomorrow.

Random notes:

  • I need to find some new anti-chaffing stuff. The Body Glide is fine for five or six miles but doesn't work for me much past that. Since I have psoriasis some parts of my body are more prone to chaffing than others. One the plus side I don't feel it until I'm in the shower, on the downside I look like a stabbing victim when I'm done with my run. 
  • On the too much information front: Nipple bandaids are happening. Part of this is psoriasis as well but unlike the other parts of my body these hurt when I'm running so precautions have to be taken. 
  • Bought a long-sleeved base layer. Have a feeling I'm going to need it at some point and am just hoping it doesn't make me look like 10 pound of crap in a five pound bag. That one may also fall into the TMI category. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

8/24 run - Must get stronger

16.1 miles: 3:10:43: 11:50 pace

Even though this run was slower than last week's 15-miler it felt better. I'm also happy to not feel real sore today.

On both of these long runs I start to feel the fatigue around mile 13. I don't know if I can slow down much more so the training and marathon going forward are going to be interesting.

Boot camp on Monday and Wednesday this week. Ten miles on Tuesday morning, speed work Wednesday and four or five on Thursday. Eighteen mile long run on Saturday.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

8/19 runs - Catching up yet again

8/20: 8.1 miles: 1:32:35: 11:20 pace
8/22: 5.1 miles: 58.30:11:33 pace

Uninspired runs this week. I've been solo this week because my running buddies have been either under the weather or on vacation. We're also getting some actual summer weather which means humidity and warmer temps which makes it a bit tougher.

I've also been on deadline so my brain has been elsewhere, the issue should be closing Friday so I'm hoping to be able to focus for this weekend's 16-mile run. I'll be joined for seven miles on this one by my running buddy from last week.

The plan it to bump up the Tuesday runs to 10-miles starting next week though the end of September. It'll be tough but I think I can handle it. Need to make speed work a priority, I did enjoy the session a week ago but it was two-person relay this week and I had no partner and was still dealing with work.

Random, after marathon thoughts, thinking about doing the Lincolnwood 10K on Nov. 24, the Evanston Turkey Trot on Nov. 28 and the Schaumburg half marathon on Nov. 30. If nobody in the family is doing the Evanston Turkey Trot I might switch and do the Highland Park Turkey Trot which has a 10K option.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

8/17 run - A mixed bag

15 miles: 2:55:58: 11:44 pace

There are all sorts of things I could say about this run but it boils down to, could have been worst, could have been better. My pace sucked, the last two miles were not great at all but it's over, the next day and I don't feel awful.

My runs earlier in the week -- with the exception of the shakeout run Thursday -- were good. The long run is about getting the mileage in, not about the pace. I have to to keep that in mind the next couple of weeks as the mileage continues to go up.

New route for this run, an around the Skokie Lagoons in Wilmette. We starts off the Willow Road exit off the Edens. I had never been before but my training partner today had been. If it wasn't for her I would have gotten lost on the trails. Main thing is no water on the route so either bring plenty or plan to loop back to you car, but there are porta potties.

There's a bunch of different loops and all in all it was pretty good, though it's kinda of hilly, I would say light hills. This is coming from someone who lives somewhere with no hills. Pretty decent amount of people out there, bikers too, which can be annoying.

And it happened, passed 500 miles for the year.

Boot comp Monday and Wednesday this week, eight miles on Tuesday, speed work Wednesday, short run Thursday and 16 on Saturday.

Friday, August 16, 2013

8/17, 8/18 - Speed work and random notes

8/14: 4.1 miles: 40:37: 9:50 pace
8/15: 4 miles: 46.40: 11:37 pace

Deadline looms with my day job so I need to keep this short and sweet.

Did my first organized speed work last week with the Evanston Running Club. The workout was 800 meter repeats around the Evanston Township High School track. Realization: I'm slow.

The four miles shakeout run the next day was interesting, and by interesting I mean really slow.

Fifteen miles tomorrow morning around Skokie Lagoons, which will also put me over the 500 mile mark for 2013.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

8/13 run - What month is it?

7.1 miles: 1:17:23: 10:50 pace

It could have easily been late September or October when I woke up this morning, with temps in the low 60s and a brisk breeze out of the north. I'm not complaining, I would run in that everyday of the week if possible, mid-50s are even better for running. I know I was bitching back in the spring about not getting warmer temps, but this summer had been perfect for running. I'm just hoping this doesn't mean a warm October, I don't want temps anywhere near the 70s for the marathon.

Good run this morning, though the legs are now a bit heavy form the run and combination of dead lifts/squats from Monday's boot camp session. I need to work some thing out with the foam roller.

I keep thinking about the 15-miles this weekendI'm trying not to be intimidated but I am a little bit. Next week the Tuesday runs go up to eight miles. Thursday will stay the same at about four miles, which I'm actually going to do this week as well.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

8/10 run - Starting to get real

10.7 miles: 1:59:37 11:11 pace

This was my last sub-two hour run until I taper for the marathon. The run went well, even though it was a bit muggy -- WeatherBug said 67 degrees but 90% humidity when I walked out the door. 

I had trouble flipping the switch, my mind was going a million different directions during the run. I'm on deadline for work, helping plan a conference and was finishing a home improvement project yesterday, all of which were jumping through my head as I ran yesterday. 

Can't complain about the run, still breaking in new shoes, so my feet were bugging me a little bit. I did have a new/odd muscle cramp on the inside of my left knee. Had to stop for a minute and stretch it out but it went away. All in all, I'm feeling pretty good. 

Slight change to the training schedule. I'm running the Chicago Half Marathon on Sept. 8. I was supposed to running 18 that weekend so I'm moving it up a week. So the next three week long runs will be 15, 16 and then 18. This is what O'm talking about when I mean things are getting real. 

I have next weeks run mapped out and depending on how true that route is I'll use the same one the following week but add a mile. Not sure what I'm going to do for 18 yet. 

Next week I'm also stepping back my boot camp sessions to just Monday and Wednesday. Tuesday will be a seven mile run and four on Thursday. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

8/8 run - Picking up the pace

3.2 miles: 34:22: 10:31 pace

Perfect weather this morning and I should have gone another mile but sometimes when running with a group you go with the flow. My last two runs have been sub-11 minute mile pace, which makes me happy and if you go back to last week's long run I was closer to 11 minutes than 12.

Ten miles Saturday, will be the last sub-two hour long run until the taper.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

8/6 run - Upping the tempo

The marathon shoes are getting
broken in.
7 miles: 1:16:02: 10:48 pace

I would not have gone this far or that fast if it wasn't for a running buddy. I originally planned to do five but she asked if I was up for seven and I decided to go along. We had a really nice pace for most of the run and I was feeling good.

My right foot started bugging me a little toward the end but I'm crediting that to the new shoes. I wore them during boot camp a handful of times but this was the first outdoor run. Overall they were good, just need to get the broken in a little bit more.

The track speed workout is looking doubtful for me tomorrow, probably do some speed work on Thursday morning.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

8/3 run: A reaffirming run

13.1 miles - 2:28:11:15 pace

After the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon a couple of weeks ago I was having some doubts. The race really took a lot out of me and I was questioning my ability to finish the marathon. A lot of people said that it was tough conditions and not to dwell but I couldn't shake the lingering doubt in the back of my mind.

In the weeks since I've had some good runs -- the sub-10 minute 4.1 miles race last Sunday -- and then my 13.1 miles training run Saturday where I cut more than 12 minutes off my half marathon time from that race. I credit the weather, it was probably around 60 when I went out and there wasn't any humidity.The real positive was that I felt like I could have kept going. My splits were also pretty decent with my last mile being the fastest.

I also feel pretty good the day after. I'm sore, my hips are tight, but my ankle, feet and knees feel good. I needed that run, it's surprising what a really good training run can do for your mental health.

But now a confession, I broke a runner's rule yesterday and ran shirtless. While I have lost a significant amount of weight I still don't have the kind of body where I should be running shirtless. I would be fine on the beach but not running. So, to anyone who saw me running along McCormick and was offended, I apologize.

The reason for bring shirtless? Chaffing. Nobody like to talk about it but bloody nipples are no joke and sadly, this wasn't the first time. Body Glide has been failing me around mile eight. I'm planning to try the special runner's band aids next.

It's a step back week training wise, will do five on Tuesday, hit speed work on Wednesday, four on Thursday and 10 next Saturday. Planning to hit boot camp Monday, Wednesday and Friday too. I'm also volunteering at the Road Runner Adventure Run this month.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July roundup

Seen while running in San Diego.
7/30: 6.6 miles: 1:14:25: 11:16
7/31: 4.1 miles: 45:19: 11:02

I've been traveling this week and while I've had time to run, I haven't had time to blog. I was in San Diego, a place I had only visited once before, and it was nice. The weather is kind of perfect, was in the 60s when I woke up and only got into the mid-70s. Though cloudy in the morning, not something I'm use to. I take my sunglasses with me at 6 am, did it on Tuesday and felt like an ass.

Running along the ocean was a nice change in scenery. Lot of runners out and about in San Diego too. Both runs were nice and uneventful. Though I've learned that I like knowing how far my route is before I head out. Not knowing where I'm turning around till I hit a mileage point can be annoying and I find myself looking down at my watch to often. Also, If I'm not familiar with a route I'm worried about running out of road,

Boot camp Friday and then 13 on Saturday, third time I'm doing the half marathon distance in a month. I'll be going it alone as well, the ERC folks I run with are out of town or sick.

As now, July totals:

93.1 miles: 17:36:54: 11:21 pace: 16,259 calories burned

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Weekend 7/27 - Feeling good

7/27: 8 miles: 1:33:03: 11:37 pace
2/28 Run for Walk: 4.1 miles: 41:26: 9:59 pace

Excellent weekend for running -- temps in the 60s will do that. I did eight miles with some of the Evanston Running Club members, a nice scenic run along the lake front, past the Baha'i Temple and back. I need to remember to start taking picture along some of these runs.

Sunday I did the Run for Walk at Northwestern University. It started at the the football stadium and ended on the 50 yard line. This was also a really good time and I was very happy with my time on that one and I was feeling really good.

Hoping that feeling continues as I travel this week. Will be running Tuesday -- seven miles -- and Wednesday -- probably around four. All in all gearing up for another 13 miles run next Saturday.

Friday, July 26, 2013

7/25 run - Speed work that doesn't suck

5.3 miles: 59:06: 11:07 pace

Speed work with my running buddy Thursday. The Evanston Running Club does track speed workouts on Wednesday nights and my original plan was to go but I bailed. No excuse other than I didn't feel like it, Rory was coming home from work and I wanted to hang out with her. This is why I like to work out in the morning, less excuses for me to bail. If I don't get up when the alarm goes off I'm just lazy.

So instead I did speed work with my running buddy Terri. We did a one mile warmup and then six 800 meter sprints which were faster than my 5K speed. For the first three we were around a 9:30 mile pace and for the the last three around 9:50 pace. One minute, 30 second breaks in between intervals.

My loathing of speed work is well documented but this wasn't all that bad. I need to go to the track workouts because they have people walking you through different workouts every week which may make it a little better.

Eight miles with the ERC folks tomorrow morning and then the 4.1 mile Run for Walk at Northwestern on Sunday to get my 12 miles in for the weekend. I'm traveling next week but am bringing running gear and looking forward to a change in scenery.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

7/23 run - Recovering

4.5 miles: 52:37: 11:29 pace

It was nice to get out there and loosen up. Ankle is a little tender but loosens up once I get moving. Quads are a little sore too but overall not feeling too bad. Biggest problem was that I didn't have any food in the house when I got home.

Going to check out the speed workout with ERC Wednesday night in addition to boot camp in the morning. Might try to go six on Thursday if I'm feeling up for it.

Monday, July 22, 2013

7/21 - Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon

13.1 miles: 2:40:08: 12:13 pace

First official half marathon race in the books and I wish I was happier. I was almost three minutes better in my training run a couple of weeks ago and I thought the heat and humidity for that run were worst than what I experienced Sunday.

It was muggy to start on Sunday, I was sweating before we even started running, probably low 70s air temp but thick. I was keeping up with the 2:30 pace group up until mile six and that's when I learned a valuable lesson, make sure my Cliff Shot Blocks are open before the race starts. I went to grab a couple before the aid station and couldn't open the package because I was so sweaty.

I otherwise can't pinpoint where things went wrong and maybe they really didn't, maybe it was a combination of the weather and my ability. I fueled appropriately before but was definitely feeling dehydrated during the race and like I couldn't get enough fluids at the rest stops. I was only able to get Gatorade at two of the aid stations but was also taking at least three cups of water and I still didn't think that was enough.

I have three months to get ready for the next big thing and I have some concerns. The marathon will be a race to just finish -- yes, I know I'm lowering expectations again. I also look forward to cooler temps.

On the positive side, I met a number of folks from the Endurance Sports Connection -- the Facebook group that offers awesome encouragement for all types of endurance athletes.

I also ran into some of the Evanston Running Club (ERC) folks I've been going out with and they had positive words too. It's great groups like this that help me get through these tough runs.

When I got home after I ate my face off and then slept. I then ate some more and ended up going to bed at 7 pm waking up at 6 am. Nothing like 11-hours of sleep to make you feel human again. Though I may have an ear infection, my left ear has been clogged since Saturday and I probably should make a doctor's appointment.

Otherwise, I feel pretty good, the ankle is a little tender but not bad. Will probably try to get out for a couple miles Tuesday, hit the speed workout session with the ERC Wednesday night and get some miles in Thursday. Saturday I plan for eight with four following on Sunday with Run for Walker. Boot camp Wednesday and Friday too. Less than three months to the marathon.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

7/18 run - Acclimating?

4 miles: 44:52: 11:12 pace

Another steamy run, but was glad to get out there. First couple miles weren't bad but the last two kinda sucked. Cold front is supposed to come in Friday night and cool things for the weekend. Temps could be in the 60s for the start Sunday, which would be glorious.

Resting the next couple of days in anticipation. Will check out the expo tomorrow afternoon and pick up my packet. After Sunday's run I will also pass 400 miles for 2013.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

7/16 run - Oh, the humidity

3.7 miles: 40:06: 11:10 pace

It was 75 degrees with 80% humidity at 5:30 am. That's really all I have. My plan was to do four to five miles but the group wasn't feeling it and in retrospect once I got out there I wasn't feeling it either.

The forecast calls for cooler temps Sunday but nothing on the humidity. Was contemplating wearing the fuel belt but with aid stations every 1.7 or so miles I don't think it'll be necessary. The weather is going to make this a tough race. One of the woman from the run club who has numerous half marathons under her belt says her goal is to just finish. That's sort of making me rethink my expectations.

I did the 13.1 in 2:37 a couple of weeks ago in awful condition and was hoping for less than 2:30. Between the adrenaline of a race and aid stations to stay hydrated I still thinking it's doable. That's still going to be my goal but I'm not going beat myself up if I don't hit it. Need to listen to my body and keep focused on October.

Monday, July 15, 2013

7/14 - Hometown Charity Run

3.1 miles: 31:03: 10:05 pace

Fulfilled my obligation to run a 5K in a tutu on Sunday for those who have donated to the Wright-Way Animal Shelter. It was a good time, was getting a lot of fun comments from volunteers on the course and afterwards.

The first 5K I every ran in 2008 was at Sox park too, though this one took a much different and better route. It was fun running down 35th Street through Bridgeport and on to the field at the park.

The time is a personal best for a 5K by 13 seconds but I didn't hit my goal of sub-30 minutes. It was a little disappointing but my own fault. The day before we had a birthday party and we were on the deck of this great place in Lincoln Square, the weather was perfect, the beer was cold and the company was fantastic. The beer garden closed early and we then went for Mexican, a cuisine that I don't have a good track record with when running the next day. But I went with the flow and enjoyed myself.

When you train for a marathon you give a lot of things up. Since I typically do my long runs on Saturday mornings, that means no going out on Friday night, no beer to unwind and healthy food. As the training intensifies I know this is only going to become more important and I realized this might be one of the last times between now and Oct. 13 that I get to kick back and relax.

I probably won't be running another 5K until November -- Turkey Trot -- so will have to try for sub-30 then.

Five mile run tomorrow with ERC, boot camp Wednesday, three on Thursday and the rest, rest, rest for Sunday. Cloudy and a high of 79 is the forecast right now, which sounds fantastic. I would love cooler but overcast and the 70s sounds great, hopefully the humidity we're getting this week will abate.

Random notes:

  • Running the 4.1 mile Run for Walker at Northwestern on July 28. Folks from the Evanston Runner's Club were talking about it and it's a block from the in-law's place so should be fun. 
  • Doing the CARA Magellan Ready to Run 20 miler Sept. 22. It's a fully-supported training run for the fall marathons. 
  • Signed up for the Crosstown Classic 10K. Runner's pick north of south side and the average time of the top 1,000 finisher's determines the winner. I'm supposed to run 12 miles that day and will be in the taper but should be fine. Seemed like too much fun to pass up. 

Friday, July 12, 2013

7/11 run - Mixed bag

3.7 miles: 39:17: 10:38 pace
2.4 miles: 28:00:11:49 pace

Had no idea what I should have run yesterday, I'm in a weird training limbo because of the 5K Sunday -- where I want a personal best -- and the half marathon on July 21. The 5K is basically going to be my speed work for the week, I'm going to try and run 3.1 miles as fast as possible without throwing up because I want to break 30 minutes.

At first I was just going to head out and do six easy miles but then I remembered I had the Road Runner Adventure Run in the evening. Instead I decided to do my 3.7 mile loop around the house and just push myself every so slightly more than I would normally. This was maybe a little under race pace considering that I haven't run a 5K race since November.

I was really happy with this run. I felt good but also felt like I had something left in the tank, which makes breaking 30 a real possibility.

As for the Adventure Run -- well, that didn't go as well. I got out there and was not feeling right. Don't know if I didn't eat or drink enough before but I was in a bad place. Turned around early to rehydrate and grab some food.

Which now brings up a new section for Zack Can Run, shameless plugs! Just to be clear, I did receive free products but not because I have this blog, just because I am a sucker for places that give out free stuff.

As I've written before, I've been attending the Road Runner Sports Adventure Runs in Wilmette. These are a lot of fun and it's not just because I have gotten a lot of free stuff -- even though I have.

Last night Honey Stinger was a sponsor and I tried a few of their offerings, some of the best tasting energy products I've tasted. The waffles are ridiculous and the bars are some of the best I've had too. I won't be switching off of my Cliff Shots for now but will keep these in the running.

I previously won a pair of New Balance shoes at the Adventure Run, New Balance is a sponsor. But last night they also had Mizuno out there. I ran in the brand new Wave Sayanora and they were really nice shoes very light but sturdy with a nice wide toe box. With the raffle I also won a pair of Mizuno shoes, though I am giving the certificate to Rory because she needs a new pair and I don't. That said, if she doesn't find a pair of Mizuno she likes I will be getting a pair of the Wave Sayanora.

Rest day tomorrow and 5K in a tutu fun on Sunday. Boot camp Monday and Wednesday, no idea what I'm running Tuesday, figure I'll do an easy two miles on Thursday.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

7/9 run - Adjusting to the humidity

6.2 miles: 1:11:07: 11:29 pace

Ran again with the Evanston Running Club and became a member. It seemed like $25 well spent, I like the Tuesday early runs and will probably take them up on some of the long Saturday runs building up to the marathon. I'm still getting use to running and talking but it's going to be a good thing. I'm curious about the speed track workout they do on Wednesday's too.

The run on Tuesday was a bit slower but it was muggy. Probably high-60s air temp but 100% humidity. They say the more you run in the weather, the more you acclimiate  so I'm writing that run off for acclimation.

Trying to figure out what I'm going to do tomorrow. It's usually my speed work day but that's what I'll be doing Sunday at my 5K. Trying to figure out if I should do another six or so or scale it back. Next week will be six on Tuesday and three on Thursday and rest before the half on Sunday.

Rory is finishing the tutu for Sunday's 5K and I have my Team Wright-Way training shirt. Breaking 30 minutes is going to be tough, especially since we now have events on Saturday.

I also have signed up for another race, because I am a maniac. I'm running the 4.1 mile Run for Walker on July 28. It starts and ends by Northwestern's football stadium. Found out about it from the Evanston Running Club and it will be a nice way to get back to it after the half marathon.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

7/4 and 7/6 runs - Catching up

July 4: 3.5 miles: 41:41: 11:24 pace
July 6: 13.1miles: 2:37:42:12:01 pace

Rough couple of runs. I blame my poor eating and drinking habits around the holiday and summer finally arriving and bringing some warmer temps.

Since Thursday was a holiday I slept in and didn't get out the door until after 9 am. It was already in the mid-70s and made for a rough speed work session. The beers and fried chicken I ate the night before didn't help matters either.

As for my long run, it was in the lower 70s when I started a little before 6 am. I was feeling good, other than a couple of cookies I didn't eat bad on Friday, but the heat got to me. I was pretty good until about mile seven and it was down hill from there.

I'm not hurt, everything is feeling more or less normal, though my left shoulder was bugging me badly around mile 10. It's happened a couple of times before but this was the worst of it. The adventures in chaffing continued, though not as bad. I have psoriasis and those spots are more prone to problems and I have to make sure to use extra Body Glide on those areas.

Fifteen days till the first official half. What was I thinking signing up for a half in July in Chicago? Easing it up the next couple of week, will be my lowest mileage since May. Probably six to seven on Tuesday and three to four on Thursday. Running the 5K Sunday. Might try to do a little longer run the following Tuesday and then really ease off before the half.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

7/2 run

6.7 miles: 1:15:10: 11:10 pace

So much for cutting back mileage, did a whole third of a miles less than what I normally do on a Tuesday. Decided to mix things up this morning and ran with some folks from the Evanston Running Club.

A friend who was in my boot camp sometimes runs with this group and she mentioned it. I decided to check it out and mix things up. I think the run was supposed to be closer to six miles than seven but it still felt good. Change of scenery and running with someone else can be a nice was to change things up.

There were five of us that started off but then it was me and another guy, who will be running his third marathon this fall. It was nice to mix things up and I felt good after the run, I don't know if I'll make it every week but it's a good option to have out there.

Boot camp tomorrow and then speed work before I celebrate the 4th. Big 13.1 on Saturday and then dialing it back a bit.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Lowering expectations

Last week I was having some issues -- I called it runner's malaise -- because of the last few training runs and how slow I have been. People have said with the first marathon -- especially when pushing 40 -- the goal is to just finish.

That is, if course, my primary goal but I also wanted to try and break 4:30. My reason being that is Oprah can do 4:27 than I should be able too as well. I came to the realization this weekend that it's not going to happen.

I need to realize under five hours will be good for me and not try to be too hard on myself. If I readjust my expectations I won't psych myself out and get depressed when my training runs are slow. Five hours is a much more realistic goal for me and anything else is just gravy.

As for the half marathon coming up, I'm hoping for around 2:20, which I think is doable. This weekend will bear that out as I do my first 13.1 mile training run. Glorious running weather for early July, should be low 60s when I head out in the morning on Tuesday and Thursday but it may be a bit warmer Saturday.

Considering cutting back my Tuesday mileage slightly and seeing if I can do them at a faster pace. A friend was telling me about a group that meets along the lakefront in Evanston on Tuesday morning's, debating checking that out.

I did slightly tweak my ankle Saturday, it's been a little tender, but once I get moving it seems to loosen up. Wondering if I should rest it a bit?

Signed up for a 10K during my taper for the marathon. It looks like a fun one and I couldn't pass it up. Go South Side!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

6/29 run - Adventures in Chaffing

11.45 miles: 2:09: 11:16 pace

I could not have asked for better weather this morning, low 60s, nice breeze, overcast. Not weather I want to BBQ in but perfect for running, especially for late June.

I felt really good for this run up until the last mile and a half and it's totally because I was in my head. I had mapped out a 11.5 mile route and thought I would be done sooner I kept looking down at the watch even though the glance three minutes earlier would have told me that I still had a little ways to go.

I also had negative splits outside of my first and last mile. My sixth through tenth mile were faster than the previous ones, which is a good thing. Overall, I felt pretty good, some foot pain, but nothing major.

But there was some chaffing. I won't go into the gory details but Body Glide and I need to get reacquainted. In the winter I had some issues with this pair of tights but hadn't had any other issues up until this run. I will just say ouch.

And that wraps up June, I just feel like I was doing a summary for May yesterday. The month flew by and I can happily say I didn't miss a single run this month and did all my speed work. Also, a record month -- which is going to be the norm for awhile -- with 90 miles.

June totals:

90 miles: 16:49:15: 11:13 pace: 15,723 calories burned

Thursday, June 27, 2013

6/27 - Want to get faster

4 miles: 45:20: 11:19 pace

Yeah, don't have a lot to say about this one. Thought about mixing up the speed workout but I didn't. I also thought about staying in bed but I didn't. At least I can say I didn't miss a speed workout in June.

Skipped boot camp yesterday because of a monsoon hitting the area. We received more than 3.5 inches of rain in about four hours and I was worrying about the basement flooding. Sump pump went on for about 20 minutes but then everything was good.

The foam roller and I have been good friends this week. My quads and hip flexors are still sore from Monday's Turkish get ups.

While I'm getting through these runs and feeling fine I feel like I may have some runner's malaise. I have the 5K in a couple of weeks and really want to break 30 minutes but am having my doubts. I'm going to have to find a rabbit for that race and just try to keep up. I can always push myself to finish a race or a long run but I have trouble pushing myself to go faster.

I'm pushing 40 so I don't expect miracles and know that there is a very small window where I will see improvement before a decline.

Anyway, boot camp tomorrow as long as I don't have to start building an ark and then 11.5 miles on Saturday, which will be the longest run to date. It only gets scarier from here on out.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

6/25 run

7 miles: 1:20:21: 11:27

Ohhh the humidity!

It was thick out there this morning and I regretted leaving the fuel belt at home. I did hit the one water fountain I pass twice but it was still a brutal run. I know it'll get better as I acclimate but today was the first really muggy day. I got a little bit of a late start because there was some thunder and lightning passing through the area. Around mile four I was looking at the sky hoping it would rain to get some relief.

I'm also pretty sore from Monday's boot camp session, the 60 Turkish get ups with the 18 pound kettle bell have made my quads pretty tight.  Took a little extra time foam rolling this morning to try and work out the kinks. Should probably hit it again tonight.

The one positive from this run -- other than it's over -- was that the last three miles were faster than the previous three.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Preparing for the heat

Great weekend away in Wisconsin. The weather didn't cooperate and enable us to sit by the pool and read as much as I would have liked but it was still nice to get away, relax and recharge.

I did get a comical 1.3 mile run in on Saturday. There was a path around Lake Delevan where we stayed. I had no idea how long it was but quickly found out it was 1.3 miles round trip. What made it interesting was the humidity, the gusty winds and the water coming up on to the path from the lake so I ran most of it on the grass.

This week I'm sticking with what I have been doing. Tuesday will be a seven mile run, four miles of speed work on Thursday and 11+ miles on Saturday. After some discussions with people who know more about running than me, I'm going to start tweaking my Tuesday runs in July. I'm going to do one mile warm up and then three to four miles at faster than normal pace, one that makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, a true tempo run. I'm going to try that for a couple of weeks at least and see how it goes.

I may try to do a couple of group runs with those too, I heard about some folks that meet at a beach in Evanston for group runs Tuesday and Thursday morning's  and I check that out.

The Chicago Rock N' Roll Half Marathon is basically right around the corner. I'm also doing the 5K the week before where I really want to break 30-minutes. Did I mention I'll be wearing a tutu? Why yes, I will. I have a feeling the 5K is not the best idea I've ever had with this training but we'll see how it pans out.

I have two longer runs coming up and then taper a bit before starting to pile on again in August. And if there was any doubt before, summer is here in Chicago. Upper 80s and high humidity all week should make runs interesting.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

6/20 run

The shoes I will use for the Chicago Marathon.  
10.2 miles: 1:57:12: 11:26

Felt good this morning, started out strong and while I want to complain about the pace I'm not going to do it. Felt good from the get go, this is a little unusual for me, typically it takes me a mile or two before I really feel warmed up.

Had my first nature run in, red-winged blackbird thought I was getting close to its nest and started dive bombing me when I was running along the river between Main and Dempster off of McCormick. Scared the crap out of me and had me running for higher ground. I also smelled a lot of skunk in a couple of areas and that has me concerned for future runs.

Easing back the next few days, will try to get three or four easy miles in this weekend, but can use the rest with more than 66 miles logged this month. Already looking ahead to the next long run of 11+ miles, which is where I stumbled back in April. Also running my first training half marathon the first weekend in July.

Road Runner Sports had their VIP summer kickoff event Wednesday night. I wanted to check a couple of things out so I went. Is it a sign of a problem when the employees at the running store know your name? With the 20% off I decided to buy the shoes I will use for the marathon. I was tempted by the Brooks Glycerin 11s but opted for another pair of the Adidas Boost.

I plan to leave these in the box until after the Rock N' Roll half next month and then will start working them into the rotation. I was going to need another pair, I have just about 200 miles on my current Boost and use the New Balance for speed work but that wouldn't get me to October. The guys at Road Runner say I should get 400 miles out of my current pair but I've never been able to get more than 300 miles out of a pair of shoes. We shall see.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

6/18 run

4 miles: 44:40: 11:06 pace

Uneventful if not pleasant speed work Tuesday. I have had some friends send over different speed routines but I haven't gotten around to looking at them yet, will do it next week.

Ten miles tomorrow morning and then a nice little vacation. It will most likely be my second longest run ever. Will soon be in unchartered waters when it comes to new mileage.

Hoping to get a few miles in at some point while I'm gone but nothing too spectacular. Will hopefully update Thursday before hitting the road.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The week ahead

Rocking the new ESC singlet on Saturday. 
The nine miles on Saturday felt pretty good, not awesome, but still all right. It was muggy, while I may be getting a bit more use to the heat the humidity was a little rough. I welcomed the drizzle that started coming down the last mile or so.

With Saturday's run I passed 50-miles for the month already. I finished 17th out of 82 participants in the abbreviated monthly running challenge on Fitocracy. It's unlikely that I'll hit 100 miles this month but it should still be a record one for me.

Have to switch things up a little this week, Rory and I are getting out of town for a long weekend. Tuesday will be speed work and Thursday will be the 10-mile long run. Boot camp on Wednesday as well. I'm bringing my gear and will try to get a short run in over the weekend -- three to five miles max -- but am planning to relax, drink some beer and get some sun.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

6/15 run

9.2 miles: 1:44:45: 11:20 pace

Kind of a rough one this morning. It was quite muggy, legs were feeling heavy from the previous day's workout but I survived and passed the 300 miles mark for 2013. Have also already run more than 50 miles in June. Definitely will be a record month.

Friday, June 14, 2013

6/13 runs - and why I am loathing speed work

3.7 miles: 41:36: 11:11 pace
3.5 miles: 3713: 10:33

I started out running about eight-years ago when I decided to get some sessions with a personal trainer. He was great and I feel awful right now because I can't remember his name. At that point I had been doing the elliptical machine and weight working the big muscle groups.

I wasn't seeing results and having just gotten out of an awful relationship I decided to try and get healthy. The trainer put me on the treadmill, which I had tried a couple of times before but never really felt comfortable. He started me off walking for one minute and the running for 30 seconds. We did these intervals for about 10 minutes. I was hooked and other than some lapses in the interim have more or less kept running since.

Why am I sharing this now? I started out doing intervals and loved it. Now when I do intervals for my speed work I despise it. Just about every session has been torture and I feel like my overall pace is getting slower.

My speed work now is a one-mile warm up and then two blocks sprint and one block recovery walk. I'm wondering if I should mix it up. I can set up my watch to do times intervals and maybe I'll give that a try.

The second run was the Road Runner Sports Adventure Run. I had some friends there that helped push me a bit quicker than I normally would have gone. It was, as always, a good time. Though it was the first time I missed out on winning anything in the raffle.

I'm sadly going to miss the next one. I'm volunteering to help lead a group of beginning runners for the Chicago Area Runner's Association. The sessions take place Thursday evening's in downtown Evanston for anyone interested.

I will pass 300 miles for the year during tomorrow's nine-mile run -- that's what I ran all of last year. I should hit 600 with the marathon training but it'll be interesting to see what my total will be for the year.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

6/11 run

7 miles: 1:16:49: 10:58

Pretty uneventful run, was happy with my pace, felt good. Considering I was dragging ass on Monday at boot camp I should be jumping for joy. It's getting warmer and I'm starting to acclimate a little better, that may have been part of my problem last week.

Though this morning I was dragging again at boot camp. I wonder if I should start doing a gel before class to help with my energy level? It's just not where I want it to be and I'm feeling sluggish. Today's session was particularly brutal, haven't had one in awhile that really kicked my ass but that was this morning.

Speed work in the morning, fun run in the evening, more boot camp and nine fun-filled miles early Saturday.

Monday, June 10, 2013

6/8 run

8.1 miles: 1:30:45: 11:06 pace

I really didn't want to be happy with this run but technically it was the best one all week, at least pace wise. Tuesday's felt the best, Wednesday and Thursday just sucked completely and even boot camp on Friday was rough, I just had low energy and was feeling weak.

All that said, now I'll shut up and am glad the miles are done. Part of the problem may have the 28 miles I ended up logging from June 1 to June 8. I haven't checked, but it's safe to say that's the most miles I've run in a week.

Still feeling a little fatigued on Monday too. Legs were heavy during boot camp and the outside of my foot is starting to hurt a bit again. Once I get moving it's fine but it take a little bit to loosen up. I need to take care of this because I don't want it to be anymore persistent then it already has been.

Tomorrow will be six or seven, little more than three on Thursday morning and probably another three or so Thursday night for the Road Runner Sports Fun run and nine on Saturday. Depending on how things go I could pass 300 miles for the year this week, which is what I did all of last year.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

6/5 - 6/6 runs

6/5: 3.1 miles: 35:11: 11:16 pace
6/6: 3.7 miles: 43:11: 11:40 pace

Ug, really not great.

I don't know if I pushed it too hard this week or what. It's also cottonwood season up here and it's bugged me in the past and wonder if that's it or the fact that it's been raining a bit during these last two runs. I've just had issues getting my wind during the last two runs and feel fatigued.

I've been getting enough sleep, though this morning I really didn't want to go when the alarm went off this morning and my diet has been normal. I do need to spend some more time with the foam roller, IT bands, hip flexors and hamstrings have been tight/sore.

I probably should have skipped the run on Wednesday, but it was National Runner's Day and felt the need to get out there for a little bit. The one difference with both of these runs is I went without my music. When I run in the afternoon I usually skip the headphones because there's more traffic and I want to be a bit more aware. This morning I just forgot and didn't feel like going back and grabbing it.

Hoping tomorrow is a non-leg day for boot camp and will pound out eight miles early Saturday.