Friday, March 29, 2013

Sick again

It figures that after a mostly healthy March the end of the month will come and kick my ass. Head cole hit yesterday and I can already feel it moving into my chest.

I didn't run yesterday because I wasn't feeling great and the 10-miler tomorrow is looking in jeopardy. Maybe I can squeeze it in Sunday if I feel better and the rain holds off, otherwise I'll be geting up real early Tuesday and doing it. Need to get the miles in.

I feel like I was sick all January and February so this is just annoying.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

3/26 run

6.23 miles 1:10:29 11:17 pace

This run was a mixed bag. My legs are pretty sore from boot camp yesterday, power jacks -- holding two 10-pound dumb bells start in a sumo squat and then do jumping jacks with the sumo squat in between -- and lot's of lunges and other squats. My quads were hurting a bit but I felt good when I was out there. Could have kept going if I had more time but also didn't want to push too much and I had to get ready for work.

But I'm not happy with my pace at all, thought I was moving a little quicker. Since I switched the the Nike+ watch I don't get the updates every mile or five minutes anymore. I also try not to look at it too often because if I try to go faster and then I don't I'll be discouraged.

Going to try and do some speed work Thursday morning and then the group run Thursday night. If all goes well I should come close to 25 miles this week.

Monday, March 25, 2013


Hoping this is one of the last times I have
to bundle up for a run.
I was bitching about the weather last week and it appears to be turning around at least a little. It may be in the 30s when I wake up and head out Tuesday and Thursday and might be 40 Saturday.

Though I had a fantastic run Thursday morning when it was 18 but felt like 6. I almost bailed but knew another run wasn't in the cards for me. The plan was to do at least six miles but got in a little more than seven at under an 11-minute mile pace. I just felt good and in retrospect I could have probably pumped up my pace by a few seconds if I would have thought about it a bit more. I also would have kept going if I had more time but I had to get home.

I needed a good run. Tuesday afternoon I went out for a four-mile run and it was a struggle the entire time, temp in the 30s but 25 mph winds and I was hurting the entire time. Those are the runs were I question what I'm doing and why I even bother going out the door.

But two days later a good run with a nice endorphin rush and my faith was brought back.

Tomorrow will be six miles and another double on Thursday. Will do four in the morning and am running with a group Thursday evening where I think we'll do between three and six. Saturday is 10 miles, my first shot at that distance, I'm already looking forward to it.

April is almost here and it's a busy race month. Shamrock Shuffle on April 7 and the Lakefront 10-miler on April 20. After the 10-miler it's all about the Tough Mudder on May 18, though I do have a 13.1 mile training run scheduled for the first weekend in May.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The one thing ...

Outside of below zero wind chills and icy roads and sidewalks I have been running outside all winter. I'll wake up, look on to the street, take a look at the Weather Bug app and then layer up and go. It's surprising how warm you can feel with some tights, shorts, a couple of tech shirts, a shell, hat and gloves.

The one thing that kills me though, that I just can't stand, is high winds.

I should have gotten up this morning and hit the road but weather report last night of temps in the teens and 20-30 mile per hour winds meant I was sleeping an extra hour. My plan is to try and get at least four miles in at some point later today.

But even now as I sit at my desk I can hear the wind whipping outside and it make me shiver. I found runs in the teens enjoyable this winter, but there was also little to no wind.

That said I'm done with the weather we've been having in Chicago. December and January were mild for the most part but late January and all of February sucked. March is following that trend, normal temps are in the mid-40s but we've been lucky to get into the mid-30s lately. That combined with the rain and the wind has made it tough to get mileage outside.

I'm not asking for much, just give me some dry 40s, that's all I want.

Monday, March 18, 2013

First 8K

This will be making another appearance at the Shamrock Shuffle.
It wasn't pretty in Lincoln Park Saturday. Low-30 temperatures and howling winds and sleet hitting you in the face the last half. These were the worst weather conditions I have experienced and I've run outside in the teens.

I tend to be warm when working out so I was wearing compression shorts, running shorts, compression socks (pictured) two tech fabric t-shirts, a mid-layer, gloves and hat,

During the race I was fine, it sucked to be out there but I wasn't freezing. It was a nice route along Lake Michigan, though the path at times was pretty muddy and some good sized puddles.

The main problem is I don't know my time. When I went on the site Saturday evening it had me at 47:44, which would have been fantastic but I don't think I was going that fast. That's a sub-10 minute mile for the entire time and I know I did the first mile in right around 10 minutes. When I just went back to check my time I couldn't find my results no matter how I searched.

The main problem is that I forgot my GPS watch and I did use my phone, started the Nike+ app a few minutes before start time and put it in my SPIbelt, didn't want to be fussing with it after the horn blew. I would say I was probably around 52 minutes for the race. I'm aggravated that I can't find the results and I'm afraid I didn't put the RFID strip on my shoe correctly, though why would I be able to find results Saturday and not today?

Otherwise, going to be an interesting week for running. I won't be able to get a long run in this weekend so originally planned to do 9 miles tomorrow morning. The inch of snow we may be getting today might be throwing a wrench in that plan though depending on when it shows up and if it melts right away. Tomorrow's run, or lack of a run, will dictated what I end up doing the rest of the week.

Lastly, I'm ready for Spring. I don't need 70s, but how about mid-40s? This 20-30s stuff has to end, though I might feel differently when doing some long runs in August.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Road Runner Sports Adventure Run

Road Runner Sports opened up a store in Wilmette last summer. Rory and I both needed running shoes so we went and checked it out. We both ended up going through the Shoe Dog experience and getting fitted for the customer insoles and signed up for the VIP program. I have since become totally hooked on this store. The people that work there are great. They're helpful, friendly and don't push hard for the big sale.

This month they started their Adventure Run series at the store. I've never really run in a group before and had heard that I should try. Also, they were giving stuff away and like most people, I'm a sucker for free stuff.

You show up, sign in and then at 6 pm they unveil the map, which is also emailed to you. Since I had already put my phone in my car this threw me off a little. You then have half a dozen spots on a map that you're supposed to hit and get raffle tickets. Now that I know how it works I'll be better prepared for next time. I also expect as the weather improves and word gets out there will be more people and less chances of winning but it should still be a good time.

After getting my phone and figuring out the map I hit the first few spots quick and then ran to the next one, which was a little less than two miles away. They wanted everyone back at the store by 7 pm for the raffle, I ended up getting there a couple of minute after, expecting to be one of the last ones but was actually first. There were only half a dozen or so people who participated, two people went to the checkpoint the farthest out, but nobody else made it to the one I went to.

As for the raffle I scored myself some new shoes. New Balance is a sponsor for the runs and had some available before we took off. I tried these on before the run and they felt good. This is my first pair of New Balance and I'll work them into the rotation.

I hit the 100 mile mark for the year yesterday, ran 3.6 miles in the morning and 4 during the Road Runner event. Have the 8K St. Patrick's Day run tomorrow and am looking forward to it.

Note: Neither Road Runner or New Balance is reimbursing me in any way shape or form for the post. As I run into good and bad thing during my running experience I will write about them like I see them. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

100 miles

Before the end of the week I will pass 100 miles for 2013. While I have been running outside most of the year, late January and most of February was pretty awful weather-wise in the Chicago area. Throw a cold in there and it kills the mileage.

In 2012 I logged 307 miles on my Nike+ app and stand at 399 right now. I skipped my run yesterday morning. Woke up to the wind howling and snow blowing. That along with my feet still bugging me from the log run Sunday was enough for me to bail.

Tomorrow will be a double, around four miles first thing in the morning and then in the evening I'm doing a fun run at Road Runner Sports in Wilmette. They're planning a six-mile route to be done in about an hour, I plan to do at least five but with an 8K coming up on Saturday I don't want to push it too hard.

I have two 8Ks -- just less than 5 miles -- coming up in the next couple of weeks, and I want to push myself with the one this weekend. In April I have the Shamrock Shuffle, which I hear it's a fun race but it's also 15,000 people (Edit: check that, it's 40,000 people, egad) and a packed course so my expectation for a personal best aren't high. I understand the Shamrock Shuffle also starts with the same route as the marathon so I'm interested to see how that will feel.

I never set a goal for myself at the start of the year as to how many miles I want to run in 2013. 400 hundred miles should be doable, if not more, especially with the marathon training.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

A little background

In November 2011 I was probably 50 to 60 pounds overweight. I worked out, ran a little on the treadmill and lifted some weights but didn't have any results. My diet wasn't great either. It was obvious I wasn't feeling great about myself at this point, I can't find a picture from this time either.

November 2011, the beer was part
of the problem.
Right before Thanksgiving in 2011 I started with the now defunct Chi-Town Boot Camp, which met four mornings a week at a dojo in Evanston, Ill. This was a turning point. I purchased a Groupon for a month and have been with the program ever since.

During that time I have lost more than 40 pounds and 10% body fat. I owe most of the thanks to the trainers who have guided me and the support of my wife, Rory, all of whom you'll hear more about later. The boot camp program is fantastic. Every workout is something different and you don't have to worry about getting into a rut.

Working out has led to my diet improving and my drinking has reduced. A year ago I was barely able to run a mile and three days ago I ran ran more than eight. I've run numerous 5Ks, two 10Ks and while I'm not blowing away any records it feels good to get out there and moving.

Last August a group of my college friends invited me to take part in the Tough Mudder on May 18, a 10 to 12 mile obstacle course race that excited and terrifies me. I'm also doing a half marathon in July.

But the culmination of all this will be October 13 when I run the Chicago Marathon. It too is both exciting and terrifying but I'm confident I can do it. My plan with this is to is to chronicle my training and race results as I make the journey to October.

There's another motive too, I'm running the marathon to raise money for the Wright-Way Rescue, the animal shelter that Rory and I got our Matilda.

So, hop on board the crazy running train, it's going to be a heck of a ride.

Matilda cuddling with a toy she would proceed to destroy minutes later. 

It's official

I'm a lunatic and running the Chicago marathon. Lots of work to do between not and Oct. 13 but I am confident I can do it.