Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Greetings From Ohio

So here I am in Ohio, done with class for the day so that gives me plenty of time to update you all on last weekend. Friday night my friends and I headed up north to a friends cabin for the weekend. I found a half marathon in the area so I could get somewhat of a longer run in Saturday morning. This meant I had to be good Friday night and not partake in the typical shenanigans and drinking games. That would have to wait until Saturday night. It's not a big cabin so I chose to sleep on the couch in the sun room of the cabin since it would be the quietest to spot for me to try and get rest. The guys knew I wouldn't be a happy camper if they screwed with me Friday night so we made a deal that if they let me sleep Friday night then I couldn't wuss out and go to bed early Saturday if I was tired from the race. Not a problem.

Saturday morning the alarm went off at 6:30 because I wanted to leave by 7 since the race was at 9 and it was supposed to take between 30 and 45 minutes to get there. Seven o'clock came and I was in the car and backing out of the driveway. I still don't know why but I decided not to clean the fresh snow off all the windows of the car (not mine either, I rode with a friend and borrowed his) just the windshield. Whoops....I managed to miss the end of the driveway and totally got stuck. ef me. I woke Ben up to help me get the car out of the yard...that's right I drove into the yard.... We ended up having to pull it out with his truck and I was now set back fifteen minutes. Damn. Next time I'm cleaning the windows off.

I got to Mt. Pleasant at eight even with the delay, got my bib and realized I had to use the restroom. The race started at a running store and they had one bathroom so as you can imagine there was a line. Luckily I got in line right away because I was in that line until 8:45. This only left 15 minutes to warm up before the start. I had wanted to get 2-3 easy miles in for a warm up and after all was said and done I got maybe a mile and half.

The race took place mostly on dirt roads that were frozen over with ice that had a fresh dusting of snow from the night before on top. Thank Jeebus for this dusting of snow too because it helped provide the little traction I got. That morning I decided to wear my cascadia's instead of my Kinvara's that I would normally race in since I wasn't sure what the terrain and snow would be like on the course. Good thing too because I'm sure the kinvara's wouldn't have provided nearly enough grip.

I believe these two pictures are in the first mile.

I'm in the green dead center

There were a lot more people in the half than I expected which made it fun. I half figured I'd be out there by myself for the most of the race but there was always someone right in front and right behind me. I took a honey stinger packet around mile seven and I have decided it was a mistake. It had begun to crystallize inside the packet probably mostly because I've had it since last spring and partly due to the cold. This meant I was having to chew it, then about half a mile later my stomach started to cramp up. I don't remember the last time I've had a stomach cramp while running. It lasted almost two miles and though my pace didn't drop too much I definitely couldn't start to pick up the pace like I had planned. Finally it went away just before the end of mile ten and I was able to push my pace a little. It had been pretty windy most of the race and the snow kicked up a little here and there at times making it difficult to see without squinting.
I Think this was in the middle of the race....brrr

I averaged a 6:45 pace for the last two miles and I really wanted to go faster but just couldn't seem to find another gear. My hip was a little sore but I think the big problem is I'm going to have to start incorporating speed work soon if I want to hit my goal time for Borgess in May.

I ended up setting a new PR by 6 seconds and I'll take it considering the lack of traction, wind and cramps. I finished 16th overall and second in the female 22-29 age group.....wait a minute.... that's right the results have myself and another guy (the overall winner) in the female AG instead of the male. I emailed the race director and he said he noticed the error and they'd get it straightened out. So maybe I'm wrong but it seems like usually they take the overall winner out of the AG categories so maybe just maybe I won my age group? If the rest of my actual AG is correct than I'd be second only to the overall winner so who knows. I'm not too concerned just thought it was funny when they called my name for the female AG win haha.

I got back to the cabin around 2 and we spent the day trying to play cornhole on the lake while ice fishing. Remember that wind I mentioned during the race? Well it was even worse on the lake, thus adding a new level of difficulty to cornhole. You literally had to aim the bags five feet to the left of the hole and let the wind carry it back. This actually made it more fun I think. As for ice fishing we came up with nothing like usual. It's a good thing we really don't care....or at least I don't care about it. We ate copious amounts of homemade chili and three of us polished off an entire package of Oreos in a matter of moments. We played Euchre for a bit which is always a good time even if we did lose our last game by one point.

In other news I heard from Cleveland and you are looking at one of the Official Pacers for the 2012 Cleveland Marathon! SCORE!!! I'll be pacing the 3:40 group so if you're going to be running Cleveland in May keep an eye out for me!

Did you notice the weather today!!! It's like 60 degrees here in Ohio and I saw it's 53 back home! This calls for a shorts run! In January! Double score!!

Hope you all had great weekends too!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Spring is a Time For Races and Baseball!

This week is about to get busy! I found out yesterday that I have to go to Columbus, OH next Monday evening for work. Thanks for the short notice. I'll be there through Wednesday night meaning I'll have to miss class Tuesday night. This means I need to get my assignments done for this week by Friday to turn them in early. Awesome. Lucky for me my Professor is letting me turn them in early otherwise I'd be really pissed about having to go to Ohio, instead I'm just annoyed. Anyways back to this week. Friday night I'm heading north to go to Ben's cabin and then Saturday morning I'm running in the Snowman's Half Marathon. It's not going to be that crazy of a week but busier than usual none the less.

My race Calendar is starting to shape up nicely! This is my current calendar of events:
I'm sure I'll sprinkle in a few 5Ks and 10Ks in there for shits and giggles. I'd like to find a marathon in another state I haven't run one in before too. I know it will be tough to find one with only 47 states to choose from.... I'm thinking Ohio or Wisconsin just because of their proximity. I'm open to suggestions so feel free to send them my way. If you'd like to pay for me to run in another state more power to ya haha. I'm on the sub list for pacing the Cleveland marathon in the spring so maybe that will come through for me and I can knock off Ohio for free. Wouldn't that be nice :-)

Today I found yet another reason I can't wait for spring to arrive. As if running weren't enough reason. Lately if you're a Detroit Tigers fan we haven't had much in the good news department. First I heard Joel Zumaya was traded to Minnesota. I realize he's been injured more than not but I like the guy and when he's healthy he has one hell of a fastball. The second punch came last week finding out that Victor Martinez tore his ACL. This was a big blow to our lineup, but fear not for today it's come out that we've signed free agent Prince Fielder! BOOM! What's that you say? The Tigers have three of the biggest names in active baseball players? Damn straight we do! I'm now so excited for spring to get here it's not even funny.

Friday, January 20, 2012

How Early?

So Tuesday morning I got out of bed UBER EARLY  and ran 8 miles with my buddy Jonathon. Two days later we did it again. Friends have called us certifiable and enemies have called us worse. I'm just kidding....we don't have enemies. It was necessary to get out early Thursday to get a run in though. You see it was my sister's Birthday yesterday so we were going out to dinner as a family after work so there went my evening. Jon said he was running in the AM again so I was in. Best decision I made all week!

We set out for our run at 4:45 and I told Jon when I got there that if I were going to run this solo I never would have made it out of bed. He agreed lol. The nice thing about running that early is you pretty much have the road to yourself. As for the weather it was low 20's and the wind was up around 20mph! The roads were clear for the most part so that was good. The wind didn't hit us until the second half of the run. Right it our faces while going uphill. For four miles.

After the run I congratulated myself with the standard french toast bagel sandwich AND a blueberry bagel with wild blueberry cream cheese from Panera of course. I got home around 6:15 and it had just started spitting snow so I decided on a whim to put the car in the garage while I showered and got ready for work. Thank God for that decision. By the time I left for work just barely more than an hour later there was already a couple of inches of new snow that I did not want to clean off my car. Yes I'm that lazy.

All day friends were commenting on our FB status' about how crazy we were for getting up so early but then those same people changed their status to say something about how bummed they were to have to run in the snow! That's a win for the good guys!

Tomorrow's long run starts about 20 minutes north of the city and we are supposed to get up to six inches of fresh snow tonight so it could be another slushy long run tomorrow morning. We've got 16 miles on deck so we'll see how that goes.

Remember last year when I went up to my friends cabin and we drank all weekend, watched movies and played in the snow? If not here is part 1 and part 2 of that weekend. That weekend is coming up again next week! I was debating going or not this year though. Not because I didn't have fun last time because I did, but I knew if I go up there that I don't know the area and none of my friends I'm going with are runners so I'd be stuck doing a long run solo in an area I don't know. Not my idea of fun. Fear not a solution presented itself. I've been thinking about racing a half marathon sometime soon so I can gauge my performance and wouldn't you know it I found a race that Saturday less than a half hour from the cabin! Score!  The race is called the Snowman Half-Marathon.
So the plan is to go up to the cabin Friday, be responsible Friday night and then head to the race Saturday morning, then (hopefully) celebratory partying at the cabin Saturday night. It should make for a great weekend, I fully intend on eating too much chili Saturday night again because it's chili and it's what I do.

Hope you had a great week and your weekend is even better!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Don't Think About It Just Go With It

Are you a morning runner? I'm generally not. It's not that I don't like running in the morning, it's the getting out of bed that I have problems with. Though I do find it's easier for me to want to get out of bed for a run than it is for something I don't want to do, like say....work. I bring this up becuase last night I saw that a friend had posted on Facebook that he was going to run 8 miles at 4:45 this morning if anyone was interested in joining. Next thing I know I had responded that I was in! Wait. What? Clearly my fingers worked faster than my brain because it wasn't til after I responded that I realized I'd have to be up close to 4 in order to be at his place on time. Ironically this morning I read Christine's post about never regretting a run and tricks she uses to get out and get running and one of the big ones is to not think about it, just start your routine. Well that's basically what I had done. I didn't think about when I just saw an oppurtunity to run and went with it. Now I was committed. It was already 9:30pm so I had to finish getting things around for the next day and get ready for bed if I wanted any sleep at all.

My alarm went off at 4:10. Or at least I think it did. It was so early and I was soooo out of it I wasn't really sure what was going on. I actually started to panic for a few seconds because I knew I wasn't supposed to be up early, but couldn't recall for the life of me why or when. I actually had to look to see what time my alarm had been set for to decipher if I was up at the right time or not. I really hate that feeling like you might have overslept.
yeah that's 4:25...as in AM
I met Jonathan at his place and we were off. It was actually fairly warm this morning (for January); I think it got up to 42 when we started. This meant shorts! It was pretty damn foggy out this morning and obviously still dark out so we both had our headlamps on. His apartment is tucked back in a neighborhood and even though we hit a few decent sized hills  today I think the hardest part of the run was trying not to fall on the ice that was the non-plowed road leading in and out of the neigborhood. I'm not kidding it's like the road has never seen a plow before, slush and ice everywhere.

All in all it was a great run. It was good to get out and run with someone and seeing as how the temperature has dropped close 15 degrees today and it's snowing like a bitch out right now the morning run was definitely a good call. It took us almost exactly an hour to run 8 and some change, even still I was at Panera for my celebratory French Toast Bagel Sandwich ten minutes before they opened. That's right I'm not above rewarding myself. I didn't have to be to work til 8 so I was able to go home, shower, eat and relax for a while which was kind of nice.

Maybe getting up early for a run isn't as horrible as it seems in my head. I just need to work on going to bed earlier (harder than it sounds) and maybe this could turn into a good habit...maybe.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

I guess winter's here

Remember last Thursday when I got to run in shorts in January? You should, it was less than four days ago. It was 45 degrees that day but not for long. That night we went from the best January I can remember in Michigan to a typical winter in Michigan. I woke to find that the weathermen weren't kidding and we had plenty of snow covering the landscape and a few more inches to come throughout the course of the day. I'm glad we have had a mild winter thus far so I won't complain about the snow too much I just hope it doesn't stick around an extra couple of months since it took its time getting here.

The schedule for yesterdays long run said 18 miles which would be a welcomed break from the 19 we ended up running last week. I decided to crash on a friends couch Friday night because his apartment is right downtown meaning it was right around the corner from Gazelle Sports our launch site for the mornings run. During the pre run meeting they told us the typical "be careful" running message but also reminded us to adjust our pace and distance accordingly since the snow would make it more difficult.

Even though you could tell the overall group was smaller because people were detered by the snow it seemed like our group was bigger than ever. The pace group I've been running with is the 7:30 - 8:00 group and all of our runs throught the first four weeks we averaged right on the low side. Our pace group leader even joked she might lose her (volunteer) job if we go any faster. That would not be a problem this week.

Ever forget to use the rest room before a run? I have a couple times in the past and it's no fun for sure so now it's become the most important part of my pre run check list. Even though I made a deposit to the porcelain savings and loan pre run I still felt like I had to duece it up only a few miles in. That's right a few miles in...to a 16 mile run! (we agreed to downsize due to the snow) It might have had to with the large pizza and four guinness I put away the night before but who knows for sure. If I had to pee I for sure would have grabbed a tree or bush somewhere but this was a little less mid run friendly. I chose to hold it in and though it was tough I made it. When we finished I ran straight to my friends Apt. got inside and destroyed his bathroom haha. That's a good friend!

The snow definitely made the run more difficult. I was wearing my Cascadias hoping to get a little better traction out of the trail shoe. Quite a few people had on Yak Trax for the same reason. I have a pair but besides the fact I forgot them in the closet, I wanted to see how the trail shoes would do on their own. I think they helped a bit but like everyone else seemed to say, I was struggling for traction. We ended up carrying a 7:43 pace overall which for the conditions was great. The last couple miles were the hardest for sure. The wind had picked up and the snow was turning to slush that was no help when it came to traction. I also started to notice about four miles out that the finger tips on my left hand were freezing! They were practically numb by the end of the run. The fingers on my left hand were completely warm. I was wearing a pair of the brooks gloves with the flip out wind shield that makes them more like a mitten and I was using that and even pulled my hand inside my coat sleeve but nothing seemed to help. I realized when we finished that my watch seemed a little tighter than when I put it on. I think my wrist swelled up a little and caused the watch to choke off the circulation to my hand so I'll have to watch that next time. Has this ever happened to you? I've never really noticed anything like that before.

After the run and destroying my friends bathroom we met up for delicious breakfast. My favorite part of the weekend long run. I don't think the restaurants are as excited to see 20 or so of us sweaty runners pour in at once but they treat us well none the less.

When I got home I found my dad had stopped by and was finishing snow blowing the driveway! He rocks! My sister and I sure are spoiled sometimes! I shoveled what was left of the walk and drive for a little cross training. While we worked the dogs played. They seem to be more excited about the snow than I was. Poor Obie though had too much fun and broke a toe nail off. Luckily he's a pretty calm boy so he let me dress it up with some makeshift gauze and put a sock over it held on with what else but duct tape. My dad, sister and I then placed bets on how long it would take him to get it off haha! When he wasn't licking the sock he just layed there looking dejected. A look that he's perfected over the years.

Today I put in a half hour on the treadmill for recovery to loosen up the legs. I put on the ipod and really focused on my form today and it acutally made the dreadmill run seem to go by much quicker. I'm still not a fan of treadmill running but it was 10 degrees today and I figured by the time I got warm i'd be finished with my run so outdoors wasn't worth it. I had a friend say he ran 17 miles on the treadmill yesterday. He called me crazy for running outdoors yesterday; I called him certifiable for running that long on a treadmill. We agreed to disagree.

Obie enjoying his new footwear!

I hope you all had a good weekend as well and enjoyed the mild start to winter as much as I did!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Shorts in January? Yes Please!

     We are a week and a half into January and I just went for a run in shorts.....and I'm in Michigan! The down side is the forecasted snow storm coming tomorrow. Tonight though while it was 45!!! I got in a nice moderately easy paced 5 mile run in a pair of shorts and a long sleeve half zip. Doesn't get much better than that! We've been pretty lucky so far this year when it comes to winter weather. I'm just hoping it doesn't arrive with vengeance!

     I love music, I'd listen to it all day if I could and some days come pretty close to it. I don't always take my Ipod along on  my runs though especially if I'm running with someone else. I've realized I go through phases with music, country for a while, then more rock/pop music for a bit then a mixture of the two and so on. Lately though it's been more pop than anything else. I don't really have an explanation as to why but it also seems like a lot of it is fairly new...at least to me. I decided I'd share a list of the ten songs I've been hooked on lately.

I'm way behind the bandwagon on him but a few of his songs are growing on me.

Can't help but tap your foot.

I absolutely love their sound and can't wait for a new album!

I love her voice and could listen to it all day long no joke.

My favorite off their new album

Who couldn't use a little 90's harmonica here and there?

I love this band but unfortunately we're about to get hit with colder weather...for real....brrr

"Life's to short to even care at all whoa oh!"

The best cover of this song in my opinion, second best the Canadian Tenors...they would have been first but....you know....Canadian....jk

Aren't we all...

      I hate it when I really want to hear a song and it's no where to be found, thank God for the Ipod! There are days I swear I wouldn't make it through work without music.  I feel like Pandora has opened me up to a lot of new music that I might not have heard otherwise.

      I don't know about you but I've kind of half assed followed training plans for most of my big races but this time I'm going to try and put one together myself for my spring races. I think my big key race right now is going to be the Borgess half marathon in early May. I'm excited for it because I want to see how I've progressed since last year. I still want to get a marathon in around spring time too but we'll see. Anyways I've been reading "Run Fast" by Hal Higdon and I've got another of his books to read also for some input for the plan. I have heard people have good results using the Macmillan calculator for pace planning too so I'll incorporate that too. Lastly I've been doing my long runs on Saturday's with the  Kalamazoo Area Runners and we've been following the Semi Elite schedule for long run distance so I'll probably stick with that for the long runs. After I get this all figured out (hopefully soon...like this weekend) I'll let you know what I've come up with so you can all tell me what I'm about to do wrong.

      Oh yeah side note today was an all around decent day, especially because I fought an erroneous parking ticket this morning and got it overturned! Winner, winner, this guy! The best part is when I tell people it's only a 10 dollar ticket and they look at me like I'm crazy for fighting it. No ten bucks won't break the bank, I'll spend more than that on Gu for the weekends run but it's the principle of the matter. Most of our tickets are issued by a private company not the police and they aren't held accountable for writing bogus tickets unless you take it to a magistrate so that's what I did. Best part was their system "lost the images of my vehicle parked illegally" lucky for me I took pictures and didn't lose them. Score board ~ Jordan - 1 ~ Central City Parking - 0

      Any songs you've had stuck in your head lately that you feel like I have to hear? Did you get to run in shorts today and feel like you're going to have to wear a ralphie-esque snow suit tomorrow?

Monday, January 9, 2012

How fast did we say? Whoops.

Do you ever intend to run one pace on a training run and ultimately end up throwing that idea out the window? It sucks when it happens because something isn't right (insert random ache/pain/injury here) but sometimes, like it did for me tonight it goes the opposite way and it's pretty awesome! My hip has been off and on a nuisance lately so when I set up the roll call for tonight's group run I was apprehensive about picking a pace. My hip had been bothering me at work this morning and I wasn't sure how it would react to the planned 8 miles. I left the pace open and figured someone would speak up and sure enough my friend Andrew said he planned on 7-7:15..... If the ole hip would allow I figured that pace would be good so I agreed with the side note that I needed permission from my hip.

About half way through the day when the punk hip was being particularly annoying I decided to try and stretch it out a bit. I grabbed the knee on the same leg and pulled it slightly up and over in front of my other leg. After a couple quick "pops" (slightly unnerving) I let go and noticed that throughout my range of motion it felt pretty good! Almost night and day! This gave me hope that tonight's run might go well!

Half way between home and our running location I realized that for the second time in recent memory I had forgotten the Garmin at home! Bugger! Last time I went back and got it because I wasn't sure who was going to be there and if they would have one to track us. On this occasion though I didn't have the same luxury of time. I also knew that at least one person showing up tonight would have a watch.

We started out the 8 mile figure 8 loop two abreast, four deep, headlamps in full effect casting shadows all around us and chatting away. I haven't looked at our pace but guessing by effort we were right around 7 flat for the first mile. Did I mention that I was in the front row of this train of runners? I was talking away with my friend Nick who is a much faster runner than I am usually but is still coming back from an injury so he's more my speed right now. Nick's shoe came untied a couple miles in so he dropped off and said he'd catch up. This was the first I really realized that we were moving along at a good clip! Jeff slid up next to me for the next mile or so before dropping back and Joe stepped up in his place. I mentioned earlier that we were chatting away well that had pretty much ceased, and remember those headlamps casting shadows all around us? Well I soon realized that our shadows were no longer being cast in front of us from the lights behind. I figured out why when I looked back as we rounded the next turn and saw no one. There was no one behind us anymore it was just Joe and I! Apparently the other 6 had more sense than us and said to hell with that ridiculous pace! I made a comment to Joe that we had lost our companions and asked him how fast we were going. He had remembered his watch. So responsible that Joe is! He informed me that we were cookin along at or around 6:40!!!! Whoops! Though I could tell we were streaking along I still felt strong and the hip wasn't saying shit otherwise so I figured I'd keep it up as long as I could. Besides no one wants to be the dick that sets a blistering pace and can't keep it to the end. That's just not cool.

We finished up our 8 miles without a problem other than a couple of quick side stitches when I smelled fresh fries being cooked at Wendy's as we ran past and a couple  of other restaurant smells that made me want nourishment! We waited for the others to get back and took our licks for completely disregarding the agreed upon speed limit haha. All in all it was a great run and just what I needed! When I got home and checked my email I found that I most likely will be a pacer for a decent size race near here this spring! That was the cherry on top of an already great night. After it's official I'll let you know when and where and who knows you might even end up running a race this spring with yours truly and I promise this time I'll stick to the agreed upon pace!

Hope everyone else had a good start to their week!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

5/3 River Bank 25k Race Rewind (05/14/2011)

Coming off of running my first half marathon that was a complete success I was feeling pretty good about myself. The race was on Sunday and I had Monday off from work to recover and relax. I was happy with the effort and results from the race and was excited and looking forward to the next challenge.

After taking Monday as a rest day I went for a 7 mile run with my friend Timis who I met just a month earlier with the EPIC Crew. Tom had run the Kalamazoo Marathon on Sunday so both us wanted to take it easy for the week. During our run he had mentioned that he was going to be an official pacer for the 5/3 River Bank 25K in Grand Rapids coming up that Saturday. He was pacing the 9:00 group which for him would be a nice easy pace and a good recovery the week after the marathon. I knew there were a few people from EPIC running the River Bank so I started thinking about taking on the 10K.

Last year I ran the 10K at River Bank and it was my first 10K ever. I chalk it up as a success but it wasn't the race I intended it to be and almost didn't happen. I registered for it the week before after some persuading from my friend Brett. The night before the race I met a friend for dinner and next thing I knew it was 11:00 PM and I had a few too many cerveza's for the night before a race....whoops!

When I met Brett at 5:30 AM and hopped in his car to ride up to GR the first thing he said was "Wow! You smell like a brewery!". I was hungover to say the least. It was a cold and wet morning and I took it easy for the first half and hung on for the second half. I finished my first 10K so it was a PR but I knew it wasn't anywhere near my best.
The Route

Thursday I noticed a thread on the EPIC facebook page that Timis and his wife and a couple others were going up to GR Friday night to register for Saturday's race. I commented asking if they had room for one more because I wanted to get some redemption for my hungover 10K from last year. They had room but it quickly turned into a post of peer pressure haha. "If you're going to do the 10K you might as well do the 25K" said Tonya, Timis' wife. Though I saw flaw in her logic it was enough of a tempt to get me thinking about it. That and they told me I could only ride home with them if I registered for the 25 lol. Why not, go big or go home right?

At the Kalamazoo half I made sure to go out easy at the start and stay on the pace I had planned and pick it up in the second half. This was the same startegy I planned on using for the 25K.

Race morning came and it wasn't as cold as last year but it was raining pretty good while we watched the start of the 5K and the 10K. Lucky for us the rain let up for the most part by the start of our race and temperatures were favorable. I started the race with my friend Scott and we planned on hanging around a 7:30 pace for the first few miles. I kept the pacers in sight and kept a watchful eye on my garmin. After the first mile I dropped pace to 7:20's for the next three. I had a couple of Honey Stinger packets on me and took my first one at mile 5ish and got a little bit of a surge.

The Home Stretch

By mile 7 I found myself feeling good and cruising along at a 6:45 pace. I wasn't sure how I felt about this mentally since in last week's half I didn't get down to that pace until mile 9 but physically I felt strong so I figured I'd go with it. I stuck close to that pace and felt pretty good using cheers from the crowd and Honey Stingers to propel me forward. A couple of rolling hills in the second half upped the challenge a little but I still felt strong and was still actively passing people which is always a confidence booster!

With 3.5 miles to go I had pushed myself down to a 6:30 pace knowing that if I kept pushing it I could catch the 7:00 pace group which just happened to be led by a couple guys from EPIC. I finally spotted them with a mile and half to go but they were still a bit ahead. By the time I caught them we were within a half mile from the finish and they. were. skipping. SKIPPING!!!! I told them I just busted ass trying to catch them and when I get there I found them SKIPPING like school girsl haha! Apparently they were worried they were going to be too quick for pacing and wanted to scrub some time lol. They said I looked strong and told me to kill it to the finish! I took off and felt strong kicking it in to the finish!

Before the race I had heard that if you finish in under 2 hours you get a special bib the following year and a seperate staging area before the race! I didn't know if I'd be able to get there, heck I wasn't even sure what pace I'd need to get under 2 but I liked the idea of doing it. Do it I did! I crossed the finish line with a 1:47:43!!!! Nailed it! I was so excited with the race and definitely glad I gave into the peer pressure! Even more exciting was that my average pace was quicker than my half time from the week before!
Myself and Scott rocking our new bling!

After we found everybody and enjoyed some free chair massages and our post race beers we had lunch at TGI Fridays and headed home. Race season was in full swing and I was Uber excited for the coming months and once again couldn't wait for the next big race!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Baldy-no-locks and the three pairs

Who got new running shoes today!? This guy did!!! I love getting new running shoes, even if I do spend upwards of an hour trying on every one the sales guy brings out and jogging up and down the sidewalk in front of the store. I realize that I'm not going to know what they'll feel like towards the end of a run but you never know what weird stitch of fold is going to feel funky if ya don't take them out for a test run.  I've got two different pairs of shoes I've been running in since Chicago but neither one is a good fit for a daily trainer. One being a lighter weight, less substance shoe and the other being a trail shoe.

After work I stopped by gazelle sports , our local running store to find a new high mileage trainer. The staff is always very knowledgeable and helpful. Over the past year I've gotten to know a few of them a little more from runs and races so that's always good too because I tend to be on the awkward shy side when I don't really know someone. I told him about how I am currently bouncing between my cascadia's and my kinvara's. They're both great shoes they're just not what I want to do the bulk of my training in. I will be using the cascadia's a lot this winter when its icy and slushy out though.
Kinvara's super light but not ideal for everyday training.

Cascadia's great on trails but heavy for the road

 Neither one a high mileage trainer, hence the need for a new pair. My last HMT's were Adidas Ride 3 and though I didn't have any problems with them they seemed to wear out a pretty quickly. I wore them for the Chicago marathon and haven't worn them since. Partly because I left them in my friends hotel room and didn't get them back for two months but mostly because as his wife noted when she told me they had them "There is ZERO tread left". She couldn't believe I wore them lol. So yeah I was due.

After trying on what seemed like easily a dozen pairs I am very pleased to have ended up with a pair of Brooks Glycerine 9's!
Glycerine 9's Just right, at least for a high mileage road shoe.

Back in 09' and early 10' I had a couple pairs of Glycerine 7's that I loved but then they had to go and retire them and I couldn't find a pair of size 11's to save my life. That's when I ended up with the Adidas because unfortunately when I tried on the Glycerine 8's they felt like garbage. Apparently I wasn't the only one who felt that way because they were barely out a year and they replaced them with these lovelies which feel completely revamped but more like the 7's! Something else I discovered tonight is apparently my heel is too narrow for all asics, at least that's the way all three pairs I tried felt.

I'll take them out for their first run tomorrow and make sure they feel good after a little more distance than the space in front of the store allows. I know I shouldn't take them out for a long run my second time in them but if they feel okay tomorrow then I'll probably knock out Saturday's long run in them and hopefully not visit blister city...

I love going and picking out new shoes at the store. I know you can usually find them cheaper online and I actually bought both the kinvara's and cascadia's online and got lucky that I liked them but I really do like being able to try them on first and I'm not the type to go waste their time in the store and not buy from them. I feel like that's kind of a dick move so I try and balanace it out and buy everyother pair locally. After all they do so much for our running community it's rediculous!

What about you, do you buy your running gear online or at a local running supply store? Do you have a favorite shoe that they destroyed when they "updated" them? Do you have different style running shoes for different runs (trail, speed work/races, high mileage trainer) What do you think about the whole minimalist trend and the lower drop between the heel and toe?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Photo Post

Just a quick post with a couple pictures. My brother and I ended up at my Grandpa's on Christmas Eve wearing the same sweater, how adorable. One from the anual "Suit Up for New Years Extravaganza" (I just made that name up, but we have been suiting up for the past 4 years so I guess it fits. Lastly one showing how "warm and fuzzy" I felt after yesterdays PBR Half Marathon. By the way a couple hours after yesterdays run it started snowing harder and didn't really let up until the ground was covered by a foot of snow. Thankfully it took a while to get here but alas the snow has arrived. Here's looking forward to March. I'll get a picture of the snow up tomorrow for comparison.
Apparently we think alike from time to time.
My sister and I on NYE. As my friend so aptly put it "all dressed up for the dirtiest bar in town"

I really didn't feel as bad as I look...I'm not even sure what that look was for haha

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

At the end of 2010 heading into 2011 one of the goals I set out for myself for the year was to run 1000 miles. It seemed like an easily attainable goal, all I had to do was run 84 miles a month. Thats just shy of 20 miles a week, or 5 runs of 4 miles a week. Sure I can do that, especially when you consider weekend long runs are going to be at minimum 10 miles. Or so I thought. Throw in pneumonia that doesn't let you run for a month and a half, time off for random pains that you don't want to turn into full blow injuries and then only six runs in the month following the Chicago Marathon Catastrophe and suddenly you find yourself with one week left in the year and needing 26.5 miles to make it to 1000. Even that doesn't sound hard at all since my plan for the last run of the year is a 16  miler leaving ten miles for the rest of the week. Thats 6 days to run 10 miles! No problem  Problem. Sunday morning, Christmas day I set out to run a nice easy 7 miles as recovery from the previous days 15 mile run. Right out of the door I could tell it was going to be a struggle. I managed a mere mile and a half before some pretty harsh pain in my right hip caused me to call it quits for the day. NBD right? still 5 days left not counting saturday's long run. I decided to take monday off and see how the ole hip felt Tuesday. A little rest never hurt. Tuesday arrive and it was still sore walking from time to time and definitely stiff if I sat for any period of time. I decided I'd spin at the gym for 40 minutes to take the impact out of the equation and hoped it would be alright. Wednesday it was feeling better but I figured I could do 5 mile runs on Thursday and Friday and still be okay so I let it rest Wednesday again. I decided the treadmill would lessen the impact on the joints so I knocked out the first of my planned back to back 5 milers on the oh so boring treadmill. Seriously. Boring. I don't know how people run on those things regularly. I had headphones on and a tv with the Notre Dame Bowl game (a dissapointment BTW) and I was still more ADD than a kid in a circus tent. During the run I wouldn't say I was it was hurting but I could tell it wasn't right. I suppose it is still considered pain then but on a scale of 1-10 it would be a 1. Friday arrived and I was still sore. I realized that hitting a 1000 miles isn't as important as if I do more damage then good so I took Friday off and decided Saturdays 16 miles wasn't going to happen, I'd have to downgrade the mileage a bit. I went into Saturdays run planning on 8 and seeing how things felt. No signs of pain 4 miles into the out and back course and I decided to push it to 5 giving me 10 for the day. I got to 5 and with no pain still I was convinced to go out another mile and tack on 12 for the day. Darn peer pressure. The route we took Saturday I'm pretty sure hit almost every hill in the area and some of them were quite steep! This wasn't bad for the way out but the last hill in the last mile I sure did feel that hip pain! On the plus side though it was the only time I felt it. I iced it and popped som ibuprofen when I got home from the post run breakfast (I love breakfast). It was a little stiff all night but not really painful so that was good. Especially since I was planning on a fun run, no pressure half marathon this morning :-)

One of the more fun events on the running calendar is the One One Run. It happens every year on New years day 1/1 at 1 o'clock. A nice way to run off the hangover from ringing in the new year and it starts late enough that you don't have to drag ass out of bed uber early. The run is a 2.2 mile loop through a park that you can either do one loop or two. Being the ambitious runners the EPIC CREW is someone decided we needed to go farther and turn it into a full and half marathon using the 4.4 mile double loop as the end of our runs. It was named the Polar Bear Run or PBR for short which appropriately ended with us drinking ice cold cans of PBR :-) I had an issue with one of the zippers on the bottom of my tights this morning that caused me to arrive late so I ended up running most of the 8.7 mile pre One One  by myself which thankfully wasn't too bad because I remembered my ipod. It was a great run and the hip didn't feel too bad but holy cow was it windy and cold!!!!! The run consisted of an out and back course. The out wasn't bad because the wind was at our backs, but the return was brutal. The wind and sleet was right in your face for at least 2 miles. I found myself looking sideways rather frequently to keep my eyeballs from icing over! Being late actually worked out in my favor because I got back less than 5 minutes before the One One started and I didn't have to stand around for 15 minutes like the punctual people did haha suckers. After finishing the fun run in 1:43:05 I sucked down my can of PBR muy rapido! It was cold standing outside and I didn't want to turn into an ice statue.

Enjoying a cold PBR with a few of the CREW

The PBR tale as told by Garmin

So I came up 9.5 miles short of 1000 in the 2011 calendar year....but.... last year I didn't run on new years day SO that means with todays PBR half that I did break 1000 miles in the last 365 days! I'll take that as close enough for a win! I can do that because it's my Blog and I checked with the only board member (myself) and I said it counts. Even though this year I barely made it to 1000 I've decided my first goal for 2012 is to double that number and shoot for 2000! I've been working on eating a healthier diet which will hopefully give my immune system a leg up and I'm going to work on not hurting myself by overtraining and getting a stupid injury. that being said I'll take a few days off in a row this week and hopefully this hip thing will be sorted out. I'm a guy and we don't like going to the Dr so I'm gonna avoid that if I can but I suppose if the rest this week doesn't help then next week I'll get in and have it looked at. Can't hit 2000 if I start off broken.  Hope you all had a wonderfull New Years! Here's to 2012 and the good times to come!

Oh and I'm still working on a post to list my other goals for the year and my next over due race recap will be shorter than the last for sure. I'll regale you all with the tale of my first 25k, the 5/3 River Bank Run.