Monday, June 30, 2008

Book It

Well, Week 1 is in the books and we're 1/16th of the way there. I have been really lucky with the weather so far. Yesterday morning was no exception. It was right around 70, which I will take everyday and twice on Sunday in June, July and August in Chicago. It's not uncommon to have to sweat through 80 and 90 degree days during training. And if you get really unlucky, you may even have to run a marathon in 90-plus degree weather. I'll get more into that story down the road.

So the 12 miler yesterday went okay. I came in at about an 8:45 pace, which was about 10 seconds slower than I would have liked. It not a huge deal at this point, as building mileage is the biggest part of these early long runs according to most.

One of the more interesting things on these longer runs is the people that you see. It's not uncommon to see people of all shapes, sizes, colors doing anything from walking their dog to practicing karate moves along the lakefront. My favorite thing is actually seeing some classic sports jerseys. I think that will become a regular feature every so often here. Here are the three somewhat vintage items I came across yesterday:

(The Sosa jersey wasn't signed)
And most impressively, this: (And I swear it was in really good condition)

Where a guy gets an adjustable Expos hat in Chicago at this point is beyond me. But awesome nonetheless.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

He Shoots, He Scores!

As I said earlier, Friday's run was a 6 miler with a goal pace of 8:31. I decided to get the run out of the way before work so I could watch the Cubs-Sox game when I got home. As it turned out, I didn't miss much. The Cubs were mauled by the Sox.

The good news is that the run went well. I ended up coming in at an 8:21 pace, so I am feeling good where I am right now heading into the long run that will close out Week 1 of training. I have a very minimal amount of soreness, which is pretty normal for me.

Perhaps the real excitement came later in the evening when my wife, some friends and me bumped into world famous hockey player Andrew Raycroft. Actually, I had no idea who he was until last night. And now I really doubt that he is that famous after posting a 2-9 record as the number 2 goalie for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. As it turns out, yesterday was not a good day for Andrew. Despite winning 37 games for the Leafs in the 2006-2007 season, he was released yesterday:

So, let's wish Andrew the best and hope he lands on his feet next season in a hockey arena near you. My friend Kyle Wills mentioned something about him having neck problems, but wasn't sure if that was due to watching a hefty 3.92 goals per game whiz by him last year.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Short and Fast

Typically, the Wednesday run throughout training will be a short run that features some speed or tempo. Yesterday's run was a quick 5 miler that included 2 miles @ 6:57/mi pace. There's a nice track just under a mile away from my house. I'll do a good chunk of my speedwork there.

The run was a little tough, but I was actually able to run pretty consistent 400s at 1:42-1:45. I was pretty pleased overall. My biggest issue was that people were coming on the track and getting in my way. There were actually little kids running and peddling around like maniacs on and off the track. I understand these kids don't really know any better, but do they have parents? That and the ice cream vendor decided to set up shop in the inside lane somewhere around a mile and a half of my two hard miles. I know I am not a world class runner, but is it too much to ask to leave actual track to the runners? There's plenty of space both inside and outside of the track. Who knows, maybe I'm the idiot for thinking the track is for runners.

As the weeks go on, those two miles will get stretched out to as many as eight, with the pace right around 7 minutes or so. I have a six mile run on tap for Friday at the same 8:31 pace from earlier in the week.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

First Day of Training

Today was Day 1 in the 16 week journey of marathon training. Even though this is the seventh time I have started a training program, it's still pretty exciting. I have tried several different methods and training techniques in the four years I have trained for a marathon and this year will be no different. One of the more challenging aspects is trying to figure out what actually worked and what didn't. So, I try to keep track of what seems to work in training and how my body responds and feels to these different methods. The wild card is that you train for 16 or 18 weeks for one day. And on that one day, anything can happen. You might not feel 100%. It may be incredibly hot, humid, raining, windy, or cold or even a combination of any of those. In the three to four hours it takes me to run a marathon, you really just hope for the best and hope that the training you did in the months leading up to the race has prepared you for the big one.

With that being said, one of the techniques I will be using this year is trying to make every run count. I will attempt to do that by applying a goal pace for nearly every run. This morning's goal pace was an 8:31 across 7 miles. I came in a little fast at an 8:16, but I am okay with that. It felt pretty comfortable. The 15 second per mile difference was probably because it was the first day of training adrenaline and I really haven't timed myself in run since last fall.

It's easy to fall into a routine where you're just getting your miles in. In years past, I may have 38 miles scheduled to run in a given week. Maybe that included these five runs: (in miles) 5-7-5-8-13. In the past I have put as much emphasis as possible to get the run in no matter what it takes. If I felt a little sluggish, maybe I'd plod through my 8 mile run, or maybe even cut it to 6 miles and call it a day. I do realize it's very tough to run on every scheduled day because things do come up. But I will try even harder this year to make that happen.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Let's Get it Started

Hey everyone. I'd like to start this blog by giving you a taste of what I plan on doing here. My marathon blog will give you a peek inside my training for the 2008 Chicago Marathon. This year, I'll be running the Chicago Marathon for the 5th time and this will be my 7th marathon overall. In the past, my goal is to run each marathon faster than I did the previous year. While that is still a goal this year, I have decided to try to raise money and awareness for SMA. SMA is spinal muscular atrophy, which is a disorder that affects the control of muscle movement. My friend and co-worker Ken's baby boy Cruciano was diagnosed with SMA Type 1 in June. Cru and the Fanaro's have an extremely difficult road ahead of them. Please join me in helping fund research to find a cure. That's also why the address of this blog is called "Running for Cru."

In the coming four months, I'll try to provide regular updates on my training. I'll also mix in some stories, thoughts, observations and hopefully provide you with a laugh along the way. I'll be posting the link to help contribute to my fight against SMA here in the near future. Please check back in regularly.

Here are some links to learn more about SMA: