Monday, December 29, 2008

Closing the Book on 2008

I hope everyone' s having a great holiday season. I am not sure when the season starts or ends, but here's hoping yours has been joyous. Or something like that.

The snow here in Chicago has been washed away and I was able to resume outdoor running. I was able to get 6 in on Saturday and 12 on Sunday. I was the lucky recipient of a Garmin Forerunnner 305 for Christmas, so it accompanied on my weekend runs. It's nice to see how accurate my previously mapped courses really were; some mile markers are off just a bit, while a couple others were dead on. Weird. It's also my first time running with a heart rate monitor, so I am kind of swimming in numbers right now. I am excited to track all of this data. I think this officially makes me a full-fledged runner.

I also received a few other running items for Christmas including a new Nike cold weather running hat as well, a giftcard to Nike, a copy of the 2nd edition of Advanced Marathoning (scheduled to arrive soon) and the RW book "Run Less, Run Faster (FIRST). I have never followed the FIRST plan and from what I have gathered, it is more suitable to people who cross train or are triatheletes. I also feel like I already have been running less per se. For much of my training for the Chicago Marathon, I ran four days per week. I am pretty confident I could see better results by running more.

So, that kind of takes us into Running goals for 2009. I have never come up with a list like this before, but here goes:
  • Run More! How about 2009 miles in 2009?
  • Improve all of my previous personal records, which were all set in 2008 between September and November:
  1. Marathon - sub 3:20 (previous best 3:29:58)
  2. Half Marathon - 1:32 (previous best 1:38:34)
  3. 10K - 40:00 (previous best 41:48)
  • Incorporate more core work into my regular routine
  • Do all of this while becoming a father for the first time
I know this may look a little ambitious, but I think I am ready to take a huge step forward in my racing. I feel like I know more about running now than I ever have. I am also going to maintain some level of fitness in the offseason by running 20-30 miles per week. Prior to actually starting training, I will build my runnning base appropriately and actually be ready to go and in great shape for training.

I know I said it before, but the fundraising for FSMA that I led this year was one of the greatest things I have ever been a part of in my life. Raising $33,500 dollars was absolutely extraordinary. I think that a wide array of people who were previously unconnected can come together to support a common cause. I think that was the case in the fundraising effort. I can't thank all of you enough for your support.

The thing I have a hard time with is that Running for Cru came to to a glorious peak on October 12, 2008. I am not calling anyone out or anything of that nature, but I think it's part of human nature and to a lesser degree the American way of life that then moves on to the next thing. Meanwhile, the loss of Cru is still incredibly painful to his loved ones. Most everyone, while still remembering him and thinking of what a tragedy it is to lose someone so early in life, has gone on with their life.

So what do we do? I don't really have the answers. Thank God or whatever you believe in that you are fortunate enough to be able to wake up every morning and live life? That may sound a little crass. Make the most of life because while it's a beautiful and precious thing, it can be fleeting? Really, I don't know.

I am 95% sure I'll be running for charity in the '09 Chicago Marathon. And I am 95% sure it will be something related to trying to cure SMA. I am not sure it will be the same organization, but it very well could be. I have also thought of trying to recruit a few other runners to join me and form a Running for Cru team - Cru's Crew maybe? They could possibly raise a few bucks to help the cause as well and we could spread the word about SMA. I am not sure if there'd be interest, but I think it's worth a shot. Like I said multiple times back in June or July or August or September or October, if we could help even one family from going through what Ken and Michelle have gone through and are still going through, this is and will always be a success.

Lastly, thanks for reading over the past several months. I obviously like to talk about myself. Thanks for listening. I hope this blog has brought you some happiness, a laugh, some decent running information and some awareness of SMA in 2008. If you have been following along since it's inception in late June, it's most likely brought you a cry as well. Here's hoping 2009 brings you and yours many more good times than bad. See you in 2009!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let's Go Browns!

It's again been a while. I'll do better now that the nursery is painted, the furniture is put together and the bedding is in hand. Here a some thoughts that have popped into my head over the last couple weeks.

  • The title of this post is a reference to my fantasy football team. If the Philly D scores 25 points or less tomorrow night, I'll be playing for the money next week. Here's a fantasy side note for you: I am thinking about hanging up my fantasy spikes. Yes, I know it's hard to believe. And I am talking about baseball here too. I am having a hard time deciding if my time could be spent in a better way. Football is one thing. A monkey can pretty much play fantasy football. And it's basically a one day thing, with the exception of some Monday and Thursday night games. But basbeall is 6 months of picking up guys off the heap, changing line-ups and hoping that your projections are accurate. Don't get me wrong, I love part of it. But the's just so much time. The other factor is that I am not sure the league I currently devote my time and money to is pretty forgiving in terms of guys making huge mistakes and being dumb. I think there's only one or two guys in the league who regularly checks in over here and that's unfortunate. I should probably stop on my rant now.
  • Ice is not good for running. Cold and rain are fine, but ice is a pain in the ass. It's not a new development, but it isn't really my idea of a good time. I haven't fallen yet this year and hope to keep it that way.
  • While Blagojevich scandal hasn't been dubbed anything yet, I am asking everyone to start fighting back against putting "gate" on the end of any scandal. The Watergate was the name of the hotel/office building. This drives me absolutely insane. Here's a list of other "-gate" scandals. How awesome is it that there is a sausagegate?

I have couple running friends who recently had a couple of events. I met both of them through Runners World On Line and you may have heard me mention them before.
  • On his 40th birthday, Ron completed a 40 mile run in honor of his cousin this past Sunday. His cousin passed away five years ago from cancer, so he wanted to honor him and raise money to help fight the disease. Here's a link to Ron's recap of his 40 at 40 run: I found the run and report to be both inspiring and crazy. I can't imagine 40 miles. 26.2 is about as long as I want to go. I think I promised my wife that I would never run anything longer a few years ago. I feel very comfortable with that promise.
  • Walter, another friend through RWOL, ran the Memphis marathon last Saturday. This was Walter's 3rd marathon of 2008 and unfortunately, it was his worst. At this point, I hope he's getting over the disappointment of the race not going how he had hoped. Walter had a ton of momentum heading into Chicago, but the heat got the better of him and he finished with a 3:28. All of his training had pointed to a 3:15-3:20. So he decided to make the most of the shape that he had worked so hard to get in and signed up for Memphis. Two weeks or so before Memphis, Walter caught a bug and wasn't healthy for the race. He gutted it out and ran it anyway and posted a 3:55. My point in bringing up his story is that marathoning is hard. And despite your preparation, all of your heart and all of your efforts, it can still bite you. And there's nothing worse than putting your heart into something and not getting the result you think you worked for. Walter's three marathons in one year is a feat. The last two didn't go to plan, but there's plenty to be proud of. Hopefully with a little time and reflection, he'll feel the same way. I was ready to quit running after the 2007 Chicago Marathon. After a little time, I was 100% back on the wagon and was ready to punch the marathon in the gut.
  • I am begining to think about the CD that I give out around the holidays that highlights 20 or so songs from the 2008 Chicago Marathon playlist. If you are interested in what was pumping in my ears on that day, let me know. I love to share music and will send you one of the CDs. Send me an email at or leave me a note in the comment section.
  • I was able to get 26 miles in this week, thanks to a 12 miler today. It was ridiculously windy though. As long as the ice stays away, I should be able to stay in the 20-30 range for the winter. Here's hoping.