Tuesday, July 28, 2009

He Wears Short Shorts?

Before I get rambling here, I forgot to mention a few weeks ago was that I was accepted in the Brooks I.D. Program. I am one of over 1500 members in the program that "are active in their running communities and share a passion for the Brooks brand." I.D. stands for inspire daily. One of the perks of the program is that I get 40% off of all Brooks running merchandise. I have been running in Brooks shoes since early 2005 and have worn them in every marathon since then, so I was pretty excited to get accepted by the fine folks over at Brooks. Seeing as how I am racking up the miles in this training cycle, the discount has come in quite handy already.

I also decided I should probably purchase a few new pieces of Brooks clothing to wear on my training runs and my upcoming races. I have never really purchased running clothing on-line before, as I prefer to either eye ball or try things on before I buy them so I know they will fit correctly. I decided to use my 40% discount and take the plunge and order some shirts and shorts through the Brooks site. Both shirts I ordered fit pretty well. The shorts are a different story. They are a little on the, well, short side. As it turns out, most of the shorts I own have a five inch inseam. The new pair has a four inch inseam, but also get shorter the farther you get from the supposed 4 inch measurement. Here's a picture of them:

These babies are much shorter than they look in this picture. So, my initial though was to return them and get a different pair. Then I realized that I'd have to pay shipping to return them and they weren't that expensive anyway... so I have decided to keep them and embrace the 1970's runner that's deep inside of me. Kind of like Prefontaine, minus the moustache:

I nearly wore them on my 21 miler this past Sunday, but thought I should test them out on a shorter run first. Maybe I should wait for my 'stache to come in first. I actually did wear a moustache in the 2005 Chicago Marathon. I'll have to dig up one of those pictures and post it soon.
Last Week
Monday- 7.25 GA w/10x100 strides @ 8:03 pace, 142 AHR
Tuesday - 10.1 LT, w/middle 5 @ 6:51, 171 AHR
Wednesday - 6 Recovery @ 9:10, 125 AHR
Thursday - 14.1 Mile MLR @ 8:10, 151 AHR
Friday- 8 Mile GA @ 8:05, 149 AHR
Saturday - Rest
Sunday- 21 Mile LR @ 8:10, 148 AHR
66.5 Miles Total, a new career high

This Week
Monday- 7.1 Recovery- DONE
Tuesday - 4 Recovery AM, 6.1 Recovery PM - DONE
Wednesday - 14 Mile MLR
Thursday - 5 Recovery
Friday- 11 Mile LT, with 6 @ 6:52
Saturday - Rest
Sunday- 20 Mile LR
66 Planned Miles, although I am currently on pace to go a little over.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Running Will Kill You and Ipods are the Devil

Last week was mildly eventful. Here are couple stories I'd like to share:

On Wednesday, I was supposed to run 12 miles in the morning. I had set my alarm for 5:20. When it went off, I could hear thunder and see lightning, so I went back to bed and decided to run at work and I'd make up the remaining miles later in the week.

I was about 5 miles into a planned 6+ miles at lunch, when I came upon a couple of co-workers (a guy and a girl) that were also enjoying a run. I decided to run with them for a bit to shoot the breeze. After exchanging pleasantries, we began talking about running. I told them I have run a few marathons and am currently training for Chicago Marathon in October. Both were pretty impressed with my mileage despite the fact that the guy thought no one should run more than 6-8 miles per run during the week. Then the guy said that he runs about 30 miles a week of "maintenance" and ran a marathon once. He seemed mildly interested in running more, but he said he stopped after the first marathon because his doctor told him they were bad for you. He even had plans to run another marathon in Paris, but his doctor wouldn't sign a consent form for him, so his marathon career came to an end. Whatever his doctor told him about running marathons obviously made a lasting impression, because he seemed to think his life was in danger despite the fact that his check up and blood work were both great. The doctor supposedly said it just puts too much stress on your body. So I guess the Dr. thinks a healthy lifestyle includes eating like crap and doing as little as possible...because you'd hate to actually run enough to be able to run a marathon. When I saw the guy at work the following day, I told him it was time to get a new doctor. That doctor should have his license revoked.

On Friday, I headed out for a 10 mile run. I left a little later than I had wanted to, so I was going to try to pick up the pace a little bit to get all 10 in. As I was approaching mile 3 at the corner of the running path and Devon Avenue, I slowed down because there is a bit of a blind turn around some bushes before I have to cross the street. As I got to the turn, I saw a guy on a bike coming at me. I jumped off of the path to give the guy some room to get by. Unfortunately, he saw me and freaked out. One thing that people do when they start to panic on their bike is to take their feet off the pedals and stick their legs out straight. This 250 pound guy was no different. He totally panicked and the jimmy-arming of the handle bars soon followed. He started swerving and drove into the bush and then fell off of his bike.

Then he let out a few guttural screams.
"Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Aaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"
I walked over to the guy and said, "Hey man, you alright?"
He responded, "No! I'm not! I'm hurt!"
I started to get a little closer to him to see if I could help him up. He started talking before I could reach out my hand.
"It's your fault, " he said. "You were on my side of the path."
I was kind of surprised. And I got a little angry.
I yelled, "There is no way you can say I was on your side of the path! I was standing right there when I watched you fall of of your bike. You panicked."
At this point, he was coming to his feet and he started to get a little angry.
He said, "If you weren't listening to that Ipod you'd be more attentive to your surroundings!"
I really lost my cool at this point. It was this guy's fault he had fallen off of his bike and after trying to accuse me of being on his side of the path, he then tries to blame me for listening to my Ipod? Are you kidding me?
I yelled at him, "You know what pal? F-you!"
He yells back, "Well, F-you too!"
At this point, he's back on his bike and is starting to peddle away.
I said one more thing to him. I didn't reference his overweight body...well not directly at least. I am all for people trying to get healthy. I said, "Maybe you should ride your bike a little more (often) so you won't fall off of it."
He was yelling something back but was peddling away from me so I had no idea what he was blabbing about. I continued with my run, albeit with an elevated heart rate.
The rest of the run was not the greatest as I was looking over my shoulder waiting for this guy to come after me.
Last Week
Monday- 5.2 Recovery @ 9:37 pace, 122 AHR
Tuesday - 7.2 GA @ 8:22 pace, 143 AHR
Wednesday -6.2 GA @ 8:33 pace, 145 AHR
Thursday - 5.7 GA @ 8:09 pace, 153 AHR, 5.2 Recovery @ 9:14 pace, 129 AHR
Friday- 9 GA @ 8:28 pace, 147 AHR
Saturday - Rest
Sunday-14 MLR @8:27, 139AHR
53.2 Miles total
It looks like the rest day really helped on Saturday as the AHRs were a little high throughout the week

This Week
Monday- 7 GA w/10x100 strides -DONE
Tuesday - 10 LT, w/middle 5 @ 6:50 pace
Wednesday - 5 Recovery
Thursday - 14 Mile MLR
Friday- 11 Mile MLR
Saturday - Rest
Sunday- 21 Mile LR
68 Miles Total - Yowsa!

I did get a new pair of shoes. Here they are:

This is the new Brooks Launch. I am not so sure about the colors, but who cares? It weighs just over 9 ounces. I'll be using them on a few faster paced runs initially and seeing how they feel. If they feel good, it's very conceivable I could wear them in the Chicago Half Marathon in September.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Story Behind Running for Cru

This blog has now been around for about 13 months. It looks like there are lot of new visitors coming here on a regular basis, so I think it's time to give a refresher on how and why this started.

Back in early 2008, I had decided that if I was going to run the Chicago Marathon for a fifth time, I was going to run for charity. As June approached, I still had not selected a charity to support. Early in June, my friend and co-worker Ken Fanaro and his wife Michelle's baby boy Cruciano was diagnosed with SMA Type 1. SMA is spinal muscular atrophy and is a devastating motor neuron disease that affects about 1 in 6,000 babies. It's not uncommon for children that have SMA Type 1 to not make it to the age of two. It became obvious that I would do something to support Cru and the Fanaro's battle with SMA.

I then chose to fundraise for FSMA - Families of Spinal Muscular. FSMA is the largest private funder of SMA research. They raise funds to help find a cure for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. Shortly after that, I started this blog titled "Running for Cru" to detail my 2008 Chicago Marathon training.

The fundraising went better than I could have ever imagined. We eclipsed the $3,00o mark within the first 24 hours on July 1st. By July 4th, we had surpassed $16,500. By the time the fundraising was completed in October shortly after the marathon, I was able to help raise $33,550 for FSMA with the help and support of hundreds of people.

Cru's battle with SMA was courageous. He fought a great fight and had the love and support of hundreds of people. His life ended incredibly too short on September 7th, 2008, just two days short of being five months old. He was only with us a short amount of time, but he touched the lives and hearts of so many. You can see pictures of him in the right margin near the top of the page. He will forever be missed and will always be in our hearts.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Livin' the Dream

Kevin Wills, one of my best friends, will undoubtedly tell you that he's living the dream when you ask him how he's doing. And even though things may not always be going his way at that point in time, it never stops him from telling you. I have occasionally taken to telling people that I am living the dream when they ask how I am doing. I strongly encourage you to try it. Most people seemingly go through their days asking people how they're doing and it almost becomes a habit of saying "Good, how are you?" Throw something out there like I am suggesting and I'll bet that 9 out of 10 times you'll at least get a smile with your response.

My point to that seemingly pointless story is that you can do what you want with your life. Go for a walk. Go for a run. Go to the park, a beach, a bike ride, a car ride with the windows down, whatever. Ruby Johnson, the wife of another one of my best friends (Tim), had a great blog post about this the other day. People often ask me how I can run like I do and say "I could never run a marathon." Do you think I came out of my mom's womb with running shoes on? I ran sporadically up until 2003. I decided I'd like to try to run a marathon that year (I was 26 years old then), so I signed up for the 2004 Chicago Marathon. I followed a very basic plan, and think I ran 15 miles in Week 1 and peaked somewhere in the mid- to upper 30's with my mileage. I always tell people that if someone has the desire to run a marathon, than they can do it. It may not be the best time of their life, but with some hard work and determination, I really think that anyone can cross the finish line.

It definitely helps having someone cheering for you along the way. I am forever grateful to my wife Tiffany for supporting me through my first 7 marathons and several half marathons. I have had my family, her family, friends, friends of friends and even people I don't know come out and cheer for me on race day. If I could bottle up that feeling of thousands of people cheering for you as you push yourself to your limits, I would.

As I have gotten older, I have an even greater desire to not be around people who say they can't do something. I guess the same can be said for the people who are constantly negative. If you don't like your situation, do something about it. Move. Get a new job. Make some new friends. Get off of your ass. Your situation isn't going to magically get better unless you take control of it. It's like waiting for that winning lottery ticket. Chances are really good that it's not coming.

All right. Soapbox is put away. Sorry for the topic bouncing. On to running.
Last Week:
Monday- 12 MLR @ 8:26 pace, 136 AHR
Tuesday - 5 Recovery @ 9:15 pace, 115 AHR
Wednesday -9 LT, w/middle 5 @ 6:50 pace, 173 AHR
Thursday - 14 MLR @8:23, 148 AHR
Friday- 5.1 Recovery @ 9:14, 125 AHR
Saturday - Rest
Sunday-18.5 Mile LR, with last 10 miles at 7:11. AHR for the 10 Marathon pace miles was 165.
This was a very good run. I didn't know how I'd react to 10 at goal marathon pace at this point in the training cycle. I had a hard time hitting 7:15 on the dot, but here is a breakdown of the 10 miles: 7:22, 7:21, 7:25, 7:04, 7:24, 7:13, 7:07, 7:07, 7:09 and a 6:33 to close 'er out. Throughout the cycle, I will simulate a 25th or 26th mile where I see if I can go sub 7 for the last mile or two in case that will be necessary on race day to hit my time goal. Easier said than done and probably easier done in training at mile 18 or 20 than at mile 25 or 26 in the real deal.
64 Miles total

This Week:
Cutback Week!
Monday- 5 Recovery
Tuesday - 8GA w/10x100 strides
Wednesday - 12 MLR
Thursday - 5 Recovery
Friday- 10 GA
Saturday - Rest
Sunday-15 Mile LR
55 Miles total

Monday, July 6, 2009

4 Down, 14 To Go

Unfortunately there were no celebrity (or look-a-likes) around this week on my runs. No Osama, no Obama, no Jeff Tweedy and not even a Rod Blagojevich sighting. Hot Rod and his fancy hair helmet actually live less than a mile from us. The ex-gov supposedly puts up 8:00 miles. I am not sure if I'd try to tackle him or run with him for a bit if I ever saw him.

I finished up last week with 62 miles. Here's how it shook down:

Monday- 5.7 Recovery @9:35 pace, 120 AHR
Tuesday - 11 MLR @8:15 pace, 146 AHR
Wednesday - 5.3 Recovery@ 9:14 pace, 125 AHR
Thursday - 9.16 GA Miles w/10x100m strides; 8:21 pace, 144 AHR
Friday- 18.05 Mile LR @ 8:06 pace, 150 AHR. I ran this with Walter and Amy, two of my running friends from the Runners World 3:20 thread. It's definitely nice to have some company on 18 miles as opposed to headphones.
Saturday - Rest
Sunday-11 Miles @ 7:49, 150 AHR. This was a true progression run where each mile was faster than the previous mile. The last three were at marathon pace. Here's what the splits looked like:
8:46, 8:34, 8:24, 7:58, 7:49, 7:45, 7:36, 7:23, 7:17, 7:15, 7:14. I then tacked on a extra 1.75 miles later in the day with Tiffany and Isla in the jogging stroller.

Overall I am feeling good. Maybe just a little tight or sore from the unplanned marathon paced miles at the end of yesterday's run, but nothing terrible by any stretch. Here's how the upcoming week looks:
(I should note that I have been pretty fluid with my schedule. I use this as the outline and adjust when when needed. The main goal is to hit the weekly mileage total and make sure I accomplish the key runs. I have been moving days around quite regularly.)

Monday- 5 Recovery
Tuesday - 9 LT, w/5 @ 6:52 (Half Marathon Pace)
Wednesday - 14 MLR
Thursday - 5 Recovery
Friday- 12 MLR
Saturday - Rest
Sunday-18 Mile LR, with 10 miles at 7:15(Goal Marathon Pace)
63 Miles total

It looks like there are a couple tougher runs in there. The 9 Lactate Threshold with 5 at Half Marathon Pace should be a good test. And Sunday's 18 with 10 at Goal Marathon Pace is rough. I haven't yet decided if I will "Hudson-ize" that run or not. By Hudsonize, I mean break it into two, three or four segments to make it a little more manageable. It actually may depend on the weather. If it's really hot and humid, I most likely will break up the MP miles. If we had the same temps of this past weekend, I think I'd go for it.

Next week is a cutback week (55 Miles) and the end of the first training Mesocycle. The second Mesocycle, which is 5 weeks long, features some 20+ mile runs, some doubles and some longer Lactate Threshold runs and my first ever 70 mile week. Sounds fantastic.