Monday, August 24, 2009

Six weeks to the Milwaukee Marathon!

Yes, Sunday, actually marked the 'six weeks to go' milestone. Yeah, six weeks is NOT a lot of time to get my training in. It makes me want to run everyday, because I know, like everything else we highly anticipate (or we dread), I will be waking up one morning soon and it will be Mary Day!

Marathon Training update;

Training is progressing good to above average, IMO. No injuries to speak of (knocking on wood desk as I type this), standard aches and pains, shoes feel decent, my average HR has been progressively getting lower, even on longer runs. My weight, well, still about the same, I've lost about 3-4 lbs this month, I wanted to knock off another 10 lbs, but that will be easier said than done. I would really like to come in around 186 (OK, I want 185 on race day), but I just don't have enough time to get long, long distance slow calorie burning workouts in at this point. I mean, I could hit the bike on my 'rest day', and do a 3 hr ride, burn of like 1,500-2,000 kilo calories. Or I could schedule some trainer time, ride at night late before bed, or do some bricks and burn the legs up with a one hour ride after a run. But, I feel like I really have to get maximum run miles in at this point in my training.

That is one thing I've noticed, in the running vs. bicycle training topic again, I seem to burn more calories during a long bike ride than on a long run. Now it might be a little like comparing apples to Coors Lite, because for me, a long slow base ride might last anywhere from 2.5 to 4 hrs. My longer runs, well, even my longest to date was only about 55 min and 57 min, back to back, only about a 5 minute rest, respectively. And on longer runs, I'm running a much higher average HR than when I am biking for 40-100 miles. For a run, after training as much as I have, the avg HR is 150-155 bpm. For the bike, I might avg only 143-147 bpm, not a huge difference, but when you are looking are fat calories burned, the low range I hit in the bike rides takes more of these calories, instead of heading towards the slippery 'red zone' and anaerobic territory. On that note, I'd like to hop on the bike and do my out and back test route to I94 now, and compare the HR I hit versus earlier in the year when I was training for FLETC PUT. I'd be willing to bet my HR on the bike would be lower now too, even though I haven't been on my bike in almost one month! That in of itself, is astounding to me, that I'd even want to run more than be out on my bike riding the western Racine CO roads, in search of the ever elusive hills. But marathon is calling, it is close...must concentrate...

So it's late, I'll post my updated workouts, the post reunion celebration made me take THREE days off, that was bad:

8/18: 4.5 miler, 37:16 at 8:19 pace
8/19: 10k, 53:09 at 8:01 pace (fast for me right now)
8/20: 10k, 54:15
8/21: rest day!
8/22: 10k #1, 55:13 at 8:43 pace; 10k #2, 57:54 at 9:07 pace
8/23: 10k, 52:52
8/24: 10k, 53:00

So, not bad mileage in the past 7 days, 42.73 miles and 4,673 kcals burned up. I will run tomorrow, and then I need to plan the rest of the week and weekend carefully. I'm off Fri and Sat, but we're going to Chicago to see John Ondrasik on Friday night and Say afternoon is Ab's four year birthday party. Hmmm, going to have to juggle some things by Friday to run, as I'll be busy!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

60 Posts.

Wow, 60 posts already since the start of 2009 (or so, maybe it was Dec '08). Well, actually it's 61, counting this one. But close enough for govt' work. And to think I almost gave up my blog, just about threw in the towel at one point this summer. AND, to think, everyone is in bed while I type this tonight. Kiddies are fast asleep, wifey went to bed at 7:30. So its just me tonight, and I don't feel like watching TV. So lets BLOG while I jam the iTunes DJ for a cool mix.

Anyway, I was looking over some training records #s on, where I track my running stats and info. I ran a 10k last night after work, and put in a time of 53:09 and a reported pace of 8:01/mile. Tonight I ran the same route, and did a 54:15 and a 8:34/mile pace, the legs were just a bit fried today. Yesterday's run was great, I was feeling the energy from somewhere let me tell ya! There was a guy running in front of me, probably 1/4 mile out or more when I first saw him. I gradually gained on him, and right near my self imposed turn around point, I was nearing him. I know I could've easily caught him before the parking lot around the corner, but this would throw my 10k run up to a 7.5+ mile run. I actually passed my turn around point a bit, before my better side of my pysche and common sense caught up and said, "You'll hate that you did this. Don't do it, just stick with the 10k plan".

Now, when I'm biking, I will be rolling along at 18 or 19 mph and be at a comfortable HR, not pushing it or trying to make the whole ride a, "Hang onto the seat by your bike tights interval". But then, sometimes, I see a rider up ahead, and something just clicks in me. I just have to try and catch them. So I will push it into the red, and hammer down until I catch and pass them, they turn off before I can, or I simply blow up because they are stronger than me. Oh, I make sure I say 'HI' as I pass them too. I say 'HI' to all the riders I pass, either coming or going, doesn't matter if they're riding a $10,000 full out custom Parlee or a $50 hybrid from Kmart, I just think biking is just the type of sport where everyone should wave, yell 'HI' or hi-five when going past a fellow rider. We are like one big band of brothers and sisters out there, we understand the riding thing, the wild drive that pushes us to mount up and ride in the rain or snow, or in 32 mph headwinds. It's just that kind of sport, and I like that about the sport of bicycling. Not everyone will agree with me, but hey, it's IMO anyway!

Running, however, is a bit different. I am not a great runner, not an efficient runner. Chasing someone down while running is not an option, not at this point in my training. Nope. I just feel like I'm starting to get a grip on my running, more comfortable and focused. My HR has been gradually coming down, even on longer runs, which used to stress me into the near red (or full blown red); the past two days of 10k runs have seen my average HR come in at 156 and 154 bpm, respectively. My weight has remained consistent which, I must say is a bit disappointing. But I've cut way back on the night treats and sweets, and I feel better, like I've got more energy even after blowing my legs up on a 10k. I think the 6 a weeks are paying off-Sunday will mark the 6 weeks to go point to 'Mary Day' as my kids call it! My running stats for July/Aug are like this:

July runs: 29.75 miles
August runs: 72.4 miles (as of today)

My SuperNova Glides have just over 60 miles on them already, and they feel really good now. I don't think my shoes will be an issue for a long run. I'm going to put that one to the test this weekend, here is an exert from an email I sent to a few buddies:

So, Sat AM I'm going to try a 12-14 mile run, I will probably park the car at Wind Point and use that as a refuel/rehydrate point and do 2-3 loops. So between Sept 18-25th, my goal is to do a 20 miler, at or near marathon pace, which needs to be about 9:05. The week starting Sept 27th will be the taper week, a few 5k or 4 milers and easy paces.

So now, I need to start working on my iPod play list! I'm going to need about 4.5 hrs of music, yikes, that will be a tough one!

I'm starting to think a 4 hr Mary is a possibility.... positive thoughts ... positive karma ... yeah just keep telling myself that!

The iPod play list will be a challenge, really it will. I mean, try to come up with 4.5 hours of music that will keep you motivated, make you dig deep, make you think about your life, about why you run, about why you are running 26.2. I mean, I don't know about other people, but for me, the running music is a very personal thing, a very real part of my run and I cannot simply push shuffle and go; I simply cannot use the beat box muzak pieces that are out there for runners, to keep your pace at a certain bpm. To me, the songs are about the run, they are about my life, they make me dig deep. They make me think back to how I was before I began running and biking, before I hurt my back, things at work that have gone 'sideways' over the years (I like that, sideways! you know it's bad if it went 'sideways'!), old relationship(s) (one in particular, after running into her by sheer chance after like 14 years, and not really being ready for it), old friends, people I wish would have kept in touch with me or me with them. I think about how the music applies to my life, how does it motivate me, how does it get me angry to run for that PR?

I mean, doesn't every runner have an 'angry' run list? I have one, at least, not all angry but with some 'angry music' plugged in (yeah, it's like the sideways thing, I'm coming up with my own vocab here). I've been juggling my playlists, since I've been running so much more in the past 3 or 4 weeks. And when I say 'angry music', maybe I should clarify a bit. I am pretty sure everyone's opinion of what is hard, angry music will differ. For me, the Offspring are one of my favorites, even though I believe they are classified as 'alternative'. Man, I had to stop and shift to my iTunes, now Offspring are playing, quite loudly I might add, for everyone being in bed and out like lights! Yeah, and I'm making side trips to FB to update stuff there, I'm quite the multi-tasker tonight, FB is bumping tonight, not just me thats bored apparently! I've got about 7 tabs open

Back to the music-I mostly mix it up fairly well. I've got Pearl Jam, Jackson Browne, Counting Crows, The Fray, Augustana, Chris Cornell/Soundgarden, ColdPlay, U2, REM, Red Jumpsuit Apperatus, 30 Seconds to Mars and everything in between on the lists, even some softer, non traditional running songs. I even have a Beatles run list, it is a blast running to 'Eleanor Rigby' strings only and LSD, it is a nice break from all the new stuff once in awhile! What I might do is put the entire compilation of my 'Milwaukee Marathon' song choices on here, when I get it started. I've named the playlist in my folder, just gave to fill her up.

Well, back to the running thing. I was looking at the map of the route listed in mapmyride, and realized that I mapped it out all the way to the lighthouse. I have done this in the past, but I now turn around at the road, cutting the run down to an effective 6.33 mile run, instead of the 6.61 mile listed. Yeah I know 3/10s of a mile, whats the big deal. But still, I want accuracy in training for Milwaukee Marathon.

So the map thing was corrected. Now, I need to map another loop, using the Wind Point lighthouse (yeah, we've got a lighthouse in Racine WI, hard to believe I know) parking lot as a start/finish point. It is nice scenery running around the point, we used to race around it (my buddy lost his for one night's offenses) and at night, we'd park in the lot on dates to, uhmm, watch the moon over the lake! WHOO HOO, the glorious days of youth!

Well, I will update on my long run for Saturday, and hope my legs are holding out as well as they have been so far! For now, I'm thinking some reward snack is in order, maybe a little kettle corn and net surfing till I fall asleep at the mac. Cheers!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

20 years and a bike ride.

It's been 20 years since I graduated from William Horlick High School in Racine Wisconsin. 20 years. 20 years...that is a long time. A few of us were talking about this, it feels like maybe four or five years have passed by, not 20 years. How'd this happen??

This was our 1st official class reunion; there had been an '11 year' planning reunion, which I missed by the way because I was in New Orleans. But nothing ever came of the 11 year, so another 9 years passed us by, seemingly very fast, and we're at 20 years. So we had the Friday night 'Icebreaker' gathering at a local bar/restaurant. Beck and I caught some dinner at a great small little Irish pub with our good friends Bob and Kim, before this. The place we went to is called Schillings, very small, a limited menu, but simply awesome food. I had a Rueben that was, no kidding, one of the best I've ever had-beef so tender and juicy it melted. And they have a great, great beer selection. We will be heading back again soon, I'm sure.

So Friday night was just a 'warm-up' for the real deal on Sat. There was a decent turn out, I'd guess like 50-70 classmates, so we took over the outdoor 'Friki Tiki' bar. Good times, got to see some friends I haven't talked to in like 15+ years. A buddy of mine flew in last minute from Texas, called me out of the blue to see if he could still get a ticket to the show. Here are a few pics...

My lovely wife and I on Sat night

Friday night, with my long time friend Stacey Kondrat, who I met in 8th grade, she says I'm the brother she never had (nor wanted!)

My friend Tina Parise and long time neighborhood bud TC (since 4th grade!) on Friday

A group shot from Friday, lots of friends in this one!

Our 20 Year Reunion Committee, an awesome bunch!

More classmates, Dan Teska, Christina Castro (all the way from CA!) and my buddy Liz Loew, who argued about the choice of meatballs for the reunion dinner-it became a running 'inside' joke for us while planning things!

My buddy from HS, Robb Mueller, who flew in last minute from Texas! Keep in touch Robb!

The reunion went well, better than expected in my opinion. Turn out was OK, with over 140 attendees (this includes spouses, dats, etc). Now I say OK, only because we had a graduating class of 420+ people, and we got in touch with over 100 of them. Maybe there were 70-80 who actually attended the reunion. Using FaceBook and Classcreator helped immensely, without the online resources we take for granted everyday, we would have had a much harder job to reach out to people.

We were a bit worried about how the food was going to be, would we have enough, would people like what we many things to worry about. But I think the choices were solid, and there was plenty of food left at the end. We had a 2 hr window to eat during, and we opted for a 'pasta station' with a chef who would cook your pasta to order, with several sauce choices. Excellent choice in this one! And the other side was a buffet style loaded with mini sandwiches, meatballs (2 kinds, like me and Liz 'talked' about!), Cristini's, hand made sausages grilled with veggies, fruit-cheese-snacks, quesaddillas. Drinks were included, beer/soda/wine, so that was a good call too. We ordered 2 sheet cakes, which turned out to be way too much, one would have done it easily. And we forgot to tell them to bring out coffee, that was the biggest slip, but nobody really complained. The DJ, Chuck Petrach, did an awesome job, as he always does-he did my wedding over 10 years ago, and I've been to many events where he DJs, always a top notch job. We did a little karaoke, the reunion group sang Super Freak which was, well, rather freaky. I got picked by the committee to give a little speech-couldn't pawn this off on any of the others, so I sucked it up and tried not to sound too foolish. Turns out, my 38th birthday fell on the day of the reunion, so Chuck set me up (of course) and told everyone it was my 40th Bday! We had a good laugh at this one. All in all, a good weekend, and there was already a lot of talk about our 25th reunion, how everyone would come back, and looked forward to us organizing that one too....oh boy, here we go.

A bike riding first.

My little bud, Abbey, rode her bike with no training wheels for the 1st time around the neighborhood tonight, and she doesn't turn four until the 26th! Until tonight, she had been just coasting down our driveway, and would stop, but tonight we went all the way around the pond a few streets over. Here she is

She did crash it once, and scuffed up her elbow, but she toughed it out and rode all the way back home!

Mom and the kids, post ride

And the kids with their bikes, and helmets, which they put on without having to be told to do so! Good girls!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Running life. And other things you do...

So I was off today, day one of two. AND my wife was off, so we were going to surprise the kids and take them to Wisconsin State Fair, figuring Monday is a good day to go to avoid the huge crowds of drunk and idiot persons that tend to go there at night.

But before the going to the 'best time of the year', I had to get my run in! Since I took yesterday completely off, I opted for a 'long' run, well, long by my current standards at least. I have probably 20 or more routes mapped out in '', so I looked at a reasonable distance run, something over a 10k, which I have done comfortably several times in the past 3 weeks. I found a nice 7.5 mile loop, taking my out around Wind Point, the gold course and lighthouse area with the million+ dollar homes along Lake Michigan. I ride here frequently, especially in the winter months, since it's close to home, I know it well, and i can easily add miles to my ride by loping back around again (and again and again), plus still get home easily enough. Oh, plus my buddy Dennis lives right on the route, so I can stop for a fluid refill (or a beer in the summer) if needed.

So I geared up early (well, not that early) and took off, not really knowing how I would feel on a little longer run. I brought along some hydration, and tunes of course. It was getting hot rather quickly, and still was humid today, surprisingly even right along the lake (you are literally a hundred feet or less away from the surf in the Point). But, I felt good during the entire run, and I kept a decent pace, roughly a 9:25 mile throughout. I need to pick the pace up on the longer runs, but not yet. I still want to get some more speed work in, in the form of 5k and 10k races this month and next. This Saturday, I believe several of us are running the 2nd annual Aurora 5k run in West Allis, where I work. I was supposed to ride the Dairyland Dare 100k, but my riding partners are down with knee injuries, so we opted to pull the plug on the ride, since there are so many hills in central WI (it's along the IM WI course, a road bike course for sure). I did not want to ride this one alone, call it a psychological thing or whatever, but you want someone suffering next to (or close to) you for this one. Maybe next year...

The running training is coming along nicely, IMO. I am able to easily run 6 of 7 days straight, no knee or foot pain. My legs feel decent in the night, and I only take a OTC pain relief (Tylenol) on occasion to knock down the discomfort. I have been wearing my compression socks after runs, or at night, if i run in the early AM, and I think they help big time. So this week will see me run like this:

Mon-7.5 mi longer
Tue-4.5 mi reg run
Wed-4.5 mi reg run
Thur-4.5 mi reg run
Fri-4.5 mi reg run
Sat-5k race pace

And then I will start the next week, a longer run scheduled up front again. I've got some plotted out, that's for sure.

And post run, we were off to State Fair. It got really really hot there, and the buildings block the breeze, so it was pretty hot! But the kids had fun, we saw some animals, had some decent food and a few beers. Here are some pics:

And I made dinner tonight...

Which I might add, has been a hit lately, here is last nights...crepes with ALL the fixings...

and here is how my night is wrapping up, my kid's handy work with my point and shoot...I think she is going to be a great photographer, she loves the camera!

Me, enjoying a nice glass (or two!) of Clos du Bois Chardonnay! Good stuff, even though, I have to admit I might have a headache tomorrow morning! That's OK, I think I deserve it!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

One day I will be a runner.

I mean, I run now. What I mean is, I am sort of a runner already. But when I mean "runner", I mean the runners I see here and there when I'm out pounding the pavement on some of my runs. There are a few, yeah, you've probably seen them too, the thin, lean, long legged runners. The ones who run in a pair of running shorts, the young guys with no shirt, good looking girls in sport bras, running a fast pace, they just look like a "runner'. Hmm...I philosophical side is coming out tonight...

I'm finding the more I've worked out in the past 3+ years since my back surgeries, the more similarities and more differences I think I find in the sports I participate in. I love to bike, and I love the solo rides where I can hit one of my usual routes, finding those stretches of road where I can suffer and think about how great it feels. Those steep, short climbs, the longer, gradual climbs where you have to find that cadence to settle into and just suffer, while you just keep pedaling. I can just pedal along and think, clearing my head or getting away from the 'demons' as I ride faster than they can go-whatever those demons might be. Cycling has brought me to the level of fitness that I enjoy right now, that level I didn't have even when I was 18 years old. I feel like when I jump on my Giant, the bike is just an extension of myself, it's natural, it feels good (well, most days. After 100 or so miles, it gets to be a little old). I think to myself when I ride, "This is how it should be. The bike is part of me".

Now that I'm running again, I find that I like running more and more. I've been logging more miles in the past three weeks, bought myself a new pair of shoes last week (finally), and feel more comfortable in my running. Not the 'runner' comfortable where I'm running without a shirt, but I feel my pace is quickening, my heart rate is staying a little lower, my breathing is more rhythmic now. And I can listen to my iPod while running, much more safely so than when riding. So with the music with, it makes the run that much more enjoyable, I have that much more desire and drive to run faster. The music play lists are set, I can get into a groove, I can think about things that happened at work, things that happened 10 years ago, and enjoy that music. I can still run away from those 'demons' as I call them, the ones that everyone has in the lives, albeit everyone's are different than the next. I feel more complete with my run done, like mission accomplished for today; what's tomorrow's going to be? I feel guilty if I don't get out there for a run.

The thing I am also finding is to do both cycling and running at the same time, and to do both as well as I want to do them, is a tough thing for me to do (and swimming is not even part of my plan right now, that's a whole 'nother story!) I started out training on the bike late last year, early into this year, riding hour after hour on the trainer, getting ready for the long FLETC ride, and really did not run at all. I didn't have a need to train for running races that early on in the year. Now, summer is here, and most of my long rides are done. The Milwaukee Marathon is less than 2 months away, and I feel the benefit of running much more than biking right now, so running is just 'right' at this point in time. Does this make sense?

I don't know, I guess it makes sense to me right now. I feel pretty good, and even though I've got a lot of miles to run yet and a long road to go before the marathon, I feel good about my approach to things. Could I jump on my bike and ride a century tomorrow, and feel good about it? Sure, I know I could. Will I ride a century soon, No, I won't. I don't really need to is all.

This winter, in the off season, I might try another approach to my training. I really do not know what events I will do next year, there are a few that come to mind, but how will I train for what I don't have planned? I want to keep running, all winter, and maybe mix in less trainer time, more road rides if the WI winter cooperates. I want to keep that 'winter 10 lbs' off this year. I want to become the 'runner' I picture I could be in my mind; I want to run a 5k in under 22 minutes, I want to run the '10 Full Moon 4 Miler in under 30 minutes, I'd like to do a travel marathon somewhere warm, maybe a Rock N Roll mary? I want to run the Chicago Marathon too, and run in New Orleans.

And there are the cycling goals I want to do, maybe not next year, but sometime. I want to do RAAM one year, even as a team. I want to do L'Etape du Tour, I want to see the Tour de France in the Alps, and ride my bike there. I want to see a Spring Classic, and go to Belgium to take in a race while drinking a pint of Belgian Ale. Maybe ride some cobbles too. Wouldn't that be cool, to ride some of the Paris-Roubaix lines or in Flanders? Yeah, it would be OK in my book.

Maybe I'm rambling on about all this because I feel like I'm getting old some days, that our 20 year class reunion is this Sat night, maybe I'm just getting more sentimental and see more gray hair on my head, maybe I think of old friends and what the past really meant to me. Maybe I'm just rambling!

I do know today was my 'off day' for this week; I'd run 6 days straight, and felt I could have easily run today. But common sense tells me not to, to avoid pushing off the edge and into an injury, so I took today completely off. I ran about 26.5 miles since last Sunday, and about 24 miles the week before. Tomorrow, will be my 'long' run, either a 10k or a 7.5 mile loop, depending on weather and how I feel.

I know there will be more time to think when I run, more music to listen to, more energy to blow up when mad about something at work or something from 15 years back, more 'demons' to keep at bay. And I will ride my bike. Just not as much until Oct 4th is done and I've hit my goal of finishing my 1st marathon in the time I want. That's all I got now. I will post about my training/running log in the next post, details of how I am training for the marathon. Maybe a pic of the new shoes, not much different than the old shoes, but they're new and feeling good!

In the mean while, time to route out another new running course!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

I need to update this thing!

Man, summer makes it hard to keep up on this stuff. Especially with something like FaceBook, where I log in, look at messages, updates, get the info and get out in like 2 minutes.

So quick update, race info and such. My racing has been limited; I got sicker than I have been in years right before the Spirit of Racine 70.3, where I was signed up on a relay team with a few buddies. So with my 104 degree fever, my other friend took my spot in the bike leg. So no race there for me, but my buds did a great race!

After recovery from the big sick, I started running more. I revamped my main route, going up from a 5k to a 4.5 mile loop. I started doing 10k runs again, and this past Sat night, I ran the Waterford Full Moon 4 Miler for the 2nd year in a row. I was slower a bit from last year's time by about two minutes, here are the stats:

33m 31s
515 kcal
8:22 pace
164/178 HR

Last year I ran it in 31:38, and finished 10th in age cat. But, I had been running more last year before this race. A different year means different training strategy.

It was a beautiful night for a run, cool, no winds, a great event. I ran this one by 'feel', instead of relying on my HR monitor and spilt times on the course. I felt good, and ran a pace I could maintain. The run training has been good, I am looking forward to the Milwaukee Marathon on Oct 4th, where I'm shooting for a sub 4 hour finish.

Other things of interest, SuperWeek races came through here a week ago. We hit the Racine Pro race and Downer Av SuperWeek Prime, really awesome racing. I got to shoot some great pics, Team Garmin had 3 riders and I got to see US Olympian Mike Freidman in both events.