Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fantasy Hockey Picks and Fall thoughts!

We held our 9th (or maybe 10th..) annual NHL hockey draft last night, fun times! I made some good picks, had some good luck with high draft slots early on, and I'm hoping for a good season, lots of wins and few injuries.

Basically, we draw #s to see where we pick in each round. I got a top 2 pick in round #1, and had top four picks each of the next 4 or 5 rounds as well. We select any position we want, in any order we want, but we are limited to 2-goalies, 2-centers, 4-wingers and 4-defenseman. Each week, we start 1-goalie, 1-center, 2-wingers and 2-denfenseman; the weeks are played heads up, the team with most points wins that match-up. There are 2 divisions, ten teams and we also have playoffs later in the season. We do a Stanley Cup pool as well, but this is not from the fantasy teams, just a side venture we've done for years. We've had the same bunch of guys all this time, so it's a blast to 'compete' every year for the title!

The only mistake in my entire draft was in choosing Jiri Hudler, a center from Detroit Red Wings. Well, at least I thought he was with the Wings, and CBS (who hosts our fantasy league) said he was a Red Wing as of last night. But, here I check his profile today on CBS and it says this:

The IIHF will allow Jiri Hudler to sign with Dynamo Moscow of the Continental Hockey League.

Notice the date on their update; if they knew he was playing for Moscow as of 9/09/2009, why wouldn't they pull his name from the pool of free agent centers in the CBS online league?? Here he was my last pick overall, and I thought I'd gotten a sweet bargin. Well, I will start Sid Crosby 100% of the time, if he is healty, so it doesn't matter too much at this time. Crosby has been in the top 3 picks overall for the past several years, and I've owned him for at least 2 years (this will be year #3). He had a mild groin strain in the last few games of preseason, but they say he is feeling better and will take the ice on the season opener on Oct 1st.

Eventually, I will take a look at the free agent centers and see if there are any bargins out there, and maybe scoop one up just in case. I could always use the center I pick up in a trade down the road, maybe fill up an injury spot or bolster the line-up for a late season run.

Here are my picks:

Kiprusoff, Miikka G CGY
Vokoun, Tomas G FLA

Crosby, Sidney C PIT (keeper pick from '08)
Hudler, Jiri C DET

Cammalleri, Mike LW MON
Kane, Patrick RW CHI
Hemsky, Ales RW EDM
Langenbrunner, Jamie RW NJ

Green, Mike D WAS
Spacek, Jaroslav D MON
Campbell, Brian D CHI
Kronwall, Niklas D DET

We're hoping to get to Chicago to take in a Blackhawks game (or two) this year. We always hit Cheli's Chili bar (owned by former 'Hawk Chris Chelios), its the ultimate hockey bar, good food, huge place, hockey memorabilia all over, TVs playing hockey games year 'round. They've got a chili bowl, you've got to see this thing. They take a large round hunk of bread, hollow out the center, and make it a 'chili bowl'-they fill it up with hot chili, put on some cheese, hot peppers and sour cream, it is delicious! Can't wait to get back there this fall.

And back when Cheli played for the 'Hawks, he would come in after some of the home games, with other 'Hawk players, where they had a 'semi private' bar area set up. I remember seeing Jeremy Roenick in there, Sergei Krivokrasov, even Steve Larmer back in the day when he was still with the 'Hawks (pre NY Ranger Stanley Cup days from 1994-still one of the best Cup Finals ever, NYR and Vancover, a 7 game series that was pure adrenaline rush every game). Some celebs would even come in with the players, one night my buddy and I are sitting there and in walks Cheli, and behind him walks in Smashing Pumpkins front man Billy Corgan-a big old tall dude next to the much shorter Chelios (who is like 5'08" on a good day!). Got Cheli to sign my one Blackhawk hat one night, and we've talked with some of his family who works at and runs the bar, a pretty cool group of people. Just a fun place to go in Chicago!

Yep, this is like the official start of Fall for me-the start of hockey season. I will miss the warmth of summer, riding in short sleeves with the jersy unzipped all the way, running in sleeveless. Yeah, but Fall is getting to be my favorite season, I think the extreme heat, athletics, racing/running/biking and all that fun stuff are getting tougher for me to handle as I get older. Fall is much easier on the body-man, I remember some of the days riding this summer in the heat, like when I was out east in SC/NC, some of the upper 80s days were tougher on me than riding for 6+ hours in pouring rain and the low 50s.

Winter is no gem to handle in Wisconsin either-you can only bundle up so much and endure only so much of those strong 25+ mph winds in the 20s on a bike before it gets to you-both physically and mentally. I like to tell myself every year that those tough, HTFU rides I do when itsin the 90s and blazin' hot with a ton of humidity, or those days when its like 20 degrees and windy and snow is piling up on my bike as I ride-I tell myself these rides are making me harder, stronger, more dynamic and I will be able to enjoy those Spring and Fall rides that much more. Yeah-I tell myself that, but it doesn't make it any easier to tolerate! But...deep down inside, those runs and rides in those torrid and blustery conditions are something you can tuck away for later, to bring out when you really need to dig deep down inside yourself and say, "Yeah, this is bad. But I know I can do it, I can do it, so lets get it done".

Thats the kind of deep down sort of drive I'm going to be digging into on Sunday, Oct 4th 2009 for the MM. That deep, deep well you draw from, to get through a super tough bike ride or run in the past, drawing that mental picture to keep the legs moving and getting it done. Yep, 3 days and she is here. Legs-feeling good, strong. Right hip-a little tight, sore, maybe irritated might be the right term. Overall-feeling rested, maybe a bit restless...mentally, I am going over my run that I will run, thinking about how it's going to hurt, staying positive at the same time, knowing the pain will still come...but I can get by.

Like I've said before, I just want to hear the crack of the starting pistol-or the air horn? Not sure what they use at the's about time to get it on and get done. Yesterday, I found a video shot by one of the JS Online reporters, he drove the MM route with a small camera mounted on the dash to record the whole route. Talk about a cool idea-they edited the footage and sped it up, while he narrated where the run takes you. Yep, it was a little daunting watching this, but at the same time, I was able to draw some motivation in looking over the course from Grafton WI all the way down to the Milwaukee lakefront and Veteran's Park, where we will finish amongst a crowd of thousands of cheering, screaming fans-including my wife, my kids and my race buddies Bob and Kim! The course itself is a little rolling at first, and you go back and forth, east and west, all the time heading north to south (lets hope for a north wind to cool us and push us at the same time!).

But the last (roughly) 3-4 miles are brilliant, you make a few more turns and keep south on Lake Drive, winding through the sleepy North Shore suburbs, until you make a quick left turn onto Lincoln Memorial Drive-where you can suddenly see a mighty body of water glowing a brilliant, blazing golden sun reflected in a deep blue and gray of Lake Michigan-what a sight it will be! This very turn also means you turn and run downhill-a true downhill, all the way to the finish! Awesome, I say!! I am hoping the weather will cooperate-the forecast said sun and a high of 60 degrees. Lets hope the rain will bypass the area-I will gladly take the cool morning and even clouds, but lets keep the rain on hold!

So, lets cheer on the start of hockey season, the "start" of Fall and the MM! I'm looking forward to all of it.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I'm doing my part...

To stimulate the economy, that is.

Made a stop at Allis Bike today, in West Allis (hence the name!) and bought some new cables, a new SRAM PC-1070 Powerchain (with hollow pins. weighing in at 265 gr), and talked with one of the guys awhile. I'm starting to like this shop more and more, they seem decent and straightforward, knowledgeable and they have some hard to get parts (like my FD hanger, this was the only place around to have it in stock). The guy said he swears by SRAM stuff, which, I have heard a lot of good things about; he checked my cable housings, said they're fine, and said you really don't ned to replace cables, or the housing for that matter, as much as everyone says you do. He said they last and you will have poor shifting, or braking, if they stretch way out. He did measure my chain, and yes, it is stretched way out, it is shot, and this was the reason I was having the 'skipping' or slippage on the FLETC ride while going up hills under real power. He was surprised I got 5,000+ miles out of the Ultegra chain.

I'd like to try out a full compliment of SRAM components, say the Force or Rival, even. I cannot even consider the Red level, I mean, I'd love it, but I cannot justify spending that much on components alone. I mean, they were teams racing on the Pro Tour level, top continental teams now, racing on Shimano Ultegra level stuff. So for now, I think I will try the SRAM chain, see how she holds up, how it shifts, how it 'feels' during the ride, and go from there. I was thinking about maybe, just maybe now, building a new road bike with a new CF frame, and new components, next year. Maybe a Cervelo RS frame, and SRAM?? Maybe...I might even sell the TT bike to fund this project...but that's for another post and another day!

Yeah, I made a few other stops, too.

Not all the stuff in the pic was from today, BTW, the Polar computer stuff I have had lying around, from my rehabbed CS200cad. I will install that on one of my bikes here soon. But I did make a pit stop at Barnes and Noble, to peruse the mags. Can you tell I'm getting anxious to ride again???? Uh, yeah, and then there was the Garmin GPS purchase last week, man, I've been spending a bunch!

Seriously, I am a bike (and running) mag junkie. I usually have at least two (and often more) subscriptions to any given running/biking/tri mags at any given time; I will still stop at the book store to 'aisle shop', reading one or two at least while there, sometimes buying one (or more). Today, for example, I read the entire "Road" bike magazine, which I like, as they are an oversized mag, with awesome pics, really interesting and artistic shots, and some really good racing articles; the downside? Tons and tons of huge, full color, gawdy ads, pages after pages of them. I guess they have to pay the bills too.

I also ordered a new saddle for the Giant, which, by the way, sits in the repair stand, looking like this:

No saddle, no FD, no pedals, but at least she's clean!

I found a decent price on a Fizik Arione saddle, the same as my Fizik Arione Tri seat essentially. This one is a sweet black and red, with matching red bar tape, I should have it by Thursday (bought it off eBay this AM, and I already got a shipping confirmation email!). So the Giant will be road worthy by Friday PM.

I got a 17 mile ride in yesterday, instead of a run. I went a bit faster than I had planned, 18.7 mph average and done in 55 minutes. Wind was killer, 20+ mph W/SW with gusts to 30mph. But it was a great ride, great weather, and it felt good to ride again! A bunch of us are planning an easy group ride soon, a 'Tour de Java', a nice easy 15-20 mile ride, with a stop at Mocha Lisa for coffee and some sweets!

More later, I've got to run my oldest to piano now!

Friday, September 25, 2009

8 days to go.

Until the Milwaukee Marathon, that is. I feel like it should be here, like NOW. I want to get running it, and get through it, get it done and have time to sit back and reflect on all the training, and miles, and to think about how I stayed motivated this long. I must say, long distance endurance training is tough, both physically and mentally. My buddy and I talked about this some time back, when we were talking Tri's and racing over beers. We were wondering how the pros do it, day after day, week after week, and how they handle the off season, and then start all over for the next year. Yeah, I know money is part of it. But money only pays the bills. Life is so much more...

I say this as I sit here sipping on a cup of tea, listening to some John Ondrasik after a 14+ hour day at work. I'm sitting here, tired myself, with everyone else asleep, thinking and typing in the blog while flipping back to watch the UCI men's elite time trial world championships-which, I must say, I know how it ends-Fabian Cancellara wins his 3rd Worlds TT title, awesome! And he says he going for the road title this year too, incredible. I'd like to be able to see inside his head, or to sit down over a beer and talk about motivation and the mental aspect of training. I think this might not be a shocker, some of the athletes are probably positive by nature, and have some super genome to make them fast, maybe. But what about the mental aspect for these athletes? I wonder how they get motivated, and how it affects their personal lives. I bet there are plenty who's lives are a train wreck, they are crappy people, and yeah, they might be a super athlete, but a piece of crap as a human being. This is probably the case more often than not, I'd bet.

But, I guess that's the beauty of the human nature, every one of us is different in our likes, dislikes, what motivates, and what depresses. I was listening to a U2 album in the car today, How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb, and was just digging a few of the songs. In particular, I love, "Sometimes You Can't Make It on Your Own", the love/hate (or maybe, more aptly, lust/scorn) comparisons and being hard enough to tough it out-it is inspirational to me. And "Miracle Drug", I dig this tune. I love the lyrics about looking inside someone's head, someone close to you, to see what they are thinking, what they are feeling-the ever present tug of war inside ourselves between love and logic.

There is no failure here sweetheart
Just when you quit
I am you and you are mine
Love makes no sense of space and time
We'll disappear
Love and logic keep us clear

Ahhh, sweet music, the complex, sharp lyrics and the synergy it gives me. This is one thing, I must admit, which reminds me of being a young teen, listening to music and the lyrics and the guitars, almost like the guitar itself could speak, and feeling, well, sort of "plugged in". Like sometimes listening to music made you understand what was happening around you better, made you feel more, even when you felt mad, or depressed, or joyous, or when a relationship was ending-even if it took months and months to figure it out. Like the feeling I used to get, looking forward to going out on the weekend with friends-the music I played in the car made it, well, real and more enjoyable, more like life should be like. This one thing is still the same after all these years. I think this is why I enjoy my 7 year old playing piano, and doing as well as she is doing. I remember playing around on the acoustic guitar, wishing I understood the sheet music better, wished I knew more cords. But I can live vicariously through her now, because she does understand it. Awesome, I say. Ahh, yes, the beauty of being a little sleep deprived + having worked too much this week + plugging in the iTunes for some jams while trying to remember what you felt like 20 years ago=serendipity! Yeah, I'm really hoping I will be plugged into the music (musak towards the end!) for the MM-my playlist is almost done, I need to shuffle it up and make some last minute adds, but I might just post the whole thing later this week. I love the power of music!

So much more to talk about, but it is getting late and I have one more day to work yet. I will need to type every night this last week leading up to the MM, just to keep my sanity, to get the thoughts out about all that is rattling around in my squash lately. Some good, some not so sure about, much about the MM, and how it should get here already!!

One "first" for the week, here are a couple pics:

Riding to Maddie's school together-for the 1st time!

Yeah-it was a blast! Maddie really got a kick out of this, she said we need to do this every week when I'm off weekdays and the weather cooperates. Monday might be ride to school day #2!

Training is good, taper time is here. I will run tomorrow, maybe a 10k at a easy pace. I did a 13.1 early in the week, faster than MM pace, and felt good. I did a 10k at 8:13 pace, and felt good. I have about 100 miles in this month. I feel that I have prepared fairly well physically, and I'm going through the mental preparation now, telling myself, " I am ready!". No injuries, no surprises, no doubts! I just want Oct 4th to get here!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A 10k run-Garmin Style!

I'm trying out this App from Garmin Connect, sharing on FB and here on blogger too. I will add more soon (if this one works!).

Garmin Connect -
Activity Details for
10k run

Shared via AddThis

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Tech Update and longest run.

Well, here we are, just over two weeks until Milwaukee Marathon. Thought I'd post a quick update on training and some new gadgets I've recently purchased to help me in my quest to run the MM.

The first thing I got was pretty cheap, and works fairly well, at least for me. I was getting tired of carrying the Fuel Belt around my waist, the water or Powerade seems to slosh around, so now I carry this:

It has a neat little pocket, so I can carry my gels, ICE #s, and even the car key.

But the big purchase was this:

I mentioned I was having ongoing problems with my Polar F6, so after researching some other HR watches, and listening to friends who have the Garmin, I opted for the Forerunner 305. My wife even gave me the green light, so I drove out to Best Buy at like 8:45 the other night to make a late purchase. Her reasoning was sound enough, saying that I would pour over the owner's manual for like 2 hours, have to charge it up, then set it for my preferences; I wanted to use it on my long (LONG) run on Wed, so I pulled the trigger and bought it. And I did go over the manual, but only for like an hour, and the 305 charges in only 3 hours. It has a run time of about 10 hours, has so many options and features that I'm still learning them, but all in all, I could sum it up so far like this, "It is the BOMB". I love it. Here is a shot of the data from my 1st run with it:

Here is one of the screens you can view while running, or biking (I need to purchase the speed/cadence sensor ASAP!)

So, I love the Garmin, I love the GPS, and the huge amount of data you get from each workout! I'm still trying out various software options, to see what will work the best for me, but I will post more on this later. But in short, you can load your data (including your mapped route) directly to most of the sites I use, including Pretty sweet, I must say. Also pretty sweet- my longest run, ever, in my life:

Name: 18.25 mile run
Type: Long Run
Date: 09/16/2009
Start: 09:52:00
End: 12:39:00
Time Taken: 02:47:26
Workout Weight: 192.0 lbs.
Workout Route: 18.25 mile run
Total Distance: 18.25 mi.
Burned: 2,749 (kcal)
Effort: Hard
Quality: Ok

Avg Pace:09:10 min/mi
Best Pace:07:13 min/mi

Yeah, I put my arms up after passing 15+ miles (my previous longest run), like I had just won some major race, but hell, to me, I had won!!

The software will break everything down by lap, if you want. Lap #1, for example, was my 1st loop prior to stopping at my car for a new bottle and to towel off:
Lap #1
Energy Burned 1,521 (kcal)
Total Distance 10.10 mi.
Time Taken: 01:28:49
Pace: 16:04 (min) 08:47 (avg) 06:23 (max)
Speed: 3.73 (mi/hr) (min) 6.82 (mi/hr) (avg) 8.15 (mi/hr) (max)
HR: 89 (bpm) (min) 155 (bpm) (avg) 185 (bpm) (max)
Actions: View Data Chart

Needless to say, I did not hit 185 for a max HR (my max this run was maybe 157 bpm, if that). I think I took off too fast, and did not give the Garmin a chance to sync with the HR strap (post run, I read you are supposed to wait until the display shows it is properly synced, guess I didn't read that manual good enough!) And, I ran the 1st 10 miles way too fast. I felt awesome, really, really good, prior to this run. I had taken the previous 3 days off from running, and I biked about 11 miles at an easy pace, just to stretch the legs, on Tue. So, I ran too fast, and paid for it later in the run.

Lap #2, wasn't really a lap at all. This was my rest stop/water stop at the car, so I was standing there for 1m 25s before taking off.

Now, lap #3 is where I 'hit the wall' and slowed down, way down to a 9:20/avg pace. I was still able to run in the time I wanted to hit, despite the problems late in the run. Now, this was no bonk, my legs just got tired and heavy, not to mention the pain in my hip flexors was killing me! I had taken 2 gels and 2 bottles during the run, but I knew I did not have enough fluids with me, and I kind of conserved later in lap #3, and I paid for it. It started heating up towards the end of the run as well, which didn't help. So, the combination of too fast a pace early on, and the lack of fluids later, gave me some leg cramps post run, and I was beat. Here is what my hat looked like:

It was worse, I dumped some water on the brim, to take out some of the white sweaty, salty residue!

But, I'm glad I learned this lesson in a training run and not during the MM. I will for sure drink at every aid station during the marathon, and I will keep my pace at the pace group pace, no faster! I am also planning on carrying my Nathan water bottle, with my gels, and I'm doing some nutrition research as we speak; my buddy emailed me a link from Hammer Gel products and for a great endurance athlete nutrition guide. It is well written, informative and very detailed. I have used some Hammer products in the past, but I might lean towards trying some more of them in my last 2 weeks of MM training, to see how I react and how well my digestive system will process them. I just started reading this manual today, so I will post more about my findings later this week.

In the meanwhile, I am going to play around with the Garmin and change some of the screen display options, man, this thing is SO COOL!! I wish I would've had it on the FLETC ride for the data and elevation changes!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


Its a weird numbers day with the day/date/year thing. I've seen a few stories online about the numerologists, mathematicians, statisticians, and some general crazies commenting about the importance of the #s, the meaning of the #s, weird stuff about the #s.

I don't know about any of that, I never liked math all that much anyways. What I do know about #s is this; my running #s are looking pretty good so far this month, and as far as 09/09/09 goes, it kicked my butt, or more aptly, I kicked my butt.

For the month, I'm up to 45.2 miles as of today, in only five runs. Here are the past three days:

Mon 9/07: 7.5 miles in 1h 04 m 29s
Tue 9/08: 7.5 miles in 1h 06m 11s
Wed 9/09: 13.1 miles in 1h 58m 45s

The 7.5 mile runs are becoming, I can't believe I'm saying this, easier. My plan this week, leading into today, was to really test the legs and stress them out, which, I think I've done over these past three runs. I definitely ran slower each day, and today's corrected time should be about 2 minutes less (about 1:56:35 or so), as I stopped at the car to swap bottles and towel off. I decided to let the clock run, just to see how much time I took at the stop. This is still way slower than my 1/2 Marathon race from last summer (just under 1h 48s), but again, back to back days of 7.5 mile runs at sub 9 min pace and then running a 1/2, well, you're not going to get your fastest time on that 3rd day! This was used to build up the endurance in the legs, pushing them a little harder than last month, getting ready for that 26.2 in 3-1/2 weeks.

I tried something new today as well; I parked my van at the end of the street, and ran a loop of 4 miles, so I could stop to refill water, grab gels, towel off, etc without stopping home. I can't leave a bag lying somewhere with my stuff in it, it will get swiped, that much I do know. And overall, I liked how this worked out! Stopping helped freshen up the legs for that 3rd loop, so I might even consider walking at the aid stations during the Mary-especially when the miles get way up there.

Tomorrow (my day off) will be a rest day, nothing planned at all, other than to hang out with my youngest and head over to my mom's to see how her canning is coming along. I need it-work this week was long, with a 12hr shift the 1st day back, and having to run at work that day on my 'rest day'; my partner and I chased a burglary suspect we caught in a huge warehouse. Although running with 20+ lbs of duty gear, radio, vest, work shoes, through the woods and over fences is not my idea of a great workout. I twisted the heck out of my left ankle in the woods, and was a bit worried because it was hurting a bit that night. But I've run on it since several times with no problems, so I think I just tweaked it a bit. I would have been pissed if I wrecked my ankle and not been able to run the marathon, especially because the 'suspect' is already back on the streets.

But, enough rant about the failings of our criminal justice system. Friday I will run a 7.5 mile post run, commemorative 9/11 run, as I do every year now (either biking or running on 9/11). Saturday, maybe another 7.5 miler, Sunday is a 7a-7p shift, so a rest day will be in order. Next week (the 14th-20th) I will be limiting my 'long' run to probably 12 or 13, with no hard back to back days before that longer run, simply more miles of at least 10k to 7.5 milers.

The week of the 21st-27th, this will be the bread and butter week; the week of the longest training run to date, and the peak of the Marathon training. I was reading some training articles online, and found a site where the author claimed you should try to go over 20+ miles for your longest run pre-mary; the reason being if you limit yourself to 20 miles, you've got another 10k to run on race day, and you might be hurting with this extra distance. I can see his point, and I can understand some other points of view saying you do not want to kill yourself pre-marathon, lest you risk injuring yourself or peaking too early and race day will find yourself flat and not at the peak of your game. I'm not sure on this one yet, I'll mark it, "Long run on 9/21 or 9/22, 'TBD' ".

The week leading into the marathon will be exciting for sure! I've got two days of training scheduled at the end of the week, so I don't have to worry about foot chases, fights with the crazies or OT. Friday Oct 2nd, our friends, my wife and I are going up to Milwaukee to pick up the MM race packets, and heading out for a nice dinner. Sat Oct 3rd, we have a kids birthday party with our same friends, and a night to relax and socialize prior to the race. I'm really starting to look forward to the marathon, especially the lead up before it. I'll be posting a bunch the week of the marathon, that's for sure!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The 10-43

(that's 'the info' for those not in the know) For August, I need to post my run totals. There are no bike totals to post, because, other than riding my bikes to the back yard to wash them, and ride 'em back to the garage, that's it, got nothing for ya, no rides! So here we go:

137.5 miles
15,802 kcalories

The longest run for August was just over 15 miles, I did it in 2h 17m at a 9:07 pace, which is about the slowest I want to run for the marathon. Oh, it rained for that entire run too, poured at times, so much that I had to stop home before the start of the 2nd loop to put on a fresh, dry coat. Overall, the month of August was my first EVER entire running month, where I concentrated on nothing else but running. And I would say the month was fairly satisfying, maybe a B+, if I had to grade it. 9 days out of 31 where I did not run, 22 runs logged. I could have run a few more days, skipped a few rest days, but I wanted to make sure I don't push it and wind up with an injury that blows up my marathon chances. Err on the side of a little more rest, easy does it for this 1st Mary.

Today was my 1st run of Sept, after taking the last 2 days off. I intended on only one rest day out of these past two, but circumstances (read: work) shot Sept 1st down, and I knew I'd be doing a longer run today, so I said "what the heck" and took lat night off too. Today's run was a decent run, just under 11 miles in 1h 35m, doing it at a 8:48 pace and feeling pretty good afterwards. I could have run further, but it was getting late, dinner was getting close and I had to run more errands, plus take the kids out for a bike ride after dinner. My goal for Sept is to log about as many miles as I did in August, maybe a few more, and build up to at least 2-3 longer runs yet, at least one 15+ miler, one 17 miler and a long 20 miler, the real test run. This is before starting to taper down on or about Sept 26th-27th. I am leaning towards two full rest days before the Marathon, and the 3rd day before, it will be an easy, short run, maybe only a 5k at a jog, just to loosen up the legs a bit. These two rest days before today's run made my legs feel nice, rested and fresh.

So, I'm feeling pretty good in these last 4 weeks leading up to the marathon. I was reading one of my race mags today, there was an article on the importance of the mind/body connection, and the real importance of mental preparation for a race or major goal; the author said something I found interesting, and also I realized it was dead on to my own attitudes about lining up for a major race or some big event. She wrote, "I like to think of a race as the celebration of all the hard training that goes into it. It is time to enjoy the fruits of your labor". I think this was my attitude in heading out for the FLETC ride, and for many of the shorter run races I've done in the past year. I never felt pressured, never felt uneasy about how I'd do, I just thought, "Man, this is fun, lining up with friends and racing together, at our age", and my results were better than I thought they'd be, more often than not. That is exactly how I'm approaching the marathon-it should be a blast lining up and waiting to start that long journey, even going up to the Expo to pick up our race packs the night before and to head out for dinner with our good friends who are running the Mary. It will be one of the 'Life List' things I'm talking about with our friends, it's one of those things we just have to do at least once, before we get too old...

Speaking of that, I just sent out an email to a bunch of the guys and gals I run and ride with, after I saw the latest addition to my 'must do at least once before I die' list; The Leadville 100. I saw a short video clip on FaceBook today, Lance Armstrong posted it (yeah I know, all the LA hype, some people are always critical, saying LA this, LA that, he wants the publicity, he will run for public office, etc. But I think he draws the right kind of attention to bicycle riding, racing and even marathon and triathlon now, as well as Livestrong. And, what can you say about this last one?) for an upcoming documentary entitled "Race Across the Sky", coming out in Oct '09. This looks like an AWESOME event to race in the near future; I know, my friends were probably like, "Oh, boy Hav has blown another gasket on this one. The last one was L'etape de Tour in France, the Door County 50 miler before that...."

But seriously, these are things that I feel are worthy of making my personal goals to do in life, like one of my dreams for as long as I can remember since riding my bikes, to mountain bike on Vancouver Island. A little history, since I'm rambling now. I had started my infamous riding life like many kids, on a BMX that was stolen from my front yard, not too far from where I live now when I was living in the 1st house my dad built. So, I went up to a Schwinn World Sport multi speed, had one of those stolen too (it's a Racine WI thing, crime stats off the chart!) and got another Schwinn until I got run over by some guy in his big Cadillac. The Cad man did stop at the crash scene, and he even gave me a telephone # so I could call him about paying up to get my bike fixed (not to mention, my bloody legs and arms). Yeah, he gave me a bogus #, and I did not even think to write down his license plate # (youthful optimism...or naive).

So, I quit road biking for a few years and got into the MTB scene, big time, jumped in with both feet. We used to ride at Kettle Morraine Southern Unit, near Eagle WI, where they have some very nice MTB trails, with lots and lots of hills. We also road Petrifying Springs and UW Parkside trails in Kenosha WI as well. So I racked up several thousand miles on my trusty Trek 820 MTB, which I still have, by the way (it's hanging in my garage as I type, complete with street slicks for pulling the kids in the Burley, when they used to fit in the Burley that is!). My girlfriend (now wife) even got the MTB bug, as did her dad and her brother, so we all used to go tear it up on the trails, along with a bunch of my friends, having a blast, coming home covered in mud when it rained, drinking some beers right on the trail along the way!

So, then I started having low back problems, and the docs told me, "No more MTB riding", so I listened, and got back into road biking again. Well, the docs told me I'd never run again too, and here I am, 30 days out from my 1st Marathon! And almost 9,000 miles later on my road bikes since 3.16.06, when I started my '2nd' road bike life. I guess I think my back will hold up to the trail rides and MTB, which gets me back to the Leadville Trail 100 race, before my topic derailment. Pencil the Leadville 100 in on the 'must do before I die' list...and I think I'm adding cyclocross racing to that list as well...I've been watching some CX races the past few years, yeah, got to try it. Something about running and riding a bike in the mud, I guess, it looks like a blast! Maybe not this fall, the season starts very soon now, and I don't have a CX bike, and there is NO way my wife is letting me buy another bike right now-she told me to 'liquidate' some of my other toys, like the Harley, the jet ski, what else can you sell, she asked??

I did ride my bike after all, after swapping out rear wheels (my Trek had a flat, with some large chunk of metal stuck into the tire). I went around the pond tonight with my 4 year old, who was pedaling along on her bigger purple Trek, while my wife walked with my 7 year old. I miss riding, and can't wait to get back on the bike soon. But it won't be much until after Oct 4th, that much I do know.

Quick off-topic: Beck and I went to see Five for Fighting (John Ondrasik) in Chicago last Friday at the Lincoln Park Zoo, for an outdoor show. Wow, awesome times at the zoo, and what a performer Mr Ondrasik is. The zoo has free admission, so we will be bringing the kids back there to see the no cage/no glass lion and tiger pens, as well as all the cool attractions. I posted a video clip from the show on FB, I will see if blogger will let me load it here too. The video is not the best, was shot in the dark from 150 feet from the stage, but the audio is pretty good. Here is a pic of the stage, at least (video, not so much on the loading!):

The lion pit:

And, we had a birthday party for our four year old bike riding star! She upgraded bikes in under two weeks!!

Me and my birthday girl:

My oldest, riding with her pet dog stuffed in her sweatshirt!

Buds, at least for the moment!