Friday, June 29, 2007

Running Deliema.....

It all started at the end of 2006. I had a great 06, became a new person mentally and physically. You know, "The Best Shape of My Life" kind of stuff. I started running as it got colder. Did a couple 5ks and a 10k and a enjoyed the training. I enjoyed taking my fitness level to a new high. And so on....

Early November we are at a party with some long time friends. One guy, was into triathlons in 2005 ,but not so much anymore. He wanted to do something in 2006 that he could train for and use to get back into shape. How about a Marathon? How about Chicago Marathon 2007? After a couple beers it was agreed too. It was me, him, and that guy who is overweight and out of his league, but just cocky enough to think he can hang (you know that guy!), who agreed we would do the Marathon.

January rolls around and two of us sign up the first day. That third guy didn't. Never did. Never will. So it's two.

I love to cycle and really am only a part time runner. My cycling season has been fantastic to date. My off season running program has me flying on the bike in the early season. I am loving it. The plan was to run three times a week for 15 miles until late July when I would focus on the Marathon. That has not happened. I am running, but lucky to get two runs or 10 miles a week. I am struggling with the thought of interrupting my cycling season for a Marathon. ??

Now, the leader of this brain cramp is backing out. He must be hurt. He must have some catastrophic runners injury, because this guy doesn't quit. Yep, he quit. He has he reasons and I respect that.

What to do? I have paid. Forked over the hundred bones. It is something I want to do, but like I have said, I love cycling. I will not decide until after RAIN (160 miles, one way, one day), which is in two weeks. Smart running knowledge is you need at least 16 weeks to train for a Marathon. Not to mention a pre training start base of 20 miles a week. I will not have that. I will close to 1500 cycling miles though.

With my fitness level is 12 weeks enough time to prepare for Chicago? It's Chicago! My hometown Marathon! I would love to run it. I am not a quitter. What would you do?

I am off to run.


Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Return.....

On the tenth day he returns from Mexico and RIDES!! We had a great time. Great resort and a fantastic view from our room (as you can see above.) That being said, it was difficult for me to take so many days off in a row. O.K., I did a couple of short runs through the resort and we did walk pretty much everywhere, BUT I missed my bike. It's kind of weird, the person I have become. Two years ago I would go months without strenuous activities. Who knew?!?!
So the legs felt good today on the bike. Every thing else was tight, but that I expected. It is time for me to focus on preparing for the RAIN ride. Yep, 160 miles, one way, one day. It's around the corner. Schedule wise it looks like I should have ample riding time. I am looking forward to it. Later.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Finishing Climb

Finishing Climb
Originally uploaded by aham23.

Nothing like a 13% grade at mile 130!!

Monday, June 18, 2007


Well that was interesting. I did this little ride Saturday called the Horribly Hilly Hundreds. A 200K ride in Wisconsin with over 12,000 feet of climbing. For a boy from the corn fields of Illinois that is a lot of hills.

Enough of the small talk. The stats: 131.36 miles, 8:45:28 ride time, 12,298 feet of climbing, and at no point did any steep arse slope cause me to stop or walk.

I rode smart, but hard. I used the early 2.5 mile climb as a test for how my day would go. The climb was brutal. Around half way up it starts to mess with you by presenting false flats and plateaus only to jerk you upwards again at 15%. I rode the hill strong, but my heart was pounding and the sweat was streaming. All this at mile 8! Sixty-two miles over this hilly terrain would be an accomplishment.

I traveled to and rode with some BFNIC buddies, Cylowe & Psimet. I think all three of us had a different agenda for the ride. At one point or the other we all stated we wanted the 200k route belt notch, but as the miles and hills mount things change.

That tough little roller mentioned above splintered us. The other two descend like madmen and I waited for both to fly by. Only Cylowe did and this surprised me. All three of us were united at the first rest stop (25mi). I will not forget the pain, the sweat, and the anger on Psimet's face when he approached and demanded my car keys. He was opting for the 100K route.

The 200K (124mi) route was broken down into five stages. There were four rest stops and after each was a new stage or loop. Miles 25 to 45 were stage two and I rode with Cylowe. There were so many steep hills I am having a hard time remembering all the details. It was stage three, near the end of it that Cylowe and I split up. We met up at the rest stop (66mi) and I could see he was in a Spot of Bother (thank you Phil). At this point neither one us mentioned 200K. Cylowe is a master navigator. He knows this area, how to read a map, and how to cut the route short if needed. We trudged on.

Shortly, we split. We still had half the ride and numerous hills ahead. At mile 86 I was stopped at an intermediate water stop when he rode up. Left or Right. Cylowe went left and I went right. I would basically ride the next 50 miles solo. These were the toughest miles. Mentally and physically. The suffering was at an all time high. Mile 100 brought the end of a lonely stage four and the last rest stop. I was there for a while as I ate, stretched, and contemplated what the hell I was doing. From this stop the route immediately went straight up in a long fashion. I had to snake my way up this hill. This was the toughest hill for me. I have no idea how I made it.

After a quick water refill at 116 and a tinkle at 125 I was ready for what I knew loomed ahead. The last 3 miles was uphill. It included that same evil ascent we tackled at mile 6 and the steep rise to Blue Mounds State Park, the highest point in Wisconsin. The part of the Midwest the glaciers missed. I met up with 2 or 3 riders near the bottom, but we quickly went our separate ways. Only one darted off in front of me. The rest fell behind. At the halfway point a gentleman was cheering riders on and playing music from his van. I thought his choice of motivational music was odd, but do not recall what tune it was. He yelled, "Keep it up, your almost to the top!" Liar. I knew this was only the midpoint.

At this point I am going 5 to 7 mph, barely moving the pedals. I found the need to stand more, but that hurt sooo much. The last quarter mile had some spectators who offered motivation and cheers. That was fun and helpful. I was standing, turning the cranks, and suffering like a dog. I crossed the finish line to see my two BFNIC buddies, Cy and Psi. That last climb went like this; 3.45 miles, 24.54 time, and 900 feet of climbing. It hurt.

My normal rides and training are done on flat country roads surrounded by corn fields. As far as I know I have never tackled more then 5000 feet of climbing in any one ride. Of course, I know I was not ascending mountains, but these hills were steep, it was 130 miles, and it was 12,298 feet. A cycling achievement for me, for sure. The body does not always cooperate. Heck, the mind does not always cooporate either. This day all things lined up.

The Garmin Stats.


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Monday, June 11, 2007

My Weekend....

When people ask me if I did anything exciting over the weekend I usually just say no, not really. I don't care to explain to co-workers my cycling and overall fitness obsession. I mean would they really understand it? Let me think......

"Oh, I had a great weekend. I spent it training for the HHH. That is an upcoming cycling event where I will ride 124 miles and climb over 12000 feet. My combined Saturday and Sunday rides totalled 80 miles and 4700 feet of climbing. "

Typically, the response are;

"You mean motorcycle, right?"

I just leave it at, yeah, I had a lovely weekend. I rode my bicycle and spent some quality time with my family. Clearly, they have no idea that I am not riding around the neighborhood pulling a kiddie wagon, but it works for me.

So, what did you do this weekend?


Tuesday, June 05, 2007

400 WATTS.....

The 2006 Udder Century was a fast century for me with a 5:53 ride time & 17.1 mph average. The 2007 Udder Century was a 400 watt hammer fest! Good times.

The usual suspects of the BFNIC ( IL Chapter) were there along with a couple of second timers and a few first timers. I knew before we even hit the road that this group would be fast. The wattage was just oozing out of some of these guys. I also knew that I wanted to test, push, and punish myself as part of my Horrible Hilly Hundreds (124 miles with 12000 feet of climbing) training.

I was not the driving force of this group, but I managed to hold my own. The results speak for themselves:
  • 100.45 miles / 5:13:42 ride time / 19.21 mph average / 86 rpm avg / 4865 calories.

Not to shabby for the first weekend in June. I see a sub five hour century in this group's future.


Saturday, June 02, 2007

Year To Date......

Some quick numbers:
  • Runs = 75 for 329.5 miles for 49:30:50 / 9 min pace
  • Rides = 19 for 714.7 miles for 42:08:09 / 17 mph avg

On the cycling front I am waaaay ahead of last year (my first season) when I ended with over 2500 total miles. Currently most of my running was done early in the year while training for a half marathon. My goal had been to run 15 miles a week for the purpose of cross training and more importantly maintaining a base for marathon training. That is not happening. This week I have no runs.

This worries me a bit as I plan to run the Chicago Marathon in October. In terms of running this event is right around the corner. Most marathon training plans are 18 to 16 weeks long and require you to have a pre training base of 15 to 25 miles a week. Anything less and you risk getting hurt. See Lance Armstrong in the 2006 NYC Marathon.

According to my calendar, in 18 weeks the Chicago Marathon will be ran. I got no runs this week. I got no plan. June and July are BIG cycling event months for me. Maybe I should stick to cycling? Do I have the time to do both? More importantly do I want to find the time? Questions I need to answer. Later.