Monday, October 29, 2007

The Mile

It is the classic running distance. It starts with childhood and P.E. class. It is the distance used to measure millions of teenagers fitness levels on a daily basis. We get away from the mile as we get older. A lot of Americans get away from exercise all together, but that is another subject, or rant, for another day.

On my 34th birthday I decided to hit a local track and run ONE timed mile. Let us call this the Birthday Mile. I hope as the years tick tock away I will continue to run the Birthday Mile. One day, when I am 70, I can look back at the efforts and wonder; How the heck was I faster at 45 then 35???

Luckily for me there are two High Schools within a 10 mile radius of my house. See, the first one I went to was all locked up. The second one had one open gate, which clearly indicated it was o.k. to run on the track. :)

It was crappy, cold windy and rainy. I was a bit hung over from a late night of pre birthday partying with the wife. I warmed up easy with a couple laps, then stretched, then depanted (to my shorts you crazy people), then set the iPod to start with some Outkast, then hit start on the Garmin, then ran until I felt like I was going to puke.

So, at age 34 the Birthday Mile clocks in at 6:25.

A little less wine, more sleep, and better weather might have assisted in a faster time, BUT you only have one chance a year at the Birthday Mile.


Friday, October 26, 2007

What to do? What to do?

With completion of the Marathon I was really hoping to log some significant cycling miles. However, the 94 degree heat & humidity we had on Marathon Race Day has gone bye bye real quick. While I have managed a couple of rides, including a nice 51 miler last weekend, the colder, shorter days are not my friend.

Last year at this time I was transitioning from cycling to running. The start of me becoming a runner. It was new. It was fun. It took my fitness to a most awesome new level. Now I struggle with what to do. Sure I can just keep running, but I have been running all summer. Yeah, I know some of you will say it is that post marathon depression crap. Me, I just think I miss my bike and the BFNIC gang.

Alright, done with that. Next up is my birthday. In the cycling world we like to ride our age on our birthday. That would be a nice and easy 34 miles for me. However, the weather does not look so great for Saturday.

What do we runners do our birthdays? I certainly do not think a 34 mile run is doable for me. It was suggested that I hit the track for a timed 1 mile run. It would be something I could do every year on my birthday. I would of course time, log, and track it. Then on my 80th birthday I can look back at the times and wonder how the heck was I faster at 40 then 34. Sounds like good times.

The other option would be a long run of 17 miles. Yep, you are quick, that would be a run equal to half my age.

I am attending a Halloween party this weekend too. It would be this same party last year that I was talked into doing the 2007 Chicago Marathon. The other two boobs never even got started with training. I will have my eye on them and their bright ideas this time around!


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Maized & Confused

It took a two year old to lead us out of the Corn Maze this past weekend. And yes, I borrowed the title of this thread from my good friend CyLowe97. He is such a clever chap. Later.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

2007 Chicago Marathon: My Report

It has taken me a couple of days to put my thoughts together. Maybe I still don't have them lined up either? I will do my best.

Quick background: I am a cyclist who runs during the off season (winter months) who was talked into doing a Marathon by a couple of "buddies" who eventually backed out in early Spring. I achieved some cycling goals in Spring and early summer before turning to focus on the Marathon in July. Quick background done.

Race Report

I was up a 4am. Six pancakes, large bagel, small coffee, & 16 ounces of water. Out the door at 5:15am. In Chicago and parked by 6am. A quick meet & greet & photo with a few Runners World forum folks at 6:30am. Arrived at the open start corral at 7am with 16 ounces of HEED and a Cliff Bar. Took a seat on the concrete next to The Saint (RW folk) and we hashed out our plan.

The plan was a 3:50 Marathon, skip the first water station (just the first), walk the aid stations every 5 or 6 miles to consume food (gels), and adjust from there based on how we felt.

The open corral was weird. Online it indicated the open section started with the 4 hour pace group. However, the first pace signs were for 3:30 or 8 min/miles, but I never spotted any pacers for this group??

The next pace group was the 4 hour one. We lined up in the middle of the two. I would estimate that we were in the front 1/3rd of the 35,000 participants. I am a tall dude and was amazed to see the mass of runners lined up behind me. Seeing it in person just amazed me.

The gun went off and we made it to the start line in a short 10 minutes. I thought that was impressive. From there I could never get on pace. There were people everywhere. Darting and stopping. Bobbing and weaving. The streets of Chicago seemed so small. I had no idea that my pace would be so out of my control.

I quickly learned to skip the first two tables in the aid stations to avoid the traffic jam and lack of water. It was always easier to obtain fluids from the last two tables. This lesson was learned at aid station number two.

The Saint and I parted ways around mile 8. I think it was this same time that the 4 hour pace group went flying by. I decided to grab on to them with hopes of smoothing out my pace. However, they were flying at a much faster pace then 9 min/mile. The two pacers were weaving in and out of runners in an impressive fashion. It was hard to keep with them. I managed to do so until I took a potty break. I can not remember what mile that was, but I was in and out of the porta potty with no wait.

The GPS signal on my Garmin was wacko and useless. I lost touch with the speedy 4 hour pace group. I felt lost out there. I just kept a pace that felt comfortable and trudged on. I crossed the Half Way point in 2:02:48 at which point I spotted my wife in the crowd and mouthed to her, "ITS FREAKING HOT!"

The second half of the race was brutally hot. Hot Pockets Hot. Paris Hilton Hawt! There seemed to be little shade once we left the Loop. However, looking at my numbers I was running consistently around 9:30 min/mile up until mile 19. Miles 19 to 21 were 10 minute miles. Miles 22 to 26.2 were above 11 minute miles. This must be that wall runners speak of.

It was mile 20 when I thought I heard someone state the race was cancelled. Maybe it was the heat I thought. They can't cancel the race. At mile 23 one of Chicago's Finest announced over his PA system that the race was cancelled and everyone should walk the rest of the way. I was confused. It didn't make any sense to me. People were still running. Volunteers were still handing out fluids, bananas, and gels. The crowd was still cheering. WTF did he mean Cancelled??

I continued on. Like I said at mile 20 I hit a wall. Maybe the wall. It was definitely a hard unmovable wall like structure. From there it was a run / walk finish for me. I was not cramping or dizzy. I did not have a headache. I did not feel like I was putting myself in danger. It was odd, my legs were just so heavy. I felt like I was barely moving. I was not alone though as I looked around everyone was barely moving.

I think it was the last aid station that lifted my spirits for the final push. A classic Chicago South Sider handed me a cup of gatorade. She looked me right in the eyes and with conviction proclaimed, "You Got This. You're Almost There!" The Volunteers and Crowd were just amazing. Thank you to all of you.

As I finished the announcement came that the Marathon was now a Family Fun Run. I was utterly confused, but had little time to think about this as I crossed the finish line into a sea of crazy. This area was packed with runners. It was a log jam of heat, sweat, and tears. It was making me sick (physically). I just wanted out of there. I really thought the finish would be something more then this. Something special, but it just wasn't in the game plan for this day.

I did not know the gravity of the days events until later that night. I was stunned to see the news footage. The race was cancelled, runners were forced to stop, 312 were hospitalized, and one passed away.

Looking back I do recall the frequent sirens after mile 20. There were some runners sitting on curbs getting medical attention, but they were not dropping like flies around me. I remember passing those cooling buses at mile 18 or 19 that were suppose to take us back to the start, but no one was instructing riders to board. The timing clocks were still ticking away.......... Was this the same race I just ran this morning?

In all honesty I was initially disappointed with my finish. I put a lot of time and effort into the Marathon. My wife and daughter made many sacrifices along the way to accommodate my training. They supported me 100% . I felt like the conditions and elements of the race that cost me time were out of my control. It was a odd feeling for me to have, but it is what it is.

Three days later this is no longer the case. I am a Marathoner. I am very proud to say that. Thank you to my wife, my daughter, my family and friends for your support. Thank you to those who have posted encouragement on my blog. It all has meant the world to me.


Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sweet Rewards........

RUN Alert

aham23, 04:25:37 (net) @ Finish (unofficial). Pace 10:07. By The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

RUN Alert

aham23, 03:30:06 (net) @ 35K. Pace 9:39. Predicted 04:13:00. By The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

RUN Alert

aham23, 02:02:48 (net) @ Half. Pace 9:22. Predicted 04:05:34. By The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

RUN Alert

aham23, 01:27:32 (net) @ 15K. Pace 9:23. Predicted 04:06:00. By The LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon

Saturday, October 06, 2007

I'm Not Saying, I'm Just Saying.....

High: 84°F RealFeel®: 87°F
Humid with the temperature near the record of 86 with clouds and sun.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Expo Goodies....

I think I ate 27 mini pieces of various this and that nutrition/energy/health bar. I like free stuff. Later.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reduced Threat Level....

but still on guard.

getting AIRBORNE & NAKED seems to be working as i have managed to avoid the Strep Throat outbreak at my household.

focusing on work is difficult. luckily, this is my last day until next Tuesday. tomorrow i hit the Expo. late morning i think. the runs this weeks are really just to keep the wheels in motion. i feel good. the aches have diminished. i am ready to rock it.
i guess i need to through out a goal? being a virgin the obvious one is to finish. however, i normally aim a bit higher, or in this case lower. originally it was 4 hours. in my mind i know i really want a sub 4. maybe 3:50, 3:45, 3:40?? who knows.
i will be starting in the open corral and the fastest pace group there is 4 hours. from there i will adjust on the run to the run.
the weather forecast has flipped flopped Chicago style. a record high is now projected. cooler would be better (duh!), but it is what it is. i mean i trained in some pretty hot and humid weather this summer, so bring it.
one last item. using the runner tracking feature at my chip split times will be posted in real time to this blog. not that anyone cares or will be tuning in for the stats, but i just think it is cool and the gang.

Monday, October 01, 2007


for real. my two year old has been sick since Thursday. she was diagnosed with STREP THROAT tonight. i currently have no symptoms. it can take a week to rear its ugly head. at least i can stop worrying about the weather :).

Panic at the Disco..........

Sunday, Oct 7
High: 59 °F RealFeel®: 54 °F
Mainly cloudy and cooler with a couple of showers and a thunderstorm