Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Goosapalooza 2012

Just a nice leisurely 8.5 mile morning run in the cool (low 70s) morning air.  Turned around just south of Diversey Harbor and saw lots of geese enjoying the skyline view.  Next up: Terrapin 5k (a.k.a. Beerfest) Thursday evening at Soldier Field.

8.6 miles @ 8:06/mile.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The Top 5 "Running Songs" of 2012 (so far)

I noticed that a few of the songs that I listened to over and over just happened to have the word "run" somewhere in the lyrics. So I decided to compile a list of my favorite running songs of 2012 so far.  The criteria for a song to appear on my running song list is simple:

The song is a recent discovery for me and the song has the word "run" in the title.

So without further ado, here are my top 5 running songs from 2012:

- Sinkane "Runnin" 
  •  Best running related line: "Gotta keep on runnin' until my body's all but broken down."

- Woodkid "Run Boy Run" (Awesome video of a kid outrunning some monsters)
  • Best running related line(s): "Run boy run! Running is a victory, beauty lays behind the hills..."

- Vivian Girls "Where Do You Run To" 
  •  Best running related line: "Where do you run to baby? Why do you leave me all alone?"

- Those Dancing Days "Run Run"
  • Best running related line: "Run run over the hills...kill a flower in someone's garden, I don't care, I am free."

- Munk and Peaches "You Can't Run From My Love"

What do you think?  Did I miss any 2012 running song? By the way, if you have a suggestion for me on a cool "running" song please let me know!

I'm Quoted in Today's "Red Eye" Lead Story!

At least my running blog has finally gotten me somewhere! I'm in today's RedEye newspaper.  Okay, so it's a brief mention, but hey, the article is the lead story of the day, and I am in the first sentence...

You can see a picture of the taxi cab incident mentioned at my previous write up here.  I was interviewed by the reporter (who found me through this blog) about the hazards of running on the Lakefront Trail.  The cab incident happened two days AFTER my interview, so I e-mailed her the story and that is the one she used.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Chicago 2012: Race Recap

The Rock 'n' Roll Half 2012 is in the books.  Temps were hot, but not as hot as I had thought they would be.  The first 6 miles were mostly shady as the sun had not crested above the downtown buildings. I wore a neck bandanna which I doused with water before the race.  I think those things are supposed to lower your body temperature about 2 or 3 degrees.  At least that's what the sales pitch is.

Looking for the blogger meetup before the race at 5:45am
Anyway, the day started by taking the very first Brown Line of Sunday morning to Belmont and switching to the Red. I got to the race at about 5:45am.  The Chicago Running Bloggers were having a meetup at the American Cancer Society tent.  I started to look for the tent, but after looking for it for about five minutes with no luck, I decided the best move was to conserve energy  and stop walking around, so I plopped down by the big Abraham Lincoln statue in Grant Park (note, there is a big Grant statue in Lincoln Park, go figure).

I chatted with a guy who said he was postponing hip surgery to run in the RnR today.  Don't know if running a half marathon on a bum hip is such a good idea, but to each his own.  Anyway, I went over to the corral and waited for the gun.  I was seeded in Corral 1, but ended up in Corral 2.  I thought it would be no big deal, but then I heard that it would be a was a "wave start" meaning that only the elites and Corral 1 would start together. It would be a tragedy if  I don't start with the Elites, so I jumped the rope to get into Corral 1 in the nick of time and luckily was not arrested for "corral jumping!"

Anyway, as I said, it the temps were not too too bad at the start.  Yes, I would prefer 45 degrees, but this is July in Chicago and will take whatever temps we had for the first 6 miles.

Here are my stats:

Yes, I know it is a good example of running positive splits, but the heat did it's damage to me over the course, and there were a couple of extended water station walks between mile 10 and 13.1.  Surprisingly, I did not get passed by too many people on my walks.  I guess everyone was hurting.  After the race, along with my medal, I got Jamba Juice and a popsicle.  I dipped my popsicle in my Jamba Juice and got the sugar rush of my life! Anyway, basking in my sugar buzz, I got my gear and walked over to the finish line and took some videos of finishers, which I will try and post later.

After the race, I finally met Gingerfoxxx and Matt (Waffles, however, was not in attendence - probably chilling at home).  I also got to meet a few of the Chicago Running Bloggers.  Matt took a totally cool picture of us in front of the skyline and porta potties:

Nice Porta Potty background for this pic!
Well, that's that.  Next up is the Terrapin 5k, a beer-infused race which I signed up for at the RnR expo yesterday. With my entry I got a groovy beer glass from Top Hat Brewery and (allegedly) a promise of multiple beer tickets in my goodie bag!  We shall see...

Thursday, July 19, 2012

That's It. I'm Done. Time for my Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon Taper

Ran over to the River Park Track (aka North Park University Track) this morning, to relish in the cool temps with a little speed work.
Preparing to run a "Magic Mile" at the track
It turns out it was a tad on the humid side, but that's okay, I need to train in a little bit of uncomfortable weather for Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon. Now that I'm back from my run, I have decided on ending my running streak at 54 consecutive days. It just feels like I need a break after (intentionally) punishing my legs for almost two months straight. I have only run 35 miles this week, but I don't want to run another half marathon again (like I did in March) coming off of a high mileage week. So my taper plan for the next three days is:
  • Friday (swim, stationary bike) pick up race packet
  • Saturday (stationary bike)
  • Sunday (race!)
Stay tuned for my race pace plans, which will most likely all go out the window based on the actual temps/humidity and sunshine on Sunday morning. The forecast (at this moment) for 7am on Sunday is 76 degrees with 66% humidity.

On a side note, I saw a bird in Chicago that was yellow!  Usually all I see are pigeons, sparrows, robins, sea gulls and grackles:  Any ideas what kind of bird this is?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

11 Mile Lakefront Run

I ran an 11 Mile LSD* along LSD** starting at 7:45am this morning.  This was my last double digit run until the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon next Sunday.  It was a hot and crowded by the lake, which when I think about it, are the ideal training conditions for a race which promises to be hot and crowded!
Not a cloud in the sky...

At my 5.5 mile turnaround around North Ave. beach

Lakefront Crowds near the North Avenue pedestrian bridge

11 miles total.  8:03/mile pace

*Long, Slow, Distance run
**Lake Shore Drive

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Chicago Marathon 2012: Weeks 1 through 6 Training Recap

A View of my Chicago Marathon Training Grounds
It's hard to believe that six of eighteen weeks of my Chicago Marathon training are in the history logs.  Only nine weeks left until the taper starts and twelve weeks until the race. A new addition to my training this year is to occasionally add a swim or a yoga session after my runs to help loosen up and speed my recovery.  Some weeks I have been more consistent with this than others.  When the mileage goes up it seems my cross training (swims and yoga) becomes more infrequent. When I run more, I have less time for other things. Anyway, here are the numbers for the first six weeks:

  • Total days: 42
  • Total days run: 42
  • Total runs: 46
  • Total miles: 240
  • Average weekly miles: 40
  • Max weekly mileage: 50, Min: 31
  • Total swims: 23
  • Total yoga sessions: 8
  • Number of races run: 1
  • Number of cabs seen on the Lakefront Trail: 1
  • Total number of injuries: 0

The last stat above is (obviously) the most important.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep that number at or around zero for the remainder!  Next up for the second six weeks of training:
  • Choosing a marathon training pace and a goal pace.
  • Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon
  • Add in speed sessions at North Park University Track on Thursday mornings
  • Higher mileage
Adding more mileage and speed is always a delicate balance. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Running By the Lake: Breathing Easier Than Last Week

It was nice and somewhat cool this morning. I think the temps were in the 70's with a nice, refreshing breeze. It feels so much better than the 100 degree days we had last week.  My lungs, which had been  battling through lots of hot, smoggy air are starting to lose that tight, sensitive feeling.  However, they have not fully recovered from the strain of inhaling whatever funky stuff was in the ozone. Coincidentally, I bumped into my neighbor who was biking to work. He stopped to talk to me and right off the bat, he complained of lung issues while exercising. 

Nice day for a run or ride this morning by the Diversey Bridge
Hopefully, a few more cool and windy days and my breathing will be back near 100%.  Funny, I don't really have problems breathing during the winter.  Anyway, I ran an 8.5 miler to Diversey Harbor bridge and back.  Rock 'n' Roll Half is coming up next weekend!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Dennis Krzykowski Memorial 5K (aka DK5K) Run: Race Review

My dad and I ran the hilly DK5K in Cedarburg, WI on the Fourth of July.  Cedarburg is about 20 minutes north of Milwaukee. If you have never been to Cedarburg, it's a quaint little Wisconsin village built next to a creek in the late 1800s.  The town's main street is lined with art galleries, a winery and touristy stores.  My favorite places are Amy's Gourmet Apples for carmel apples and the Silver Creek Brewery for beer.
Beer Sampler at Cedarburg's Silver Creek Brewery

Cedarburg, WI

 The morning of the race, Cedarburg Residents had lined the streets with hundreds of empty lawn chairs to reserve spaces for the 4th of July parade.  They had also spread out lots of giant blankets throughout the town to get spots reserved for the fireworks that night.

Me an my dad before the race
Anyway, this is the third time in a row I have run this race, and the conditions were the hottest yet.  The temperatures were in the 80s with quite a bit of humidity. I had actually not run any race since the March Madness Half Marathon scorcher in March.  My training for this 5k consisted of three 40 mile weeks. Basically, I was just trying to get my racing legs (and mind) back and have a little fun.  So, my main goals were to run without getting injured and to not pass out due to heat stroke.

As I mentioned the race is very very hilly in comparison to anything in my immediate area in Chicago.  In fact the first mile is almost all downhill.  This should be good except that:

1) I have injured my shins in the past on the downhills
2) What goes down, must go up, so the last mile is almost entirely uphill

This is a low budget race and as such, there are no timing chips and they hand out cotton t-shirts.  That said, I like cotton t-shirts and the ones they have this year are pretty cool looking.

Mile 1:
Since this was a non-chip timed race, I was pretty much lined up at the starting line.  At 8 a.m. the starter's gun sounded and we were off.   Immediately about 40 runners shot past me as we climbed a short hill before the long, long downhill.  I thought to myself, "I will be seeing most of you during mile 3." It was way to early and hot to push the pace and I knew what was going to happen to everyone during the tortuous mile 3.  Mile 1 is relatively easy, since there is a lot of downhill stretches.  However, I tried not to accelerate, as I wanted to preserve my shins for future races and my energy for mile 3. Near the end of the first mile I passed about 10 of those early, hard chargers.  30 left to go...
The race had set out some hoses spraying water.  Ahhhh.  Mile split: 6:23.

Mile 2:
This mile seems to be the flattest of the entire course, and actually probably a net downhill.  Things were getting very hot.  I took my hat off and ran with it in my hand the rest of the way in.  I picked off another 10 runners of the initial 40, so about 20 people were still ahead of me.
Some neighbors pointed their lawn sprinklers into the street. Thanks Cedarburg residents!
Mile split: 6:24.

Mile 3:
This is the mile of doom.  Almost the whole last mile of this race is uphill.  "Park Lane" is uphill for about .25 miles, then immediately after that is a steep uphill climb along "Spring Street" for another .25 that takes runners near the finish.  I struggled on the uphill portions, but then again, so did almost everyone else.  I picked off a couple of runners, actually the two I picked off had turned into walkers. After Spring Street, I spot a guy that could quite possibly be in my age group.  I needed to pick him off to increase my odds of winning an age group medal.  There is another slight uphill after Spring Street. At that point I make my move and he is in my rear-view mirror.
Mile split: 6:55.

Mile 3.1
After all of my uphill struggles, there is one consolation: The last 175 yards are entirely downhill. In the last 100 yards one much younger guy ahead of me hears me coming up behind him.  He takes off and I can't catch him, but I fly down to the finish anyway.  I was struggling, which is obvious from this photo!  Mile split: 5:10.

Note: Holding hat for the last 2 miles. Note to self: Enter in the next "fugly" race photo contest!

My Results: 
  • Official Time: 20:23
  • Age Group: 4th out of 24

  • Posing by the Start/Finish line marked by balloons
  • Overall: 16th out of 254
This was by far my slowest 5k since the I ran the 2009 Ravenswood Run (20:30), but I am just getting started on my marathon training and getting acclimated to the heat.  I will see what logging a few extra miles in the next 2 weeks does to my finishing time in the Chicago Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon.

As far as the DK5K race is concerned, I wish the age group intervals were every 5 years instead of every 10 years.  That way, maybe I would have won a sweet medal. I know it is a small race, but is it really fair to have people who are 49 competing against 40 year olds?  It also would be nice if there were more "older  age groups" for people over 50 like my dad.  The last age group is simply "50+". 

Overall it's a challenging race which tests a runner's will to battle the last uphill mile.  The race can be a heart breaker if you haven't paced yourself well enough the first two miles.  For a flat lander like me, the race is a treat. That said, I am glad I only run a 5k this difficult once a a year!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Shocking Photo! Cab Driving on the Lakefront Trail

On Saturday, I gave an interview to a local news organization regarding issues concerning Chicago's Lakefront Trail.  During the interview, the reporter asked me if I wore headphones on the trail.  My answer was that I don't like to wear headphones because crazy things always happen there.  An example I gave, was that I had seen lost cars driving on the trail.  Many of these cars have drivers who are unaware that automobile traffic is forbidden on the trail.  These lost cars occasionally come close to hitting runners and bicyclists who could not dream and/or hear that a car is barreling down on them.  A few years back, a car did hit a runner with deadly results.

Well, the very next day, on Sunday, I was out on the Lakefront Trail for my 10 mile run.  At about 9am, I was heading northbound just North of Belmont Harbor.  Suddenly, I heard lots of screaming and yelling behind me.  I turned around and saw a taxi cab driving right down the middle of the Lakefront Trail. The bikers and runners were not happy about it and let the errant driver know by shouting at him.  The driver soon realized his error and found the nearest "exit".  I do not believe he hit anyone.  Just as the driver was about to turn left onto Belmont I snapped a few pictures:

Taxi  Cab driving on the Lakefront Trail

Taxi Cab Exiting onto Belmont from the Lakefront Trail
So, how did this happen and how to prevent it in the future?  Better signage for cars and/or movable barricades?   At least it is another reminder to not wear headphones on the trail.  If you must wear them, keep the volume down low and be aware of your surroundings. Be careful out there, people, and have a happy 4th!