Thursday, August 29, 2013

I Went to the Track and the Track was There!

Remember way back in May went I went to the North Park University track, only to find this?:

I went to the track but the track was gone!
Well, three months later the track looks like this!

The former green track surface, which must have been at least 10 years old, and which had lots of burn marks and holes from fireworks has been resurfaced. It's new color is red, although you can still see the old green track in certain places, like here:

Remnants of the old green track on the left
Last year, the areas just inside the track straight-aways were covered:
The track in 2012, notice the green covered area to the right
This year, there is just blacktop, so don't fall!
The track today, notice the unfinished blacktop areas now on the inside
 The soccer field inside the track was also resurfaced:
The track and soccer field in 2012 (note the bad drainage)
The track and soccer field now with new surface
Soccer field now
Also of note: There is a long fence separating the river area from the track. Maybe they are trying to prevent the casual bikers and strollers from ending up on the track. It may also be easier to keep the fireworks off the track by locking it down near the 4th of July. Here's hoping they don't start restricting access to runners, however.
New Fence
Locked gate that used to be open
Despite the fence, you can still get a glimpse of the waterfall from the track.

Waterfall view from the track
They also added a small grandstand for spectators:

New Grandstands
The only people not happy with the rehab, will be the long jumpers. The long jump pit looks worse than it did before the rehab:
The long jump pit is now a garbage pit!
Anyway, after all the picture taking, it was time for my track workout. Since I'm just starting to build my base mileage, I did not want to overdo things today with a brutal workout like 6 x 1 mile repeats. So, I decided to do my trusty old half marathon track workout of 1 mile, .75 mile, .5 mile and .25 mile with .25 mile breaks.

Getting Ready to Run!
Warm-up 1.8 miles:

1.0 mile @ 6:55/mile, .25 mile walk
.75 miles @ 6:29/mile, .25 mile walk
.50 miles @ 6:22/mile, .25 mile walk
.25 miles @ 5:17/mile, .25 mile walk

Cool-down 1.5 miles

Total: 6.75 miles.

Analysis: Today's workout was just to get my "track legs" back. I may have gone a little too fast considering my marathon pace is in the 7:45 range, but I don't think I did too much damage!

The last .25 mile run I did while shooting a video, I was going to post it, but it is super shaky. If anyone has read this far and wants to see it, let me know and I will post it.

It's nice to have the North Park University track back, especially a new and improved one. Hopefully, I will get one or two "mile repeat" workouts in before the Chicago Marathon! If anyone wants to join me, I'll be there most Thursday mornings, but since I'm a late riser, please don't look for me there too early!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Chicago Marathon Training Week #2

When we last took a look at my Chicago Marathon training, I had just finished week #1 with a relaxed 16 miles. In week #2, I completely ignored the "10% Rule", and I almost doubled my miles from 16 to 30. And the results are in: So far, so good. Even though it would appear that I am overdoing it, I am consciously trying to avoid the "too-much-too-soon" syndrome that I often fall prey to when training. I am alternating medium runs with short recovery runs and that seems to be working well. However it's quite difficult to hold back on the mileage, especially when I read about other runners who are already in the 60+ mile per week range at this stage of the game.

I know what great confidence boosters those 60+ mile weeks are, and how I can feel the huge fitness gains after they are done. However, the potential injury downside to those high-mileage weeks is too great. I don't want to return to "Injury Jail" anytime soon, so I'm trying to stay focused on training for a fun and moderately-fast Chicago Marathon, and then start really training for a fast spring marathon. I have to keep reminding myself to not "let loose" in my training until I get to those fantastic runs by the lake in January and February.

My marathon P.R. finish line photo (March 2011)
In any case, I do have an "A" goal for the Chicago Marathon which I will share for the first time here: BQ at the Chicago Marathon. If my training goes according to plan, and if I run a smart, conservative race, I should be able to go sub-3:25, and BQ. I already have a BQ time from last year's race (3:10), which I could theoretically use for 2014. but it would be nice to know that I did it again. My "B" goal is to finish with a smile.

In other week #2 news, I worked out at the gym three times and did yoga twice. Week #3 is in progress...

Friday, August 23, 2013

Sausage Fest Fun Run Recap

Declan's Daughter Loving Sausage Fest
Last night was the First Annual Charity Fun Run and Sausage Fest (aka "Wurst Fest") which took place at Anne's. I arrived there around 6:30pm, just in time to help lead the fun run. I stupidly wore my wool IceBreaker shirt, which although it has the advantage of being odor-free, it has the disadvantage of getting super sweaty looking super fast. Needless to say, it looked like I had stood under a sprinkler when I got back from the run. Luckily, I changed into my Chicago Brauhaus t-shirt shortly after our return.

Here is the awesome 3.1 mile sausage course laid out by Maggie:
Sausage Fest Charity Run Map
I helped Bob and Maggie lead the sausage runners, and I also acted as the official sausage photographer. Suffice it to say there were lots of Chicago Running Bloggers in the group, and a fun time was had by all (except when I heard a few grumbles when I led the group over the grass in Welles Park)!

Here are the pictures. Instead of spending time tagging everyone, I will just do a photo dump for other bloggers to borrow and then they can tag as they want!

Chicago River Bridge at Montrose:

Oh yeah, there were butt shots:

In Horner Park

 After about 30 minutes, we arrived back at the party to find Sausage Fest in full swing:

Declan had to get his butt shot in, as he was resting and didn't do the sausage run

Anne's dog doing a keg stand

Sausage Time!

Raffle Time!

#WRCE minus Declan and Erin

T-shirt of the night?

A fabulous time was had by all. Looking forward to the next sausage get-together!