Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Naperville Marathon: “GO”

My third-and-a-half attempt at this post. I apologize as this has turned into a mishmash of thoughts that I continue reformulating. This recap has been more challenging than the race I just ran. It’s a challenge to say what I want to say in a way that I perceive would be topically appropriate and genuine to others, while avoiding taking that wrong turn down a path that leaves everyone feeling dirty, offended or disgusted. I’d really like to assemble a humorous and attention grabbing piece that is #1 on the billboard and leaves you with a poignant message that makes you go “hmmmm…” But it’s a challenge. What exactly am I ‘recapping,’ after all? Initially it was this: I ran a time I wanted to run. Period. So let out your ooo's and ahh's now. Ooooooooo. Ahhhhhh. Everybody jump and shout. But not sure I'll go that route now. For me, in this moment, writing about achieving a time in a race feels so indescribably self-centered, I am pretty sure I have no way to do this without sounding like a total DB (dirtbag or douchebag, I guess you can take your pick). I don't want to be a DB. So maybe I won’t write about that today.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Chicago Marathon: Connected

The Reckoning

Chicago Marathon 2013, wow, how did that happen…?  I really didn't want to run it again after previous years.  The weather was always ridiculously hot (granted anything above 65 may as well be hot when running marathons in the sun). Getting to the start corrals was always a nightmare. The crowds and crowds of people -- whether runners or fans.  Bah, who needs it.  It’s overhyped and overrun.  I've done it 3 and a half times already. By chance, I was invited to a Chicago Marathon launch party in February. Okay I’ll go. And, ‘oh hey, if you want you can register early before everyone else,’ ‘wow, sounds great, sign me up.’ In hindsight, early registration may have been a godsend given the slog that occurred when registration opened for everyone.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Berserker

Shotgun. Something exploded. Actually I don’t think there was a starting pistol fired, it was probably an electronic tone signaling the start of the race. Whatever. Crosstown Classic 10K. Something exploded inside me. I had toed the very front of the starting line because nobody else seemed like they were going to come up to the front. Of course I rarely am at the front of a race. What do you even do there? How do you start a race first? How are you supposed to act? How fast do you go? What do I look like from behind? I am certain I look like a fool. One big idiot that doesn’t know what he’s doing. 'And why the hell is this guy starting this race at the front of the pack?' My thoughts exactly buddy. I just tried not to trip over my own feet. Sometimes you just do things.

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Real World

The draw to running, for me, is being immersed in a world that is distinct and separate from the alternate real grind. It is my world. I still have the same problems. I’m still the same person. But all those other external things are muted and paused for as long as I remain in motion. If my brain feels fried from a week’s activities, getting outside for an hour will remove that haze and free me. The tension that builds up in my body can be put to use and propel me along a truly enjoyable path. A headwind cools me; a tailwind keeps me aloft. Interior gray is wiped clean. My soul is warmed by sunlight, and running in the rain takes me to another plane of existence that I’m convinced only a special breed of runners can appreciate. Running under stars in darkness is an adventure. Running through heat and humidity is a challenge. A snow-covered landscape makes a quiet you would not believe. Even in this city. There is much too much to see, hear and feel. I try to keep track of some of the special things I experience along the way. I don’t need a soundtrack to go along with my world – it’s already provided. I hear the breeze and wind in the leaves and grass. The waves of the lake ripple, crash, or lie still. Steps of my feet keep the rhythm while insects and birds sing their songs. I see people, animals, wildlife, wildflowers, trees, grass, boulders, rocks, gravel, roads, buildings, the lake, the sky, the sun, the sunrise, the clouds, the moon. People do funny things and dumb things; they say rude things and kind things. I experience a different view of humanity. I find things and lose things. I get hot, cold, thirsty. I feel tired, powerful, healthy, sick, fast, slow, but definitely alive. I drink from fountains and relish cool water on hot days. I learn about myself. I think about my form, my steps, my speed, my cadence, my health, my pains. My thoughts. A good or bad run will still take me to this world. I might almost get there on a treadmill stuck in front of a TV, but no not quite. I have to get outside, away from walls, incandescents and fluorescents. Into the real world. That’s what it is – the real world – right?

And then I come back. To the alternate world. Happier.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Wausau Marathon 2013

Short version that I posted to Dailymile:  Wausau Marathon - 3:04:55 - happy with this time as it is only 30 seconds slower than my PR and this is still early in the season for me. I came for a BQ and got it so mission accomplished. Honestly I fell apart in the last 4 miles but I had a great first 22 miles, so I am excited for fall races coming out of this.

Race Shirt
Long version for those with extra time on hand:  In the moments before the race we start sizing up the competition, but mainly I was trying to gauge whether I would be running with someone, or going it alone.  Seemed like a few people would be good to hang with, but there was a big mix of young kids, tall guys, and older runners. There were a few Boston jackets in the pre-race crowd as well.  It appeared that even though this was going to be a small race, there were quite a few with BQ’s on their minds, as well as mine.
Quick background: I hadn’t run a marathon since before September 2012, so that meant I needed a new BQ for 2014; and one that would give me a decent shot at being accepted.  I qualified for Boston in September 2011, but my time was not as fast as a good number of other qualifiers so I was not accepted into Boston 2012.  My November 2011 PR of 3:04:25 was more than 5 minutes below the qualifying time for my age group, so I was accepted into 2013’s race.  But my plans for 2013 were shattered when I ended up with a stress reaction in my left foot about 2 weeks before the big day.  So yeah, I ended up not running Boston 2013, which may have been a blessing with the events that happened.  I originally hadn’t planned to run Boston 2014, but missing my first one this year pushed everything back yet another year.  Third time’s a charm right?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Fix the Hamstring, Run a 10K, Spring is on the Way

Okay I'm a bad blogger; I've accepted that I only do this once a month if I'm lucky. The cost of doing business. 1/28 was the last post, so not a full month has passed; but anyway have made noticeable progress in the past few weeks as far as training and addressing the hamstring strain.

Monday, January 28, 2013

F^3 Lake Half 2013

I don’t usually put a lot of focus on the half marathons I run. It’s not because I think they are undeserving, but I tend to view The Marathon as the race of significance for me.  I didn't write race recaps for the two 50K's I've run (at least I’m pretty certain).  They seemed more like “fun runs.” I wasn't expecting much and just wanted to see what it felt like to run 31 miles. Someday I may take the 50K more seriously, it is a tangible ultra. I don’t think I would ever run a 100K or longer. That sounds insane and not fun at all.

But going into the F^3 Lake Half Marathon, I had high hopes of officially smashing 1:30. (As I had hoped last year as well.) So this was a semi-important race for me. Having had a couple training runs where my run time was below 1:30 (at 1:28 and change even), I knew I could run sub-1:30, and it shouldn’t take perfect conditions to do it. Of course my sub-1:30 training runs included one or two short breaks giving me some rest and that makes a difference.  Still, I was confident that I would run 1:30, and between me and you (my small audience of quiet readers, ha) going into the race on Saturday I was truly shooting for a time between a high 1:26 and a low 1:27.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

And hello 2013

And hello 2013. Speaking of Boston, it’s time to officially kick off the training. I’m glad that I was able to close out 2012 feeling healthy and reasonably fit enough to get off on the right foot for Boston training. I wasn't chasing down any mega mileage in December, but looking back it turned out to be my highest mileage month of 2012 with 240 miles. Not too bad. I even got in one of my best 20-mile training runs in mid-December. I will probably be knocking on a lot of wood now, but it certainly is a nice change from a year ago.

Farewell 2012

I really wanted to keep up with my blog posts last year, and well I failed to do so. It’s another new year, so I’ll do better this year! Well we’ll see. I also have this feeling that every time I blog about running, I end up being injured shortly after. A little knocking on wood can’t hurt, right?