Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Origins of Three Things Thursday

You seen it before: “3 Things Thursday”… the generic template post that has been taking the running blog world by storm. Last Friday morning I wrote my own post, titled “Four Things Friday”, that questioned who the creator of “3 Things Thursday” was… Little did I know that the 20 minutes I spent writing that post would ultimately lead me into hours and hours of internet research as I attempted to unravel the origins of “3 Things Thursday”…


Celebrity rumors, urban myths… they spread like wildfire but where do they start? Who was the first person that claimed that you get straight A’s for the semester if your college roommates kill themselves  or that Richard Gear stuck a gerbil up his butt (Richard Gears ex-publicist???)? Someone must have said it first but tracing the origins of such things would be damn near impossible… So, when I question “Who invented 3 Thing Thursdays?” I didn’t really expect to get an answer… so when Adam over at “I am boring” commented that Morgan over at “CAUTION: Redhead Running” had first started the “3 Things Thursday” trend my interest was peaked… Could this be true? Did Morgan really start this blogger craze that is exponentially spiraling out of control?

I decided I'd be best off going right to the source so I e-mailed Morgan and asked her if she created "Three Things Thursday"... here's here reply:
"I am in fact the creator of 3 Things Thursday and I came up with it as a way to convey a few things when I didn't have anything noteworthy to write a whole post about. It's come in handy, for instance when I was moving and had nothing running related to talk about but wanted to check in."
So to sum it up, "3 Things Thursday" is like blogger crack... no need to spend hours carefully constructing a post... all you have to do is wait till Thursday, spurt out three unrelated things, and Viola... you have yourself a post... not only that, but judging from the response across the blogosphere people can't get enough of it!!!

I decided to dig deeper… multiple hours and several dozen internet searches later here’s what I came up with… a by no means comprehensive list of blogs that have incorporated “3 Things Thursday” into their rotation:

Blog Title:                                     First 3 Things Thursday Post:

       Special note on these first 5 blogs because they actually attributed the idea to "The Redhead"

Running Laur                                12/03/09
Dietician on the run                       04/29/10
Runner Nic                                   05/20/10
morning runner                             10/29/09
Mission to a(nother) marathon       09/10/10

        and the list continues...

Melissa Nibbles                           12/03/09
run, courtney, run                         04/08/10
racing with babes                         02/18/10
running in pigtails                          01/28/10
MCM Momma                            12/10/09
Eating Good Stuff                         09/17/10
My own party of 5                       10/15/09
dare to tri                                     01/07/10
running off at the mouth                02/11/10
I have run                                     02/04/10
50 sticky fingers                            03/11/10
running rambles                            06/24/10
carpool queen                              05/27/10
I run because… I can                   01/28/10
Tall Mom Running                        04/15/10

        I'm going to look at these next few in a bit more detail because I was entertained by the way that they initially broke into the world of "Three Things Thursday"

adventures of badger girl              01/21/10
Badgergirl writes: "So many other bloggers do this, so I thought I'd jump on the bandwagon."  ...It's the beginning of 2010 "Three Things Thursday" is already becoming a craze!
lizard runs                                   03/25/10
Lizard writes: "Can just anybody do these blog themes? I hope so, because I’m about to"
...Lizard is obviously tenative about his first hit off the "3 Things Thursday" pipe but ultimately he can't resist its sweet nectar!
a code geeks tail                         03/11/10

Wes writes: "In the past, I've avoided these "templates" for blog posts, primarily because with my ever running mouth and thought process, I had no shortage of material. Now, with time being in such demand, I'm rather liking the framework of this one, and no doubt others will follow."  - Wes has published ThreeThings Thursday 7 times since he wrote this back in March!!!
  and finally...

redhead running                          07/01/09

But here's the twist... 07/01/09 was actually a Wednesday!!! Never the less, this was the first occurance of "Three Things Thursday"...  or was it?!?

  As I dug deeper into my Google search I came across this:

hear me in harmony                    02/05/09
Melanie says "Some of you “long-time readers” may remember a feature around here called Tuesday’s Things to Be Happy About.  I stopped doing it about a year ago, but I decided I wanted to bring it back, both because I miss it and because I feel like I need something that forces me to post when I otherwise might let posting slide.  I was going to call it Ten Things Tuesday, but I like the alliteration of this a little better, plus it’s not so ambitious, which will help me not feel not so much pressure."
Turns out Melanie wrote a "Three Things Thursday" post almost 5 months before Morgan's first post.  My conclusion here is that Melanie and Morgan both came up with Three Things Thursday on their own.... and wouldn't be suprised if I dug deeper and found even more spontanious occurances of "Three Things Thursdays" in the blogger world.  It's just such an obvious blogger device that somebody (or multiple somebodies) were bound to come up with it...I will say that "Three Things Thursday" has definitely made it's mark on the running blog community and that Morgan can definitely be given the credit for creating and popularizing it in this context!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Marathon Monday (15 week out edition)

Another week in the books... 15 weeks left!!!

Running Naked :(
I'll spare you the lame jokes and sexual innuendos and jump straight to the point...
 Last fall I wrote a post about how sweat got into my first iPod and fried it.  The picture on the left shows how I was planning to MacGyver my new iPod in order to make it more sweat resistant... That's when Morgan over at CAUTION: Redhead Running swooped in and spared me the embarrassment and hassle of running around with a ziplock bag duct-taped to my arm by recommending the sleek little neoprene carrying case you see on the right brought to you from the folks at grantwood... The case worked amazingly for the last 8 months, but even minimalist waterproof neoprene is no match for my sweaty monster self...Yesterday at 9:45 am I officially killed my second iPod as sweat moisture wicked through the velcro armband into the neoprene case and eventually into my shoddily made iPod :(

So it looks like I'll be running naked (sans iPod) for the next few weeks as I save up some funds and I try to figure out which portable MP3 player to purchase next... my choices are buy another iPod and do a little MacGyvering to my neoprene arm band to further prevent sweat from reaching the electronic components, but I kind of feel stupid shelling out hundreds of dollars to Apple for a device that can't handle a bit of moisture even though it's marketed as a music player to use while working out... either that or I try to find something more reasonable priced and durable... then again the iPod's are so shiny and sleek and cool looking... oh, decisions, decisions...

It's not all bad though... you know what they say... when life gives you lemons, make lemoncellos... so now that I won't have the music of my iPod distracting me I plan on using the next few weeks concentrating on my form (though maybe I shouldn't be messing with perfection).

Weekly Recap
I had an awesome week of training... after hitting the weightroom on Monday I started off my running week on Tuesday with a general aerobic 9 miler on the treadmill at sub 8 minute pace... Wednesday I headed for the hills for a brutal 6Xhill workout (as previously documented on this blog)... After a recovery 4 miler and 2 miler ran respectively on Thursday and Friday, I decided to skip out on a 5k I was contemplating running on Saturday and instead opted for a 6.2 mile marathon pace/steady state run (aka 10k aka 109.36 football fields) at 7:06 pace (still 10 seconds faster than my intended pace but actually not a bad pacing effort relative to what I normally do)... Sunday I finished out the week with an 18 mile long run.

Chicago 2009 training comparison flashback

Week 3 stats  (2010)                                   Week 3 stats (2009)
45.01 miles                                                16.6 miles
8:02 average pace                                      8:31 average pace
long run - 18.14 miles                                 long run - 6 miles

Gotta be happy about that comparison... last year I was seriously feeling the effects of the increased mileage.  Luckily it was a step-back week so I took an extra day off and still struggled through the 6 mile "long run"...  This year, now that I'm actually going into marathon training with an adequate base I can handle 40+ mile weeks and still knock out several quality sessions... last year my marathon training peaked at a 50 mile week with a 22 mile long run... right now I'm almost to 50 miles and have already hit an 18 miler... I pretty much feel like if my marathon was just 2 weeks away instead of 15 weeks away I could taper right now and already beat my PR of 3:39... definitely a good place to be at this point in my training cycle.

Look into my crystal ball

The plan for Week 4 is to hold steady in the mid 40 mileage range but to step back the intensity just a hair... I still have a tempo run planned for Tuesday, but I'm limiting the tempo section of the run to about 3 miles... I also 5k planned for Sunday to access my current fitness... I'm cutting my long run back down to 14 miles (which I'll be incorporating my warm-up, 5k, and cool down into).  However I also have a medium long run of 10 miles scheduled for mid week.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Four Things Friday

As 5 hour energy begat 6 hour power, and as 8 minute abs begat 7 minute abs... now, one time only, the makers of Three Things Thursday bring you FOUR THINGS FRIDAY!!!

1. When I first started reading blogs I'd come across a weekly phenomenon on one or two of the blogs I'd follow called: Three Things Thursday...  as I got deeper into the game I began to see more and more blogs that followed the blogger ritual of Three Things Thursday...

2. A quick Google search for "Three Things Thursday" yielded 302,000 results... and judging from the first 10 search results it definitely seems to be primarily a runner blogger phenomenon (I know, not super scientific of me, but it's not like I'm submitting this research to a peer reviewed journal or anything)... I noticed that Google has a new search option where you can narrow down the time window of the search so I figured I'd search older and older times until I found the original post... after several search interations I finally narrowed it down to one search result back in June 2006 from Jess over at 21 days...  I was excited!!!  So I head over to 21 days to check out my searched out result...FAIL.  Turns out the phrase "Three Things Thursday" that Google was detecting was actually in her "other blogs I follow" sidebar and that the "Three Things Thursday" word string was actually detected from a blog entry written yesterday...  I guess this means that Jess has one of the oldest running blogs on Blogger... it also means that if you write a post today, it could update a webpage written 5 years ago (basically time travel!!!)... it didn't however bring me any closer to the origins of "Three Things Thursday"

3. So why "Three Things Thursday" anyway... why not "Four Things Friday" (8,750 google entries or about 3% of the amount as "Three Things Thursday") or "Two Things Tuesday" (66,700 google entries or about 22% of the amount as "Three Things Thursday")???... seems like people are just fascinated with 3... after all so many things come in 3's -  Time (past, present, future), Life Cycle (you're born, you live, you die), Religion (the father, son, holy ghost for you Christians out there, or the three "fates" for those of you who still follow Greek Mythology), the Primary Colors (red, blue, yellow) Freud's division of the psyche (Id, Ego, & Super-Ego)... 3 points define a plane, 3 strikes you're out... 3 times a charm... 3 is a magic number... the list goes on and on and on...

4. Anyway, that's enough rambling for one day... don't feel like I came any closer to figuring out the mysteries of the origins of "Three Things Thursday"... also aren't sure why I'm so fascinated... I guess I'm a bit of a blogger sociologist (unfortunately for me since my mother-in-law is a sociologist)... How bout you?  Do you know the origins of "Three Things Thursday"... if so, please share!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Quest for the Maximum Heartrate

Quick note before I start my actual post... How bout team USA soccer, huh? Some people say that watching soccer is boring because of the low scoring, but you can't really beat the excitement of a buzzer beating goal in the 91st minute to win the game and the group and send your team to the next round!!! Plus, I've been known to sit down and watch entire marathons on Universal Sports and my favorite professional sport is baseball so soccer is right up my alley! Anyway, on to my post...
It’s been over a year since I’ve come anywhere close to maximum heart rate, a 190 bpm effort during my finishing kick at last years Steamboat Classic 15k. These days I’m lucky if I hit 180… even during my most recent 5k PR I only was able to achieve 181…
Not that this is a problem by any means... in fact I take is as a positive because I assume the fact that my heart rate peaks so much lower than it did a year ago can be attributed to my drastically increased level of fitness.  Also, peak heartrate during a given run is more or less meaningless...

So why am I talking about this?  Because last Sunday I called my father (who’s also a runner) for father’s day and he wound up going into a story about how he had recently went to the cardiologist to get his heart checked out… They put him on a treadmill for a stress-test and eventually he gets his heartrate up to 183, which he holds for over a minute (meaning that his actual max is probably even higher). 183?!? Did I mention that the dude is 63 years old? So much for 220 minus your age (which would put him at a max of 157)…

That got me thinking… what if my max heart rate is actually higher than the 193 that I’ve been estimating it at???  That could really change-up what my heart rate zones are!  Only one way to check… time to head for the hills… And wouldn’t you know it, I had 6Xhill repeats on my schedule for the week!

So today, I jog a 2 mile warm-up over to Reservoir Hill (pictured above) for some top quality hill work...  The hill is about a 7% grade and 300 meters in length and so I decided to approach my workout like this:  For the first three repeats I'd run the entire 300 meters at a moderate pace, turn around, and jog back down the hill.  Then for the next 2 repeats I would increase the pace but only run 200 meters of the way up the hill, thus maintaining a similar overall intensity but shortening the recovery period.   Then for the last repeat I would keep the same intensity as my previous 200 meter repeats but when I hit the 200 meter mark, instead of turning around and jogging back down, I would sprint all out for the last 100 meters up the hill.

On the right you can see a Garmin chart of how I did... I covered nearly 2 miles (about 1 mile up and 1 mile down) and ultimately achieved a peak heartrate of 191.  One thing I found interesting about the graph was that both my peak heart rate and minumum recovery heartrate on each hill seemed to increase  basically linearly.

So ultimately today was a success!  I achieved a 191 recorded heartrate, one bpm higher than my previous record... on the other hand it doesn't seem to indicate that my actual max is any higher than the 192-193 bpm's I originally thought it was, so I guess I didn't inherit by dad's beast heart...  then again, I wonder what might have happened if I had tried just one more hill repeat after I had hit the 191???  Seems like a sequel to this saga might be in the works... not anytime soon though... my heart, body, and mind have had enough for now, especially with weather conditions like these!!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Marathon Monday (16 week out edition)

Just in case you haven't noticed (new banner, training schedule link above blog, constant references) I've been gearing up for the Chicago Marathon for quite some time... now with 16 weeks left I'm ready to get super-duper-uber-serious by starting a weekly segment called marathon Monday where I can post training updates and put down general thoughts on my upcoming marathon.

Unveiling my marathon goal!!!

I should probably plead the fifth here but... I'm just going to be straight up honest instead.

In my heart of hearts I really want to qualify for Boston!!!... now sure, lots of people want to qualify for Boston and that doesn't mean it's going to happen but... in my heart of hearts I feel that I might actually have an outside shot of doing it and here's why:

My Mcmillan 5k PR (currently 19:29) predicts me at a 3:09:56... My Mcmillan'd 8k PR (currently 32:19) predicts me at a 3:11:09 (ok, not quite a BQ but close enough for my heart of hearts)... I still have 750+ miles of training planned before the race and I've only been running for a little over a year so I'm still improving very quickly...

However, my brain of brains has a different opinion... here's what it thinks:

Sure you're 5k time predicts a BQ but basing your marathon pace off 5k time just about absolute nonsense!  Now a half-marathon, that would be a decent predictor... and your half-marathon time of 1:34:37 predicts that you're going to run a 3:19:33 which is nowhere near a BQ and even with an additional 5 months of training that's a lot of time to trim... not only that but your marathon PR is 3:39:34 so you're talking about trimming 30 minutes off your time and more than a minute off your pace... not nessessarily realistic goal setting if you put it that way...

Now if I was truely being realistic I'd say that 3:15 would probably be a tough but attainable goal time for me... however, if I show up on marathon day, run with the 3:15 pace group, feel great, and finish strong with a 3:13:xxish time I would really regret not going for the 3:10...

I guess ultimately I'm going to cop out on this whole goal setting thing and say that I'm going to wait to see how my training goes before picking a goal.

and... my first marathon training update

Week 1
Now technically my self-authored training grid started 2 weeks ago but since the Madison to Chicago 200 Relay fell during my first week of training it kind of mucked things up... my mileage suffered that week... on the bright side all the miles I did wind up running were of quality.  During that week I ran a sub 6 minute mile anniversary time trial, some hills, 2-a-day tempo runs, and ended it with a sub 8 minute 12+ miler on tired legs!!!

Week 2
This relay induced intensity launched me into training week 2 sore and tired.  I took Sunday and Monday off to help aid my recovery and followed up with a recovery paced 4 miler on the treadmill on Tuesday.  By Wednesday my legs (especially my quads) still felt pretty trashed but I decided I had to get some mileage in regardless so I went ahead and set out for a easy 7 miler... the first couple miles started out rough, but then suddenly my legs loosened up and I miraculously felt 1000% better.  About 5 miles into this run I had to tackle one of the tougher hills in the area (one that I normally fear) and climbed up it smoothly with no problems!!! Thursday I had a 5 mile fartlek scheduled... my legs still didn't feel completely recovered but I figured I'd at least squeeze in four or five pick-ups during the run... I took off from my house and even though my legs felt stiff and sorish I felt like my turnover was faster than normal and spontaneously I inadvertently found myself smack in the middle of a tempo run!  I hit the first mile at 7:20 pace and after loosening up I finished out the last four miles of the run at a 6:55 pace and wound up running 7:00 pace flat... this left me tired for Friday and Saturday and I wound up running 2 miles and 5+ miles respectively on those days at recovery pace... I finished up my week Sunday with some good ol' fashioned LSD (long slow distance)... 15 miles at 8:40 pace with the first mile ran at 8:42 and the last mile ran at 8:38 (significant because I was able to exhibit the control and consistency that is normally lacking from my long runs)...

Chicago 2009 training comparison flashback

Week 1 stats  (2010)                                   Week 1 stats (2009)
28.45 miles                                                24.17 miles
7:34 average pace                                      8:24 average pace
long run - 12.23 miles                                 long run - 8 miles

Week 2 stats (2010)                                     Week 2 stats (2009)
38.73 miles                                                25.47 miles
8:18 average pace                                      8:43 average pace
long run - 15.02 miles                                 long run - 9.4 miles

Look into my crystal ball

Going into week 3 I feel like the relay is pretty much behind me and I can really focus on following my plan... except for the fact that I have a work-related 5k thrust onto my calendar for Saturday (there's always something, isn't there?!?).  Other than that a pretty cut and dry training week, just over 40 miles with a hill session and a 16 mile long run...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Uh Oh... Who put that guy in charge? (plus bitch, bitch, bitch)

This Saturday the Steamboat Classic 4 mile and 15k race will be taking place right here in Peoria, Il!!!  Now normally I'd be running it, but after last weekends relay I decided I wasn't quite ready to race again just yet, so I decided to do the next best thing:  Volunteer!

This is my first time volunteering at a race so of course they put me into one of the most crucial jobs... traffic looker outer guy.  The roads the race is run on are initially closed but at a certain point the cross streets open up and that's where I come in.  I'll be standing at one of the corners watching for runners, watching for traffic, and making sure the two don't mix!   That's right... I'll be preemptively saving lives!

All kidding aside, I am excited that I'll still get to participate in the race because it's actually a pretty decent sized event (by Peoria, Illinois standards anyway).  The four miler is billed as one of the "fastest four mile road races in the world", in fact from 1986-2005 the world record for the four mile road race was held on the course (current course record is 17:24)... because of this the race has a decent sized purse and an elite athlete budget.  At the same time the race is still fairly small (2800+ finishers last year) which allows better than normal access to the elite runners (like you can stand right next to them at the starting line)... Last year I was even able to get Constantina Dita (the 2008 olympic gold medalist  in the women's marathon) to sign my race number!

All in all it should be a fun event and I plan on running down to the race from my house so I'll still get plenty of my own running in... but wait, there's more... for volunteering I get my very own volunteer t-shirt... and that's what it's really all about, right?


Adding this to my post... seems like a lot of people have already read today's entry so maybe I'll be able to achieve blogger nirvana by bitching my ass off and venting my frustration while not subjecting any my readers to my pettiness... anyway... please feel free not to read this next part!

so today I'm out for a little 2 mile recovery run with my dogs... I'm going along minding my own business and up ahead I see this youngish avon sales-representative looking woman (this is not supposed to be a diss necessarily she was just dressed like a make-up saleswoman i.e. white blouse/name tag/wearing way too much makeup and hair care products) outside of her house with her two little dogs (not on leashes of course)... so as I approach her one little shit dog decides to come up and fuck with my 2 little shit dogs... ok, so not really a big deal, my dogs occasionally get free and go bark at the neighbors dog or someone walking by or something and I have to run out and grab them and apologize... but here's the part the bothers me... the woman basically does nothing to try to control her dog;  she says nothing to the dog, she doesn't come over and try to intervene... she just stands there.  I keep jogging along, hoping that the dog will go home after I pass, but the dog keeps following and meanwhile I'm doing all I can to stop my dog from attacking it's little bitch ass... and then the lady says to me in a snotty voice "if you keep jogging it's going to keep following you" (no "sorry about my dog" or anything like that)... so I stop and squat down and yell right in the dogs face "bad dog... go home".  That pretty much took care of it and I continued running, leaving the lady (pouting because I yelled at her "snookems") and her stupid shit dog behind...  the nerve of that lady "if you keep jogging (in her snotty nails on a chalkboard tone of voice)"... next time I'm going to actually stop, because my little 10 pound terrier gets very protective when she's on the leash and another dog comes up to her owner and she would not hesitate to go all Michael Vick on that little fur-ball... not that I condone violence against animals... just that you should control your fucking dog!!! and if you can't control your dog then don't let them out into the front yard without a leash!!!!  PHEWWW.... I feel much better now!  sorry bout that!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


I'm not sure where to even start with this whole fiasco... How bout with some lessons learned!

-Speeding tickets in Wisconsin are ridiculously expensive… my buddy got clocked going 81 in a 65 on the drive up… in Illinois that would have cost him 75$ in Wisconsin the price of the ticket is 250.90!!! Oh well, at least we started fast… it was all downhill after that.
-Waking up at 5am for a race sucks… waking up at 5am for a race when you aren’t scheduled to run for another 13+ hours really sucks!!!
-Always remember to pack an extra pair of running shoes… you never know when the runner you’re supporting might decided to flash his balls at you mid run causing you to back into a giant puddle of water 20 minutes before you’re about to start your own leg. (Luckily I did have an extra pair of shoes with me).
- Normally people find us annoying, offensive, and juvenile… but at 5 in the morning we’re comedy legends!!! - It was five in the morning and our 12th runner had just finished his leg. He was standing outside of the van with a towel wrapped around him so that he could change out of his running shorts. However he was delirious from extreme physical exertion and sleep deprivation and subsequently finding it nearly impossible to get his boxers on. Jokingly he shouts into the van… “Could somebody help me put my boxers on?”… Right at this moment a woman from another team walks by and overhears him and just about falls over laughing… she looks into our van and says “You’re all guys aren’t you?” and continues to laugh even harder…
-There’s nothing more surreal than pulling a van full of runners into a parking lot full of vans full of runners… everyone wandering around dazed, half dressed, in their shorts and sports bras… powdering their neither regions with no shame… people sleeping in fields, on benches, on the concrete… fog, and mist, and lights shining… I’m pretty sure I just experienced what the Zombie Revolution is going to feel like!
-If you’re going to write a rap song specifically for an event and if that event is going to last for over 36 hours you better damn well make sure that you make that song as good as you possibly can because you best believe that you are going to be hearing it over and over and over again until you might just feel like you’d be better off sharpening two sticks and jamming them deep into your ears!!!!

And now... A Graphical Representation of my Mood During the Event...
Next On the agenda--- The Tale of 2 VANS!!!

It was the best of vans (Van 2, my van), it was the worst of vans (Van 1, the “other” van).
Van 1 shenanigans:

-Not bringing toilet paper even though it said to in the handbook… taking half of van 2’s toilet paper… immediately losing the toilet paper and asking for more at the next meet-up.
-lead runner running 1-2 minutes per mile slower than his predicted pace, despite the fact that he had racing flats and a Garmin GPS on and talked a huge game before the race started.
-Getting a hotel room because they didn’t want to sleep in the van or inside the high school gym and weren't comfortable using the communal showers in the locker room and then oversleeping and not showing up to the 3rd handoff in time.
-complaining that "porta-potties are nasty, why can't they have more places with regular bathrooms", even though it must have taken extraordinary effort to get multiple porta-potties delivered to 36 different locations!!!
-having their “feelings hurt” after we relentlessly ragged on them for getting the hotel room
-not showing up at the finish line in time to finish with the rest of the team because they had once again overslept
-2 of the runners not showing up to the finish at all
-Continuously misplacing their possessions and then calling us to see if they were in our van even though none of their runners spent anytime in our van what so ever making it physically impossible that any of thier possessions could possibly be in our van...
-Complaining that the relay was 205 miles instead of 200.
-realizing after one of their legs had started that they had forgotten to bring along their GU, stopping running completely, and waiting on the trail until the support van could find them and bring them the GU
…I’m thinking that next year we might want to think about “cutting the fat” and running the race as an Ultra team!

How about the running???

Almost forgot to talk about the running... this supposedly was a race afterall... So here's a quick recap of my legs...

Leg 1: 5.74 miles

Planned on going out at 8-8:30 pace... by the time I ran I was so hyped up that I took off at 7 minute pace instead... Then I started passing some runners... after that I couldn't slow down because I didn't want to can passed back by someone I had already passed... the only thing that slowed me down... the 88 degree heat!!! Brutal, just brutal... I ended up running a 7:15 pace (half-marthon pace) but my heartrate was up in the 95% zone for the final two miles...

Leg 2: 4.95 miles

Run started at 4:20 in the morning and in was amazing!!! The air was finally cool and the ground was covered in fog... my headlight bounced off the water in the air and made it seem like I was running through a cloud... plus my legs felt great... I took off at 7 minute pace and this time I held it... I could see the flashing lights clipped to the reflective vests of the runners ahead of me... one by one I chased them down and picked them off... I think I passed 12 people on this section (+/- 2)... 

Leg 3: 7.51 miles (that turned into 8.5... that turned into 12.23)

Leg 35... last run before the last run... I was sore and tired from my previous two tempo paced runs... despite that I still was able to maintain a 8:00 minute mile pace... I felt a total disconnect from my legs as I strode along... Up until this point in the race there were plenty of runners around and the way was well marked with signs and arrows... so I decided that I wouldn't bother carrying my map with me... big mistake!!! For some reason there were no signs on this stretch... Me and another runner got lost about 4 seperate times... I finally had to call my van from my cell and have them direct me to the end (when I finally made it to the end, one of the volunteers at the handoff said that a lot of people had complained about the stretch and that she though that maybe some of the signs had been stolen)... I wasn't happy with finishing up my final lost by getting lost so after grabbing some water I hopped back out of the van to run with our anchor runner... I considered finishing the whole race with him but my legs were getting really tired and I decided it wasn't worth risking injury over so I stopped after about 4 miles.


The Aftermath...

Damn am I sore!!! I'm not going to say that I'm marathon sore, but it's pretty close... I definitily going to take it easy this week... and don't be suprised if I'm absent from the blogsphere for the next week either... I think I need a quick break to regroup and refocus on Chicago 10/10/10...

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Happy Anniversary to Me!!!

Yesterday, my wife Natalie and I celebrated our 3 year wedding anniversary... three years ago we took a trip to the courthouse* and legally committed to spend the rest of our days together in civil union and guess what:  She wasn't even pregnant!!! I mention this because when we were talking to the office clerk who entered us into the state computer system as a married couple I happened to glance at her screen and noticed a small button on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen that had a picture of a shotgun on it. I asked her what that was for and she said "we click that if one of the parties getting married is under 18" i.e. "Shotgun wedding"... we also got a pamphlet in the same envelope that they put our marriage certificate in warning against the dangers associated with drinking while pregnant... oh the joys of living in Southern Illinois...

But anyway... I'm not here to talk about my inconsequential little wedding anniversary that happened yesterday... I'm hear to talk about what's truly important in my life:  RUNNING!!!  That's right, today is my official 1 year anniversary of running!

On June 8th, 2009 I got serious about running as I dove head-first into Hal Higdon's Intermediate I training program in preparation for the 2009 Chicago Marathon...  In retrospect I probably should have listened to everybody else in the running world's advice and done some base training before jumping into a marathon training cycle... Those first 6 weeks of training were pretty brutal as I jumped from the 0-6 MPW I was doing before the training started to the 25+ MPW the training plan called for... I was pretty much a wreck... luckily for me the economy was also a wreck and I was laid off at the time so the only other thing I had to do besides run was lay around the house and complain about how tired and sore my legs were... (it really is a wonder that my wife and I made it to that third year anniversary)...
Eventually my body began to adapt and by the time the marathon came around I was feeling pretty good... that was until mile 18 of my marathon when I realized that getting through the four months of training without any previous base build-up was not enough mileage to allow me to attain the 3:30/8:00 minute pace goal I had set for myself...  I crashed hard and jogged, shuffled, and limped (although I never walked) through the last 8.2 miles and eventually finished in just under 3:40 despite the searing ITB pain in both legs...  it took me nearly 3 months to fully recover... oh well, lesson learned... but if I could go back and change anything I probably wouldn't...

Now, one year and 1250+ miles later, I'm ready for round 2!

One of the benefits of being 1 year in is that now I have 1 years worth of training log.  This means that I can look back and compare last years workout to this years workout to see how much I've progressed...

Here it is:

Last year (6/8/9):                                  This Year (6/8/10):
Distance: 5.02 miles                             Distance: 5.39 miles
Duration: 41:29                                    Duration: 39:00
Pace: 8:16                                             Pace: 7:14
HR Avg\Max:160\188                         HR Avg\Max: 161\181

I actually ran a very similar course to the one I did a year ago but the workout was totally different... Last year I ran along at a 8:16ish pace for the entire run as my heart rate steadily crept upward until I got to reservoir hill (a steep hill where I do my hill workouts) which caused my heartrate to spike up to 188 which is damn near my max even through I was only going at a 8:50 pace... I then headed home at a labored 8:30 pace until I got to the last mile which I kicked in at 8:00 pace...

This year I started off with a mile warm up at 8:14 pace (already faster than last years pace except this time it's my "easy" pace)... then I ran a 5:49 mile that took my heartrate up to 181... I then slowed down to 7:30 pace and headed to  reservoir hill... this time I took the hill at a 7:40 pace and my heartrate only went up to 175!!!  I then headed home at 7:30 pace till I got to the last mile which I kicked in at 6:30 pace...

What a difference a year can make!  And the great thing is that my journey's just begun... I'm just now, finally starting to feel like a runner... my legs are getting stronger and starting to get a bit of that runner's tone... my recovery is taking shorter and shorter... and I'm no longer too tired participate in non-running related activities (even after a long run!!!). 

*We had just graduated college so we couldn't afford to have a wedding... we decided to have our ceremony exactly a year later on 6/7/08.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Counting down to M2C relay, plus the grand premier of the M2C rap song!

In less than one week from now (6 days and 23 hours) my team will embark on the Madison to Chicago 200 relay… a 200 mile, 12 runner, 36 leg relay event spanning the distance from Madison, Wi to Chicago, Il via Milwaukee…And the good news is that as of right now it seems that despite all the bitching, moaning, and complaining our entire team is more or less healthy and ready to run (knock on wood).

Personally, I’ve been preparing by running 2-a-days every Friday for the last month (6ish miles in the morning and 5ish miles at night)… Time will tell if my training strategy will pay off but regardless I have determined one thing: I really like running 2-a-days… It turns out that even though I feel a bit more fatigued on that second run my resulting pace always turns out to be about 10 seconds faster in my evening runs even though I run at the same perceived exertion level… Admittedly, it’s kind of a moot point right now because my mileage level isn’t really high enough to warrant 2-a-days but maybe one day it will be!

But enough about me… back to the relay team! We’re all ready to go… we got the team together, we got our vans reserved, we got our legs assigned… So at this point I’m 95% confident that we’re at least going to start this race… whether or not we’ll actually finish the race is whole other question and not just because we’re egregiously undertrained… Just look at these rules!

It’s like they took a list of everything we were planning on doing during the relay and made a rule against it… especially troubling were the two rules I circled! Seriously, I even had to take out one of my favorite lines from my rap song…

We’ll be drinking and peeing and peeing and drinking
Drinking and peeing and pooping and stinking*
Of course even with the limitations set upon our team with these so called "rules" I’m sure we’ll come up with plenty of other juvenile and disturbing antics that aren’t on the list… something tells me that rules list might just be quite a bit longer next year after we’re done with this bitch!

And speaking of rap... guess what... I finally finished my rap song and figured out how to share it... For some reason I'm not 100% satisfied on how it turned out, but at a certain point you just have to say fuck it!  I'm thinking my biggest limitation (besides talent) is my 15 dollar microphone!

Despite my lack of total satisfaction with the finished product it does have it's moments (if I do say so myself)... For example, here's on one of my favorite lines:

I never false start cuz I'm packing the gun
get that Dick out of your Beardsley as we duel in the sun**
Stuff like that just can't be taught... either your born with it or your not!  But enough with the "Amuse-Bouche", let's bring on the meat... so with no further ado... The official rap song of our Madison to Chicago relay team: "From the 608 to da 312" (Madison and Chicago’s respective area codes for those of you unfamiliar with hip-hop culture)

*Actually, that line was never in the song… I just came up with that right now, on the fly! Yep, that’s the kind of rap genius you guys are dealing with…

**Believe it or not this line is in fact in the song...