Sunday, October 30, 2011

I needed this great run

Once in awhile you have an almost perfect run. I'm not sure if was the combination of an awesome pizza for lunch (thanks Rob), or the cool wind blowing in my face, but I had an amazing run today. I've been feeling discouraged as my knee as mysteriously been feeling pain just when walking around a grocery store, etc. I was considering scaling back my running thinking I had really messed up my knee with the marathon earlier this month and the trail race. In my head, my plan was to run out 2 and turn around and come back. When I got to the two mile mark, I thought well I'll do the loop and do 5. When I got to Main street, I thought well I'll run out to Richard's house and do 6.5. When I got out that direction, I thought well I'll run 4 
then turn around. It seemed like the further I got, the better I felt. I knew I had to help Susan with dinner, so I had just enough time to get a full 9 in. I walked 30 secs to 1 minute about every 5 miles. Once I turned around at 4.5, the wind was at my back and I felt the surge of confidence. I imagined my best speed days of 2009 and my 5k PR and my sub 4 hour marathon. I took several pictures of the beautiful foliage. I guess I had to trick my logical brain so my creative side could take over.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

2011 Dogwood Canyon 25k

Skinny Bear trying to convince me to sign up of for the 50k

Dwight ready to rip it up. Dick chilling in the background (red shirt).
This was the third time that I had signed up for the Bass Pro Shops Dogwood Canyon 25k. I had originally envisioned doing the 50k, but I got scared off by the thought of the hills and how tough a 50k this would be for me. I had offered to pay for Rob if he would run the 50k with me. After changing my mind recently to the 25k, I decided to extend the offer for that as well and Rob agreed to run with me and provide me some companionship. I knew he would really enjoy it. We met Dwight, Debbie and Dick at Dwight's clinic at 5:45 a.m. Dwight graciously volunteered to haul us all down there in his mini van. I wasn't expecting much in terms of how fast I was going to run. I planned on wearing my Nathan Road Vest with all of the needed fuel in the back pocket. We got there early enough to stand around and visit with some of the other runners. Rob jokingly was attempting to get me to change to the 50k. Interestingly enough, the temps were much warmer than the past two years races had been. It was about 55 at the start of the race and not much humidity that I noticed. We started out smoothly and ran for the entire first mile and a quarter. We hit our first major incline sometime soon and it was a hill that went straight up. We took it out smart and walked slowly on the hills, though these were so steep that you had no choice but to walk. We had a plan to do a little goofing around when we hit the last water crossing. By the time we hit the halfway mark, it was starting to warm up. We were having fun though, talking and whenever we hit an aid station we drank Mello Yello or Coke and I ate gummy bears. We continued to run smart and by the time we hit the last mile, we were able to pick it up and pass about 4 runners. When Rob ran downhill though, it was extremely difficult to keep up with him. We came across the finish line about 100 yards apart and the video below, shows some interesting footage throughout the race. Overall it was a very nice experience to share with my good friend.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

2011 Wildlife Marathon. Concord, MI

We (Rob and myself) chose this weekend for the second straight year to travel a farther distance, since we had Columbus Day off.  Rob picked me up from work on Friday afternoon and we picked up Robin at work and headed toward Chicago. Traffic was decent and we got to our hosts (Brett and Carla Saffron) around 11:30. Brett and I were pretty excited because the Cardinals had won the NLDS against the Phillies. Brett is one of the only Cardinal fans that loves the birds more than I. The next day we took our time in the morning and drove 4 hours to Concord, MI. A funny thing happened to our Maniac flag. I was trying to be courteous and roll down the window after some flatulence. I completely forgot about the flag being on the window.  We were being put up by Mark "Doc" Ott. A marathon maniac in his own right. Mark was celebrating the beginning of his 50th state weekend which commences coming up next weekend. We visited during the afternoon and had a large pasta dinner that evening. I met John ( a barefoot runner) and Joel (a CC athlete from Jackson Community College, competing in his first marathon). We had a good dinner and running related conversation. I was a little nervous about the event since I hadn't had a 20+ mile run since the marathon in July. I knew I could do the distance, but wasn't sure how I would feel in the end. I planned on doing a 3 min run to 1 minute walk mix. The weather would have been ideal if the temp had stayed the same all day, but alas it was going to warm up. Prior to starting the event a runner came up to us to express her excitement about soon joining the Marathon Maniacs. April had confessed to Rob that she usually starts out fast and falls apart and walks it in. The event started and we were off and running. By the time I had hit 4 miles, I was starting to get bored. I missed having someone to chat with as Rob and I usually do our long runs together on the weekend. I had been passing April and she would pass me back when I would walk. About mile 4 I offered to help her complete her goal of a sub 5 hour marathon. I encouraged her to try the run/walk method and she said sure but she wanted to change it to 4:1. I agreed as I love to help other marathoners achieve their goals. At around mile 7 or 8 another runner (James Bowers) began doing our intervals with us and the next 45-1 hour passed quickly. We talked about world events, the economy, etc. It was awesome. Pretty soon, the gravel country roads came and it started to get tough. The temperature was beginning to rise and I could tell April was beginning to get tired. James let us go at this point, he was beginning to feel the hills I think. April was being a trooper, but I started to get the feeling that she wasn't going to make it. She told me at mile 17 that I should go on without her. I argued with her a little, but she convinced me to go on. The next 3-4 miles, I dropped it into a faster gear to make up for some time that we had lost. I think this section really took it out of me. By the time I hit 21 miles, I was starting to question my motivation for running. I had developed a large blister on my pinky toe on my right foot and it had been screaming for the past 4 miles.  I took a gel at mile 22 and by mile 23 my mental state was better. I passed 4 runners within the last two miles and I was pretty convinced that the heat played a major factor in many of our demise this day. Rob called me as I was approaching mile 23 and told me that the clock time was around 4:19. I knew that I had time to still make it in under 5 hours. Rob encouraged me to use 2:1 intervals. I came in at 4:55:55 and went straight for the shade and some water to drink. I experimented with Pickle Juice Sport to prevent leg cramps. I used it before, during and after the marathon. I went inside the school to take a shower and by the time I got outside after the shower I was feeling very nauseous.
Border crossing picture
Me, Mark "Doc" Ott,  Joel Medina, and John Yohe
Rob had left to go get us some Coca Colas. I crawled in the car when he came back  hoping that I wouldn't have to vomit anytime soon. After a few sips of Coke and 15 minutes of cool air, I was feeling a little better. Rob and I headed south (accidentally, Rob put his home address in the GPS). We stopped at a rest stop McDonalds and had our traditional post marathon burger. When we got back to Chicago, we celebrated with a large "Chicago style " pizza from Ray Malnatis. It was my 19th marathon and my 17th state.