Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Rampage Nears its End!

It's been 3 straight weekends, 2 separate trips Up North, 2 weeks of work, 1 week of vacation, and lots of juggling of mid-week runs, but the Rampage is nearly complete.

I'm headed to KC tomorrow morning, but this weekend's 16 miler is already in the books. The alarm went off at 4am today, and I walked back into the house at 7:06 after 16 miles in just under 162 minutes, a 10:07 pace, which is just fine for me.

The good news is that now I can head down to KC to celebrate Petey Raindrops' upcoming nuptuals with absolutely no Running Guilt! (There is plenty of guilt associated with leaving one's wife to be sole caretaker to a 15month old boy on a weekend when she has to work each day, but that's another story. At least running isn't in the cards for this weekend.) This trip is all about Baseball, BBQ, Beer, and Golf, and I. Can't. Wait.

I'll have another update, including some photos from the vacation/trips when I get back next week. Till then, keep on runnin'


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Checking in...

Howdy Gang-
Just a quick update from Camp BYT. I'm a little distracted this week in anticipation of these little guys:
No, they don't look like any fun at all, huh? My neices and nephew will be arriving Thursday evening (along with my brother and SIL of course), and we CAN'T WAIT to see them! Even little SYT is super-psyched.

After they hang at our place for a couple days, we all get to go back up north for another week's vacation, so life is pretty good around here, even if I'm "juggling" my runs a bit.

Speaking of juggling, I'll have more information on that later this week hopefully. I did the 13 last Saturday. It got hot on the way back and I had to slow down a bit, but I still came in under the 10min/mile pace, so I'm not too disappointed. I started on Monday this week, so I've already done 3 and 4 miles, but I have to do 7 one day this week before 10 on Saturday morning before leaving town. More on that later. Till then, keep on runnin'...


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Rampage Begins!

If there ever were a time when my dedication to training for this marathon would come into question, we're entering it As you can see (hopefully, pending image resolution), this weekend starts a string of 4 straight weekends where my long runs will be done "on the road," including one in a city I've never visited.

I have a friend- let's call him.....Seven - who loves to ski. His passion for the slopes, free-wheeling nature, "out west" connections, and disposable income led him for several winters to go on an annual skiing "rampage," wherein he would head to Colorado or Montana some 4 or 5 long weekends in a row and nobody would hear from him for a month or two.

I feel like this is my running Rampage coming in August. This weekend, we'll go back up north just for the weekend, and then the following week we head up for another full week's vacation, this time with my whole family. The vacation will be filled with beach picnics, cocktail parties, golf outings, sailing excursions, and my anniversary, so what time I do find to run will be slim and quick. This is definitely a test of what it means to be "in training" as opposed to "working out." I'll have to make time for other things to fit into my running, and not the other way around.

To top off the 3 straight weekends in Petoskey/Harbor Springs, I'm then headed to a Bachelor Party in Kansas City. I have another friend- let's call him....Petey Raindrops....who is marrying the love of his life in September. Before that, we need to give his bachelorhood a proper sendoff in the best way we can- by traveling to see his beloved Red Sox visit the Royals. Unfortunately, I also need to do 16 miles that weekend. Um, yeah. We'll see how that goes.

The way I see it, if I can get to Tuesday, 8/23 still alive, uninjured, and on track, then there's nothing stopping me from hitting my goal (beating my 2009 time of 4:29:45) in October. Until then, we'll see how the Rampage goes.

Lest anyone think I'm not grateful for the ability to spend so much time up north, let me make it clear that I LOVE it up there. If running along the lakefront is the hardest part of my day, I don't really have much room for complaint. Being 3 hours' drive from Little Traverse Bay is a big reason we decided to move to Pure Michigan, and we haven't regretted it for a minute.

But back to the running. Looks like Heat Dome '011 has finally moved on to the east coast. Even though it'll be hot this weekend again, it's always cooler by the lake, so I'm not too worried. My hip pain seems a bit better after more stretching and some rest, so I'm encouraged there. My 12 miler last weekend was done at a 9:40/mile pace including a little bit of walking (I equate it to walking through crowded water stations on race day), so I'm pretty happy with that.

That's all I've got from Camp BYT. I'll have another update probably next week. Till then, keep on runnin'


PS- I actually do have more than 2 friends, but Seven and Petey Raindrops are particularly cool guys!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Heat Wave!!!!!

Remember when I said vacation was awesome? This Heat Dome '011 (pronounced "Oh-Leven")is like the complete opposite of awesome. It's like when Awesome clocks out and goes on break, Heat Dome '011 clocks in and answers the phones while Awesome is gone. And let me tell ya gang- Awesome just went on a week's vacation, so Heat Dome '011 ain't going anywhere any time soon. Ugh.

The last 2 days I've had to go to the gym to do my runs (6m Wed and 3m today). I planned on the gym for the 6 miler, but this morning after I got all geared up and headed out the door, I didn't even make it to the end of our block...and we live at the TOP of a hill! There was no way I was going out any further when the Heat Index was already 90 degrees- I simply wasn't going to make it. Ugh.

I'm lucky enough that I can slip over to the YMCA on a lunch break and do a quick 3 or 4 miles, shower, and be back at my desk in a little over an hour. The only problem today was that after showering, the walk back to the car induced an entirely new sweating event, and getting into the car only magnified the effect. It was 2pm before I could show my face back in the office without fear of my shirt clinging visibly to my back sweat. Ugh.

I'm struggling with what to do about the 12 miler scheduled for this weekend. Apparently Sunday is going to be better than Saturday, so I'm tentatively planning on a pre-church run on Sunday morning, starting well before sunrise so that I can leverage the coolest part of the day. Let's cross our fingers...

Dealing with some minor hip pain lately. I'll have more after I consult with the resident Physical Therapist in Camp BYT. Okay, he's a friend from Chicago, but he's a DrPT nonetheless, so this could get interesting.

Till then, keep on runnin'

Monday, July 11, 2011

And We're Back...

...From Vacation. FYI- vacation is awesome. We got back last night from 9 straight days in Pure Michigan, and aside from the nightly booze-fest that comes along with being on vacation with a dozen or so friends in town, I actually stayed pretty much on the straight and narrow. I did my runs on the assigned days, and largely stayed a little ahead of the pace I require of myself (10min/mile). On Wednesday, I actually only ran 4 miles instead of the 5 on the schedule, but I didn't actually have the schedule with me, so I'm chalking that one up to a brain fart.

My long runs were good, and this was the first double-digit weekend run of the program. As I mentioned in my last post, I did my long runs on the Little Traverse Wheelway, a continuous trail that runs all the way north from Charlevoix, through Petoskey, and up to Harbor Springs. My wife's grandmother lives right in front of the path, so it was nice and easy to park at Grandma's house and hit the trail. Here's a stock photo (from from a couple years ago, but the scenery hasn't changed much- and hopefully it never does! This week is a step-back week, so Saturday's run is only 7 miles, but the 3-5-3 schedule is a slight step up for the mid-week activity. This week's rule is no booze. I think I drank enough for two weeks while we were up north.

Side note, I did get in 3 rounds of golf and a tennis match against the lovely Mrs. I won, and she had to buy the ice cream afterwards. It tasted like victory.

All is well in Camp BYT. We booked the hotel for the night before the Marathon last weekend. I'm very excited we'll be staying right across the street from Grant Park, so I'll be able to walk directly over on race day. This will eliminate my pre-5am wake-up call I needed when I lived on Chicago's north side in 2009 (breakfast, "natural break," CTA trains at ungodly hours of a Sunday morning, etc). I'll check in again later this week.

Till then, keep on runnin'


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

So Here's the Plan...

A few people around the office and a few friends have asked about my training plan-

Why does it take 18 weeks?

How often do you run?

Do you do a run of 26 miles before the Marathon?

...And plenty of others.

I figured I'd attach a jpeg of the training log that I'm keeping on my own computer.

To give full credit, the attached image is mine, but adapted (read: stolen) directly from Hal Higdon's Marathon Training program at

Some of the key points from the program:

1. Yes, it really does take 18 weeks to train. There are 6 "cycles" that last 3 weeks each. The first two weeks build, then the third is a "step back week," with a shorter weekend run. This step back week is important to keep a runner from "overtraining" and getting burned out or injuring him/herself. There are 5 of these cycles, and then a 3 week "taper" period after the longest week of the program as I get ready for race day.

2. Marathoners run 4 times per week. This is important. Adding the weekly mileage and doing it in 2 long runs will NOT be as effective as the act of preparing for, executing, and recovering from a run on four separate occasions. Again, see overtraining above.

3. Tuesday and Thursday are the Short Runs

4. Wednesday is the "Sorta Long" run. This climbs no higher than 10 miles at the peak of the program (which is NOT the week of the Marathon)

5. Monday and Friday are Rest Days. These are as important as the other days to allow the body to recouperate from the soreness and possible repetitive stress injuries the runner incurs (we'll discuss Plantar Facitis at a later date - painful)

6. Saturdays are the Long Runs. They build to only 20 miles, compared to the 26.2 on race day. THIS IS ENOUGH. A runner who can do 20 miles on Saturday after doing 5-10-5 on Tue through Thur certainly has enough strength to do 26.2 miles after a proper 3 week tapering plan.

7. Sundays are for Cross Training. As Hal Higdon defines it, Cross Training includes doing at least 30 minutes of something aerobic with the body. He suggests biking, hiking, walking, swimming, or (for real runner geeks) "light jogging" for cross training. This is an area where I slacked off last time, so I'm hoping to be better about it this time. I think that if I can get out for a 30 min bike ride while still sore from a double digit run the day before, it should help elevate me to a new level of fitness and help me reach my goal of beating my time from 2009. More updates on this as time goes on... Add ImageSo how am I doing? You can see on the image that I'm through the first cycle of up-up-down mileage, but really not at a point where the runs are anything longer than regular workouts. I can still get them in without changing work schedules, and the weekend runs have all be on my regular rota of routes. I've missed one 3-mile run, but I think I'll survive.

This weekend marks the first push upward in weekend mileage, as I go to 9, then 10 on Saturdays before a step-back to 7. It also marks my first travel since the program started, as we'll head Up North to Petoskey on Friday after work for a FULL WEEK vacation. I LOVE running up there, as there is an uninterrupted path along the lakefront that provides a safe, easily marked, relatively flat route through one of the most beautiful lakeside communities in the Great Lakes. Count me in.

I'm also are going to shift the weekday workouts to M-T-W, as there is a 3 mile run in downtown Harbor Springs every 4th of July, which is exactly the distance I need that week. This year's "Paul Revere 4th of July Run" will mark the first time my wife and little guy will run it with me (I'll be pushing the jogging stroller).

So that's the plan. I just realized I hadn't really done a post like this yet, so it was time to get it out there. This way, my loyal reader(s?) will know what I'm talking about as I navigate the program and track progress.

Till then, keep on' runnin',


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

And we're off...

Hola amigos,

I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya', but I've really been in some stuff.

Actually, that's not really true. I've just been lazy about chronicling what's going on at the homestead and with my running. Truth is, I've been in the actual training program for over 2 weeks, and it's pretty much business as usual. The runs aren't all that long yet, so nothing really feels like a "training run" as opposed to a "workout." (see earlier post on Working Out vs Training) I'm trying to set my mind into the training mode. One good step in the right direction is that I'm setting the alarm and requiring myself to run in the mornings. When I was just "working out," it was okay to sneak a run into my lunch hour if possible, or just stop at the Y on my way home from work. There was very little structure to it- and I tend to do better with structure.

A few things I've learned since last time I trained for the marathon in 2009:

- I'm 2 years older, and I can feel it.
- West Michigan (specifically, my neighborhood) has a lot more hills than the north side of Chicago, and my legs don't mind reminding me
- My current fitness level is a fraction of what it was last year at this time when I had no job, a new geography, a YMCA membership, a 6 week old baby, and nothing to do but go to the gym and/or run outside. I definitely didn't appreciate where I was a year ago. It really was a whole separate level of training I was doing, and who knows if I'll ever achieve that again. If I had run a marathon last year, I would have crushed my 2009 time. But I didn't, so I'll stop speculating and get back to work on this year

Also, last time I checked in, I was getting prepped with new shoes for the Fifth Third Riverbank Run here in GR. I ran it, but was fairly distracted with SYT's first birthday party later in the day. I finished in about 2:34, which is right about 10min miles. That would have been good enough in years past, but I was 2:19 last year and didn't feel nearly as good about this one (which is probably why I hesitated to talk about it here- who likes celebrating the losses?). Either way, I did it, it's over, and I learned that I have a long way to go before 10/9/11 in Chicago.

Training Update:

Week 1 (miles): 3, 3, 3, 6
Week 2: 3, 3.5, 0, 7
Week 3: 3 (this morning), 4, 3, 5

I've had several other ideas for blog posts, so I'm trying to capture them here. As a preview, I'll have future posts (dates not planned, so don't hold your breath) on:

- Training progress
- Hills vs flats
- Nutrition for training
- Nutrition for wellness
- Training while traveling
- Concentration
- Visualization and positive "self talk"
- Particularly good runs and particularly bad runs
- Cross training
- Training plan construction

... and plenty others. I'll do my best to get updates posted more frequently...I promise?

Till then, keep on Runnin'


PS- Did anyone actually pick up the Jim Anchower reference from The Onion at the top? Google the name- his columns are hilarious

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Gear Makes Me Feel Good

I guess now's as good a time as any to publish a shoe post. I'm in fairly significant pain this week from my 11 miler on Sunday (got a minor sunburn too), so I stopped by my local running store last night on the way home from work to get some new tires for my mega-wheels...ahem...feet.

These are the first "running shoes" I ever bought. The Saucony Omni Pro Grid 6. This was a great shoe. It was sturdy, it was relatively lightweight, and it was stabilizing for a clydesdale like me. I ran on this shoe for far more miles than I should have, and it held up nicely. It was also my marathon shoe in 2009, so it holds a special place in my heart. In fact, it is now my lawn mowing shoe, as I just didn't want to get rid of them... Once I had squeezed the life out of the above, I upgraded to the Saucony Omni 7. Yeah, I'm a creature of habit.

After the Omni 7 came the (you guessed it) Omni 8. There was a fairly significant re-engineering that went into version 8.0, so the guy at Fleet Feet in Chicago insisted I try them on and do a half mile on the treadmill to make sure I was still convinced I liked the "Omni series." It took about a quarter mile to realize it was the same shoe, only lighter. I was sold pretty quickly. In fact, I bought 2 straight pairs of the Omni 8, since they still had some in my size (10.5), even though the Omni 9 had been introduced already. I also scored them on sale for that same reason. It was the 2 pairs of Omni 8's that carried me through my 1000 mile year in 2010.

Which brings us to last Sunday. Any "Expert" will tell you that you should change out running shoes every 300 to 500 miles. I'm a believer that an "expert" is usually trying to sell you something; in this case, shoes. I can usually do about 500 miles on a pair of shoes, but after that, they're pretty much useless. I'm pretty sure there were a good 600 miles on those shoes I used on Sunday. If the color of the webbing and the weight of the dried salt, dirt, and sweat tell us anything, they had seen better days.

So last night on the way home, I stopped in (baby in hand) and picked up the newest member of the family, the Saucony Omni ProGrid 9. I used them today in my 5 miles at the gym, and let me tell ya folks, they're like running on spring-loaded clouds. I had so over-worn the last pair that I pretty much forgot how nice it is to have new gear. Just look at these puppies:

They've re-engineered them again so they are even lighter than the last version, and I'm loving it. I'm so glad I gave in and bought them now so I have another 4 training runs before the Riverbank Run 25k on 5/14 to break them in and get used to them. Maybe now I'll actually finish the race!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Sundays are for Church...

...and final rounds of golf tournaments. And mowing the lawn. And working in the garden. And doing laundry. And for cooking a good dinner.

Sundays are NOT, however, for running 11 miles. We're 2 weeks away from the Fifth Third Riverbank Run (25k) here in GR, and I figured I needed to do a long one this week. I also happened to have a neighbor who was interested in playing golf on Saturday (when I would normally have done my run), so I pushed the run off to Sunday. Bad decision.

Knowing that I had to be at church this morning, I mapped out a 14 mile route home from church and packed a bag. I changed in the car in the parking lot, and off I went through East Grand Rapids, Kentwood, and Cascade. Running mid-day is new for me. I usually do long runs right after waking up in the morning, so having eaten breakfast and being active all morning was a bad way to get going.

Covered 11 miles in 1hr, 50min, which is exactly 10 min/mile. I bailed out on the 14 mile route knowing I didn't have another 3 in me today, and ended up doing this lazy pace for almost 2 hours. The weather was nice, but that's about all that was nice about this run. Oh, well. I'll probably try for another long one next week, but I'll definitely plan on doing it at 6am instead of noon.

Lesson learned.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Smokes- Blazin' in Boston



That's the finishing time for this year's Boston Marathon by Kenyan Geoffrey Mutai.

Here's the kicker- it's 57 seconds faster than any marathon EVER, and it's not being considered a record by international racing bodies because of a "strong tailwind."

My take- the guy got screwed. I firmly believe in the expression "don't hate the player, hate the game." It's not his fault he had a tailwind. He got a once-a-century opportunity to kick some major ass in the premiere competition of his profession, and his rightful crown is being withheld due to Mother Nature. That's the same Mother Nature everyone else had to deal with today. Don't kill this guy's buzz just because the conditions were right for an epic day. Sounds to me like an epic fail.

My hat's off to you, Geoffrey Mutai. You ran it. You earned it. You're the best. Enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

B's Peeves....Jelly Donut Day Edition

I know this is supposed to be a blog about running, but it's my only outlet, so I'm gonna use it to get something off my chest. Here's what's Peeve-ing me today....

Since most of the people who read this blog are my friends and family any way, you all know I lived in Chicago for 9 years and loved every minute of it. That said, I could never figure out what all the fuss was about every year on Fat Tuesday when offices across Chicagoland would explode with Jelly Donuts. Inevitably, there would be a (usually very large) admin assistant with a last name of Kowalski, Wisniewski, or Walczak who would spend the entire day trying to convince me that because they came from a "Polish bakery," they should be called "Paczki," and not just "Jelly Donuts." Baloney.

Look, I'm all for having cultural traditions that center around food. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite days of the year. A large part of why I run is so that I can participate in these traditions without looking like a Wisniewski by the end of the season. But if you're going to have jelly donuts on Fat Tuesday every year before you make your minor Lenten Sacrifice, then let's just drop the charade and call them what they are.

I figured that a move to West Michigan [where "if you ain't Dutch, you ain't right,"] would reduce the annual dependence on fried dough balls, but alas, they're all over the office today as well!

So to get to the bottom of this, I consulted The Omnicient Narrator- Google. In this case, Google Images specifically. I first googled "Jelly Donut," and got this image in return:

Next, I googled "Pazcki," and got this image in return:

Notice a similarity? Yup, they're exactly the friggin' same! So from here on out, it's not Fat Tuesday, it's not Mardi Gras, and it's not Paczki Day. It's Jelly Donut Day. End of sermon. Homer Simpson would be proud.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Few. The Proud.

News out of Chicago today- the 2011 Chicago Marathon has sold out in a record 31 days! Amazing to think that there are 45000 nut-jobs like me who know by February that they'll want to run 26.2 miles 7 months later. This makes me part of the Few - 45,000 is relatively few compared to, say, the population of China, and the Proud - if by "proud," you mean "nut-jobs."

No major news on the local front, I just thought it was amazing that the race is already closed. You'll see in my first (maybe second) post that I said it normally sells out by early April. It's 3/3, and the only way to get in now is to sign up with a charity or find someone on Craigslist looking to profit from a distance running nut-job.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

On what it means to be "in training..."

I left my last post explaining that I was doing plenty of running, but I hadn't started "Training." What's the difference? Glad you asked....

Running is an admirable pursuit. People run in all sorts of ways for all sorts of reasons, but when you boil it down, running is a series of workouts. There's no specific purpose in working out, save for fitness maintenance, weight loss, etc. It's easy to get in a workout on any given day, to work out the morning after getting liquored up the night before, etc.

Training is a mindset. Training is a process by which a person runs with a regular frequency and intensity with a specific goal. Our local YMCA runs a "Couch to 5k" training program which helps people take their first steps toward finishing a 5k fun run. That training program is no different from a marathon program- it provides a collection of runs, rests, cross training, nutrition, sleep, and work/life/exercise balance in order to help its participants achieve a goal, whether it's a Personal Record (PR), winning a race, or simply crossing a finish line. And, yes, that was a run-on sentence. It's my blog, I can run-on all I want.

See the difference? When I'm running, I'll gladly go out and get blitzed on Friday night because I can go to the gym on Sunday instead of Saturday. When I'm training, I have a Friday dinner of lean protein and simple carbs (menus are another post), go to bed at 10pm, and hit the trail around 7am after a specific breakfast. In training, it's important to get those runs done on Saturday so I can cross train on Sunday.

So now I'm "in training" for the Riverbank Run. I've got 10.5 weeks until race day, so I'll run 4 times per week at set distances in order to be prepared but not over-trained on 5/14/11. I'll save the actual Hal Higdon training program introduction for another post, but I'm now basically on the T,W,R,Sa schedule with rest on Friday, cross training on Sunday, and strength training on Monday. Lots of updates coming as I progress...

Friday, February 25, 2011

On "Winning:" If I hurry up...I'll be late.

The Fifth Third RiverBank Run 25k here in Grand Rapids is on May 14th, 2011, and I plan to win it. Well, at least I plan to "win" it. I was talking to a friend on the phone one day after a half marathon. He asked me what I had been doing that morning, and the conversation went something like this:

Pete: Hey. What are you up to?
Me: I just finished XYZ Half Marathon.
Pete (unimpressed): Cool. Did you win?
Me: Not exactly.
Pete (disappointed): Oh. Well, let me know when you win one.

And on the conversation went.

Now, as the great blues man Howlin' Wolf once sang, "I was built for comfort, baby. I ain't built for speed." I'm not ever going to win a race in my life. I'll always be just a number in the middle of a pack. But if I can train for a race properly and finish a race properly, then I will have acheived my goal. And when you achieve a goal, doesn't it feel like you've won something? When I crossed the finish line in Chicago in 2009 in 4:29:45, I felt like I had just won the whole dang thing. That's why I'm doing it again, and that's why I'm blogging about it. I want to win it again, and I want to share it with my friends and family in a way I didn't understand 2 years ago.

So the RiverBank Run is GR's biggest race of the year, and I'd like to finish in a time that is close to last year's time of 2:19:21 (or so). That would be a "win." In order to train for races, I usually use Hal Higdon's training plans (another post), which say that you need 12 weeks to properly train for a half marathon. As of tomorrow, I'll have 11 weeks left for the race, and the 25k is a bit longer than a half marathon (15.5miles) anyway, so I probably should have tacked on an extra week.

Long/short- I'm behind on the plan. I'm not necessarily behind on my running, but I'm behind on my training. Big difference, which I'll save for yet another post. Either way:

If I hurry up...I'll be late.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Two Eighteen...


When I got back into the "swing" of things around the end of January, I finally got up the nerve to get on the scale. I knew I had gained some weight through the holidays as many people do, but I wan't really sure how much. The result? 218. Yup, I weighed in at a porky 218 and wasn't happy about it. That being said, I have to admit it wasn't a surprise after how much I'd ignored my running in January.

So 218 is my kickoff weight, and I'm bound and determined to make that my "ceiling" for quite some time. I'm glad to report that after yesterday's run, I had pulled back to 214.5. Still not where I should be, but moving in the right direction.

Believe me, this is NOT a weight loss blog. I'm just marking my starting point, and I'll have semi-regular updates as they relate to my level of fitness and preparation for the marathon later in the year. In 2009 when I ran my first marathon, I was at about 210. Last winter (2010) at this time, I was actually at the lowest I'd ever been as an adult at about 206. I had plenty of time to work out (read: unemployed) and didn't eat out much (read: unemployed).

I'm hoping to be a bit below 210 when this fall arrives. Hopefully carrying around a few pounds less will allow me to run a bit faster and beat my previous time. That's the goal.

In the meantime, I'll continue to focus on eating better and continuing my workouts. When you boil it all down, the science works like this:


I don't buy the carb thing, the unprocessed thing, the raw thing, the organic thing, or any other "thing" selling books these days.

7 miles (in 60 minutes!) yesterday and rest today. Running Monday, Tuesday, and Saturday this coming week. Not a lot, but it's a busy week. 'Till then, keep on running!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Blizzard Augustus

I never knew that a "blizzard" can only be defined as such if there are certain amounts of snow and wind that result in certain levels of visibility over a sustained period of time. I think we should start naming blizzards like we do hurricanes. You know, we all remember Hurricane Andrew, Hurricane Katrina, or Hurricane Ike, right? Every season starts with the beginning of the alphabet, and we alternate between culturally diverse names for men and women. I'm going to take some artistic license here and call what happened yesterday Blizzard Augustus.

Well, Blizzard Augustus kept me from the gym (and work), but it didn't keep me from getting a good workout.

Here's a cool shot AET took in the early afternoon after the storm had cleared:

At first, our house looked like this:

Then I had to shovel my wife's side of the driveway to get her to the hospital for morning rounds. Here's a shot of the fruits of my labor:

The snow day meant I got to spend the whole day with this guy:

And this girl:

So thanks Blizzard Augustus, for getting me a "cross-training" workout, and for keeping me holed up with my boy, my pup, a fire, and a bunch of kids sledding in the back yard. Can't wait for your sister Beatrice!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Welcome Aboard!

Welcome to my first attempt at blogging. I've seen plenty of other people blogging about plenty of other things. So I figured I'd document my efforts to meet and exceed my performance in the 2009 Chicago Marathon in the same race two years later.

A wise runner will realize that a marathon training program is about 18 weeks, which means I technically don't need to start a program until early June, but I plan to run the 25k (15.5mile) Fifth Third Riverbank Run here in Michigan in early May to establish a fitness base for 2011 and kick off another successful running season.

So I'm starting the blog now, partly as a winter diversion and partly to kick myself into gear in the New Year. It'll be a slow start, but along the way, we'll get into various topics, including my running history, training runs, shorter races along the way, equipment, fitness, nutrition, hydration, family, work, travel, and I'm sure a hundred other topics as well.

So off we go.

Lace 'em up and join me.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Opening Day

Today is February 1, 2011. Most people will call it "Tuesday," but to me it's Opening Day. Today's the day that the 2011 Chicago Marathon begins online registration, and the day I officially make my commitment to doing the work required to complete my goal. I'll sign up today, and on October 9th, it will all be worthwhile.

I'll register for the race today, but I'll reserve decisions on charity fundraising, training groups, shorter races, and several other commitments for later. Today is just a day to set the mark (beating 4:29:45) and spend the rest of the year going after it.

Registration sells out annually. In 2009, when I ran my first marathon, it sold out in late March, so it's important to get your bib quickly when the "season" opens.

In honor of registration day, I'm also going to the gym after work to put in a good hour on the belt before the Snow-mageddon begins. It's still friggin' cold here in Pure Michigan, so the YMCA is good enough for me.