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Archive for the category “Run Free”

Chicago Marathon 2017

Maybe not writing and holding myself accountable for my training, weight loss and pace ultimately resulted in less than desired results. After a devastating 2016 Chicago Marathon after a painful training season, 2017 training was a breeze. No injuries and decent pace miles along with a good June half marathon led me to believe a dramatic improvement was in order in Chicago.

The marathon started well. Running a relaxed pace through the half, a goal of 3:45 was well with in reach. Butttt by the 17 mile point the wheels came off and I was telling myself I wanted the quit and give up marathon running for good. Somehow the sense of defeat was in itself defeated, which allowed for me to finish the race albeit at a far less than expected 4:21:56.

After race feelings (both emotionally and physically) were much better. Physically I felt better than any of 8 other marathons I have run which includes 2 Boston Marathon Quilifying times. I was amazed and can only point to the 4 months of a plant based diet as the only difference in personal conduct compared to the previous efforts.

Suffice it to say, I am not done. I will run again as I am planning 2 marathons for 2018. #dontquit

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Bix 7 2016

This is the time of year I become a broken record and profess my love for the Bix 7 road race in Davenport, Ia. A hilly 7 miles with thousands of spectators and participants on an out and back course that give everyone the opportunity to see the elites tear down back half. All of this followed by the best party on the road racing circuit. No, I am not on the payroll of the race nor any of it’s sponsers, but the passion exists because this is one fun race set amid a Jazz Festival, so there is great music all weekend (not all of it Jazz).

Head on out to the QC on July 30, 2016 and enjoy. You will not regret it.

Chicago Marathon 2016

I got in the Chicago Marathon. 7th time overall and first since they went to a lottery system. What a great feeling. Now it’s time to ramp up the miles and the blog entries. Talk to you all soon.

A Few From Fifty

Wow, it has been a few years since I posted last, a few years since   I last ran a marathon and just a few months before I turn fifty. I suppose it is as good time as any to get back in the swing of marathon training and writing about it.

I entered the Chicago Marathon lotto and will find out Thursday April 21st if I got in (or not). If that falls through the back up Marathon is the Quad Cities Marathon. The  QC is only 2 weeks earlier than the Chi so my training schedules are pretty compatible.

Winter training has laid down a stable foundation and my long runs have been at over 10 miles for more than a month now. Feeling healthier than the last couple years heading into spring training, so this should be a good year.

Looking forward to more of these updates. Talk to you all soon.

Bix 7 2014

After missing last year’s Bix 7 due to reasons other than physical injury, you could say I have been waiting 2 years to return and run my favorite race. 10 years in a row was a good run and I am looking forward to another 10 as I approach 50 years of age (T minus 2 and counting).
Last year physically was a pleasure. I ran the entire year without pain in my knees yet didn’t run a single road race. This year started off with hamstring and knees issues putting me on the shelf for all of February.
It seems like I have to warm up longer and pay more attention to the little things than the younger me who could fly out the door and run for 2 hours without much thought of stretching or proper hydration.
This being Bix Eve Eve (2 nights prior) I look to hit the sack early and get those z’s that will more than likely elude me tomorrow night as Bix Eve’s tend to do.
So excited to be back, but I am concerned about a goofy hamstring and I strongly hope I have no issues on the hills of Davenport, IA Saturday morn. For the love of running and for the love of Bix.
Plus I looking forward to seeing Meb since he ran past me as I watched him win the Boston Marathon 2014. It will be cool to see him long before I get to the half way point as he hopefully has a large lead. Best part of an out and back course is seeing the elites running toward you. Participant and fan all in one.
Peace.

New Kicks New Stride

After over 2 years of running exclusively in Nike Free Run running shoes, I decided to give another brand a try. One thing wasn’t going to trade is the minimalist ride. After a load of research, I decided to give the Sketchers Go Run a try. The angle of the sole appeared to make sense with a consistent arc making for what a hoped would be a smooth rolling foot strike that wasn’t too much heal nor too much toe for a nice balanced strike toward the ball of the foot. The other concern was economics as I found a pair on Amazon for $36 when the Nike Free Run runs around $90-$100. I figured if I didn’t like the switch it wouldn’t kill the bank account.

Well the first run was a success. The expected foot strike was  right on. I could tell a big difference from the Nikes. The rolling strike felt more in my wheel house than the Nikes as the Nikes gave me a more slapping (louder) strike, which translates to more shock. The Sketchers really were almost silent at the strike all the way thru the toe off.

The Sketchers are also way lighter than the Nikes. I don’t have the actual weight difference, but it was noticeable right out of the box. The Nikes are also known as rock collectors as rocks get stuck in all the flex points. The Sketchers are very flexible, but employs a more solid design that leaves the rocks behind.

The only criticism of the Sketchers would be the sole may not be as durable as the Nikes, yet only time will tell on that front.

Overall, I am very pleased. I’ll give you all an update in a 100 miles or so.

Clearly Running Through

When the kids come home from school it is interesting to find out what they have learned and what they can teach you as well. Rarely does it relate to running, but this weekend, my son told me about the Urine Hydration Charts above the urinals at school. Though I have been aware for years that the lighter the yellow is better, it kind of blew me away that the school system went to that length to teach the importance of hydration where the evidence is presented daily.

Distance running more than any sport depends on the wise consumption of water.  Cramping and dry mouth would be tell-tale signs that not enough water has been taken in. What are the signs that too much water has been consumed while needed sodium and other necessary minerals are omitted? Marathoners have died or have been hospitalized for drinking too much water and have become water intoxicated also known as Hyponatremia. Now this blog is written by a runner with no medical training, so please read up on this subject, seek out your trusted medical Doctor and know that I provide no medical advice.

What I can say from my own personal experience is that I have had success by drinking a balance of Gatorade (or the provided energy drink at the respective marathon) and water. I tend to drink slightly more Gatorade than water, but will make adjustments according to the weather conditions. Knowing your body is key. Train with energy drinks and water to find what works best for you. Error on the side of caution.

Be safe and live to run another day.

Chicago Marathon Prep

It’s an exciting time as the fall marathon season begins and the marathon training programs wind down. Usually by late August/early September the weather in the Midwest mellows from the exasperating heat to a comfortable range to allow for those final 20 milers to be completed before the big race. This year has been a reverse of that pattern. Early August the temps cooled off, but the heat came back the last two weeks and look to continue for another week at least.

The best plan to beat the heat and still get those long runs in is to get up really early, as in before the sun comes up. 2011 was an especially hot summer and if I didn’t get up at 4:30 and hit the road by 5:00 the temps were in the high 80’s/low 90s by 9:00 and close to the 100’s by Noon. Avoiding the midday sun is always a wise choice, but that year it was an absolute necessity.

Though I hate to drive/waste gasoline to get a run in, the wise thing is to put out water/energy drink on your long run course. My usual course provides a few hiding places for the drinks, so as not to be disturbed by ill-doers. If your course is not so well equipped, the next best plan is to carry your beverage of choice. Personally I don’t like to carry water for several reasons, but the placement of beverages that are the same as the ones that will be provided at your marathon is optimal. As an example: The Chicago Marathon provides Gatorade Endurance formula and water. The Fargo Marathon provided PowerAde the year I ran it, so that year I started my marathon training using PowerAde (which I don’t like) up to Fargo and then switched to Gatorade after and then all the way up to Chicago. You always want to condition your body for all the variables you will be hit with at your respective marathon. The same can be said for energy gels.

Studying your marathon of choice’s website is key to any successful marathon pursuit. Limiting surprises is always a good idea. The more that you know going in, the less opportunity to have the unexpected trip you up on race day.

Fall Marathon Post 2013, Chicago Marathon 2013

To Watch or To Run

I feel like going for a run, yet my favorite College Football Team is playing right now. In years past the decision would be easy watch the game and then go for a run. Today the choice appears to be leaning toward just going for the run. Really why does a 40 something year old man need to watch a football game? Why watch anything on television anyway. Why would watching anything have a prior level over doing something?

So I found a bit of solution: Write a blog while watching a bit of the game then go for a run. Doing while watching seems like multi-tasking. Anyway I still feel silly watching, so the run looks better after every passing minute. See you later. Got to run.

Dog Run Too Far

My favorite long run trick is what I call a Dog Run. Run on an out and back course and run beyond your comfort zone like a dog running away from home without much concern of making it back. Sometimes everything works out and other times even if I had 4 legs I’d still be in trouble. The point of the dog run is to leave yourself without an out. Worst case, you have to stop and walk and still cover the prescribed overall mileage set by the distance traveled to the turnaround.

The most important thing is to gauge how you feel on the way out. If it is just not your day, don’t push it. You have to make it back alive. Well duh. Sunday, I planned on doing 12 miles as I had done 11 the week before in an 1 hour 41 minutes. It was much hotter this week than last so I started off  a bunch slower than normal. The heat was taking its toll on the way out, so I decided to cut it short and turned around at 5.5 miles to at least cover the mileage of the week before.  To help ensure I didn’t die, I told my wife to come out to get me at the 2 hour mark.

I started walking at the 9.4 mark as I didn’t feel terrible, but I did feel like it was the wise thing to do. I checked the time and I had been out 1:48 at that point. I really need a drink, so I really hoped to see my wife soon. I got to the drinking fountain in town  before my wife made it to me at roughly the 2:04 point.  She brought cold water that tasted a lot better than fountain water. She asked if I wanted a ride, but I wanted to get my mileage and felt like there was no risk to walk the rest of the way home, so I did.

Try a dog run sometime, if  you haven’t already, but be smart about it. It is a great way to push your limits.

Song suggestion of the day: Rocky Mountain High – John Denver. This song takes the listener away from the time and place unless of course you are running in the Rocky Mountains.  Not every run can be in/at such a beautiful place, so music can take over for a peace of the mental side of running.

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