Monday, August 25, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training (week 11)

This week was supposed to be one of three peak weeks for me. The Hal Higdon Intermediate 2 plan called for 0-5-10-5-0-10-20, yep that's 50 miles (and yep, I started a plan for someone who has run multiple marathons). Actual was 0-6-6-6-0-10-18, yep that's my biggest weekly mileage ever on my way to my biggest monthly total ever. On top of that, it was very hot and humid this week with a heat advisory posted on several of the days, including my long runs. So, I kept good track of my hr, took along plenty of fluids and took routes where I could refill.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I ran at night since I gave up on becoming a morning person after just one week of my current attempt (attempt three or four, maybe five). With Saturday and Sunday being the hottest days and being my longest runs, I sucked it up and got up early both days. Saturday I got up at 5:30 and was out the door at 6:15. It was 77 degrees and 93% humidity, so it didn't take long to be in a full sweat. I brought my normal 16 ounce frozen water bottle (the cheap ones you buy by the case) I hold in my hand and a 20 ounce waist belt water bottle (Camelback Delaney) with ice and Gatorade and set off. I was feeling good until about mile seven when I started a 3 mile stretch with no shade and temperatures already in the mid eighties (heat indices in the low nineties). I decided I would make a call on 15 or 18+ Miles when I got to the gas station I planned to refuel at (mile 11). There was a water station about a mile before the gas station and I stopped to cool off. I was already totally soaked, squishy shoes and all before I poured water over my head. Right there I decided to call it at 10 miles, called the SAG wagon (DW) and walked to the gas station. I didn't feel that bad but knew if I ran much more, I was going to hurt myself. I walked in the gas station and the attendant was like "wow! You are soaked all the way through". I felt bad I was dripping sweat everywhere, but bought two bottles of Gatorade and paid with dry money I keep in a ziplock bag. Then I went outside and waited for my ride. I actually didn't feel too bad the rest of the day, went on a lunch date, took a nap then grilled out.

My view walking to my pick up point.

That evening I grilled some garlic (in foil), red potatoes (in foil), corn, peppers stuffed with black beans, black eyed peas and cheese. Oh, and I made some poppers for appetizers. Yum!

For the red potatoes, I diced them, put a bunch of Old Bay seasoning on them, and added to butter. Roast on medium heat for 45 minutes to an hour. Delicious! My son said they tasted like the red potatoes we eat in New Orleans.

Potatoes prepped for grilling.

Along with the veggies, I grilled some BBQ chicken. I used some Yuengling based BBQ sauce we picked up on vacation.

Sunday I managed to get up at 5:15 am and be out the door by 5:45 am. Who is this guy? Morning person? Nahhhh :-). It was dark when I left the house, but light enough I got away without bringing a head lamp. Same route as Saturday, same plan. Getting to the three mile stretch with no shade a little earlier made all the difference. The sun hadn't burned all the way through the morning haze yet so it didn't feel like my skin was cooking. Made it to the gas station where the attendant said I looked just as soaked as yesterday. We chit chatted, I refueled and kept going. I took the 15 mile loop turn off instead of the 18 mile loop turn off figuring I could re-evaluate at mile 14 (a park 3/4 mile from my house). The park has a faucet with cold running water you can run on your head and I love stopping there to cool off. When I arrived at the park, I didn't feel horrible, so I cooled off and came up with a new plan. Run a mile out and back and cool off at mile 16 and re-evaluate, repeat at 18 and if I made it to 20, walk home. Mile 15-16 were getting even slower than my usual slow MAF pace, but I didn't feel too bad. At mile 17 my stomach started getting that dull, don't drink anymore feeling because I'm no longer thirsty, so I decided my 18 mile cool off would be my last and I walked home from there. By that time, the temp was in the upper 80's with heat index of 95 so probably a wise move. While walking somewhere during mile 15, a lady walking her dog asked me "how far have you gone? You are a sweaty mess". I should have showed her the road ID I wear and asked if she had a cell phone for when I stroked out :-).

Somewhere around mile 14.

The rest of the day I was a bit sore (ok really sore after sitting for a bit) but overall didn't feel too bad so I did the normal lunch date, nap and a cookout. I love roasting garlic then eating an entire head of it on bread. I cut the bottom off, add some olive oil, salt and pepper then wrap in foil and roast on indirect heat for 45 minutes to an hour.

Garlic prepped for grilling.

For the rib eyes, I put salt, pepper and fresh minced garlic. Yep, I love my garlic.

Rib eyes prepped for grilling.



Grilled half the steaks for a neighbor and some additional pork kabobs for us. Also grilled some Brussels spouts in foil.


Writing this post is making me hungry :-).



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Chicago Marathon Training (week 10)

Another week done. The plan for this week called for 0-4-9-4-0-9-19. Actual was 0-4-6-6-0-19-9. Monday through Wednesday I actually got up early and went for a walk Monday and ran Tuesday and Wednesday. Then Thursday and Friday I went back to staying up too late and not getting up early. I enjoy getting up early and getting my exercise in but I also enjoy staying up late. I wish I needed less sleep.


My 19 mile run was a challenge to say the least. It was raining for the first half and 19 miles is just a long way to run. Since it was raining and I knew I was going to be running for 3+ hours, I was concerned about chaffing and blisters. Besides the normal band aids on my nipples and Body Glide on areas known to chaff, I put a little Aquaphor on my toes and balls of my feet. No blisters so at the least, it didn't hurt. I did have some chaffing on the left side of my back from my heart rate strap and/or shirt. It was bad enough that my shirt turned pink from blood. Lesson learned there. I took pictures but decided to spare you all. You're welcome :-).

I did cheat a bit on my MAF training and let my heart rate go into the mis 150's instead of the mid 140's that I usually try to maintain. I figured that in the race, I'll be letting my hr go up so I might as well do it on my long runs. 3+ hours is a long time to run. Long enough that I started getting sore during the run. That's no fun and made me question why I'm even doing this. I suppose that is normal thinking when running the furthest I've ever run on pavement, logging my biggest mileage week ever and being on pace to have my biggest running month ever.

That said, I'm hungry, like all the time...

Grill two, tomatoes, peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, amd corn.


Grill one. Bacon pork kabobs.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

Week 9 - Marathon Training

This week was our yearly beach vacation in Navarre Florida. Not the best time of year or location for running, but I made the best if it. I got up at 6 am every day and either ran or walked, logging 41 running miles in 6 days. Most ever on vacation.

The plan this week was 0-4-9-4-0-0-13 and actual was 9-0-9-0-6-0-13. The first 9 was a carry over from the week before. The last 6 was planned to be 9 but I shut the run down after 6 miles due to heat and humidity.

Vacation was fun with my daughter bringing two friends as well as my son bringing two friends.

Our daughter and two of her friends.


Our son (on the right) and two of his friends


I couldn't stay away from helping the kids with a castle.


The view the last night from the sound side of our condo.

Sign that cracked me up (middle school humor :-)) on my runs


Normal morning view before heading down to the beach.


Until next week....

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Week 8 - Marathon Training

So the weeks just keep rolling along. Week 8 of 18 wasn't perfect since I worked 12+ hour days again. The plan this week was 0-4-8-4-0-8-17 and actual was 0-0-7-0-0-17. The last two days would have been17-8 but I drove 11 hours to Navarre Beach Florida for our yearly beach vacation. This is my view while typing this.

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know I got up at 6 am this morning and ran the 17 miles I was supposed to yesterday. This is impressive for me on a couple fronts. First, I'm not a morning person, so for me to get up at 6 am while on vacation, it's something to write about :-). Second, it's humid here. Luckily the temps aren't as hot as it's been in previous years. At 6:45 when I hit the street, it was 77 degrees and 92% humidity. I set off with a bottle of water in my hand and Gatorade in the bottle on my fuel belt. I ran out to the edge of town toward Pensacola,

Looking away from town.

Looking toward town.


then turned around and ran back past our condo and stopped at the gas station to buy another bottle of water and some ice. The checkout lady was super nice and said for 11 cents more I could have a second bottle if I had time to drink it. I told her I'd be back later and she said no problem, just grab your second bottle then. So I ran across the bridge to Navarre and back, then through the public park area, then stopped at the gas station for more ice, my second bottle of water and I bought a bottle of Gatorade. I felt kind of bad handing her sweaty money so note to self, put money in a ziplock bag next time. On my way, I ran out to the edge of town and back again, capping of 17 miles.

Funny how it's hard to do simple math when you are over heated and tired. After my second water stop, I ran past our condo for the second time, saw 11.3 miles on my watch and calculated that I should turn around when I hit mile 14. At some point I figured out that was wrong and turned around at 14.25. Yep, another miss calculation had me run past the condo a third time to pick up that last tenth of a mile :-). When I got to the condo, I took the elevator to the tenth floor where we are staying. Sorry next person to ride the elevator, I usually take the stairs, but I was beat.

Should be a fun trip. My son brought a friend and had another meet us. My daughter is driving down today and is bringing two more friends, so we'll have eight of us total in the condo. Luckily we rented a big one again.

I may use this trip to make another attempt at becoming a morning person. Stay tuned...


Sunday, July 27, 2014

Week 7 - Marathon Training

The plan this week was 0-4-8-4-0-8-16, actual was 0-0-4-7-0-16-8. I worked late every night this week again. My 7 miler finished up in the dark with a bat escort. It was really cool running along the path with what seemed like dozens of bats 5 to10 feet above my head shielding me from Mosquitos :-). It was similar to the section of trail below, but dark.


The mileage is getting up there and it was hot and humid this weekend. The runs were fine but slow so I could keep my HR down. Here are some pics from my runs.

The pic below was a brutal 3 mile stretch with no shade. It was in the mid 80's with humidity in the mid 70's.

Made the best lamb chops yet after the 16 miler. It was just my son and I for dinner, so not much food.


Haven't looked at my plan for next week yet. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Week 6 - Marathon Training

The plan this week was 0-3-7-3-0-7-10, actual was 0-0-6-0-0-11-7. I worked late every night this week (12+ hour days) and didn't start my mid-week run until after 8 pm.

In other news, my kids are back from Europe! My daughter was there for 5 months studying and traveling. My son went over for the last three and a half weeks to travel with her. They had a blast!

Both had eventful trips on the way there. In February, the first leg of my daughters flight was cancelled due to the winter storm in DC. She cancelled her flight and booked a different one going through Chicago. Made it to Chicago, then Zurich, then when flying from Zurich to Hannover, her plane lost an engine and they had to return to Zurich. She then had to take two more flights to get to Hannover and her luggage showed up four days later.

My son was supposed to fly St. Louis to Chicago to Frankfort to Berlin but his first flight was cancelled. American Airlines put him on a flight to Dallas with no guaranteed seats past Dallas. He then flew standby to Dusseldorf and standby to Berlin where my daughter met him. Nice solo travel adventure for a boy that is going to be a senior in high school :-).

My daughter made a cool video of their trip. It's really nice having them back.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Week 5 - Marathon Training

The plan this week was 0-3-7-3-0-7-14 actual was 0-0-7-0-0-14-7. I worked late Tuesday and traveled Thursday but got my medium and long runs in. I guess if you are going to miss two runs, it might as well be the two short ones.

Besides the mileage, I had a couple mental toughness runs this week. Wednesday I was in Solon Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) at my remote office and set out for a run after work. The hourly weather forecast said 0 % chance of rain but there were rain showers popping up in the area. About 2 miles from the hotel, it started sprinkling which then turned into a moderate rain. No lightning and no SAG support so I kept going. A half mile later I turned around and started to head back playing the rationalization game in my head of "5 miles is close enough to 7". Then about 15 minutes later it stopped raining so I added 2 miles back on and hit the 7 on the plan.

Saturday I set out for my 14 miler about 10 am and it was already in the mid 80's with humidity just over 70% putting the heat index around 90. By mile 3 I was pretty much drenched in sweat and by mile 6 I was a little dizzy and started the rationalization game again. This time i was working on convincing myself that if I did 11 and followed up with 11 more on Sunday it would be the same as the planned 14 and 7. When I got to my first water refill point at mile 8, I poured a bunch of water over my head and started to perk up a little.

Broken water fountain :-(

Luckily there is another fountain at this park. After cooling off, I figured I could make it the ~2 miles to the next park, do the water over the head trick.


That felt so good. Now I was just past 10 miles and the heat index was in the upper 90's. Now I figured I could make it ~2 miles to the next water fountain and cool off again then make it home.

Shortly before setting off on my last 4 miles, my wife showed up on her bike to bring me cold water! How awesome is that? I email her a link to Garmin Live Track before every run mostly so that if I die of a heart attack, she'll know where to send the meat wagon even if some animals drag me into the woods :-). Anyway, 14 miles in the books.

The plan for Sunday was "just" 7 miles. It was a little cooler, but not much so I planned my route to end at the park with the cold water, then walk the 3/4 mile home to finish "cooling off".

Broke out the visor for the first time this year.


Anyway, week 5 is in the books. Week 6 is a slight cutback week.


My friend Jill commented on my last post asking how training is going. The short answer is slow. Still trying the Maffetone thing and with all the variables, I can't really tell if it's working. The long answer will be a future post :-).