Sunday, October 19, 2014


I took the week off running after the marathon last weekend. My first run in a week was today and started off with a bit of a scare. I figured I would go out for an easy six miles, but less than a half mile in I had sharp knee pain below my knee cap on my right knee. I figured my six mile run just turned in to a one mile walk but decided I would walk a bit and give it another shot. After a minute, no change. After a couple minutes, I started running again and no pain :-). After about five miles I was feeling strangely fatigued. I guess I'm still healing.

Gorgeous fall day.


I love fall. Pumpkin pie, crisp running weather, football and cooking squash.

For the cookout today, I made some home made veggie burgers, regular cheeseburgers, spaghetti squash and acorn squash.

For the spaghetti squash, I put butter, salt and fresh oregano on them, wrapped in foil and put in the coals on the grill. For the acorn squash, it was butter and brown sugar, wrapped in foil and on the coals.

For the veggie burgers, I followed this recipe and they turned out good.

Veggie burgers

Real burgers

Spaghetti squash

Acorn squash


Oh, and I signed up for an ultra December 27th. This is the same one I did last year. It fills up quick since it's free. Shoot me a note if you want the link.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Chicago Marathon Race Report

We took the train from Alton Illinois to Chicago on Friday so we wouldn't have to mess with a car in Chicago. They were doing track maintenance between Alton and Springfield so we had to leave our house at 5 am and they bussed us up to Springfield. I swear the bus driver took every back road imaginable and it took forever. Turns out we could have driven to Springfield and gotten two more hours of sleep. Live and learn :-).

Arrived in Chicago, got some lunch at a pub across the street, went to the expo then we met a college buddy of mine and his girlfriend for some dinner. It was delicious and a great time catching up as always.

Saturday DW and our boy went to the Shed Aquarium while I did a two mile shake out run and met a friend and his family for brunch. Once DW and our boy came back from the aquarium, we did an architectural boat tour. Perfect way to do something cool while staying off my feet.

Lots of cool views on the boat tour

Race day I woke up at 4 am and ate yogurt and a banana, had a cup of coffee, and went back to bed. Woke back up at 5:45 for more coffee and race prep. Waking up early to eat works great for not having to hit the porta potties a bunch of times right before the race. Good thing too since the lines went on forever. Falling back asleep is surprisingly easy too.

The start line was about a mile and a half from the hotel and I didn't know how long it would take to make it through security, so I left the hotel about 6:45 am and walked to the start to make sure I was there in time for the 7:45 corral closure. I was hungry, so I probably didn't eat enough at 4 am, lesson learned. I was well hydrated and the porta potty lines were so long I decided to hold it and stop on the course. It was 50 degrees with a 15 mph wind at the start and I get cold easily. I had a throw away jacket over a short sleeve shirt and under armor plus gloves and a head wrap for my ears plus shorts. I brought two of those chemical hand warmers so I was all set. I also had two of those space blankets as back up and gave those to the first two people I saw that were wearing shorts and tank tops and shivering uncontrollably. They were very grateful to say the least.

Moving toward the starting line

Just a few people behind me in the start corral

Once our wave started, it took almost 15 minutes to cross the start line and we were under way. The first 5k was uneventful. Just warming up, dodging people and keeping my heart rate in check. I drank two cups of Gatorade and two cups of water at the aid station (and every aid station until sometime after mile 15). More of the same on the next 5k except I made the first of three hydration relief stops. I was definitely well hydrated :-). I just focused on keeping my hr under 155, staying hydrated and enjoying the race with lots of high fives. Had my second stop about mile 10 and decided I didn't want to stop every 5 miles or this was going to be a really long race but I wanted to keep hydrating, so I did.

About mile 15 I let my heart rate rise a little to work toward a negative split, but not too high since there was still a long way to go. I ran without tunes and just enjoyed the crowd. I thought the racers would start thinning by mile 18 or so, but they really didn't. I managed to hold off on pit stop number three until mile 21. With five miles left, my feet and calves were starting to hurt, but that's to be expected.

Can't remember what mile this was.

The last few miles, my calves felt like were about to cramp, so I kept drinking Gatorade and focused on keeping moving. I knew that if I started walking, it would be tough to get running again, so I kept running. The crowd support was great all day and really picked up the last two miles. I hadn't seen my family all day so it was nice to hear them cheering for me with about a mile to go. The last mile hurt, but I was happy to be running it in.

Once I crossed the finish line, it was a slow walk through the line for a space blanket, medal, banana, food, water and beer. It was too crowded to meet up with my family, so we met back at the hotel. I walked back to the hotel without too much trouble, showered then we went out for lunch.


The numbers:

Chicago Marathon official numbers:


SplitTime Of DayTimeDiffmin/milemiles/h


You can see the pits stops at 10k, 20k and 35k affected my time. You can also tell the lines got shorter each time. Having two pit stops in the first half and one I he second helped me negative split by about 4 minutes. My last 5k split was my third fastest of the day and my speed for the last 2.2k matched my fastest split for the day. I'd say I nailed my pacing for my current level of fitness.

My Garmin got confused in a few spots by the tall buildings and said I ran 27 miles. Looking at my Garmin map, it's clear I didn't run that far though I'm sure I ran farther than 26.2 due to dodging people, not always being able to take the best line through corners and veering off to grab fluid. Last time I did an LT test was four years ago.

1 - Recovery121 - 155
2 - Extensive Endurance156 - 166
3 - Intensive Endurance167 - 174
4 - Sub-Threshold176 - 182
5a - SuperThreshold183 - 187
5b - Anaerobic Endurance188 - 193
5c - Power

I managed to keep my average HR under 155 for the first 15 miles in attempt to have enough left the run the entire way. Then I started to let it creep up to under 160 though mile 18 and 165 through mile 23. Then I tried to keep it under 170 for the rest of the race but my average for the last mile was 173 with a peak of 179, yikes! Guess if I didn't have a heart attack doing that, I'm good for another year :-).

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Chicago Marathon Taper Time

I started tapering last weekend with my last double digit run (11 miles) and a 5 mile run. The taper continued this week with two missed weekday runs due to work and an 8 miler today. Not many miles left before the marathon a week from tomorrow.

It's starting to feel like fall, 47 degrees for my run this morning. Hoping for a nice cool day for the race. Right now, the forecast high is 60 with 80% chance of thunderstorms. Um, hold the storms please. Do people switch in to dry shoes at mile 18 or so? It seems like dry shoes and socks would feel like heaven about then.

This marathon taper feels different than my half ironman tapers. Maybe it's because the overall training hours are less or the load is focused on a smaller set of muscles. I've had less niggles, which is what I call those twinges that feel like you have a new injury but it turns out it's just your body healing (at least that's my theory). I've had more achy ness and stiffness after sitting still. Tonight when I laid down, both legs were throbbing which is a new one. No pain or uncomfortable feeling, just lots of blood pumping, presumably healing. No weird race dreams yet. Maybe because a running race is less complicated than a triathlon or maybe because I'm more worried about the painful aftermath than logistics.