Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Friday, May 31, 2013

Vacation Recap, Part Two

To make good on my last post, here is a recap of the rest of my vacation out in New England.

My wife and I went to a wedding in Newport, RI. It was on the beach, the weather just barely held together, but it went very nicely! It was my mother's first time watching our daughter for more than a couple hours, but they survived. Quick picture from the night:

Another friend of mine from my hometown area also started a running blog, went on vacation, and asked me to do a couple guest blog posts, I did my first one over here.

On one of the mornings as I was about to go out for a run, I saw a wild turkey in the backyard and decided to take a video of it... the ending is hilarious:


 Now for running in my hometown... was not fun to do on the roads. Where we stayed, was next to a busy road where cars go 40-55mph.  The shoulder is anywhere from 2-4 feet. Maybe 20 feet of sidewalk within a few miles.  Lots of fast corners that cars won't see you running up that soon and so forth.  I did encounter a lot more elevation changes which was a nice change of pace.  I didn't feel that safe running out there. No other runners out there, I saw one guy on bike.  After a few runs doing this, I decided anything longer than an hour, I would drive to the gym and use the treadmill.

I still don't like treadmills, but I did make a PR! I did my 13.1 miles under 1:30 finally! I've been wanting to do it without tapering or resting. Will I be able to reproduce this on the pavement? Soon I hope.  Might be awhile with the weather getting warmer.

The rest of the vacation was friends, family, and more meat and unhealthy food in a week that I usually eat in a month!

And to close off, my daughter watching our plane at PVD Airport as we were waiting to leave:
She brought a mini airplane as well
I was glad to get back to Chicago. I missed the better tasting water, less pollen, and the lakefront path.  Right after unpacking and my ladies went down for a nap, I went out for my recovery run!

 Do you wish Chicago had wild turkeys to speed your run along?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Paying My Respects to Boston Marathon

Over the last week I was out in Massachusetts and Rhode Island visiting family, friends, and going to a wedding.  I'll dedicate this post to mostly the running related stops in Boston and Copley Square, the site of the Boston Marathon bombings.

My wife, daughter, and I spent the day up in Boston, and I lugged around my daughter as seen below:

She behaved very well!

We stopped for a bite to eat at Saus, which was a delightful experience into waffles and yummy sauces.  We then took the T down to Copley Square to pay our respects at the site of the Boston Marathon Bombings.  The weather was scattered showers for most of the morning and set a slightly somber tone when we visited.  I had trouble putting together deep thoughts as I walked around, had trouble accepting that the tragedy was real. I took a few photos to capture the memories and hopefully find new meanings to them over time.  Right now I am at, humanity always bands together and pulls out ahead (sounds very Dr. Who-esque).  We will never stop evil, and we are pretty sheltered in America to its magnitude compared to a lot of the world, but there is always love to overcome whatever happens.  And with that, here are my photos:

I didn't bring anything to contribute to the memorial, just my thoughts, prayers, and determination to keep running stronger, Boston Strong even.

Walking around Boston, the Boston Strong shirts and swag were everywhere.  Not sure where the proceeds are going from them all.

I stopped at the +New Balance store across the street from the memorial, since I couldn't resist visiting almost every sneaker and athletic store I walked passed (it was a bit hard to try on shoes with my kid om my back!).  I noticed they had a sale on the M890v3 Boston Marathons shoes (I currently run in M890v2), 20% off! which brought the price down to $90, which was pretty decent price and the mood was right. Plus, I was going to need new shoes in the next couple weeks. My daughter just fell asleep on my back as we walked in the store, so my wife had to get them on my feet to try on and tie them, bless her heart.   Here are the photos of the new kicks!

I tested them out on a couple runs (PR'd my half marathon time with them on Sunday, but that will be a different post) and they work great!

In the afternoon we grabbed some sandwiches from Sam LaGrassa's , then some cannolis from Mike's Pastry. Here is my daughter enjoying them on the way back home:

Nom Nom Nom

So that was my jaunt to Boston. My next post will recap my road running times in a not very run friendly area, a sub 1:30 half marathon time, and a video of me getting chased by a wild turkey in my mother's back yard!

Have you been able to get out to the memorial?

Are you a fan of cannolis?

Can you catch me up on the last week of running blogging in Chicago in short so I don't spend hours reading 100+ blog entries???

Sunday, May 26, 2013

On Vacation - Post later this week

For anyone that regularly follows my blog, I'm on vacation and will return to my habits later in the week. Post will include:
Visit to the site of the Boston Marathon Bombings with photos
New Running shoes!
Road running and how much it sucks out here
And some non running photos

Stay safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wet and Wild Wednesday

4:30am beep beep. Get up and run.  Flight leaves from Midway a little after 9am, busy morning ahead.

Weather app says rain, nothing on radar. Doesn't matter. 66 degrees and 7 mile easy/recovery run. First mile, puddle running. 2nd mile the skies cry on me. Give me all your pain rain, I ain't stopping. 

Big props to the regulars out there today.  Around 5:30am I saw a group of 10 people in their 20s stumbling home drunk in nice cloths...not for long with the rain passing through.

I focused on staying slow to help recharge my legs. Got home drenched.

Go time now.  Traffic stinks to airport, let's hope we make it!

Do you like running in the rain?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Trucking through Tuesday

I had high hopes for today's run, I wanted to fly, hit the groove.

Reality, not so much. Started right after I woke up and filled my water bottle with +Gatorade . After I got ready and went to slide it on my hand, I noticed I hadn't screwed the lid on tight... All over the floor... Small delay out the door (wifey- don't worry, I wiped it down several times).
Humidity was 90+% at 5am and the temps seemed to be around 65 and windy. Toss the shirt to the side, won't do much other than weigh me down.

Get out and walk to my starting point, my legs don't have the normal spring in them. I immediately know why, I went a little too fast yesterday for my recovery run. I was supposed to stay around 8:30, but ended up about 8:15.  Not a big difference right?

Well my splits after my warm up were about 15 seconds slower than scheduled. Lesson learned. After a few miles, I questioned if I could even do 9 miles today.  Skip to the end, I got through it, still better than no run.

And taking a positive out of this, a month ago, I was struggling to do 9:30 splits the day after my long run, so I have some progress in my, I just need to practice patience.

Some observations today, last night's storm split a few trees in half , one near Ainslie and the other just south of Montrose which blocked half the path. And with the horrific tornadoes in Oklahoma... keep the families and communities that were involved in your hears and prayers, and give however you can.

Instead of a posture rant, here is a product suggestion for everyone that sweat a bit more than normal and your speed sticks and so on antiperspirants don't work for you. Go out, buy some Certain Dri and apply it before you go to bed. Boom, no more underarm sweat and stains.

What summer life pro tips do you use?

Do you hate these friggen allergies?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sweating to the Mondays

Humidity, 85%.
Recovery run today.  I decided to bring my water bottle with me to try to drink in rythem and not got stitches.  That much worked better.  Thankfully I had it since the humidity went LeBron James on me. By the time I finished, I looked like I jumped in the lake. I started to think I blacked out and had been in the lake. A cool shower felt nice afterwards.

Light crowd today, mostly normal faces. I feel bad for runners going out later in the day.  I kept my eyes sharp for gnat colonies ready to strike.  I pulled a Barry Sanders type juke when I saw one massive cluster appear.  Watch under low hanging foliage and near large plants for the gnats.

And one photo for the day:

Did you embrace the sweat today and run today? 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Run, Brought to You by Mr. Turtle

Yesterday afternoon, my daughter insisted on bringing her turtle bath toy with her to the park. I thought it was pretty amusing so here are a couple photos!

Also, my big boy shaving material arrived!
Zoom out a little more and you'd see my daughter's tea set

Today I decided to start incorporating +Gatorade  into my run, due to the weather being warm and to get my stomach used to it. I tried taking a few sips every 2-3 miles. Also, my allergies flared up over the last day and I have been having  a raw throat, yuck!  I woke up at 7 and noticed it was already 70.  I guess the season for sleeping in is over if I don't want to run in the heat.

I did my 13 miles today, was prepared with a thick layer of sunscreen, and it started off strong.  I used my Amphipod handheld for the first time around mile two.  I'm pretty sure I drank it in such manner that it threw my breathing enough to slightly cramp me.  The second time I took a couple sips, I started to get stitches.   I toughed through it for about 7 miles without losing more than a couple seconds, but the last second miles the stitch got bigger and slowed me down by about 90 seconds.  Every part of me told me to stop and let it pass, but I thought, this isn't something I'd do in a race so I trucked on.

I was plenty sweaty, initially my running shorts got sweaty and I'm pretty sure looked like I peed myself. Eventually, they were soaked so it looked fine.  A few kids were in a tree by the tennis courts near Waveland and one kid yelled out, hey look! that guy has hair on his chest! I looked, he was stunned and yelped, HE HEARD ME!

I wrapped up my distance, not in my best time, but if this were the Rock n Roll half in July, the finish time would still give me the corral I want for the Marathon. Good to know.

This afternoon I took my daughter to get frozen custard at my favorite place, and here is a photo and video for you!

I want this one dad!

And a video of her enjoying some frozen custard!

Well, that's all I got folks. Back to fighting off the allergies! ACHOO!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Slept in Saturday

Last night I went to Jin Thai Cuisine restaurant in Edgewater. I won't go into some big review of it (it was tasty and the service was excellent), but I have to mention it to give you the chance to see the evil scowl my daughter has been doing around strangers.

Don't look at me!
 This isn't close to the worst of it, but I didn't have my phone ready for the other moments.  When the waitresses would come to our table, our daughter immediately pulled out this look, and the longer they stayed or tried to cheer her up, the more scrunched up she would make her face and tuck in her chin. My wife called it - a devil made from a cupcake - look.  They had a good laugh, as did we, but oh man she has some DIRTY LOOKS.  One we got up to leave, she smiled at everyone, said bye, and blew them a kiss... We went to Lickity Split after, and I got vanilla custard mixed a red velvet cupcake and my wife got a vanilla custard mixed with a lemon cupcake, but amaaazing.

Now to today - I overslept! YIKES! I set my alarm for 5:10am. I was planning on running a little longer today and do a more scenic route. But I woke up instead to my wife waking me saying, weren't you supposed to get up already? I didn't hear your alarm. I checked, I did have it on, it was now about 5:30! Yikes. Thank you wifey! Got ready quickly (stomach wasn't super ready, but enough for a recover run) and got outside.

No run pictures today as I was on a tight schedule to get home to shower and get the kiddo up at 7.
Quick recap: 6 miles, easy pace (I maybe went a little faster than I planned). mid 50s temp. Saw some normies (thumbs up guy, some middle ages guys, and this Kenyan that lives somewhere close by who always gives me a friendly gesture hello), and the Elijah Running group ( It seems there might be close to 100 of them) were 95% of the path runners.

My wife will be out for a good chunk of the afternoon and evening so I'll see what trouble I can get into with my daughter today! Suggestions?

What are your plans for the weekend? Races/Runs?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Fartlecking and More!

While I didn't run yesterday, I made sure the theme of running kept popping up. In addition to commenting on most local running blogs (everyone is special to me), a new coworker revealed she was also running the Chicago marathon and will be running for Team Paws. So our first conversation went like this hi, and running geek out.

Last night I also found a link to another review of the Hanson Marathon Method in the New York Marathon (Success), Link and some discussion here.

Also, I signed up for the Chicago Rock and Roll half marathon in July after +Maggie MagMileRunner posted a $10 dollars off code. Still pricey though, marathon was 175, half still 100 after fees... I'm not going to be doing it for a PR, but just to get a better corral in the Marathon. Corral B needs a 1:37 which is pretty easy, A is like 1:26ish half time, which I don't imagine happening as it is in the middle of marathon training. Plus, I get to meet some other Chicago running bloggers.(Note: I have no races under my belt so I was signed up for corral F)

This morning I woke up at 4:30am so I would have ample time to run 10 miles and still leave for work a little after 6:30.  I wasn't sure the exact point to turn around, so was going to use my GPS and get my splits while at it.  But the GPS  was taking forever to get signal, ain't got time for that. So I just assumed I'm doing about 7 minute miles and add 3:30 minutes after my 4.5 mile marker, which was about Fullerton. (note- checked on google maps and I was spot on) I tried to throw in fartlecks again today, to get my legs pushing harder and prepped for intervals starting next month.

On the way down, it was pretty dead, but on the way back runners came out of nowhere. There was also some boot camp or exercise at the lake class near Fullerton, a sure sign of good weather. Also, I noticed today, south of Waveland, most people weren't that friendly, frowny face. Maybe they know I am not one of them. Go north of the tennis courts and I feel like family again.

And my person of the morning was a lady on a bicycle that had such a hard Chicago accent, the type you see on SNL doing Ditka. And a gnat update: only three on my neck today as opposed to the army that attacked me.

Are you going to do the Chicago Rock and Roll race this July?
Are you running for any charities this year?
How happy are you that it is Friday?

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thoughts on Thursday

Oh Thursdays! How I should love you more. A day of no running, an extended pit stop to refuel my legs, and spot check for any injuries that I may have ignored.

But as a lot of you can relate, I say today - Why can't I quit you... for 1 day.  At least I get some time in at the gym to flex my gumby arms around and work on my core!

Here are some things I have meant to share this week and haven't (mostly because they weren't all running related):

  • While walking around River North (Near RPM), I walked by Bill Rancic who was talking to some random people, that didn't look like random fans (no photos or poses being done). He noticed that I recognized him, did a pause which seemed like, oh great.. But I kept moving on, did a double take about 30 feet away to ensure it was him and caught my train.  I told my wife, and she was all excited when she heard I was a few feet away from him.  She didn't have this reaction when I was that close to the POTUS!
  •  I ordered my first grown up shaving kit from West Coast Shaving, for you guys out there, I'll be going to a double edged blade, brush etc. Here are the main parts: 
  1.  DE89811 Edwin Jagger DE89811
  2. Omega 643174 Banded Synthetic Shaving Brus
  3. Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving Cream Bowl, Lavender
  4. Proraso Pre & Post Cream, Menthol & Eucalyptus,

  • I found the next set of running shoes I want, +New Balance M890v3 in the blue/multi selection that looks like crayons melted on them. (I got the eye roll at home about these!
  •  And here is a really quick video that can help your form. I still refer to it from time to time.

That's all I got for today!

Guys: Do you use the more advertised 5 bladed razors? Or do you single/double blade it?

Everyone: Are you drawn to really ugly, bright sneakers like me? And how do you handle scheduled off days. Do you end up talking about running more than is healthy that day?

Happy Friday Eve!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Feliz Pre Friday Eve

Greetings runners and weekend warriors! Today is Pre Friday Eve, can you feel Saturday calling yet?

I must first share a photo from yesterday evening when I took my daughter to the beach, although it was a little cooler than I expected.
She was actually protesting a photo here

Onto today, 4:40am is no longer scary. Wake up, check temp, 71, score! Recovery run today, do 7 miles and keep between 8 to 9 minute miles.

Nice thing about early running, is you can shed the shirt and not feel too self conscious, this saves on laundry, tan lines, and most importantly, no nipple chafing protection needed.

The first half of my run I saw a total of 5 runners, little odd. I saw my fellow dad friend biking to work, he was early and hearing my name that early caught me off guard.

In bigger news, I got my first high five today. A group of 4 20ish Asian/Oriental guys were biking the opposite direction and were a bit rowdy. One guy stuck out the hand and it was on. We have high five contact! He was cheering so hard afterwards you could dump Gatorade on him and it would be appropriate.

I stopped to get a couple photos today, about 8 minutes apart:

Annnnd Sunrise

Won't be long before I need sunscreen for my longer runs.

In the last two miles I ran into some swarms of those tiny black bugs (gnats? I think) and had to wave them out of my face. I started singing in my head Tupac Back by Meek Mill, but replaced it with- Bugs are Back.

Get home, look down and initially think, I don't remember these freckles... Oh right bugs. Get to the bathroom mirror, they committed mass suicide on my chest and neck (A similar example from reddit/r/running here). Gross. I definitely got the loofah out for this shower.

Small tip for today that I noticed in more runners today: If you hear your footsteps hitting the ground hard or shuffling, you need to fix up your form. Loud? You are running too hard and you will get hurt faster. Shuffling? Try to pick your feet up, I have to believe that extra resistance on the ground isn't great for you.

Have you faced these genocidal bugs yet this year? I think it should be a photo challenge +Maggie MagMileRunner

Do you want to get high fived while running? Have you?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A run so fresh you can taste it

Looks like May finally recovered from the roofies April gave it and decided to act like June, why not?

Today was 9 miles (6 fast, 3 warm up/cool down).Screencap of my run:

Tuesdays will eventually turn into interval day come June, but for now, I just try to run it about 10-15 seconds faster than pace once I warm up. I'm starting to feel a little pressure as my 18 week training plan starts next month and am trying to push a little more every week. Here is the motivation I had in my head this morning:

 Temp low 50s and stiff wind out of the south/southeast. I usually complain about the wind, but not today for two reasons (not like trey songz):

- The wind means its gonna heat up today like a pizza roll.
- The wind was for the first half of my run, so I would have some strength.

Windy Today? I ain't even mad

Felt nice to put on the shorts again, sad my work dress code doesn't allow it.

The trees and plants by the lakefront seem to have bloomed hardcore. Smelling them is one thing, but I could taste it today (I breath almost entirely through my mouth running). I was a little worried my allergies would flare up, but so far so good.

The population on the lakefront grew like a weed compared to yesterday. Some friendly, some awkward, some confused. I know I said this before and will again...keep your head and eyes up while  running.

Look where you want to go, not where you might fall. (Inspirational right?)

Did you enjoy a run in nicer weather today? What basic tips do you want to shout at people running?

Have a great day!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dear May, Man up and get warm, from- a morning runner

I'm really hoping this morning's run was the last run under 40 degrees until fall. Was a brisk recovery run, no clouds, not many runners.  Now I don't mind running in my +ASICS tights (I just learned how to tag in my blog, womp), but I would really like to settle into my shorts.

I counted 5 runners down and 11 up. I didn't even see ducks waddling for their morning exercise. I did see a few normies, including previously mentioned thumbs up guy. ( as I write this on the bus, I see a lot more people now)

Today's shout out goes to a short middle aged Asian lady that that has been so constant, she could be part of a math proof. She hustles, I usually see her around the golf course, and she pulls out a wave faster than a champions gunslinger. Props lady!

On the way back, I missed a good chance to grab a sunrise photo. By the time I had some good views, the sun was already unrelentingly bright, I better start bringing my shades.  One fun thing about the morning run, is a really long shadow. Yesterday around the path by the Theater by the Lake at about 5:40am, my shadow  extended from the Lakefront path, over the grassy field, and over the north bound section of Lake Shore Drive.  I felt like a giant!

And my link to share for the day:
Excuses you use to skip a run

Enjoy the day and don't forget to get a run in!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day and a Run!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms of both humans and pets you liken to your own children!

In order to participate in Mother's Day breakfast this morning with my wife and mother in law at 8am at Nookies in Edgewater and not skip my long run, I planned on getting out at 5am to run.  A few things I had to take into consideration for my run:

A) We went to Hamburger Mary's for dinner and I got the Fiesta Burger, a daring choice..
(Side note: Windy City Runner Girl gives a better review of this place and has photos! Only thing I'd add, don't get the Beer and Cheese Dip appetizer, had no flavor and the pretzels were too salted)

B) I usually run at 9:30am, to give myself plenty of time to clear out my stomach, have a snack, coffee, and get my legs.  All this is out the window today.

C) It was a bit chilly...34 air temp.. really? Come on...
Proof of crazies... 4:23am..Sunday

But we are runners, mildly crazy, so I carried on.  Set my alarm for 4:20am, give myself 40 minutes to try and figure out what stomach I'd have

Wake up, after about 15 minutes I can tell my stomach will be like a sleeping Kraken. I took a couple Pepto Bismols to try to keep it in a deep sleep for my run.  I agree with my running part of my brain that I'll run about 30 seconds slower per mile today to keep my stomach happy.

Get outside, brr... I definitely don't have my winter skin anymore.  After a mile I feel better, but the chill tightened up my legs, good thing I wasn't going to be trying for a normal pace.  Anytime I tried to go close to my normal pace, I heard the rumble of the Kraken starting to wake up.

For the first five miles, I saw one runner, one cop SUV, one biker, and maybe 10 drunk people still up from partying the night before probably thinking it would be fun to catch the sunrise.

The rest of the run was unremarkable.  The breeze out of the north was cold, but not that strong.  A pretty sunrise, but I wasn't taking my hands out of my gloves or stopping!

I got home with about 15 minutes to spare.

Fast forward. We go to Nookies in Edgewater (on Bryn Mawr). They are very kid friendly, have good service, and solid food.  I had the croissant french toast napoleon (Layers of crispy croissant with vanilla marscapone and fresh strawberries.), a bagel, chicken sausage, and the oatmeal my daughter decided she didn't like the texture of.  I felt like it was a Man v. Food special, and I won! That's the great thing about running near 14 miles, you can eat a pretty hefty amount and not feet bad!   The french toast is one of my top favorite breakfast items I've had, right after the Out of This World Bread Pudding from M. Henry's!

I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Did you get a run in today? How are you celebrating?   

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Rise and Shine, Attention Please, Prepare to Celebrate your Mother's Deeds!

Hello Weekend Warriors! (and to those who have to work this weekend as well)

This morning's run ( easy run - 6 miles, 5:30am) was a dull photo copy of the past couple Saturday runs.  I was thinking of taking a different route closer to the water, but it was gloomy out this morning, so I kept to my normal path to the recreation drive area and back. The crowd was the same, Elijah running group and a few other runners.

I imagine a lot of people are running the Wrigley 5k today, so I wasn't surprised to see a sparse showing on the lakefront path this morning.  I ended up going a bit too fast on my return trip, threw in a couple fartleks when I had to get around some of the Elijah groups. Had about a mile left and slowed it down a lot to try to not go under an 8 minute mile for an recovery run.

I'm sad since as I write this, it's getting sunny out! bleh. And to follow up from my previous post - Saturday Morning Cuddles! (My daughter always blinks for the flash, sorry honey)
I swear she is awake

And bonus kid footage, vacuuming has become a contact sport - a clip from our vacuum cleaner wars this morning!

I've been mentally prepping myself for tomorrow, Mother's day! You may be asking, prepping for what? Well, if you are a bit of an obsessive runner, you hate missing a run unless you are sick or hobbled.  Tomorrow is my long run, and I won't be able to do it at 9:30am, my wife is going to sleep in tomorrow and taking her and my mother in law out to breakfast.  So that means I need to get my 13 miler done, changed and ready to get my kid up by 7am! So I'm guessing that means I have to get up around 4:15, give myself 45 minutes to drink coffee and clear my system up and give myself some extra time for the run. I need to find a nap time at some point tomorrow!

Have a great day everyone!

How do you fit your runs in on holidays and family events without being inconvenient to the event?

Any special Mother's Day plans?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Respecting the Run

After a rest day yesterday, I was itching to get out again. Saw there might be scattered showers at 5am, bring it!

Wake up and see this on me phone:

Rain... and dry conditions will continue?

So its dry and raining? Go home, you're drunk! I check the radar and it showed the rain moved out of the area. Score!

I just bought a new battery for my phone since my previous one was losing its charge waaaay too fast.  Decided to give the new battery a test and run Endomondo and a GPS booster for my run.  I wanted to also focus on respecting the full length of my warm up and cool down distances (1.5 miles both).

As someone who has a time deadline to get back home from my runs, slowing down isn't my favorite thing to do.  It took me awhile to respect the need for easy/recovery runs, and make sure I wake up earlier to do them.  Now as I am prepping myself for my training program for Chicago marathon, the plan requires a 1.5 to 3 mile warm up and cool down for your harder run days (strength/interval/tempo days).  Initially, I responded like, aint nobody got time for that!

As I settle into my current weekly mileage, and running first thing in the morning, I initially accepted a warm up period, but not much of a cool down. I didn't want to see my average pace time go down that much.  Today, I broke that mental barrier, when I heard my phone yell out 7.5 miles, I dropped my speed down and just glided home the last 1.5 miles.  I checked my splits and funny enough, my body didn't really warm up until mile 3. Although, I still put a note in my running log so my Runkeeper friends know that wasn't my constant pace, hah... 

The run itself was okay. My stomach let me run about 90% of the speed I wanted, whenever I went up to the pace I wanted, it pushed back, oh well!  The weather was damp, foggy, and maybe a very light drizzle.  The trees were shaking what their momma gave them and would give you a quick shower if you weren't careful.  I guess it was misting enough to soak my socks though... yummy.

The crowd I saw earlier in the week was not seen, even south of Belmont. I guess 40s and puddles kept some people in bed.  I saw most of my normies, for my daily nods/waves/thumbs up.  Oddly enough, the traffic starting picking up north of Montrose.  I saw a few groups come out to run that I hadn't seen since last fall. It was like fire sale on waves and hellos! Great way to cheer up the last couple miles. 

Glad I got my running fix, that it is Friday, and hoping tomorrow morning will mimic last weekend and start like this (Excuse the PJs and front facing camera resolution!)

Saturday Morning Snuggles!

Did you brave the Misty Mountains paths today?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

And on Thor's Day, He Rested

Thor’s Day! A day of rest for my legs from running, and I feel like an addict that needs his drug to feel normal. We’ll get to that in a minute.

Last night, I went back to Dak Korean Chicken Wings for dinner, and shared dukbokki with bulgogi (chewy rice cakes covered in a sweet & spicy sauce, topped with thinly sliced bbq ribeye) and wings of course with my wife and daughter.  I wasn’t going to go into this at all, since I already posted about Dak before, but my daughter decided to pull up her own chair, take my fork, and proceed to poke the chicken all dinner and just enjoy the sauce. She doesn’t like the food, but she loves the sauce!  This was also my first experience with Dukbokki (chewy rice cakes in the shape of cheese puffs), and I LOVED them.  Just be warned, they are a lot more filling than you might expect.

Is she my daughter? Wings with a FORK?!

Now for the running portion of the blog.  Throughout the week, I think of topics to rant/flesh out on my non running day, but this morning, I blanked on them all.  I don’t feel I am experience enough to provide more than basic tips (plenty of excellent athletes already got this covered), I don’t have races to review, or running gear to tell you about (although I am curious about the Columbia Omni Freeze Zero line, but I find the price point to be a bit too high just to try out).

As I can’t recall any wonderful topic, I’ll simply share how it feels not to run today.  It feels like a puppy stuck inside and watching other dogs run around the yard.  I don’t feel worn out, sore, or tired.  Walking feels boring, my legs scream GO GO GO! (or as my daughter would say, one, two.. GO!) I know I need the rest them, gotta keep injuries at bay.  I feel slightly guilty eating my normal amount, as my wife says- oh he’s busy stuffing his face (I couldn’t argue with that… I’m constantly grazing).  I’m still going to the gym to work out, but it’s not the same.  It was 62 this morning, and I envied every person I saw outside running.  Just like me get my hit man.  Don’t send me to rehab, I swear I’m fine.  I feel a bit less sharp in the morning and less awake.  Remind myself, I’ll be fresher and stronger tomorrow.

Does anyone else experience this? I’ve read posts about enjoying the time off, relaxing, and it’s important. Totally agree, but doesn’t mean we always have to 100% like it. 

On a side note, a shameless plug for a subreddit I created last year:

It has a little over 200 subscribers, and is all discussion about running and runners in Chicago that use Reddit. Good place to post questions to a targeted community that is a little less harsh than larger running forums.  I enjoy talking about things there that I don’t want to make a full blog about (and it gets a lot more views than my blog! Hah)

Enjoy Thor’s Day!

How was your run today?
Have you ever had Dukbokki?

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Happy Pre Friday Eve!

My wife has been sick for a few days, so of course I'm thinking every time I sneeze or feel a little off, that I may be getting it. And of course we are both watching our daughter and crossing out fingers she doesn't catch it.

Background down, she is going to see the Doctor today just to get a check up, so I am staying home with the kid (my wife is a stay at home mom) for the morning while she sees the doctor and will go to work when she returns.

My wife thought I would be able to sleep later since I don't have to get back from my run as soon... and here is where my slightly crazy kicks in. My response:

No! I want to catch the view before the sunset and be able to enjoy breakfast. Guess I can't complain about being tired today hah!

Today is a recovery run, an easy paced 6 miles. And it did feel easy and I kept it in the 1-2 minutes slower that marathon goal pace range.

Here is the view when I hit the lake:
About 5am

My run was very peaceful. I didn't push myself at any point or feel sore.  It was 50 degrees with no wind, so it was pretty crisp and perfect.  There weren't as many people out as yesterday, maybe because I didn't go down to the Belmont and south area?

The people that were out were mostly my normies, they were friendly, most of them returned the wave/nod.  Nice way to start the day!

On my return trip home, I kept an eye on the lake to see when the sun was coming up and then when I could get a decent shot at it for one more picture.  I wanted to get a photo before the Sun took up its yellow color, as everyone is up for the yellow Sun, BORING! And its harder to look at.

I caught it with a few minutes to spare. Here is the result:

I was pretty happy to catch a person running in my photo!

 If I took a shot 5 minutes later, I would need shades on like my daughter and I would be looking at the Sun like this:

So bright!

Finished writing this just as my daughter is waking up! Time to go!

How was your run today? Do you take time to enjoy the scenery?

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

8 Bit Running

After a pretty positive recovery run yesterday, I woke up today with an equally positive mindset to knock out 9.  I decided to give the Gatorade step one pouch another shot as I never have time to eat before my morning runs. (Running 20 minutes after alarm). Gatorade pack says 15 minutes. Just like Sunday, get an immediate rush to wake me up.

Get outside, its pretty nice, 51 and almost no breeze.  I am trying to respect my warm up and cools down distances so my total time is unceasing.  I don't really notice any positive gains from the step one pouch.  My stomach ended up feeling funky a few times and the sugar makes your saliva too thick. Not going to try it anymore.

The view this morning was awesome. Crescent moon hanging like an ornament over the melted red, orange, and purples bleeding over the lake.  Its not photo day today, hopefully tomorrow is similar so I can take a snapshot.

A few miles into my run I hear my name and look to see another dad I know who bikes to work. We chat for a few, and I mentally saw myself as Little Mac from Nintendo's Punch Out jogging with his trainer.  Sadly he had to go to work and I was back to my imagination.

For those unfamiliar with Punch Out, here is the screen cap!

Today's shout out goes to thumbs up guy.  He is around his 40s and is putting in work to get back in shape. He is part of the normie club and doesn't break form to say hi, but he does sneak in a thumbs up. Yeaaa buddy!

Around 5:30-6am, the lakefront got much busier around the Belmont underpass and the smaller underpass about a block south of it.  Nice to see more people running again. Is this you picking up again? Let me give you a tip, keep your eyes looking up and where you want to go.  So many people either look down or have their head down. Your posture will follow your eyes, and looking down will lead to slouching, which leads to injuries.

Today was one of those days I wanted to just keep running and take a few breaks to soak in the peace by the lake, but alas, I must work.  Next race came up, 20 minutes from the moment I get to my building, to shower, change yada yada and leave again!

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, May 6, 2013

You know nothing Legs Snow

(Game of Thrones reference title)
Woke up 2 minutes before my alarm and snuck to the bathroom to change without waking my wife, good start...but the cat was awake and almost ruined my stealth. (Scratch scratch under the door)
Recovery run day, typically this day's post is a vent of how hard the run was and I pout. Today though, my legs felt strangely decent. I'm not talking 100% and ready to fly, but they felt stronger.  I didn't push the pace hard, but the training plan does say the run should top out at 2 minutes slower than marathon pace.  I've been doing mote like 2:30-2:45 on Mondays. So there is hope!
Training paying off? Or was that Gatorade recovery drink magic?
As usual, I tried to capture the sky before sunrise, it looked pretty awesome but I waited a few minutes too long and it lightened up a bit. Here is what I got. Note sure if I stopped my timer while taking photos, oh well.
Cheers everyone!
5am at the Lake

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wŭ de May!

Sunday, the long run, Cinco de Mayo (Wŭ = five in Chinese), good sleep was had, lets do this day.

Wake up at 8am (woah!) and think, I'm going to break my half marathon run time today, its my goal to average a 90 minute speed this year, but I keep falling a couple minutes short.

Walk to the living room, greet my lovely ladies.  My wife is feeling a bit off, so I offer to postpone my run until our daughter takes her nap around noon, and I'll pick up the morning so she can rest.  Not really sure how I should eat to run that late,  just have to wing it.

Wife suggests I take our daughter out the the park, so we venture out (one block) to the park.  We spend a good hour or so chasing birds, digging in the grass, and once in awhile actually using the park equipment.  She is very adept with a stick I'll have you know.

My daughter trying to catch the pigeons

Come back around 11:00, and try to mimic my running routine I normally have. Mostly to get my stomach in order so it won't act up in the run (you know what I'm talking about). Drink a few cups off coffee, change, and mentally clear up. I'm going to try to start using the products that will be available at the Chicago Marathon to make sure I don't introduce anything new to my stomach on race day.  Today, I tried out a step 1 Gatorade pouch about 20 or so minutes before I went out the door.  It tasted like  melted Otter Pops. I felt really jittery after it, not sure this is something I want in my regimen. I checked the weather, and saw a wind out of the North, kept telling myself to prepare for it... never can.

I set my Endomondo (I thought) to give me a pace time for ever half mile, to try to focus on my goal time.  After starting, it appears it went off every .05 miles. Rather than stop and fiddle, I just turned it off. Stop watch it is! I knew enough distance points to base my time off of as I go.

3 miles, 20 minutes... too fast... slow down Declan. Stomach shows up, feels funky for a couple miles. Gatorade pouch? Too much breakfast? who knows.

One minor story here, I have a beef with rollerbladers that don't pick a speed.  I initially passed two ladies on rollerblades, a little odd, since I know they can get speed pretty easy. A couple minutes later, they pass me. Okay better. A few minutes later, I pass them.  You can see where this is going.

After a couple miles, we are about at the same speed on several occasions, and I'm stuck on the dirt several times.  Finally they zoom off after hitting a small decline on the path. Good bye! Thank you.. But I see them one more time getting water... Please don't go my way.

7 Miles, 47 minutes... slow down Declan... because it is time to turn around.

And we have wind.  Experience tells me the wind is strongest from Michigan avenue to about Belmont.  I focus on my form and just hope to get through it. The wind off the lake is not kind if you are trying to get to a new speed.

I reach Belmont, no change... *****  Every mile got harder, I knew I wasn't going to get a great time now.  I finish my run with my slowest time in about a month and a half. Dang.. I gotta learn how to take that wind better and save more energy.  Maybe I'll bring Gatorade a few times during as well.

Time for the walk home, the breeze feels minimal. bleh.

Get home and we decide to go to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba ( we couldn't agree on a mexican place, Fiesta Mexican or La Ciudad) . So we head off and have a wonderful dinner then custard at our favorite neighborhood shop, Lickity Split!

Now to close, here is a photo of our daughter giving us a look on the train down to dinner.

Dad, whatcha looking at?

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Two a days... sort of?

I woke up this morning expecting to be filled with the spirit of Haile Gebrselassie in my legs after eating some tibs last night. Sadly, I am not like Kirby and assume the powers behind what I consume.

A downside to doing an evening run when all your runs are in the morning is that when you go back to your normal time the next day, it is almost like doing a two a day. I knew it was a pretty quick turn around for a run time when my beanie  hadn't fully dried yet. I finished my run yesterday at about 6pm, and was out this morning around 5:45am. I wasn't too worried as it was a recovery/easy run day.

The sunrise actually beat me this morning, as it took me a long time to get ready for some reason. I did nab a couple shots of the sunrise, but my phone didn't grab the depth of the colors that makes is peaceful.
Time to make the donuts!

The weather app said it was 51 degrees, but the air felt a bit more brisk than that.  The lakefront path was mostly populated by the Elijah Running Club and a few morning runners.

I went out with the task of thinking of fun things to do today, as asked by my wife.  For some reason, I have a hard time focusing on specifics when I run. I started to try to think of some places/things to do, when suddenly its two miles later and I had last myself in my run, but if I just want to ramble or have random conversations with myself, I can do that easily.

I got back from my jog, only to be locked out of my building.  The radio key that residents swipe at the door wasn't working at the front or the back, uh oh! My wife has her phone on silent, so my rings for help went unheard, and buzzing our unit risks waking up our daughter.  So I sat and waited.  I had about 10 minutes left now before my daughter usually wakes up, and I'm starting to get worried, when another resident shows up, has the same issue.  Thankfully, his girlfriend is awake and comes down to let us in. SAVED!

Now the real challenge, get a few options on the table for today!

What fun things are you doing today?

Friday, May 3, 2013

You Are What You Eat? Ethiopian food = Faster running?

Late run for me today, maybe the latest run I've done in a year. Circumstances prevented me from doing my morning run and I don't have a long enough lunch break to knock out 9 miles... yet.

I cleared the run time earlier in the week with the Mrs. to make sure I wasn't messing up the force at home.  I picked up  dinner on my way home from the  Ethiopian Diamond. They are usually pretty decent, but we've had a few just "meh" experiences. Tonight was slightly above meh, need to try Ras Dashen sometime (Plus they have a better WBEZ member discount)

I put mine in the fridge and quickly changed.  Leaving for the run was rough for me.  The food smelled great and I wanted to be home and settled. Although I know if I didn't run, I'd probably get cranky. Does this happen to anyone else?

I dressed for slightly cooler weather and rain, so of course it didn't rain or cool down.

Today was about a 1.5 mile warm up, 6 mile run and a 1.5 mile cool down (roughly, probably more like 1.2). Total was 9.1 miles. In a month they'll turn into interval and strength runs, based on the Hanson Marathon Plan.

Comparing running at 5am to after work, I'll stick with 5am. No guilt with missing the family, and I know what my stomach is going to be like.  Just booking it after work caused a few periods of discomfort.  I was surprised by the lack of people running, maybe due to the potential rain? Or "Aint nobody got time for dat" on a Friday if it ain't warm and sunny.

The run overall was uneventful, I had a pebble in my shoe to start, that was the biggest drama. And the wind out of the north took the wind out of my sails on my return trip.  Glad I got it done.

I got home, had a quick dance party with my daughter, cleaned up, and inhaled my Ethiopian food (Tibs if you are wondering). Not sure its the best post run food, but hey, you are what you eat. I expect to do 5 minute miles tomorrow for an hour.

Do you like Ethiopian food?

Need a spot in the Chicago Marathon? Try Team to End Aids!

My normal post will be later today, as I haven't run yet today. This is my longest break from running.. about 58 hours by the time I lace up later today.

Healthy Running Mom posted about running the Chicago Marathon for The AIDS Foundation of Chicago.
So if you missed out on registering or the lottery. You can sign up with them.  Good perks and training, and the amount you have to raise isn't too bad, $1400.  Their training starts tomorrow, so it seems like a nice long program and you won't be getting hurt.

Are you running for a charity, have one to suggest, or still looking for a spot?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

My, myself , and running

Today is my rest day from running, so I need something else to ramble about.  I'll flesh out how running has changed for me.

Two years ago, my wife was pregnant, we still had time to be recreational.  I was used  to doing more hobbies like gaming, get out a bit more with my wife, etc.  Jump to July, my daughter was born.  Life exploded and was put back together in a new form.

I was just fair weather jogging at that time, get out during a nap time, still held onto some geeky habits.  This slowly became harder and would bug me, since I refused to mentally move on. My first priority was be the best father and hubster I could be, and as my daughter put a couple months under her belt, she wanted and needed me. I was thrilled and she became a daddy's girl.

We are in December 2011 now, I decided to get real about running. I was tired of losing my gains.  I decided to start running outside all season, if I can start during a winter, the rest of the year should be easier.  It worked.

I built my base slowly (started at maybe 12 to 50s now). I felt great and proud. I became obsessed reading running forums and so forth. But mentally, I still didn't move on from thinking I should have time to do more. I talked it out to try to convince myself that this is life right now-run, work, family time, clean, maybe a tv show.  Trying to fit in something else after work would keep me away from my wife and daughter.

My feelings on running have matured from just my exercise, to the me time I need. Its not what I have known, but what I need. I opened myself to appreciating the run, the high, the community, and the new me. 

Do I miss my old down time and hobbies? Sure, but now when I get a little extra time, I don't find myself jumping into them.  Now I have extended my running interest to reading local running blogs and some other running media. And when I go to the gym today, I know that while I'm not able to match up to the weight fiends on their turf, they cringe at the thought of going to mine. Runners are a little crazy, but I love it.

For now this will work, who knows what will change when we add more children to the mix. Running is giving me the peace of mind and an outlet for adrenaline kicks to fully enjoy my family, be healthy, and be be mentally stronger.

Too long didn't read: running changed from an occasional exercise to my hobby and helped me adjust to life as a dad.

Has running transformed for you?