Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Late Night or Early Morning Run?

Howdy All!
I got to meet up with some of you, +Maggie Wolff , Lauren , Chris, Erica, and Erin, at the blogger happy hour last night and departed on the early side to see my tot for a little while before bed. Thankfully I finished eating before anyone showed up so nobody could see me eat like a pig, as I forgot my lunch and was STARVING. And the whopping two drinks didn't settle well either once I went home. I was a little worried how I would wake up today to run. Drank more water, had some flavored ice (this is my cure all right now), and had some pepto tabs.

This morning Erin (Not happy hour Erin, see links) and I planned to do somewhere around 11-12 miles with some hill repeats at Cricket Hill. Expected start time? 4:05am...This is a PR for me for start time. I have to thank Erin for getting me to start early. I wondered at the start of my plan how I would get my runs that went 10-13 miles in before work and not getting into work too later. I didn't want to just start waking up super early to do it, it was a mental block. But give me the option to have a running buddy? I'll do it. And since we've started running together, the block is gone. I've learned more about time I need to get the stomach ready, get more relaxed about starting early, and how nice it is to finish early too. Plus, running for an hour on the lakefront path and seeing like 5 people total is a cool experience.

Now I had to wake up at 3:40am to make sure I could sip coffee and get out in time. Thankfully I felt okay and all systems were green. I check the weather, says 70, dry conditions will continue, nothing on radar. Shirt off, gonna be warm! Get outside... misting, humid, and it felt a little cool for skins. Too later, I'll warm up. And remember how yesterday my GPS wouldn't connect in clear skies? This morning.. connected in like 15 seconds with the cloudy and misting conditions.

I met up Erin about a mile in and it was a fun run. Easy pace, that hovered between 8:15 - 8:30 I think. We saw our first runners around 5am. But the gnats didn't sleep in. The were bad out this morning and couldn't see them as it was dark. Good also to have a running partner for that hour of the morning (and I had on an LED light on my arm band).

On the way back to our end point, we went to Cricket Hill and did 5 hill repeats! It was a lot of fun, as I haven't done them purposely before, just if a hill is in road I run when I am not in Chicago. Lots of gnats there too! Pretty sure I inhaled a few.

After this, we went back to the path, high fived and each went out own ways home. Ended up being 12 miles and I felt great, but noticed I was hungry now. So when I got home, this hit the spot:
I actually ate it as I left for the bus, felt like a kid waiting for the school bus.

And a late entry photo for my blog, my wife emailed me this picture of our tot getting ready to take tiger out on an adventure:

And with that, have a great day! I hope you got a good run in today!

Do you like flavored ice?
Is 4am considered morning or night?!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

We'll do it live!

First off, free photo of how my daughter left Mr. Potato Head last night:

This morning I had 3 x 1600m intervals, with 600m runs in between. I set my interval plan in Endomondo and figured I would be good to go. Get out at 4:45, almost no clouds, beautiful sky, get GPS fast right? Yea no. I waited. Then I started jogging, resetting the app, my GPS, etc. After two miles of running while looking at my phone, I couldn't wait any longer.
I knew my goal time per book at 6:05ish per mile. The first mile I could use my known mile markers. Hit my mark at 6:04. After that, I went by time, did 3:30 run, 6:30 hard. This gives me space in case I faded to make sure I hit my times, or if I did go  fast enough, whats an extra 20 meters or whatever it is right? Total run: 2 miles warm up, intervals, 3 mile cool down - 9 miles.

Here is a photo from the start of the run:

and on the way back:

I got high fives from Erin and Kelsey today! That was pretty awesome!

Not so awesome - the gnats! Not horrendous, but they attacked me in some areas.

And one last pic for you:

Have a great day!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Sunday and Monday Run Recaps (Exciting Title)

My blogging muse has not inspired me today to engulf you with hilarity or motivation thoughts. But as this blog's initial conception was to recap my training and runs, I'll keep it short to do that today.

Sunday: 14 miles, 7:45am. Seems to have been a pretty popular distance for the weekend. Was real nice to run in the cooler air. I had two goals for this run, slow down and work on my fueling strategy. The Hanson Plan says I should be running my long run ~7:40 minute miles. I've been doing 7:05-7:20. Yesterday... 7:15. I need to work on this. Fueling wise, I did good. I bought:
good for kids too?
 They settled good, easy to take, light taste.

I was a bit tired the rest of the day and had trouble getting my appetite going until...6pm.

Today, 6 mile recovery run. I woke up at 4:30am, and felt a little nauseous. I was tempted to skip today, but got up anyways and see how things progressed. I took a couple pepto, and told myself, this is the slowest, shortest run of the week, tough it out. So I did. I only had a few minutes of uneasiness, but the rest of the run was pretty enjoyable. Here is a photo from the start:

So your time wasn't a complete bore, here is a funny running video (WARNING: EXPLICIT LANGUAGE)

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Happy Birthday to My Tot! And got my Corral changed for the Chicago Marathon!

Lots of topics to cover today! First off! It's my daughter's birthday today! She turned two! If you follow me on FB or Twitter, you've seen this stuff already, but here it is again!

1 Day old
My Card Dad!
I'll spare you the mushy stuff. But being a dad is amazing and life changing. I can't imagine not having her in my life.

Now for some running stuff. I got my corral changed for the Chicago Marathon! yay!
Not really hard to figure out my name, but I gotta make you work for it (TWSS)
I did an easy 8 miles this morning per Hanson Plan. 14 tomorrow. My pace was probably 20 seconds too fast, but it was hard to go slower in this awesome temperature! Lots of small groups of runners out and I got a side five from from Erin!
Mandatory Morning Photo

As I mentioned before, tot's birthday party got postponed by a week as we weren't sure of her sick status, and it turned out to be the coldest day of the summer so far.

But there is an ice cream social in the park near us today which we'll hit up and we'll head out to Andersonville for lunch today!

You run a race today or run at all?

And why the heck aren't I getting a side five from you? I'll be out there tomorrow seeing who is naught or nice!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Finally Freaking Friday

The onset of the relatively cooler weather has been great for two reasons - better runs and better eating.

The last two days my appetite has increased two fold. I had been struggling to eat enough or want to eat more. Not a problem last night. I got home, had two servings of lasagna, half of an Aldi's pizza (have you seen them? they are HUGE), a cookie monster cupcake from Molly's Cupcakes, and grazed on other snacks. There is no way this could affect my run right?

I also went to bed about half an hour early last night, which also felt great!

Home note - kiddo is under the weather, she would right before her birthday tomorrow, so party postponed for a week.

Wake up 4am today, yay Friday! Get that coffee going like Wild Turkey at a frat party. 40 minutes later, I'm good to go. I thought the temp was going to be closer to 60 when I woke up, so I put on the liquid skin and tape on the man pecks since that is tech shirt weather. Check weather... 70? Well time to rip them off... ouchies.

I decided to bring water and a power gel for the half way point. Trying to get better and downing that jelly ****.

Today's plan - 1.5 miles warm up , 7 miles marathon pace, 1.5 cool down.

Here is your daily photo at the start of the path:

As you see, it is pretty dark and this photo was taken next to a street light. Bikes on the path that didn't have their light on looked like slender man and were kinda freaky:

I didn't see another runner until the totem pole, which was also a little odd (was about 5:15am at this point).

After my warm up 1.5 miles, I put myself into gear, or at least I thought I did. I have my GPS give me lap pace every half mile. My first beep was about 7:11 then almost 7:20. I was distraught. 15-20 seconds slower than I needed to be. I immediately thought over everything to make an excuse. Too much to eat last night? Bad food choices? Did I run too fast Wednesday? Am I aiming for too fast a pace? Should I just run it and forget this run happened? I started feeling glum. Then my GPS buzzed again, 6:50. Well then. Either I just need a longer warm up period or there was a bad GPS signal for that last mile. My times evened out to a +/- 5 seconds of my marathon pace goal. Mile 5 was the turn around and where I slowed for a moment to take the power gel. Not my favorite. I don't know that I'll get that brand again. The pace felt comfortable once I warmed up, which was good to feel. First and last mile of my run below are a bit slower as I stopped for a photo and didn't pause it.

The sky was pretty cloudy this morning, which made for a sky that resembled a princess coloring book through 6am.

The gnats didn't seem as bad today, but they were still all over my torso and neck like glitter after a wild party at an arts and craft store.

Get a run in today?

How long do you give yourself to eat those gel things during a race so you don't end spilling your water in the process from taking too long?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Friday Eve - Rest Day Post

 Two Part Post - 1: Motivation 2: Stuff
Are you someone that always tries to motivate people, encourage them, tell them they are doing awesome, but don't give yourself the same pat on the back? Most of us huh. Well this post is about us.
This is feeling proud about yourself, myself, we are pretty great.

(Except you, yeah I see the Nutella smear on your face and you haven't brushed your teeth yet today, you aren't that great)

The thought started crossing in my head as I chatted with a coworker who signed up for her first half marathon. She started the early phases of, what the hell did I just do, but I can't back out now. She got a legit plan set out from one of her runner friends beforehand and isn't backing down. I added what extra value I could and try to encourage her whenever we talk running, reminding her the dedication to training is what makes those motivational videos and posters we all wish we were in. News flash, we are those posters.

I forced myself to take a look at my own training. About 6 weeks into the Hanson Plan. Plenty of days where I feel like I'm not doing enough. That I set my goals too high. That I should lower my expectations for my first race. You know the downward spiral. But then that day I pretended it wasn't me I was looking at.

You know those videos of people running in the dark, running 10 miles Friday, to wake up just as early on the weekend to knock out god knows how many more. The people that can tell you about running at -10 degrees or 90 degrees. That is me I'm looking at. What values to you honor in other people? I bet you have them yourself, but don't like to admit it.

The speech in this video has been around for awhile, but as I love the Bulls, I'm giving you it as a backdrop to a Bull's video. 

“Here’s the thing that makes life so interesting. The theory of evolution claims that “only the strong shall survive”. Maybe so, maybe so.
But the theory of competition says, “just because they’re the strong doesn’t mean they can’t get their asses kicked”.
That’s right. See, what every long shot, come from behind, underdog will tell ya is this: the other guy may in fact be the favorite, the odds may be stacked against you. Fair enough. But what the odds don’t know is, this isn’t a math test. This is a completely different kind of test. One where passion, has a funny way of trumping logic.
So before you step up to the starting line, before the whistle blows, and the clocks start ticking just remember: out here the results don’t always add up. No matter what the stats may say and the experts may think and the commentators may have predicted, when the race is on, all bets are off.
Don’t be surprised be if someone decides to flip the script and take a pass on yelling “Uncle”. And then suddenly as the old saying goes, “WE’VE GOT OURSELVES A GAME”.
So you know what? Game on. I'm going to keep dreaming big and so should you. You inspire me.

Annnd Stuff:

Got my new sneakers in! Same ones I have now, just different color (New Balance M890v3)
If you see these bad boys on the path, it is probably me and I expect a side five.

And my foam roller is still getting use:

For people dealing with gnats while running:
And some photos from the Rock and Roll Half Marathon:

Okay, that's enough for one day. Have a great day

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Pre Friday Eve Run

Happy Pre Friday Eve Everyone! Your party hats on?

Yesterday evening, I had the urge for some ice cream and my wife suggested we change it up and stop at Zanzibar. On the walk there my phone randomly shut down and I could not get it back on. I freaked out a bit as just a month ago, I went through 3 phones and didn't want to start this again (It worked an hour later randomly...) I finally had some appetite back and got a scoop of Horchata and a scoop of cappuccino something flavored ice cream. YUM! I was a little worried as ice cream is hit or miss for a morning run. In one scenario, 5 scoops of ice cream for dessert... I ran a sub 1:30 half during a training session. Another scenario, ice cream sandwich... stomach ache all run.

Funny story, approved to share by Mrs. Stop Running Dad. On the walk back, I noticed something on her face.. I thought it was ice cream.. I take it off with my hand.. bird crap. EW!

Well this morning was just a good response. I had 10 miles on schedule, easy pace (see 1-2 minutes slower than marathon pace).

Woke up at 3:50am. To everyone other than Erin who thinks this is crazy, I did this to avoid last week's catastrophe.  Last week I left the house about 10 minutes too early and paid dearly for it. Today, just woke up 10 minutes earlier and it worked. Now this isn't to say I actually LIKE waking up at night (I think pre 4am no longer qualifies for the morning), but if it means some assurance in not having a #2 disaster, I'll do it.

Left the house somewhere near 4:30am. Took a quick photo at Hollywood Beach:

The lake was pretty loud this morning with the rough waves. I met up with Erin a little down the path and we did around 9 miles together. Always fun to have a running buddy!

And just because I love you guys, I took a mid run picture of the moon, since the sunrise was still like half an hour away at this point.

It was really nice to run in the ~60 degree temperature and no bugs. Up on my street, the wind is insane if there is even a light breeze anywhere else. I dare say I was even a touch chilled until I got on the lakefront. I think the cool weather sped up our pace to a bit faster than we intended.

I stopped for a moment near the end of my run to try to take a Vine video of the waves and for a relaxing loop. Unfortunately, the wind disrupts the feeling and the lighting was all messed up, oh well, here it is anyways:

Tomorrow is my running rest day, and I made it another 6 days without an injury. What is in store for tomorrow? Maybe some photos from the Rock and Roll Half Marathon, inspiration ish? We'll see what I can conjure up for you guys!

You loving the fresh air for your runs?

At what point is a morning wake up time no longer the morning?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Runs and Bugs

Before I forgot to post it, I saw I was #12 in the top 100 running blogs of 2013 - Reader's Choice Award.
I was a little suspect to this as stat wise, I'm not a big blog, or a long standing blog, or even a pretty blog. It appears all you needed was one person to nominate you, some people got on the list twice it appears. But hey! Thanks Adam @ 5k Addict for getting me on the list. I'll put this on my sidebar soon.

Now for runs. Yesterday was a recovery 6 miles. Easy run pace, just some meditation running. Too many clouds early on to get any photos.

Today, ladder intervals - 400/800/1200/1600/1200/800/400, 400 meter medium pace between, with warm up and cool downs, totaling about 10 miles.

I woke up at 4am, had a cup of ice coffee with some sugar to help add a little to the tank. It did its job internally, although I am starting to feel the repercussions of having a sporadic appetite the last 4 or so days. My energy was shot, and my legs were pretty blah. Right near the start of the path, this middle ages man carrying an umbrella was walking north, I veered off about 10 feet from him to be safe, and he started to unzip his pants, wtf... I ran faster to get away and didn't look back for at least 100 feet and he was staring at me. CREEPY.
I then met up with Erin a little down the path, warned her not to go north, and then she looped back at that point for some warm up miles, we chatted a few, then split ways.

The gnats were back today. And when I say back, I'm talking Michael Jordan back to win titles. For once they were worse in Lakeview and LP, rather than Uptown and Edgewater. I got home and I was covered in them from the shorts up. SO GROSS. I ate a few for sure as well.

I also saw Mrs. Fueling Strong on the way back, who maintains a cheery hello!

I was on a decent pace up to the 1600, but I lost it there. I was hearing phantom beeps from my phone indicating my distance was done and to slow down, but it wasn't it. I left the running zone and kept thinking I overran the distance. I recovered a little for the 1200 and 800. Glad to get it done. Looking forward to MP day on Friday.

And here are a couple photos I take just for you guys, same beach, 75 minutes apart:

I'm looking forward to running in the cooler morning air if the forecast is correct.

And for everyone in the WRCE..

Have a good day!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Rock and Roll Chicago Half Marathon Recap!

I can finally stop saying I never did a race. I think this race sets the bar high (as it should with its cost!). Bottom line up front.

Pros: Course, music, pre and post race food and drink, organization, volunteers, course extras like cold sponges, and a lot of fun people!
This is not me
Cons: Only con of the race was the Humanity Vitality Cheer Squad screen at mile 10. When I crossed there, they weren't showing the messages yet which sucked. Thankfully I heard that they were working for +Maggie Wolff and Xaarlin at Pain is nothing and they got my messages! yay!

Lessons Learned: Double tape nipples. Put bib on shorts next time so I can shed my shirt. Don't eat so much random ish after the race, stomach still trying to digest it. Get my race fuel strategy on track, and don't sip gatorade too often, I started getting a drinking cramp.

Do it again? Yes, although heat was getting to me a bit.

Now to my journey!

Woke up at 3am, I was still full from eating so much pizza for dinner. I started with my coffee, but added some sugar and milk to try to top off my energy stores. I watched part of Equilibrium and talked to my friend in NY who hadn't gone to bed yet.

4am: More coffee, gotta make sure no junk is left in the trunk.

5am: Get moving out to the El.
My attempt at the foot selfie
Most of the people getting on the train were going to the race, which was pretty fun.

5:45am - Get to the race area. I knew the +Chicago Running Bloggers  meetup was starting, but I needed to use the facilities and get my bib and stuff on. Sad I missed meeting some people that comment on my blog for the first time (Running with the Sunrise and This Hobbit Runs).

6:10am: Get to my corral.
I recalled Annabelle @ Fluency's Folly's would be a pace leader for 1:45 time and would be at Corral 4. So I did what all good stalkers do and just went up and talked to her.

After a brief chat and no luck in finding Xaarlin or  Sarah who would be in that group, I went to my corral.

I lined up at the end of the corral with the intention of going with the 1:30 group. Social observation, I think I was the only guy there that was near 180lbs.

The first mile was a bit tight, people kept getting in front of me and I couldn't get my normal stride going without stepping on someone. I started losing the pace group until the path widened and I went way out to the side. My first 5k I was hitting sub 7s pretty easy. I passed the pace group (which I won't do next time), and went on my way.

I saw Erin @ Loop Looks around that point with a sign by the  route and got a cheerful wave!

I didn't know it was her until after I waved, and immediately waved again.

As mentioned in prior posts, I intended on going 5-7 miles then decide to go faster, slower, or maintain. Well, I was sipping on my handheld bottle a little too often and felt I was on the verge of a rough cramp, and was feeling a bit hot (and to be honest, my legs were Hanson Marathon tired), so I decided to just enjoy the rest of the run at an easier pace.  You'll see below where I made the decision, and had fun for the rest of the race. It was hard to accept people passing me that I had a good leg on, but in the end, I got the corral time I needed:

Slowing down let me get lots of high fives from bystanders and enjoy the views. The pace group caught up again, I hung with them a little bit, but checked my ego at the curb and just let them go on their way.

The music was cool on the run, although I caught a few of them chilling, um jam people!

Miles 7 to 9 the heat was getting to me a bit and I took a few more steps off. I was a tiny bit worried I would go too slow, but reminded myself I had a strong first half and just stay healthy. I saw a few people in corral 1 have to step off the race and recover on the sidewalk here.

Looping near Chinatown to go east was when the course got really fun. The drummers in Chinatown got some life back into me, and then we went through some people hosing us down and misters. The station with the ice cold sponges was a god send and I screamed out - SWEET ICEY NECTAR OF THE GODS!

The coolest part of the race was going through the tunnel about 2 miles away from the finish line. The inside was all cool flashing lights with DJs and high fives. I would do a half marathon in this, plus it was cooler. It reminded me of this:

 People started going hard here, but at this point I had no reason to other than saying I finished what, 30-60 seconds faster? As long as I was under 1:37, I was good.

Not so fun part of the race for me, I didn't apply my nipple tape good on my right side, and man did that chafe. I was holding down my shirt for half my run and would only take it off my chest for the photographers.

I jogged to the finish line, got my drink, medal, and cold wet towel, then went back to the finish line to try to see some bloggers finish. I capture Anabelle, Sarah, and Xaarlin, but then the medical tent told us to go way back so they have easier access. I went on my way and caught up to Annabelle again.


Guy in white blocked Xaarlin for most of the shots(See behind him)

Sara Crossing with a smile

Post race stuff: They had TONS of food and drinks, I couldn't handle it all (TWSS). I was a bit of a glutton and my stomach paid the price. I only found Annabelle and Maggie and we got these pics:

Good times!
Back to training!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Wind it up

Easy day today. Doing what I can to have a little something extra in the tank tomorrow for the Rock and Roll Half. Click here to cheer me on at mile 10 !

Short story, last summer my goal was to hit a sub 1:30 half by this race. I was doing about 1:37-1:40 on my weekly half. I have yet to taper beyond getting sick, but I did the sub 1:30 a couple months ago during my weekly long run. Pressure off, and know I can do more now.

So for tomorrow, I'll line up with the 1:30 group, run with them for half the race and then decide if I want to hang, speed up, or slow down. As long as my time is under 1:37, I'll get my corral for the Chicago marathon. The next time up is something under 1:27, which won't happen mid Hanson training. Gotta keep my eyes on the right prize.

This morning, my plan called for 10 easy miles, then 8 tomorrow. So I switched it a bit for the race, 7 slow miles today, and then the race tomorrow.  The weather felt nice today, with a welcome drop to the humidity and low 70s temp. And there was a little damage done to the path as well:
A Female Ent
That is all the running stuff I have for you today. Going out to breakfast with another set of parents and their daughter and some odds and ends to be done today. Going to have some Gino's North thin crust pizza tonight! Yum!

Will I see you tomorrow at the race?

Weekend plans?

Friday, July 19, 2013

I Won't Be Your Dragon Hero Baby

Set my alarm last night for an early start this morning. I wanted to have a LOT of time to let my coffee settle. I woke up no problem, got my coffee, did what we all do, and waited. Looking back, I was ready to go by about 4:25am, but I waited until 4:45am to leave. I wanted to be super sure that no surprises were waiting for me once I got outside.

I checked the temperature and it was 83 degrees at this ungodly hour. I had 2 goals for this run
  1. Don't be a hero and overheat.
    Not today Enrique
  2. Go slower than last Friday (Was about 15-20 seconds too fast per mile)
The plan was for 10 miles, 1.5 warm up, 7 marathon pace, 1.5 cool down. Body felt a little tired this morning, probably needed a little more sleep. I am trying to hold a little bit back with my effort for Sundays Rock and Roll Half.

You may have noticed, the kid in me likes to think of action movies and violent cartoons to motivate myself for days I want to go hard. As I'm holding back a bit, but keeping my suggested miles, I decided to think of the Hulk.

I'm hoping Sunday turns into something like this:
I'm always Rangry
I gave myself 15 or so extra seconds per mile window of error for the heat today. The first half of my run was about on pace, but I felt like I was getting a bit too hot. No need to be a hero.. yet. 

There were ZOUNDS of dragonflies on the lakefront between Belmont and Fullerton this morning. Only one hit me, but it was pretty amazing. I was expecting to see Daenerys Targaryen by the path, commanding her baby dragon army.

On my loop back, I tried a new power gel or something like that, green apple flavor with caffeine. It was waaay too sweet, more like a green jolly rancher. I was able to stomach it, but I still like the honey stingers better. I think I'll end up getting more of the stingers. 

I stopped to take a picture for you guys at Belmont, but as a result of pausing for about 20-30 seconds, I lost my pace and never really got that stride back, so you better enjoy the picture!

The temperature was 5 degrees cooler at 6am that 4am, that was not what I wanted to see! But oh well, better than 96.

Speaking of hot weather running, kudos to all the ladies that ran the Esprit de She run last night! Ya'll killed it!

That is all I got this morning. I'll be getting my packet and ish for the RnR this afternoon after 4, will I see any of you there?

Did you see the dragons?