Tag Archive | Marathon

Something Light and Shallow

I feel a need to post something lighthearted. I was going to post a follow-up to We need to Talk about what happened the next day, but that will have to wait until later this month. After yesterday’s post, it seems only fitting to post something silly for Friday. No need to go into the weekend reading things that are heavy-hearted.

And I spent time wracking my brain trying to come up with something, but nothing really popped. When i try to be funny, it comes across badly. The only times I think I am genuinely funny are when I end up doing ridiculous things or those things happen to me. Continue reading


Marathon Reflections

at the swirlgear booth at the expo

As I was thinking about what I would say about the 2013 marathon, a couple of versions came to mind. The first one told all of the positive and none of my true feelings. That was a version contemplated to keep those who would want to say that my feelings aren’t legitimate away. With an all positive version, they’d have nothing to try to make me not feel.

Then there is the completely honest version where I express how I feel. The version that would lend many people to say I should feel a particular way because. A version where they would try to drown out how I feel and make it seem illegitimate.

Anyway, I’ve decided to go with the latter version because being honest is far better than trying to not be real in life. And I don’t care that people can’t handle how someone really feels about this. So here is my tale of running the 2013 edition of the Chicago Marathon. Continue reading

It’s Getting Real

running shoesSunday I ran a 14-mile cutback week run long run. I was supposed to run it on Saturday, but having been dealing with a cold that just won’t settle in my body or go away and dealing with crappy work hours, I have been exhausted. So exhausted that I ended up sleeping for a really long time on Saturday. Clearly I needed the rest and the me of now gladly took that extra rest. Months ago, I would have tried to push through it, but now I really “get” the importance of rest to make myself perform well.

Anyway, I think my 14 mile run was probably the best one yet of my marathon training season. Probably because the temps were really cool (yay!) and I felt rested after taking a rest day on Saturday. During my run, I did get rained on quite a bit. About half an hour into my run, it started to sprinkle. Then when I had reached the halfway point, it really started to rain. Fortunately, there was no lightning so I could continue on in my run. As for the rain, it actually felt wonderful to run in it. It had me getting anxious about a winter run through the snow. That is something I have wanted to do for a long time and I’m hoping this winter I have that chance. Continue reading

The Ignored

Middle kid syndrome. If you are a middle kid, you understand this. If you are an oldest or youngest, chances are you don’t really have a clue about it, unless something happened in your life that caused you to suffer. What exactly is middle kid syndrome? It is that situation where you are ignored by your family because attention is paid to the older kid or the younger kid. You learn to be invisible so as not to cause grief because you parents have other stiff to deal with. Quietly, you go about your business. If people notice you, it is mostly because you ended up doing something really amazing that called for praise.

Perhaps in school, your parents got a note from a teacher about a great thing you did in school. Or maybe you play a sport and scored the game winner. In any event, most of the time what you do goes unnoticed.

There is another group of people who suffer middle kid syndrome and these people really go out of their way to not be a burden to their parents and family. Those people are siblings of those who have cancer. Specifically, I am talking about kids who have a brother or sister who has cancer. Continue reading

Almost Done it All

This past weekend I ran a 10K. It was supposed to be a 10-miler, but it was just a day that 10 miles wasn’t going to happen. It was also a chance for me to look back over the year of running and see exactly what I have accomplished.

After my hometown beotch “disaster,” I could look at the year as such a huge disappointment. However if I am realistic about it, it was a fantastic year of running for me. I ran pretty much every distance there is to do in some form or fashion. Maybe not necessarily as a race, but definitely putting in those miles in some capacity.

I started the year off with a 5K on New Year’s Day. Then a few months later I did a 10K. Then an 8K. A 5-miler. A half marathon. A 20-mile training run. An attempt at 26.2. Then another 5K and most recently a 10K.

Each race I managed to do something fun, in that I shaved time off of previous bests at these various distances. November 5th, I ran a 5K race. It was my first race since the Chicago Marathon. And I destroyed my prior best 5k time. When I say destroyed it, I mean that my previous mile splits were along the lines of 13 minutes per mile. In that 5K, I was averaging 10:55 per mile with at least one sub nine minute mile. All in all, I ran that 5K in just under 31 minutes. Continue reading

Dress Rehearsal

My bib number and finisher's medal from the rock 'n roll half marathon

The Chicago Marathon is just weeks away and I am starting to panic about it. This is a good thing. It allows me to get my crazy about the race out of the way early and not panic race day and fall flat on my face.

This morning was the Rock ‘N Roll Chicago half marathon. It used to the Chicago Distance classic run by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield. For me, it was a perfect race to throw in to see where I was at in my marathon training as well as re-acquaint myself with gear check, etc. With shorter races, I tend not to use gear check. It just is a hassle for me, particularly when it is a race with a ton of people. For halves and full marathons, I use it. The last time I had to use gear check was when I was in Atlanta in 2007 for the half marathon there in March.

Despite my race today (which I will get to), I am glad I had this “dress rehearsal” to see what marathon race morning was going to potentially be like. I had a plan. I put my plan into action. The plan worked for the most part. Then crap happened.

In days leading up to long races, I try to get enough rest. I know the night before I am going to be anxious and getting a good night’s sleep will pretty much be impossible. This happened this week leading up to the RnR Chicago half. In some ways, not sleeping the night before is good for me because it ensures I will be up and ready to go when the alarm goes off for the beginning of the day.  Continue reading


2nd most important piece of running equipment

Today I ran a five-mile race along the lakefront on the south side in Chicago. It was a good day. It was also my birthday, so it was great way to start out a new year of my life (ugh). I actually have done two races this week, with a neighborhood 5K this past sunday and then today’s five-miler.

The massive positives. In April, I ran an 8K (4.97 miles) race. It was the official start of the race season. My time wasn’t great for that race, but I was ok with that. It was my first time at the distance in a race. This despite having run 5Ks, 1/2 marathons and attempting a full marathon. It was also a bit warmer than I prefer for running in general. Though, making excuses shouldn’t be allowed. Anyway, today I shaved almost 2:30 off my five-mile finish time. That right there is huge. I went a slightly farther distance and I ran it faster. Continue reading

Ten 10 Ten

October 10, 2010.  A fun date for many because it is 10.1o.10.  Last time that happened was September 9, 2009.  And the other fun date this year was September 2, 2010.  That was beverly hills 90210 day.   In any event, the big fun with today’s 10-10-10 was that it was the Chicago Marathon.  This is my hometown marathon race and it always happens on columbus day weekend.  I have done it previously (more on that in another post) and it is always a fun time.

As I have done in past years, I went to Chinatown to watch the race.  This year, I was actually up early enough that when I arrived at the welcome gate in Chinatown, the only people around were those who were local to the neighborhood and people who were helping to set up for the events.  I really wanted to arrive early because I wanted to see the elite runners, both men and women.  This year’s elite field consisted of some of the best in the world as well as Sammy Wanjiru and Liliya Shobukhova, who were the winners last year.  Shobukhova set a new Russian record today with her time.  Ryan Hall, who was going to run the race pulled out early due to basically being over trained and his training getting progressively worse before the race.  I was sad to see him have to pull out of the race because he is one of the new crop of elite American men who has a very serious shot at winning some of the marathon races instead of it always being a Kenyan to take the title.  It was super cool to see Joan Benoit Samuelson running as well.  She is 53 and was trying to qualify for the olympic trials.  She JUST missed the time, but in the process set a new American record for the 50-54 age group.  Not gonna lie — if I could run that fast now, I would be so excited.  And when I am her age, I’d probably kill to run that fast.  She looked amazing when I saw her run past me in Chinatown.  For complete coverage of the race with all the various stories, such as the fantastic showing by American Women, the stories of Wanjiru and Shobukhova, the 2:11 time of the first American male, etc., check out runner’s world’s coverage as it helped keep me informed while I was on the sidewalk watching and cheering on the runners.

All of the stuff that I saw today was even more impressive because of the temperatures.  It was extremely warm out for running.  In the mid 70s and only going higher.  And I can hear the non-runners out there saying: ‘but wait, if I were to run, wouldn’t you prefer it to be warm?  I mean, who wants to run when it is cold’?  Well, if non-runners were to ever take on such a feat, then you’d realize that running in much, much cooler temperatures would be the ideal.  As you start moving, you start to heat up and if it is also humid outside, it is much harder to cool off as you are running.  The last few years of the Chicago Marathon have been rather warm of late.  In fact, in 2007 it was the warmest time for the race and it actually had to be canceled in the middle of the race which was the right call given the extreme heat and humidity, but also devastating to so many runners doing their first marathon who could not finish as well as to seasoned runners who were used to the heat and humidity and wanted to finish regardless.

The big question is, why do a marathon when there are so many things about it that are so grueling.  Some other common things I hear about running marathons from people who don’t do them are: 1) i hate running [good excuse because if you don’t like something, you will never get wanting to conquer the “gold standard” distance], 2) do you understand how you are damaging your knees, 3) you’re crazy, 4) you’re insane, 5) it is not a real sport, 6) who wants to watch someone exercise, and my personal favorite 7) you know people die running this distance! even the first marathon the guy died!!  All I can usually say to those who don’t understand why people want to do it is that you probably won’t understand until you try it.  Anytime I mention running a race, (which is usually some distance over the usual weekend 5K) I hear some combination of these various excuses that people have.  When I pry a bit deeper about the excuses, I usually find that people think that running hurts and that is why they don’t like it.  I know that running can hurt, but I find that is usually because of not being in the right shoe for that particular runner and once you get soured on something, it is really hard to get yourself motivated to try again.

As for the whole not being a real sport and it being an exercise of watching people exercise, well that is just crazy talk to me.  Running is a huge sport.  If you are defining a sport by it having competition, it absolutely qualifies.  Or as I like to say, if running isn’t a sport, then neither is golf.  If you ever watch a race and see how the top runners jockey for position to win the race and how they go about it, you realize there is a ton of strategy involved.  This strategy involving the elevation of the race course, the temperatures, and the wind conditions.  It is amazing watching what happens to ultimately come out as the top dog in the race.  Not to mention that if you are at such an elite level, you can win some big money coming in as the winner.

Overall, it was a great day (although any race is always great) for cheering on the runners.  I saw a lot of women wearing running skirts, of which I am a fan of.  I also saw a man running barefoot, which is always impressive to see.  I also saw a few people wearing the vibram five finger shoes, which is a way to simulate running barefoot but not actually be barefoot.  It was super fun to see the wheelchair athletes competing as well.  Those men and women have some amazingly strong arms and to see the various types of chairs they had to get through the race was amazing.  I was most impressed by the double amputee who ran.  Seeing a guy like that always makes me grateful for what I can do and am able to do because I am not limited in some way.  Now, I cannot wait to start training for a marathon that I will do next fall.  But first, I need to get my butt in gear for a 5K next month.  What could be a better race than loads of hot chocolate at the end?

CONGRATULATIONS to everyone who ran the Chicago Marathon on 10.10.10 and any other races that happened today!