Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Jackson Homecomer 5-K Race Report

I was heading to Cape Girardeau today to do a 5 mile run. Honestly--I didn't feel the best and decided to cancel the run for the time being. I went to Sam's Club and got my tires rotated, hit the store for a few groceries and headed home. On the way home, I was feeling a little better and got the bright idea to run a local evening 5-K to get a workout in, see some friends, and run with a group.

I had no major goals for the race other than to test my fitness level in general and see where I am in regard to the half-marathon pace I desire to hold in October. It was a very low maintenance approach. I wanted to hold around a 9:00 minute pace.

I hit mile one at 8:40. No major problems. Mile two came up at 17:59 which made the pace around 9:19. I did the last 1.1 mile stretch in 10:12 to come in at 28:12. Looking at my previous races for the year--it's about what I expected and pretty much par for me at this fitness level and weight. I usually run MUCH better when my weight is in the low 180's or high 170's (it's 191 today) and also when I've been doing some repeats to help with my TERRIBLE foot turnover.

In the past, at better levels of fitness, I could hit the nine or slightly sub-nine pace and hold it pretty comfortably and have a punchers chance at running a sub 2 half marathon. I don't think that will be back by October but...... its not October yet!!

Every day is a good day, some are just better. Thanks for reading!!

**Sunday, its the ST. CHARLES FLAT FIVE. All runners completing the race get a small trophy instead of a t-shirt. So, I get hardware for the man cave and another fitness test.

**On another note, a friend that I have known all my life ran his first 5-k this evening as did his wife. It was great to be there and be part of their first running event. Go Kevin and Janice. Theirs was actually a family affair with both of their boys running as well.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Mad Dogs, The PO PO, Car Problems and Week 11 Training

Week 11 training for Lewis and Clark is in the books. The training week went extremely well as far as running is concerned. Other events of the week kind of make you want to stop and ask, "Am I living right?"

On Monday, I went to Chaffee to run the Tywappity Trail loop around the lake. I ran it with Coach P from school week before last and actually ran a pace below 10 minutes per mile which is very tough for me at my current fitness level. It was my year P.R. for the lake trail run. I was almost done with the 2.5 mile loop and was crossing the dam heading for the parking lot when I noticed a dog wondering the parking lot with only one vehicle other than mine in the lot. As I approached the lot, the dog took a keen interest. She charged up to about 10 feet in front of me to cut me off. I had to stop and make several attempts to TRY get past her before finally yelling HEY!!!!!!! I couldn't see the lady sitting in the truck because of the sun reflecting off the windshield. She cracked her window to politely tell me, "oh she won't bite you!"

I very adamantly pleaded my case for her to exit her vehicle and get her dog. I was starting to get ticked. She then got out of her truck (finally) to again say, "Oh she won't bother you. Don't pay any attention to her." By this time, I'm fuming. I have an excited Pitt Bull (or some type of muscular psycho dog) standing a few feet in front of me, teeth bared growling at me and my wife is getting ready to finish her run coming from the other direction into the parking lot. Great, the dog can have seconds!! The lady FINALLY got her dog into the truck and promptly left knowing that I was furious.

I don't smoke. None of my family smoke at this time. I'm an excellent driver. I'm not often exposed to second hand smoke. I have a few guns which are unloaded and locked in a separate closet from the ammunition.

This one's EASY!!!! Ok, yes--probably cigs but humor me would you, I'm still traumatized!! And sorry if you are a Pitt lover. I love dogs just not really freaking mean ones that chase runners.

I'm a teacher in this town and don't know if she knew me or not and really don't care. I didn't use any foul language and behaved pretty appropriately under the circumstances. Oh, BTW--the stupid dog wouldn't let me into the parking lot to stop my clock and I missed setting a new time P.R. for this year on the lake trail by 6 seconds. Stupid dog.

Tuesday, to move on.... I went to Cape Girardeau to run the paved running trail through town. Flat, some shade, and ample water locations for a very hot, humid day. One half mile from the parking lot, BAM, SOCKO, WHAMMO!!!! My checking account took a hit when I was stopped doing 48 in a 35. Had I blogged on the Tuesday run alone, it would have been called "THE NINETY-TWO DOLLAR RUN." Hey what can I say, I fought the law and the law won. I'll pay this one with not too much.... complaint. I was 13 over. I deserved it. (But a warning or a good chewing out would have been nice.)

The worst part of this one is I notoriously don't speed. My wife tends to complain occasionally that I'm poking on my way to work. I just tell her I'm not in a hurry to get there. And--I went to a different parking place than normal. Had I went to my normal parking lot, I wouldn't have passed through the speed trap. Oh well.

Ok... rather than tell you about the DEAD BATTERY that I had today.... Boogity, Boogity, Boogity, lets go running. (Sorry... for you non-Darrell Waltrip fans--thats a NASCAR reference!!) Week 11 went well. Here are the totals.

7/19 5 miles Tywappity Trail 2 Laps
7/20 2.5 miles Tywappity Trail (The Dog Run)
7/21 Morning 4 miles Cape Trail
Afternoon 5 miles Mom and Dads
7/23 8 miles Jackson City Park 93 degrees, 98 degree heat index, HOT and HUMID

Total= 24.5 miles

This week went very well. The Hump Day Twofer was great. I rocked the 5 miler. The 8 from yesterday was very good. The feet are holding up well and I'm at a great place with ten weeks to go.

THE BIG TEST--WEEK TEN MEANS I START SOFTBALL CAMP. Theres an automatic 10 extra hours I'm on my feet this week first thing 9 a.m. each day. I have to get up and run early. I want some 800's and maybe a hill work out but I have foot concerns this week. It may be a step back week to allow for adjustment.

Hey--Hope all is doing well. Thanks for the comments on Howl at the Moon. Lots of feedback, I love it. Keep it coming!

****I guess I should fess up that Wal-Mart gave me a free battery since my old battery was only two years old and oh yeah, went to a local running store Thursday (Ghisallo Running) and they gave me a free running cap....and I took my son to St. Louis yesterday and went to the City Museum as well as the Arch. Sooooooooooo..... not all was bad!!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Monday Memories--Howl at the Moon Eight Hour Run

Ok campers, with my training going very well I thought I'd take some time and let you know a little more about an AWESOME event from my running past. This event is an excellent one for all or you guys and gals from the midwest. So listen up! This event is called the Howl at the Moon Eight Hour Run and is held by the Kennekuk Road Runners in Danville, IL. Danville is about 120 miles south of Chicago, 180 miles east of St. Louis, and 85 miles west of Indianapolis. We made the trip for the event in August 2006.

This event was to be the focus of my summer training. Remember, I'm a Junior High Science Teacher. With my summers off, I will sometimes pick an event to help me stay on task with my training and provide a late summer or early fall treat (we get to travel) as we start back to a new school. This particular summer, I was very pleased with my training mileage. From the first day of summer break, until the first day of school with kids, I was able to log 382 miles. This includes the Howl event of course. The summer mileage challenge is kind of a little personal thing that I again often do to stay motivated and focused.

Howl is an eight hour event which is held on a 3.29 mile course which consists of about 75% trail, 20% fine rock, and about 5% asphalt. You check in and out each lap and are free to complete as many laps as time and your body will allow. The temps on this day vary greatly. I had trained to function in the heat of the day by doing numerous runs in the middle of the day regardless of temperature. I literally practiced using a cooler to keep my clothes wet and cold on my training laps changing caps and shirts each lap. On this particular day, the temperature was very moderate and the heat really wasn't much of a factor.

This was just a fantastic event. I still rank it as one of my all time favorites. We pulled into the park for packet pickup on Friday evening not really knowing what to expect. One of my favorite things from the race were the 3 basic rules to follow for this event. It had been written in marker on a piece of cardboard and was posted at the packet pickup. Rule #1 was simple: NO BITCHING!! Rules 2 and 3 simply said to refer back to rule number one. I loved it. (Now, there were more actual rules but this just kind of kept it simple!) I bought a pair of their club socks. They are again one of my favorites. They are white and yellow with a beer mug logo and their club name on the side. Hilarious! On the bottom, they keep the message simple: RUN & DRINK BEER! We were encouraged to have a brew at the packet pickup. The wagon was conveniently parted close by!

The event itself was awesome. Most of it was offroad as I described which was great for the body. Starting at 7 a.m. and finishing at 3 p.m. provides you with the chance to build some early miles before the temps and humidity get too bad hopefully. I completed 10 laps for a grand total of 32.9 miles. Here are my lap times.... they get interesting:

Lap 1: 34:20
Lap 2: 33:50
Lap 3: 35:00
Lap 4: 36:12
Lap 5: 39:58
Lap 6: 45:33
Lap 7: 48:12
Lap 8: 1:04
Lap 9: 1:06
Lap 10: 58:22

Yeah, I know... the last 3 lap times are kind of scary. I developed a blister which prompted me to change socks and shoes. That accounts for the LONG lap 8 time. Laps 9 and 10? I began developing leg pain and tightness which migrated from my knee to my hip to my knee to my ect. ect.... It kind of moved around as the last two laps progressed.

Following the event was the best awards ceremony I've ever witnessed. Awards, awards, awards, man they take care of their competitors. Looking at this years flyer, the Masters Men 40-49 Age group goes 25 places deep. I believe that year it went 20 places so they have actually increased the awards they give out. Other age groups are nicely supported as well depending on the general number of expected entries.

Besides awards, THEY FED EVERYONE THERE. They had fried chicken, bbq chicken, red beans and rice.... It was fantastic. Everyone there was fed with NO ONE having to buy an extra meal ticket. This was in addition to providing pretty much your beverage of choice as well as showers, camping for the night, and a band that played well into the evening.

It truly was one of the best events that I have participated in in my race career. I would definitely recommend it to any of you guys from the Midwest or to anyone who has saved up their frequent flyer miles. It is an event you have to register early for. They set a limit and it fills fairly early.

I was pleased with my distance. I had set a goal of accomplishing my first 50-K and did this with time to spare. I actually didn't take advantage of the last part of the time limit which has you going out and back on a shorter 1/2 mile loop. I did a little too much training on pavement and should have been in the city or county park a little more to change up my training surfaces. The trail and uneven surfaces worked me over a little more than what I expected. Being my first ultra, I was amazed at how relaxed the atmosphere was and how supportive the fellow runners were. Hopefully, this has been informative, maybe a little entertaining, and I've given you some insight into the completion the first ultra-marathon of my running career.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Lewis and Clark Week 12 Complete

Week 12 for Lewis and Clark is complete and was a fairly decent success. I hammered a 7 miler this morning to complete my training week (Sun.-Sat.) with an even 20 miles. In general, I am pleased with this total since I hit my "Gold Standard" of 20 miles for the week and got the long run distance completed that I was shooting for.

In general, the training is progressing. My running motion and foot turnover isn't progressing quite as smoothly as I would like. I am going to put in some 800's this next week and may combine them with some hill work along with the proper warm up and cool down of course.

I like to run at Trail of Tears State Park near Cape Girardeau, MO. There is an area there which heads out toward the river which is a solid mile of downhill or uphill (if you turn around) which I like to use for repeats. A local cross country coach uses this location to run a downhill mile. I have the half-way point marked and love to run a section on the upper half. It definitely takes you to the edge of functional and quickly. Most of the uphill is gradual with a nice incline at the finish for good measure.

My runs for the week:
7/11 3.5 miles Meg's Circle, Jackson
7/12 5 miles Trail Run-Tywapitty Lake
7/15 2 miles (Worst run of week, hot, humid, felt like crap--quit early)
7/16 2.5 miles Trail Run-Tywapitty Lake, HOT AND HUMID
7/17 7 miles Jackson, 6 a.m., Amazingly humid for 6 a.m., OK run, Meg's Circle--2 Laps

I'll be honest. I'm NOT one of you dedicated triathletes. I really don't have anything else planned for the day. The part that pains me when I say this is that this WAS to be my triathlon weekend..... until I suffered a leg injury in May, my first sprint triathlon was to be tomorrow morning in St. Louis. I had started a program and was about 2-3 weeks in when an injury made the swim part very painful and the bike part very difficult. Weird thing was, I could still jog lightly so I had to come up with another plan. Hence, set the base and go for a HALF. No, tribuddies... a half-marathon, not a half-iron!!

Week 2 is in the books. I'm calling it a success so far. Have been keeping up with my reading. Trying to throw out a comment here and there so everyone knows I'm here. Everyone have a good weekend and keep putting in the miles.

And remember, Every Day is a Good Day, Some are just Better!! Thanks for reading!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our Wednesday Stacation

Hey Everyone.... yeah, I know. Long time no post. Well to be honest, not a heck of a lot is going on and its way more interesting to get online and read what everyone else is doing than to post on what I had for breakfast!!

Wednesday however, we had a cool day. We drove over into Illinois to look at a little male Chihuahua that I affectionately call Sweet Pea. This little jewel weighed about 10 ounces and had the personality of a German Shepard. The lady honestly had a decent price on him considering his petite size but we decided not to purchase him at this point. She was taking him with her to a sale tonight so I figure he'll sell pretty easy. He was most certainly a doll and had the Mrs. not been there.....

After departing the house of puppy with no Sweet Pea, we stopped in Murphysboro, Il at the 17th Street Bar and Grill. If you are ever heading through the area, its worth a stop. We heard about the place several years ago. I believe when Mr. Clinton was in office, they maybe provided a meal when he visited Southern Illinios and we heard about it on the news. We've been going off and on since that time. If you like ribs, this is usually the place to go. Wednesday's ribs were a little dry but I coated them with their sauce (which I love) and suffered my way through.

Our next stop was at the Bald Knob Cross in Alto Pass, Il. Again, if you are ever driving through Southern Illinois, It is very much worth a stop. This cross which is 111 feet tall, is viewable for miles around. We were there right at sunset which made for a pretty picture. It was constructed in 1963 and has been a site for Easter Sunrise services for many years. It has been in a state of disrepair for several years. The white panels which usually cover the structure have been removed and it is in the process of being refurbished. At one point, visitors could walk the steps to lookout area near the top. This was stopped due to liability issues. You can just make out the steps. It would be quite a haul to the top. We visited with the security guard on duty and eventually went on our way.

This is a picture of the cross with the old white panels in place. It is quite a site to see. You just can't appreciate the size of this structure without seeing it in person. The Easter sunrise services from what I understand are pretty awesome at this location. The cross sets at the top of a large hillside (elevation 1034 ft.) and overlooks the Mississippi River bottoms and surrounding areas. The large area around the cross is grass covered and is usually kept mowed down quite nicely. Easter morning in this area is often quite cool. The sunrise service will often be view by several hundred people sitting in lawn chairs covered by warm blankets. We haven't attended this service but is on my "to-do" list at some point. The security guard told us that they may allow people to climb to the top after signing a waiver and making a donation toward repair of the cross. We are going to watch the website and if the donation is reasonable, I'll most likely send you pictures from the top. Thats a post for a later date.
Tomorrow, I finish WEEK 2 of my half marathon training. I have a 7-8 mile scheduled for early in the morning. This week has went well but I will admit to a lack of discipline. I've spent too much time watching the Tour on Versus and the British Open has also been going the last two days... so tomorrow morning, I only get to check the weather before departing to ensure that I get out the door in a timely manner.
Everyone have a great weekend and as always, THANKS FOR READING!!!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!!

While getting everyone caught up on the last week's training and activities, I have to thank Patrick at The Road [A Multi-Sport Blog] for the cool T-Shirt that I recently received through a contest on his website.

The T-Shirt and I took my wife to Texas Roadhouse this evening for some fine dining (dead cow) and followed it up with a movie complete with 17 dollars work of sugary soda, buttered popcorn, and milk duds. Yep, I feel somewhere between great and terrible.

We had a great evening. Love the shirt Patrick, Thanks Again!! He may have more available folks so check out his site!! Its entertaining and comes with cool free stuff!!

Its great to be blogging again. I've tried to keep up with the reading this week and have done pretty well. I hope to get in a few posts here and there if anything notable is going on. If not, I'll kick into flashback mode and give you a couple more events to read about I think you'll like.

Thanks for reading.

The Holiday Weekend and Week 13 Training

Well, not sure where to start. Its been a few days since the last blog so I'll just catch everyone up with the Fourth of July weekend as well as the first week of half marathon training. First, the "holiday" weekend.

As everyone knows who has read my blog, my wife and I ran a fireworks stand for a local fireworks dealer. I'll give you the final numbers. Over approximately the last two and one-half weeks, I logged around 110 total hours in the fireworks industry. This started with setting up the massive sales tents which I blogged about earlier. We then set up the stand that we were going to be responsible for. The next seven days consisted of sales. This drew to a close last weekend with 10 hours Friday, 12 hours Saturday, and a nice 13 hours on the fourth itself. We then boxed all unsold merchandise, and took down all of the lights, signs, and tables for shipment back to the warehouse. This took a couple of days. We then thought we were done but got the opportunity to pick up a few more hours helping pack another location a few miles down the road.

Now having been paid, we have officially drawn the Fourth of July weekend to a close and are attempting to get life somewhat back to normal. Having worked so many hours in such a short time, it seems weird for it to finally be over. For anyone who is out to make a quick buck and thinks this is the way to go, THINK TWICE!! It is a TREMENDOUS amount of work. It would be something that I would not look forward to at all and would dread greatly if we were not working for such wonderful people who have been trusting and fair now for two years running.
Ok, lets make this a running blog. Even with the heavy flow of hours, I've mangaged to get my half-marathon training off to a good start. Here goes on the first nine days:
July 1 3 miles 8:30 a.m. (28:00)
July 2 3 miles 8:00 a.m.
July 3 3 miles 8:00 a.m.
July 5 3 miles 8:00 a.m.
July 6 7 miles 6:00 a.m.
July 8 2.5 miles 10:00 a.m. Tywappity Lake Trail (24:21) With Coach P.
July 9 3 miles 2:00 p.m.
Tomorrow--5 mile run to finish this week (1/4-1/11) with 20.5
Overall, I am pleased to get things off to this good of a start with the amount of time I've spent on my feet and the at times physical aspect of the work. There hasn't been much variety but I'm pleased to hit 20 on the first full week of running and so far (cross your fingers), the right foot feels great!! Next week, I plan to hopefully take the long run to 8 miles and bump the total mileage up a notch and hopefully, see some improvement in the realm of endurance.
Every day is a good day, some are just better!! Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 1, 2010


I got up this morning, drank a cup of coffee and ate a bowl of cereal, laced up the shoes and headed down to the park. 3 miles and 28:00 later, workout number one was done.

I ran the Lewis and Clark Half-Marathon in 2002 and 2003. In 2002, I hammered out a measly 189 miles in the 13 weeks leading up to the event. Good for a 14.5 average per week. In 2003, I again ran a paltry 176 miles in the 13 weeks leading to the event. Good for a 13.5 average. Not impressive averages in either case. Hey, I was new!!

Weight and Finish... In 2002, I started at 207 pounds and ran the event at a svelte 200 pounds. I came in at a time of 2:14:28 good for a 10:16 pace and a finish of 617 out of 1025 runners. I was pleased. It was my first half-marathon and only my eleventh footrace. In 2003, I started at 204 but lost 15 pounds running the event at a very nice 189 pounds. This led to an improved time of 2:06:44 and a much better finish of 685 of 1657 runners.

THAT'S THE HISTORY--NOW ITS ON!! Run number one today was nothing special. Just run number one. You may wonder, why the drama? What's the big deal?? I am coming off the Country Music Half-Marathon FREAKING DISASTER of 2009 and several months of plantar fasciaitis. The 2009 event was awful. My training had been excellent and I had actually built up to around 16 miles because I had planned to do the marathon.

Race day was very, very hot. I dealt with that fine but had right foot problems and being male and macho, ran through the pain instead of stopping. My time was my worst ever by several minutes and the day was just unbelievably bad. I had started in the wave in front of one of my friends with whom I wasn't competing (yeah right!) only to get beaten by this lovely human being by nearly 10 minutes. He finished and found my wife waaaay before I did!! He hasn't let me live this down. I have stayed away from the longer distances since this debacle but am now returning to my roots.

GOALS: Number one, first and foremost.... finish and be healthy. Now as for numbers two, three, and four, we'll see as training progresses. I would like to hammer out a 20-25 mile per week average and would like to have a shot at running below 2:00. (My half P.R. is around 1:52.) My weight is kicking it at a starting point of 194. I would like this to be in the low 180's by race day. 13 and 1/2 weeks. Easily doable.

Since I provided so much information about these ancient events--you got it, its Flashback Thursday instead of Friday. I won't blog every run but I will periodically update my progress. I really hope my right foot holds up. (Boomer, if you read this, I understand your knee issue.) I am honestly as nervous starting this program as I was for my first one.