Saturday, December 31, 2005

One Last Longish Run

ORN: 7 miles, 3/2, 1 hour, 35 minutes.

Well, that's it. That last real run before I line up for the half marathon on Saturday. It want fine. 7 miles right now doesn't even seem worth doing. I guess that's good.

This "Goofy" challenge, and getting prepared, has been a very interesting experience. And, as of now, not very satisfying. I've run and walked LOTS of miles but find myself enjoying the training less every day.

Again, I think this is normal, but that doesn't make it easy.

Next weekend can't get here soon enough.


Friday, December 30, 2005

Another Extra Rest Day

ORN: 0

I am READY for this to be over I really am. I'd like to line up right now and run them both on the same day.

This is taper madness in it's full glory. I'm tired, grumpy, and did I mention TIRED? But, it's part of the process. This one just seems longer and more pronounced. But, it will be 4 marathons and 2 half marathons in 4 months. NOT my normal fall/winter schedule.


Thursday, December 29, 2005

Holiday Runs

I'm just catching up. Been on the road, visiting family. Over the river and through the woods!!

Saturday, December 24
ORN: 2 hours, 4/2

This was the last long run before "Goofy". It was amazing to run for two hours and not feel like I even gotten started. The weather was cool and drizzly, but for Chicago in December it wasn't bad.

Sunday, December 25: Christmas.
ORN: 0, lots of EATING!

Monday, December 26:
ORN: 0, travel day

Tuesday, December 27:
ORN: 60 minutes, 5/1

The game plan is pretty straightforward at this point. Don't do ANYTHING stupid. I feel like I could at least line up and take a shot at the Goofy right now. Nothing good is going to happen with the training. But, there are plenty of ways to screw it up.

After 60 minutes I don't feel loosened up, let alone warmed up. It's nerve wracking, but a good sign.

Wednesday, December 28:
ORN: 45 minutes, 4/1

Same as yesterday, just stay loose. The path is a little on the hilly side, which is good. And, just like yeserday, I didn't even begin to feel warmed up by the end of the run.

Thursday, December 29:
ORN: 0

Friday, December 23, 2005

A gift run

ORN: 70 minutes, 4/2, OUTSIDE!

The weather broke, and I took advantage of it. The temperatures SOARED into the 40's today so I got to run outside. We are very fortunate here in Chicago that the City's Park Department plows the lakefront path so quickly and so well. I was able to do my normal "north path" run without any problems.

Well, except at this point I don't even start to loosen up in 70 minutes, which is a good thing. The run itself didn't feel very good, but that's mostly because I'm recovering and tapering all at the same time.

With a little MORE luck I'll get in my long-ish run tomorrow in decent weather.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Setting it up

ORN: 0

Today's "training" was rest. On Friday I'll do a 70 minute session and back that up with a 2 hour session on Saturday. The idea is to run one day, then get up and run farther the next. Goofy style.

I'm still having trouble with the taper. I can't seem to get a handle on my appetite, and all the holiday goodies aren't helping!!


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Cross Training

ORN: 20 minutes, stationary bike, light weight workout

Have I mentioned that this, the taper, is my LEAST favorite part of training and racing? My routine gets upset, my appetite goes bonkers, and I have a hard time keeping my head together.

I sat on a stationary bike for 20 minutes spinning and keeping my heart rate up just a little bit. After that I went through the weight machine circuit. All I was trying to do was stretch on the machines. Now is not the time to make big changes in my training.

I wish Disney was this weekend!!!


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Easy Does It

ORN: 4 miles, 3/2, 56 minutes

This was a "planned half marathon pace" workout, on the treadmill. The goal was to get into the rhythm of the 3/2 ratio [as I did for the first 13 miles in Honolulu] and see how easy I could make it feel.

I worked on trying to be as "silent" as possible with my foot fall. The person next to me was landing full force with every step. I wanted to say something, but chose to keep my mouth shut.

She was also doing a "straight run" program, which, all things considered didn't make any sense to me. At her pace she would have done MUCH better to mix in some walking. She's an injury waiting to happen.

That REALLY bothers me because so many MORE people could enjoy running if they just used some common sense.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Keeping things loose

ORN: 4 miles, 45 minutes, 5/1

Back inside today. I'll try to make sure to run at least once a week outdoors between now and Disney, but I will get a lot of quality training on the treadmill.

The goal is to stay fresh and loose. I'll do shorter intervals at a somewhat quicker pace to make sure my foot turnover is working.

My appetite has gone bonkers for some reason. I can't seem to get enough to eat. I'll have to be careful to monitor my eating for the next few weeks or I'l line up for the Goofy Challenge carrying more weight than I want.


Full Tilt Rest Day

ORN: 0

The last Sunday that I had off was in August. AUGUST! So I took today OFF. And I mean OFF. Just football games and popcorn!


Saturday, December 17, 2005

First COLD run

ORN: 7 miles, 1 hour, 35 minutes, 3/2

OH MY!! Last weekend in Honolulu it was 85 degrees. THIS weekend in Chicago it was 9 degrees, with a windchill of 0. ZERO!

Because I've been traveling so much, this was my first REAL winter run. And it takes a little while to remember how to dress and how to handle the extreme cold.

This was a 2 layers on the bottom, 3 layers and a shell on top kind of day. It turns out that I could have gotten away with one less layer on top because I wore a pretty heavy Mountain Hardwear windblock fleece.

I've got an old Brooks top with a hood and "mitten" hands that I just LOVE as a base layer. It's about 6 years old but I can't find anything else that works as well.

As hoped for, the 7 miles felt EASY today. A great sign.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Taper or Bust

ORN: 0

This is the most difficult time for me. I feel ready, or as ready as I'm going to be. Whatever my base is now, that's what it's going to be coming Disney weekend.

I've talked to some other folks getting ready, and I'm thinking that THEY are going to have a tough time!!


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Running in Place

ORN [Obligatory Running Note] 4 miles, 48 minutes, 4/1

It did NOT feel good at first. I walked a full quarter of a mile before I even thought about running. I tried easing into the run and that helped.

I hadn't run a step since Sunday, so a little stiffness would have been expected. What I didn't expect was how strongly my HEAD didn't want to run.

On days like today I try to talk myself into just going for 20 minutes or so and see how I feel. I was on the treadmill, so, I found a funny television show to watch and the next thing I know I had run for 30 minutes. At that point I was feeling better and just kept going.

But, I would have stopped at 20 minutes if I REALLY didn't want to run.

Nothing seems hurt. Nothing even feels all that tight. Good news!!!


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

An extra day

ORN: 0

Not sure whether it's from the flying or the running, but, my left hip is acting up a little bit. I've chased this problem around in the past - including over a year with doctors - and nothing was ever really diagnosed.

Best guess was a sciatica kind of problem, usually caused by too much sitting.

So, just to be sure I'll take today off and try to get in a gentle run tomorrow. This is the "taper" anyway. A little LESS is better than a little MORE!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Long Flight Home

ORN: 0

Anyway you slice it, flying 8 hours overnight is a long time to be sitting.

The good news is that I'm not experiencing any DOMS symptoms. [Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness] It's not usual for some aches and pains to show up a couple of days after the event.

I'm hopeful that I can try to do some walking/running tomorrow if I can catch up on my sleep.


The Honlulu Marathon is unique in that it is the only event that I know of that is nearly evenly divided between two running cultures. Of the nearly 28,000 participants in this year's race, about 18,000 are Japanese.

It's a very interesting experience to be running inside of another running culture. I don't know much about the Japanese running culture although I suspect MANY of them are Penguins whether they know it or not. There is almost universal joy in the Japanese participants. That's not to say that it isn't difficult, or that many aren't struggling, but there does seem to be a transcendant feeling of accomplishment that doesn't seem to be associated with a finishing time.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Physical Inventory

ORN: 0

At a clinic once the panel was asked what to do the week after a marathon. Most of us gave the standard "take it easy, but move" answer. Everyone except former marathon world-record holder Steve Jones. His answer was to go out the day after and run a hard ten-miler to see what you hurt!

Well, I'm not going to do THAT! I will get out and walk some to keep my legs from locking up. So far everything feels fine.

As important as the physical preparations are, it's AS important to do an equipment inventory. I've made the decisions about shoes, socks, shorts, a long and short-sleeve shirt, jacket, and hat. Right or wrong, I know what I'm going to use. They've worked in training and I trust that they will work on race day.

So let the taper begin!!


Sunday, December 11, 2005

Staying the Course

ORN: 3/2, 2/3, walk.

Let's see if I can explain. This was a training run for the Goofy Challenge. I'd done a half marathon last weekend and I wanted to see what affect - if any - that would have. So the plan was to use this as my last long training run. Since I'm here with Team in Training I knew I'd have to be "on the course" all day, so I wanted to get some bang for my buck

I wanted to get through the "half" feeling as though I hadn't really gotten started. The idea being that for Disney I'll need to be able to run the half on Saturday and walk off the course feeling strong. I'm pleased to say that the first half went exactly as planned. I felt great, even with the heat and humidity.

What did I learn? I'm feeling pretty confident about getting through the half marathon at Disney with little or no damage. I'm still trying to decide on the best ratio. I'm leaning toward staying with the 3/2 that has worked so well the past two weekends. I think that will leave me with enough in my legs to get up at take a shot at the marathon on Sunday.

Make no mistake, I'm scared to death. Well, OK, that might be a bit dramatic. But I am PLENTY nervous. I think I've prepared well, but there's just no telling. For now, I'll start the taper, rest up, get strong, and be ready to take my shot.

Waddle on,


Saturday, December 10, 2005

The day before

ORN: 0

It won't really be a 0, since I have to do so much walking today, but it won't be a formal run.

My biggest concern, and it is a HUGE concern, is what I'm going to do about the sports drink. At races with Gatorade I usually do nothing BUT the sports drink. That won't work here. I do NOT want to carry fluid with me, but I wish now I had brought my Camel Back.

I'll get some salt packets from McDonald's and carry them. I've got a couple of Power Bars, which I'll bring, AND I'll bring money. I know that there are gas stations along the course. I'll probably just stop and buy Gatorade.

In case you can't tell, I'm nervous. I know because I wanted to buy a cheap pair of sunglasses yesterday. I wear prescription glasses. I don't know what I thought I would do with the cheap sunglasses, but I was READY to buy.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Not all bad

ORN: 55 min, 3/2

OK, I guess I should stop complaining about Honolulu. There's 6 or more inches of snow on the ground at home, so getting to run - outside - ain't all bad.

I just wanted to see where my legs were at after the flight. Things are "right", but they're close enough. I'll have to do a fair amount of walking in the couple of days and that should help.

My current thinking is to 3/2 until about mile 16 or so [depending on how I feel] then switch to 2/3 for a while, and finally walk that last few miles. But, it's going to be HOT, so I may walk sooner.

They are serving Amino Value on the course. After LAST weekend's fiasco with a new sports drink, I think I'll skip it. I may have to try to get some salt packets from somewhere.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Long flight

ORN: 0

I flew from Chicago to Honolulu today. That's over 8 hours in the plane, not to mention all the airport and taxi time. I did get out and walk for 30 minutes or so when I got to the hotel, but no training today.

It's hard to complain, since there's over 6 inches of snow on the ground at home!!

The biggest problem, of course, is the 4 hour time difference. At least it's in the right direction since the race starts at 5 AM Honolulu time.

My sciatica is REALLY tweaked after sitting on the plane for that long. I'll get out tomorrow and run/walk for an hour or so to see if I can get it to loosen up.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Short but sweet

ORN: 3 miles, 5/1, 36 minutes

I retreated to the treadmill today. The goal was just to get a little blood back into my legs and see how they felt after the half marathon and two days of rest.

For some reason it's easier for me to "pick up the pace" on a treadmill. Maybe it's because when I'm outside I LIKE being outside and don't want to hurry - I don't know - but whatever the case I set the treadmill speed at a 10:42 mile and just hung on.

Everything went well. I knew I wasn't going to go far so pushing the pace some made sense.

Still not sure what I'm going to do on Sunday at the Honolulu Marathon. I'll have to be out on the course all day anyway, so I'm thinking I may run/walk as much as I can and then walk the rest.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Stiff, but not sore

ORN: 0

Woke up this morning REALLY stiff. We flew home from Tucson today, so I was hoping to get something in, but it didn't work out.

I'm having a little pain in my left hip. Usually this is from too much flying, and that's my guess. So, I'll take an extra day of rest and try to run/walk tomorrow.


Monday, December 05, 2005

The morning after

ORN: 0, rest and recovery

The most important thing for today is to do a quick inventory and see if anything is banged up, bruised, or broken. I am VERY happy to report that my body took the downhill pounding pretty well, and there doesn't seem to be anything wrong, anywhere. That's the VERY good news.

To be honest, I wasn't feeling much like running a marathon this morning. I'm still not sure how THAT is going to work. But for now, it's all good.

I'l try to get out tommorrow for a little bit and see how it goes.

Waddle on,


Sunday, December 04, 2005

Tucson Half Marathon

ORN: 13.1 miles, 2:56:07, 3/2

What a day. We loaded up in the car and headed up the road to the start. It was COLD. Nope. It was VERY cold. We had our event manager here drive us to the start so we could sit in the car until pretty near the race start time. THAT was a blessing. Most folks got bussed up and dropped off. YIKES.

The plan was pretty simple. Run 3, walk 2, and finish in around 3 hours. And the plan worked, but not without a fairly major glitch.

Pop quiz: what's the NUMBER 1 rule in long distance running??? Never try ANYTHING new on race day. I'm a believer. I've brought shoes I trust, socks I trust, shorts, shirt, even HAT that I trust. So far, so good.

At the first fluid stop, the volunteers are yelling "WATER" and "GATORADE". They were in the same cups, which should have been a sign [Gatorade, which we serve at the JBR races, requires you to serve it in Gatorade cups]. So, I took a big swig of what I thought was Gatorade. Next stop. Same deal. WATER, GATORADE, same cups.

Well, it wasn't Gatorade. It was some local sports drink which I had NEVER tried. BAD BAD BAD idea. Some ingredient in the sports drink just didn't agree with my bladder and I spent the next 10 miles having to stop NEARLY every mile. So, what should have been a pleasant enough run down the side of the road turn into an off-road, into the desert dash through bushes and cacti. NOT pleasant.

I should have known better. I should have read the race information better [or, at all]. I should have ASKED! But I didn't, and I have no one to blame but myself.

Other than that it was a really fun day. I ran with a couple of good friends on a beautiful day along the Santa Catalina mountains. This was the longest I've run since MCM and I'm pleased that it went as well as it did.

Now... do I think I could get up tomorrow and run a marathon like I'll have to at Disney??? We'll see.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, December 03, 2005

Loosening Up

ORN: 30 min, 3/2

The only goal today was to move some and try to shake off the "airplane" legs. I'm concerned about the half marathon tomorrow, but the plan is to stick with a 3/2 ratio and see how it goes.

It doesn't matter - at least it doesn't for me - how many half or full marathons I've done, I still get worked up and nervous. Maybe there are people who say it's "only" a half marathon - and mean it - but NOT me. 13.1 miles is a long way.

So, I'll do my best not to chew anyone's head off today!!


Friday, December 02, 2005

Travel Day

ORN: 0

This was a planned rest day. I'd run three days in a row, and that's usually about my limit.

The half marathon is Sunday, so tomorrow will be a short 30 minute warm-up at race pace and interval [3/2]


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Fleet Feet

ORN: Treadmill; 6 quarter mile repeats, at 10 minute pace, 5 min w/u and c/d

OK, this may take some explanation. Everyone - EVERYONE - can benefit from speedwork. I don't do very much of it, but I should. Speedwork - on the track or treadmill - is the only way to maintain your efficiency and foot turnover.

I didn't want to run much today because I'm going to run/walk a half marathon on Sunday as training for Goofy. So, I decided to start my winter workout schedule of once a week treadmill track sessions. It's pretty simple really: warm up, run 1/4 of a mile at an elevated pace, walk an equal amount of time as a rest interval, and then repeat.

At a 10 minute pace - which is SPEED work for me - it takes 2:30 to run a quarter, so I'd run 2:30, walk SLOWLY for 2:30, and repeat 6 times.

It felt GREAT. There's something honest about banging out "quarters". I'm going to commit to doing some kind of speed sessions every week all winter long.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Making it work

ORN: 4 miles, 48 min, 4/2, treadmill

I'm actually pretty fired up about my training. I think taking some time away really helped, plus, it's been a month or so since the Marine Corps Marathon.

The rule of thumb is that it takes one day per mile [if you're under 40] or one day per kilometer [if you're over 40] to recover from a marathon. So, since I am WAY past 40, it really should take about 6 weeks to feel normal. I think that te fact that I use a run/walk strategy makes the recovery shorter.

I'll need to be careful now not to let my enthusiasm get the best of me.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Back from Hiatus

ORN: 11/29/05; 5 miles, 4/1, 60 minutes, on the treadmill.

I was away from the computer, but not entirely from running. While traveling I did manage to get in several runs.

Today was the first day back at it. I'm feeling great, very refreshed from the time away, and ready to be training again. It's COLD here in Chicago so I retreated to the gym. As I've said, the treadmill can be a very good alternative to running outdoors. This time of year probably half my running will be done indoors.

I've got to keep pushing the daily runs up just a little between now and the Disney Goofy Challenge. I've pretty much accepted that I will walk the marathon, but that will take preparation too. So, I'm going to do my best to extend my daily runs from 40 minutes to 50 minutes or an hour.

Waddle on, friends.


Sunday, November 20, 2005

On Hiatus

ORN: 11/20, 0

I'm going to take a week or so off. Not from running, but from the computer. It's time for a little Rest and Recovery.

I hope everyone has a very Happy Thanksgiving. I'll be back soon.

Waddle on,


Saturday, November 19, 2005

Getting out there

ORN: A long 60 minutes, 6/1

It's a beautiful, sunny day in Chicago, but I still struggled to get out the door. Boy, am I glad I did.

I added an extra "bit' to my normal route, just to get in a few more minutes, and I've upped the ratio to 6/1. If I'm going to get ready in time, I've got to try to increase my running ratio just a little bit.

It was a gorgeous run, and one that I would have been VERY disappointed to have missed.

Waddle on,


Friday, November 18, 2005

Time and Travel and Tunes

ORN: 11/17-18, 0

Missed the last two days. Not so much because I wanted to, but because my schedule just got so crowded there wasn't time. I'm not sure what this will mean to my overall training schedule, but we'll see.

The truth is I'm STILL having a tough time getting fired-up about training. I want to do the Goofy challenge, but just don't know if I have the heart to get ready for it.

** Running Tunes: My iPod is a pretty ecclectic combination of artists, genres, and eras. I've got some old Chicago [Lowdown] and Blood, Sweat, and Tears [Lucretia Mac Evil] and Creedence Clearwater Revival [Lookin' Out My Backdoor].

I've got some Melissa Etheridge, Eric Clapton, and Steely Dan, right there with the Gypsy Kings and Sting. But I've got a LOT of Paul Simon, both old stuff and new.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Chickening out

ORN: 5 miles, 60 min, 5/1

OK, I need to confess. I just didn't have the will to run outside today. I tried. I was dressed and OUT the door. Less than a block from my apartment I turned around, went home, got the car keys, and went to the gym. Today, I ran on the treadmill for the first time since last winter.

To be clear, it was below freezing AND windy [wind chill, 20 degrees!!!] I just wasn't ready to face winter yet. Maybe later!

It was a good run, though. I've forgotten how much I enjoy the treadmill. Good run. Nice pace. iPod in place!!

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Tight Wire Act/Charity Runners

ORN: 0

This is a funny time. I'm trying to recover through my training, or train through my recovery depending on how you look at it. I'm trying to pay very close attention to the subtle messages my body is sending me. I know I've got to get in the miles, but I've got to get rested enough to have them work.


This whole Marine Corps Marathon/Jean's Marines controversy is turning into a tempest in a teapot. There's no question that cutting the course is wrong, but this isn't the first time that course cutting has happened. And, it isn't as though some race directors don't tacitly accept that there will be some prudent shaving of the course.

That doesn't make it right. But it does make it true.

The danger, it seems to me, is lumping all "charity runners" into the slow, course-cutting category. The VAST majority of runners - charity and otherwise - train well and show up prepared to complete the distance in the time required.

It may be time for race organizers and the charity groups to sit down and have an honest heart-to-heart talk. Races are all too happy to take the registration dollars from the charity runners, but then seem to forget that they need to accomodate them, fast and slow.


Monday, November 14, 2005

Building up and responses

ORN: 50 min, 6/1

GREAT run, once I got out there. I'm having a tough time making myself get out the door. I'm tired, and I'm feeling so good about the Fall season that I guess I don't want to start looking ahead just yet.

That said, I'm going to increase my run/walk ratio on the shorter sessions. Not dramatically, but a little. Then I'll alternate a 4/2, 3/2, 2/3 ratio on the longer sessions.

RESPONSES: Well, it's pretty clear how you feel. Don't run the distance. Don't get the medal. Reminds me of the Will Smith line in "Men in Black" where he's talking to the "bug". Don't WANT none? Don't START none.

It really does come down to that. Cutting the course is cutting the course, whether you finish in the top 10 or final 5. Thanks for your responses.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Regrouping and Controversy

ORN: November 11, 12, 13: REST and recovery

OK, I've made the decision to take a shot at the Goofy challenge of running the Walt Disney Half Marathon on Saturday and the Marathon on Sunday. But, I'm also at the end of a long training and traveling season. So, I took three days off, and now I'm ready to get started again.

CONTROVERSY: Some of you may have heard about this. Apparently, a small group of runners from the much LARGER group called Jean's Marines cut the Marine Corps Marathon course in order to beat the bridge closing. They've been busted and asked to give back their medals.

I understand the concern. No one should cut a course short. But, the truth is that had they NOT made the bridge closing they would have been bused to the other side of the bridge and allowed to finish AND get a medal. In that case, they STILL wouldn't have covered the entired distance.

My heart really goes out to the entire Jean's Marines organization. They are doing wonderful things for many, MANY people. This seems to have been an error in judgement. But, knowing Bob and Jean, I'm sure it was done without malice. Their only goal is to help their participants achieve the goal of finishing a marathon.

I hope the dust settles quickly on this.

If you have thoughts about the topic, please share.



Thursday, November 10, 2005

Slow But Steady

ORN: 60 min, 5 w/u, 50 @ 4/2, 5 c/d

OK, I sent in the application for the Goofy challenge. So, I guess I'm going to take a shot at it.

My training for the next 6 weeks or so will have a single-mindedness. I've got to figure out how easy I need to run on Saturday to be able to get through a marathon on Sunday.

Coach Jenny has me on a two day on, one day off schedule. I'll do a short run the first day followed by a longer run the next. Not sure exactly what that means yet, but I'm willing to try.

I'm on the road for the next few days and may not have access to a computer and I'm certain that I won't be running.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, November 09, 2005

A Goofy Idea

ORN: 50 minutes, 5/1

If you've been following this, you'll see what I'm up to. Same route, different interval, more running. I'm still trying to understand why my legs aren't any more trashed than they are, but, I had a great run today and was actually able to "push" the pace a little every now and then.

Some of you may know about the "Goofy" challenge at this year's Walt Disney World Marathon. If you run the half marathon on Saturday you get a Donald Duck medal. If you run the FULL marathon on Sunday you get a Mickey Mouse medal. If you run them BOTH, you get a GOOFY medal.

Well, the temptation is setting in. I wasn't going to because I had missed the deadline, but I've been offered a number... so... how can I say no!!

AAARRRGGGHHH! I can't believe I'm even THINKING about this.

Waddle on,


Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Nearly Normal

ORN: 50 minutes, 4/2

I'm back home, running on my favorite route, and it felt GREAT. I'm shocked at how good my legs feel just a week after the Marine Corps Marathon. I think I'm beginning to understand how people "run" marathons every month. You just have to take your time.

I'm "leaning" towards running/walking the Honolulu Marathon. I'll be there with Team in Training and so would be out on the course all day anyway. The last time a "ran" the event I had a terrible day. This might get that taste out of my mouth.

Waddle on,


Monday, November 07, 2005

Lost in New York

Wow. I think this is the longest I've gone without blogging since I started blogging.

I've been at the ING New York City Marathon since last Thursday. Jenny and I were on a panel at the expo and I was doing appearances for Runner's World magazine. I didn't have access to my computer, so I've gotten behind.

The highlight of the trip was getting to run 3 times in Central Park. Living in Chicago, on the north side, I've got a beautiful place to run every day; along the lakefront. But, as much as I hate to admit it, running in Central Park is better. There are rolling hills, lots of paths, and LOTS of people.

The biggest, and most pleasant, surprise was how my legs are already starting to come back after the Marine Corps Marathon. It's probably because I did so much walking. By yesterday [Monday] I was able to run/walk for a solid hour without any problem.

I registered for the Honolulu Marathon! Still not sure I'll do it, but I wanted to get a number just in case.

The New York City Marathon is special. There's no getting around that. It's not an easy course, but it IS the most international marathon in the world, and that alone makes it special.

So, I'll be back to regular blogging this week. Thanks for your patience.

Waddle on,


Wednesday, November 02, 2005


ORN: 40 min, city bike

Whew! My legs are pooped! MCM was much hillier than the last time I ran it, and the hills are taking their toll.

I'm not going to rush back into it. It's been a long training/race season. I need time physically and emotionally to just cool it. I'm travelling this weekend and hope to get in a couple of light jogs, but I'm not going to worry if I don't.

Waddle on,


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

REST and Recovery

ORN: 0

I'm going to take SEVERAL days off. I'm having more soreness than I expected. Nothing major, just some dull aches and pains.

Pretty sure I won't be doing Honolulu. If for no other reason than it STARTS so early!!

Waddle on, friends,


Monday, October 31, 2005

On the way home

ORN: 0

Pretty stiff today. More than I expected. Also some soreness that I didn't have after Chicago.

I'm in no hurry to get back at it.


Sunday, October 30, 2005

Race Day, MCM

ORN: 26.2 miles, 6:22:00

WOW. It's been a number of years since I ran the Marine Corps Marathon. I've been here every year since I ran it the first time in 1994, and ran it several times since, but recently I've been "working" the race for Team in Training, usually chasing around on a bicycle.

THE BAD NEWS: I travel ALL the time. I'm very careful about packing, especially on a weekend where I'm going to run. I lay everything out before I pack. I check, double check, and check again to make sure I haven't forgotten anything.

Guess what? I forgot my running underwear! I cut the "briefs" out of my running shorts and use the Under Amour tight fitting "boxers" [more like compression shorts] so that I don't have to deal with the dreaded CHAFFING! Saturday night, laying everything out for Sunday morning, I discovered that somehow I had forgotten to pack running underwear. NOW WHAT?

I'd come too far to not run, so I grabbed a pair of trusty cotton boxers, loaded up on A&D ointment and Body Glide and hoped for the best. I'm happy to say that it worked. But just!

THE GOOD NEWS: The course was new for me, and I must say that it was the most beautiful but most DIFFICULT course I've run here. The opening miles through Arlington were HILLY, the run through Rock Creek Park was HILLY, and that took care of much of the first half. With all the security they've had to take out "Capitol Hill" so most of the second half was dead flat.

The weather was near perfect. I've run this race on some UGLY days, so it was a gift to be out there on a coolish, clear day. My plan was to run 3 minutes, walk 2 all the way around. It was a good plan, as far as it went.

I ran into a friend at about mile 6 and we chatted away for the next few miles. He wasn't having a great day so we switched to running 2 and walking 3. Eventually, even that was more than he wanted so about mile 16 or so I went off on my own again. I went back to 3/2's until I got to the bridge at mile 20, then relaxed back to 2/2 until mile 24.

I felt great, and as I said the day was perfect, so at mile 24 I decided to walk it in. I met some nice folks, had a good conversation with a guy who was running in honor of his son, and just tried to soak up as much as I could of the atmosphere.

MCM is a great race. There's a reason why it closes. It's unique with all the Marines, the sites and sounds of Washington, DC, and the true amateur spirit of the event. If you haven't yet run it, I encourage you to. It's an experience you won't forget.

So the question is, now what? Honolulu is coming up in mid-December. Could I do a third marathon this season?? YIKES. I feel great. Nothing's banged up or twisted. Honolulu has virtually no time limit. I could WALK the whole thing just for fun.

I'll see how I feel in a few days!!!

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, October 29, 2005

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Last Minute Tune Up

ORN: 30 min, 3/2

Just making sure I've got it together. No pressure, just moving the legs.

Waddle on,


Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Planned Pace/Explanation of intervals

ORN: 55 min, 5 w/u, 45 @ 3/2, 5 c/d

OK, let's see if I can explain. This is the same course as I "normally" run, along the Chicago lakefront. I use it as a barometer. By keeping the course the same and altering the run/walk interval I get a pretty good sense of how I'm feeling and how fast or slow I'm going.

Today was a "planned marathon pace" run. I know that I'll be useing a 3/2 ratio so I wanted to get the feel of that. It went great, which confirms the decision to take yesterday off.


I do most of my workouts by time, not mileag,e and I always use some kind of run/walk interval when I "run". For example, run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute, then repeat for the total time. I also always walk for 5 minutes at the beginning and end of each workout. SO... today's workout was:

Total time; 55 minutes. 5 minute warm-up, 45 minutes of running and walking [3 minutes of running, 2 minutes of running and repeat] and then a 5 minute cool-down.

Waddle on,


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Extra Day's Rest

ORN: 0

Guess it all caught up to me. I've been travelling since last Thursday. Indy, then San Francisco, then home. Every now and then it just bites me.

I was dressed and OUT the door, and quit. Went back in the house!!

It only happens a few times a year, but, when it does it's important to give in to it. I NEVER want to hate running. I enjoy it too much. And so, every now and then, the best run is NO run.

Waddle on,


Monday, October 24, 2005

Catching up

Wow, the weekend just slipped away. Here's the last few days.

ORN: Saturday, October 22, 2005. 55 min, 5/1

I'm in San Francisco, so I got to run down Market Street and along the Embarcadero, past the piers. It's probably the only flat stretch of pavement in San Francisco.

My legs were feeling VERY good, at least for the first 30-40 minutes. Getting closer to a decision on MCM.

ORN: Sunday, October 23, 2005. 0

Today was "race day" for everyone else. It was the Nike Women's Marathon [and half marathon]. 15,000 participants, of which only 150 were men. Amazing energy. Very well done. There's a column in it somewhere!

But, it was a lot of standing around. Not the best on the legs.

ORN: Monday, October 23, 2005. 55 min, 5/1

Same run as Saturday. Same results. I actually felt better in some ways. My legs have come back pretty quickly. I'm feeling stronger than I expected.

I'm pretty sure that I'll "run" MCM this weekend. Probably do a 3/2 run/walk sequence.

Waddle on,


Friday, October 21, 2005

Travel Day

ORN: 0

You'll notice lots of travel days. It's that time of year. Seems like there are events every weekend from Labor Day until almost Thanksgiving.

I am a little stiff, though, from the longish run. It might be because it was all on concrete, or it may just be that I'm not quite ready to be running an hour yet.

Waddle on,


Thursday, October 20, 2005

Almost Normal

ORN: 65 min; 5 w/u, 55 4/2, 5 c/d

This was the longest run I've tried since the marathon. I'm still toying with the idea of running [run/walk] the Marine Corps Marathon a week from Sunday, but I haven't decided for sure. No matter, I felt like it was time to stretch the time some.

The "rule of thumb" is that if you're under 40 you need one day per mile to recover from a race. If you're over forty - say 56 years old - you need one day for every kilometer to recover. So, for someone like me that means nearly 6 weeks of recovery after a marathon. That doesn't mean no running or walking, just no high intensity training.

I know I'm pushing things to try to stay steady, recover, and get ready for another marathon in three weeks. It's not the dumbest thing I've done, but it's probably close. My thinking is - and I can tell you up front that it's flawed - is that since I'm in marathon condition I should try to do a couple!

What I won't do is do something stupid, like run if I'm not recovered enough. But, I know that this is a dance with the devil.

Waddle on,


Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The one that got away

ORN: 0

I had PLANNED to run today, but the day just got out from under me. It happens. I had a morning meeting and a late afternoon committment. In between I was running errands and the traffic was BRUTAL.

So, that was that. Couldn't get it in!

It happens.


Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Mix and Match

ORN: 50 min @ 5/1

For those of you who follow closely, you'll notice that I'm doing 50 minutes, but altering the run/walk ratio. This keeps me on my feet for the same amount of time, but, as I increase my run ratio the amount of time I RUN increases. Obvious, I know.

Changing the run/walk ratio is a great way to get different workouts in the same amount of time. An EASY 50 minute workout might be running 3 minutes and walking 2. You might do 4/2, or 4/1. You could even move all the way up to 9/1. It doesn't matter.

What matters is finding a way to vary your runs so that your body doesn't get "locked in". The shorter the run interval, the faster you can run. The longer, the slower.

This way you can keep your total workout time the same but still have LOTS of variety.

Waddle on,


Monday, October 17, 2005

Funny day / Blog comments

ORN: No idea.

It's hard to explain. We were doing some demonstration running this morning and were out for several hours. It's not that I ever ran that long, but I did run a bunch.

Also, there's been a lot of "spam" replies to the blog. There's a setting where you have to type in a "hidden" word before you can post a comment. I'm sorry for the added step, but I think it's best for everyone.

Thanks for understanding.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Hard to believe

ORN: 50 min, 4/2

This was THAT day. A week after marathon. It's HARD to believe that one week ago I ran/walked 26.2 miles without much of a problem. Today, I felt like I couldn't run a BLOCK.

I know that it's recovery. I know that it's my body healing. I know.

But, it still plays games with my head.

Waddle on,


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Not quite yet

ORN, 10/14 & 10/15: 0

Funny kind of tightness in my lower legs. I think it's from the "fast" walking that I did.

At any rate, nothing good is going to come from rushing back into it. I've got the marathon medal. There's nothing left to prove. Better now to be safe than sorry.

Waddle on,


Thursday, October 13, 2005

Test run

ORN: 50 minutes, 3/2

Whoa... it was TOUGH going for the first few minutes. It always surprises me how it feels like ALL of the training runs out on race day and you have to start from scratch.

20 minutes or so into the run I could feel things staring to loosen up. By about 40 minutes into it I was actually RUNNING again. Amazing.

Tomorrow is a travel/rest day. No need to get ahead of myself. I'll make a call on Marine Corps early next week.

Waddle on,


Wednesday, October 12, 2005

An extra day

ORN: 0

Not much stiffness or soreness today. That's the good news. The BEST news is that I didn't take any NSAIDS after Sunday night.

I may try to get out some tomorrow, but no promises. It's been a long season of training. I'm in no hurry to get back at it.


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

One more day

ORN: 0

Another day of recovery. The aches and stiffness from a marathon don't always show up the first day, so, it's important to take a few extra days just to make sure.

When it comes to recovery, I little too MUCH is better than a little to LITTLE. Right now it's hard to imagine running. I know that it will pass. I'm not going to rush back into it.

Then there's the dreaded PMS. Post Marathon Syndrome. It's very easy to fall into a depression following a big event. Knowing that it might be out there doesn't make it any easier.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, October 10, 2005

Rest, Recovery, and THANKS

ORN: 0

A well earned ZERO I might add. Took the day yesterday to inventory what was sore, what was banged up, and what was damaged. I'm happy to report that NOTHING is damaged. There's some soreness in my lower legs and quads and some tightness in my hamstrings, but other than that I'm fine. The training REALLY did pay off.

I'll take several days off, just to be sure, then probably try to do some walking later in the week.

THANK YOU!! To everyone who has written to congratulate me. I still haven't figured out how to respond to a comment, but I guess it doesn't matter. I can just post it here.

It's been very heartwarming to know that so many people have been following along on this journey. In the next few days I'll figure out what I'm going to do next. To be honest, I've thought about doing the same kind of run/walk for Marine Corps, but I won't be able to decide until I see how quickly I recover.

Waddle on, friends,


Sunday, October 09, 2005

Marathon Day at Last!

ORN: 26.2 miles, run 2 min/walk 3 min: 6:09:55

WOW, what a day!

I was pacing a friend through his first marathon. Our goal was 6:30 based on the training runs, but the Marathon Gods smiled on us BIG TIME today. The weather was perfect, except for a few windy spots, but all-in-all it couldn't have been better.

Some observations: for some reason the Gatorade didn't settle well. More precisely, it just seemed to be going right through me. That's unusual because I really LIKE Gatorade and the new "endurance" formula has worked well in the past. It might have been the cold, too. At any rate, I ended up stopping several times in the early miles to "drain the tank".

I ate 1/2 a Powerbar at mile 8, ate the other half at mile 16, and then used one Powergel at mile 20. In between I drank water and the "problem" went away.

We ran a negative split, meaning that the second half of the race was faster then the first half. In fact, the fastest mile we covered was between 25 and 26! We were strong enough to pick it up at the end.

As much as I complain, there is something magic about the marathon distance. Things happen from mile 20-26.2 that just don't happen any other time. I have to work past the fear, the fatigue - and in my case the anger - that seems to become ever present. It is much more than a physical challenge at that point.

Plus, the marathon distance rewards patience. When we took our first walk interval - TWO minutes into the race - we heard someone say "Well, they didn't get very far". I wish that person had been there to see us pass hundreds and HUNDREDS of runners who had crashed and burned!

So, marathon #41 is in the record books. I'll take some time to recover and then figure out what to do next.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, October 08, 2005

Team in Training

ORN: 0

This was a scheduled rest day, although lately I have been trying to run for 20 minutes or so the day before a BIG run, but it couldn't happen. I was at the Expo all day, and then spoke at two Team in Training pasta parties.

Nothing left to do now except run the race.

Waddle on,


Friday, October 07, 2005

Expo Legs

ORN: 0

Standing around at the Expo isn't doing my legs any good at all. Now I remember why I stopped running the marathons that I worked.

Pretty stiff, which I can deal with. I have to find a way to stay off my feet tomorrow.


Last Run

ORN: 30 min. 5 w/u, 20 @ 4/1, 5 c/d

Well, that's that. The last run before the marathon. All I did was walk some, run enough to break a sweat, then walk back.

I feel more ready than I have in years. The weather forcast looks perfect. I'm excited, and ready.

All that's left now is actually covering the course. Somehow, that seems like the easy part.

Waddle on,


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Spin to Win

ORN; 15 X 2, city bike.

Not really exercise, just going to and from. My legs feel very strong, a good sign.

Beginning to sense the "pre-marathon" isolation setting in. Difficult to focus on anything or anyone else.


Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Round and Round she goes

ORN: 2 miles, 5/1, 5 min w/u, 5 min c/d, 30 min

Just a couple of gentle laps around a 1/2 mile loop. It was very hot and dry, so I kept the pace slower than normal.

Really feeling the tightness of the healing during the taper. I know it's normal, but I don't like the feeling.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, October 03, 2005

REST, rest, rest

ORN: 0

HAD to rest. Didn't WANT to rest. HAD to rest.

I'd run two days in a row, I HAD to take the day off.

I HATE to taper!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

One more time

ORN: 3 miles, 35 minutes, treadmill, 4/1

We're getting near the end of it. The most important thing today was to break a sweat. There's not much left to do.

I'm stiff. Nothing feels good. I'm achey, tired, etc.

Guess I'm just about ready!!

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, October 01, 2005

Easy Does It

ORN: 3 miles, 36 min, 4/1, treadmill

I'm on the road [what's new?] and had to run early in the day [not my favorite]. It was still dark [YIKES. How do people do that every day?] so I opted for the treadmill at the hotel.

The most important things to do are: 1] break into a little sweat to fight off any nasty bugs going around, 2] get good blood flow into my legs to keep them loose, 3] don't do anything stupid.

I had a "marathon" dream last night. A nightmare, really. I missed the start. I forgot my watch. I was wearing regular shorts and a polo shirt. Part of the marathon went threw a house: up stairs, through rooms, and back down stairs and out!

Yep. 40 marathons and I still have nightmares about missing the start!

Waddle on, friends.


Friday, September 30, 2005

Forced Rest

ORN: 0. travel day

After the playful run yesterday, I needed to take a break today. This is the HARDEST part of marathon training. I want to run the race TOMORROW and be done with it.


Waddle on,


Thursday, September 29, 2005

Holding Back

ORN: 50 min, 5 w/o, 40 @5/1, 5 c/d

Oh BOY. Do I have the taper madness going.

Supposed to be an easy run on my favorite loop. Early on I could feel myself starting to pick up the pace. My legs felt SO strong.

Ended up doing the loop about 5 minutes faster than normal. NOT A GOOD THING.

Got to regroup, hold back, and rest.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Riding in the Rain

ORN: 20 min X 2, city bike.

I'm not crazy about biking in the rain, but today there was no other option. I know I've got marathon fever because all I really want to do is go out and run the marathon!

I know that nothing good can happen in the next 11 days, but lots BAD can happen. I've got all the aches and stiffness that I remember having before other marathons. And I know that this is how it is supposed to be.

But, I don't like it. I'm ready. I'm as well prepared as I have ever been. I HATE the waiting part!

Waddle on,


Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Back on Bike

ORN: 30 min X 2, city bike

I had a meeting downtown, so it's a good excuse to get up early and ride in. Riding the city streets has it's own rewards and hazards. Dodging taxis, buses, pedestrians, and tourist makes for an interesting - and challenging - ride.

It's almost like interval training. I try to pedal pretty hard in between stops and maintain a speed close to the traffic. It's a good workout.

Waddle on,


Monday, September 26, 2005


ORN: 0

Still feeling very good about yesterday's race. I've done the inventory this morning and I'm pleased to report that nothing is banged, stratched, scraped, or bruised.

I've got the shorts, socks, and top figured out but am still debating between two pairs of shoes. I'll need to settle soon on which I'll wear.

Waddle on,


Sunday, September 25, 2005

Half Marathon

ORN: 13.1 miles, 5/1, 2:38:35

HOLY COW! Did I have a great day. I haven't been under 2:45 in a half marathon in years. I haven't been much in 3 hours in a LONG time, so this was a very pleasant surprise.

This was a "check up" run in advance of the marathon. I wanted to settle in to a comfortable pace and hold it. I came across the first 10K in under 36 minutes - not a good sign. So, I backed it off some and just rode it out.

The race - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Half Marathon - by the way, is a great event and certainly one that you should consider. Toronto is a wonderful international city. Unlike some international cities, the language and the money in Toronto is close enough to the US that is not a big problem.

Anyway, I am VERY pleased and feeling good about my preparations for Chicago.

Waddle on,


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Friendship Run

ORN: 3k, run/walk -ish

This morning was the Friendship Run, in advance of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. About 100 of us gathered at the Running Room store in Toronto's Commerce Court for a short run.

I spoke briefly and Running Room founder John Stanton gave the crowd some last minute tips.

I am not immune from "Taper Madness" and so I bought a fleece jacket. I already own about 20 fleece jackets, but somehow I just HAD to have this one. Hey, it was BLUE. I don't have a BLUE fleece jacket!!

Waddle on,


A little extra rest

ORN: 0

I got dressed to go run, shoes on, everything, and then thought better of it. I'm running the half-marathon on Sunday, I did an 18 mile walk/run on Monday, so I'll have over 30 miles this week with just those two sessions.

It's too close to the marathon to do anything stupid. So, I took a nap instead of running!!

Waddle on,


Thursday, September 22, 2005

In the air again

ORN: travel day, 0

It's that time of year. Every week means flying somewhere. Trying to keep a training program together is a nearly impossible task.

Having gotten in the 18 on Monday, and knowing that I'll be running a half-marathon on Sunday allows me to relax a little. This will still be a big week, and it's time to start tapering off.

I'm still fighting with a cold that won't let go. So far it has only stopped me from training one day, but I'll be glad when my head is clear.

Waddle on,


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Favorite Run

ORN: 50 min, 5/1 with 5 min w/u and 5 min c/d

I love this run. It's a loop that starts along the lakefront in Chicago, then doubles back past Diversey and Belmont harbors. I know from the long shadows that the harbors will be empty soon and the fall and winter season will be here.

But for now, all of us - the runners and bikers and boaters - are trying to squeeze in a few more days of summer. Knowing that it can't last makes in all the sweeter.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Getting Caught Up

Whew, it's been several days since I've been able to "blog". Sorry 'bout that. This time of year is insane.

ORN: 9/17/05, 8.2 miles, 5/1, 1:48

I was the last leg of a relay team at the new Rochester Marathon. It was a fantastic experience. There were 5 "Penguin" teams and everyone on EVERY leg ran together as a team. It was amazing.

ORN: 9/18/05, travel day, 0

ORN: 9/19/05, 17.75 miles, 2 run, 3 walk, 4:30 [15 min w/u, 15 min c/d]

I'm planning to walk/run - as opposed to run/walk - the Chicago marathon with a friend. Our goal is to come in at about 6 to 6:30. I've now done a 3, 3 1/2, 4, and two 4 1/2 hour long runs leading up to the marathon. It's been a long time since I felt this well prepared.

So, it's taper time now. All the training is in the barn. It's been a great training season, but a long one!

ORN: 9/20/05, recovery - pool

Not really swimming, just "playing" in the pool some, trying to stay loose

Waddle on,


Friday, September 16, 2005

Calling in Sick

ORN: Zero

The alarm went off at 5:30. Not gonna happen. It went off again at 6:30. NOPE. 7:00. Sorry, no.

All the travel has caught up with me and I've got a pretty good cold going. Right now it's just a head cold, but I don't want it to turn into anything more serious.

I'm doing 8 miles tomorrow as a part of a marathon relay, so, getting over this cold is the number one priority.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Travel Day

ORN: Zero

This was a scheduled rest day. Right now, rest is as important as training.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Easy Bike

ORN: 40 minutes, city bike

My legs were feeling pretty beat up after yesterday's "brick". I'm begin very cautious, maybe more than necessary, but it's getting too close to take any risks. There won't be time to recover if I mess up now.


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Reverse Brick

ORN: 6 mile bike, 10K run [2/4], 6 mile bike. [30/1:24/30]

Tonight was the big Nike Run Hit Wonder in Chicago. About 15,000 runners, walkers, and listeners.

Jenny and I biked to the race from home, I walked/ran [2 minutes running, 4 minutes walking] and then we biked back. I had planned on doing the 5K, but bumped into someone and we ended up doing the 10K together.

It's nearly two weeks since I was on my bike, and I could tell. My legs felts GREAT! Now it's just a matter of planning for the last long run, and tapering to marathon day.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Do the math

ORN: 45 min, 4/1

OK, here's the deal. Friday, flew 12 hours. Saturday, ran on the treadmill. Sunday, flew 12 hours. Monday, drove 12 hours, then ran along the lakefront.

The point is that it is NEVER easy to get in the runs. The easiest thing to do is find one of the hundreds of reasons why you can't get out there on any given day. But, for most of us, we can.

The idea that a training schedule is nice and neat, like in the book, is a fantasy for most people. Training is mostly a matter of figuring out how to get in what you need when you can.

Waddle on, friends.


Sunday, September 11, 2005

Fly, fly again

ORN; zero

Another all day flight. My legs feel a little knackered from the "speed work" yesterday, so a day off won't hurt.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Short but sweet

ORN: 3 miles/35 minutes, 4/1, treadmill

There wasn't going to be time for much today, so the key was to get in a high quality, low time, workout. For me, the treadmill is one of the best ways to do that.

I kept my running pace at 10:40 for the first two miles, then dropped it down to 10:20 for the third mile. I would NEVER run that kind of pace outdoors, or at least I don't think I would. So, if felt great to move my legs at that speed. FOR A LITTLE WHILE.

Waddle on, friends.


Friday, September 09, 2005


ORN: Zero. Travel day, 8 hours of flying.

There was no chance to get anything in today, and I knew that. But there's always something do to this close to the marathon.

1] physical inventory: Nothing hurt after the 18 mile run, a good sign. My back did "ache" a little towards the end of the run, but not so much that I needed to stop. This is a good sign.

2] equipment inventory: I'm pretty sure I've settled on the shoes I'm going to use. Pretty sure. I'll try a different pair for the 20 miler just to be sure. Obsessive? Um, YEAH! But I am sure of the socks, shorts and shirt!!

3] emotional inventory: I wish I felt better about going into the marathon. I've completed 40 of them, but that doesn't mean a thing. I'm still worried that I'll be able to complete THIS one.

Waddle on, friends.


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Getting it done

ORN: 18 miles, 4:29; 12 miles 4/1, 6 miles 4/2, 4

I didn't expect to be able to get this in, but a window of opportunity opened up and I jumped through.

First decision was to do 4/1's even though I'd done all my other long runs at 4/2. The thinking was that I would get in a higher run percentage, and that was good. I'll let the math majors figure out the exact difference.

It went well up through 12 miles, then it became clear that I'd never finish at 4/1 so I switched. All in all a bonus long run. I'll do a 20 miler sometime next week [a 5 hour run/walk] and then take a shot at the marathon.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005


ORN: 45 min, 4/2, rolling hills

With the event getting so close, it's time to start focusing in on getting ready. Normally I wouldn't do two running days in a row. I would have biked today. But, with just a few weeks left to train I want to take advantage of every opportunity to get in quality training.

Hill running is really speed-work in disguise. You build stength, but more importantly you elevate your heart rate without much risk to your body.

My back seems to have gotten to a point of stability, but, I am taking NO chances. If something even LOOKS heavy, it's going to stay where it is until after the marathon.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Tempo Run

ORN 9/6/05: 60 minutes, 9/1 at moderate pace.

I'm still on the road, so time is more of a consideration than usual. To get in a higher quality run in the same amount of time, I'll change the run/walk ratio. Shifting from 4/1 or 5/1 to 9/1 AND picking up the pace a little really alters the nature of the run.

All things considered, it went well. Not exactly lots of sping in my step, a "hang-over" from spending so much time on my feet over the weekend. But, I've got to stay on the schedule, as best I can.

This will be a very difficult week to train, so I'll be "playing" with the schedule more than usual.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, September 05, 2005

Filling in the Gap!

As I said at the start, this would be semi-daily at best, and quite irregular at times. I've been at an event which means having very little time for anything other than working. But, better than most event weekends, I've been able to say sort of on track.

ORN: Friday, 9/2/05: 60 minutes biking

I had a media interview EARLY in the morning, which forced me to get up and get out. Turned out to be a very good thing. I had my bike with me so I was able to ride to the interview and then get in a solid 60 minute "street" ride.

ORN: Saturday, 9/3/05: 30 minutes, 4/1 X 2

I was scheduled to meet with a group for a short "pre-race" run, so I got out early and got my own short run in, then came back, met with them, and did the same thing again.

ORN: Sunday, 9/4/05: hodge-podge of biking a little, standing too much, and walking A LOT!

Race day always means lots of standing, and today was no exception. I rode my bike to the start, and then across to the finish for a total of about 5 miles. I walked a total of 5 miles to and from various race related events.

I woke up with a calf cramp [Charlie Horse?] for the first time in about 40 years. Not sure why, but suspect I didn't go a very good job of drinking enough sports drink during the day.

Today is another travel day. My legs are trashed from the weekend anyway, so a rest day won't hurt.

Waddle on, friends.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

One Day at a Time

ORN 9/1/05, 60 min, 5/1

This theme is going to come up over and over. I need to keep building mileage. I need to keep getting in the daily runs and cross-training. I need to understand that my back is now contoling what I can and cannot do.

Today's run went well. Some stiffness at first - I think mostly from sitting in a car for two days - but it loosened up nicely. There was actually a few points where the running felt nearly fluid. But not always.

It's a gentle dance now. It's a matter of agreeing every day that I'll only do what I need to, but no more. My ego has got to take a back seat [no pun intended] to common sense.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Travel Day

ORN 8/31/05, zero

On the road to VA Beach and the RnR Half Marathon.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Early Morning Ride

ORN 8/30/05, 50 minutes, road bike

Well, the theme is caution and today was no different. The position on the road bike is a bit more extreme and does tend to put a strain on my back if I'm not careful. I was.

There'll be no pushing big gears or trying to be Speed Racer. I need to keep my legs moving, build a little strength, and let it go.

I'm not good at being this careful!

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, August 29, 2005

Easy Does It

ORN 8/29/05, 50 min, 5/1

Still not really sure about the whole back thing. I'm pretty stiff, and - to be honest - a little scared of setting myself back. So, today's run - and most runs between now and the marathon - are going to be cautious. I've got a solid mileage base, plenty of time to get in an 18 and 20 miler, so I'm going to take everything else down a notch.

This is always a nerve wracking time for anyone preparing for a marathon. The weeks and WEEKS of preparation are behind you, the few weeks left are the hardest, and it just seems like every little thing can throw it all off. And then the TAPER begins!

Waddle on, friends.


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Lending a Hand

ORN 8/28/05, city bike, 30 min, X 2

Today was the big triathlon in Chicago and I volunteered to help. I did some triathlons years ago, but it just took too much time to be awful at all three sports! But, I still enjoy them. Plus, I think it's important to give back when we can.

I rode to and from the race site, about 6 miles or so each way. Started out at about 4:15 AM, which was a kick. Riding along the lakefront in pitch darkness is a pretty spiritual place. The city is asleep, the lake was calm. Good stuff.

By the time we got to the race site, though, before 5 AM, there was already a buzz of participants getting their stuff ready in the transition area. Quite a contrast.

A good day, all around.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, August 27, 2005

Truly a Gift

ORN 8/27/05: 16 miles, 4/2, 3:52

If you had told me on Wednesday when I was in the emergency room unable to move that on SATURDAY I would be running 16 miles I would have said you were crazy. But it happened.

I dressed for the run, put a $20 bill in my pocket [for a taxi] and headed out with the intention of seeing how far I could go. I was lucky enough to have some friends for the first 10 miles, and that REALLY helped. One of the group running with me happens to be a doctor, so it was like having my own medical staff.

The truth is my back loosened up as I did the run/walk. Up to about 14 miles I was feeling about as good as ever. The last two, as my running form began to get worse, so did my back. GREAT lesson there for me on the importance of core strength.

So I've got an 18 and a 20 miler left before the marathon. My whole mindset has switched to just getting to the starting line healthy. There'll be no risk-taking of any kind in the next several weeks. Easy does it, as the saying goes.

Waddle on, friends.


Friday, August 26, 2005

A Bit of Biking

ORN 8/26/05; 30 min X 2, city bike

I am cautiously optimistic at this point. The pain is not gone, but it's pretty specific right now. Bicycling had actually made it feel better before the big BANG, so I thought I'd take a shot. I needed to go downtown, so I rode.

It went well. Still some lingering stiffness, but I'm going to take a shot at the 16 miler tomorrow. I may switch to 3/2 from 4/2 but still go the distance.

**NOTE** There's no way to respond to comments posted on the Blog. You can email me directly from the web site.

Waddle on, friends.


Thursday, August 25, 2005

Down and Out: amended

ORN 8/25/05, ZERO

Day three of the back problem. As the shots wore off yesterday it was pretty clear that this was not a short-term problem. This morning, the tightness is back full-steam, although the pain seems better.

I'm avoiding taking the Vicodin. I'm not eager to put that level of narcotic into my body. I'm hoping to manage the pain with Tylenol. I am using the muscle relaxer [valium!] because everything still feels pretty knotted up. Guess I'll be even more mellow than usual.

As much as I can I am drug and alcohol free. I don't want to run the risk of abusing the drugs, so for me I'm trying to use only the absolute minimums.

But, I am moving better and that's a plus.

Waddle on, friends.


PS: I went out and walked for 30 minutes. What a gift. Little by little.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Injured Reserve

ORN 8/24/05: zero

Oh my. Went to the Emergency Room for the back pain. It was pretty much locked up tight.

Doc said I've got a sprained back, gave me a couple of shots and some drugs and sent me home. No telling when I'll be able to get back to running. But, it will be a few days - AT LEAST.

Supposed to go 16 this weekend, that's in doubt. Still time - I hope - to recover and get back into training for the marathon. It's like I say, the hard part is getting to the starting line healthy. Once the gun goes off, there's nothing to worry about.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, August 23, 2005

My aching back

ORN 8/23/05 Zero

I've been having a little back pain for weeks, but today I was moving something and SNEEZED and ended up on the floor. The pain was debilitating.

Not sure what this will mean, but I'm off for today.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, August 22, 2005

Come Back Run

ORN 8/22/05, 60 minutes, 6/1

What a difference a day makes. Or a couple of days. Today's run was as good as Saturday's was bad. The temperature was about 15 degrees cooler, which makes ALL the difference in the world.

I used a 6/1 ratio in order to get more "run" time. It's one of the ways to keep adjusting your run/walk ratio but keeping your total time the same.

**NOTE** I appreciate the comments, thanks. But, because of the way the come to me I cannot respond to them.

**ANSWER** The question yesterday was how to go about adjusting your training schedule when life intervenes. The most important part of a marathon or half-marathon training program is the "long" runs. You've got to get them in, one way or the other. But, as important is to keep the sequence. You can't plug in TWO long runs in a single week, for example.

Waddle on, friends.


Sunday, August 21, 2005

Riding in the Dark

ORN 8/21/05 60 minutes, city bike

Not to put too fine a point on the bicycling part, but there is a 3rd bike in the stable. This is my "daily" bike. It's what they used to call a cross-over, I think. Skinny tires but flat handlebars. It's what I use to get around most days. It's got lights, but no fenders [although, I'm thinking about fenders!!]

The only time I had to get out was in the evening, at about 7:30 PM. The weather was perfect, and it felt great to just get in an after-dinner ride. By the time I was headed home it was pretty dark, so the lights came in handy.

It was a nice change of pace. Riding in the dark is another childhood throwback.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Running Ugly

ORN 8/20/05 10 miles, 4/2

Well, it happens. Today was supposed to be a 16 mile run, but the weather intervened. There was a big storm in the area so the morning run was cancelled.

That left me to run a 10 miler on my own in the middle of the afternoon. It was NOT pretty. In fact, it was UGLY. Probably the worst run I've had in 4 or 5 years. It was very hot and humid, I had gotten "up" at 4:30 AM for the 16 miler, and then didn't get to run it, and I think I just was emotionally let down.

But, it happens. You just gut out that kind of run. I slowed down [even more, for me] and focused on just moving forward. This was one of the few runs in my life that I can say I didn't enjoy.

Waddle on, friends.


Friday, August 19, 2005

Rest Day

ORN 8/19/05 Rest

Today is the scheduled rest day. Taking two days off in a row isn't a bad idea since I have the 16 miler tomorrow.

I'm hoping my legs feel better than they do today!!

Waddle on, friends.


Thursday, August 18, 2005

Blowing in the Wind

ORN 8/18/05: Rest

This was an unscheduled rest day. There were severe tornados in the area and it just wasn't possible to get out.

After the week of hilly running and riding, it wasn't a bad idea to take the day off anyway.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another hilly run

ORN 8/17/05: 60 minutes, 5/1

Sheesh! I would be a much better runner if I ran these hills all the time! It's actually pointed out a big gap in my training. I should probably be trying harder to find hills on a regular basis.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Getting in Gear

ORN 8/16/05: 50 minutes, road bike.

Holy COW is it hilly! I was hoping to get in some rolling hills but never expected to find myself having to stand up on the pedals. I also didn't expect to be wishing I had bought a road bike with triple front chain rings.

It's not a bad thing. Actually, the standing and pedaling is a pretty good way to build strength in my legs without pounding them like I would if I was running uphill. It's also a good way to get a serious cardi workout without a lot of impact.

I'm trying to be a little careful as the week goes on so that I'm ready for the 16 miler on Saturday.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, August 15, 2005

Over the Hill

ORN 8/15/06 5 min w/u, 50 min 5/1, 5 min cd

GREAT run. GREAT. I'm in a hilly area and it was fun to get a chance to go up and down a little bit. I was glad to be able to get in some modest hill training without killing myself.

Even though my goal marathon [Chicago] will be pancake flat, it's important to get in some hill training just to balance out my legs. I'm not ready for serious hill running, but a little rolling out-and-back was perfect.

Waddle on, friends.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Safety First

ORN 8/14/05: REST

The bigger the miles, the higher the risk. From here to race day is really a balancing act. Train as much as you can but not too much. Rest as much as you need to, but not too much.

Originally I had planned to do a recovery bike ride today, but thought better of it. I'll be doing a 16 mile run NEXT Saturday, so this is a transitional week between the two longest runs so far. All I have left is a 16, and 18, and a 20 and then the marathon. I want to get all I can from each of those long runs. They best way to do that is to be rested.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, August 13, 2005

Over the Hump

ORN 8/13/05: 14 miles, 4/2 [3:33]

The alarm went off at 4 AM. I was out the door at 5. Have I mentioned that I am NOT a morning runner? I'm not a morning PERSON. But, these are the sacrifices we make in marathon training.

The training group was running a cut-back, 8 mile run today. Since I am out of sequence because I ran the San Francisco half marathon two weeks ago, I needed to get in my 14 miler today. I ran the first 6 on my own and met up with them for the last 8 miles.

The lakefront path is pretty empty at 5 AM. By 5:30, though, the runners are starting to gather. By 6 AM the path is alive with training programs and by 7 AM the path is packed. It worked well. I enjoyed the peace and quiet of the first hour or so and the company on the last hour or so.

I'm over the "half hump". The miles get bigger, the runs longer, but the marathon distance closer. So far, so good.

Waddle on, friends.


Friday, August 12, 2005

Change of Plans

ORN 8/13/05: 57 min, 5/1

OK, this is how it works. Yesterday I was going to run an 8 and 8 Friday and Saturday, for a total of 16 [just in case you can't do the math!!] But, the plan was changed to running a solid 14 on Saturday and 4 on Friday for a total of 18.

Coach Jenny [alias wife Jenny] rethought the plan, and since I am now scheduled for 16 NEXT Saturday she thought it was better to go ahead and run the 14 tomorrow.

Training programs are works in progress even when they are IN progress. Rigid flexibiliy. That's the key!

Waddle on, friends.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

Preparation Day

ORN 8/11/05: rest

Oh I HATED to rest today. The rain came early and the afternoon was cool and delightful. And I had to REST! I'm going to do back-to-back mid-distance runs tomorrow and Saturday and I needed to get my legs back to fresh.

I did go see "The March of the Penguins" movie, which was FANTASTIC. I'm more proud than ever to be a Penguin!

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Where the rubber meets the road

ORN 8/10/05: 65 minutes, road bike; 35 "hard", 30 moderate

I love it when I have a good day. I especially love it when it comes along unexpectedly.

I got out on my LeMond for an easy ride along the lakefront. Jenny was going out at the same time so I "tagged along" for the first half-hour or so. What a great feeling to be sailing along the path.

Sadly, about 30 minutes in my legs decided that they had had enough so I watched Jenny pedal off into the distance and took a cool-down ride back.

It may be cross-training in the books, but bicycling is so much fun it's hard for me to think of it as training.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Back at it

ORN 8/9/05: 60 minutes, 4/2

Wow, did THAT feel good. OK, it didn't feel that good at the start, but as my legs loosened up some it felt better and better.

The "plan" is to stretch my daily runs out from 42-48 minutes to 60-75 minutes. There's an old racing myth that you can "race" 1/3 of your total weekly mileage and "run" 3 times your daily run. Since I KNOW that I won't be getting in any 75 mile weeks, I'm hoping to bump at least one of my daily runs to 90 plus minutes.

If I can do that and get in a long run of 20 miles [plus the 14,16, and 18 milers] before the marathon I'll feel pretty confident.

Waddle on, friends.



ORN 8/8/05: ZERO

Not a good thing. I had intentions of trying to run today, after having missed Saturday and Sunday, but it just didn't happen. I was just too exhausted from the weekend.

This is life getting in the way of a great plan. I know that I'm off the schedule now and will have to try to find a way to get back on and catch up.

I'm only a week out from the half-marathon, so I'm not too worried. But, I've got to get back on the schedule soon or I'll be a week behind in the long runs.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, August 08, 2005

Race Weekend

ORN: 8/6 and 8/7/05: Zero

This weekend was the Chicago Distance Classic, an event put on by John Bingham Racing. Friday and Saturday were packet-pickup and course setup days. Sunday was race day.

It's hopeless to think I'm going to get any "training" done on a weekend like this. Spending 3 solid days standing, lifting, moving things, pushing, shoving, yelling, clapping, and congratulating is a kind of cross-training activity.

Waddle on, friends,


Friday, August 05, 2005

Transition Run

ORN 8/05/05: 48 minutes, 4/2

This is the last run of the recovery phase and the first run of the training phase. My legs are coming back nicely from San Francisco and there doesn't seem to me any lasting affects. This is all good.

It's now time to start focusing on the marathon distance. The longer, long runs and longer daily runs will start next week.

Waddle on, friends.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Eager Beaver

ORN: 50 minutes, mountain bike.

Again, a reminder, that mountain bike refers only to WHICH bike. In this case a Gary Fisher that I bought to train for an adventure race I did a few years back. It's actually a great bike, much better than I am capable of riding.

I'm trying to balance my need to recover with my eagerness to train. It's not easy. I want to make this a big mileage week, since I started with the half marathon on Sunday. But, I can't make it a big mileage week because I started with a half marathon on Sunday. See the problem?

Races are great training. But they aren't training, they're racing. No matter how much I try to tell myself that Sunday was just a training run, it wasn't. It was a race. The pace, the time, the people, the atmosphere was that of a RACE, not a training run. And I have to recover from races.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Recovery Run

ORN: 8/3/05: 58 min. 6 walk, 42 run/walk 4/2, 10 min walk.

No real training agenda today, just need to get back into the swing of it. My legs are still tired, but nothing's hurt which is a good sign.

I'm trying a new pair of Asics 2100's. This is a series of shoes that has worked very well for me in the past. I'm still looking for that perfect "marathon" shoe and sock. It's important to start making that decision now, not in October.

By Labor Day I will know what shoes, socks, shorts, and underwear I'm going to use. I'll have a choice of shirts [long and short-sleeved] but they will both be from the Running Room colection.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Day off

ORN: 8/2/05: REST

The fatigue in my legs just won't go away, so there's only one smart thing to do. REST. I'm surprised that my legs are still so tired, but I guess the hills took more out of me than I thought.

It also gives me an idea that I must have pushed harder than I thought I did, which, looking back means I had a REALLY good day.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, August 01, 2005

Recovery Ride

ORN: 8/1/05: road bike, 60 minutes

The only goal today was to move my legs. I has a little lingering fatigue from the race yesterday. Not ever training on hills means that the San Francisco course took it's toll.

In general, I believe in active recovery. An easy bike is often the best thing.

Waddle on, friends.


Sunday, July 31, 2005

San Francisco Treat

ORN 7/31/05: San Francisco 1/2 marathon: 2:57:30

What a day! I wasn't crazy about a 5AM start [yikes] but I wanted to give myself plenty of time to finish. The course this year featured an out-and-back across the Golden Gate Bridge. It was cool and foggy [hey, it's San Francisco!] but after the killer summer we've had in Chicago it felt fantastic.

The first hour or so was in the dark. In some places is was SO dark that having a flashlight or headlamp would have been a good idea. My guess is that several hundred people took advantage of the early start option, so we had a small but lively group.

It didn't take long for the leaders to overtake us. And after that it was like someone had opened up the flood gates. The "early" runners and walkers moved to the right and let the speed demons go through. It was actually fun to see the faster folks.

Crossing the brigde was a treat. Although it was so foggy that you couldn't see ANYTHING, we knew where we were and how lucky we were to be there.

I ran/walked a 5/1 interval most of the time. I had decided that I would walk the uphills and run the downhills no matter where they fell on the run/walk interval. It was the perfect plan and I finished feeling fantastic.

I give the race HIGH marks for orinization. Everything seemed to be done very well. I would recommend this race to anyone who likes cool, hilly, races.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, July 30, 2005

Taper Madness

ORN: 7/29/05: REST

With the 1/2 marathon on Sunday, it's important to try to get my legs as rested as possible. Flying and standing around at an Expo is not the best way to rest, but I don't have any choice. I've decided to take an extra day off of running, to try and get as much recovery as I can.

Word on the street is that the course is hilly which, of course, is something we can't prepare for in Chicago. So, the plan is to walk as much of the uphill as I need to and run the downhills when I can.

I'm more nervous about this race than I expected to be. I'm worried that I don't have the right clothes, that I'm not really prepared, and that I'm going to end up getting pulled off the course. Sound familiar?

Standing at the starting line is always like reading a mystery novel. I'm never quite sure how it's going to turn out!

Waddle on, friends.


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Later that day...

ORN: 7/28/05; Chicago; 60 min. walk 5 min 6/1, 25 min, 4/2, 25 min, walk 5 min

Let's see if I can explain. My legs were still trashed from the extended bike ride yesterday. Normally, I would have taken the day off, but I'm flying to San Francisco tomorrow and probably won't be able to run. So, I needed to get it in.

I'm running the 1/2 on Sunday so my main goal was to stay loose and get the blood flowing. I started doing a 6/1 run/walk interval, then switched to 4/2 on the way back. Just too tired.

Running today wasn't the smartest thing to do. I know that. But I also know that it's unlikely that I'll be able to run tomorrow OR Saturday, so I thought it was better to run tired than to miss 3 days.

Hey, I didn't say I was any smarter about my running than anyone else!! Sometimes, you've just got to do what you can when you can how you can.

Waddle on, friends.


Windy City

ORN: 7/27/05; 2 1/2 hours, road bike; Chicago lakefront path

I should have known! The plan today was to bike south on the path about 12 miles or so, to Promitory Point, to take some digital shots of the Chicago Distance Classic course. Sailing south on the path I was thinking just how great it was to be out on cool day, effortlessly pedaling, and enjoying every minute.

Then, I turned around.

Most of the effortlessly part came from the 20 mph sustained wind! It took me 45 minutes to get down to Promitory Point and 1 1/2 hours to get back. In fact, I cut OFF the bike path to get to ride the city streets just to get out of the wind.

So, the effort was more than I intended. My legs are feeling pretty trashed which, with a half marathon to run on Sunday, is NOT the best plan.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Birds and Bees

ORN: 7/26/05; Chicago: 48 min run, 6/1

I almost didn't go out today. The weather was very threatening. Dark clouds, lots of wind. But I really needed to get the run in today so that I could bike tomorrow. So out I went.

One of the tricks I learned from an old motorcyclist YEARS ago was that you can tell how close the storm is by watching the birds. If the birds are still out, flying around, then the barometric pressure hasn't dropped to storm level yet. I was pleased that the birds along the lakefront were still there.

The theory is that the birds will nest, or seek shelter, when they sense that the storm is upon them, so if they are still out you've got time. It's proven to be true just about 100% of the time. And, it was yesterday.

I was able to get in my run with only a gentle sprinkle of rain. The storms came about 20 minutes after I got in the house!

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Riding in the Rain

ORN 7/25/05, Chicago: ?? mountain bike

Yes, it's true. I have no idea how far or how long I rode yesterday. The plan was to ride the new Chicago Distance Classic course, but it didn't quite work out that way.

When we got to where we were going to start the sky was dark and there was lighting all around. NOT TOO SMART to be on a bike at the edge of a lake with that much lighting. So, we hung in the car for about an hour waiting for it to clear.

The weather LOOKED fine when we finally started and we had gotten all the way to the turn-around when things started to get ugly. The rain clouds moved back in and the sky opened up. Not the gentle summer rain in the movies. A DOWN POUR.

Somehow, though, it didn't matter. Once we were soaked to the skin we just took our time riding back. And like running in the rain, biking in the rain brings me right back to my childhood. I didn't wear a watch when I was 10 years old! I didn't seem like I needed to keep track of time yesterday either.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Taper Time

ORN 7/24/05, Chicago: REST

There's a couple of things going on. I took a red-eye flight back from California, so I was pretty wasted to begin with. Secondly, there AIR temperature was 103 degrees and the "it feels like" temperature was about 115 degrees. By the time I could have gotten out it would have been brutal and stupid.

So, life gave me a rest day, which a week before the 1/2 marathon is probably a good idea.

I hope to get in a bike ride today, to loosen up my legs, but the temps are still EXTREME!

Waddle on, friends.


Sunday, July 24, 2005

Barnyard Run

ORN 7/23/05, Anaheim, CA: 4 miles, 6/1, 50 minutes

This was a quick out-and-back, pre-breakfast run on the sidewalks of Anaheim. I never got there, but I was very close to Disneyland before I had to turn back.

I'm a city kid. I know city living. I know city creatures. So, I was a little surprised when early on in the run I came across a white Heron. But I was REALLY surprised when I had to run AROUND 3 chickens that were wandering down the sidewalk. CHICKENS.

In an neighborhood where tiny stucko houses cost $650,000 it seemed out of place to see chickens on the sidewalk. Maybe that's what southern California is all about. The juxtaposition of outrageous home prices with downhome living. Oh well.

It was a fun run, though. Fun because it was actually cooler in California than it would have been in Chicago.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Travel day

ORN 7/22/05: rest and travel

Spend most of the day in airports or in planes. Not much chance to run.

I'm backing off [tapering] just a bit leading up to next week's half marathon. Even though it isn't the goal race I want to be somewhat more rested than for a normal long run.

Plus, the race is in San Francisco and you KNOW that there will be hills.

Waddle on, friends.


Friday, July 22, 2005

Freaky Run

ORN 07/21/05: 55 min, 6/1

What a STRANGE day. I'm an afternoon runner. I know LOTS of people like to get up and run in the morning, but it's just not me. I look forward to getting out ALL day and it keeps me working because I know that the run is my reward.

Late summer afternoons in Chicago mean - "chance of isolated thunderstorms". Living so close to the lake it's not unusual to watch the storms come in and then blow right through.

Yesterday, though, the threat of severe weather was strong. As a result, there was nearly no one out on the running path or in the parks. It was FREAKY. The sky was an eerie gray and it started to drizzle once or twice, but never rained.

It was like being the last person on the planet. And in it's own way it was magical. It reminded me again why I run. It's because without running I'm disconnected from the real world. Without running I would spend my entire life inside my head and inside the tiny little world that I've created.

Waddle on, friends.


Thursday, July 21, 2005

Pedal Power

ORN 7/21/05: 55 minutes/ mountain bike

I say mountain bike, but there are no mountains along the lakefront in Chicago. In fact, hills are so special that the ONE hill along the lakefront has a name! Cricket Hill: like it was a Denali or something.

No, mountain bike refers only to which bike. I've got three. The "mountain" bike, which I do ride off-road when I can, the "road" bike, a classic "drop handlebar" style bike, and a "city bike", really more of a cross-bike with thin tires but a much more upright seating position that I use for daily transportation.

The mountain bike, with it's big, balloon tires, is a much heavier "push" than the others. The goal yesterday was to get in some steady, heavy, pushing. I kept the gears big so that I was able to keep pressure on the pedals the whole time. It's strength training, but outside riding in the fresh air along the lake.

I need the strength in my legs and arms, and especially I need the strength in my non-running muscles. Biking is an easy and fun way to build strength and balance.

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Junk miles

ORN 7/19/04: 50 minutes, 5/1

Today was a "daily" run. The main goal was to move my legs some, maybe push the pace just a little bit, and get in some miles. In the old days, that kind of run would have been called "junk miles".

I didn't really have a goal in mind. There's a run I do along the lakefront that loops around. It's 4 miles or so - although in 5 years I've never measured it. It's my "I need to get out and run" loop. I know where I'm going to run, I just don't have any idea how far it is or how long it's going to take me to run it.

Yesterday's run went very well. I was surprised since I had gone 12 on Sunday and biked on Monday. My legs were tired but my turnover was good. I felt like I was moving along at - for me - a pretty decent pace.

But it's just perception, and that's all I wanted. I got it in. It felt good. I'm happy. What else could I want??

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Recovery Ride

ORN 7/18/05: 60 minutes, road cycling.

I hate the term "cross-training". I know what it means, but I don't like how it sounds. If I'm training, I'm training. I prefer to think of it as "multi-sport" training. After all, the heart and lungs don't care what you do, it's just the specific muscles that get the different use.

So, when I cycle I don't think if it as cross-training - even though it is. In fact, when I cycle I don't think if it as training at all. I don't have ANYTHING on my road bike to tell me what I'm doing. No speedometer, no odometer, no cadence counter: nothing. When I'm riding, I just want to focus on the ride, not my time, cadence, and distance.

That's changed over the years. When I was doing triathlons I actually had TWO computers AND a heart-rate monitor on my bike. I never looked at the road, let alone the scenery. My eyes were glued to the data. NO MORE.

If there's something else that you enjoy doing: DO IT. The great thing about running is that it gives you the aerobic base to do almost anything else you want. So get a bike, buy some roller-blades, go for a swim, paddle a canoe - whatever you can. But have fun with it and the "training" effects will still be there.

Waddle on, friends.


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Beat the Heat

ORN 7/17/05: 12 miles, 4/2, 2:50

After the confusion yesterday I had to get in my long run today. Obviously, the group I would normally run with did their run yesterday so I was on my own. And it was HOT.

I started later than I had planned - after 11 AM - so the run was in the heat of the day. [temps high 80's/low 90's] That in and of itself doesn't matter that much. You've got to learn to run whatever the temps and getting in a long training run in the heat is great practice.

First things first, I loaded a hand-held bottle with straight Gatorade. There are several places along the path to buy Gatorade so I knew I could replace what I was drinking. I used 1/2 the bottle full-strength then filled it with water. After I finished that I bought a bottle of Gatorade and used that full-strength until it was 1/2 finished and then filled the bottle with water.

That works out to two full bottles of Gatorade and one full bottle of water [right?] or 60 ounces. My math skills aren't great but it comes down to about 20 ounces of liquid per hour, or a little less than 8 ounces every 20 minutes. For me, with my sweat rate that's about right. [I don't sweat nearly as much as some]

It's important to experiment with hydration. There's no magic formula and too much is just as bad as too little. You CAN beat the heat, you just need to take the time to figure out what you need.

Waddle on, friends.


Best Laid Plans

ORN: 7/16/05 : recovery

When I started this, I thought I'd be giving the readers a blow-by-blow, run-by-run account of my preparations for the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. And to some extent, that's been true.

But, it's also been a HUGE help for me to be held accountable for my REAL training, not just the training I want to do or think I should be doing. Yesterday is the perfect example of something that seemed simple that just got away.

Because of the flight change I took an early flight home on Saturday morning. The plan was to get home, get changed, and get in the 12 mile run that was on the schedule. But once I was home, the hours slipped away and then suddenly the day had gone by and I never got out the door.

I'll get the run in today [Sunday]. And that's the point. Often we have to do what we can instead of doing what we want.

Waddle on, friends.


Saturday, July 16, 2005

Travel day

ORN: 7/15/05 : sitting in airport

I'm a "get to the airport early" guy. I hate feeling rushed. And these days, you just never know how long anything is going to take. So, I was there in plenty of time for my flight today.

But the flight was delayed for 2 hours, then 2 1/2, then 4, then cancelled.

I ended up going back to my son's house and spending another night with the grandkids. Not a bad result. But I never tied on my shoes either.

Waddle on, friends.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Singing in the Rain

ORN: 7/14/05: 40 min, 5/1, rolling hills, rain.

What a gift. Half-way through today's run in Arlington it started raining. A few drops at first, then more, then a DOWNPOUR. It was fantastic.

After the brutal heat and humidity it felt wonderful to just chug along in the rain. It makes me feel like a kid again. Summertime, rain, the smell of it, the feel, it's magic.

What a great day to be a runner!

Waddle on, friends.


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Recovery day

ORN: 7/13/05

Just felt like I needed a day off. After yesterday's walk home I thought it was best to give myself a break. I'm going to do another long run on Saturday, so I'm trying to be careful to be well rested going into Saturday.

I think I'll run a half-marathon at the end of July as a "test run". I'd like to get a sense of how my marathon training is going so far.

Waddle on, friends.


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Walking it off

ORN: 7/12/05: 3 miles 5/1, 1 mile walk

I used to live in the Washington, DC area but that was long before I was a runner. I remember the summers being hot [we played 3 outdoor concerts every week during my Army Band years] but in those days there always seemed to be enough beer around to cool me off.

Not today! The goal was a 4 mile run along the Potomac river. The trail goes past the airport and has some fantastic views of the monuments. And, if you're lucky, a plane will land or take off right over your head. I had my Garmin so I could be SURE that I was getting the 4 miles.

Everything went fine on the way out, although it did seem pretty hot to me. I turned around a 2 miles and noticed I was starting to get REALLY hot. OK, yes, I forgot to take ANYTHING to drink, but usually 4 miles is inside my window.

At mile 3.07 I was DONE. I tried to "jog" the downhills for awhile but even that didn't work. Eventually I just gave it up and walked back.

It happens. To me, to the pros, and it will happen to you. Tomorrow is another day. I'll need to get up and out earlier.

Waddle on, friends.


Run with my son

ORN: 7/11/05 : 40 minutes, 4/1

I'm out visiting my son, his wife, and their 12 week old twins, my grandchildren. Terry and I took some time away from the babies for a run around his neighborhood.

Some folks know about my son and I riding motorcycles cross-country and then running the Rock 'n' Roll marathon in San Diego a few years back. My son "forgot" to train. The ride was wonderful. His marathon experience was not great!

Running with him is just like being with any "running buddy". Somehow it's easier to talk about things that matter when you're moving. Not sure why, but I'm grateful for the time together.

The gifts that come from being a "runner", whatever that means, go way past physical health and weight. Life is just better as a runner.

Waddle on, friends.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Family Time

ORN: 7/10/05: 0, nothing, zero, null, nada, niente.

Earlier in my life I was a musician. Looking back I can see that I was also obsessed. Practicing wasn't just something I did to get better at my craft it was something that I did to avoid doing anything else. I decided very early on that running was going to be something I enjoyed, not something I obsessed over.

Yesterday being a runner took second place to being a father and grandfather. Could I have taken an easy run? Sure. But it would have meant pulling myself away from everything else.

Balance is an overused word but it's the best word I know. Balance. It's a kind of weightlessness. And if you find that point everything feels easy.

Waddle on, friends,


Sunday, July 10, 2005

Solo Long Run

ORN: 7/8/05; 60 minutes, city biking.

I make the distinction between "city" biking and getting out somewhere and actually going for a ride. About 30 minutes were on the lakefront path which is more like "read" riding but is still lots of stop and go.

Rode the old mountain bike just to push something a little heavier. Legs are still tired.

ORN: 7/9/05; 10 miles, 4/2 [2:17]

Even though there were plenty of people to run with I chose to run solo today. Some days the idea of running 10 miles alone is more than I can take. Some days, like yesterday, the idea of being able to run for 2 plus hours in peace inside my head is a real gift.

2 hours is the first major threshold in my marathon training. If you're new at this, it may be 1 hour. Emotionally it takes a lot out of me to do that first 2 hour run. And to be honest, I wasn't all that excited about it. I'd love to be able to participate in marathons and not have to do the training, but, it doesn't work that way.

So for me it's a matter of just putting my head down and moving forward. I used 4/2 because I'm much more comfortable at that ratio. I'll probably move to 5/1 for the next long run if I'm feeling fresh.

Managed to get through using only Gatorade. For me, for now, that's the best way to go.

Waddle on, friends.