Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Steady State

It's just that time of year.

There was lots to do today, getting ready to leave for a week or so on the annual "over the river and through the woods" holiday trek. I had hoped to get in 4 miles on the treadmill, but ran out of time at 3.5 miles.

It happens.

ORN: 3.5 miles, treadmill. R4/W1 [run pace, 10:31, walk pace, 16:12] 40 minutes

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Just barely made it

I have a confession to make. Well, more like a story to tell you that has a moral. Or maybe it's just a story that has a point. You can decide for yourself.

For the last week or so, since getting back from Honolulu really, I've just been wasted. I do a lot of flying across time zones, and I took the red-eye home and actually got a little sleep, so I didn't think it was jet lag. But I've been tired and couldn't get over it.

Even though I've run some since I've been home, they haven't been good runs and they certainly haven't been fun runs. I've had to force myself out the door and then slug my way through.

Now the confession: Yesterday, I got dressed to run, when downstairs, went one step out the door, turned around, went BACK upstairs and went to bed. It took me about 5 minutes to fall asleep and I slept for nearly two hours without budging. I'm just tired.

I was able to get up today and get in a 4 mile run on the treadmill. It wasn't all that much fun, but I felt good about getting it in.

Not sure if it's just the end-of-the-year let down or honest fatigue. I'm just tired!

ORN: 4 miles, treadmill R4/W1 [run pace 10:31, walk pace 16:12] 45 minutes

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Waiting for Winter

This was one of the 5 or 6 Saturday mornings this year that I've been home and one of the 2 or 3 when I din't run with some local training group. It's the end of my year and a time to relax, reflect, and renew. And a time to run.

It was about 40 degrees this morning [5 for my Canadian friends] which is NOT a December temperature in Chicago. With the Antarctica trip now less than 8 weeks away, the truth is I need to get in some cold weather runs. I WANT to get in some cold weather runs.

I didn't take the GPS or iPod or ANYTHING except my running watch with me this morning. I wasn't sure how far I was going to run, I wasn't sure how fast or how long. And I didn't want to keep track.

When I got to the first turn around, which would have gotten me about a 3 mile run I made a choice. I kept going. I'm not sure why, exactly. It just occurred to me that if Winter DOES come it might be months before I can run along the lakefront in 40 degree temperatures.

So I ran. Not so much with any purpose or plan. But just because today I could.

ORN: 5 miles, R5/W1, 62 minutes

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Running News

I think I've mentioned that we have a treadmill. And, Jenny being Jenny, she would not have just gone out and gotten ANY treadmill. This one is "trick". It will tell you more about what you're doing than I want to know. It's got the normal speed and distance, but also heart-rate, calories, grams of carbs, miles-per-gallon, and when to change your oil.

It also has a built in television screen. Now, to be honest, I thought that was about the dumbest thing I had ever seen. I mean, there's already a TV in the room. Why not just watch THAT one. Why a television ON the treamill.

I'll tell you why. So that you can hold yourself in the right running posture and STILL watch CNN.

Anyway, I knocked out 4 miles while Wolf Blitzer - in the Situation Room - went off about some terribly interesting crisis which, of course, I now can't recall. But, I was amazed that I was able to finish a 4 miles run before the crisis was over.

ORN: 4 miles, treadmill, R4/W1. 10:31 running pace, 15:23 walking pace.

[ORN= Obligatory Running Note: from the orginal running email list The Dead Runners Society]

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cooler by the lake

It was about 80 degrees when I ran on Monday. It was closer to 40 degrees when I ran today. But, to be honest, I enjoyed today's run as much or more.

It's winter, after all. And the temperature here in Chicago could easily be in the mid-30's, not the mid-40's. There were more runners out this afternoon than I expected. And many more bicycles. Getting in the last ride of the season, I suppose.

It's the beaches that I find the most fascinating this time of year. The water, the sand, the feel of the lakefront is so much the same and yet so different this time of year. I can almost hear the laughter from the summer, almost see the people enjoying themselves. But the boys of summer are gone.

And in a way it's like they've given the beach back to those of us who live here. No tourists. No visitors from the suburbs. Just us city runners and bikers.

ORN: 4.75 miles, 60 minutes, R5/W1

Sunday, December 10, 2006

A long and interesting day

Whew!

The final Team in Training participant came across the finish line in 12 hours and 8 minutes.

As I had in New York, I got to work with Dr. Lewis Maharam [medical director for NYC, the Elite Racing events, and Team in Training] I figured it would be more of the sore muscles and blisters that we most often see.

But just a few hours into the race we had to respond to a full-on seizure. A young man went down at mile 26 and the next hour or so was just a blur. I got to him about the same time as the EMT's did, ran back and got the Doc, watched them load the guy up on the medical cart, ran with the Doc and Paramedics in front of the cart back to the main medical tent.

Once we got him to the main medical tent a system of doctors and nurses jumped in and just calmly started doing their jobs. They started a IV line, got his vitals, took readings, I don't even know. But, it was impressive. Eventually he was taken to the hospital.

I happened to run in to him tonight [YES!] and he was looking fine. He was released from the hospital after being thoroughly checked out.

He was lucky. Lucky that the race organizers take medical care so seriously, lucky that very professional people were there doing their very well, lucky that he was at mile 26 of a major marathon when this happened and not sitting alone in his room.

Those of us who run don't thank the medical people - and race organizers - enough.

John

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Another Day in Paradise

I woke up with pretty tired legs. It may be because I had to run on concrete yesterday. I don't normally think it bothers me, but maybe so.

So, I ran my 3 miles just to stay loose. I'll be on my feet all day tomorrow - marathon day - working in the medical tent. Dr. Maharam, medical director of the Elite races and the New York City marathon has invited me to be his "assistant". It's become a sort of second career for me, working the medical areas of marathons. It's not that I am a medical person, but I know marathoners. I know who is in trouble, and who isn't.

It will be a long day. The course doesn't close until the last person crosses the finish line. The last Team person usually comes across in 9-10 hours. Like I said, long day.

Speaking of the Team, we had a GREAT pasta party tonight. The crowd was cranking and the mission moment was the most powerful I've ever heard. Amazing stuff.

ORN: 3 miles, 37 minutes, R5/W1

[ORN=Obligatory Running Note: from the original Dead Runners Society email list]

Friday, December 08, 2006

Book 'em, Dano


Yeah, I know. It's a tough job but somebody has to do it. I'm in Honolulu for the weekend with Team in Training. Jenny says it's 13 degrees at home, so, I'm not going to complain.

I did find a way to do a somewhat longer run today. You would think that this being my 8th trip here I would have this all figured out by now, but, when you fly in/fly out you don't really have time to explore.

The past few years I've been running down to, and around, Ala Moana park [sp?] All the runners seem to make their way down there at some point. In fact, I saw Deena Kastor coming back from her run this morning. Very cool. The park is also where many of the Japanese tour groups take their runners. It's fun to see the groups in their "colors" warming up for the race.

Because I had a little extra time [I woke up before 5] I decided to try to get in a solid 6 mile run. It worked out great. I went to, around, and through the park. I enjoyed myself, almost in spite of myself.

This afternoon I was able to sit in the lounge area and write. It helps to have the time and space. I was able to write 3 columns, which is a good afternoon even for me.

Off to Duke's tonight for the traditional Friday evening "staff" meeting. It is a highlight of the trip.

ORN: 6 miles, 1 hour, 16 minutes, R5/W1

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Squirrel in a cage

I am NOT ready to go outside and run yet this winter. With a little luck, I may be able to avoid most of it.

Tomorrow I'm off to Honolulu, which is not quite as much fun as it sounds like. I'm there with Team in Training so there will be work to do. But this year, I'm going to TRY to enjoy the beach more than I have in the past.

We'll be doing the holiday stuff and in January I'll be in Orlando [which CAN be cold], then Phoenix, then Miami, so I may dodge the winter bullet for another few weeks.

We gave in and got a treadmill for here in the apartment. It's a pretty good one, but it's still a home unit. It's taken a little getting used to but I have been able to get solid runs in the past two days.

ORN: Tuesday: 4 miles, R4/W1, 48 minutes
Wednesday: 4 miles, R4/W1, 46 minutes

Sunday, December 03, 2006

An outright Victory


The Victory Juntion Run was - well - spectacular. From the NASCAR-style worship service to Richard Petty waiving the green flag to start the race to Kyle and Pattie high-fiving every finisher it was better than any of us could have imagined. Race photos will be up on the site in just a few days. [www.victoryjunctionrun.com]

The day was perfect. Cool, crisp, and sunny. The course, although challenging, seemed to satisfy everyone. The finish, and the "bridge" in the center of the camp was the perfect backdrop. I truly can't think of a more meaningful finish line.

The participants raised over $65,000 for the camp. An unbelieveable number for the first year.

If you're reading this: you simply MUST come to the race in 2007. You just have to!





ORN: 0 Saturday or Sunday. Probably 0 on Monday too.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Victory Circle


Sometimes running is about running. Sometimes running is about something WAY bigger. The whole JBR team is in Randleman, NC to put on the Victory Junction Run - currently a 1/2 marathon. The race benefits the Victory Junction Gang Camp.

Tonight we had a "victory" dinner at the Petty shop. If you know who is with David and me in the shot, I don't have to explain. If you don't know, I can't possibly explain.

A full report will follow.

ORN: 4 miles yesterday on the 1/2 marathon course.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Running in Shorts

It was 60 degrees in Chicago today. 60 DEGREES.

I could have taken the day off after running long on Sunday, but how do you skip a 60 degree day in November? You just can't. These are the days when you throw the training schedule out the window and just go for a run.

My 7-day mileage [you can't just look at weekly totals. Your body doesn't know what day it is and doesn't reset just because the calendar says it's a new week] is higher than it's been since early last October. I need to be careful not to overdo it.

This is race week for our event in Randleman with the Petty's and the Victory Junction Gang Camp. We are all very excited about the project. It's a great way to give back.

ORN: 3 miles, 33 minutes, 10/1 on the lakefront loop.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Happy Trails

We ran today at the Waterfall Glen trail near the Argonne National Laboratory. The temperature was near 60 - unbelievable for November 26 in Chicago.

It's a crushed gravel multi-use trail, so there were runners, walkers, mountain bikers, and horses on the path. My plan was to try to run 7 miles, the most I'd run since Portland, the morning of the day I hurt my knee. I also planned to use a R4/W2 interval.

And I am VERY pleased to report that it worked. Somehow I even managed to maintain a sub-13 minute pace. This makes Miami or Disney Half Marathons [or BOTH] a possibility.

ORN: 7 miles, 1 hour, 29 minutes, R4/W2 for a 12:45 pace.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Ride, Run, Eat, Ride, Run

I hope everyone is recovering from Thanksgivng. All in all this wasn't the blow-out eat-o-rama type of Thanksgiving, but I'm still feeling like I really wouldn't have to eat for about a week.

We were visiting Jenny's brother in St. Louis. His home is only about 1/2 mile from Forest Park, St. Louis' version of New York's Central Park. It's a fantastic place to run or walk so we took advantage of the great weather and got in a run in the park.

We also took the opportunity to get in what will probably be the last real motorcycle ride of the season.

This morning, we were back with Jenny's winter training program for a nice 5 mile run along the lakefront. It was a bonus morning, crisp and clear and almost warm. More like an early spring day than late November.

I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to run the Disney Half Marathon or the Miami Half. I'm pretty sure I can get my mileage up by then and I'm starting to feel the need to be training for something.

John

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

And I don't know why

I went out yesterday for a calm 5 mile run. I didn't have anything in mind other than seeing if I could run for an hour or so.

Funny, because before I hurt my knee I was up to running over 4 hours. But, that was then; this is now.

Anyway, I got out there [with the Garmin] and noticed that my pace was about 12:20 per mile using R5/W1. I played around to see if I could get that pace down closer to a 12 minute pace.

I ended up doing the 5 miles in 60 minutes are 50 seconds - or a 12:10 pace. AMAZING. I don't know why. I don't know how. And I don't care.

Jenny and I are off to St. Louis [the last motorcycle ride of the season] for Thanksgiving. I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

John

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

On the right path

November 21, 2006

I've been home for nearly a week now and feeling closer to normal. If you don't travel nearly every week it's probably hard to imagine having difficulty adjusting to the routine of being home. Sleeping 7 nights in a row in my own bed is a gift.

I've also had the chance to run on the lakefront path for a week. When you can run the same course, or at least on the same path, several days in a row you can begin to play with pace and distance. And that's just what I've done.

I've been using the Garmin on nearly every run lately. It's helped me stay honest with my pace. Now that I'm not really training for anything specific I've got a lot more flexibility. I can run more often, take more training risks, and have much more fun.

Part of that risk is running 4 days in a row. I did a "pyramid", starting with the one mile on the treadmill, 3 miles at a 12 minute pace, 4 miles at a 12 minute pace, and then 3 miles [using a R10/W1 interval] at a sub-11 minute pace. For me, a sub-11 minute pace qualifies as a tempo run. It's a push.

Then, a day off.

I'm eager to get out today and see how it goes. My plan is to go a little farther but use a R4/W2 interval. I haven't run more than 60 minutes since I hurt my knee. I think today will be the day.

John

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Windy City

Got home late last night to WINTER. Wow.

No way to get out in the wind yesterday. I may try today, or may just check out the new treadmill.

Good to be home, though.

John

Monday, November 13, 2006

Long and Winding Road


As I was running today in rural/smalltown North Carolina I was reminded of someplace else I had run. I remembered the road and the buildings and the houses. I was trying to remember the exact time and place and it suddenly stuck me - it was Wheeling, West Virginia - on the FIRST night of this trip.

It seemed like years ago.

In the early years I spent weeks and months on the road. The first trip, in 1997, was on a motorcycle and lasted for 8 weeks. The next year I went out for 12 weeks in a Firebird. Then there was the Van, the Jeep, the cross-country ride with my son - lots and lots of days and nights on the road.

The schedule is too full now, usually, to have the time and luxury of being on the road. I suppose it's just as well. But there's a magic on the road, a reality of only being able to go so far, of having to stop for gas and food, of seeing what's different and what's the same.

This time of year is especially beautiful in the southeast. The leaves have turned but are still on the trees. Tomorrow I head north, towards home. I'll be glad to get there.

ORN: I've been very consistent about getting in my runs. They haven't been long - often the BTN [better than nothing] but I've been doing 3-4 miles, 5-6 days a week.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Loop d' Loop


This may explain what I've been up to. It's hard to find time for anything else when I have the chance to play with the grandkids. I'll try to get a photo of Baby Ray posted somewhere soon.

I was able to continue to get in my runs, just in an altered fashion. I have a much deeper appreciation for how difficult it is for young parents to train. Being around 3 children under 18 months is exhausting and time consuming.

But, it's well worth it. Hearing them yell "GAMPA" when they come down for breakfast puts everything in perspective.

ORN: 3.6 miles, 3 neighborhood loops, 5/1

Monday, November 06, 2006

NYC Marathon Weekend



Monday morning, November 6, 2006

What a great weekend in New York. We were working, but it was more like working "lite". We had responsibilites but also made time to relax and have some fun.

Thursday night started off with a fantastic dinner at Baldoria's [I think]. Jenny and I, along with NYC medical director Lewis Maharam and former marathon world-record holder Steve Jones had a great meal with wonderful conversation. Steve is one of the true champions in running. Dead honest but thoughtful. Any meal with him is a good one.

Friday and Saturday mornings I had a chance to run through Central Park. The photo above is from Saturday morning. Many of the runners, especially the international runners, will take there "Finish" photo the day before the race. Guess that way they know they'll look good.

Jenny and I also met with our editor at Rodale. The new book, "Running for Mortals" is about ready to be sent to the printer. We're VERY excited.

Friday night was the Runner's World "Heros of Running" dinner. Arkansas Govenor Mike Huckabee accepted an award and quoted the Penguin Credo as one of the things that helped get him started. A nice moment for me.

Race day Jenny and I helped Dr. Maharam as an extra set of eyes on the medical team. It's amazing what goes on backstage of an event with 37,000 people. The next time you see a medical volunteer; THANK them. They are there for you.

It all went well, from where we were. It's a great race. Lots of civic pride.

Back today to Northern Viginia and a couple of days with the grandkids before heading out to Nags Head for the weekend.

John

ORN: Friday, November 3rd: 4 miles on the west side of Central Park.
ORN: Saturday, November 4: 3 miles on the west side of Central Park.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

MCM, grandbabies, and more

November 1, 2006

I'm a little shocked to write NOVEMBER in the Blog. Seems to me that it was summer and we were on the cruise not too long ago. Now, Halloween is behind us, the time has changed, it's dark early, and winter feels right around the corner.

This past weekend was the Marine Corps Marathon. I've been at every MCM since 1994. I've been beaten by Oprah AND by Al Gore, not to mention tens of thousands of others. I didn't run it this year but Jenny and I spoke at the Marine's "Dining In" dinner and - of course - I was here with Team in Training.

Even though I wasn't running the marathon, I got out and did my longest run since I whacked my knee. 5 miles doesn't sound long to some, but for me it was another HUGE milestone in coming back to form. I can tell that I've lost some of my base, but the knee never acted up. For THAT I am grateful.

We're spending a few days with my son and his family before heading up to New York for the marathon. With 3 children all under 18 months every day is a circus. I'll try to get a photo or two posted soon.

John

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Almost Heavan

Wheeling, West Virginia

I'm on the road, again. This weekend is the Marine Corps Marathon. Next weekend is New York and the following weekend is the new Outer Banks marathon. Rather than flying back to Chicago I'm going be base out of my son's family home in Vienna, Virginia. This will ALSO give me a few weekdays with the grandkids!

The knee is, for all practical purposes, fine. At least physically it's fine. I haven't been able to get myself to run/walk more than 3 miles for the past week or so because I'm still worried that the pain will start. Recovering from being injured, whether it's from running or not, is more difficult emotionally than physically in my experience.

And, since I missed the chance to run the Chicago marathon this year, I'm feeling a little grumpy as well.

ORN: 3 miles, 40 minutes, R5/W1

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Apology and Promise


Hi folks,

Well clearly the past few weeks have been a scramble for me. Even more than usual. I'm sorry that I haven't been able to keep up with the Blog.

The photo [and I am wearing MANY layers under the jacket] is of Kyle Petty and me at the end of the "Ride to Victory". I promise to get back to the daily blogging here very soon.

j

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Let's go racing

Charlotte, NC

I'm down here doing some promotion for the Victory Juncttion Half Marathon that we're doing in December. Well, OK, that's the REASON why I'm here, but it's just the beginning of the story.

First, the running. I took three days off to let that knee heal, and it helped some. I was able to run for about 25 minutes yesterday without any pain. I was aware of the knee, but stopped before it actually started to hurt. I'm going out again this morning to see what I get.

Most of the weekend, though, is about NASCAR racing, motorcycle riding, Victory Junction Gang Camp promotion, and getting to know the folks in the Petty organization. Kyle was nice enough to loan me a bike for the weekend so I'll be able to join in the "Ride to Victory" on Sunday.

We're trying to find the NASCAR fans that are runners, and the runners that are NASCAR fans, and get them together. We all think that eventually this will be one of our most exciting events. If you're interested, please go to: www.victoryjunctionrun.com.

ORN: 25 minutes, 5 R5/W1. VERY easy.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Ouch!

Chicago, IL

Well THIS isn't a good thing. I got about 25 minutes into today's run and had to pull up lame again. Hmmm! Nothing to do but walk home.

Not sure what's going on. I didn't think I had banged it that badly, but I guess I did.

ORN: 25 minutes 4/1, 35 minutes walking.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pulling up lame

San Jose Weekend

Some good, some not so good. The good is that the race was fantastic. The venue seems very nice, the course looked good, and from all the reports it was an excellent race.

I got out for a NMBTN [Not Much Better Than Nothing] run on Friday morning, but had to cut it short because my knee was still hurting from where I banged it last Monday in Portland.

After not running Saturday or Sunday I tried again this morning and while it didn't start hurting right away, it DID eventually so I had to stop again and walk it in. BUMMER.

I am rarely hurt enough to not be able to run. I'll just have to take my own advice and let it heal.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The way in San Jose

San Jose, CA

Another cross-country flight. Back to Pacific time. I'm in San Jose for the NEW Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon here. Weather is PERFECT.

Not much time after the flight. Just enough for a late afternoon BTN run. We're staying out by the airport and there really isn't anyplace to run except the side walks. I'm SURE that here in the valley there are prettier places, we're just not near them.

ORN: 3 miles, 38 minutes, R5/W1

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Blowing in the Wind

Chicago, IL

This was a BTN run. For regular readers, you know that means Better Than Nothing. My flight back from Portland was cancelled yesterday so I got back much later than I was suppose to. I leave first thing tomorrow morning for San Jose and the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon there. So, today was do the laundry, get to the bank, repack the suitcase, get ready to go day.

We had a pretty good storm come through late this morning and the wind was still pretty fierce along the lake. And, it was out of the north which means that the first half of the run was FANTASTIC.

Truth is, I like days like today. There aren't many people on the path, and those that are KNOW we're the brave ones. The waves are crashing against the rocks and the spray just explodes. It works!

ORN: [Obligatory Running Note] 3 miles, 36 minutes, R5/W1 with 6 minute warm up and cool down.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Up the River without a Map

Portland, OR

The good news about having a GPS is that it gives you the confidence to be bold when running in a new city, or running a different route in an old city. The BAD news about having a GPS is that it allows you to be STUPID when running in a new city, or running a different route in an old city.

I wanted to get in a long-ish run. Friends in Portland said that the "new" rails-to-rails path was a 9 mile loop. Perfect. So, I marked the start as a "way-point" and headed clockwise around the loop. At about 2 miles in I was across from where I had started. So far, so good.

It turns out that if you go across at ONE bridge, it is a 9 mile loop. If you go across the bridge that I went across it's an 11 mile loop! I did have the GPS and the river to guide me. But, I wasn't expecting to go 11 miles.

ORN: 11 miles: 2 hours, 35 minutes, R4/W2

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Outside, looking in

Portland, OR.

I've been here for a couple of days working the expo at the Portland Marathon. It's a great race. Well done and VERY "penguin" friendly.

This morning, during the marathon, I needed to get out an get in an easy 3 mile run. The only PLACE to run is along the river where, as it turns out, the marathon course goes. So, I actually had to run across/through the marathoners at about mile 5 to get to the river path.

It was a strange sensation, seeing all the participants running along while I was running on a parallel path. I was kind of running with them, but not really. And coming back, running against the flow, was really odd. As I finished and walked across the marathon course again I felt a little guilty. Not enough to jump in, mind you.

ORN: 3 miles, 36 minutes, R4/W1

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Heat of the Moment

WOW, is it HOT.

I'm in Phoenix where it was 102 degrees at 5PM when I went out for a run. HOLY COW is it HOT.

We're running in long-sleeved shirts in Chicago. This is NUTS. I had to back down too 3 and 2's and just take it VERY slow.

ORN: 2 miles, 28 minutes, R3/W2

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Lance's voice and a decision

OK, now THIS was cool. This was very, VERY cool.

I was feeling pretty down about the events - or NON events - of the past weekend. The plan was to go out and just run at a pace that would put it all behind me. Not far. 5K. But far enough to get away.

I was wearing my Nike/iPod unit and as I finished Lance Armstrong's voice came on to tell me that I had run a 5K PR. The fastest 5K I've run with the Nike/iPod. VERY COOL.

And, I've decided that I am NOT running the Chicago Marathon. No excuses. I'm just not. I've run 4 marathons in the past 12 months. That's plenty.

ORN: 3.1 miles, 36 minutes, R5/W1

Sunday, September 24, 2006

DNS

I think this may be the first time that I have not "answered the bell", so to speak. Today I was supposed to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. I had everything ready to go. Chip on the shoe. Number pinned on the shirt. Ready.

And I never even walked out the door.

The events of the past few weeks have left me just exhausted physically and emotionally. I ran the half marathon LAST weekend at Disneyland because - well - I wanted the medal. Today, though, I just couldn't do it. I couldn't face the start line, the people, the distance, or myself.

It's a first.

ORN: 0

Friday, September 22, 2006

The water's edge

It's Friday, this must be Toronto!

This is the time of year where I'm on the road so much it's hard to remember what time zone I'm on. This weekend I'm up in Toronto for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon [and half marathon] It's a great race. A fun way to travel to an "international" event without having to learn a new language.

Toronto reminds me a lot of Chicago, with a great lakefront path downtown. Only problem is that the water is in the wrong direction. At home, the water is always EAST. I think that the water is south here.

Anyway, got in an easy 35 minutes just to stay loose. I'm hoping to be able to get through the half on Sunday.

ORN: 36 minutes, R4/W1

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

In between halves

I ran the Disneyland Half Marathon last Sunday. I'm running the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon THIS Sunday. So this week is all about being in between.

Not much to do, really, except try to stay loose. I took two days off to get a little spring back in my legs. Today I ran 5K at what I hope is my race-pace for next Sunday. It wasn't great, but I got through it.

ORN: 3.1 miles, 38 minutes, R5/W1

Monday, September 18, 2006

Hitting the Road on our Anniversary



I read an interesting review of a book - can't remember the name or author - but is was about having a passion for things. And about how - if you're lucky - you can make an honest living at your passion. You may not get wealthy [ trust me!] but you'll have a good time.

The other point was that one should have competing passions, to keep things in balance. Motorcycle's WAS - for a long time - the only real passion. Music was a job. Running was for fitness. Motorcycling was the passion.

Over time, running and bringing the 'penguin" message to the greater running community became the passion and motorcycling sort of faded. It never really left. I just didn't have the time.

Well, I'm making time to find the time. This weekend, AFTER having spoken on Friday and Saturday and running the 1/2 marathon on Sunday, Jenny and I rented HARLEYS and went riding. And I mean RIDING!

The guy who rented us the bikes told us of a nice 40 mile ride that we could take. Yeah, right. We put over 300 miles on the bikes riding up the coast, into the hills, and back down US101.

As many years as I've been biking I've never spent a day on a Harley. It was - well - interesting. I understand the Harley mystique. Only one thing on the planet is a Harley and that's a Harley. I had a Road King. Jenny had the Heritage Soft Tail.

And since it was our anniversary weekend, it made it all the more special.

So here's to passion. And to competing passions. And to finding the balance.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Disneyland Half Marathon

Short version: For a first-time race, they got a lot of things right. As a race owner/operator I'm aware of how hard it is to get every right and how easy it is for things to go wrong. The producers of the event should feel very good about how it went.

I planned to run between 3 hours and 3:15. I finished in EXACTLY 3 hours. YES, I even sprinted at the end to get in UNDER 3:01. I was able to do a negative split [running the 2nd half faster than the first half] and felt good at the end.


LONG VERSION: This was our first "public" appearance since Jenny's dad passed away AND we had our dog put down. We were both a little nervous about having to be "on" again. Jenny did great at her clinics and I was - frankly - glad to be back out there doing my show.

My training has not been ideal of late, although I've got a great base. I've run 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, and 16 mile long runs. But the past few weeks have been a disaster. I knew that the only hope I had was to go out VERY slowly and be patient until I had at least 8 miles in.

Race morning was nearly perfect. I wore a long-sleeved technical shirt [from the Walt Disney World Marathon] but could easily have worn a short-sleeved shirt. The start was pretty crowded - I was in the first corral - but there were no major problems.

The course wandered through the Disneyland theme parks, around Anaheim, through the Angel's ball park, and back into Downtown Disney. There was plenty of music and entertainment on the course, the Disney characters were out, and the other "cast members" were there in full force.

It got hot as the morning wore on. Not brutal, but for some who have run Disneyworld - where it's often so cold you can barely move - the heat caught them by surprise.

There were plenty of water and powered stations, and they were - for the most part - well supplied and well staffed.

And the medal is FANTASTIC!

So, all in all, a great race. I'm sure that they won't have any problems selling this out year after year.

ORN: 13.1 miles, 3:00:58 [rounded down to 3 hours!] R4/W2

John

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Happy Days

This weekend is the inaugural Disneyland Half Marathon. Jenny and I are here to 1] present clinics and 2] GET THE MEDAL.

We took a short run yesterday just to loosen up. DisneyLAND is much different than DisneyWORLD. There's not really a great place to run, but at least here the MickeyCops are yelling at you to get off the streets.

My family visited Disneyland in 1958 [YES! I know how long ago that was] It seemed much bigger to me then.

ORN: 3.25 miles, R4/W1 with Jenny. SLOW run for her. TEMPO run for me.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Finding my way

My son's and family's new house is close to the W&OD trail. For those of you not famliar with it, it's about an 80 mile "rails to trails" conversion that starts in Arlington, VA and goes all the way to Purcellville, VA. I've run and biked on a lot of it and it's fantastic.

I managed to find the trail today, but I went a pretty round-a-bout way. I'm sure I could get there quicker if I could just figure it out. And, there must be a way to get there without QUITE so many hills.

Managed to get in 4, but just barely. I'm running the Disneyworld Half Marathon on Sunday so need to save something!

ORN: 4 miles, 60 minutes [I TOLD you it was HILLY] R5/W1 for 30 min. R3/W2 for 30 minuntes.

Monday, September 11, 2006

The hills are alive



WOW, am I a flatlander.

I'm visiting my son, his wife, the twins, and the new baby in Vienna, Virginia [Washington suburb]. They've just moved into this house and today was my first run from here.

One word. HILLY!!

I was trying to find the W & OD trail, and think I got close. What I did find was - well - HILLS!

One thing for sure. I don't run enough hills. I intended to go 5 miles and only got in 3 plus.

ORN: 3.25 miles. 5 minute warm up, 40 minute run @ R5/W1, 5 minute cool down.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Farewell, B-man

Yesterday we had to put our 16 year-old dog down. He was a poodle-mix, 9 pounds, and about the best dog-buddie you could ask for.

He did it all. He herded us on hikes. He rode "shot gun" in a back pack on bicycle rides. He was even "assistant crew" when Jenny did a solo 24 hour adventure race.

He also sat patiently while we wrote two books together.

In his later days he went blind, and deaf, but he continued to be a joy. In the end, I suppose, he just got old.

He will be missed.

j

ORN: 0

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Boys of Summer

There's a great Don Henley tune: "The Boys of Summer". One line in particular always hits me: "AFTER the boys of summer have gone".

Well, the boys of summer are about gone.

Running today the beaches were nearly empty even on a beautiful, sunny day. It's after Labor Day. School has started. Vacations are over. And the running feels better than ever.

I'm in a real dilemma. My running has been very consistent [except for that one week], I've enjoyed running more, I'm having more fun - BUT - my long runs have been terrible. AWFUL.

What to do about the marathon? I don't really have the will to line up and slug it out. I'll run the new Disneyland Half next weekend and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half marathon the week after. I may even run the Rock and Roll Half in San Jose. But, I just DON'T want to run the full.

ORN: 5 miles, 58 minutes, R5/W1 [run 5 minutes, walk one minute, and repeat]

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Running for Peace

ORN: September 5, 2006, 45 minutes, R3/W2

On the morning of my father-in-law's wake, Jenny's brother, his wife, and I went for a run together. They're just getting started and wanted to get the feel of a REAL "penguin" run.

As is so often the case, though, the running wasn't nearly as important as the conversation that we were able to have. Even in the sadness, running helped.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dancing feet

I resisted listening to music while a ran for a LONG time. Short or long, I liked to hear the rhythm of my breathing and heart rate. And don't misunderstand, I still do.

But today I noticed that my pace and stride actually changed with the music. I'm still experiementing with the "perfect" pace song, but it's fun to let my feet follow the rhythm in my head.

ORN: 5K, 37 minutes, R5/W1

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Better Than Nothing

Well, I got out there. And was - without question - a better than nothing run.

The longer I've been a runner the less separation there is between the "running" me and the "non-running" me. It used to be that they were pretty separate. No matter what was going on, I could run.

But the emotion of the past few weeks - happy and sad - have taken it out of me.

Better than nothing. No more, no less.

ORN: 5K, 37 minutes, R5/W1

[R= minutes run. W = minutes walked]

Correction

Still no running. I'm hoping to get out later today.

And, as some have pointed out, there was a typo in the previous BLOG. It was NOT my wife and son that had the baby. It was my son and HIS wife. And to PROVE it, here is my SON and HIS son.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Truly Life and Death


I haven't run since last Saturday. And I may not for several days.

Life has intervened. Life and death, actually.

Jenny's father lost his battle with cancer late last night. It's much better for him, but still very sad for the family.

And, yesterday, my son and his wife had their 3rd child. So, I'm a grandpa again. Baby Ray I was lucky enough to be there and see the baby just minutes after he was born.

So, for a while, running will have to take a back seat to living.

John

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Bummer, dude!

The good news about being someone who is recognized by other runners is that it's fun to meet people and chat. The BAD news is that everyone knows what kind of run I'm having and there's no way to embellish the truth. To the young man that I met near the end of this run - thank you for boosting my spirit at a time when I desperately needed it.

I am NOT having a good training season with my long runs. The daily runs are fine. Good actually. I've been enjoying my running more than I have in years. But the long runs have - well - they have just SUCKED. And today was no exception.

The schedule called for 16 miles. I'd done 14 just 10 days earlier [and had fallen apart at about 12] and had been dancing around the 30 mile-week threshold for a while. But, with my travel schedule going into full swing this week I really needed to get it in.

I ran with Jenny's training group. We were doing R4/W2's and everything started off just fine. At a bathroom break, one guy and I decided to keep moving and pick up the pace just a little. We made it to the turn-around and were headed back when one of the other runners joined us. Soon, those two took off and I was one my own.

Somewhere around mile 13 things began to go bad. I was hungry - which is unusual for me on a run - my feet were killing me [I was experimenting with a different "marathon" shoe. I can't tell you the brand, but for ME they will never work] - I got behind in my hydration early and wasn't catching up - I forgot to stop and buy some more Gatorade even though I had the money in my pocket - and was generally getting down on the whole experience.

Around mile 14 I new it was over. Not just sort of over. OVER. I tried going to R3/W2 - didn't work. I tried just "running to the next sign post" - didn't work. I tried running behind people to pick up their pace. DIDN'T WORK.

So, at that point it's a death march. I've been there before. I know the feeling. I don't like it. But I know it.

Analysis: Didn't eat enough breakfast. Wrong shoes. Didn't hydrate early and often. Went out too fast. Didn't pay attention. The good news is that I made ALL of those mistakes on a TRAINING run, not in the event.

John

ORN: 16 miles. R4/W2 for 14. Walk for 2. 4 hours, 7 minutes.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

After the Storm

For those of you who are REALLY paying attention, this Blog topic will probably end up in Runner's World. After 10 years of writing columns I've got a pretty good feel for when an experience is a "column". This morning was.

Living in Chicago - and living a block or so off the lake - I get to see some interesting weather. We have the "cooler by the lake" phenomenon in the summer and "warmer by the lake" in winter. In the summers we also have the nearly daily possibility of afternoon thunderstorm's. We don't have them every day, but you're never surprised when you get hit by a stray cloud burst.

Today, though, the storm came in the morning. It was one of those "WAKE UP" thunderstorms where all you want to do is stay under the covers and listen to the rain falling outside. Which, as it turns out, is exactly what I did.

I needed to get in my training, so the instant the storm seemed to have passed I was out the door. The skies were still threatening, but the rain had stopped.

On my 5 mile loop I go past the North Avenue Beach. This time of year it is usually packed with families enjoying a day on the lake, or young people working on the perfect tan, or old people enjoying being out in the sun. And I run past the beach volleyball area which is nearly always a helter-skelter of activity.

This morning though, it was as if I was one of the last people left in the city. As if some strange disease had come through and just wiped out the population. I had the path to myself. The beach was empty. The volleyball post stood in the sand almost like grave markers.

I ran without all the gimmicks. No iPod. No Speed Distance Monitor. No GPS. Just an old pair of shoes that I could afford to get wet.

It was one of the most deeply spiritual runs I have had in a long, long time. These are the mornings I run for. And you never know when one is going to happen.

John

ORN: 5 miles, 5/1, 57 minutes.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Working Backwards

I've been getting in, for me, a lot of miles. And as I've been saying I've got to be careful about miles and weeks and keeping track. I'm scheduled to go 16 this Saturday, so working backwards I've got to make sure I don't get too many miles in over the 7 day period.

I did a relatively easy 3 today, with the iPod/Speed Distance Monitor. The ONLY drawback of the foot-pod over GPS is that it can't distinguish different run/walk intervals. So, if it's calibrated for 5/1 it's OFF for 4/2 or 10/1.

But, it was fun. I set it for 5 kilometers and so the nice lady kept coming on ever "K" to tell me how far I'd gone.

John

ORN: 5K, 5/1, 37 minutes.

Monday, August 21, 2006

7 days make a week

I learned the hard way that keeping track of your mileage in a logbook is a dangerous way to go. If you go Sunday - Saturday you can miss adding long runs on different weekends. If you go Monday-Sunday you're MORE likely to keep all your long runs on the correct week.

But, if you're like me, and have to do a long run in the middle of the week it can get messy. Monday-Sunday of last week I ran 30 miles. OK. But, Tuesday-Monday I ran 32. My body doesn't know what day it is, it only knows that the miles are piling up.

And, if I'm not careful about tomorrow, I could end up having a 35 mile "week" of 7 consecutive days. I'm not sure I'm ready for a 35 mile week yet.

So, I'm reminding myself to take a step back a take a longer look at mileage. And you too!!

ORN: 5 miles, 61 minutes, R5/W1

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Saturday on the Path

I had a chance to join one of Jenny's training groups for their "cut back" run today. Since I had already run 22 miles this week I was just trying to get in an easy 8 miles.

The group was actually a bit too fast for me so I ended up running on my own a lot. On the weekends in Chicago on the lakefront path, though, you're never really alone. It was fun to see so of the people who ran the Classic last weekend out there training.

My legs are tired, but not trashed. I may try to sneak in a few miles tomorrow to get the week's mileage up over 30.

ORN: 8 miles, R4/W2, 1 hour, 38 minutes.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Not tonight

August 17, 2006

I was supposed to run the Nike RunHit Remix 5 mile race tonight, but it didn't happen. It didn't even come CLOSE to happening. The race STARTED at 9 PM, which is getting close to my bedtime. I wouldn't have finished until 10:15 or so which is REAL close to my bedtime.

PLUS, my legs were wasted from the 14 miler the day before, I had been biking all over the city, and - to be honest - I just didn't want to go. So I didn't.

It's a bigger issue, but I'm trying to feel less and less pressure to "do things". This was a good start.

ORN: 0

August 18, 2006

We'll be doing a medium long run tomorrow, 8 - 10 miles, so I'm going to take another day off.

ORN: 0

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Mid Week Long Run

I am WAY off the schedule, but I'm getting in the runs. It's been three weeks since my last long run. I ran 3 miles Monday and 5 yesterday - not exactly the best pre-long-run plan. But, I had no choice.

So I strapped on the iPod [without the sensor], turned on the Garmin GPS machine, and headed out the door. It was actually a beautiful day for a run. I felt pretty good most of the time, and I got it in! That's all that matters.

ORN: 14 miles, R4/W2, 3 hours, 30 minutes [one mile cool down walk at the end]

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Back to Normal

Time waits for no man they say. And neither does training.

It felt good to get back on the lakefront to run a "normal" run. No pressure. Just a run.

I did use the iPod and it was COOL. You can relax and just wait until the nice lady tells you it's time to turn around.

ORN: 5 miles, R5/W1, 60 minutes

Monday, August 14, 2006

The Morning After

What a day yesteday was. This year's LaSalle Bank Chicago Distance Classic was the biggest and the BEST ever. Nearly 9,500 people registered for the race, it was a beautiful Sunday morning in the city, and the race looked and felt better than it ever has.

But today, it's back at it. I trained with the Nike "Run Hit Remix" team that Jenny is coaching. It wasn't pretty, but I got it in.

ORN: 3 miles, R5/W1, 45 minutes.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Race Weekend

Our race weekends are almost like family reunions. In fact, this one WAS sort of a familty reunion. My mom, dad, brother, sister-in-law, niece, nephew, and cousins were all at the event.

But there was also the JBR extended family there. Sharon and Paul stopped by to say hello and commented on my "Better than Nothing" run. A BTN run is when you sneak in SOMETHING when you could possibly do nothing. Little did THEY know that on Saturday morning I had done JUST that. I quick and dirty 3 mile BTN run before the expo opened.

I'm not a morning runner, but I had no choice. So I was "getting it done" at 6 AM. And the lakefront path was BUSY. What's the matter with people??

Anyway, 3 miles was all I had time to do.

ORN: 3 miles, R5/W1, 36 minutes. BTN

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Change of Plans

I had planned to do a long run today. This being "pre-race" week there's not going to be time to do much running at all over the next few days, let alone a long run. I need to move up to about 3 1/2 hours and that was the plan.

The alarm went off. I turned over, turned it off, and went back to sleep. It was one of those days.

I did get out for a 5 mile "Planned Marathon Pace" run, so I didn't bag the day all together, but I certainly didn't get in the 14 miles or so that I was looking to do.

The long run will have to wait until next week. At this point I've been doing the long runs every 3 weeks, and it seems to be working.

ORN: 5 miles, PMP, R5/W1, 57 minutes

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Just a little biking

The plan is to do a long run tomorrow, so I just got in a little bit of "city biking" to keep my legs loose.

I'm feeing pretty tired. I think it's just everything catching up with me. Plus, this being "race week" there's A LOT going on. It's hard to stay focused.

ORN: 0 running. 30 minutes of biking

Monday, August 07, 2006

I'm hooked

I can't believe it myself.

Today, I CHOSE to put on the Nike/iPod shoes and go for a run because I WANTED to hear the little voice come on and say "one mile complete" and "half way" and finally "400 meters to go".

The only glitch in the system - and there's no way to resolve this with a foot pod - is that it can't adjust to different run/walk ratios. So, if you get it calibrated for - say - a run 10/walk 1 sequence then it's not calibrated correctly if you do a 5/1. But, it's close enough to use.

So, I did an "out-and-back" heading north just so that I could turn around when the voice told me that I was half way done.

VERY cool.

ORN: 5 miles, R5/W1, 59 minutes

Riding, Running, Racing, Running


WHEW! I've got a LOT of catching up to do.

July 27, 28, 29, 2006: Kyle Petty Charity Ride

Was THIS something? 200 motorcycles riding cross country to raise money for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. Jenny's in that photo somewhere. So is Harry Gant - for you old NASCAR fans.

We joined up with them in Springfield, IL and rode to Cininnati. It was WILD. Like being part of a rock star's entourage. We had police escorts and HUGE crowds everywhere we went.

ORN: July 29, 45 minutes in Cincinnati.

July 29 - August 1, 2006: Back Roads Ride

Since we had the motorcycles out we figured we might was well sneak in a couple of days of riding. We headed across Virginia and up through Pennsylvania then head west back home. Other than the fact that it was about 100 degrees out, it was a great ride. We found some fantastic old 2-lane roads. Quiet, peaceful, and fun to ride.

ORN: July 31, 50 minutes in Wilkes-Barre, PA

August 2, 3: Home

ORN: Aug 2: It was just WAY too hot to run outside, so I retreated to the treadmill. Got in 4 miles in a comfortable 10/1

ORN: Aug 3: I was able to get earlier in the day before it got STUPID hot. Got in a nice 5 mile run [R4/W2] along the lakefront.

August 4, 5: Because the CDC was moved to the 2nd weekend in August this year, I was able to get to Mid-Ohio to catch a couple of days of the motorcycles races there. For me, it's as much fun to see what people ride TO the track as it is to see what's going AROUND the track.

I had hoped to run, but it just didn't happen. Too many distrations!

August 6: Home again

ORN: 5 miles on the lakefront. R5/W1 using the Nike iPod. It's more fun than I want to admit having someone come into your headphones and say "2 miles left".

All in all it was a tough week or so to train. And, it being in the middle of the marathon training sequence, I'm a little concerned that I'm getting WAY to far off the schedule. I did manage to get in some runs, but the quality wasn't there.

But, you can't really "go back" and pick up what you missed. I'm just going to have to do my best to stay more consistent from here on out.

John

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Trick stuff

OK, I admit it. I'm a gear nut. And I love "trick" stuff. Not as much as Jenny, but more than most. So when Jenny managed to get me one of the new Nike/iPod set ups I flipped.

It's a little "pod" that goes in a special Nike shoe that communicates to your Nano through a little "deal" that clips to the bottom. It tells you how far, how fast, you're running etc, THROUGH your iPod earphones. So, you're running along and a voice says "One Mile completed". Towards the end it tells you "Half mile to go".

And all the time your own music is playing.

Then there's the "power song" button if you need to be fired up.

It is TRICK. And I'm not a guy who likes to run with music. But, it sure made today's run go by fast.

John

ORN: 5 miles, R10/W1, 58 minutes

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

Long run, longer day

Today was "LSD" day. Long, slow, distance! I'm out of sequence a little. It's been three weeks since my last long run. But, sometimes it works like that.

I had to do 12, but I opted for 13.1, just to get it all in. So, I'm at the half-marathon distance already and it's only July.

There's no big secret to the long runs. They're long. And they're slow. I headed south on the lakefront path and had to run all they way down to Grant Park, past the Buckingham Fountain, and back.

From now on, I'll start by heading north for a few miles so that I don't end up having to run to Indiana to get in the miles. All though, to be honest, the southside lakefront path is almost more beautiful than our "northside" path.

I used a R4/W2 pattern for the first 12 miles and then just walked the last mile as a cool down. Considering that I did 4 last Friday, 8 on Saturday, and now 12 plus 1 today, I'm feeling pretty good about where my training is going.

THEN: I ended up biking to the Nike training run and WALKING another two miles!

John

ORN: 13 miles, Run 4/Walk 2 plus 1 mile walk. 12 miles, 2hours, 48 minutes. Total, 3 hours, 15 minutes.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Plug Nickel Run

After I put the title of this Blog up, I wondered how many people are old enough to even know what a "plug nickel" is. I'll bet not many. In the OLD days the electric outlet boxes had "plugs" that were about the size of a nickel. When they were building a house they would knock out the "plugs" and folks would pick them up. So, a "plug" nickel was worthless. End of history lesson.

The POINT was that I wouldn't have given you a "PLUG NICKEL" for my being able to get through an 8 mile run today. We got home late last night and when the alarm went off at 4:45 AM it was all I could do to get out of bed.

But, it was one of those beautiful summer mornings that we get in Chicago. Cool, dry, puffy clouds. And I was running with the Chicago Endurance Sports training program. Most of the participants are getting ready for the CDC so it was important for me to be there.

It must be the power of the group. I had a GREAT run. We got to the turn around and I couldn't believe we were half-way through. Just goes to show you, you NEVER know.

John

ORN: 8 miles, R4/W2 at LSD [long, slow, distance] pace

Friday, July 21, 2006

Picture Perfect

Jenny and I had gone off to a friend's house in Princeton, Illinois to work on the new book. We work best when we can get away from the city and find some peace and quiet.

Today's run was along a winding, undulating country road. It's been a long time since I've run "out in the country" like that, past horses and corn fields. There was a light drizzle, not enough to even get you wet but enough to keep you cool. It was just about perfect.

I was doing a R10/W1 "stamina" run. I find that if I do at least 2 "longer" run interval workouts per week that the 5/1 PMP runs and 4/2 long runs feel MUCH better.

Today was the kind of day that makes me glad that I'm a runner.

John

ORN: 50 minutes, Run 10, walk 1.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Run, Ride, Run, Rest

July 17, 2006

I went out for a short run with the Nike Run Hit Remix training group tonight. It was about 165 degrees out, so we took it VERY easy doing R3/W2.

ORN: 3 miles

July 18, 2006

Finally got a chance to get in some "saddle" time on my city bike. Not really a designed workout, but riding around the city dodging cars and buses will get your heart rate up.

ORN: 45 minutes of biking

July 19, 2006

Today was another PMP [planned marathon pace] run. Since I'm shooting for a 5 hour finish my PMP pace is 11:30. It was HOT again today and I didn't quite make the pace, but I was close enough to be satisfied.

ORN: 5 miles, R5/W1, 57 minutes.

July 20, 2006

REST DAY: ORN 0

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Too hot to trot

I tried to get out and run today, but between playing with the twins and generally horsing around it was late before I got out the door.

AND it was HOT.

I ran for about 20 minutes and then just had to give it up and walk home.

John

ORN: 50 minutes, 20 @ R4/W2, 30 just walking.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Music to my ears


I don't even know where to start. There's NO running content in this, so you can move on if that's all you're interested in. But, there's a look into my life for those that stay.

From June 1971 to August 1976 I was a member the THE U.S. Army Band [Pershing's Own] in Washington DC. It is the Army's premier band and was then - and now - a very difficult job to get. And in 1971, given the other options if you were drafted - and I would have been - getting into that band was an enormous accomplishment. I just didn't know it at the time.

I was young, and foolish, and headstrong. Not the ideal character traits of the soldier-musician. I enjoyed some of the experience and squandered some, but mostly I just did my time and got out. 9 years after I got out my playing career ended with an injury. For the next 22 years my trombone sat in it's case. Unopened. Until in December of 2005 the current Leader and Commanding Officer - and fellow Millikin University graduate - invited me to join in the reunion.

There are about 300 reasons why that was a bad idea, not the least of which was that I hadn't played in 22 years. But, as you know if you've been following along, I got the horn out, had it reconditioned a bit, and started practicing. I played a couple of duets on the cruise.

But nothing could have prepared me for sitting in MY seat at the first rehearsal. After all those years - 30 since I has last performed with the Band - I was there again. And MOST importantly, sitting behind me and to my left, playing principle trumpet, was my son Terry. For the first time - EVER - we were rehearsing and performing together.

I won't bother with the details except to say that they chose to do a trombone section feature, which put me IN FRONT of that band for only the second time in my life. To say that I was feeling like I had been tranported to another world would be an understatement. I could see the crowd. I could hear my son playing SO well. And I was able to be present for the gift of that moment.

Simply put: my life will never be the same.

John

ORN: 0

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Picking up speed

It rained off and on all day today. I knew I needed to get in the run, but was hoping that I could do it without getting soaked to the skin. Late in the day it was still cloudy, but the rain had pretty much stopped. Which meant it was muggy!

This was the short, daily run - and - I was trying to keep the pace up best I could. It's not exactly interval training, but by doing R5/W1 it's almost like doing half-mile repeats with a one minute recovery.

It all went fine. I've got some fatigue in my lateral quads. Coach Jenny isn't sure what it is, and I'm not either. It's not a pain, just fatigue. It may be from trying to run just a little faster - or - it may be from doing longer intervals. I'll take tomorrow off and see how it feels on Thursday.

This feels a lot like training. That's the good news and the bad news.

John

ORN: 4 miles, 50 minutes; R5/W1 with 5 minute warm up and cool down.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Music to my ears

I have never been in favor of using headsets while running. In fact, we have specifically prohibited people from wearing them in our races. Not that we really policed it very well, but, as a matter of policy we didn't want people bopping along to ACDC or the Eagles, or whomever they might want to listen to.

All that is changing with the iPod generation. In fact, there are runners who have NEVER run without an iPod. And, in case you haven't heard, Nike has now got a shoe with a device in the sole that communicates your pace and distance THROUGH your iPod. IN FACT, there's a button you can push to get your "power song" in case you are feeling a little down.

I've tried running a few times with a headset and radio, but it always seemed like I was stuck in traffic.

Today, I tried running with my iPod [of course I have one. I have two. An "original" and a "Nano] with a set of Sony "ear buds", those little headset deals that actually go inside your ear. The ones that came with the iPod wouldn't stay in my ears, but these little jewels stuck and stayed put.

I selected "shuffle songs" so that I wouldn't know what was coming next and I just started running. And, I must tell you, I enjoyed it. I was doing a R10/W1 interval and I could listen to a couple of tunes during the run sequence. It made the time fly by.

I won't use the iPod for every run, but, I understand why people use them, and like them.

The times they are a changin'

John

ORN: 5 miles, 60 minutes, R10/W1

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Race Weekend


Life has a funny way of going in circles. Kinda like a NASCAR race. I've been a big NASCAR fan since I was a kid. The names don't mean much to people these days, but Fireball Roberts, Fred Lorensen, and Buddy Baker were a part of my life.

So was Richard Petty, and then his son, Kyle. My own son, Terry, and I often looked at them as the stock car version of us.

This weekend David, Jenny, and I met with Kyle and Patty Petty about a race that we will be producing for them at the Victory Junction Camp. It will be a Half Marathon and 4.5K Victory Lap. The event will benefit the camp. We are just there to provide the race management. You can read all about it at: Victory Junction Run

We also got to hang out with the drivers, and in the garages, and in the pits all weekend. I was like a kid at Christmas.

I hope you'll join us in Randleman, NC in December. It was be a one-of-a-kind event.

John

ORN: Sat/Sun, July 8/9: 0

Friday, July 07, 2006

Running with Friends

My business partner is in town this weekend for the NASCAR race, and meetings with Kyle and Patty Petty. I'll have more on that tomorrow or Sunday. We got up early and got in a nice 4 mile run on the lakefront.

I usually run alone during the week. It was nice to be able to chat and run at the same time.

John

ORN: 4 miles: 45 minutes, 5/1

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A solid run

I had to get in my run early today. Not my favorite thing to do, but there was no other way. It just amazes me how many of you get up and run in the MORNING!

The lakefront path was busy with runners and bicylclist - and bladers and baby carriages, etc. It was kind of fun to be a part of the "morning" crew.

My "daily" run is stretching from 4 miles to 5 so I took an extended loop. This one takes me down to the North Avenue beach. I was using a run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute interval and tried to keep my pace "solid". Not really a "tempo" run, but not not the long run pace either.

It felt fine. Better than fine. The day off yesterday was the right decision.

John

ORN: 5 miles, 54 minutes, R10/W1

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

A day off

Sometimes, there's no better training that taking a day's rest. Today is that day.

After the tough 12 miler on Monday and the 4 mile up-tempo walk on Tuesday, my legs can use some time to recover.

This is going to be a busy weekend. Our big SECRET race will be announced on Friday and I'll be pretty occupied all weekend long with race-related activities. It will mean sneaking in some morning runs.

Wish me luck. I'm NOT a morning runner!

John

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Trophy Sniffing

It's funny how traditions get started.

Last July 4th, Jenny, my mom and dad, and I participated in the "4 on the 4th" race in Elmhurst, IL. It was the first year of the event, it was a small but well run race, and my mom AND dad won their age groups.

My dad - to be fair - only walked 2 of the 4 miles, but the organizers gave him the medal anyway.

This year we were all back for my folks to defend their titles. My task was to try to stay with my mom. And my dad was bound and determined to walk ALL 4 miles.

It all worked out great. My mom and I came in in just a little over an hour and 4 minutes and my dad - all by himself for most of the time - finished up in 1 hour and 25 minutes are EARNED his 1st place medal.

John

ORN: 4 miles, 1:04:20, walking.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Getting it in

There's no big mystery about training for a marathon. You've got to get in the miles. You got to do the long runs - one way or another. You've got to be consistent. You've got to be determined. And sometimes, you've just got to be stubborn.

Today, I was just stubborn.

My legs were still VERY stiff from the 21 hours of sitting on "Fat Albert" [the name of my motorcycle] It was hot and muggy in Chicago, but none of that matters when you're training.

The plan was to run 12 miles using a run 4 minute, walk 2 minute plan. I wasn't as concerned about pace as I was just doing the distance. And, as it turned out, that's just as well.

The first 10 went about according to plan. Then things got ugly in a hurry. I ended up walking the last mile or so just because my legs wouldn't do anything else. It happens.

But I got in the distance.

John

ORN: 12 miles, 2:56, R4/W2 [walked last mile]

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Saddle Sore 1000


July 2, 2006
Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that motorcycles have been a life long passion. I am crazy about anything and everything to do with motorcylces. I like to look at them. I like to talk about them. But mostly, I like to RIDE them.

Anyone who has known Jenny for any length of time knows that SHE loves adventure racing. 3 Eco-Challenges, other expedition length races, and lots of 1, 2, and 3 day races. And about a year ago, Jenny discovered motorcycling. See where this is headed?

She read about an event called the Saddle Sore 1000. The rules are pretty simple. You pick a 1000 mile route, get someone to witness your start, get receipts from your gas stops, and get someone to witness your finish. Oh, and you have to ride the 1000 miles in less than 24 hours.

All this explains how it was that at 4:00 AM on July 1 a waiter at Nookies was signing a witness form and Jenny and I - each riding our own BMW R1150R - were headed out to ride around Lake Michigan. And ride we did. For the next 21 hours we were rolling: hammering up I-75, sifting our way through traffic on Route 2 in the U.P. and dodging thunderstorms and tornados in Wisconsin.

And we made it. We might have gotten in under 20 hours if we hadn't had to hide under a bridge for an hour. But finishing was more than enough. In nearly 40 years of motorcycling, this was the single biggest day of riding - EVER. And it was fantastic.

John

ORN: July 1, 2: 0

Friday, June 30, 2006

PMP Run

June 30, 2006

The difference between training and running, as I've said, is that EVERY training run has a purpose. The purpose of today's run was to see just how close I am to being able to maintain the pace I need for a 5 hour marathon. Hence, the PMP - "Planned Marathon Pace" run.

It's pretty simple: To run a 5 hour marathon you need to run an 11:27 pace. Using a run 5, walk 1 plan [R5/W1] you need to be running about a 10:30 pace when you're running and about a 16:00 pace when you walk. For me, that means paying attention.

So, today's PMP run was 4 miles in 45:31. That's about an 11:15 pace. So far so good. What this means is that I've got the foot speed and turnover necessary for a 5 hour marathon, but not the endurance. But, the endurance will come.

Overall a good test. I'm not over confident, but I'm about where I hoped I'd be.

John

ORN: 6/30/06: 4 miles PMP, 45:31, R5/R1

Pedal Power

June 29, 2004

My training day: Find the key to the storage closet, find my road cycle shoes, gingerly get MY bike out of the closet without scratching either of Jenny's TWO bikes, find the pump, pump the tires, go for ride.

Oh, and try to remember how to shift the fancy-schmancy road bike.

Once I got out and going it was fantastic. I really do like to ride, and I especially like to ride my road bike. The problem is that I don't ride it often enough to feel very confident.

But, when I'm home I need to get out and do something OTHER than running and walking so today was a good day.

John

ORN: 50 minutes, road bike.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Home Run

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Not the baseball type. I mean running from home. After weeks on the road, in the air, and on the sea it was good to get out on my lakefront path again.

Jenny decided to run with me. For my "marathon" training she is going to run her easy days with me. Those days will be MY tempo - faster paced runs. I know. A weaker man would feel funny. But Jenny is a great runner and it's nice of her to run with me.

We did about 5 miles [GPS didn't quite work] using a run 10/walk 1 interval. It was challenging, but I got through it. My legs still feel like they're on the boat.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

I paid today for the hard run yesterday. Today was supposed to be "cross-training", so what I'm doing is trying to improve my walking pace. I went out for an hour using a run 4/walk 2 interval but really focused on the "walk" part of the training.

From the first running step I knew that my legs were wasted, but using 4/2 I was able to run a solid pace while I ran and MADE myself walk about as fast as I could. If I'm going to get under 5 hours [which - to be honest - is currently under discussion. I'm thinking that 5:30 may be a more honest goal] I'm going to have to walk much faster than I do now. The only way I know to improve is to train. So, I'm "training" to walk faster.

John

ORN: Tuesday, June 27, 2006: 5 miles, 55 minutes, 10/1 "tempo" run
ORN: Wednesday, June 28, 2006: 4.5 miles, 60 minutes, 4/2, recovery pace, fast walk

Monday, June 26, 2006

GAMM Report: LONG



June 18-25: The Great Alaskan Maritime Marathon

It's hard to know where to start, so pull up a seat. This could take some time.

The "event" was the inaugural Great Alaskan Maritime Marathon. It was a stage race in which the participants completed a marathon during the week by running on the ship and in each port. It was "staged" off the ms Westerdam of the Holland America line and was the first "marathon" run off a cruise ship.

Sunday, June 18. Packet Pick up and cocktail party.

The participants received their race numbers, fleece vests, technical shirts, and instructions for the race. The structure was that they ran a 1 mile "prologue" time trial on the treadmill to establish their "base" pace. The winner would be the one who could come closest to maintaining that pace through the 26.2 miles. The "races" were a 2 mile predict-your-time deck run, a half marathon in Juneau, a 5 mile run in Sitka, and a 10K trail run in Ketchikan.

Monday, June 19. At Sea: Prologue time trial.

Running a mile on the treadmill proved to be one of the most challenging tasks of the week. We were on the open sea and the ship was "rocking and rolling" enough to make things interesting. Everyone got through it fine, including one woman who ran it in her ROBE because the airlines had lost her luggage and the ship hadn't return her laundry.

Tuesday, June 20. 2 mile Predict-Your-Time and the Hubbard Glacier

The ship was so big that it was only three times around the Promenade deck to the mile. The participants "predicted" how long it would take them and then ran without their watches.

Wednesday, June 21. Juneau 1/2 Marathon

We bused over the Douglass Island for the 1/2 marathon. The excitement level was REALLY high since it was the first "land" run in 3 days. The weather was perfect and the runners took off. As they were running IN to the harbor, a humpback whale was making it's way OUT. Imagine watching a whale while you are running. Not many races offer that.

The Alaskan Brewery supplied us with beer for the finish line and we all enjoyed a perfect day.

Thursday, June 22. Sitka 5 miler

The local runners met us at the dock and led us out on a 5 miler that included a run across the bridge and 2 loops inside of the totem park. It was rainy and cool and made for an "authentic" Alaskan run.

Friday, June 23. Ketchikan Trail 10K

We bused out to the Ward Lake area where the Ketchikan Running Club has set out an absolutely spectacular trail run. The participants weren't' allowed to use their watches or GPS units which meant "running how you feel for as long as you can". The scenery was stunning from start to finish.

Saturday, June 24. Victoria International Fun Run

Rob Reed of the Frontrunner's store in Victoria - and a bunch of his runners - met us at the dock and lead us on a run through Victoria, BC. We finished at the store and celebrated our week of running with pizza and beer.

It was a truly remarkable week. I got to run in Sitka and Victoria but spent most of the time as "race director". It was worth it. I can't remember a more satisfying week.

John

PS: A bonus was that Danny Robertson and I played trombone duets at the Victory Party. It was my first public performance in 21 years.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sailing, Sailing

What a week.

Full report to come. Internet access limited all week. GREAT time at sea.

All is well.

More Monday.

John

Friday, June 16, 2006

Don't know my own strength


If you're my age [57] the title of this Blog makes perfect sense. Every week Bullwinkel would try to pull a rabbit out of his hat only to have something large and ferocious jump out. His response was always: "Don't know my own strength"

I ran for 2 hours and 20 minutes today along the Coastal Trail in Anchorage. With all the flying and time changes and everything else I didn't have much hope of getting through it at all, let alone well. Imagine my surprise when 90 minutes into the run I just felt stronger and stronger. I finished with a flair feeling like I could have gone another hour.

Yesterday I had a chance to run in Bellingham, Washington with an old and very dear friend, Indro Neri. He is - without question - the brightest, most creative person I have ever known. I can usually hold my own in the creativity department, but around Indro I feel like an 8 year old. 24 hours with Indro gives me enough ideas to keep me busy for a year.

John

ORN June 16: 40 minutes, 4/2
ORN June 17: 2 hours, 20 minutes, 4/2. Best guess, about 10 miles.

PS: The photo is from a trail run that Jenny and I took here in Anchorage a few years ago. Turns out, I shouldn't have been that close to the moose.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Walk the Walk

There are going to be days like this.

Yesterday I did my 5 minute warm up and started to run. I had already decided that I was too tired to do the 10/1 that I had done the day before. My plan was to do a 4/2 pattern for 45 minutes or so. That was the plan.

Three running steps was all it took to convince me that running was OUT of the question. But, I felt too good to turn around and go home. It was a BEAUTIFUL day. I had to stay out. So, I walked.

More importantly, I TRAINED by walking. For me to get under 5 hours in Chicago I MUST get better/faster at walking. I need to train to walk. Yesterday was the day to do just that.

Today was a travel day. Tomorrow I'm hoping to get in a calm 5 mile trail run.

John

ORN: Tuesday, June 13; 60 minutes of brisk walking.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The Training Affect

A couple of years ago one of the participants in Jenny's winter 1/2 marathon training program came up to me and said: "Hey, this training actually seems to work." She was able to run/walk farther, sometimes faster, and in general was seeing marked improvement.

What SHOCKED me was that the woman was a doctor! A doctor! And it had never occurred to her that her body would react well to cautious increases in mileage and speed.

On my timed run yesterday, along my favorite lakefront path, I noticed that I was going a lot farther than I did just a few weeks ago. I felt as silly as that doctor. I forgot that training WORKS.

So, I'm encouraged. I'm a little stiffer than I'd like to be but my "training" has been consistent and it seems to be paying off.

John

ORN: Monday, June 12; 44 minutes, 10/1 plus 5 min w/u and 5 c/d.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Rain and Rest

YIKES! When it rains it pours. And I mean POURS.

The Saturday training run was a wet and wild affair. I was helping with the 3/2 group and THANK GOODNESS it was a cut-back week and we only had to do 5 miles. This was the hardest rain I've run in since Athens in 2001. I actually ran in rain pants and a Marmot rain jacket. No running gear was going to work.

Sunday was clear and cool - almost cold. Perfect day to rest the weary legs and go explore the backroads of Wisconsin on a motorcycle. We've found a "biker" restaurant - a place with a HUGE parking lot that turns into a motorcycle show on Saturdays and Sundays - to eat and hang out. Great fun.

This is a strange week. Off to Seattle on Wednesday, Anchorage on Thursday, back to Seattle on Saturday, and then off on the cruise on Sunday!

John

ORN: Saturday, June 10: 5 miles, 3/2 in the POURING rain.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Week in Review

It's FRIDAY! And not a day too soon.

It seems like three weeks ago, but looking back, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon was a huge success. Mike Reilly and I were working the microphones at the finish line and had a GREAT time. We actually "called" the men's race on the JumboTron. It was like doing play-by-play at a football game.

I did NOT want to get up and run on Monday, but, because I've switched from running to training I did. I got in my 8 miles [tracked with my Garmin, so I know I got in the distance] using a 4/2 run/walk interval.

Wednesday I tried doing my daily run using a 10/1 run/walk interval and I'm pleased to say that it worked very well. Stretching the run during the week seems to help with the long runs on the weekends.

Tuesday and Thursday were motorcycle days. No, it's not exactly cross-training, but sometimes you've just got to ride.

We're scrambling just a little trying to get ready for the Cruise. I can't wait!

John

ORN: Monday, June 5: 8 miles along San Diego Bay. I used 4/2 because my legs were so wasted from the weekend.
ORN: Wednesday, June 7: 44 minutes, 10/1 plus 5 minutes walking warm up.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rock 'n' Roll

There are some experiences that become watersheds - mile markers - in one's life. The Rock 'n' Roll marathon in San Diego is one of those experiences. I was here first, in 1998, as part of the Runner's World pace team. The column had only been in the magazine for 2 years, "the Penguin" phenomenon was just getting started, and I could never have predicted what would happen over the next 8 years.

In 1999 my son, Terry, and I rode Suzuki motorcycles from New York to San Diego and then ran the marathon. Other years have been just as significant for personal and professional reasons. But, all together, they have become the "Rock 'n' Roll" experience. It's always special.

This year is no exception - except - this year everything just feels right. I'm not sure why - there's nothing really all that different - but there is a calm and a peace about it that has been missing in other years. For that, I'm glad.

John

ORN: Friday, June 2: 45 minutes, 9/1
ORN: Satuday, June 3: 40 minutes, 9/1

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Paying the Piper

Yesterday was Memorial Day. Back when I was in the US Army Band, in Washington, DC, we always played at some official ceremony, usually at the Tomb of the Unknowns. It was always a solumn occasion, made more so because we were deep into the Vietnam War and all the controversy.

This Memorial Day I wasn't a soldier, I was just a runner. But, passing by Montrose Harbor I heard the sound of Pipers. Sure enough, there was a ceremony going on and this time I was running through it. I'm not debating the rights or wrongs of any war, I can only say that for me - as a veteran - I am moved by the sacrifice that others have made on my behalf.

And I took that moment to be grateful that on a sunny Monday afternoon I could run along my favorite lakefront path without fear. Not everyone can say that.

John

ORN: Long run. 7 miles, 5/1. Used the Garmin to try to stay on pace. The heat was amazing, and I had to back off to about a 12:30 pace.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A river runs through it

Some cities just have it figured out. Chicago does. New York does. Ottawa does.

This year I had a chance to get in some running in Ottawa. The river, the locks, the canal are all in the heart of the downtown. The parliment building, the supreme court, and many of the other "capitol" type buildings are right here too. It's beautiful.

On Thursday I had a bit of trouble finding my way down to the path. There are steps that lead from the parliment buildings down to the river, but you have to know where they are. I didn't. So after a couple of laps AROUND the buildings I finally made way to main entrance to the locks.

I had time, it was a beautiful day, and I wanted to see the path, so I opted to walk for 25 minutes then run a 4/2 pattern for 60 minutes. I went along the river side of the locks. Someone much smarter than me can figure out what direction that was.

On Friday, I didn't have as much time so I chose a 9/1 pattern and went the OTHER way, along the canal. Like other big city runs, you've got the runners and bikers, bladers and dog walkers all out there 'doing their thing'. It's a great way to meet the people.

If you ever find yourself in Ottawa, bring your shoes. You're going to want to run or walk the paths.

John

ORN: Thursday; off the training schedule; 25 minutes walking, 60 minutes at 4/2
ORN: Friday; on schedule; 40 minutes, 9/1 with 5 minute warm up.
ORN: Saturday; rest day [all day standing at the expo!]

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Great White North

Greetings from Ottawa, Canada. It's a beautiful day here and I'm looking forward to getting in a run later today.

Working backwards, Jenny, David, and I spent Monday and Tuesday in Randleman, North Carolina visiting the Victory Junction Gang Camp and meeting with folks in the Petty organization. I even got to meet Richard Petty himself! Very cool. And if you don't KNOW who Richard Petty is, you should find out. There's something GREAT that's going to happen but we can't say much yet.

Having "the Coach" along with us meant that we DID get up and run Tuesday morning even though we didn't have much time. I'm trying to stay on the training schedule.

I ended up running later in the day on Sunday - which was supposed to be a rest day - because I knew that there was NO way to run on Monday. So Monday was the rest day, Tuesday was a run day, and Wednesday will be a shorter run day. No, it's not EXACTLY what the schedule calls for, but it will have to do.

John

ORN: Sunday, 40 minutes, 9/1
ORN: Tuesday, 35 minutes, 9/1

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Running with Friends

Jenny's training program for the Chicago Distance Classic and Chicago marathon had their first training session yesterday. It's amazing to see over 300 folks gather to START a training schedule.

One of the charities is matching inner city high school students with running mentors. They goal is for them to traing together for either the CDC or marathon. We had about 25 students with their mentors yesterday for the first 4 mile run. I helped with the group and we did a 3/2 run/walk. IT WAS FANTASTIC.

How fun to see all these young people out on the path running side-by-side with their "training buddy". It will be a life changeing expierence for all of us if we can keep them motivated to see the training through.

It was a great reminder of why I REALLY do this.

John

ORN: 4 miles, 54 minutes, 3/2
OBN: Rode my city bike to and from the "Learn to Run" kickoff. About 7 miles total

Friday, May 19, 2006

Accountability

I love to run. I used to like to train. Now I love to run, but I'm not all that kicked up about training. For me there's always been a big difference between running and training. You don't need a reason to run. All you do is run. It doesn't matter how fast or how far. You can run 7 days a week, or 3 days a week. It doesn't matter.

Training is - well - training. There's a REASON to run. EVERY time you run. There's a time or a distance, a pace or a purpose, EVERY time you put on your shoes. And that's the part I'm trying to get used to again.

I hate to keep bringing up Goofy, but that was the biggest physical accomplishment of my life. Not record times, but record preparation, record mental toughness, and a record "gut check". And I've got all three medals to prove it. But it wore me out.

So, I've GOT to get in a training program. The only way I'm going to get ready for a 5 hour marathon this fall is to train. Sounds simple. IS simple. I've just got get my head around it.

John

ORN: 40 minutes, 9/1. I wore my Garmin and actually tried to keep track of pace a little bit. If I'm going to get under 5 hours, I'm going to have to do some speed work.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Saddle Up

The weather here in Chicago has been the strangest that I can remember. It's rained every day for something like 40 days. I'm about to build an Ark.

Worse, it alternates between sunshine and rain [and hail last night] without warning. There's no telling what it's going to do next. Makes planning the day a bit tricky.

I got my run in yesterday during the sunny window. Today, I rode my bicycle in and out of three short downfalls. Strange. That's all there is to it.

But, I'm ON the training plan. Today was a cross-training day and I got it in. 3 days isn't a season, but it's a start.

Waddle on,

John

ORN: May 17: 45 minutes, 9/1 with 12 minutes of walking to warm up and cool.
OBN: May 18: 50 minutes, road bike. First ride of the season.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Keeping up

YIKES! And double YIKES.

You would think, being a writer, that blogging would be the easiest thing imaginable. After all, it's just writing. And I write all the time.

Well, you'd be wrong. But, I may have found the solution.

I decided on Saturday that I am going to train for the LaSalle Bank Chicago Marathon. More than that, I have accepted the challenge of trying to complete it in under 5 hours. I THINK that the last time I ran a marathon in under 5 hours was Disney 1999. So, I've got my work cut out for me.

So, I've got a training program, a goal, and a plan. This, I should be able to write about.

John

ORN: Started TODAY with a 40 minute run using 9/1 run/walk ratio.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Which way is up?

Oh good grief. I apologize to those of you who read this on a regular basis. I've been away, busy, and without access to the internet until yesterday.

I can't even begin to catch up, but, this past weekend Jenny and I were in Indianapolis for the 30th running of the 500 Festival Indy Mini [half marathon]. It's a fantastic race - 35,000 participants this year - and this year was special because they brought back former winners Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter, among others.

The REALLY cool news is that Daniel [who some of you have met at our races] came in 2nd to the 2001 winner of the Chicago Marathon. NOT TOO BAD. He ran close to his PR - 1:03:30 or so. For those of you who DON'T know, John Bingham Racing sponsors Daniel. It's a small way to give back to the sport that's given me so much.

I did manage to get in some running, including what I'm now calling my "Better than Nothing" workout. Essentially the BTN workout is getting in SOMETHING rather than doing NOTHING.

I'm off to give a commencement address - if you can imagine - at Jackson Community College in Jackson, Michigan. I've been invited by a guy that I went to undergraduate school with - and haven't seen since 1968! Life is FUNNY.

John

ORN: BEST I CAN REMEMBER

May 4: 50 minutes
May 5: 40 minutes
May 7: 30 minutes, BTN
May 9: 50 minutes

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A Dandy-Lion Run

This was one of those wonderful days. I'm home, so I got to run from MY apartment, down MY street, to MY path along MY lake. Sure, others may think it's THEIR path and THEIR lake, but I know better.

The deep green grass was covered with bright yellow dandelions, the sky was light blue, the water dark blue... it was a picture perfect setting. I chose to do a 4/2 sequence because I really wanted to stay out as long as I could.

Everything about this run was a reminder of why I run. I am feeling very grateful today.

John

ORN: 75 minutes, 4/2 at an easy pace along the north end of Belmont Harbor.

Monday, May 01, 2006

On the Road, again

For those of you who have been following along the past month or so, you've got a pretty good idea of what life is like this time of year. There's LOTS of travel, lots of hotel rooms, and LOTS of meeting and greeting people.

This past weekend was the Country Music Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in Nashville. I have a special interest in this event for a couple of reasons. One, I lived in the Nashville area for a number of years, so I know the running community there. And, Tim Murphy [from Elite Racing] and I talked about this race years ago. Just to show you how WRONG I can be, I told him that I didn't think the event would be successful. And I was right for the first few years, but they have it ALL going on now.

They added a 1/2 marathon in 2002 and that has made all the difference. There were 17,000 participants in the HALF and only about 5,000 in the full. That's pretty typical these days when there's a half and full option. To be honest, given the "rolling" nature of the Nashville course, the 1/2 is the BEST choice.

It's a great race. Elite does a wonderful job and the success of the race is evidence of that.

One of the big changes I've made in my running is the "get it in" even if I can't get MUCH in. I was able to run three times over the weekend and that's a first.

I'm home for 3 days [which seems like a lot] and then off to the Indy Mini this weekend.

John

ORN: Thursday, April 27; 50 minutes, 5/1 around Centennial Park in Nashville
ORN: Friday, April 28; 30 minutes, 4/1 PLUS 30 minutes just walking.
ORN: Sunday, April 30: 45 minutes, 4/2 PLUS 30 minutes, walking.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Home Sweet Home

My body is in the central time zone, but I'm not sure where my brain is. I'm back from London, just in time to get ready to leave for Nashville.

The Flora-London marathon is - simply put - one of the world's GREAT events. And it is an event, make no mistake. There's some racing going on near the front, but for most of the 35,000 participants it's a chance to live out a life's dream.

In case you haven't heard, American Deena Kaster won the women's race in a new American record of 2:19:38. She just looked fantastic as she ran a rock-solid race with dead-even splits. She's amazing. The men's race came down to the finish line sprint with Felix Nemo getting there first.

I got to enjoy the VIP treatment, which is VERY nice. As you would expect from the English it was VERY civilized with a lovely breakfast and then covered grandstand seats at the finish. It would be easy to get spoiled.

But, I did manage to run 4 times so I'm feeling good about keeping up with my training plan.

John

ORN: Saturday, April 22: 60 minutes, 4/2. A nice slow, longer run along the Thames River.
ORN: Sunday, April 23: 0, marathon day
ORN: Monday, April 24: 50 minutes, 5/1; longer loop along the north and south sides of the Thames. I had an 8 1/2 hour flight later that day and I wanted to at least get moving.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Jolly Old England

I'm in London for the Flora-London Marathon. It's my 9th trip for the marathon, and it's beginning to seem like old home week. I'm not running it this year [I ran it 7 years in a row], but I am speaking 11 times at the Expo. Whew!

London is a great city and the marathon reflects that greatness. It just so happens that today is the Queen's 80th birthday, so there's a bit more celebration in the air than normal.

What distinuishes the London marathon is the number of charity runners, AND, how many charities there are. It is one of the greatest experiences ever running through the streets of London to what amounts to a 26.2 mile standing ovation.

I've been working, but have managed to squeeze in some running. Even if I don't have time for a FULL run, I get in what I can.

John

ORN: Wednesday: 0
ORN: Thursday: 40 minutes, 5/1, along the Thames River
ORN: Friday: 35 minutes, 5/1, along the Thames. [same route, just at a quicker pace]

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Birthdays and Beantown

Lots happening, but not much time to tell about it.

We spent Thursday and Friday with my son's [Terry] family celebrating the twins' [Hunter and Siena] 1st birthday. It was wonderful. Hard for all of us to believe it's been a year.

Yesterday and today I'm in Boston for the marathon expo. Boston is a special place, no question about it. The energy here is different than any other marathon.

Then it's home and off to London.

I've run 7 seven days in a row, which is VERY unusual for me. I'm going to take a day off and then see how I feel.

John

ORN: Thursday, 35 minutes, 4/1 with Terry and Jenny
ORN: Friday, 50 minutes along the GW Parkway, 5/1
ORN: Saturday, 40 minutes in the Boston Commons