Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 1,308: A cavalcade of running

CHICAGO -- Today was expo day for the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon. After a nice 4-mile run in the Bemis Woods Forest Preserve, we ended up downtown.

It was one of the best expos I've been to. Mainly because McCormick Place is a pretty big space and it didn't have a super crowded feel to it.

And Brooks, the running shoe maker, added creatively to what's normally a bazaar of stalls of people trying to sell you things.

Their take on it was the "Cavalcade of Curiosities," which was a carnival set up. You filled out a drawing a the "Tickets" booth, then went to see what you won instantly. I won a neat blue Brooks water bottle. My mom and the fiancee won "Running Freak" bumper stickers.

They had other games as well and a running "fortune teller" booth. Plus another drawing for shoes at a carnival sideshow called the "Human Jesus Lizard." It was kind of Brooks running company meets Dead Red Redemption.

Brooks had cool shirts and other items to buy -- I bought another Chicago Half Marathon wicking T-shirt and a like-themed guitar magnet.

They were offering $55 entries to next year's Chicago Half Marathon (Aug. 21, 2011) but I couldn't pull the trigger. That's because I can't wait to run in tomorrow's race.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Day 1,307: Tune-up races

Today I paid my entry fee for the Sept. 19 Kennesaw Locomotive Half Marathon. This race is exactly three weeks before the Oct. 10 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

On Sunday, of course I'll be running in the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon. Pretty excited about this. Even though the course won't be the same as the Chicago Marathon, it will be in the same general area.

Today the Hammer of Dawn had no juice in it, so I relied on my Nike+ iPod sensor to keep track of my run.

Time: 8:30 a.m.
Temp: 78 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Day 1,306: Beltline (Monroe to Freedom Parkway)

This morning we went along the Beltline after I saw the Art on the Beltline website.

What made me curious is the start is so close to Piedmont Park. You can pick it up on Monroe after 10th Street ends. What you get is mainly a rough gravel path, somewhat in need of weed-wacking in parts. You amble by art projects, the occasional stolen shopping cart, and pulled up rail ties.

What makes the run fabulous to me are the pedestrian bridges over Ponce de Leon and North avenues. I'd never been across them, so it was very novel to see these main arteries from above.

We reached the Freedom Parkway overpass (and a big arty yurt underneath it) at 1.65 miles. It was a little bit of a climb to get back on the Freedom Parkway PATH but nice to be running on paved ground again.

Time: 7:29 a.m.
Temp: 75 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach 10K '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Day 1,304: The urban way to train for a marathon

I've always envied my aunt and her city for the ease with which she can train for the Honolulu Marathon each year.

It's so dense in that city that you don't have to run too far without shops and other places to get water or even find a bathroom.

Now that I'm training for the Chicago Marathon, I've been torn between running on a nice suburban rail-to-trail or running around in the 'hood.

The Silver Comet trail would give me the exact distance I would need. There are no cars out but I'd have to make sure I carried enough water.

Today, I ran out in the 'hood. Following the ING Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon routes make it easy, especially the half-marathon route.

At about 5 miles into the run I'm able to duck inside my office building for some water, restrooms and most importantly, a place to swap out my shirt.

Even though it was about 74 degrees out, my shirt was completely done by 5 miles. I now store extra cotton T-shirts at work for whenever my technical T-shirts are too soaked to continue.

At the Highland-Baker/Piedmont intersection, I wavered between continuing on Piedmont to North and back up Central Park like in the ING route. But the truth is, I hate the Central Park hills and was worried that it would stall out my run. One advantage of running to North Avenue is the Publix there, which would provide anything you need.

At times once reaching Euclid Avenue and Little Five Points, I've thought about stopping for Powerade at the corner Chevron. But each time I've talked myself out of it knowing that I can probably make the less than a mile to Buddy's on North Highland and North avenues, or even the CVS on North Highland about a half-mile more away. A little off the course, there's a Publix just west of Ponce de Leon and North Highland avenues.

So I just continued on and ended up stopping back at my place to swap out another shirt before finishing the last mile of the run. I drank a quart and one glass of Gatorade, as an example of how dehydrated I get. I'm glad that I've bought the bulk Gatorade powder from my last trip to the 'Comet and the Hiram WalMart.

At the very end I thought about turning into the park to round out 13 miles but then thought it's unnecessary since I'm going to run in the Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon on Sunday.

I'm about a week behind where I should be on my running but as long as I find ways to get out there for a long run -- and get out there early enough -- I hopefully will be ok.

Time: 8:15 a.m. (should get out earlier!)
Temp: 74 degrees (increased to 81 degrees by end of run)
Gear: CFSST (New Balance red), SST (Full Tilt), CFSST (Shamrock 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Day 1,300: A thousand-mile cat

Today I got up for a short but brutal run. Already about 80 degrees and 85 percent humidity. The good news was that I was about to hit two milestones.

The first is 1,300 consecutive days of running. The start seems so far away now. Every good thing that's happened in the last three and a half years stems from that New Year's Day in 2007.

The second is that I've reached 1,000 miles of running for the year. It's probably the quickest I've reached this mark -- last year I didn't get there until Sept. 25, the day before my 1,000th consecutive day of running and the Big Peach Sizzler 10K.

But there are other things to worry about ahead -- how to plan for the Chicago Marathon amid really brutal heat and possibly an equally hot Chicago half marathon the weekend after next.

Time: 8:45 a.m.
Temp: 80 degrees (85 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Charles Harris '09), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 1,295: A new clip case

Today after our run, I noticed that my iPod nano case had detached from its clip. It turned out the part that snaps the clip into place with the clear iPod case was broken and after five months it was time to get a new one.

Not that big of a deal. I went to Best Buy and bought another Griffin iClear case. This time they were discounted to $23 from the $30 that I paid for it before. I see on Amazon clip cases are even cheaper, like 1 or 2 cents, so I might get one of those as a backup.

Not too much to report today. I started out sluggish but now note from my data we ran mile 1.5 to 2.5 at a 7:53/mile pace, which is probably the fastest we've run a mile for just training in recent memory.

Time: 11 a.m.
Temp: 78 degrees (81 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9 red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 1,294: An inexplicable mild day

This morning, even though we weren't out until a quarter til 9, it was a very nice day to be out and running. A nice breeze plus it was slightly overcast so it didn't feel too hot out.

Did the IKEA run. It actually wasn't open yet (its restaurant opens at 9:30 a.m.) so we returned over the 17th Street bridge and then up Peachtree to 14th and back into the park.

Time: 8:44 a.m.
Temp: 74 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Day 1,288: Back on the Silver Comet

DALLAS, Ga. -- It's been 14 months since I last ran on the Silver Comet but today I woke up late and knew I should try to get in a quality run in.

I decided I would go to the Paulding Chamber of Commerce trailhead, even though I had never been there before. I tried to use my Sprint GPS navigation on my cell phone but ultimately the reception out there was too shoddy to use.

The Hiram trailhead is pretty easy to find. You just drive down the highway until you see the Home Depot in Hiram and then just turn down Depot Drive. It's maybe less than a mile down that drive, through a 4-way stop.

I continued on the highway and saw a sign that indicated that you should do a U-turn for the Silver Comet parking. Once I did that, I saw another sign telling me to turn right. The sign for the Paulding County Health Department is easily seen at the turn.

I parked and then got out my new 100-oz. Camelbak and went on my way, taking pictures. My goal was to go to the Pumpkinvine Creek Trestle, about 3.5 miles away, cross it, then turn around and possibly link up with the trail in between Milepost 16 and the Paulding trailhead that I hadn't run yet.

About a mile out from the Paulding trailhead is the Tara Drummond Trailhead, which contains water fountains, parking and restrooms.

I continued on and about a mile from the trestle is the Rambo Trailhead, which I believe has the same kinds of things.

I started drinking from my CamelBak about 2 miles in and about every half mile or so.

Once I crossed the creek on the trestle, I turned around and headed back. I felt okay but near the end of my run I felt like it was too hot for me to do the last loop. I was fine for the long run that I'd done for the day.

This segment was really beautiful and there were lots of bikers along the path.

Time: 2 p.m.
Temp: 93 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Cherry Blossom 10-Miler), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 1,287: Hammer of Dawn offline

Today the Hammer of Dawn was out of juice so I just decided to run with my Nike iPod+ sensor instead. It usually shorts me three- or four-tenths of a mile when I run but I just decided to run with it anyway.

Went to do a cat check but also wanted to do a run to close out the week. So I did the Spring Street loop. When I started the weather was really nice and breezy -- like 76 degrees or so. That rose to 81 and felt a little warm but in the end things were ok.

It was nice having a leisurely week after the Peachtree 10K but now I should start doing my long runs in earnest. Hopefully the weather will cooperate -- July seems like it's been pretty mild compared to previous years.


Today I also was able to recover my Cannondale mountain bike from a friend who had borrowed it for about a year and a half. I rode it down the Freedom Park PATH and it was quite fun, even though the tires were half flat. I didn't have a helmet, something I don't usually do, but I was pretty careful with the ride and it turned out ok.

Time: 9:45 a.m.
Temp: 76 degrees to 81 degrees
Gear: CFSST (New Balance red), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Day 1,286: High noon, high heat

Today I ran really late, after it was noon. It probably was one of the hottest days I've ever run during the streak.

But the humidity was pretty low and there was at least the slightest of breezes. All of it reminded me of running in Sunset Park in Las Vegas.

Just less than a block from my fiancee's place a lady shouted out "On your left." So irritating. The spandex-shorts-jogging-bra blonde was running past me with a dog. It's really your responsibility to watch out for the dog, not to bother other runners.

Time: 12:15 p.m.
Temp: 96.9 degrees (39 percent humidity)
Gear: CFSST (Champion C9), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26B.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Day 1,285: Heat is back

Had a nice run around my Edgewood loop today after dropping the fiancee off at the airport.

It started off at 76 degrees (77 percent humidity) and increased/decreased to 86 degrees and 61 percent humidity. I struggled on the Stillwood hill and was happy to make it home.

Had some time to do some calculations. Today's 5-mile run makes it 4,083.01 miles since the streak began 1,285 days ago. An average of 3.17 miles a day, a 5K a day for more than three and a half years.

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 76 degrees to 86 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Big Peach 10K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Day 1,281: A Peachtree 10K "A" lister

On my sixth running of the Peachtree 10K, I had a nice thought in mind -- to qualify for next year's Time Group A.

That meant running the race in less than 50 minutes. Last year was my best time and I did it in 53 minutes. That was good enough for Time Group B. (A few months later during the November 2009 Strong Legs 10K, I qualified for Time Group A).

The things I had going for me was 1). The weather. It was about 67 degrees at the 7:30 a.m. race start.

I also had my speedy running partner. We started out and although we were running at a really good clip, it felt like a training run. We kept a fast pace through the first three miles of the course and my time during mile 4, up Cardiac Hill was 7:48, which was faster than last year's best time at that mile, 8:00.

In all five past years, I paid the price for Mile 4 by losing time on Mile 5, the second set of double hills. Last year I only lost 32 seconds in the mile. This year I lost only 4 seconds, running it in 7:52.

Each split time this year was faster than I've ever run a split in the Peachtree. My fiancee got about 3 seconds ahead of me in the last mile of the race, but I caught up with her right at the very end and we crossed the finish line together at 48:14.

I was super happy at the finish, knowing that I accomplished my goal. I have to wonder that with another race I might break my 10K PR, perhaps at the February Charles Harris 10K.

After the race, they had lots of great things for the first time -- including Georgia Peaches and Blue Bell ice cream. I was a little bummed though that this was the first time they didn't give out Diet Cokes at the end. It was always a nice feeling to know you'd be doing a hard race and would be greeted with some liquid sunshine at the end.

Time: 7:30 a.m.
Temp: 67-71 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Patagonia red), Mizuno (red stripe) shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Day 1,280: The Peachtree Expo

This year you had to pay an extra fee to have your Peachtree 10K race number and packet mailed to you. Since I work near the expo site, I decided to pick up my race number today.

Generally, race expos are pretty fun -- there are plenty of free samples of things, drawings to enter and neat gear to buy.

I didn't get out of there without paying $20 for a red New Balance technical shirt. I picked up a couple of reusable grocery bags and even got a mini Moon Pie.

This afternoon I spent most of the time analyzing my split times for recent races, fast training runs and even previous Peachtree 10Ks.

I guess it's hard to tell how well you'll do until you're in the middle of it. Like many races I don't plan on working too hard although those are the times that I end up with good race times.

I'm definitely ready for the race, the only thing that remains now is to have fun through it.

Light run today, hopefully this week's long taper will help!

Time: 9 a.m.
Temp: 73 degrees
Gear: CFSST (Green Dash 5K), shorts, Nike Air Pegasus+ 26/B.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Day 1,278: The next 100 days

Today I noticed on the Bank of America Chicago Marathon's website that the race is a little more than 100 days away.

Unlike in January when I decided I would run in the ING Georgia Marathon, Chicago seems so far away.

I feel like my conditioning is just as good as then, if not better. I think the main thing is that I won't know until race day whether I've truly prepared for the race and who knows what wrinkle will be created, like getting leg cramps at Mile 15.

Despite this, I feel like my focus is pretty good. All of my training now has the race in mind. I'm still planning on running several races in between now and then, including Sunday's Peachtree 10K, the July 31 Rock'n'Roll Chicago Half Marathon and possibly the Sept. 6 US 10K Classic.

But I won't be specifically training for them, although each race likely will help my overall conditioning and mindset for the marathon.

So who knows? Who knows if I'll be able to do long runs in Atlanta's very high heat. But I will give myself every chance to cross the finish line -- in 100 days.