This is my life. Sometimes shown through the eye of my camera phone, and sometimes not. I'll talk running, gadgets, music, and whatever else I stumble on to

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

I Knee'd this to work, please.


I'm babysitting a pain in my left knee that popped up while I was on the tail end of doing 3 miles on the treadmill last Saturday before a planned long run on Sunday. I've only logged slightly over 9 miles since my last 5K on Oct. 21- that's down from my weekly 13 miles to date.

I just don't feel like I'm running my natural pace on a treadmill. It almost seems like I'm forcing myself and not relaxing properly. Both of my knee problems came from running on that damn thing, so I'm sticking to something a bit more natural like trails or the running track. I'm just not doing something right, and it pisses me off.

Positive #1:
I'm taking a few days rest to ice it up. On a "pain scale" of 1 to 10, I'd say it's only 1 or a zero when I walk on it. I was further encouraged by some rigorous weight lifting sessions and some serious walking with no pain whatsoever.

Positive #2:
I successfully rehabbed my right knee from some pain I suffered on the treadmill while training for my first 5K back in September. It's encouraging to know I did this on my own, and if I do things right, I'll lick this one in no time.

Negative #1:
I feel the need to RUN! I have so much energy right now, I feel I can run 100 miles in one hour- SERIOUSLY. But I'm patient and hold high hopes that I will get through this one too.

As my mileage increases, I expect my body to go through some changes. I'm already seeing incredible results physically, and am accomplishing things I never knew I was capable of. It keeps me motivated and happy.

Only 22 days until the 8K Turkey Trot in Chicago!

This will be my last race until 2008. I've got plans to run the big guns (26 milers) next year, so I've got work to do.

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Thank You's and Congrats

I'd like to thank The Complete Running Network for including this website in their Running Blog Family of links. You can visit the site here or at this post here.

Speaking of running links, I've added a few of my own favorite running blog links in my Links section along the right side under the title Favorite Running Blogs:

These blogs serve as inspiration to me to continue my new found love for running.

Lastly, congrats to my friend Lorena for finishing the 26.2 mile Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC on Oct. 28!! She was one of the many who never got to finish the fiasco that was the 2007 Chicago Marathon and soon after booked a flight to Washington, DC. with a friend to finish what she started. Congrats! Wear that medal proudly!

Come to think of it, traveling for a weekend to somewhere (WARM) to run a race doesn't sound like a bad idea after all.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

School is in and other ramblings

(thanks for the pic Lorena!)

Sharpen those pencils

Well, after almost five years, I started back up with my classes at Columbia to get that long awaited Bachelors in Information Systems. You see, I got my first job in IT a week after I graduated high school, so I've been fitting in classes here and there since I didn't get to go to college full time. The opportunity was there, so I took it. The world of IT is an ever changing monster, and I've been fortunate enough that my employers foot the bill for the battery of techie certifications under my belt, and now this continuing education. Although it seems it will take me to the end of time to finish, I'm glad to again be using areas of my brain I haven't used in a while.

Oh, and I picked up my mail yesterday to find my employer's service award packet offering me gifts after TEN YEARS of service to them come March 2008- that's TEN YEARS people! I've never been at a job longer than eight, yet I feel blessed that I'm in the situation that I'm in- I think I'll look for something sparkly, or perhaps that cool looking telescope...

An 8K upgrade

I've registered to run the 8K (~5 miles) Turkey Trot held in Chicago's Lincoln Park on Thanksgiving day. The most I've run is five miles, but it wasn't pretty. Both of my 5K races were strong efforts, so I feel pretty confident going the extra distance if I train right. I'll have to admit that doing the races not only keeps me motivated to keep working out, but they're quite addicting!

A Hallo-weenie weekend

I'm not too sure what I'm doing for Halloween yet. I'm finding it hard to motivate myself to dress up- is that a sign that I'm too old perhaps? I think this year I'll join my nieces and nephews on their trick-or-treat routes and scam some candy while dressed in some of my costumes from previous years.

Happy hauntings!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rainbow Sweater

I once saw a man with a rainbow sweater.
I'm sure it made him feel comfy and dry.
His day may have been sad, and it made him feel better.
But I soon had to cover my eyes!

J. Mendoza '07

Funny how the socks on the rack to his right match his sweater. He should of picked some up while he was at it.

... at the grocery store.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

A personal record: Fox Chase 5K

Fox Chase 5K t-shirt and personal best

(click photo to visit my Flickr)

What: Fox Chase 5k Run, Fox River Grove, IL
Oct. 21, 2007
Start time: 9:00 a.m.

Finish time: 00:26:01:08 (a new PR)
Old 5k time: 00:27:35:01
Overall finish place: 58 out of 129
Overall Male finish place: 51 out of 89
Overall Age group finish place: 11 out of 13
Average time per mile: 08:23:05

It's a new personal record for me, which I am very happy about. Race organizers weren't kidding when they boasted how challenging and hilly the course was.

Mile1: This isn't so bad. The start was on a rural street surrounded by homes. There are a lot of young Whipper Snappers competing in the race. My guess is they come from the local high school. The course is mostly flat during this first mile. My minutes per mile was 8:21 which was faster than I would of liked considering what was in front of me. Still, my pace felt good, and I felt strong. I can already see the first hill ahead. This should be fun...

Mile 2: What goes up, must come down: The hills seem big. They're rolling hills with sloping grades that seem to take forever to get over. My pace dropped down to 8:43 per mile, but the hills keep coming one after the other. Some curve around, others are straight and have fast drops. All I could do is hope to keep pace and not fall flat on my face on the way down. My legs hurt a bit more than usual, and I begin to wonder what I'd gotten myself into. I slow down to about 9 minutes per mile to save energy for the end. I'd already passed the lone water stop around 1.5 miles. And yes, I'm struggling to get the water out of my nose. I have to practice that whole running-while-drinking thing. My urge to walk some of these hills is strong, but I muscle forward.

Mile 3: Enough with the hills already: The hills keep coming, and they are wearing me down. I've picked up the pace after looking at my watch and seeing that I may just set my personal best time. I still feel strong, but my shins are a bit sore from running the hills. My practice runs on the hilly Independence Grove trails served me well, and I seem to be coping. I just wish the hills would stop. The runners are spread pretty far by this time, but I'm coming up fast to those in front of me.

The home stretch: It's all downhill from here: I'd memorized the streets coming up to the finish line, so I know when to pick up the pace. I'm back down to about 8:20 per mile and go even faster. I give it my all when I round the last corner at Algonquin road and thank the gods that's its a downhill stretch. I pass up the guy that passed me up around mile 2 and it felt good. My watch is telling me I'm due for a personal best, so I give it everything I have. I felt my foot sink into a small pot hole as I turned toward the finish line, and I thought I was going finally meet the concrete face-to-face, but I make it through in one piece. One of those young Whipper Snappers passed me at the last minute, but it's OK, I've made it. A personal best!

I went through quite a few emotions during this race that I'd never felt before. There were times when I ran with no one else around me, so my conscience would wander into that Dark Place. The Dark Place is where you begin to ask yourself why you're even doing this in the first place. Why am I putting myself through this pain? Why couldn't I've of gone fishing on this beautiful day instead of struggling through these hills?

The Dark Place is not where I like to be. I thought about my life up to this point, my successes, and most of all, my failures. I'd lost things that were important in my life, and thought about how much they meant to me. To me, right now, during this race, finishing meant the world. I was doing it for me and me alone, and I felt wonderful, and at peace.

In the end, I persevered. I met my demons face to face and I conquered all- even though I knew it wouldn't be the last I'd see of them.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Spirit of the Marathon documentary

I get chills every time I watch this.

A preview of the upcoming documentary titled "Spirit of the Marathon" as it follows five runners (three amateurs and two elites) as they train to run the 26.2 mile Chicago Marathon.

Set for release 1st quarter of 2008.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

0:27:35 or Bust: Fox Chase 5K

What: The 2007 Fox Chase 5K Run. I'll be running my 2nd 5K race with the hope of beating or matching my previous 5K time.

Where: Algonquin Road School, 975 Algonquin Rd., Fox River Grove, IL (map link). Parking is available at the Algonquin Road School parking lots.

When: Sunday, Oct. 21. Start time is 9 a.m.

How: With all of the might I can muster.

(course map)

There are a few things I need to fix from lessons learned doing my first 5K (3.11 miles), and although I'm running to just finish the race, my 2nd goal is to beat my previous 5K time of 0:27:35. I'm fairly optimistic considering the course appears to be quite challenging.

I can't wait.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Feed me Seymour! Feed me!

A unique side affect of my conditioning in preparation for next years Chicago Marathon is that I'm a bit hungrier than usual! I guess as I pile on the miles (now up to 12 a week) and burn those calories, my body is constantly telling me I need fuel to keep it up. Still, I'm not straying too far from my regular eating schedule, but my meals are a little bigger and packed with healthy goodness- at least I'm trying!

It's really interesting how in tune I've gotten with what my body is telling me, depending on how hard I'm working at the time. If I didn't have my usual "power" snacks in the 4 hours between lunch and my workouts, I don't have enough energy to keep up. Even the breathing helps- three breathes to every step (3 in and 3 out) as opposed to two breathes for every step (2x2 per step) extends my runs even longer as the muscles get more oxygen to work harder.

So it's 9 a.m. on a Wednesday morning and I'm thinking a 12 inch pizza would be good right now! Cheese and pepperoni, or just cheese? And throw in a bagel for good measure, please.

Decisions decisions.


Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Blog Makeover

I took some time to fix up my blog a bit- I got tired of the standard Blogger design and got adventurous enough to fiddle with the code to make it look pretty.

The larger design you see up at the top is actually a photo of the large tattoo along my right shoulder and upper arm taken from this silly self portrait. The photo on the left is of my Treo.

I've added the "Top posts at Treonybbles" section along the right to highlight some of the more popular articles on here. I'll be adding more as they come along. The "My Shared Feed Clips" is also updated regularly to highlight some of the articles I've been reading as of late.

I wanted to give props to a neat web application that I bumped into not too long ago called Fotoflexer - it's basically a free online digital photo editor (advertiser supported). If you're not up to spending big bucks on photo editing software for your digital prints, this is a nice alternative- and you can use it on any computer with an internet connection because nothing has to be installed locally. The new graphics on this site were done using Fotoflexer. I highly recommend it!

Well, that's all for now. Thanks so much for sticking with me up to this point!

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Running Log 10/14/07

I ran my longest run to date this past Saturday- 5 miles. I felt strong all the way through until I came near to the end of my run- I was THIRSTY!

Still, I really enjoyed a change of scenery from the gym. I was focused so much on the trail in front of me, that I didn't really get to 'enjoy' the scenery until mile 4 when I took a few minutes to look around. I was north of the rt. 137 bridge, on the trail that runs over the wetland, just west of the park.

This run served up quite a few lessons:

1. Water is a runners BEST friend! Although I was properly hydrated, the sun unexpectedly came out around mile 3 and it quickly drained me out. I took a quick drink during my change of clothes at mile 2, but it wasn't enough. I know to carry some water with me next time.

2. Who said it was fall already? Although I was dressed for temperatures in the lower 50's, I was already regretting wearing those comfy, warm clothes after the first mile! Fortunately, I set up my makeshift "relief station" just after mile 2, and stripped down to my shirt and shorts- much better!

3. Must eat at least an hour before my run: I had something to eat before I set off, but I didn't run until after two hours of eating my breakfast. Although I didn't feel hungry, I didn't feel that energy you feel after a decent meal. I ended up taking my tasty strawberry/banana energy gel before setting off, and it did the trick.

As I was struggling, dying of thirst on my last mile, guess what song came on on my iPod? "It's the End of the World as we Know It" by R.E.M.! How convenient.

I couldn't help but laugh the rest of the way.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Run, Jesse, Run!

At Independence Grove setting off on my 5+ mile run.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone


Friday, October 12, 2007

Keeping sane is good for you

Ever since I've ratcheted up my workouts at the gym a couple of weeks before my previous 5K race, I've felt better. My body is going through some interesting changes as I introduce it to more rigorous workouts and healthier foods.

I've already run a total of 12.5 miles since Saturday and feel quite amazing, actually. I've been falling asleep so fast, and sleeping deeper than ever, that I wake up quite alert- it's an interesting feeling- kind of hard to describe. I've been experimenting with various foods that keep me fueled through the workouts, although my stomach can't help but wonder what the hell is going on! More carbs, protein, fruits, vegetables, yogurts, skim milk, power bars... I've never been so regular in my life.

After resting up this past Thursday, and a light workout today, I'll be hitting the trails at beautiful Independence Grove on Saturday for a semi-long run of 6 miles in preparation for my next 5K on Oct. 21. I can't wait to get outside and away from the gym for a while.

This weekend will be fairly tame. Saturday I may hit up the Extreme 2007 sports event in McHenry of which I have free tickets to from the radio station. Then, I've got to catch up on some Jstreet stuff on Sunday.

Next week will be interesting. I start classes on Oct. 22, so I have to reorganize my schedule to get my workouts in early in the morning instead of the afternoon, which will be reserved for school stuff.

Oh, and notice that "Nike+ Profile" box along the right column of my blog? I (and you) can track my runs as they happen with a new running gadget I've been playing with- more on that in a later post.

Bye for now!

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Running Log 10/8/07

Date: Saturday, Oct. 6
Total miles: 4.0
Total time: 40:02
Pace: 10:00.05 / mile
Grades: 3x at 5% for 1 minute each

I got up later than I wanted to on Saturday morning, so my original plan to run my 4 miles outside changed to going to the gym and hitting the treadmill. The temperature was already up in the upper 70’s when I was ready to run around 10:30 a.m. Considering I had a late night out at the Bad Religion concert the night before, I didn’t feel I was hydrated enough to take on the heat (darn beer!).

I still have to shave 5 minutes off of the 4 miles I did to compete with my 5K pace, but not too bad of a time. I got a brief scare while running one of the 5% grades at full speed (6.5 mph) when I felt a sharp pain in my left knee. After walking it off for a minute, I felt no pain when I started back up again. I was stupid not to back off my speed while doing those grades- I would naturally do this on pavement. Still, I think I need to do some more hill training to strengthen up.

I learned some good lessons checking out the Chicago Marathon this past Sunday. My heart goes out to the family of Chad Schieber who died during the intense heat of the race, and congrats to all of those runners that finished, and didn’t get to finish.

Next to stregnth training each day- Monday is sprint day, Wednesday I will do another 4.5 miles, and my long run for Saturday will be 5 or 6 miles.

Baby steps.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Chicago Marathon Finish Line

Update: One runner collapsed and died and over 300 were sent to area hospitals due to the intense heat. The race organizers decided to stop the marathon after four hours and turn runners back because it was so dangerous, and most water stations were out of liquids.


Truly inspirational. Period.

This wheelchair runner crept up the hill on Roosevelt Ave. towards the finish line along with 40,000 other runners.

The temperature reached a record high in the upper 80's, and the marathon had a record number of registrations.

I can't think of a bigger test of endurance and strength than this.

See you next year.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

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Chicago Marathon Mile 13

These are what the running world calls the Elite's. - runners that are built to finish long marathons in short times. These runners are still going at a fast pace with the course only half done.

Mile 13 finds the immense running field thinned out. At 9:30 a.m. I'm seeing the beginning of the pack. The runners have been on the streets for one hour and twenty minutes.

The crowds are incredibly huge and very loud.

Just awesome.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

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Chicago Marathon Mile 2

The runners are off!

Mile 2 marker at Adam's and State with 24 to go!

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Fix this first

The last time I checked, "Fix" and "Repair" mean the same thing?

Computer repair sign in the window at Circuit City, Gurnee Mills.

Sent with a Sprint Treo 755P Smartphone

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Week End Thoughts

I did it! Rumors of an old hag that was seen riding around on a bicycle wearing men's pants during my recent trip to Kettle Moraine State Park were proven true when I managed to capture her near our campsite. It is said she lived in an old, abandoned barn house near our campground!

In all seriousness, I can't wait to get outside again for another camping trip before colder weather sets in. I'd like to either hike, rent a kayak, or do some trail running. We'll see how that goes...

I submitted my registration for my second 5K race on Oct. 21 in Fox River Grove, IL. The winding course is said to be one of the most challenging in the Chicago area- I hope that's the case! I find that setting small goals really helps my conditioning and keeps me motivated to keep up my running. More details in another post.

Speaking of motivation, I'll be volunteering at the 2007 Lasalle Bank Chicago Marathon this Sunday, October 7, as part of the Starting Line Volunteer team responsible for making sure the runners are where they're supposed to be at the start of the race. This is my goal marathon in 2008- 26.2 miles through the greater part of downtown Chicago. It will be good to be around the runners as they complete the race, and I hope the memory of the event will carry me through a long winter of conditioning for next year.

Tonight I'm heading out to the House of Blues in Chicago to see Bad Religion- a long time favorite of mine. I have a long run scheduled for Saturday morning (4.5 miles), and then I'll catch the Cubs game later in the day before heading to bed early. I have to be up at 3 a.m. for the marathon on Sunday (!)

Oh yea... the Cubs... two games lost... three to go. They need the best out of five games against the Diamondbacks to advance.

And yes, I still hold hope.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Welcome to Blue October

The Cubs are in the playoffs. Need I say more?!

Games 1 and 2 are this Wednesday and Thursday respectively, with both starting at 9 p.m.

This means four things:

1. My entire schedule this week will revolve around these games.

2. I should plan on being to bed late each night and possibly past the midnight hour.

3. I will be joining fellow Cub fans somewhere other than staying home.

4. I will keep a positive attitude and cheer them on 'til the end like the die hard Cub fan that I am.

My father took me to a day game at Wrigley Field when I was a kid. I don't remember who they played or if they won, but I fell in love with the sport, and the team, ever since.

I remember watching the games during the day when I worked my 3rd shift job because that was all that was on TV. I think I watched every game during the season back then. Ever since, I try to make it out to the park every year to watch them play- win or lose.

I'm going to make an attempt at getting the 2nd set of playoff tickets when they go on sale Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. I've got the speed dial programmed in and the website link at the ready.

I'm so psyched!