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

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Run Log 6-28-08: 10 Mile Run

Life Savers

This particular 10 mile run was hard, very hard.

I knew it was going to be a challenge even before I got on the 5:45 a.m. train to Chicago after hearing it was alreay 75F on the lake. I figured as soon as that sun got up, the temperature was going to go up along with it.

I was right.

At the start of my run near 8 a.m., it was already 80F in the shade. As soon as I hit the lakefront near Millenium Park, that sun was hot, hot, hot. I decided to take all four of my hydration bottles with me, and I'm glad I did. I filled two bottles with a 70/30 mix of Gatorade and water respectively. The other two were straight water.

I made sure to drink water every 15-20 minutes during my run, and saved the Gatorade mix for after mile 5 for a carbohydrate boost. I took one Power Gel at mile 7 to get me to the end. Thanks to the angels at the Fleet Feet water station that serves the runners on the lakefront, but the straight shot of Gatorade I took at the station made me cramp up. I followed it with some water, and after a few minutes it went away. I knew there was a reason I mix that stuff with water!

I had a bicyclist nearly run into me near mile 7.5! This guy was pedaling towards me, and I noticed he wasn't paying attention to what was in front of him. All I could do was yell, and wave my hands around. Fortunately, he saw me at the very last minute and swerved. It gets crowded down there!

I'll have to rate this long run as one of the toughest to date due to the intense heat, but I battled through it. At times, I felt so relaxed that I was just cruising along. Still, I really had to push it and almost gave up near the end- it got that bad. Seeing the other runners that were still out running in the heat inspired me to keep going.

This week is a recovery week, so I'll be taking it easy with very little running through the holiday weekend.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

Running Log 6-25-08: Speed work

Trusted running buddy.
Action shot: I think that's my game face I have on. Taken just before my speedwork workout.
Click for a larger view

Date: 6-25-08
Total miles: 4
Total 1 mile splits:
1- 11:27 (walk/jog warmup)
2- 8:27
3- 11:30 (walk/jog)
4- 8:25
Finish: Cool down or throw up, whichever comes first.

Where: Independence Grove FP, Libertyville.
Weather: BLAZING.

Whoa crap. I thought I wasn't going to survive this hard workout considering the blazing sun was, well, blazing.

What is speedwork you ask? In a nutshell, it trains you to go faster when you need it most- like at the end of a fast 5K run. It's a fast sprint done at 1 mile intervals with jogging breaks in between. I'm not sure if this is the fastest I can run, but it's pretty darn fast.

I left the Garmin GPS at home, so it was just me and my stop watch.

I picked a one mile chunk of trail and just ran back and forth. I would jog it for one mile, and then sprint it back to the start. I did this four times.

It was close to 80F outside, and it seriously felt like 101F. I don't know, but I must be doing something right... no cramps, steady (but super high) heart rate, and the pain in my right foot was non-existent after icing it up for a couple of days. I made sure to cool down in shady areas before my sprints because I was seriously warm. No harm done, though, thank god.

Note to self: DO NOT slack on hydrating during my runs in hot weather. Always have water or Gatorade- always, always, always. And make sure a toilet is nearby for the pee breaks.

Now I rest until my 10 mile long run on Saturday. I think I'll take the train to the city and buy a weekend pass so that I can swing back up to the Taste of Chicago this weekend...

...and pig out.

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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nappy, nappy, sleepy time

Action shot: 9 mile run 6-21-08
Action shot: Somewhere near mile 7 of a 9 mile run waiting for a light at Lake Shore Drive near Millennium Park, Chicago. Taking a water break.

See more action shots on my Flickr.

I'm tired today.

So, my Chicago marathon training is in full swing this week. I did 9 miles in the city last Saturday, 6 miles this past Monday, and I'm due for speed training today covering 5 miles.

Saturday I'm due to run 10 miles in the city again.

That would make a total of 30 miles run since last Saturday, and heading into this coming weekend.

On top of that, I started working out at my new gym this past Sunday, and was there yesterday, and will be there again during my rest days on Thursday and Friday.

I think it's the sleep that's the problem.

Somehow, somewhere, and probably starting in the winter of 2006-2007, I got into the bad habit of getting to bed very close to midnight and then getting up at 5 a.m. to go to work. Let's see, that's five hours of sleep. This was before I started consistently working out, and I got along just fine. I think I was having trouble sleeping through the night, and I read somewhere that If you stay up late until you're at the point of dozing off, you'll sleep better. Sure, it worked, but even now five hours isn't long enough anymore.

Perhaps it's better time management, or actually using my DVR to record whatever TV I'm watching at the time (which isn't much), or just read before going to bed so I'm not so wound up to have to stay awake so late.

Something has to happen soon so that it doesn't impact my training. I'm only a week into my 16 week schedule, and rest is super, super vital.

Right now I'm nursing a light pain along the left side of my right foot. It doesn't bother me much, and I'm pretty sure it's because I'm tying my shoes too tight. I've been having a heck of a hard time with that lately. I just know I'm due for new shoes soon, but I'd rather not deal with breaking in new shoes- I'll see how it works out in the coming days.

I can feel it now, sleepy time is near... oh wait... I'm at work. Maybe later.

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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Run Log 6-18-08: 6 Mile run

Run: 6 miles
Total time: 00:56:33

I went back to Independence Grove forest preserve for my six mile run today. This is by far my favorite place to run locally because I can do six to seven mile runs and not stray too far from the park itself- it's just that big.

Today's run was better than Monday's. My legs were still quite sore from Saturday's race, but I didn't feel like collapsing in a pile of hurt like I did on Monday. Today, I still had to walk once near my three mile turnaround point for one minute to shake the pain off and continue running. I felt much stronger near the end of my six miles, and was able to keep a respectable 9 minute-per-mile pace.

I was going to chicken out and skip my two mile run on Thursday so that I can be fresh for my eight mile long run on Saturday, but I'm going to suck it up and run it anyway- pain or no pain. I just told myself that this was nothing- wait until the 20 and 30 miles per week I'll be putting in come August and Sept.

I canceled my gym membership at the Field House in Waukegan, and joined a smaller, but newish gym just five minutes from home. The Field House is a wonderful place, but it's too big for what I need, and this new place is nearly $25 dollars cheaper. I'll be working on my core and upper body strength with a trainer through the summer in preparation for Chicago.

I think it will work out nicely.

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Monday, June 16, 2008

Run Log 6-16-06: 4 Mile Run

Today I decided to run at Van Patten Woods forest preserve near Wadsworth, IL. I hadn't run here since November of last year when I was still healing from a knee injury.

The trails today really sucked. The gravel on the trail is made of larger pebbles, instead of the powdery, limestone gravel found in other Lake County forest preserves. It felt as though each step was slipping out from under me, and I kept fighting to keep a grip. The trail is also run down by horses, making it really uneven in places. It took forever for me to find a good groove, and the paved streets were so tiny, I didn't want to run on them for fear of getting hit.

My legs were SCREAMING to stop running today.

This after running a fast 5K on Saturday, and doing five miles on the bike on Sunday, I was taking it easy completing the four miles on my schedule today. I had to take a couple of walks to shake off the intense pain in my shins.

I sucked it up, though. I know there will me more days like this.

Here is my training schedule for the upcoming week:

Tues: Rest
Wed: 6 miles
Thurs: 3 miles
Fri: Rest
Sat: 8 miles

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Sunday, June 15, 2008

McHenry Lock & Dam, McHenry, IL

McHenry Lock & Dam, McHenry, IL
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2

Taking in the sights after a 5 mile bike ride.

This is actually a great fishing hole for big catfish. I'll have to hit it up soon since it's so close to home.


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Morraine Hills State Park

Morraine Hills State Park
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2

Mile 2.5


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Race Report- Skirtchaser 5K

Girl power- the top three finishers (left to right)

Race: Skirtchaser 5K, Arlington Heights, IL.

Gosh, I was so, so close to having a new personal best time in the 5K.

00:26:37 (Garmin time)

My best is 00:26:01.

It was hot folks; really hot. Almost 38 seconds off- 38 seconds which seems an eternity in the final stretch. I got one good kick in just before the finish, but it was a little too early, and I had pretty much exhausted what I had left in the tank.

Surprisingly, my Garmin finished clocking 3.11 miles within sight of the Finish banner, and I wasn't even at the finish yet. I heard from one other runner (thanks Kelly!) who said her Garmin clocked a total of 3.25 miles on the course. Perhaps the measure was off, which would kill any chance of me beating my time anyway.

It was HOT out there. I had made a very last minute decision to strap on my hydration belt with one bottle of Gatorade, and I'm glad I did. There was one water station on the entire course near mile 1.5. The folk at the table, bless their hearts, were behind in pouring the glasses, so the line got backed up. All I wanted was a glass over my head.

If only I hadn't stopped, I would of made my PR. Oh well, that water sure felt good going over my head.

I'm happy with my time considering the conditions.

It was a good time, and learned a couple of good lessons for the next one.

As for the final results? The top three finishers were all women- apparently a first for the Skirtchaser series. The guys were left in the dust... way to go ladies!

On to my first 10K (6.25 miles) race on June 29th in Wauconda.

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Time to beat

Time to beat
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2



Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Skirtchaser 5K- Race Day Log

Race: Skirtchaser 5K
Where: Runners High & Tri, Arlington Heights, IL
Time: 5:03 p.m. (3 minutes behind the girls!)
Length: 5K (3.11 miles)
Personal best in the 5K: 00:26:01:08

Right now I'm kind of just chillin' on the patio, enjoying a cold bottle of water!

I can't get over how weird it feels to be having a race in the late afternoon instead of the early morning. I don't know what to do with myself.

Anyway, so this is my first 5K (3.11 miles) this year. I'm joining up with a running group out of Chicago, and going to have a little fun. Although I don't *plan* on breaking any of my personal bests, I *will* take the opportunity to do so should the moment arise!

The only reason I hesitate to say I *plan* on breaking my record, is the simple fact that it feels awkward preparing for a race that's late in the day. Trust me, it really throws a wrench in how I prepare for these things! Whine, whine, whine.... It's all about training, Jesse.

My best time in the 5K is 00:26:01:08 which I ran at last October's Fox Chase in Fox River Grove, IL.

I ran two miles on Friday, and did a nice stretching session early this morning. Now I'm just hydrating like crazy since I'm sure it will be warm outside.

See you on the flipside, my friends. Race report soon.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Personal thoughts on one year of running.

Just about one year ago this month, I rekindled my love of running again after not running since high school (looong time ago). I remember the first time I put running shoes on last year and took a one mile run near my home. I remember how out of breath I was after just a few minutes; how much I struggled. I was sooo out of shape, but I was committed to bringing it back.

Here I am a year later and I know I can run without stopping for 11 miles- almost effortlessly. I rediscovered my love for competitive racing, going back to when I ran Cross Country in high school. And even though I would win ribbons back then, now it's more of a competition with myself and trying to beat my best times.

In looking at my training calendar for the next few months leading up to the Chicago Marathon in October, I can see how hard it's actually going to be. I've never done this before, and I don't really know what to expect. I don't know if anyone will be there to cheer me on, or if there will be anyone at the finish line to hug and cry with. Even so, I will be doing it for myself. I have failed at many things in my life, some of which were very important to me and dear to my heart. This is my chance to redeem myself, as silly as it may sound.

So here I am a year later.

I have no injuries, and am feeling really great during my runs. I'm over my disappointment in missing Rockford, but other great challenges lie ahead. I have a fun 5K to do this weekend, and plan on a 10K race later this month. The 13.1 miles of the Chicago Distance Classic will fit in as part of my training for Chicago. After that, the twenty mile training runs come in August and September.

Twenty miles. Wow.

God willing, I can do it.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Boys Chasing Girls

Ever since missing my Rockford half-marathon race, I've been itching to run a race. I haven't run anything since the Shamrock Shuffle back in March.

So on a whim, I signed up for the Skirt Chaser 5K in Arlington Heights this Saturday. It's a fun and unique race where the women runners, in these great looking running skirts of course, get a three minute head start in front of the men. The first one to cross the finish, guy or girl, gets $500.

These races are great motivators to keep up my training- the 13.1 mile Chicago Distance Classic is only eight weeks away.

This one sounds like a hoot!

And how can you beat a block party with music and free beer for the runners afterwards?

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Old School Forest Preserve, Libertyville.

Old School Forest Preserve, Libertyville.
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Monday, June 09, 2008

Bassin' Times

Bassin' Times
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2

A nice way to wrap up a somewhat crummy weekend outdoors. One of five fish caught today.

All fish were caught and released.


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Weekend Roundup

Devils Lake, Wi 6-8-08

Action shot: Taken in Devil's Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wi near mile 3 of a 4 mile training run.

Well, my camping trip to Devil's Lake was mostly a wash out. I got one good night of weather on Friday, and woke up to a beautiful morning on Saturday which was good enough to squeeze in my training run.

After noon on Saturday, the clouds started to roll in, and so did the watches and warnings- and I mean LOTS of 'em- flash floods, thunderstorm watches, severe weather warnings, high wind warnings, tornado watches and warnings... the whole gamut of weather-related craziness. There were tornado sirens going off all around me, and I know of two tornado's that touched down about 7 miles from where I was, and countless funnel cloud sightings. It was serious stuff.

And then there was the rain- it just poured and poured buckets. There was a brief break in it all in the early afternoon on Saturday, that is until more tornado sirens went off and it all started up again- GOODNESS! I'd just about had it.

Now, I've camped through severe weather before, and don't get particularly shaken up by it all as long as I have a safety plan. My plan this time was to head towards the only solid, brick structure around- the shower building! It would do, 'cause that's all I had that was solidly bolted to the ground. Fortunately, I never got to use it.

But I know when enough is enough. It was getting dark, the sirens were still going off, and the rain would_not_stop. I packed up and shacked up in a hotel room near the park Saturday night to dry off and have a peaceful meal. I'm glad I did, because it rained ALL NIGHT, and into the morning. They probably would of found me stiff, and floating down some river still in my tent.

Still, I loved the experience, and gained a greater respect for all that nature had to offer me that day- the cute stuff, and the dangerous.

I did manage to get a great training run in Saturday morning, and found the fast, high sloping hills and the high elevation of the park quite the challenge both mentally and physically. There were actually times I wanted to stop! The hills absolutely killed me, but I can't wait to go back and run there again before Chicago.

Thanks to those of you who were concerned for my safety, but all is well and I am unscathed.

Until the next adventure...

See more photos of my trip on my Flickr page.

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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Sirens to warn me

I just can't seem to dodge these tornado warnings.

In the distance over there I hear a tornado siren wailing beneath those dark clouds. The radio says there is a tornado on the ground just north of me.

I spent a good part of the morning buttoning down as I saw the storms approach using my Palm Centro phone.

As of now, I am safe, and am waiting for it all to pass within the half hour.

Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Friday, June 06, 2008

Moonset over Devil

I've arrived safely to Devil's Lake state park near Baraboo, Wi. This after passing a couple of supposed tornado's on the ground just as I was passing Racine Co., Wi. I couldn't see them, but looking at those nasty clouds, there was no doubt they were there. I hope everyone is safe.

Alas, I am here. It's close to 9:30pm on Friday night and I'm watching this beautiful moonset surrounded by the "mountains" of Devil's Lake.

I'll be up early for a 5 mile or so run around the park, then ride the bike to the beach for a little sun.

I'll post again soon!

Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Outdoors is the place to be

Well, here I am enjoying a four day weekend and getting ready to head up to beautiful Devil's Lake State Park in Wisconsin for a couple of days of more camping!

I'm going to break in a shiny new mountain bike, do some hiking, run some trails, and plan to check out the giant lake and sit on the beach enjoying the warm weather.

And it just so happens that it's Free Fishing Days this Saturday and Sunday both here in Illinois AND in Wisconsin, so I'll be casting some baits as well!

I'll be back around Sunday, but I'm sure I'll post of my journey's here as always.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends.

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