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, July 30, 2008

Only 11 Days and Counting!

It's been a little while since I've posted, and I've got a couple of posts I'm working on, but I thought I'd chime in really quick...

I've been a little busy, well, running.

The Chicago Distance Classic half-marathon is a week from this Sunday! I've put in 23 miles since last Saturday, and Monday has been my only rest day. This Thursday I'm due for 3 miles, and Saturday will be my last big run of 11 miles until next weekend. I've been doing my runs pretty late in the day due to the heat, so I haven't been getting in until 9 p.m. or so (hence the lack of posts).

The new shoes already have 13 miles on them, and are working out quite nicely. I'm not sure if I'll wear them for the Classic, but I'll know better come Saturday. My shins are still quite shocked that my feet are running in something comfortable for a change.

Next week will be spent with very little running, lots of resting, lots of eating to fuel up, more resting, getting nervous, and trying to relax before the big day.

The 12 mile run I put in a couple of weekends ago really instilled a lot of confidence in me finishing the 13.1 miles in close to 2 hours. Still, anything can happen. Despite the 6:30 a.m. start time, I hope to be ready to rock and roll right out of the gate along with over 10,000 other runners.

A map of the course can be found here. I found the course a bit intimidating at first considering how big it looks on the map, but NOT as intimidating as the course for the Chicago Marathon - that one is just plain scary! Good god, what did I get myself into?

The info on the Distance Classic can be found here if you so wish to learn more.

Until next time!

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Friday, July 25, 2008

Will Work for Shoes

Got my new kickers yesterday! The new Defyance by Brooks! I swear, putting these on after running in my old clunkers for over a year now was like night and day- kind of like running with pillows on my feet. And the colors are loud, which I like!

I don't think I've ever paid so much for shoes, but it wasn't even a factor since keeping my legs happy is so important to me. I also found out that they're a Runner's World Editors Choice! Woot!

Getting fit for these by the fine folks at Fleet Feet Sports in Chicago was quite a hoot. They measured my foot in all kinds of ways, had me jog around the store, quizzed me on my running habits, and then brought out a pile of shoes that would best fit me. Good news is that I'm a "neutral" runner- nothing about my gait is out of whack.

Gave them a little whirl today, but my legs are still toast from Wednesday's hard 7-miles. They'll get a good work out on Monday for an easy 4 mile run. The store has a great return policy, so I can always exchange them if I need to.

My old clunkers will get a 10 mile workout in Chicago on Saturday, so I'm not quite done with them yet. The store recommended I don't do big miles in the new shoes right away.

Thanks to those of you who offered advice on my shoe struggles! I think they'll do great.

Chicago here I come.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Circumstances... Part 2

In a follow up to the post below concerning this past Saturday's run:

What I feared might of happened, did....

Woman struck, killed by train. -per the Waukegan News-Sun.

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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Circumstances Beyond My Control

Well, my 14 mile run yesterday turned out to be only 10 miles due to an unfortunate circumstance that only allowed for a 2 hour window to do my run in Chicago.

The Metra train that was ahead of the one I was on hit a pedestrian during its route. The delay brought me into Chicago later than I had planned, so I had to cut things short to make it home at a decent time. Of course none of that matters more than whatever suffering the pedestrian had to go through. I certainly hope he/she is Okay.

Due to the rain in the morning, my run took place in the middle of the day in a busy, busy city. Now I know why I desire to get up at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday's to do my long runs in the city- lots of peeps down there during peak times.

Because of the shortened mileage, I cut 30 to 45 seconds off of my per-mile pace, bouncing between an 8:45 to 9:00 minute pace. This is fast for my runs longer than 7 miles, and fortunately I was able to sustain it during the entire run- encouraging in the hopes of completing a sub-2 hour half-marathon.

My training schedule for this week:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: Weight training
Wednesday: 7 miles
Thurs/Fri: Weights/Cross train
Saturday: 10 miles

I wanted to wish fellow bloggers Jen and Lindsay a safe trip on their Bike Ride Across Iowa this coming week! I'll be following this event closely, as it is something (or similar) I'd like to put on my adventure to-do list for next year.

Have a wonderful week!

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Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big run to-do today

I woke up at 4:30 a.m. to pouring rain again this Saturday for my 14 mile run in Chicago. I checked the weather and decided to wait it out 'til a little later this afternoon.

I guess you could say I'm determined to do this run, rain or shine. The CDC isn't too far away now.

I'm on the train as I write this and the rain is off and on for the most part. I haven't had the opportunity to train in heavy rain yet, so I guess this may be it.

Sunday morning I'll be volunteering at the Harbor Lights Triathlon in Waukegan. THAT should be interesting.

Write soon!

Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Friday, July 18, 2008

They live to bloom again

Around May or June of last year, I had the entire facade at the front of my home re-landscaped because the old scenery was getting quite dated after owning my home for over 12 years now.

This is the result (sorry I don't have 'before' pictures):
(click photos for larger view)


I believe there are over 8 different species of flowers and other plants that make up the garden. I was so paranoid that most of them weren't going to make it through the winter, but I was reassured by the landscape contractor that they would all be fine.


I took good care of them before winter settled in and just crossed my fingers.


Alas, they all survived minus one of two rose bushes that didn't make it. Once I replace it, I'll have to give them a little extra lovin' this time around.


Now I'm a little more confident that they'll all be back next year!

More photos on my Flickr page here.

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Sunday, July 13, 2008

12 Mile run: Did I just do that?

Miles: 12
Total time: 2 hrs.
Avg. pace: 9:20 per mile
Location: Chicago lakefront path

Good god! Did I just spend two hours straight running?

Whatever doubts I had about completing the longest run of my life to date were whisked away as soon as I hit the pavement. I had twelve miles ahead of me- TWELVE! As in 1 - 2. Just a little over a year ago I was struggling to make it through one measly mile. I continue to surprise myself.

Today was my 12 mile "simulated" half-marathon training run to prepare for the 13.1 miles of the Chicago Distance Classic just 28 days away (crap!). This was going to give me a pretty good idea as to how long it will take me to complete the full distance. I wore everything I am planning to wear at the Classic, right down to where I was going to pin my car key to make sure everything was right.

For the life of me, I can't get the shoe on my right foot to cooperate. It's either too tight, or too loose. Too loose and I kept getting little pebbles in my shoe. Too tight and the arch on my right foot started to ache in the early miles. I'm fairly certain I need new shoes, but I dread having to break them in with the marathon coming up. The thin, Nike Dri-Fit socks I wear on my runs make tiny little pebbles feel like boulders when they get in my shoe- absolutely annoying!

I started out at an easy 9:30 per-mile pace during the first 6 miles, then gradually worked up to 9:00 minutes for miles 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. I took two walking breaks at mile 6 and 10 to take a Power Gel with Gatorade. I kept telling myself to relax and breathe. Once I got the shoe situation straightened out, the last few miles went surprisingly well, and I finished in almost exactly two hours.

So, barring any unforeseen disasters during the Classic, I'm predicting a finish time of around 2 hours and 15 minutes for the half-marathon. I feel really good about a sub-2 hour half marathon, but I'll need to work on it!

Next Saturday I have a 14 mile run on my schedule before easing off the miles in the weeks leading up to the Classic.

These days, my running is like a drug now. It makes me feel incredible, and I feel like a piece of my life is missing if I can't do my run for some reason or another.

It's part of my lifestyle now, and it feels damn good.

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Thursday, July 10, 2008

Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2

What a "bow echo" on doppler radar looks like. Fascinating, but all it did was drop a crap load of rain for about 15 minutes with a bolt of lightning here and there.

Yes, I'm a weather geek too.


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Summer sun calling

Summer sun calling
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2

My highlight of the summer months- trips to beautiful Waukegan north beach.

Chillaxin' with friends, and the water revives your soul!


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Friday, July 04, 2008

Chicago fireworks 7-4-08

Chicago fireworks 7-4-08
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2

Before the rockets fly.


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Antioch Run for Independence 5K

What a great race! Kudos to Antioch, IL for putting on a top notch 5K with all the goodies and a sponsorship by Runner's World to boot. Very nicely organized and a challenging coarse to go along with it.

I just may have gotten a new 5K PR!

Old 5K PR: 00:26:01
Chip time: 00:26:02
Garmin time: 00:25:38

Close numbers, eh? I'm going with my Garmin time as my new time to beat! It's about 30 seconds off the chip time, but may be due to slight panic at the start with about 1100 people behind me!

Either way I'm extremely happy with it.

This was my only run on my easy week this holiday. Now off to see the parade!

Congrats to those of you who also ran races today!

Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Antioch 4th of July 5K

Antioch 4th of July 5K
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2

Kicking off the holiday weekend with a 5K race in Antioch, IL.

Happy 4th!


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

4th of July Holiday Days

Well, I'm giving myself an easy week off of running this holiday week after completing nearly 40 total miles in June. I did, however, sign up for a 5K race near home on the 4th of July as part of Antioch's Independence Day celebration. So, if you're near the area around 8 a.m. on Friday, come on down to cheer the runners on!

Click here for info and a map of the running route.

Since it's a light week of running for me, I'm hoping to get another crack at breaking my best 5K time of 00:26:01 after failing to do so at the Skirt Chaser 5K this past June. This race is certified and chip timed, so the final times will be official!

I'll be doing lots of fishing, and perhaps heading to the city to see the fireworks and check out the Taste of Chicago this weekend.

The month of July will have me running close to 90 total miles (oh crap!), so I'll enjoy this week off for sure.

I'll be sure to check in!

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Tuesday, July 01, 2008

To Rock or Not?


Seriously folks, I've been constantly thinking of doing this again...

Punk rock keeps calling my name, and I've yet to listen.

Perhaps someday, soon.

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