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, November 30, 2008

Holiday wrap up

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday weekend!

Mine could of been better, I guess. My week off for the Thanksgiving holiday was highlighted by a rather nasty stomach bug that put me out of commission for at least two days. It also made me cancel my Turkey Trot on Thursday, which I was really looking forward to. Oh well.

Fortunately, I was mostly better by Thanksgiving day and was able to finally eat something after not being able to keep anything down the day before. I had family over at my place, and had a very nice time- and some wonderful food.

I went out on my annual Black Friday trek to Woodfield Mall in Schaumburg to take in some of the post-Thanksgiving craziness. Despite all of the crowds, I was actually happy to be out in the world after being home and spilling my guts out for a couple of days. I actually enjoy being around all of the masses on Black Friday, even though I wasn't quite ready for Christmas shopping yet :)

Saturday I had an awesome 12 mile run in Chicago, although my stomach felt as if it was still in knots during the run. My pace was really strong throughout, but ended up taking it easy near the end. I guess I still wasn't 100%. Sunday was spent just relaxing and getting things ready for back to work.

I kind of fell off of the NaBloPoMo wagon for November, so I send out congrats to those of you who stuck it out! Hopefully you all aren't all burned out on blogging by now.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm feeling much better today. Bad thing is whatever I had is going around my family pretty quick now- almost everyone is getting sick. I got my appetite back and pretty much ate everything in sight today. Sad thing is I didn't make my Turkey Trot, but that's okay. I'd rather be 100%

Friday morning I'm heading to the gym for a quick workout, then head out to join the crowds on Black Friday. I kind of like all of the craziness that takes place around one of the busiest shopping days of the year. It's incredible how fast the end of the year has come.

Later in the evening, I'm going to rest up and get ready to head to the city on Saturday morning for and even longer run that last time- 12 miles. After not running for almost three days, I'm so ready for it.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and hope you had a wonderful holiday!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It's been a while

I've fallen ill.

I woke up this morning with an incredible stomach ache and spent a good part of that morning in the bathroom. It figures. I've had trouble taking down some solid foods and my entire body feels crummy. It just happened overnight, it seems.

It's been quite a while since I've been this sick. It's been a long time coming.

And all of this ahead of my Turkey Trot on Thursday, which I've elected I'm not doing. I don't think I will have the energy to take on five miles. I'd prefer to rest up and feel better before my 12 mile run on Saturday. I sure hope I can make it.

Forget trying to get better before Saturday, I need to be able to eat Thursday!

So back to bed I go so I can eat some turkey!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

It's a crazy world out there

Well, what do you know. I've missed yet another post for NaBloPoMo! Which makes it a major FAIL so far. I guess it isn't so bad since it's just two misses. Even though I was online Sunday, I guess I got too busy to get on the blog. Alas, I am here!

Truth is, it's been a good busy. Even though I'm on vacation, I've been doing things I love to do such as work on the radio show and other Jstreet related projects. Ever since we launched the Myspace and Facebook groups, it's been super crazy. We've already got all of December booked for guest interviews and January is filling up fast.

My running has been on schedule ahead of my first race since early October. The Turkey Trot on Thursday will be a great time, I think. It will be hard to PR in that race since it's a run/walk and getting around all of the traffic is quite a challenge. I'm going to have a good time with it, though.

Today I did a hill workout on the treadmill which consisted of a 25 minute workout broken up into five minute chunks. Three minutes running and two minutes at inclines that ranged between 4.0 and 8.0. I'll have to say it's one of the most difficult workouts so far! My shins and knees are so sore! Broke in the new shoes too... they are a dream to run in.

Tuesday is weights and Wednesday is an easy two mile run to loosen up for Thursday- and then eat!

I can't wait.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

I missed that hurting feeling

Run log 11-22-08

Distance: 11 miles
Time: ~01:39:53
Weather: cloudy, 23F
Clothing: Thermal tights. Top: Under Armour thermal base layer with Nike Dri-fit cold weather top. Hat, gloves.
Location: Chicago lakefront trail. Start @ North Ave.

The Garmin has been a little off as of late because the group starts running immediately after exiting the store, so it takes a while to acquire a good signal, therefore losing a little chunk of mileage.

Another solid run with the 9 minute pace group. As usual, I struggled with finding the right clothing to wear for the run, but ended up with the perfect choice for temps in the 20's. This always happens to me early on until I get a feel for knowing what to wear during cold weather. I didn't need the heavy Under Armour jacket I was planning to wear, which I know is good for anything between zero and 15F. I could of used my neck gaiter to occasionally warm my face, because I think it fell off around mile 7.

This was the first time I've run this distance without taking any nutrition. The two bottles of Gatorade/water mix was barely enough, but I used it sparingly. I take this as a good sign that I'm properly expending my energy. Efficiency during an endurance run is key, so they say. Hopefully I'm doing something right.

Eleven miles is the longest I've run since October 12. I had to remember what it felt like to run those kind of distances again, but it felt oh so good. I missed those aches and pains that come after a long distance run- seriously. I also noticed my breathing was steady and very relaxed throughout, which means I can probably crank the pace up a couple of notches next time.

All in all I'm hoping for a sub-two hour half-marathon come February. I've been feeling so strong lately that I'm no longer afraid to really push the pace.

And after I was done, I got a new pair of these:

New running kickers

My shiny, new Brooks Defyance shoes to replace the ones I'm wearing now that have close to 350 miles on them. I fell in love with this shoe when I was fitted for them back in July, and was glad to find them again. This time around they were on sale, and I couldn't pass it up!

Next up is hill training on Monday, and then the Chicago Turkey Trot 8K on Thursday.

Lets race!

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Friday, November 21, 2008

Out sick for a day

Drat! I missed Thursday's post for NaBloPoMo. It figures, since Thursday was extremely busy trying to finish up my projects before enjoying some time off for the Thanksgiving holiday. It also didn't help that my laptop's hard drive nearly died after the radio show last night. I think I may have resurrected it from the dead, though. Thank goodness.

So I'm tied with last year's attempt since I missed the first day of the contest in 2007. Still, I'm committed to finishing the month off, posting until the end!

It's Friday night and I enjoyed my first day off doing a few things around the house. I've got an 11 mile run planned for Saturday morning. The temperatures at run time are set to be between 17F and 20F. As usual, I struggle to figure out what I'm going to wear, but I'll have a pretty good idea once I step outside for sure! Cold weather running provides a whole new set of challenges all their own, and topped with a pretty long run, it should make things verrry interesting!

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Digging In

Run log 11-19-08

Yet another solid run, this time with negative splits near the end to boot. This was a timed, 60 minute run along Chicago's lakefront in the evening. We had to fight the wind heading north, which my explain the slower splits. The wind was at our backs coming back south, which really helped the pace.

I held with a group of three runners for the first four miles before breaking off during the latter miles with my pacer. It was just her and I after mile four. She is a five time marathoner and has been a pace leader for CES for a couple of years now. She had some great stories.

I fussed with my shoe laces a lot today. It ended up that my shoes were too loose during the run and it caused a little bit of foot arch pain. This is a pretty good sign that I will be needing new shoes again- and soon. I will most likely get another pair of Brooks Defyance since they've worked out so well for me.

As for the rest of the week? I have a rest day on Thursday, and then a short two miles on Friday before the big 11 miler on Saturday.

Thank goodness I have one more day of work left this week! I'm on vacation come Friday. I can't wait.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming up for air

I missed a workout today because I was just plain tired. It's Tuesday, and I have two more days left in the week in the office before taking some time off for the Thanksgiving holiday. Thank goodness. I've been a bit absent in Twitterland and I'm a little behind catching up with friends online.

Traditionally, this time of the year is pretty busy for me. A lot of the IT projects that are put on the back burner during the busy summer months, crank up in intensity now that people are taking some time off during the holiday season. Some of my projects require quite a bit of down time for the users, and since there aren't many around this time of year, I get to bring down systems that need work since they aren't so busy.

It's also a good time to clean things up, file things away, and straighten things out so I can start the year on a clean slate, sort to speak. I've never had so much junk laying around my desk! All of it needs a place to go. Even though things can get pretty crazy, there are days when it's just plain quiet since a lot of the warehouses shut down for a few days during the holidays.

Wednesday I head into the city to run with my CES group for six miles, and then the entire team will gather at a local bar later in the evening for a little meet and greet, which I'm really looking forward to. There are so many runners in this group, and each one has a unique story to tell as to how they got started in this great sport.

I can't wait to meet them all.

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Monday, November 17, 2008

It's Gymtastic

My gym was a sauna tonight. The place is so tiny that it gets pretty packed on weeknights and with so many people in there, it gets pretty stuffy. All of the windows get all fogged up and it looks like a dirty fish tank from the outside :) It's convenient, though, with it being only five minutes from my house. It's not so expensive, and you get what you pay for I guess.

There's a huge LA Fitness gym that is going up around the corner from me. I've only seen it in photographs and it looks pretty amazing. The cost is about $20 more than what I'm paying now, but I'll take a looksy at it to see what it's all about.

One thing I do know about it is that it will have a pool! I love swimming, and it's been a while since I've worked out at a place that actually had a pool in it. This one looks more like a lap pool since it's narrower, but it's a pool nonetheless. Swimming is such a great workout and would make a nice addition to my daily training routine.

I believe it opens up in January, and although I'm happy with where I am now, the pool is definitely something that will make me want to switch. I may just hop on over there to see what the registration is all about.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

Weekend wrap up

I had a pretty nice weekend. But it was a busy one.

Saturday morning of course was my 8 mile run, which went really well (see previous post). I got back into town from the city around 3 p.m. After doing a few things around the house, I crashed out around 5:00 p.m. for a quick nap. Getting up at 3:30 a.m. on Saturday mornings to catch the train to Chicago is starting to catch up to me!

I overslept a bit Saturday night and then headed over to the St. Francis animal shelter benefit at the Green Town tavern in Waukegan. I guess I got there kind of late because the crowd was pretty thinned out. I still managed to get my donation in. I was pleasantly surprised to hear they raised a nice four figure sum for the shelter. It was well deserved.

I spent the rest of the evening catching up with a few friends I hadn't seen in a long time.

Sunday was spent working on a lot of stuff for Jstreet and relaxed a bit. This coming week is just a four day week for me before going on vacation during the Thanksgiving weekend.

I hope it goes by quick.

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Pushing the pace: And loving it

Run log 11-15-08

I ran one of my fastest 8 milers today, besting my previous PR by almost 6 minutes! As I mentioned in my previous post, I'd like to push my pace a little harder now that I've "paid my dues" with all of my marathon training. It paid off today with a strong run throughout.

How about the sub-9 minute mile splits? :)

Running with a pace group has really helped me steady my pace throughout my run, where before I was pretty staggered with it. It helps to have people pushing you forward when you think you can't do it. It really does push your limits- but in a good way.

Next Saturday is my longest run since Chicago at 11 miles. It's a long way until then!

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Friday, November 14, 2008

Pushing the pace

I've officially started my regular training routine to prepare for my half-marathon in February. My legs feel stronger than ever, and after some nice distance runs I'm feeling no soreness in them whatsoever. A lot of it has to do with easing back into things, I guess.

I'm going to work on bringing up the pace a bit and concentrate on keeping that pace during my tempo runs. I'm fairly comfortable running a 9 minute-per-mile pace, but I know I can do better. I've done some speed work where my fastest mile was right around 7:45 and felt comfortable doing it.

I think that throughout my training for the marathon, I held back on my efforts for fear of getting seriously injured. I know I can hold a faster pace if I can just gain a little more confidence in my running. I've been very fortunate not to have suffered any serious injury to date. And whatever aches and pains I've had, I've been able to lick pretty quickly. Now that I have a nice base to keep me running healthy, I think I can push it a little more.

So we'll see how it goes. Saturday morning I'll be doing 8 miles in the 9 minute pace group. Our training that day has us doing 4 miles at easy pace, and then the other 4 at half-marathon pace.

While I'm at it, I think I'll sign up for the 8K Turkey Trot in Lincoln Park later this month on Turkey day. That race is always a hoot. My PR in the 8K is 00:44:23. I'd like to shave at least five minutes off that time.

We'll see how that goes!

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hurry, hurry, hurry!

Rush, rush, rush! Only 10 minutes before the end of the day and I have to get this post out for NaBloPoMo! Day 13 and counting!

A crazy day ended with a wonderful time over at JstreetRadio!

Ten minutes from now it will be Friday, and I will be happy! I'm hoping the day will go by quickly so that I can go to the gym afterwards, turn in early, and then head to Chicago for my long run on Saturday.

Go, go, go!

I promise the next post will be better!



Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Getting my fix on

Evening run

The photo is kind of crummy, but it was taken during my evening run today.

I missed my run with my training group tonight because I ended up staying late at the office. I figured it wouldn't be worth taking the drive to Chicago from Waukegan when I only had an hour to get there.

Because I missed the group run, I had an intense urge to get out there to run no matter what time it was. There was no way I was missing this today. I had to get my fix on.

I ended up starting around 7 p.m. and went out for a sixty minute run- about six miles. The temperature was near 50F and there was a glorious drizzle out there making for a perfect run.

Well... near perfect.

I just about turned my ankle on a pot hole near the end, but I was able to recover and no harm done. I guess I just dropped my guard for a quick second and missed seeing the hole. The low battery on my head lamp didn't help either.

It helps that I have strong ankles, I guess.

That's what many miles of pounding pavement with the feet will do to you.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My community office plant

My office plant

This is a plant I have sitting on top of my wall mounted office cabinet. I have no idea what kind of plant it is, but I got it at a friends wedding, maybe a year or two ago? I believe they were given away to every guest at the reception. It was only about three inches high at the time, and it was planted in a little silver pot.

Well, as you can see, it's freakin' huge now. I've taken care of it pretty well, don't you think? Actually, people that come into my office are so amazed by it that they sometimes take it upon themselves to water it every so often. A community plant, it is.

Maybe in a few years it will grow big enough to completely cover me and my desk- maybe even hide the huge mess that lays upon it! The side of the plant that falls along the left side of the cabinet in the picture actually goes all the way to the floor and it's starting to pile up there.

It's going to eat me alive someday.

And yes, those are flamingo's and turtle magnets on the front of my cabinet. Shush!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Making friends with the 'mill

I headed out to the gym this evening for an easy 50 minute run on the old treadmill. As I may have mentioned before, I'm not a big fan of the treadmill at all. Once I got back into running over a year ago, I did a lot of treadmill work, and feel it was the cause of a lot of early knee pain.

Running on that thing feels so unnatural to me. I prefer to run on pavement every chance I get, and the conditions outside have to be EXTREME for me to stay in and run on the 'mill. Of course, then comes this thing called winter and I'm usually forced indoors for my shorter runs.

Lately, though, I've been feeling a bit more comfortable putting in some miles on the thing without driving myself nuts. My pace is usually pretty awkward on it, but ever since I figured out that raising the incline to 2.0, it feels a bit more natural. Although, it still feels like I'm going 50 mph on it when I'm only doing a 10 minute pace.

I had a little fun near the end and did 25 second intervals of raising the incline to 4.0 and back down without breaking pace. Perhaps some day I'll do some hill work using it, since I can't find any hills around here to save my life.

The good thing about getting back into the normalcy of working out is that I'm sleeping more soundly again. I had a hard time getting through a solid night of sleep when I was tapering for the Chicago marathon and I hated it. I'd wake up at all hours of the night. It's so much better now.

Tuesday I have a rest day, and Wednesday I'll be heading to the city to run with my CES group for a 60 minute run on the lakefront path. Saturday I'll do 8 miles, and then the mileage only goes up from there.

I'm ready for it!

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Paws for a Caws Nov. 15

Paws for a Caws

I wanted to quickly plug this benefit show for a no-kill animal shelter in Kenosha, Wisconsin. I visited the shelter a couple of Thanksgivings ago and was touched by the many animals available for adoption there. I walked a most wonderful dog, and wished I would of taken him home!

The benefit will have live music, a 50/50 raffle, and a silent auction.

So if you're in the Chicago area or in the northern burbs, we hope you stop by!

More info on the shelter can be found here.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

The elements await

The elements await
Originally uploaded by automatic_man2

RealFeel at 5 a.m. is 24F for my 7 mile run.

Could be worse!

Update: Had a solid run this morning right around a 9:30 pace and actually ended up running 8 miles instead of 7- I was really amped up for it. It really felt good to bring it up a notch after doing slower, low mileage runs the past two weeks.

It wasn't as cold out on the path- if you could call 37F at run time not-so-cold that is. Only the hat out of the three clothing items you see in the photo up there actually made it on the run. I was fine with two layers of thermal gear up top and some running pants. The wind was really blowing heading back south, but I was able to catch a nice draft off of the group making it a little easier to run through it.

It feels good to be getting back into a groove after a nice layoff after the marathon!


Sent with a Sprint Palm Centro Smartphone

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Friday, November 07, 2008

I'm missing t-shirts and shorts already

Running gear bags

This is a photo of all of my gear bags, including a new one (the Nike bag near the front) that I bought today. In those gear bags was all of my winter running gear. Each bag served a purpose- cold running gear, not-so-cold running gear, reflective evening running gear, and gym workout gear. It's outta hand, I know.

It's a giant pain. The Chicago area winters can be brutal, and at other times they came be rather tame. Either way, I love to run outdoors when it's cold, which explains the bundles of gear I carry around for every condition I may run into.

Not only do I need the gear to run in, but I need to have extra clothing available for when I'm waiting around for buses and trains in the city!

The new bag is going to take the place of all the others for now, and will keep me company on my trips to the city for my group runs.

I sure hope it's big enough.

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Is it Friday yet?

It's close to 11 p.m. as I'm writing this on Thursday night and I'm a bit tired. Please excuse the rather lame post... I think the election night craziness and last nights hard workout is starting to catch up with me. Hopefully I'll feel refreshed come Friday, because of course, it's Friday!

Speaking of workouts, I've been slowly ramping up the mileage on my runs now four weeks after the marathon. Although my legs feel fresh, I sort of feel like I'm lumbering on during my harder runs. I can feel that I'm slightly out of conditioning in my legs, but it's nice to not feel that constant soreness that I've felt most of the summer. I'm averaging close to 15-17 miles a week now, and it should be up over 20 come next week.

I think a lot of the stiffness I've been feeling has to do with me running a new route at night and feeling rather nervous about it. Everything looks so much different at night and it's taking a little while to get used to. I'll talk a little more about that in a later post. As for this weekend, I'm looking forward to running 7 miles with my group on Saturday morning.

Right now, it's off to bed. I'm glad to get this crazy week over with and it should be a rather relaxing weekend.

Until next time my friends!

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

A New Day Dawns

"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world -- our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down -- we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security -- we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright --tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope."

President-Elect Barack Obama


It's a thing of beauty.

A excerpt from Obama's victory speech, Grant Park, Chicago Nov. 4. A truly inspiring experience from the man who will lead our nation come January 20th.

Watch it here.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day


I've been watching the election results with great interest today. This is actually only the 2nd presidential election I've participated in. I'll have to admit that I'm a newbie registered voter after not really giving a hoot about politics up until the last presidential election in 2004 (Bush/Kerry). I take great pride in participating in the democratic process these days and pay much more attention to what's going on. Yet, I still have a lot to learn.

Right now, though, I'm just watching this election make history as Obama is projected to become the 44th president of the United States. Our current deadbeat president drove our country into the dirt, and I sure hope things will start turning around for this beautiful country come January.

I will pray for him. Tomorrow is a new day.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Where did the time go?

Night Run

I find it hard to believe that November is already here. I spent a good part of Sunday wondering what time it was since I didn't change ALL of my clocks back an hour! I hate it when that happens. This also means that there will be less daylight when I leave work during the week, so I'll have to do all of my workouts at night.

I'm looking forward to the coming weeks. I've got some time off coming around Thanksgiving, and I'll be able to catch up at the office since it's usually slow this time of year. I don't usually take some time off during the winter months because I prefer to use my vacation time during the summer. Still, it will be nice to just relax and wind down from a pretty busy year.

I can't wait to get started.

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Sunday, November 02, 2008

No goals, field goal posts, or soccer balls here...

NYC Marathon

...just a Start and a Finish line.

Thanks to I was able to tune into the live feed of todays New York City Marathon this morning. I started watching with the woman's Elite field already at the six mile marker and Paula Radcliffe in the lead.

I'd never thought much about watching road racing prior to training for the Chicago Marathon. As a fan of watching the Olympic games, I would catch the marathon on TV, but didn't care too much for it. Having run Chicago, I now have a deep respect for the distance of the marathon. Knowing what I know about what it takes to complete the distance, the sport has become rather exciting to watch.

The elite runners that compete in this sport are nothing short of superheros to me. These are people who live and breathe competitive racing, and yet they too can have a bad day running in a marathon. The distance will swallow you alive, spit you back out and show no mercy whatsoever. Watching an elite field start in bunches only to dwindle down to just one winner at the end is exciting to watch- more so than I ever thought!

The NYC Marathon matched this excitement in every way possible with some incredible finishes by Britain's Paula Radcliffe and Brazil's Gomez dos Santos. I literally couldn't peel myself away from watching it.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

NaBloPoMo: 30 posts in 30 days


I'm going to attempt NaBloPoMo again this year for November '08. It's officially National Blog Posting Month. If you want to know a little more about it, check it out here.

The rules are pretty simple:

1. Write one blog post for every day in November.
2. No date-rigging your posts.
3. If you skip a day, it's see ya' later gator.

It's a marathon of blogging.

Hey, there's that word again... marathon.

Ready.... set... go!