The Dreaded 20 Mile Training Run

IMG_7738

Preparing for a marathon means following a plan, a plan that takes you up in mileage over several weeks (16 for me) and gets you ready to tackle 26.2 miles.  This is Week 13 of 16 for me, and it was time to do the dreaded 20 mile training run.

This year I decided to join in with the local Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club that I have been following and run their 20 mile training run.  This club really did a great job putting on this event.  The route was run on my local trail, had awesome volunteers, plentiful aid stations with anything you could have needed, and even a local team of specialized volunteers called CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) aiding with traffic at several street crossings.

We started at the still sleepy hour of 6 am in downtown Frankfort, Illinois after a group photo in the dark that surprisingly turned out well.

41769763_10215030808635447_7418325109162639360_n
Photo by Susan Danforth

I don’t know why I get nervous before long runs like this, especially when I am doing them alone.  This was just billed as a training run, not a race.  But regardless, I still was a little nervous.  As soon as the photo was taken, I hit the trail.

I was in a pack of about 12 people at the start, but by the time I got 100 feet into it I was in second place.  Not that I was racing it!

The trail was in great shape for the early morning run.  Most of the brush clearing that the forest preserve does in the summer/fall seemed to have been all cleaned up, and the trail was not yet overrun with cyclists getting in their weekend miles.

I could see a couple of runners ahead of me and I could tell that they were pulling away from me through the first two miles.  The girl was moving super fast.  They caught another runner and the male dropped back and ran with her.  It wasn’t long before I caught them and realized it was a guy from the group named Pat that had also run the Boston Marathon in April.  He ran with me for the next two miles to the 4 mile turn around point.  We had a great conversation about Boston, running and triathlon.  He decided to drop out at the turn around and told me he was heading to the 14 mile aid station and would see me there.

It was now just me and the super fast girl ahead of me, when around mile 6 I was passed by another guy from the group whose name I learned was Gavin.  Gavin killed it.  He was moving too.  There’s some good runners in this club.

I got back to the 8 mile aid station, which was our starting point and filled up my water bottle.  I think they were slightly surprised to see runners already returning from the first out and back.  It was awesome to have the aid stations.  I probably could have left my water bottle at home, but I like to be able to drink when I wanted it.

IMG_7743
Stopping at the 4 mile water stop running with Pat.  I’m unsure who took the photo, but thanks to those that did!

Around the 10 mile mark I couldn’t take my sweat soaked shirt anymore and I took it off and wrung the sweat out of it.  It could have easily been a cup or more of sweat.  The day started cool enough, and there was plenty of shade when the sun finally made an appearance, but it was humid and I was sweating.  I kept up with my run plan of taking a salt capsule every hour and it kept me in good shape.

IMG_7741
Me holding my GU wrapper garbage getting ready to toss it in the garbage at one of the last aid stations.  This might be near the 14 mile turn around.

Soon after turning around at the 14 mile mark, I could see that another runner Dan Doyle had made up some time on me.  He was closing the gap and finally caught me at Wolf Road when I stopped one final time to top off my water bottle.  We ran the remaining 3 or 4 miles together.  He was planning to do an extra two miles but he said that he was starting to feel like he was going to cramp up.  He ended up doing an additional mile.  He’s looking to get a Boston Marathon qualifier in Chicago, and I think he has a real solid chance at that.  You never know with the Boston Marathon numbers game.

41758897_10215233061932578_3245685508319215616_o
Dan and I getting to the finish of 20 miles.  He went on to do another mile.  

IMG_7740

I wasn’t planning on writing such a long report for a 20 mile training run, but I haven’t posted anything about my marathon training so far.  I was a little concerned about how I was going to fare, seeing that Boston was a terrible run for me and that I came to the conclusion that I was way overtrained.  After Boston I dropped the 3+ year running streak I had and took some time off to let my body heal.  Missing out on those recovery days after hard efforts was killing me.  I think I trained pretty well through the summer to get to this point.  It’s kind of hard to know sometimes, as the hotter summer temps produce slower times even though I was putting in hard efforts.  What was clear about this run was this:  performance on race day is so different than when you are just out there working on a training run.  Even though this highly supported 20 miler was not a race, it had a vibe of one, and it allowed me to see where I stood.  The previous weeks’ 18 mile run was done on a much cooler day and I seemed to struggle to eventually finish with an 8:15 average pace.  Today I averaged 8:05 on a much warmer day and felt strong at that 20 mile mark finish line.  A great weather day in October for the Chicago Marathon will hopefully make for another 3:30 or 3:25 finish for me.  This run certainly was a confidence builder.  I don’t think I have much to dread anymore.

One last shout out to FNRC for hosting this run and doing such a great job.  The cold drinks and popsicle at the finish line was the best ever!

2018 Chicago Triathlon Race Report

When:  08/26/2018, 7:32am

Where:  Chicago, Illinois

Distance:  Olympic/International:  1500 meters (0.93 mile) Swim, 40 Kilometers (24.8 mile) Bike, 10 Kilometer (6.2 mile) Run

Results:  2:53:43 – 756/2238 overall, 24/36 M55-59 Age Group, 171/483 Males Over 40

611266-5550-928710

The Chicago Triathlon is always fun to do, even more so when your Team Gunner friends join in on the fun!  WE LOVE THIS SPORT!!!  Especially Gunner Alex!  He loves it more than anyone!

I thought I’d let the pictures tell the story this time – so buckle up!  Here we go!

Team Gunners started trickling in and I started taking selfies.  The expo was where we all met and sat through the mandatory course talk in order to pick up our race packets.

I was kind of disappointed in the expo.  I usually buy an event tri kit to wear in the race but they were almost completely sold out, save for a few size small tri tops.  What guy wears a size small tri top?  Nobody, that’s who.

After a quick discussion upon leaving the expo, we decided that we would take advantage of pre-racking our bikes in transition the day before the race.  Here’s a few shots of what the transition area looks like.  The photos don’t show the 7,000 plus bikes.

IMG_7679
It’s a good idea to make a mental note where your bike is located.  It’s behind that tree about 50 yards.

IMG_7678IMG_7675IMG_7672

 

IMG_7684
One final group selfie after everyone had there Gunner-mobiles racked and toured Bike Out.

For dinner we went to Jeff and Jill’s house on Michigan Ave. and were treated to a wonderful spaghetti dinner.  It was great, as was the conversation.  Their view of Millennium Park and Lake Michigan is amazing.

 

RACE DAY – SUNDAY MORNING – 4 AM and the alarm goes off.  I had written down that Dave said we should meet at the elevators of our floor at 4:40 am, but for some reason my mind registered to meet at 4:20 am.  So there I was, 20 minutes early wondering where everyone was.  Triathlon makes you dumb.  The crew finally arrived and off we began our trek from the Chicago Hilton to transition again to set up the rest of our race gear.  This is a long walk, and we were regretting not having our bikes to ride there.  But honestly, the racks were so packed with bikes that I doubt I would have found room to rack the thing.

Upon leaving I saw three of Rebecca’s music teachers who were racing the Olympic distance as a relay team.  I chatted them up and they seemed pretty excited.

fullsizeoutput_115a2

 

Alex was first up.  His wave started at 6:16 am.  Lucky him.  Did I mention that he loves this sport?  He was racing in the Collegiate division with his buddy Brandon.

 

 

More pictures of Alex in the water.  Nice sunrise photo, too!  Thanks Kari!

fullsizeoutput_1159c
The remaining Gunner boys met up one final time before our individual wave starts.

 

It was Jeff’s turn to go next.  He really loves this sport too.  He’s on Week 28 of 30 training for Ironman Wisconsin.  Fun times.

IMG_7699
Down to 3 Gunners!  One last selfie before Dave and John abandon me.
IMG_3325
It’s 7:08 am and now it’s Dave and John’s turn to jump in to Lake Michigan.

IMG_3334

 

This cutie was next.  This year Elizabeth and her friend Claire were in different waves.  So Lizzy and Claire had to go it alone.  I’m not sure if they love this sport too.

 

IMG_1535275339140

 

 

 

 

Somehow we missed taking pictures of Claire getting in the water, but I found this awesome photo on the race website.  Go Claire!!!  I’m guessing that she doesn’t enjoy this sport as much as we do.

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3339

My turn has finally come.  What was I thinking about you ask?  I was looking at these 55-59 year old men and thinking about how we all grew up listening to the same music, wearing the same types of clothes and doing the same stupid stuff back in the 70’s and 80’s.  We’re the crew that somehow survived that period in one piece.  Deep stuff man.  Actually, I was fretting about how hot I was, that I had to pee, and that the run was going to suck.  I love this sport.

IMG_3342
Time to get into the water.  This photo is just after I punched myself in the lip trying to get my wetsuit on. I really enjoyed that.  
Triathlon=Love

 

IMG_3345
7:32 am – Horn blast and off we go!  I’m on the left side in the back.  See me?  I was just giving the others a head start, you know, to make it fair.
IMG_3346
THAR SHE BLOWS, MATEY!!!

SWIM:  1500 Meters – 32:03 – It was a pretty good swim for me, seeing that I had done practically NO swimming the entire summer.  I was worried that the water would be warm – a week prior the water temp was 80 degrees. But thanks to some strong wave activity this past week, race day water temp was 70 degrees.  I was surprised when I jumped in at how cold it felt.  The water was perfect, very calm.  I stayed wide of the fray and avoided contact.  It was a pleasant swim.

T1:  5:40 – The distance from Swim Out to T1 seems like 1/2 mile.  It’s a long way to go.  I got my wetsuit off quickly, grabbed my bike and headed for Bike Out.

BIKE:  24.8 Miles – 1:13:49 – The bike course takes you north on Lake Shore Drive and although it can have some rollers, it’s pretty flat and fast.  I’ve done about as much bike training as I have swim training, but I was moving along pretty well at an average of about 20.5 mph.  Seeing that I was in Wave 24, I knew that there would be plenty of slower riders I had to pass around.  I passed Elizabeth and then passed one of the Becca’s band teachers.  I probably passed Claire too, but I didn’t see her.  After coming back down LSD, you head into Lower Wacker Drive, and then the fun starts.  I felt like I was riding a motorcycle.  You loose GPS signal on Lower Wacker, so I really don’t know how fast I was going, but I assure you that I was easily getting over 25 mph.  Love that section of the race.  It’s was a lot cooler under there as well.  The last third of the bike course is no fun.  It’s on a bus only, two lane road and gets pretty crazy down there.  I saw the aftermath of a crash with one guy still on the ground.  I just wanted to get through it without any trouble, keep my average speed up, and get to the run in one piece.

T2:  3:27 – I’m kind of surprised that this isn’t longer, as helped a guy find his bike that he couldn’t locate, and I took time to shove an empty Gatorade bottle down my pants and pee into it as I walked from my bike to Run Out.  Gotta love triathlon.

RUN:  10K/6.2 Miles – 58:46 – The run was a literal “hot mess” as the kids say.  The race results listed the temperature at 93 degrees.  It felt hotter.  I started picking off other runners right away and got into a good pace.  My split for the first mile was 7:42 and I knew I was not going to be able to hold it.  By mile 3, I was walking the aid stations and just shuffling along.  I felt like I had enough nutrition, I had taken 3 salt capsules leading up to this point, and I seemed like I was hydrated enough, judging from the color of my pee in that Gatorade bottle in T2.  (I know, too much info.)  My real concern was heat stroke.  I could feel myself getting really hot.  Fortunately, the aid stations had plenty of water and I kept putting it in me and on me.  One table around the 4 mile mark had ice and I stuck some in my jersey pockets.  By the time I passed by the 5K sprint turn around, they were sending all athletes back.  The Event Alert System had gone to RED.  Miles 4 and 5 were my slowest, notching a run/walk average pace of 10:35 and 11:03 respectively.  But I think it was smart race management on my part.  At least I didn’t end up like this girl:

IMG_3361

 

Kari snapped this picture of another racer trying to prevent this girl from face-planting.  She got medical assistance.  The guy ended up in Dave and John’s race finish video.  Kuddos to that guy.

I told myself that I would pick up the pace for the last mile and ended with a 9:27 pace for that mile.  I’ll take it.  It was brutal.  Probably the hottest running race I have ever done.  I can’t remember a hotter one.

 

 

 

My race finish video.  I’m on the far right.  If you watch it, turn the volume down.  You’ve been warned.

IMG_1535279186820
Coming down the stretch to the finish.
IMG_1535279166080
Glad to be done and still upright on this extremely warm day.

Time to wrap it up:

IMG_3358

 

 

Here’s Alex thoroughly enjoying his run.  If you look at his leg you can see where he donated some skin to the pavement on Lower Wacker.  I got to hand it to him – in spite of the signs saying to slow down for the turn, he went FULL GUNNER into it and wiped out.  HE LOVES THIS SPORT!!!

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3365
Here’s brothers John and Dave finishing together.  They finished the race with the exact same time.  John is tipping his hat in a show of respect to the sport he loves so much.  Dave is like me, I always zip up nearing the finish line as well.  That’s a pro move, baby!
IMG_1535279460400
I got my medal and my popsicle.  I have to say, getting a popsicle  was the highlight of the race.  Just another reason to love this sport.
IMG_4928
Many thanks to this lovely lady for being there for me and my Gunner teammates today.  And thanks for walking the extra couple of miles to transition and back to get all my junk.  That may have been the hardest part of the day.  I really was contemplating quitting triathlons and running at this point.  LOL

fullsizeoutput_115a1

Until the next race, Cheers to you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Manteno Sprint Triathlon Race Report

When:  07/28/2018, 8:00am

Where:  Manteno, Illinois

Distance:  Sprint:  400 yard Swim, 11 mile Bike, 3.1 mile Run

Results:  1:05:03 – 23rd overall, 2nd place M55-59

I thoroughly enjoyed this race when I did it for the first time last year, so there was no hesitation about signing up again this year.  Kari joined me for the race this year again too, doing the duathlon.  We got up around 5am and headed to the race.

IMG_7596
Looking fairly happy pre-race.

As soon as we walked our bikes into transition I was met by a lady who recognized me and said she had read my blog from a previous race. She follows the same local running group that I do, but I was surprised that she had read it.  I only share it on my page, so I’m guessing someone else must have shared it.  Anyway, I kind of felt like a celebrity after that!

We ran into many familiar faces and we shared race day strategies and advised each other on who to look out for!  Seems like a very close knit group.  Even my wife remembered some of the duathlon competitors.

IMG_7595
With transition all set up, it was time to race.

SWIM:  400 Yards, 9:31, 3rd in A/G, 68th Overall

The swim temp was 77 degrees, barely wetsuit legal, but I only saw one guy wearing one.  I opted to not even bring it from the car.  I had a really good swim.  Last year I was a touch faster, but I remember laboring more too.  This swim had zero contact and was issue free.  Some commented post-race that they thought the course was longer than 400 yards.  My watch showed 511 yards, but I forgot to hit my lap button as I exited the water and headed into transition.  Official T1 time was 1:14, which isn’t too bad.

BIKE: 11 Miles, 30:53, Average speed 21.4 mph, 3rd in A/G, 25th Overall

Like last year, I opted for the full aero disc on my bike and went all out from the start.  I was pushing hard through the whole 11 mile ride.  I didn’t get passed by anyone this year, and I was blowing by lots of other riders.  The wind was much lighter this year and it was also from the west, so it only affected a mile or two of the ride.  Moved up several spots after the bike.  Official T2 time was 1:27, slower than T1 because I sat down to put on socks.

RUN:  3.1 miles, 21:56, 7:04 per mile pace ave., 2nd in A/G, 20th Overall

I had not trained for triathlon much this spring in summer.  This time last year I was already 10 or 11 weeks into Ironman Louisville training.  When I got off the bike and started the run, my legs were rubber.  Very apparent to me that brick workouts make a world of difference, and I hadn’t done hardly any this year.  But all things considered, I settled into a comfortable pace and just started catching the next runner ahead of me.  I must have passed a lot of duathletes, because I only moved up 5 spots from the bike.  I started pushing a little harder at the 2 mile mark and just kept up the effort until I finished.  I was greeted by a guy named Mike, who I beat last year and he asked what had taken me so long.  Oh well, try to get him next year.

Untitled

Kari and I both got 2nd in our age groups.  Kari’s group seemed to be having more fun.

Overall, a little slower than last year, but I was not as prepared this year as last.  Very fun day.

Link to the 2018 Manteno Tri Race Results

Amita Health/Fit America Half Marathon Race Recap

WHEN:  SATURDAY, 7/21/2018 – 7:30am

WHERE:  HOFFMAN ESTATES, IL

DISTANCE:  HALF MARATHON – 13.1 MILES

RESULTS:  1:38:53 – 53rd OVERALL, 7th in Age Group M 50-54

IMG_7588

I signed up for this race last week in hopes of improving my corral seeding at the 2018 Chicago Marathon (CM) this coming fall.  Otherwise, I avoid summer half marathons like the plague!  Too hot, muggy and miserable!  But I was on a mission.

Although I have legacy status for the CM which guarantees my entry, I ended up getting into the race based on a qualifying time from the 2016 CM race.  At the CM, they seed you into corrals, which are now separated into three waves.  Being in the first wave is pretty awesome, as you are with the faster runners who finish under 3 hours and 45 minutes, and generally with those that will be running the same pace as you.  In 2016 I was seeded in the B corral, which was like being an elite for me.  When the word got out that we had been assigned corrals for this years race, I found that I had been moved to the E corral.  Talk about a blow to my ego!  Still in the first wave though, which is really the goal.  Being in the first wave is preferred because there will be less people, less congestion, and no fear of the supplies of water, or Gatorade, or gels, or whatever running out.  But even so, my qualifying time of 3:25:08 should have put me in the D corral to begin with by their own time standards.

Screen-Shot-2018-06-21-at-2.38.43-PM
2018 Chicago Marathon Corral Time Standards

I sent an email requesting to be moved to the D corral, and it was approved.  But I thought I would give it a shot at trying to get into the C corral, which would require me to run either a <3:20:01 marathon, or a <1:35:01 half marathon.  Since there’s no way I’m attempting to run a marathon in July, I found this local half marathon race in relatively nearby Hoffman Estates, Illinois.

 

Amita Health/Fit America Half Marathon Race Recap

PRERACE

Of course it was raining.  Since running the in pouring rain at the Boston Marathon in April, it seems like every race I sign up for is going to have rain.  I even skipped a triathlon in June because of the storms that morning.  But today it wasn’t too bad, just misty, and that only lasted for about 30 minutes.

I took my spot in the start corral area and found my pacer.  This guy and everyone around him all looked young, tall and thin and more than capable of being sub 1:35.  I tapped his shoulder and asked him what the 6.55 mile (halfway) split would be, just to see if he did his homework.  He did the math right there and I was satisfied.  He also had a pace chart on his wrist.  He did ask me if that was what I was intending to run, with sort of doubt in his expression, which always makes me chuckle when people doubt me.  I may look old, fat and slow, but there is nothing more pleasing than surprising them with my effort.  I said I was shooting for the stars today, hoping I would be able to hang until at least halfway.

Someone with a mic started a countdown:  10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3… and on 3 the guy with the airhorn started blaring the thing.  We all laughed and off we went.

(Note:  I’m a newer user of Strava and I find the data and info from it interesting.  I added screenshots of each mile split for reference and to help me recall things that happened during the race.)

MILE 1 – (7:13 Split) – I was afraid that 7:15 per mile was going to feel like 5K race pace to me, because I don’t normally train at that pace (usually I’m running 8:40 or so in training!), but our pack settled in behind our pacer.  I actually felt pretty good.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.52.22 AM

 

MILE 2 – (7:12 Split) – By this mile my heart rate was in Z4 and I started to feel the intensity of the pace.  But still I felt good, hanging with the group and feeling and looking like I belonged.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.53.37 AM

MILE 3 – (7:09 Split) – This split time is a little surprising, because Mr. Pacer was pretty spot on with his pace.  There was only a handful of times when the group slowed going uphill, but we all picked it back up to 7:15 pretty easily.  There were warnings of puddles to avoid, and I mentioned to the girl running next to me that Boston was all puddles, and she said she had run it too!  Conversations were happening in the group and I sensed the group was feeling good.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.55.43 AM

MILE 4 – (7:16 Split) – This is where it all fell apart for me.  I hit a wall and I hit it hard!  Who hits the proverbial wall 4 miles into a half marathon?!  Me, that’s who.  I think the problem was I grabbed an energy gel at 30 minutes and started ingesting it.  Between that and a water stop, my heart rate soared and I could feel myself starting to struggle.  We were also starting to hit more of the hillier sections of the first half, and that was adding to my issue.  The group wasn’t too far ahead, but I didn’t think I could keep pace any longer.  I figured that the halfway point might be where I would falter.  I was a little surprised that it was hitting me now.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.58.02 AM

MILE 5 – (7:22 Split) – Okay, a little relief from the energy gel.  It usually takes about 5-10 minutes to get absorbed and it was starting to give me a boost.  I worked on trying to pull myself back up to the group.  We hit a turn around at this point and Mr. Pacer offered a thumbs up.  But the hills were starting to take their toll on me.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.59.03 AM

MILE 6 – (7:33 Split) – Running alone again.  Every race, every time.  This middle mile of the race is like all middle miles of most any race.  It’s the point where I find myself running alone.  Although it was becoming splintered a little, the 7:15 pace group was a good football field or two ahead of me now, and there was no sign of anyone behind me.  This happens all the time to me.  The official timer had a split mat at 10K and I hit it at 45:51, which was still looking pretty good for me, but I had another half of the race to go.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 10.59.58 AM

MILE 7 – (7:44 Split) – I don’t remember much about this mile other than it was the straightest of the miles.  Just doing the work at my new, more comfortable pace.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.00.56 AM

MILE 8 – (7:47 Split) – This is the mile I had originally planned to start a finishing push.  You can see by the slower split time that it didn’t happen.  Interesting mile though.  I started eating my last energy gel, just kind of taking a small amount each time.  I wanted to make sure it lasted a little longer.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.02.06 AM

MILE 9 – (7:37 Split) – I was starting to feel energized again.  A young college kid passed me wearing a UW Stevens Point shirt and he had the look of a classic cross country runner.  Tall, thin and running easily.  I figured he must be just pacing through a training day and not racing at all, because there was no way I should have been leading that kid through 8 miles.  But I was wrong.  I saw him and his mother at the finish and I asked him if he was just taking it easy, and he claimed it was his first half marathon and he didn’t run at UWSP.  Shame.  He definitely looked like he should have been in the top 10 today.  Looks can be deceiving.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.03.01 AM

MILE 10 – (7:59 Split) – As I passed the 9 mile mark I noticed the ball of my foot was getting sore, and I guessed that I was starting to get a blister.  That was a little surprising, because I had lubed up my feet pretty good with Body Glide.  My feet were soaked however.  This was my slowest split and I’m not sure why.  There was a turn around, but I didn’t mess around there.  With only 5K to go at the 10 mile mark, I started to push again.  I was slowly starting to catch people.  I think I overtook 3 other runners in this mile.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.04.12 AM

MILE 11 – (7:43 Split) – I wanted to keep pushing but the path started getting hilly and curvy again.  Hoping to push a little more but save enough for a strong last mile kick.  Definitely could feel that blister forming on my right foot.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.06.06 AM

MILE 12 – (7:41 Split) – Just after passing the 11 mile marker you come to a turn where there is a water station, but I almost made a wrong turn there.  That’s the fear for me when I get stuck in no-man’s land.  Fortunately I chose correctly, grabbed some water and kept going.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.07.09 AM

MILE 13 and End – (7:29 Split) – I finally got out of the forest preserve and back on the road heading back to the finish.  I had been looking over my shoulder and could see a guy in a blue singlet pulling me in.  I’m pretty sure he was in the early 7:15 pace group with me.  He caught me with a little less than a half mile to go.  I latched on and we paced together until we were handed American flags about 200 meters from the finish.  I was with him at that point and encouraged him to push.  He did and was able to beat me to the line.  I crossed the line waving that flag, relieved to be under 1:40 and to be done.  He congratulated me on a good finish, and I him.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.08.08 AM

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.08.56 AM

Overall I was pretty happy with my sub 1:40 time of 1:38:53.  I was hoping for that sub 1:35, and I was optimistic about it for the most part, but I really would have needed a perfect day and course to get that.  Corral D, here I come!

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 11.20.25 AM
My Garmin HR Zones for the race.  Z4 is hard, but over the years I have found how to exist there in races.  I never spend 95% of my time in Z4 in training.  More like 0%.

 

COURSE INFO

hoffmanestates_ffasf_halfmap – PDF of course map

The course was more challenging than I expected.  It had about 650 feet of elevation gain which is notable.  Rolling hills, but nothing too terrible.  The course is all paved, some on road but most on bike trail.  There were five switchbacks and a lot of turns.  I would rate it challenging, but still capable of producing a good finish time.  The race organization was outstanding.  The volunteers were plentiful and were awesome.  The medal seemed a little cheaper than other races I have been at that this race organization hosts, but I still liked it.  I signed up late and paid about $70.  I highly recommend this race and most races hosted by All Community Events.

mhp_1550.jpg
Most ‘Murica thing I’ve done ever!

 

RACE RESULTS LINK

All Community Events 13.1 Race Results – Overall Results

Fit America – My Results

 

 

 

Memories Of A Now Gone Park

Yesterday I was on an after dinner walk with my wife Kari, and daughters Ashley and Rebecca.  As we wound our way back through the neighborhood, I headed toward the park to deposit some of the trash I had picked up on the walk in the trash bin adjacent to the playground.  I saw the swings and couldn’t resist.  I hopped on one and began swinging.  The girls soon joined in, with Rebecca also swinging, Ashley opting to walk on the balance beam and with Kari heading for the main play set.  I followed Kari on the bouncy bridge, across the pedestal bridge, and back on to the wobbly bridge that lead to the corkscrew pole, in which, of course, I had to spin down.

The memories of taking the kids to this park when they were young came flooding back.  Having to hold hands as they made it across the wobbly bridge; lifting Ben up to the monkey bars to help him get around; giving ‘underdogs’ to all three of them on the swings; to even our dog Lucky, teaching him how to climb the steps to take a trip down the slide.  We maybe spent five minutes playing around before heading home.

IMG_0513
2009 – Ashley on the playground
IMG_0512
2009 – Rebecca on the springy dinosaur we naturally called Barney

Today I started my noontime run, which takes me past that very same park, and I was shocked to discover it was gone.  All of the equipment removed.

IMG_7546
2018 – No more park

It was surreal to me.  The park was now surrounded by some plastic caution tape, acting as a barrier to keep others away.  But it was almost like crime scene tape to me – someone had stolen the park that had generated all those memories that we had just recalled.  For the next 7 miles, I thought only about that park and the times I spent there with the kids.

I’m sure the park district has plans to replace the park with newer equipment, equipment that will be just as much fun to the kids of today as the old stuff was to my kids.  But the memories of playing at our park, will now just be what we have stored in our minds, with no physical equipment to hop on to rekindle those memories.

I am glad I made that stop at the park last night.  It was like being drawn there to say goodbye to an old friend, without even knowing they were leaving.  I wish I had more pictures to remember it by.

Live Classic Rock Songs That Are Better Than The Studio Versions

I was listening to Classic Vinyl on SiriusXM radio in the car the other day when they played the original studio version of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band’s Turn the Page, and it didn’t seem right.  It sounded different in my ear, as I was used to the live version of the song.  That got me thinking about live versions of rock songs that are much better than the original studio version.  Songs that if the radio DJ was going to play that one specific song, he or she would grab the live version over the studio version every time.

Not sure what propelled the popularity of live albums during the 1970’s.  You don’t see them being as popular in later decades.  Live music and concerts were growing to huge proportions in the 70’s.  It may have been a money grab from the record label, but I’m just guessing.

So here are a few of the songs I could easily think of that the live version outshone the studio version, maybe not on the charts, but definitely were played more on the radio.

 

Unknown-1

BOB SEGER & THE SILVER BULLET BAND – Turn The Page:  Live Bullet (1976) – I’ll start with this song as it was what made me ponder this in the first place.  Apparently the song was never released as a single, but it got lots of airplay on FM radio in the 1970’s.  The original song was recorded in 1972.  Not only did Turn The Page live fare better than the studio version, the songs Travelin’ Man/Beautiful Loser, and Katmandu also are songs that you only heard the live versions on the radio, not the studio versions.

 

Unknown

KISS – Rock and Roll All Nite:  Alive! (1975) – Originally appeared in studio form on 1975’s Dressed to Kill album, but the KISS ALIVE! album version is what was played on the radio.  Gene Simmons sang the song, but I think it’s Paul Stanley shouting “I CAN’T HEAR YOU,” “C’MON” and “WHAT?!” which are classic and intergral parts of the song.  12 year old me wore this album out.  The live version made it to #12 on the Billboard charts in 1976.

 

220px-WOACover

 

Paul McCartney & Wings – Maybe I’m Amazed:  Wings Over America (1976) –  Paul McCartney wrote this song in 1970 and dedicated it to his wife Linda, in an effort to heal after the Beatles break up.  After forming the band Wings, they released a triple live album, and it reached number 10 on the singles charts.  The drumming on this live version really stands out.  Can you ever recall hearing the studio version?

 

OneMoreFromTheRoad_LynyrdSkynyrdalbum

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Free Bird:  One More From The Road (1976) – Another live album from 1976, and this won’t be the last on this list.  This one is a little bit of a cheat, as the original studio version did just fine on it’s own.  Matter of fact, the studio version hit number 19 on the charts in 1974, with the live version making it to number 38.  But in all actuality, “What song is it you wanna hear?”  The live version answers that question.  “FREE BIRD!!!”

 

220px-Jackson_Browne_Running_on_Empty

Jackson Browne – Running On Empty:  Running On Empty (1978) – I had this album on cassette and it popped into my mind for this post, but I was very surprised to learn that it was never released as a studio version.  They recorded this one live and released it as a single, which reached #11 on the charts.  The Load Out was also was released as a single and hit #20.  But radio generally plays the two songs The Load Out/Stay together.  So I guess the live version can easily be better than the studio version if the studio version never existed.  Honorable mention to this one.

 

Unknown-2

Cheap Trick – I Want You to Want Me:  Cheap Trick at Budokon (1978) – Two songs stand out on this album, I Want You to Want Me, and Surrender.  I Want You to Want Me was originally released in 1977, it didn’t even chart.  Was Cheap Trick even known until at Budokon came out?  I certainly had never heard of them.  The song went to #1 in Japan, no surprise there.  But it also hit #7 in the USA.  Surrender did well on it’s own, as the studio version hit #62, and was not released as a live single from what I can tell.  The studio version of Surrender stands on it’s own and didn’t need the live version to bolster it.  What is interesting about I Want You to Want Me is how Robin Zander introduces it, in a very clear spoken English so that the Japanese audience could understand.  I crack up every time I hear it.

 

220px-Frampton_Comes_Alive

Peter Frampton – Show Me The Way:  Frampton Comes Alive! (1976) – Easily the greatest live album ever released.  It was the best selling album of 1976.  And it held the top spot on the album charts for 10 weeks.  I’m slightly embarrassed to admit, I never owned this album.  But you couldn’t escape it anyway.  The song was one of three singles released from the live album, joining Baby, I Love Your Way, and Do You Feel Like We Do.  Show Me The Way hit #6 on the charts, and did slightly better than the other two.  I’ve seen Peter two times now, both in good old New Lenox, Illinois, where I grew up.  Incredible guitarist.  I don’t believe I have ever heard the studio version of any of Frampton’s songs.

 

220px-Live_You_Get_What_You_Play_For

REO Speedwagon – Ridin’ The Storm Out:  You Get What You Play For (1977) – Ridin’ The Storm Out hit #94 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.  The original version appears on their third album, also called Ridin’ The Storm Out, but here’s the odd part – Kevin Cronin doesn’t sing the original version, a guy named Mike Murphy does.  Cronin left the band due to “creative differences.”  But he does in fact rejoin the band to lead them to greatness, and still is leading them today.  Kevin introduces the song by yelling “LAST SONG PEOPLE!”  And on that note, I will make this the last song on this list.

 

 

 

Race Report: 2018 Short Run on a Long Day 5K

When:  Wednesday, 06/20/2018 – 7 PM

Where:  Frankfort, IL

Distance:  5K

Results:  21:31 – 30th Overall, 1st M50-54 A/G – Link:  Race Results

To sum up this race in one word:  strange.  Of all the 5K’s I have done, this one always has a weird vibe to it.  The anxiety is different for me here.  I’m always a little more amped up for this race for some reason.  Today was no different.  There’s usually some good competition here, especially for a Wednesday night race.

First of all, this was my first hard effort in a race since running the Boston Marathon, a race I did not do very well at.  Oh sure, Boston had some extreme conditions, but I never really felt prepared for it and it seems that I had struggled with effort since.  My expectation was that I was not going to be able to run my typical sub-21 minute 5K.

35849038_10214404084287730_6399878446478000128_n
I joined in!  I’m next to Forrest Gump.

Then there’s the club vibe at this race.  The competitive aspect seems high for these clubs.  I follow the Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club online and have interacted with a few of the members, and tonight I decided to sport the club singlet and represent.  Although I tried to interact with them pre-race, I just kind of felt like an outsider.  That’s mostly on me, as I don’t really run with them much, mainly because they schedule their runs in the evenings when I’m doing dinner with the family, or early on Saturday morning when I would rather take my time getting up and around.  But I do value associating with them online.  The Tinley Track & Trail club is always competitive at this race, and I noticed a few other clubs this year as well.

I did my typical slow warm-up, a few quick up-tempo strides and then got in line at the start.  Ben and Emily joined in on the fun this year, and I positioned myself behind them.  The guy with the bullhorn started the race, not from the middle of the road this year for a change, and off we sped.  We weren’t a 1/4 mile into it when an 8 year old kid went in front of me from right to left.  He had his arms raised, flexing his muscles for some reason and we clipped feet and down he went.  Immediate dread filled me and I stopped to see if he was okay.  I hadn’t even got turned around and he was already up and running.  Must not have affected him much, because he finished in 32nd place.  Yes, the 8 year old kid that I accidently tripped when he cut me off almost beat me.

IMG_7494
The evidence clearly shows that number 9611 shoved this kid to the ground, your Honor! (photo by Jill Yott – Facebook)

Back to running again I found that I was pegging the heart rate into the red, in my typical fashion.  Not sure why I can’t hold back at the beginning of this race, but I go out too hard every time.  At one point I glanced at my watch and it said I was running sub-6 minute pace per mile.  Oops.  I dialed it back and hoped I could salvage a couple of miles around 7 min pace.

I saw Todd Street spectating somewhere near the 2.25 mile mark and said hello.  After that I was all about trying not to get passed, but it was happening with regularity.  I saw a couple grey haired guys pass me and I had the feeling that I wasn’t going to finish in the money.  With about a half mile to go we crested a hill and I used the downhill to make a final push.  The last 100 yards or so is uphill slightly, and I pushed as hard as I could while still checking my shoulder for the guy I passed.  I was able to hold him off.  I could see the clock and saw that I wasn’t going to break 21 minutes, which deflated me a little, but I was more worried about place than time at that point.

IMG_7474
My cardiovascular system really wanted this to be over at this point.  (photo by Todd Street)

I found Ben at the end and he said he had won the race.  Very proud of him.  He’s finished this race in 2nd way too many times.  Nice that he got the trophy this year, even if it is the most annoyingly big 5K 1st place trophy ever.  Emily did well too, grabbing 1st in her age group and 3rd overall for the females.

b6BqKhy6T1S+A1m9CZuWDw
Ben, myself and Emily looking happy post-race.
Z3eJv6lBQTyJWO4MoDeSnQ
Ben with another huge 1st Place trophy!
bmguodqirqocsk3j5behq.jpg
The guy kept saying “look at Dad.” Is that prophecy?!?! At least he didn’t call me Grandpa.
ge4r7ll5qpora1sfkrlpjg.jpg
For the longest day of the year, the light was fading fast as they finally got to the old guy awards.

 

So I finished in 30th place, 14 places later than last year’s 16th place.  There were less faster old guys this year and a lot more kids.  There were 7 men in their 50’s in the top 30 last year, and this year there was just two.  Last year I finished in 20:45; this year more than a half minute slower.  It is a little bit of a head scratcher for me, as it seems that I am still feeling the effects of being over-trained the past year, or old age is just catching up with me.  I’m not really training to race 5K’s, but I do like to push myself and race them.  I just don’t like getting slower as the years pass.

Here’s last year’s recap for comparison:

Short Run on a Long Day 2017 Race Recap

RBN3ChxTSpeGSK7J5KAH3w
Of course Ben didn’t want to take the trophy home, so I was forced to do so.  Add it to the collection, I guess.

I was reviewing the race on Strava and saw this really cool Flyby feature that shows other Strava using runners in the race and how we ran.  Fun to watch.  I hope the link works.  Click on the orange start button to make it work.   Strava Flyby of the 5K

See you next year!