Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Okay, so I'm not a big fan of Halloween, but I think this will have to be my costume some year if I ever decide to dress up. Crazy!

Grand Rapids Marathon Recap

Okay, so it has now been a few days since returning from Michigan where I ran the Grand Rapids Marathon, and I have had some time to recover and reflect on the experience. Although this marathon was not as historic as the 2007 Chicago Marathon that I "ran" three weeks ago, this marathon was just as memorable. I only have one complaint--I was not able to run with a high schooler. That was the biggest highlight of the Chicago Marathon. You cannot understand the inspiration you can get from watching a teenager accomplish something as daunting as running 26.2 miles until you have actually experienced it. So here's a shout-out once more to Miguel--YOU ROCK!

So back to Grand Rapids. I set some pretty lofty goals for this marathon thinking that I could burst through as a marathon runner. But I guess my body has limits, and my body definitely told me what they were. As I sit here writing this, my legs are still reminding me what my limits are; perhaps it's because I tried to push those limits two times in the same month. Here was my goal: run as fast as George W. Bush over a marathon distance (3 hours, 44 minutes). At the expo, I picked up my "Dubya's Running Mates" pin-on and a pace band. I looked at the pace band and thought to myself, "Whew! 8.32/mile pace! I did it before...over 8 miles." I have to admit that there was a seed of doubt buried there in the back of my brain. But my wife's continual excitement and encouragement made me deeply bury that seed and try to move past it.

When race morning arrive, I anxiously stood at the start line behind my other "running mates" as we introduced ourselves to one another. Once the "gun" went off, we were off. Wow, I felt good. The pace was nice, the weather was crisp and a bit frosty, the sun was on the rise, and we were making our way along the streets of west Grand Rapids. The previous day my family took a drive along part of the race course, so I knew there would be some hills coming, but I just focused my energy and eyes on the pace group. Each mile our pace was updated by numerous runners with the GPS watches (a bit annoying to tell the truth). Those updates made that seed of doubt rise quicker than I wanted it to. We were off to a pretty brisk pace as we were doing faster than the 8.32/mile pace. But I continued to focus on the beauty around me. As the sun rose, the fog lie over our heads. It was wonderfully beautiful.

By Mile 10, I was starting to lag behind some. I could still see the team and their post, but I just decided to take my own pace. I was blessed by that decision because I was able to enjoy the scenery much more without the constant pace updates. I know I would have benefitted from the supporting banter too, but I wouldn't have seen some of the things I saw. A deer running its own marathon. A stilt walker walking the entire 26.2 in world-record time. Sharing a passionate kiss with my wife. It was blissful...then Mile 15 happened.

Mile 15...11.2 to go...calf twitching! Uh-oh! Ankle hurting! Um?!? Pain rising! I had to resort to a 15 minute run and 1 minute walk for a lot of the remaining miles. This was a blessing in disguise because I think I enjoyed cheering my fellow runners on too. I think if I remaind so concerned with finishing in a certain time, I may not have had the chance to say encouraging words to those who were suffering right along side of me. So, Mr. President, Mr. P. Diddy, and Mr. Will are all faster marathon runners than me. Congratulations! My finish time: 4:18.59. YEAH! Personal Record! YEAH! End of marathon season! I am sure I'll get antsy in the near future for another one, but until then I am done.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Ready For Another Marathon!!!

Two days remain until I run my final marathon (for the year). I'm heading up to Grand Rapids, Michigan to take on the autumn colors and George W. Bush. Yes, I am planning on being his running mate (i.e., trying to run his marathon time--3:44). I am carb-loaded (cookies, french fries, ice cream) and ready to roll (literally) to the start line. Thank you for all of you who have wished me luck (survival) for the run. I'm ready (for marathon season to be over) to get back into the gym (cozy bed) and return to CrossFit. Stay tuned for a (recovery) update on how Sunday's run goes.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Workout 10/22

I hope to look like this again after running Grand Rapids!

Run: 2 Miles (17.39, 8.49/mile pace)

Running with the Wife

My wife dragged me out of the house Sunday morning for a run around Wheaton. It has been awesome to see her excited about running. She used to hate it with a passion. I think it stemmed from me and my attitudes on a few select race days early in our marriage. I am so glad that we have come far since then. Sunday morning's run was a blessing for me to run alongside her and to have to opportunity to share our lives together on a peaceful, crisp autumn morning. I am in love with my wife, and I thank God for that everyday.

Workout 10/20

This morning was my final long run before the Grand Rapids Marathon. It felt good to wake up early and head out into the darkness to conquer the end of marathon training. The friendliness quotient has deteriorated greatly since the spring. In case you have forgotten, the friendliness quotient is caluculated by the number of responses to the familiar morning greeting. Before the sun rose, that percentage was at 20%. After the sun rose, people became much more friendly. The sun has an amazing effect on people's moods. Thank God for the sun and the Son!

Run: 8 Miles (1:08.27, 8.33/mile pace)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Workout 10/19

I guess the Chicago marathoners whined enough to make people have pity on them. It seems like marathons around the country are trying to one up everyone else; first it was Des Moines giving a discounted rate, then it was Denver offering free entries (one just had to buy the airfare), now Lake Geneva, WI is handing out freebies too...nice that it is the general vacinity of Chicago for those who live here. Sure the Lake Geneva Marathon is everything that the Chicago Marathon is not, but what does one expect. Remember that old saying, "Beggers can't be choosers." I think that's important to remember in cases like this. Here's my suggestion, let's go, not complain, run, and make the marathon our own by having fun in the process.

I'm going to put it on my "To Run" list. Anyone who wants to join me on the run, let me know. Ah, winter training, this is going to be fun! And I know I keep wishing marathon training to be over...well, it looks like a mix of CrossFit and running for me. Details will follow!

Run: 6 Miles (52.31, 8.45/mile pace)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Workout 10/17

I'm really not happy with Ronald McDonald and what his food does to my ability to run long distances. I have less than two weeks to shrug off the effects of his french fries and his quarter pound of beef with cheese. Running six miles this morning was difficult, but I did chug out every tenth of a mile even though my stomach was complaining most of the second half of it. I guess diet still does matter even when you are a marathoner. And, yes, I am still counting the days down until marathon season is over and I can return to a fun and diversified CrossFit schedule. But before that, I've got a marathon to run! C'mon Grand I come!

Run: 6 Miles (Time:???, Pace:???)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Workout 10/13

Ah, the environment. It's a hot topic these days...literally hot seeing as the focus is on our warming climate. It's so hot that the Nobel Peace Prize Committee decided to award Al Gore the Peace Prize (for making a movie?). Well, I thought I'd vie for the Peace Prize by running from my front door this morning rather than driving to the Lakefront Path or to the Globogym. Now all I have to do is get some fabulous writers on my side to make a fantastic proposal to the Committee; I think I have a lock on next year's Nobel Peace Prize. So all of you who are even considering making a run for that "prestigious" prize, you can give up now because it already belongs to me.

Run: 6 Miles (49.32; 8.15/mile pace)

*The back of my knee is starting to bother me. About two weeks to go until my next marathon (Grand Rapids). I think I best slow it down a little and just focus on quality miles and not pushing the pace too much. Stretch, stretch, stretch.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Back to the Grind (Workout 10/10 and 10/12)

After a few days of rest, it was back to the workout grind to prepare for the Grand Rapids Marathon which is coming up in about 2 weeks. And yes, I have been planning this one before the Chicago Marathon debacle. In fact, I think the Chicago Marathon experience has excited me more for the GRM since my body was reminded what 26.2 miles really feels like. I get to use this race to push myself and my limits. And that's what I tried to do today during my workout. Here's what I've done recently.

10/10: Run 2 Miles; 70 Push-ups
10/12: Run 3 Miles (25.32, 8.30/mile pace), 30 Assisted Pull-ups

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chicago Marathon 2007 Recap

Ah...ideal weather conditions for marathoning! Too bad it is merely three days too late. My brain has finally cooled off, and I have had some time to process all that went on during Sunday's Chicago Marathon. I am sure you have all heard the complaints and problems, so I am going to try my best to steer clear of that old news. I'd much rather tell the amazing story of Miguel the Marathoner and his trusty

Seven months of training finally led up to its climax on Sunday as we all gathered in our tent in Charity Village. Mentors and students buzzed with excitement as we scribbled last-minute names and messages on our arms, legs, shirts, and chests. Temporarily tattooed in permanent marker, we "warmed up" our muscles even though the heat and humidity had already helped warm up our bodies. Many mentors kept checking their watches with anticipation as 7:30 AM approached...time to get to the start line AS A TEAM! We wound our way through the crowd and planted ourselves near the 4:45 Pace Group marathoners...who knew at that time that a pace number on your bib would mean nothing in a few short miles. Miguel and Jose R. joked and laughed it up as we waited for nearly 40,000 runners to get moving. Over and over again, Miguel shouted "GO!" as nervous marathoners jerked their heads up thinking we were actually supposed to be moving. After 20 officially-timed minutes since the "gun" went off, we finally reached the start line and crossed it with running legs.

The smiles on our faces continued as we passed runners taking their potty breaks on the side of the road, as old men walked faster than us runners, and as we discussed our anticipated finish time (, 4:30...okay, somewhere between 4:00 and 5:00...hey, let's just cross the finish line). Slowly but surely we got into a groove of focused running and occassional encouragements. Our group of 6 eventually broke into two groups of 3 (2 mentors per student). Miguel, Michelle, and I trotted on at a 10:30 pace which we considered a decent modification for the heat. But then reality hit as water stations came up dry, and our smiles turned to a more concerned look. But we were saved by many spectators, all one had to do was be brave enough to ask for help...water, Gatorade, Body Glide, cell phones...all available at the hands of helpful lookers-on.

Our group could not stick together through a few water and ice stops, and at Mile 9 our group fell apart. Miguel got caught up at a station, I put on a light jog, and Michelle lost us in the wave of people. It took me a mile to find Miguel, and all that time I kept my eye out for a tall, skinny kid with a Cubs hat turned backwards (a Cubs hat of all things)! At Mile 10, my wife and sister-in-law had bottles of Gatorade ready for us, but I was a lone runner at that point and only took one bottle. When I turned around to keep running, who did I see right in front of me? Miguel! We rounded the corner onto North Avenue thankful that we had found each other and grateful that Elvis was ahead. That was the motivation and help we needed to truck along back into the Loop and be greeted by our lovely Team M3 volunteers cheering us on. Jose R. and Jose H. eventually caught up to us too and proceeded to pass by us with supportive smiles.

But that's when it started to fall apart for us. Miguel's ankle bothered him, the heat bore down on us, and our muscles were doing their best to support us. It was stop and go for the remainder. Thank goodness we weren't pulled off the course like so many other runners who didn't pass the half-way point by 11:30 AM. Miguel and I continued to encourage each other because that's all that gave us the drive to keep going. Pain slowly rose up from our ankles to our calves, to our hips, and finally all the way up to our shoulders. Five hours and fifty-nine minutes after crossing that start line, we bravely crossed the finish line to receive our piece of metal that was genuinely earned over 26.2 miles of perseverence. This will always be the day that Miguel became a marathoner along with twelve other brave high schoolers from the City of Chicago.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Last One Standing...

Now this looks like a good show! This would be a fun show to participate in as a fan of fitness and travel. I was wondering how a CrossFitter would do on a show like this. Wow! Three cool shows to anticipate: this one, American Gladiator (Yes, it's coming back!), and The Amazing Race.

Check out the trailer or advertisement for Last One Standing. Talk about something that makes you want to go workout.

Workout 10/3

This is the end of my runs as we know it...and I feel fine! (R.E.M. tune playing in my head). Well, I had my last official training run this morning, and I had a few kinks to work out, but I am ready for the Chicago Marathon. I'm obsessing a little bit over the weather, and I should just ignore it and have fun (it's suppose to be in the mid-80s). I am sure if I obsess too much, I am going to ruin the day and dread it all. So let me just put on a happy face and take what is given to us on race day (even if that does mean thunderstorms too). Thank you to all of you who have sent me encouraging notes and will be following me throughout the race. I'll be back on Monday to give you the low down on how it all went.

Run: 4 miles (38.35, 9.38/mile pace)

Monday, October 1, 2007

Workout 10/1

Finally! It's October! MLB Playoffs (um, not sure how to feel about the Cubs though)! Chicago Marathon! Grand Rapids Marathon! CPS Shakespeare! Cooler Weather! Autumn! Ah, there's so much to like about the month of October. So, I had to start it off with a run.

Run: 3 Miles (28.26, 9.28/mile pace)

Final Team M3 Training Run

The marathon is just around the corner, and training is coming to an end for the Chicago Marathon. Today was a perfect day for the last run with these awesome high schoolers. The mood is light and the nervousness of being one week away from the marathon leaves a little spark in the air that jolts us a bit on our run. This is going to be exciting. I hope everyone who has had the chance to follow us on this journey through this blog posting will be able to make it out to the race course to cheer on these fabulous young people. If not, I know your thoughts will be with us.

Run: 6 Miles (51.31, 8.35/mile pace) Whoo! That was quick! Shame on us!