Imerman Angels

Monday, December 30, 2013

Random thoughts and some goals for the new yaer

I guess this is the year that I finally started to step my running game up a bit. I knew to be a better runner, I Could not just run. It started off tough, but after a couple of weeks, a good balance had been achieved between doing things like lunges and running. It also helped that it really made a difference in my running.

I ran a great race at the Soldier Field 10M, beat my sub two hour half marathon by a significant amount and completed a sub four full marathon. My running season went really well and I have very few complaints. The one thing I will have to figure out is the cramping issue during marathons. They have attacked my quads twice and I have no idea why. 

With that being said, those races and issues helped me establish some goals for the 2014 year:

Beating my race times from last year

Soldier Field 10M: 1:16:26

Rock N Roll Half: 1:41:26

Chicago Marathon: 3:47:40

I am and very happy with all of those times but that also means I will have to work harder to beat them. Working harder is no problem because it will keep my healthy and energized. I also often tell people that I have to run and workout to eat and drink the way I do :). 

Run with others more often

I ran with others more than I ever have and found that when I did I had some of my better runs. Running in groups allows you to push yourself. Personally, I do not like falling behind and I am pretty competitive. The few times I did it this year, I pushed myself to run hard and found that I could stick with others. If I had been by myself during some of those runs, I am not sure that I would have pushed myself to run that hard. 

Stay healthy 

This is something that all runners struggle with at times because there are a lot of times where we do not listen to our body. Personally, I think I did a pretty good job of listening to my body this year. I battled shin splints and a bruised kneecap. I would have loved to run through both of those issues, but it just would not have been smart. Cross training will also be involved in this goal. I want to develop some upper body strength and try a variety of activities that will benefit my running. 

More races

They are fun! Of course it will have to be something I am smart about because training can be very taxing.  I would love to do at least one destination half-marathon. It would be a fun way to see a city that I have never seen before (Austin, Nashville, Memphis and San Francisco to name a few). A group of friends and I are doing Ragnar Cape Cod and I am very excited about that. I have always wanted to do one of those and I am glad I found a group that wants to do it. 

Those are just some of the goals I can think of. I am sure more will come to my mind as the year progresses. What are some of your goals?

Read more of your blogs 

With the help of #runchat and a few friends, I have met (via twitter) some great people and runners. I love hearing about their adventures and getting tips from them on running. 

Random thoughts

On Christmast Eve, I talked to my former brother-in-law and he asked if I had run on that day, which had been pretty cold and gloomy. Here is the conversation we had:

BIN-Did you run this morning?

Me-No. I ran this afternoon. 

BIN-I thought about you this morning. I said to myself I should go for a run, I know Mike is out there running. 

Me-Haha. You are right about that. 

This may seems like a small thing, but it made me happy. In a small way, I served as some motivation for someone. He may not have known it, but he gave me a great compliment. 

I went for a very cold run this morning and I saw five runners! I waved to one of them from across the street to acknowledge the fact that we are both crazy people. My legs were in great shape because I wore two tights. My core and arms felt great, but my hands took the longest to warm up. The circulation in my hands is not great, so my hands felt like bricks for about a mile. 

Happy New Year! 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Run chat 12/22

Q1-Dear Santa, I'd really love a 2014 race entry to______? Here is why?

A1-I would love a 2014 race entry to the Boston or New York Marathon. I have heard such great things about those races and it would be fun to do them. I do not run races to check things off the bucket list, but it would be fun to be able to say I did those races.

Q2-What was your best running-related purchase of the year? What was so great about it?

A2-All of my winter gear! I ran a lot last winter, but I did not have the proper gear to do it. I never felt too cold, but I also felt really heavy running in my clothes. Purchasing tights, a vest, gloves and a hat have already been a huge help. My gear will make winter running fun and bearable.

Q3-What was the No.1 thing you learned in 2013? How will you apply it to 2014 training?

A3-That I can not just run to be a better runner. I had to workout and some little things to be a better runner. Now that I combine cross training, working out and running together, I have become a better runner. I still need to get better at doing those things consistently, but it is something I will work towards in 2014.

Q4-What was the coolest medal you earned this year? What was so great about it?

A4-The coolest medal is definitely the Chicago Marathon Medal. It is the best because it means the most to me. I worked really hard to complete the race and reach my goal for it. It also gives me something to push for in 2014.

Q5-What is your first race of 2014? What are your top goals for year?

A5- Right now my first race of 2014 might be the F^3 half in Chicago on January 25.

Running goals for 2014

Stay healthy

Sub 1:40 half-marathon

Beat marathon time from 2013

Do a destination race

Attempt to qualify for Boston

Those are all the goals I can think of for now.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Winter post 2

I wrote one blog post on some of the winter gear I have been wearing so far and decided to write another one because I got some more gear. Some of the new pieces are an Icebreaker Blast Vest and sprint leggings, a Brooks Heater Hog long sleeve shirt and Mizuno Breath Thermo gloves.

We had some cold days in Chicago last week and my new gear (minus the gloves) came right on time.  The cold actually made me really excited to test the gear out and I did last Thursday. 

The picture below shows how I layered for the run on the cold day. My base layer is the Brooks Heater Hog long sleeve. It is a very soft piece that creates heat when you sweat. This is probably one of the clothing items I wanted try the most that I bought. I needed a solid base layer and thought this would be a good piece. The only con on the Heater Hog shirt is that it runs a little big. I ordered a medium probably should have ordered a small.

Base layer-Brooks Heater Hog
Mid-layer-Brooks Infiniti 1/2 Zip
Outer layer-Icebreaker Blast Vest
The mid-layer is the Brooks Infiniti 1/2 zip. My review on the piece is here. I wore it as an outer layer and it worked fine, but I knew I would need a good outer layer. I really wanted an Icebreaker piece and decided to go with the Blast Vest. It is made mostly of Merino wool and a little bit of lycra. It is also windproof and water resistant. The back of the vest is also very breathable. The side panels are soft and very comfortable. It is just an overall awesome piece.

Outer layer-Brooks 2-in-1 shot
base layer-Icebreaker Sprint Leggings
The Sprint Leggings were also an item I really wanted to try. It is extremely soft and comfortable against my skin. The fit works great, it is odor resistant and breathes very well. It kept me very warm on a very cold day. In fact, I did not even notice that it had been cold. For those that like pockets in their leggings, this piece does not have any.

Putting it all together

This combo worked extremely well and I know it will get me through the winter. I am lucky to have two great tights that will keep me warm and are breathable. I failed to mention that I also bought an Icebreaker Chase Beanie and I did not like that as much. It kept my head warm, but it barely covered my ears. That is probably because I have a a pretty big head and it just does not fit.  The Mizuno Breath Thermo gloves also worked great as liners. On non-windy days, they would work great on their own. That is all I have for now. If it get anymore winter gear, I will test it out and give my take on it. 

I also started looking at 2014 races recently. What races are people starting to look forward to?

Monday, December 9, 2013

Run Chat 12/8

Q1- If a race is canceled, what would be the best solution? Refund? Reschedule? Something else?

A1-This is a hard question. It is also something that I would not wish on anyone. A refund is probably the best solution. Races cost a lot of money and people might use that money to pay for something else. Rescheduling is difficult because it could anger people who will not be able to the race on the new date.

Q2- How far in advanced do you start looking at race day weather? What's been your worst racing conditions?

A2-I usually look the week of. My races have all come in Chicago and it is useless to to check anytime before that; the weather changes daily. The ironic part is that I never really check the weather on race day.

I have been very fortunate to have decent running conditions for my races. I guess the worst race conditions that I experienced are when I ran the RnR Chicago Half and it got pretty hot. Every other race has been just fine. I hope it stays that way(knock on wood).

Q3-What's your worst blister or chaffing story?

A3-Been lucky enough to never deal with a serious blister or chaffing.

Q4-What's been your best running purchase in 2013? What tops your wish list?

A4-Best purchase are my Brooks Ravenna 4's. I would love to have a Garmin or a solid baselayer.

Q5-Right now, what is the one word that describes your relationship with running?

A5-Alright. I am slowly getting back into it after having to take a few weeks of.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Thoughts on the New Balance 860v4

Lately I have been running in the New Balance 860v4. I have heard a lot of different things about the stability shoe and wanted to try them out for myself. It also helps that I love trying on new shoes. The 860's and I went for four runs at distance of: 4.1, 4.46, 5.24 and 4.07.

First feel

Some have mentioned to me that New Balance shoes can be a little stiff and rigid out of the box. It does not have that great first feel of other shoes, but it sure did feel comfortable. Instantly, I could feel the support and cushioning under my feet; it felt good so far.  I also enjoyed how light the shoes felt on my feet. The shoes are an 11.5 and felt loose in the heel, so I thought it may have been a little big, but it is definitely the right size. 

Shoe details

In very basic terms, the shoe has a lot of support on the medial side of the shoes. It also has a full length cushioning system (ABZORB) in the shoes. I mentioned in the first feel paragraph that the cushioning is very comfortable. I like how the upper is loose and open, so the shoe is not tight in the to box. 

The runs

The first run I took them out on went pretty well. My problem came with the upper and my left shoe. It could have been just the way I tied my shoes, but my shins and the top of my left foot hurt somewhat. It is not something that caused a tremendous amount of pain, so I ran through it. On a different note, I also do not think the shin pains caused my left hamstring to hurt, but it definitely worried me. It would not cause me to judge the shoe after just one run. 

There were some similar issues during the second run, but overall they have felt great on the three runs after the first. I still would like to take this shoe on a longer run to see how they feel on my feet compared to the other shoes I wear. That could be a true test of how much I enjoy the shoe. Despite that thought, the shoes have worked out well for me so far. 

Bottom line

I would recommend this shoe to someone looking for a stability shoe with a lot of cushioning. It is also a shoe that would be very comfortable to walk or have on if someone has to stand on their feet all day. The 860's are comparable to the Brooks Adrenaline ATS. I started in the Adrenaline's and loved them, but they over corrected me. When I say over corrected, they made me run on the outsoles of my feet. With that being said, I would love to get on a treadmill and get myself filmed in these shoes. 

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

My winter running gear (so far)

One thing that people who do not know me should know is that I do not like treadmills. The last few times I have run on one, I have gotten hurt in some way and have had to take time off of running. In fact, I can not remember the last time I have been on one. Running outside is just a lot more than being stationary. I always tell people not to be afraid of winter running! With the right clothing, the cold can be something you do not even think about. Here are some of the cold gear I have been using so far.

This Brooks Utopia Thermal 1/2 zip has worked great so far. I need a better baselayer, but it has done the job during the cold temps so far. All I have worn under this during runs are a long sleeve tech tee and maybe a dri-fit t-shirt of some kind. It has a nice pocket just behind just pass where my hip is and it is quite big. I usually have an iPhone charger, keys and a snack possibly for after the run. The other nice thing about this jacket is that it has a pocket for the zipper when you zip it all the way up. The sleeves also have thumbholes for extra warmth. The only real thing I do not like about the jacket is that sometimes I wish it had pockets on the side. Sometimes I will instinctually try to put my hands in pockets that are not there. 

Brooks Utopia Thermal 1/2 Zip
The Brooks Men's Infiniti Tight II are the first pair of running tights I have owned and I am enjoying them so far. My legs have felt warm and I do not feel constricted in them. It has zippers that go down to the ankle and makes the pants easy to take off. The pants also have reflectivity as shown in the picture below.The tights also have mesh panels behind the knee and a zippered back pocket. I can not think of any downside to the tights yet. 

I also forgot to mention that I sat through a whole Northwestern football game with this jacket on where it rained the whole time  and I did not feel wet at all. 

Brooks Men's Infiniti  Tight II

These Sax Pro Elite Boxers are also the first pair of performance boxers that I have worn. I honestly did not know much about them before I got a pair to try on. The boxers provide some compression and are tight, but not too tight. The most important thing about the boxers is that they are windproof and that is very important for guys during the winter. It also has a nice pouch to, as it  says on the box, to hold your gear in place. 

Sax Pro Elite Boxer

I need to have gloves on when I run. Cold hands can just make a run brutal and no fun.  The Utopia Softshell Gloves from Brooks help keep my hands warm. I like that these gloves have a good grip on them and have iPhone sensors. My hands also do not sweat in these gloves; that is a big plus for the gloves. The downside to these gloves are that they run somewhat big. I tried on the small's and the medium gloves and they both felt big on me. They feel fine when I am running, but I would like for gloves to be a little tighter.

Brooks Utopia Softshell Glove

Using the thumbholes from my top
How it ends up 
This is my winter gear outfit at the moment. They are working well for me so far and I will eventually have to get a jacket at some point. Let me know what kind of running gear you all are running in! Enjoy winter running.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Run chat 11/24

Sorry I have not gotten to put another product review. I have gotten pretty busy with coaching basketball at my high school. Sometimes it is hard to have the energy to sit down at the computer and post something. Answering the #runchat questions are a way for me stay involved with it and get a quick post up.

Q1-One piece of advice for someone who is running their first Turkey trot?

A:Have fun! I have never run a Turkey trot, but that definitely seems to be the idea around them.  Do not worry about time and just focus on pace and form if you have a goal of getting better at running.

Q2-Are you running a turkey trot? Which one? Where?

No Turkey trots for me. Thanksgiving day is all about relaxing and eating lots of food. I also like to enjoy the night before Thanksgiving day.

Q3-Do you rock a hat when running? Visor? Do you look to send a message with your running hat?

I generally wear a hat when I am running; definitely in the winter. During the summer, it is hit or miss whether I wear one. There is definitely no message to send with any of the hats I am wearing during a run. During the winter, the goal is just to stay warm. When the weather is warmer, I just grab whatever hat I have to keep my head protected from the sun.

Q4-When you have to run on a treadmill, how do you kill the time? What's an effective workout for you?

Ugh. This is something I will try my hardest to not do. Originally, I had the never typed out, but at some point it might be something that is a necessity. Since I started running outside, the treadmill became a nag. It also does not help that the last two times I ran on one, I got hurt on them.

Q5-My go-to power word/phrase is____?

Just keep on moving. It does not matter whether involves walking or running. Combining that phrase and mentally trying to shorten the race usually works for me.

This might be another Monday post next week with my schedule next Sunday. Hopefully I can get up a post talking about the winter running gear I have been running in. Do not be afraid of the cold! It is definitely possible to stay active with the right gear.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Saucony Guide 7 review

When I first put the Guide 7 on, it felt immediately comfortable. I love the static fit in the shoe. My foot is locked in, in the upper, but it is not too grippy on my feet. It never once bothered me during the four times that I have run in the shoe. I felt like my toes and heel were free to move.  It also has a very breathable upper. My foot looks like it is spilling out a little on the medial side of the shoe.

I got the Guide 7 in a size 11 and assumed it would be tight. In my Brooks shoes (Adrenaline 11&13), I wore 11.5. My current Ravenna's are a size 12. I have about a thumbs length width in my right foot. It fits a little truer to my shoe size on my left foot, but I still feel like I have enough room in the toe box. I would probably go to an 11.5 in this shoe due to the fact that my foot looks like it is kind of spilling out a little. 

The Powergrid cushioning is very comfortable. It is very supportive without making the shoe heavy. I got a bruise under my forefoot area the second time I ran in the shoe. That may have just been due to the socks I had been wearing. It did not bother me during my next two runs when I changed socks. I also walked around it a few times while at work and felt supported and comfortable.

I liked that the stability zones are spread from the heel through the mid-foot to provide stability and comfort. I am a mild to moderate pronator and I felt very stable in the shoe. The dual density EVA on the medial side is supportive and cushiony without feeling like too much shoe. I do not like to sound to repetitive, but the full length Powergrid is a nice touch.

The shoes felt great while running. I ran in them four times. It is only a ounce lighter than the Ravenna 4, so I would not say that is a huge difference between the two shoes. The big difference is the 8mm drop in the Guide 7. It is a little different at first, but after the first couple of runs, I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the tight, yet comfortable grip in the upper. My foot never feels like it is going to come out of the shoe. It is nice to have a guidance shoe that I can run in without it feeling like it is making my feet heavier. It is a soft ride from heel-to-toe. The deeper flex grooves and flared forefoot make it a very responsive ride throughout.

I also have some winter running gear that I have tried on that I will talk about on Monday or Tuesday. So far my winter running if off to a good start.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Run chat answers 11/10/13

Q1: What tips do you have for overcoming post-race blues?

First, I would enjoy the day. The hard work you put in for the race, wether it is a 5K or half-marathon, had paid off (typically). Take a moment to be proud of yourself and friends that may have run with you. Do not forget to thank people who have supported you on the way to the race and came out to watch you. 

Second, take a break from running for a while. Training, especially for longer races, can be quite taxing and dreadful at times. The body will thank you for the time off and whenever you go on the next run, it will be that much more fun because you missed it.

Q2: What's your favorite distance to race? Why do you like it?

Half-marathons. The races are a distance everyone can do, but it is still challenging enough. It is just the perfect distance. Marathons are fun, but they are just a different beast.

Q3: Have you ever purchased "official" race photos? What would you call a fair price for photos?

Never. They do not do anything for me. I typically just look at them to what my form looks like at various points. It is difficult to say what a fair price would be for them. They are typically so expensive, that I do not even look at the prices when they are sent to my inbox.

Q4: Do have races on your 2014 calendar yet? Which ones?

This is a fun question! A friend and I have looked into doing the Chi-Town Half Marathon. I have a few cities I would like to visit next year (Austin, Nashville and Memphis to name a few). Maybe doing a race in one of those cities would be a fun way to see them and get a race in.

Q5: What's the farthest you've traveled for a race? Which one? Why did you choose it?

I guess the Chicago Half-Marathon. It is the first race half-marathon I ever completed. I only did it twice and do not like doing it because it is on the opposite side of the city from me. Maybe I will do it again sometime in the near future.

Monday, November 11, 2013

I ran!

I ran! 

I woke up on Friday and felt pretty good. This article got me really itching to run. I also really wanted to try some new gear that I got(more on that in a different post). It had been nearly four weeks since I had run; a week due to the marathon and three because of this annoying bone bruise. I felt scared but I had to give it a shot at some point. 

It surprised me how good I felt after a mile. The knee felt good and I had a little pain. When I felt the knee starting to hurt, I forced myself to walk for a tiny bit, then I would start running again. It felt really good to be out there and not limping along. 

The run ended up being a little shy of four miles. Despite how good I felt, it would have been really silly to try and push it more. The pace stayed even for three miles and I had a great finish to the run. I iced and took an ibuprofen when I got to work. The next step in the bone bruise test would be seeing how it felt the next day and that worried me. 

The results: it felt ok. It hurt to keep my knee at a 90 degree angle while sitting. It also hurt to straighten it out after keeping it a 90 degree angle. It also hurt to get up after sitting for a while. I never thought this bruise would last for so long, but a couple of people I have talked to said it could be at least a few more weeks. 

With that being said, it looks like I will not be able to run on back-to-back days for a while. I will keep icing and loosening up the muscles in my hamstring and quad. I used the Orb quite a few times last week and my legs felt great. My knee and I are going to be in a fight for the next few weeks it looks like. I hope it does not expect me to just sit around and be a bum for multiple weeks. 

That is all I have to say today. The first "snow"of the year is currently happening as I write this post. I will be ready for winter running with some of the new gear I got. Time to use the Orb and attempt a four mile run; just do not tell me knee! 

P.S. Expect a product review blog at some point this week (I hope). 

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Things I am not liking right now

I thought about making the title of this blog more dramatic, but I thought that might scare some readers; haha. Anyways, since the marathon ended, there have been a few things that I have not liked. This blog post(obviously) will explain some of those things.

Number one on the list: the fact that I haven't been  able to run

After the marathon, I took a week off and felt  good. I went to work on Sunday(10/20) and thought I would run the  next day. Unfortunately, my plan  did not work out. My clumsy self decided to walk into some metal pole. I am still not sure what I walked into, but I thought nothing of it and thought it would just be a bruise or temporary pain.

My knee did not even hurt on the walk to the train station. However, the pain came  when I sat down and had  my knee at a 90 degree angle. I thought straightening would help it, but that only made it worse! I atill thought the pain would not last long, but it continued to hurt when I tried to stretch later that night.

Ten days later, my kneecap/patella/whatever I hit, still hurts. The one positive is that today is the first day I woke up actually being able to bend my knee. Lately I have been icing and taking ibuprofen for the pain ann I hope it is helping. Anytime, I think  I  am getting better, the pain  shows up again.

I forgot to mention that a doctor that I know thinks it is just a bruised kneecap. I am  hoping this gets better before I have to go see a doctor. It is definitely my style to get an injury that is not running related.  I would love to get crutches so I do not have to walk on it at all, but that might be a little dramatic.

Number two on the list: my water consumption

This may seem like a minor complaint, but it is really frustrating me. Up until a few weeks ago, I drank a least 100oz. of water everyday day. Lately it has been pretty awful. I have been trying to figure out why this has been the case and I can only blame myself.

The water consumption has been better today than it has been in a while. I am about halfway to my goal and hope to make it a consistent goal. My body definitely feels better when I get a lot of fluids in it. Hopefully this is something I am not complaining about in the near future.

Number three on the list: My eating habits

Boy, have they been horrible since the marathon ended. Normally, this is not something that I  would complain about because of my running. I think I ate pizza everyday last week due to work related functions. I love pizza and carbs in general, but when I am not running, I need to a little more health conscious. With that being said, I am having pizza for dinner tonight!

Thanks for letting me complain a little. It is not something that I like doing a lot, but it is ok every onee in a while. Hopefully the next too at will be about my first run since the marathon.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Marathon recap part II

I think I mentioned in the last post that I had a pretty big cough and head cold leading up to Sunday. I have not had to use my inhaler in a while, but I definitely used it a few times leading up the race. That combined with my horrible run the Sunday before the marathon, made me nervous. Vitamin C and I were best friends during the week. I rested up Saturday and tried to get ready for the big day.

Imerman Angels before the race
My 4 a.m. alarm came quickly. It felt more like a quick nap instead of getting some actual sleep. With heightened security at the marathon, charity village runners had to be at charity village a little earlier; charity village closed at 6:15 a.m. I ran with Imerman Angels and I really enjoyed meeting fellow runners who I had never met before. We hung out there, took a team picture and walked to the corrals, which were about a mile away;ugh(more about this later).

On the way to my corral, I ran into a couple friends of mine; Natalia and Maria.

We were all excited and nervous about the race for various reasons. It had been Natalia's first marathon and she seemed very ready to go. I chatted with both for a while and then rushed to wait in my corral. The wait seemed like forever because it got a little chilly and windy. While the National Anthem played, a cool thing happened. The sound system had been acting funny and going in and out, so people decided to sing it themselves.  I really enjoyed and smiled while others sang. Once that got done, we waited for others to go off and got ready to go. I could not figure out why people wanted to run before we crossed the start line. We were already about to run 26.2 and people were trying to run me over. Anyways, time to get going! 

The first half of the race went great and I could not complain. The cough did not bother me, I saw a few friends and I stayed with the 3:30 pace group. I could not have asked for a better start. I made sure to check my pace tat after each check point. I did not want to make the mistake of coming out too fast. I thought about dialing it back, but I felt really good. 

When I got to 18, this is the first time I really felt somewhat tired, but I kept it going. During mile 20, I walked a little bit to try and gain some energy back. My legs were starting to feel like jelly but I stayed with my pace group. I avoided going to the bathroom until mile 22. I thought about skipping it altogether, but I figured I am walking a little at this point and should just go. I went quickly and got running again. Up until this point, I had no cramps and thought I would avoid them. 

23.5 hit and here came the cramps came out of no where. The first cramp hit my left quad and I stopped on a dime! It hurt quite a bit and I tried to walk it off as much as possible. There is no way I wanted to quit at this point and tried my best to push through. Once I thought they went away, I tried to run again, but then they hit both legs. I really wanted to hit 3:30 as my goal pace time, but I told myself that I would not kill myself to get it. It is hard for runners to dial it back, especially during races, but it had to be done. The next thing I will have to do is to figure out how to avoid these cramps. That is the one thing that has been going through my head since I finished last Sunday. My friend Rob found me at this point and helped me work through them. 

Running towards my sister, niece and brother-in-law
We decided to finish the last two miles together. He saw some friends, I saw some family and we pushed towards the finish. He said his knee had been really bothering him and we just tried to keep each other motivated since we were so close. We had one challenge left; Roosevelt "Hill."

Rob and I were doing alright but his knee kept bothering him and he decided to walk while I kept running. The finish never looked so good and I finished strong! It felt soooo good to be done. Seeing a few people look dead and throwing-up after I got done, reminded of how lucky I had been to finish relatively healthy. I am lucky man that cramps were the only thing that hampered me. I ended up with a time of 3:47.40 and could not have been happier. This is a huge improvement over the first marathon I did and finished happy. 

I mentioned earlier how far charity village had been from the corrals and this is the part I feared the most. The only thing that made this walk after the finish ok is that I knew it would be coming this team. I remember finishing my first marathon and not expecting this brutal walk and feeling like I would die. I did not enjoy this walk, but it felt so good to reach the Imerman tent and get rolled out by a PT.

A fellow Imerman runner and I.
Normally runners who complete a marathon are unsure if they want to try another marathon, but I am pretty sure I will be ding another one. Chicago is so great because the atmosphere is fantastic. There were certain points during the race that I had to stop and smile because I felt like such a celebrity. Thank you to all the mostly random strangers who came out cheered all of the runners. Our "fans" keep us going. 

I am not sure what is next, but I am already ready for a race! 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Marathon weekend Part I

Wow. Those 18 weeks sure seem like they went by quick after race day is all over. It is funny how that happens. I will do my best to keep this relatively short, because I am sure I could write forever on marathon weekend. I will start with the expo.

Race Expo

I decided Friday would be the best day to go to the expo. There is no chance I wanted anything to do with Saturday and all that craziness. Some runners and I had a hard time figure out the shuttle bus from the south loop. We potentially could have been part of some joke someone decided to play on runners. Whatever the reason for the confusion, we all ended up there somehow.

The expo for the marathon is always exciting because it makes the marathon real. In the back of your head, you know the marathon is coming, but walking into the expo, it smacks you in the face. I have been to plenty of expo's, but it is still overwhelming a bit. There is so much to see!

I figured that I would be there for 30 minutes or so and get out of there;oops. I ended up spending close to two plus hours walking around and talking to people. There were a ton of Fleet Feet people everywhere and I made sure to say hi to them. I ended meeting Sara from Sara runs at the CEP booth. She is really nice and we chatted for about five minutes. Soon after that I ended up at mini Niketown, a.k.a the store at the expo.

They had quite the set up of marathon gear and fun toys to check out. It always impressive to walk through and see how things work. There were tons of people walking around the store and buying things. If anyone reading this went to the expo, it is easy to see that BRIGHT is in. While personally I am not of fan of BRIGHT colors, I can understand why it is popular. Nike did extremely well at the expo. 


Once I got done at Niketown, I walked around for who knows how long. It always fun to see the excitement of people at an expo. A lot of people there are running there first marathon and are extremely nervous and excited at the first time. It is always important to take it all in and enjoy it. I told a lot of first timers to just enjoy it. On the bus back to one of the shuttle stops, I said that to a guy who sat next to me on the bus. We chatted for about five minutes about races, the marathon and shoes. That is one of the cool things about running. This guy and I could have very little in common, but we were both about to take on a huge challenge and shared a small moment. The only thing that I did not do is get his name. I wish I had so I could have seen how he did.  I also told him to not change his routine too much and to get some sleep.

Speaking of sleep, Sara told me I should get some. She mentioned that 48 hours before the race is the most important day to get some sleep. Finally, I left the expo and went home. It would have been easy for me to go out for bit on Friday night and hang with friends, but  I actually took her advice and stayed in on that night. I had a goal in mind and wanted to get as healthy as possible. I forgot to mention that I had all sorts of ailments last week (i.e. a head cold, a big time cough, allergies and so on). I probably the most orange juice I have ever had in a week. There is no way I would let some cough/cold stop me from completing something that I had work so hard for. 

Up next: the big day!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Marathon playlist

Marathon playlist

These are the songs that came on during my run today. That does not necessarily mean I could hear them, but they played; haha. I will have a post up on how my race went shortly!

Lil Webbie-bad bitch

Dr. Dre-bitches ain't shit

50 Cent-Ayo technology

MJ-wanna be starting something

Xzibit & Jelly Roll-Saturday night live

Fitz & the Tantrums-news for you


Young Gunz-set it off

T.I.-big things poppin

Hall & Oates-maneater

The Pink Spiders-Hollywood fix

G.o.o.d music-mercy

Thin Lizzy-jailbreak

Kids these days-bud billiken

Nelly furtado & Timbalad promiscuous

All time low-let it roll

Killers-miss atomic bomb

Jc Brooks & the uptown sound-howl

Yin yang twins-say I yi yi

Ok go-Louisiana land

Jagged edge-stunnas

Sleigh bells-comeback kid

Fitz and the tantrums-out of my league

Fall out boy-rat-a-tat

Doobie brothers-Black Water

2 PAC & Snoop-ain't nothing but a gangsta party

Boo & Gotti-ain't it man

Jason mraz-the remedy live

Royal teeth-my Donna

New Politics-tonight, you're perfect

Walk The Moon-quesadilla

Bun B-who need a bitch

JC Brooks-Rouse yourself

Fall Out Boy-hum hallelujah

Kesha ft. Andre 3000-get sleazy

Postal service-Such Great Heights

Lupe Fiasco-superstar

Brand New-Jude law and a semester abroad

Pharrell & Kanye-number one

Walk The Moon-Anna Sun

Walk the Moon-drunk in the woods

New politics--fall into these arms

Daz Dillinger ft. Rick Ross-On some real shit

UGK-Int'l Players Anthem

Shakira-Hips don't lie

Justin Timberlake & Three-6 Mafia -Chop me Up

Currency-Where Da Cash At

2Pac & K-Ci & JoJo-How Do U want it

Fall Out Boy-young Volcanoes

Chevelle-Send the Pain Below

Mariah Carey ft ODB-Fantasy

M.I.A-Paper Planes

Kanye West-All of the lights

Pusha T-I Still Wana

Royal Teeth-Wild ( My phone died right about here)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Am I ready?

That is the question I have been getting all week. The answer to that question is, I do not really know. I always tell people I am because I want to think I am. The truth is, I do not think most runners know. It is not really a question we can anwer until race day.

Like in other sports, you can train and practice for whatever period of time, but you just have no idea how things will go until game day. There are so many factors that can change your day that you have little control over (I.e. Injuries, the weather, bodily functions).  It is something that drives a lot of runners crazy. It  corms with the territory iof being a runner.

If you say  you are not ready, more questions come;  what do you mean? Did training not  go well?  And so on. Now, I am not annoyed when people ask me about my running,  I love to  answer questions. I am just trying to explain the diificulty of answering that question. All runners would love to say, yes! We are and we going to dominate . Runners hate failing because many of them putt so much into training. Card could probably be fueled with the amount of nervous energy in race corrals.

With race day quickly  approaching, runners should also thank those people who are asking them if they are ready. The majority of the time, people are rooting for you and want to  hear that we are going to dominate.  I would rather get the question than not get it at all. It' is really nice of people to take a few second s and ask about my training.  It may be tough, but answer the question with a smile and thank a person who has asked you this question.

On that note, thank you to everyone that has supported and put up with me over the last few months . A lot goes into this and some of you have played  big parts in helping out with that.  I really appreciate the support and words of encouragement I have received.  You guys are awesome!

Fellow runners running tomorrow,  let's go dominate this thing!

Run happy!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Inching closer

I would like to start off this post by saying how thankful I am for getting to week 16 of training very healthy. The last time I ran the marathon, I had a lot of knee issues. I only ended up running a couple of times a week. My body also had been a wild card. I felt scared to run because I never knew how my body would react. Let's hope these next two weeks go great!


This is the first run I did after the 20-miler. The XC kids and I did what we call the Hazel route;it is about a six mile route that we do as our long run of the week. Not having run for a few days, I figured I would take it slow because I did not know how I would do. The run ended up going much better than expected.

My legs slowly started to warm up after the first mile and things felt good after that. The splits do not reflect that, but I am ok with that because I felt good. Runners can be a little too hard on themselves if they look at splits and it does not reflect what they think it would be. We just have to realize that this is going go happen and deal with it. If our body feels good, we should feel good.

With the Marathon coming, that is something I thought I should mention. The boys and have started this thing where we finish the run as hard as possible. It all started on accident one day when I challenged one of them to finish strong ad I ran as has hard as I could to finish off our 40 minute run. Since that day, we' have done it on  very run and continued it on this run.  Not all of them think it' is fun, but I think it will help them develop a strong kick. I am glad I got this run in because I knew I would have a busy weekend.


I have been fortunate enough to do some traveling this summer. On what may be my last trip of the year, I went to Seattle/Redmond for a wedding. Seeing as Seattle would be my first west coast trip of any kind, I had been really excited about it.
Space Needle

The next time I fly out west, I may try and get direct flights. The four hour layover is had in Denver is not something I would really care to do again. I made it out there last Thursday night and stayed in an interesting hostel . As I have wondered on other trips, I wondered how much running I would get in.

Running would not happen Friday. All of my Seattle friends were at work and I had no place to put my things. Not running that day probably ended up being a good thing. It gave me a chance to walk around and explore the city. Despite being cloudy and gray all day, I had an awesome time.

Hendrix exhibit at EMP

The EMP museum is one of the cooler museums I have ever been to. I spent at least two hours seeing exhibits and messing around on various instruments. They also had an exhibit on horror films. Even after two hours at the museum, I did not make it to that side of it. I needed all day to spend at that museum.


I woke up way to early due to my body adjusting to west coast time. Seattle had been living up to its dreary, rainy reputation. I went downstairs to check out how heavy the rain had been. It had not been too bad but I waited a little bit for a friend who said they might run with me. 

A couple of hours went by and the rain got heavier. I decided to put on my rain jacket, new shoes and got out of the hotel. I did not know if I would do 12, but I knew would do something. "Here we go," I said to myself.

The run went really well for the most part. I can only say the only annoying thing about the run is the heavy rain and wind that accompanied it. The other thing that amazed is the amount of people I saw running and walking out there! It just made me think that people that area are not afraid of the rain at all. What I heard from people is that you just learn to deal with it or you do not get anything done. The other thing that surprised during the run is the number of people that either said good morning or waved. That rarely happens when running in Chicago. I think it had something to do with the solidarity of being out in the rain together. I ended completing the whole 12 mile run. Who knows what the weather could be like on the day of the marathon. Part of the reason I decided to run is because I want to ready for anything. I wish I could have taken pictures, but I had my phone in a plastic bag due to the heavy rain. Oh! The one lesson that I did learn is that if you are using SaltSticks, put them in case of some sorts. I should have realized they would have eventually dissolved. 


I had a great time at the wedding on Saturday night. Instead of running on Sunday, I took some time to explore Seattle with some new friends I made at the wedding. We started off at the day by getting breakfast at a place called Couzin's. I had their version of pigs in a blanket. The result= so good! I would definitely recommend this to anyone. It might be the first time I looked at a plate of food and worried that I would not finish it. 

I did end up finishing in case anyone in wondering. We finished up with breakfast, packed up and headed back to Seattle to do some touristy things. Despite it raining all day, we had a great time. I wuld love to make a trip back at some point. 

Gum Wall

In front of the original Starbucks
That is just some of my trip to the Pacific Northwest. I can not believe that we are 10 days from the marathon! I'm ready and crossing my fingers I do not get hurt!

P.S.- I failed to mention I am now running in the Brooks Ravenna 4's. I decided to move from the Adrenalines. As much as I liked them, they ended up not being a good fit for my foot. Maybe the new version will be better for me. Until these running shoes die on me, I am loving them.

Run happy!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Big 20!

9/16/13-Fleet Feet fun run

I headed out to Fleet Feet for the Pint Night fun run. The fun run would last between three and six miles depending on the distance people wanted to run. My marathon plan called for a five mile run so I went with the five mile group. Asics also had some reps there and people could try on a variety of shoes they had. I wanted to try out a neutral pair of shoes, so I went with the Gel-Lyte33 2.

Night time view of the lakefront on the fun run
The guy in the red in the picture led the five mile group run and he went out pretty fast. I tried my best to keep up with him, but I just could not. It felt good to push it a little and try to catch him; it felt like a little bit of speed work. I ended up losing the group and creating my own five mile run.
Asics Gel-Lyte33 2
The shoes felt pretty great. When I put them on before the run, I felt pretty weird in them. My feet were really close to the ground and I did not know how'd I feel about that (6" heel drop), considering at the time I run in the GTS 13's by Brooks. However, they ended up feeling good. They are also very lightweight. I probably would not run a marathon in these, but I think they would be good for mid-week runs during training.

Once I got done stretching and rolling out (and making a few purchases-more on that later), I headed to Benchmark with a few others who did the fun run. Depending on my work schedule, Pint Night fun runs are definitely something that I would do again. I enjoyed hanging out with other runners and fun run leaders while watching the Monday Night Football game. I tried not to have too much fun because I knew I would have to get a run in with my high schoolers.

9/19/13-Hazel run

Before I headed to Benchmark, I made a few purchases. The first purchase, actual running shorts.
Brooks Men's Essential 2 in 1 7" Short
I went the Brooks Men's Essential 2-in-1 7"shorts. Running shorts have always been something I avoided since I started running. They always looked too short and pulling off that look is something that I did think I could do. I settled on the Brooks partly because I know the brand, but also because they were recommended to me.

They got their first test during a six mile run with some of the cross country kids. It took a while to it being short, but I felt good in them. I never felt uncomfortable and I love the compression portion of the shorts. If someone asked me to recommend a pair or shorts, these are the one I would suggest to them first.

The actual run felt really good. We pushed it pretty good and kept it around a 7:33 pace. It could have been an even faster pace, but the head XC coach did not want to push them too hard. It is a good thing he led the workout, because I probably would have pushed them harder. We all did an ice bath after the run and I felt confident about my 20 miler!

9/20/13-20 Miler

And it's time for new shoes(has been for a while)
SaltSticks Capsules were the other purchase I made. I purchased them specifically for my 20-mile run and breaking through the wall during the marathon. One of the things I learned as a salty sweater is that I lose more salt than others. This may seem more like common sense, but this is just another lesson I have learned as a runner.

If the 20-miler were going to happen, it would have to happen after work. I had a weekend full of activities and would not really have time to run. While getting ready for work, I packed eight capsules in a bag because I did not know how much of them I would need; I planned on taking one every 30 minutes. Fast forward to finishing hours later, it would be time for the run.

The only mistake I really made is drinking a naked juice before the run. It would definitely come back to haunt me later. The first seven and half miles of the run went really well;this is when my stomach stopped thinking the run would be going well. It forced me to take a unwanted mini pit stop. Back to my regularly scheduled run.

Despite the humidity, I felt great during the rest of the run. I ended up taking six capsules during my run and I felt they really helped. I carried a water bottle with me (which I did not really care for) because I figured there would be very little water fountains to take the capsules. My legs felt great during the run and I never felt too fatigued.

I looked at the splits after my run and felt really good about them. There were only two splits I did not care for were the one with my stop and mile 16. I have to have the confidence that things will get better during race and I will hit my goal. When I got done analyzing my run, I walked around for quite sometime, stretched and ate two clif bars (White Chocolate Macadamia nut might be the best clif bar I have ever had). It is easy to just want to sit down after a long run, but that is not a good idea; keep your legs moving!

With the 20-mile run complete, I feel ready for the marathon. The picture above also shows that I am ready for some new shoes. It is probably a crazy idea to switch now, but the shoes are long overdue for a change. I am not sure what I will purchase, but it will probably be in the Brooks family of shoes.


I am including the day after the run because I learned a very valuable lesson. It is very important to drink lots of water after an extremely long run. I felt like I had, had enough, but I woke up feeling nauseous and dizzy. I talked to a few runners and they concluded I had been dehydrated. Normally I do a really good job of staying hydrated; my body felt otherwise. I drank a lot more water on Saturday and felt better about six hours after I woke up.

Hydrate properly!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013


Between coaching(middle school football and some XC) and working, my energy has been lacking lately. Lately I have just been coming home and not wanting to do anything. I feel bad about that because I really want to keep this blog updated and current. Here is a brief summary of my last two training weeks.

Weeks 13

The last two weeks have been kind of interesting. Being busy forces you to find time times to fit your runs in. I sometimes stress about it, but I need to remember I will be fine as long as I actually get the runs in.

Week 13 went very well. It made me a little nervous because it featured a long run of 19 miles. Since I run at odd times, I knew I would be running the whole thing by myself. However, I am getting ahead of myself. I got in three great five mile runs during and it got me pumped up about the long run. My best run happened on September 5, 2013. I have no idea why I ran so hard and so fast, but I pushed myself really hard during the run and felt great. Due the busy week, I had a dilemma; get up early on Saturday before work and run 19 or do my long before the first Bears game!

I decided against running on 19 on Saturday and decided to do a short five mile run (it went great!). Now that I had gotten my run and worked, I rushed down to Lincoln Park to meet a few friends for Cultivate Fest.

My concert buddies, Vicki and Molly.

Walk the Moon!

The Mowgli's, Dale Earnardt Jr. Jr., Youngblood Hawke and Best Friends also played. I had a great time and will definitely come back next year if I can. My allergies sent me home early Saturday night and I took that as a sign that I would need to do my long run on Sunday.

Unfortunately, I did not wake up feeling too much better on Sunday. I wanted to get up early and do my run before the Bears game at noon. The allergies or head cold caused me to get going around 11:30 or so. I decided it would be ok to miss part of the Bears game to go for a run; this is how I know I have become a crazy runner.

Minus the humidity, I have no complaints about the run.
View from Medal of Honor Park
Despite how tired my legs felt at certain points toward the latter half of the run, I pushed hard and finished my last mile at a 7:40 pace. The run ended up taking me between 2:38:11 and and 2:38:20 ( I stopped the two gps apps I used at different times). It turned out to be a great Sunday. I got my run, watched football and the Bears won.

Week 14

Probably the weirdest training week out of all them so far. It is weird because, I only kept track of one run. I normally am pretty obsessed with keeping track, but I either forget or just did not bring my phone with me. Here is how the week went:

9/9/13- Did a short loop with the XC kids. We think it ended up being around three miles, but none of us were really sure. That three mile felt pretty hard in the 93 degree temps we had last Monday.

9/10/13-Way too hot do any kind of physical activity. I could have gotten a run in, but decided against it.

9/11/13-Hardest workout of the week by far! The top XC kids and I did a 1.7 mile warm-up and then did 6x800s! The top kid on the team ended up doing somewhere around 3:08's the whole time, while the rest us did somewhere between 3:10 and 3:13. So hard during the run, but I felt great afterwards and thanked the kids for pushing me to keep working hard.

9/12/13- My shin splints re-appeared (but on my left shin this time) and I did not run. I iced and worked a football game late that night.

9/13/13-Rest day. The started off well because I won Sublime With Rome Tickets at Concord Music Theatre;really nice venue
Sublime With Rome

9/14/13-My birthday! I went for a nice 12 miler at a park near my place.  My dad took me out for my birthday and I got this sundae at iHop. They sang to me when they brought it out and I felt pretty embarrassed. That is all I have today. The big 20 miler is this weekend! I will be sure to let people know how it goes. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

It's been a while (again)

All of my various activities are keeping me busy. And I like that! The only thing that I do not like that it is doing, is the fact that it is keeping from updating my blog. I had a busy and fun week during week 12 of training. I hope you enjoy the post.

August 26, 2013

This happened to be an unexpected run. I went down to the Fleet Feet Sports South loop opening to attempt to get a gift card and ended up working the fun run, as an employee! I interview with Fleet Feet about three weeks ago and got hired. I have not officially started with them, but I am excited to get going.

On my first official night as an employee, I got assigned to work the 10:00 pace group with another employee. We did an four mile easy run at that pace and I got a chance to talk to some people in the group. I did my best to encourage one runner who looked like they had just decided to get into running recently. The runner really impressed me with the fact that they did not give up. They were really tired by the end of the run, but they run/walked the four miles. I always tell people to set small goals when they start running. Once those goals are achieved, set a different set of goals.

August 27, 2013

What a hot day! I had something to do early in the morning at my school, so it really worked out that I could run early in the day instead of the afternoon. I got off to another slow start at the beginning of this run. This time it included the first two miles.

I had been a little sore from working out with the volleyball team and the school's sports performance coach. I do not think it had much to do with my slow start though. Things started to feel good by the third mile and the run ended very well. Miles two through five were run at an 8:01, 8:18 and 7:24 pace.   That is a big difference, but I am glad that I could finish run strong. Even if I am not happy with a time, it  always feels good to end a run strong and gives me confidence for the next run.

August 28, 2013

The midweek eight mile has been nice lately because my school is about eight miles from my place and I can just run there. I had some fun on this run with an unknown runner who ran part of the same course I did. She definite had no idea that she pushed me to run a little quicker. It ended up being one of my better runs in a while.

I still felt sore from Monday's workout but my legs kept chugging along. Somewhere along mile two of my run, I saw a woman up ahead turn on to the same block I would be running on. I had no idea how long she had been running or how long she would be running, but I waned to pass her and pick-up the pace on my run. I ended up doing both and felt good about it. On a few occasions, I would look back to see where she had been and I would think, "Oh no, she is catching up." I kept running hard so she would not pass me.

The mysterious woman disappeared somewhere around four of my run(I think). I wish I could thanked her for encouraging me on my run without even noticing. Other than the stretch between miles four and five (which seem to be a common slow zones from my run when I run this way), the rest of the run went great. I ended with negative splits on the last three miles of the run. I got some interesting news when I got done with my run.

August 29, 2013

I got asked to run with the cross country team when I could. This made me laugh a little because I never would have ever expected to run with/coach a cross country team. Nevertheless, I looked forward to the chance to run with some of our better kids. The only thing that made me nervous is that this would be my fourth consecutive day of running.

We were assigned to do a five mile loop that would lead us back to the school. It had also been interesting to run in a group because I am so use to running by myself. This run would challenge the notion hat running is not a team sport. My group stayed together and kept a very solid pace during the run.

The length of the run actually ended up being somewhere around 4.8 miles (I got the extra .2 miles in). We stretched, did 50 push-ups and foam rolled after we were done running. They also did an ice bath! I decided at the recommendation of fellow blogger, Emily.

Trying to enjoy my first ice bath

The first couple of minutes are really tough. Once those two minutes are over, you stop thinking about how cold it is. I also suggest not moving because it makes the water even colder. My legs felt great afterwards and I would do it again. My legs would be ready for long run Sunday.

September 1, 2013

The athletic director a my school asked me if I had a long run planned for the weekend and I mentioned my 13 mile run. I almost said, "just 13 miles." It is crazy to think that I said almost said just 13 miles out loud. I guess subconsciously I think 13 is an easy run now. Yikes.

Maybe that thinking helped my confidence on Sunday because my run went very well. I stayed around an eight minute mile the whole time. I ended up running the majority of this run on the lakefront path. I generally do not like the lakefront path, but I decided I did not want to stop too much on my run.

Even though I did not want to stop too much, I had to stop once because I got nervous about my breathing just before mile seven. My chest hurt for some reason, my breathing did not feel well, so I stopped and walked for about a minute. I had to remember that getting to the race on October 13 is the long-term goal of this run; time should not be a factor. Despite stopping for that time period, this ended up being my one of my better runs since the Rock 'N' Roll Half-Marathon. I had a strong finish and ended up having a great rest of the day.

Brief preview of this week

My hamstrings have been a little sore. It has not stopped my running but they have just been annoying. Depending on how I am feeling tomorrow, I may update this post during a long ride to and from our football game. That is all from me today.

Keep working hard