Monday, October 23, 2006

Survived Another One

I got home about 3:30 AM this morning. Right after the race we went back and showered, loaded the car and headed home. yes, we're idiots. actually we would have gotten home an hour earlier but we (and when i say we, i mean Bob) locked the keys in the car at a gas station outside of Des Moines, Iowa at 10:00 PM. That was nice. It took the guy almost an hour to get there and about one minute (literally... actually it was less than a minute) to unlock it.

Once the gun sounded, it took us 20 minutes to reach the actual start line to run. We were just a slow herd of thousands of people shuffling closer and closer to the starting line. I was both satisfied and disappointed with the results. Disappointed because i ran this marathon in almost exactly the same time as Lincoln. I felt so prepared this time and confident to run it much faster. But hey, it barely cracked 40 degrees at race start and by the finish it dropped to the upper 30's. it was misting for part of it, and there was some occasional wet snow flakes. And something i'm very proud of: i virtually ran the marathon all by myself. At mile 6 Bob was struggling with some respiratory issues he'd been dealing with for a couple weeks and he told me to go on. He later caught up to me at mile 17 and when on ahead, so i was "alone" for 20 miles, with the last 6 being the most grueling.

And another positive... Physically, i felt just as miserable as last time; my legs and lower back were "gone" around mile 18. I had ran the previous 17 only walking through the aid stations (drinks). I ran the whole last mile in, but i walked more than i ran the previous 4 miles. But the reason this was positive is that in Lincoln i was mentally shot too. i was delirious. But this time, it was just physical pain i had to truggle through. in Lincoln i had to lay down on the ground after the finish line because i was exhausted. But this time i didn't need to. I was shot for sure but i was "okay".

The Chicago Marathon was a great experience. I would absolutely recommend it to anyone crazy enough to run a marathon in the first place. For the money, you get so much along the way. there were tons of spectators along every single mile. some of them would hand out hard candy to runners and beads (like Marti Gras type beads). Lots of musical entertainment every mile or so. At the end was one of those aluminum foil type blankets, food, water and bags of ice (for swelling prevention)... and they actually had STADIUM type seating at the last 50 yards of the finish line... filled with the roar of cheering spectators. In all the chaos at the finish, i walked past the area you can get your picture taken, after receiving your medal. there was another tent for a post race party which had tons of other stuff, but we had to hit the road. In Lincoln i crossed the finish line alone (no other runners around me), in Chicago i was one of the last 3,000 runners to finish, but i was still surrounded by runners... it was still 'crowded'. it was so cool. 40,000 runners signed up but only a little over 33,000 ended up running.

I'm sure there are many more details, but that's the jist of it all. Chicago is definitely the "windy" city. it was bad enough the weather dropped to the 30's and rainy, but the wind was also coming in around 15-20 miles an hours and at times it was down right bone chilling. With the wind chill the temperature actually dropped into the 20's.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Tracking my race

Okay, i was incorrect. you can't receive "real time" results unless you are there in Chicago at one of the many update screens throughout the marathon track. BUT there are several ways you can be updated on how i'm doing Sunday. On the chicago marathon website i posted in the previous blog, click on the "spectator" link to the left of the home page. then down the list of links you'll see "runner tracking and updates". there are several options there. my bib number is 46213.

there are "pacing teams".. individuals who carry a big sign with a time on it (the time in which you plan to finish the marathon). the fastest time is 3:00 (three hours) - however the elite runner will be finishing much fast than that (2 to 2 1/2 hours). the last pacer is 5:45 (5 hours, 45 minutes). and there will certainly be many people who don't finish in that time. but since my 'planned' race time is 5 hours, i will certainly be near the end of the pack, since there are only two pacers behind my position. my hope is that with all the excitement and motivation i can finish a little fast than that, but, i need to be satisfied with just being able to finish again. but if i can't do it in 5 hours, i'll be disappointed.

Chicago or Bust!

We leave tomorrow morning at 10:30 AM! The weather forcast continue to decline. As of right now, Sunday will be a high of 46 and a 30% chance of rain and snow. Saturday is a 60% chance of rain and snow. It will probably be somewhere around 40 degrees at race start, or colder.

I am actually not at all detered by this. cold is better than heat, but i just want to make sure i dress accordingly. it's one thing to dress for marathon class in the winter when you are only running a handfull of miles. it's different to be out in it for five hours. I suspect the forcast will worsen before race day.

it's still very exciting! Chicago will be exciting. Going to a Saturday night service at Willow Creek Church will be exciting.. it's just going to be a great trip that ends with a potentially miserbal five hour run and 9 hour car ride home!

If i think about it tonight, i'll update the blog with my "bib number". with that, and at the appropriate website, you can track my current race place in real time. of course, hopefully most of you will be in church , when i'm running, ha, but if you're not, check the website and see where i'm at (i'll post the website too). Now, with 40,000 runners, i expect i'll be somewhere in the last 5,000 -10,000. that is purely a guess though.

Everything about this race is so awesome. they provide for everything. there are aid stations (for water/gatorade) about every 1 1/2 miles, restrooms at every aid station, live bands and other entertainment at least every mile (there are 30 entertainment spots), they are giving out power gel packets (gel for calories, etc) at one station and bananas at another.... it's just gonna be awesome!

for those of you with high speed internet access, check out and click on the "news and features" link on the left. from there you can view a streaming video of the route we run (fast forward film in a car) and highlights from last year's marathon.

i'm very excited! pray for safety on the way down (and back) and safety on the run. We'll get back late Sunday night.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Hell Week

really that title is misleading since i have been fairly optomistic around the runs, but this week culminates with the "dreaded" 20 mile run this Saturday. the longest run of the training. on the positive side, Bob and i will be running together. on the negative, due to scheduling we are going to have to run in in the evening! from like 6-10 PM. and at 6:00 it's still going to be in the 80's, possibly still UPPER 80's.... that is NOT fun to run in. we can only hope for a rapid cool down once the sun goes down, but i doubt it. and what's going to kill me is running too fast too soon. if i run what i feel is comfortable, it's too fast to sustain 16-20 miles. if i manage to run as slow as i need to at the start i get more leg/foot pain. it seems to be more taxing on the body/legs to run slower/too slow in general. i hate the leg pain when it happens, but i will likely have to endure it the first 4-6 miles to finish the marathon.

As for josie, her psoriasis continues to look better and better. it's still obviously "there". but hopefully come February, it'll be gone. we'll keep you updated.

if you're out and about in SW Topeka Saturday night, you may catch a glimpse of Bob and I running. part of our 20 miler will be the north side of 21st street between fairlawn and Gage. most the rest of it is in residential areas - out and backs from approximately 17th and Macvicar.