Category Archives: Running

Soldier Field 10 Mile

 

 

It has been a while, and I suppose I have some catching up to do.  I will start with the Soldier Field 10 Mile in Chicago.  We signed up for this one relatively last minute.  We decided to make it a weekend trip to Chicago for our anniversary over Memorial Day Weekend.  Running a 10 miler gave us a reason to feel a little less guilty about the food we would eat that weekend.

There was an option to have race-morning packet pick-up (for some extra $), which really helped us out-of-towners.  We arrived in town late the night before the race, checked into our hotel, which was near the start, and got some rest.  The next morning we woke up bright and early for the run.  It was a beautiful morning, and it was nice to be able to walk to the start line just outside Solider Field. The day would get a bit warmer, but the morning gave us some great running weather.

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goody bags

Swag Bags stacked as far as you could see! (Kind of)

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There were 18 Corrals or so, and we started in Corral 9, which gave us a good view of the start line, based on how they arranged the corrals on two different streets.  The race, as you may expect, was centered on honoring those who gave all serving our country, and those who continue to serve (Soldier Field and Memorial Day go well together, obviously).  The ceremonies at the start were very moving, and about 20 minutes after the first corral went off, it was our turn.

On The Way To Our Corrals – Also the site of the post-race party.

start line

Off we go!

The course was an out and back along Lake Michigan and part of it utilized Lake Shore Drive until the turn-around point.  We turned around at about mile 5 and returned via a path along the Lake.   All along the way there were pockets of supporters and folks cheering, in addition to a couple of bands which livened things up a bit.

As you might expect, with such a sunny day, the views of Lake Michigan were gorgeous, and the route after the turn-around gave us some great views of the Chicago Skyline.

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The only little drawback I noticed was that being able to see Soldier Field from so far away was a bit of a tease, as the finish never really seemed to get closer.  We had not really trained specifically for this race, so the last couple of miles were a bit of a struggle.

Soldier Field

The finish line seems so close!

One of the main selling points of the run is that you get to finish on the 50 yard line of Soldier Field (“It’s All About Where You Finish”).  The route to get to the 50 took us past the field and through a service entrance.  After a quick jaunt through the bowels of Soldier Field (which my Garmin did not like), we entered through a tunnel onto the field.  It was a really great way to finish the run.

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Our time wasn’t great, but this run was more about enjoying the day and kicking off our anniversary weekend by burning some calories that we would make up for later.  It was also really great to be handed our medals by active service members, which is another unique touch to this race.

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Overall, this was a great race.  It was extremely well organized, pre-race emails were answered very quickly, and the post race amenities and party were great (free stretching, beer, concert, exhibitors, etc.).  The weather really helped as well.  I would certainly recommend it for anyone looking to a good way to run in Chicago.

Rainy Run The Bluegrass

 

Wow, has the last month been busy.  I have some catching up to do.  I will start with our return to Keenland in Lexington for Run The Bluegrass 2014 version.  Last year this race very near took us out.  We had no idea what to expect, and the hills were brutal.  However, it was such a beautiful race, I convinced, tricked, and cajoled Joyce into signing up again.  We knew what to expect this year, and I was really looking forward to the race.  The organizers of this race are so enthusiastic and runner-centered, that it was hard not to be excited for this run.

Last year, the key word was “hills.”  This year, it was “rain,” which will explain the lack of pictures.  There was a 100% chance of rain, and we knew it was coming all week.  As a result, I did not carry a camera.  Luckily the start was rain-free.  Parking was much better than last year due to a lack of construction, and we made it in plenty of time to get a pre-race bathroom break.

Ready to run?

Ready to run?

Call To The Post

Call To The Post

We found our wave and waited for the start.  They spaced the waves 2-3 minutes apart, which really helped to space things out (unlike the Kentucky Derby Festival Mini – but that is for another post).

Great Crowd

Great Crowd

This race has a great atmosphere.

This race has a great atmosphere.

Let's go!

Let’s go! Do you see me?  Cloudy and I’m wearing shades.  Not for long!

The start brought great running weather.  There was a chill in the air, but we knew the rain was coming.  I bought a $10 rain jacket at the expo the day before, and it was a lifesaver for this race.  The first few miles were a bit tough, as Joyce’s legs just wouldn’t seem to loosen up.  As we went along, the rain began, and continued to become more steady.

Around mile 5 or 6, a little dog decided to join the race.  He was fast!  However, he was running away from where he lived.  Our running buddy, Sarah, the consummate dog lover, actually stopped to call his family from the number on his collar.  I half expected to have a new companion on the way home, or to see her cross the finish line with him (which I am sure she would have done had she not been able to contact his owners!).  She successfully got the dog where he needed to be and rejoined us after the finish, sans dog.

My personal goal in this race to to run the whole way up the hill/mountain/cliff at mile 9, no matter how badly it hurt.  By that time, the rain was coming down pretty hard, but I was not going to be deterred.  Up I ran.  I must have passed two dozen runners, and it hurt, but I did it.  I waited a few seconds at the top for Joyce, and we headed toward the finish.  As we did, it began to pour.

Heading toward the hill at mile 9

Heading toward the hill at mile 9

Mile 11, just before the beer stop.

Mile 11, just before the beer stop.

I forgot how hard the hills were in the last mile or two of this run.  Last year we had to really change our intervals to make it through.  This year, we tried to hustle through them as best we could.  By about mile 12 my shoes we soaked and sloshing.  I am surprised they stayed relatively dry that long.

We persevered and made our way to the finish about 7 minutes ahead of last year, ‘s time, which is great considering the weather.  Even with the rain, I loved the race.  This is one of my favorite courses (much to Joyce’s chagrin), and the volunteers and race organizers are second to none, especially this year when they braved the elements to hand us water (and a selection of at least 3 other drinks – Sword, Nuun, and Gatorade – AWESOME!).  The organizers had to scramble to re-arrange all the post-race festivities they had been planning for the last year, and they did a fantastic job.

Puddles are larger than they appear.

Puddles are larger than they appear. Hairline is just as it appears. . .

Wet and Done!

Wet and Done!

Another Run The Bluegrass in the books.  This year, RTB  paired with the Kenucky Derby Festival Mini, to offer the inaugural Kentucky Half Classic Medal to those who completed both races.  Of course, we were in.  My next post will review the KDF Mini and the Half Classic medal, and I am going to try to take a little different slant on that one.

Finally, if you can’t tell, I love this race.  If ever get a chance to run it, do it.

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Papa John’s 10 Miler

It has certainly been a while.  It seems like forever since we were finishing the Walt Disney World Marathon.   After taking some time off to recover, rejuvenate, getting back into the swing of training has been tough.   With weather and work, finding time to make those training runs has been a chore.  We were successful in getting in our long runs, albeit on a delayed schedule.  For our last long run before before America’s prettiest half marathon, Run The Bluegrass, we decided to join 6000 or so others for the Papa John’s 10 Miler.  This was our first try at the 10 Miler, which is the third leg of Louisville’s Triple Crown of Running, which earlier featured a 5k and 10k.

We registered the day before, and headed out at about 7:15 for the 8:00 start.  We parked a bit farther away than we had expected, so we were cutting it close to get to the start with time for a pit stop beforehand.  It was a perfect morning for a run, with temperatures in the mid 40s and a slight cloud cover.  We got to the start line after the National Anthem, and really never stopped moving prior to the time we got to the start line.

The Start Line

The Start Line

The course was new to us, which was nice.  We weren’t sure what to expect, and I did not have time to really study it much before the race.  All I knew is it was 3 miles of flat, 3 miles of hills, and 3 miles back.  We wanted to try this race to help us prepare a bit for the hills of Run The Bluegrass.

On To Iroquois Park!

On To Iroquois Park!

The highlight of this race was the “threat” of violence toward Joyce, my wife.  Joyce had it goin’ on for this race, if I might say.  She had on a very well-coordinated outfit accentuated with a pink SparkleAthletic skirt, pink Lulu top, and a pink daisy Sweatyband.   Around mile 2 we heard a group of ladies exclaim, “you cannot be that cute! Look at that pretty skirt, and top and bouncy pony tail.  I am gonna take her out at the finish for that skirt!”  It was all in jest, and it was a fun start to the race.  Needless to say, no one fawned over my sweaty shirt.

The offending outfit. . .

The offending outfit. . .(creeper pic)

A little after mile 3, we entered Iroquois park.  This is where the hills started.  We did pretty well through this section, passing a lot of people.  We ran up each hill, taking our walk breaks at the top or bottom.  After about the third hill, we hurt, but it wasn’t too bad, especially knowing there was a major downhill exiting the park at mile 6.

Entering the park

Entering the park

Up the first hill

Up the first hill

Almost to the top

Almost to the top

We do what we want. . .

We do what we want. . .

Another. . .

Another. . .

Downhill from here!

Downhill from here!

The park was really nice, and added a bit of natural beauty to the course.  However, the run out and back was through a residential parkway, and it was nice to have folks cheering us on from the front of their homes.

As we exited the park, we had about 4 miles left.  The finish was at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium, home of University of Louisville football.  This would be the first football stadium we got to run through, after having previously run through minor and major league baseball stadiums.

We made really good time (for us) through the park, and I was letting Joyce run her pace, without a goal or pace in mind.  On this day, her pace was pretty quick, and some of our quickest miles were in the park.  Out of the park, we made our way back to the stadium.  The finish line was at the 50 yard line.

Out of the park

Out of the park

Almost done. . .

Almost done. . .

As we neared the stadium, I noticed we were on pace to finish around 1:45.  I know we didn’t have a pace in mind, but now that we were in the last half mile, I thought, oh what the heck, let’s see if we can make it in 1:45.  We were well on our way to that time, and I picked up the pace to make sure we made it, much to Joyce’s chagrin.  I didn’t tell her what I was doing, but she figured I had some time in mind.  I thought it would be no problem until we entered the stadium.  Instead on only having 50 yards to go, we had to run AROUND the field to the opposite side to the 50 Yard Line finish.  We really had to kick it in now to make that time.  Joyce kept up, and we made it in 1:45.

You mean we have to run AROUND the field?

You mean we have to run AROUND the field?

There was no medal or other bling for this race.  Just the satisfaction of knowing this was a 10 mile PR for us.   They had Papa John’s pizza after the race (naturally), but we didn’t really feel like pizza that early, so we grabbed a G2 and made our way home.

Overall, the race was a great experience.  We had to do a lot of weaving to get around the 4-5 wide walkers or slower runners, but the course thinned out a bit as we moved along.  The volunteers were great, and the water stops were ample, staffed by firefighters.

We may make this an annual thing, who knows?  Now it is on the Run the Bluegrass.  This 10 miler had two miles of hills.  RTB has 13, with the first big one before mile .5 and a max incline of 9%.  It should be interesting. . .

My First Solo Half Marathon

The Louisville Sports Commission Half Marathon was supposed to be the 12th Half Marathon Joyce and I had run together.  In fact, neither of us had run a solo half marathon.  Two weeks earlier, we had run the Big Hit Half Marathon, adding in a few miles to fit in 15 miles on our training for the Walt Disney World Marathon.  Our plan was to add in 4 miles before the LSC Half Marathon to get 17 miles in for our long run.  However, nothing went as planned.

The night before, our oldest started having serious stomach pains.  That ended with a trip to the ER later that evening.  We were hoping it was a quick fix.  Not so much.  He was up most of the night, and Joyce and (to a lesser extent) I got very little sleep.  Late into the night, we were both determined to make the race the next day.  We had arrangements for our sitter to arrive at around 6:30 so we could leave early to get in the extra 4 miles.  However, the oldest was still having spasms well into the early morning.  We couldn’t leave the sitter with him like that.  So Joyce decided she would stay home with him.  However, by the time we decided that, it was too late to call the sitter, and she was greeted at our door with $20 for her trouble, and she got to go back to bed.

Now, what to do about the race?  Well, I am a horrible father.  At almost the last minute, I decided I would still run the race.  I am still not sure exactly why. Regardless, I got dressed and headed over to Louisville for the start of the race outside the KFC Yum! Center.

Start Outside the YUM! Center

Start Outside the YUM! Center

I got there just in time to get in line near the very end of the runners.  There was no reason to be in the middle of all the folks, as I had no plan for this run at all.  There was a nice crowd for this race, and it was a perfect day for a run.

Before I knew it, we were off.  I settled into a comfortable pace, determined to keep it consistent.  The course heads out of downtown Louisville toward Cherokee Park.  The park portion of the course is gorgeous in the fall.  It is rather hilly, but is my favorite part of the course.  There was some pretty good crowd support and bands along the course as well.

Entering Cherokee Park

Entering Cherokee Park

The first of the hills

The first of the hills

The views in the park were gorgeous with the fall colors and vistas at the top of the hills.  The best part about the hilly park portion is that there is a nice long downhill section coming out of the park.  A highlight of the course was a new section that was added this year that took the runners through Cave Hill Cemetery just past the halfway point.  This part of the course was definitely a great addition, and added to the beauty of the run.

Entering Cave Hill Cemetery

1 Entering Cave Hill Cemetery

The colors were just past peak

The colors were just past peak

I exited the cemetery just before mile 8.  Just outside the cemetery exit, a group was dancing to “Thriller” in full character.

"Thriller" zombies

“Thriller” zombies

Baxter Ave is never traffic-free

Baxter Ave is never traffic-free

At this point, my pace was well ahead of my personal best, and I was feeling pretty good.  I was getting my hopes up that I could smash that PR.  However, since I was running a bit behind arriving for the start, I had neglected to use the restroom.  Holding it was no longer a comfortable option.  Luckily, by mile 8, the restroom lines are relatively non-existent.  Mile 8 was a bit slow as a result, but I knew I would be much more at ease heading to the finish.  At this point, the course heads back toward downtown Louisville for the finish.  Last year, it started to rain/sleet rather heavily at this part of the course. This year treated the runners with perfect weather.

4th Street Live! (Louisville likes exclamation points)

4th Street Live! (Louisville likes exclamation points)

They tweaked the course this year, adding an out-and-back portion between the 11.5 and 12.5 mile points.  I think that was the longest mile I have run in a long time.  As usual, I was still feeling pretty good at mile 10, and was well ahead of PR pace.  However, as usual, at about mile 11, that good feeling began to fade.  To top that off, an out-and-back at this point in a run is a bit depressing.  You get to see all those people ahead of you that are heading to the finish, and you keep wondering where the hell that turnaround is.

I hit the turnaround, still ahead of PR pace, but I was certainly beginning to struggle.  My legs were rebelling.  However, from that point, I could see the finish area,  and once you get past the turnaround, you are on the positive side of the out-and-back, seeing all the people behind you.  Being that I started shotgun on the field, it was nice to see all the people I was able to pass in the race.  That did not help my legs much though.  The last couple of miles were well off my pace for the rest of the run.  I had to take a couple of extra walk breaks between miles 12 and 13, which I never like to do.  Usually, we skip the break during that mile.

After one last short break, I powered toward the finish.  The time was not what I had been hoping for, but I was still able to beat my previous PR by over two minutes.

It was probably the most disappointing PR ever.  Not because I could have gone faster (I think I could have), but because it was MY PR.  Up to this point, it was OUR PR.  I was without my running partner for this one, and it was certainly not the same.  Anyone who knows me will tell you that I enjoy my alone time like few others, but the PR Joyce and I achieved last fall felt better than this one.  Running is our thing.  It is that thing we get to do together.  I enjoyed this run, but I would have liked it a lot better if (1) our son wasn’t sick and (2) we had run it together.

In the end, it was nothing serious with our son, but  I suppose I am still a horrible father.  I told Joyce she should go with the girls to run the Princess Half in Disney World. Does that make it better?  Probably not, but it is worth a shot.

Next up, a possible 5 mile race on Thanksgiving morning, and the Santa Hustle Half Marathon in mid-December leading up to the Walt Disney World Half Marathon in January.  I am looking forward to having my running partner back.

Southernmost Half Marathon – Hot and Gorgeous

Somo

I wonder how many will land here after they Googled looking for something totally different?

Hot and Gorgeous.  That is how I would describe the inaugural Southernmost Half Marathon (SOMO).  It was hot.  Really hot.  It was gorgeous.  Really gorgeous.  It was memorable for the good parts, and just as memorable for the not so good.

I had been looking forward to this race for quite a while.  I love Key West, and having the chance to get a closer look by running through the streets and past the landmarks was something I could not pass up.  Luckily, this race fell during our son’s fall break, so we made a vacation out of it.

We came to the keys the weekend before, and spent the week enjoying all they had to offer.  This also gave us time to attempt to get adjusted to the heat.  My wife, Joyce, and I ran a couple of times during the week to see what it was like in the heat.  We knew it was going to be a challenge, just like it was in Disneyland, maybe even more so.  I was just glad I was not running the marathon.  We picked up our packets early on Thursday before the Saturday race while we were in Key West.  In a nice twist, they provided hats in addition to t-shirts for all the runners.

Then, on Saturday we got up early and headed down to Key West for the 6:45 a.m. start.  The race started right outside the Rum Barrel restaurant.  This was a smaller race, with 650 or so runners between the Marathon and Half, so the start was very smooth.

Past the Duval Street Lighthouse

Past the Duval Street Lighthouse (so fast it was blurry)

We headed out toward the Truman Annex and into Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.  This route was classic Key West, and provided some great scenery.

Tree-lined streets in the early dawn

Classic Key West

As we exited this area and headed toward the beach, the sun was starting to rise.  Although it made for a gorgeous atmosphere, we knew it was about to feel a lot hotter.

The sunrise did not disappoint.  It was truly priceless.

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Then came the beach stretch.  That is when the heat started to announce its presence.  It is one thing when it is hot and dark out.  It is quite another when it is hot and the sun is up.  The stretch along the beach provided us with some great views, but was also a challenge since there was no shade to help.

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They had a conch train of cheering fans and cowbells that made a couple of appearances.  This was a cool idea, since there was not much of a crowd on the rest of the course.   There were a couple of pockets of ardent supporters though.  One group at the beach was still there, misting hose in hand, cheering on the remaining marathoners hours later when we were on our way out of Key West.

The Conch “Cheer” Train

We ran out Roosevelt along the beach to the turn-around at about mile 7.5.  The heat really started to get to Joyce at that point, and by mile 9 she was really struggling.  At first, we extended our walk breaks, but in short order we were simply walking.  The last four miles ended up being mostly a walk, punctuated by an oncoming mass participating in the cancer walk, which happened to share part of the same course.

On our way back. . .

We finally made it back to Whitehead Street and trudged to the finish line back at the Rum Barrel to complete our 10th half-marathon.  Our time was over 20 minutes slower than our time at the Columbus Half just two weeks before. What a difference the temperature makes.  Still, it was great to be able sit on the top deck of the Rum Barrel and watch the Marathon finishers come in, and there is no shortage of post race shopping and entertainment in Key West.   

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This was a tough run.  The type than can make someone really contemplate why they do this.  It was no fault of the race organizers.  They did a great job.  The course was beautiful and flat, the volunteers were awesome, the race swag was cool, and it was in Key West. However, it was South Florida in October, and the weather was challenging.  It ultimately won out on this day, as far as time goes.   But we finished.  We got to see parts of Key West we had not seen in our many prior visits.  We got to spend time together (though I was grumpy for a few miles of it), and we got to take part in a unique event.

In the Keys, you will often see a sign that says “If you are lucky enough to be in the Keys, you are lucky enough.”  That thought can be applied to so many things in life.  If you are lucky (and blessed) enough to be able to run 13.1 miles in Key West, you are lucky enough.  So true, and that is what I will take away from this run.  No matter how challenging the heat was, the course was just as beautiful, and we were blessed to be able to be there to experience it.  I would certainly recommend it if you ever get the chance.

photo (3)

Mill Race Half Marathon

This year marked the inaugural Mill Race Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5k, which took place in Columbus, IN.  We ran the half marathon as part of our training for the Walt Disney World Marathon  coming up in January.   I must say, for a first year event, it was stellar.  Even the governor of Indiana, who is from Columbus, participated in the 5k.   The event included a two day expo prior to the Saturday races, as well as an after party in downtown Columbus.  That after party included rock climbing, activities for kids and adults, and even a zip line through downtown Columbus.  We had to leave right after the race, so we did not get to experience that firsthand though.

As for the race,  I must say I was a bit worried as the weekend approached.  The weather man was calling for high temps in the mid-80s, and I was having flashbacks of the heat of the Dumbo Double Dare.  However, the morning started out in the upper 50s, and we could not have asked for better weather for the first part of the race.    The race started in downtown Columbus, just outside the Cummins Corporate Headquarters.  (Cummins is the world’s foremost manufacturer of diesel engines – which explains the medal you will see later).

Quiet Starting Line

Quiet Starting Line

Not So Quiet Starting Line

Not So Quiet Starting Line

The race then wound through its namesake, Mill Race Park.  The park was beautiful at that time in the morning, with sunlight streaming through the trees, and fog rising from the ponds.  It was really a great start to the race.  There was a rather narrow stretch right after the start, but it was nothing compared to some of the Disney races we have been in.

Entering Mill Race Park

Entering Mill Race Park

Gorgeous Morning For A Run!

Gorgeous Morning For A Run!

After exiting Mill Race Park, entered the streets of Columbus.  The city is known for its architecture, and the race course took us by several interesting sights.  All in all, it was a great course:  Flat, with plenty of great sights and shade.  The crowds were awesome all along the course, the volunteers were very enthusiastic, and the bands on the course were great.  It seems the community really embraced this event.  Below are some of the views from the course.

We were really impressed by this race.  The course, again, was great, and we saw some wonderful sights along the way, including one particularly touching running group.

“Today, I’m Running A Marathon With My Hero: My Dad.”

Since this was a training run on the way to the WDW Marathon, and with the questions about the weather, we were not really gunning for a PR.  However, for the first 11 miles, we ran a pace that was faster than our prior best.  In the end, we missed it by about 2 minutes, but it was good to know we could get close, especially after the beating it felt like the summer gave us.

The crowd for the finish was great, and we got a very unique medal out of the effort, which paid homage to Cummins.  After this inaugural event, I cannot wait to do it again next year.

Great crowd lining the finish.

Medal with a Cummins Engine on it!

Medal with a Cummins Engine on it!

Now its off to the Southernmost Half Marathon.  No doubt that one will be a hot one, but it is Key West, so I am not complaining!  There is no shortage of icy drinks to cool you off. . .

Dumbo Double Dare Recap

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After waiting since we signed up at Marathon Weekend in Walt Disney World in January, we finally got to experience the Dumbo Double Dare over Labor Day weekend.  By the end, we earned 4 medals: Disneyland 10K, Disneyland Half Marathon, Dumbo Double Dare, and Coast to Coast.  I could start this recap discussing the horrendous lines at the bib pickup and the madness at the expo surrounding the RunDisney merchandise, but I decided to leave that out.  The people we got to see and meet, and the surroundings of Disneyland, outweighed the temporary frustration that marked the start of the weekend.  And hey, I got some cool new RunDisney New Balance shoes!

The race weekend started with the Disneyland 10K, which followed the 5k by about 45 minutes, which made getting to the corrals another experience in poor cattle herding.  Still, the course through California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom was great.  Having a course that was contained mostly in the parks made it a really cool race with lots of opportunities for character pictures.  You can see a few of our pictures here.  We took it easy on the 10k, thinking we would save a bit for the half marathon the next day, and the heat was not our friend.

A few of our friends waiting to start

For the half, we woke up and made our way toward the corrals at about 4:30.  This was about an hour and a half later than we get up at the Walt Disney World Races.  After making it to the corrals, the typical RunDisney energy was in the air.

And we're off!

And we’re off!

World of Color

Cars Land

Phineas and Ferb!

We headed out past the Grand Californian Hotel and around the back of California Adventure. Those first few miles took us through California Adventure and the Magic Kingdom.   The cast members, even the custodial team, were there to cheer the runners on as always.  This really helps make for a great experience.

Into Disneyland

Now we’ve run through both Castles!

Afte exiting the Magic Kingdom, we were on to the streets of Anaheim, headed out to the Honda Center and Angel Stadium.  On the way, we were treated to hundreds of classic cars, hula dancers, dance teams, bands, and cheerleaders.  It made the trip much more enjoyable, despite the heat.  Angels stadium was much better than I had expected.  The hundreds of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts were very supportive and made for a great atmosphere in the stadium.

Angels Stadium was at Mile 9 mark, and we passed on the iced donuts being handed out on the way in.  After running around home plate, it was back toward Disneyland.  We ran through the backstage area of California Adventure, around the back of the Disneyland Hotel, past Downtown Disney and through the finish line.  All along the way, we had cheer groups helping us along.  I also saw my favorite sign of the whole event (but did not get a picture):  “$175 for a half marathon — only $37.50 to go!”

Loved the Corvettes!

Honda Center

Into The Sun

Into Angel Stadium

Great View!

Almost Done!

One of the coolest parts of the race for me was getting to meet Joe Taricani of The Marathon Show. I asked for a picture with him, and ended up being interviewed!  I got to talk a little Boilermakers with him.  Not only did I get a picture out of it, that photo also made it into his video recap of the race.

With Joe of The Marathon Show!

You know you are a real runner when you get one or two of these . . . not the medals.

You know you are a real runner when you get one or two of these . . . not the medals.

I end the post with that video from the Marathon Show.  I think it gives a great recap of the race, and I really like Joe’s thoughts on the race and RunDisney at the end.  I am honored to be in the picture at the 7:25 mark.  Be sure to visit Joe and The Marathon Show at http://www.TheMarathonShow.com.

Until next time.  Only 4 more to go this fall!

Fall Race Season – Run ALL The Races!

Well, it is almost that time of the year:  Fall race season.  (NEVER thought I would be saying that a couple of years ago).  I am currently training for my second Walt Disney World Marathon in January.  Luckily, many of the half marathons through the end of the year coincide with long training runs.  I know, the long runs are supposed to be long and slow.  However, it is much easier to get pumped for a long run when it is a half marathon with a couple thousand other folks and all the excitement that goes along with it.

At our first couple of half marathons, we thought all those folks running long warm ups of a mile or more were crazy.  Well, now we are those people, except we will be running 2-5 miles extra before a couple of our races to meet our long run distance goal.  And yes, we will run that before the race, because who wants to keep running once you get to the finish line?  I just hope the weather cooperates.

So, we will be running at least 5, count ’em 5, half marathons by the end of the year.  I look back at how daunting the thought of that first one was.  I thought there was no way I could do it.  Now, if all goes as planned, we will have run a marathon, a 10 miler, two 10Ks, and 7 half marathons this year.  That is crazy stuff.  Crazy fun stuff!

This summer marks our second year of running.  It is amazing how far we have come and how we have been able to stick to it.  We are not fast and hang out mid-pack, but we sure have fun.   It serves as a reminder that if we put our mind to it, there really is nothing that is out of reach.  If a larger-than-most guy like me can run a dozen half marathons, anything is possible.  If an anti-runner like me can be convinced to run, and eventually be converted to a runner, anything is possible.  If I can successfully complete that WDW Marathon in a respectable time in January, anything is possible.

So here’s to the fall race season.  Hopefully it is filled with new adventures, new goals, and a lot of fun.

SoMo Marathon

What I Learned About Summer Running

I would put forth a wonderfully informative and useful post on tips for running in the heat and humidity.  Unfortunately, I haven’t figured that out yet.  So, instead of providing insight into steps to take to make running in the heat an enjoyable experience, I thought I would share what I have learned about running in the heat from my trials and errors.

1.  It sucks.  There is no way around it.  Sweating starts immediately, and if you’re lucky, your own smell does not catch up with you for a few miles.

2.  It is a good way to lose weight (temporarily).  I like the temporary feeling of being a few pounds lighter following a good heat run.  Of course, I put the pounds back on once I re-hydrate.  But it feels good for a little bit.

3.  It gives you something to brag about.  Sure, I was out there huffing and puffing, wondering if I would make it back, and whining in my head the whole time, but I was out there.

4.  Things will only get better.  It makes those runs in the winter, when the temps are in the teens and the wind is howling seem a whole lot more enjoyable.

5.   Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.  This part is pretty self explanatory.  I think I quit sweating about mile 17 in the Walt Disney World Marathon.  I have told myself “never again.”  We’ll see.  This summer is putting me to the test.

6.  It could be worse.  The highest temperature in July in my area was 106 last year, and the average high was 95.  This year the average high so far is 87.

7.  I love it — when I’m done.  It gives a sense of accomplishment.  As I said above, at least I am out there.  At least I am putting myself through it.  A few years back, getting out in the heat was the last thing I wanted to do unless in involved a lake.  Now,  I feel a bit guilty for wimping out at hitting the treadmill to stay a bit cooler.

Maybe one day I will have a post on tips for running in the heat.  Until then, I will rely on others for that.  Until then, I will continue learning through trial and error — mostly error.

So apparently it’s CRAZY hot in NYC.  I better brace myself after this mild London weather.  See you soon, NYC! 

Running – R.U.T.S.

I am not currently in a running rut.  I enjoy it as much as always.  I am as motivated as always.  I look forward to getting out for that run as much as ever.  I have 5 races* on the training calendar.  I suffering from what I call R.U.T.S. however.  Running Under Time Stresses.   Most every runner suffers from this condition, the chief presenting symptoms of which are  difficulty fitting in that run for the day and the need to rearrange training schedules.

I see it as a good thing that I am having this problem.  For me, it means two things:  (1) Work is busy, which in my line of work is a good thing, and (2) I actually am anxious that I am having trouble finding the time to run.  If I was not anxious, I would be worried.  It would mean that I don’t have the motivation to continue to get out there and run.  Luckily, that is not a problem at this point, especially with those 5 races down the road.

When suffering from RUTS, the picture above explains the cure perfectly.  When you don’t have time to run, make time.  Most everyone has at least an extra 30 minutes a day.  For me, that generally includes taking my luch time to get a run in, or a late night treadmill run for my wife, or a mid-afternoon work break for a couple of my co-workers.  On weekends, finding the time for those long runs can be more difficult.  This weekend, it involves arriving at an out of town meeting a few hours early and finding a local running route for an 8 miler.  Finding creative ways to fit in that next run is part of the fun of it.  Just like life, it wouldn’t be nearly as interesting if everything fit neatly into a predetermined schedule.  Easier?  Sure.  More fun?  Probably not.

For that reason, I try not to complain too much when I am having trouble fitting in that run.  If that is the worst problem of my day, then I can call it a good day.  However, that Dumbo Double Dare is less than 60 days away, so making that time is becoming more important.  

*5 Races:  Dumble Double Dare (Disneyland), Mill Race Half Marathon(Columbus, IN), Southernmost Half Marathon (Key West, FL), Louisville Sports Commission Half Marathon (Louisville, KY), Walt Disney World 10K+Marathon.