Deion Sanders tried to sabotage my marathon

This is what happens when Deion tries to mess with me (however the smile is great)

This is what happens when Deion tries to mess with me (however the smile is great)

With all of my love for Deion over the years, I feel betrayed that he would be part of a sabotage scheme to ruin my marathon. However, I am happy to report that the sabotage attempt has been discovered and I am following up with an ass kicking to all parties involved.  Let me explain:

 

First a little back story:  I name my running shoes.  It’s kind of fun and it helps me differentiate between similar shoes.  As I’m working in a shoe rotation, it helps me keep track of the mileage that each pair has on them.  So let’s look back at my first running shoes from last year

 

Roberto Clemente... the shoes

Roberto Clemente... the shoes

These are my marathon shoes from the Honolulu Marathon.  With the black, yellow and white colors, after long debate, I named them after Roberto Clemente of the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Pirate colors are black, yellow and white and Roberto Clemente was one of the most charitable (and all around solid) dudes ever.  So that fit in with me running the Honolulu Marathon for charity.  Roberto Clemente did me well and were a great fit for my feet.

 

 After the Honolulu Marathon, Roberto Clemente-shoes were retired (but did reappear for the MNJ Co-ed Softball season).  I went to the local running shop and was hustled into moving away from the Roberto Clemente shoes (I looked for his twin brother) and was instead moved into the next line up.  Same supportive Mizuno Wave shoe, however these were lighter, had better support and response.  They fit just as well.  They looked different, but the Fleet Feet hustler insisted it was the same shoe (but ended up being $40 more).  These shoes were blue, silver and white.  UGHHH.  How can I name my shoes after these colors.  I tried hard to convince myself these are Cubs colors, but they aren’t.  So the only teams I could think of are the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions.  I absolutely hate the Cowboys and never think of the constant loser Lions, so this was going to be tough. 

 

Barry Sanders... the shoes not the dude.

Barry Sanders... the shoes not the dude.

My first pair (from the hustler at Fleet Feet) I decided to name after probably (after Spud Webb) the most size challenged player for his sport.  Barry Sanders. Barry Sanders was WAYY to small to play football, but he didn’t care and ended up being a superstar.  I am definitely the wrong size for running a marathon, so this seemed like a good fit.  Barry Sanders (Barry is the left and Sanders is the right shoe) and I had a pretty solid first 250 miles together.  However, running shoes typically last 200-400 miles.  And with me beating them (with more weight per step) than most, I decided to play it conservative.  So after about 200 miles, I started working in my second pair of shoes.  Neon Deion. 

 

Neon Deion, they look so innocent don't they?

Neon Deion, they look so innocent don't they?

My second (identical to Barry Sanders) pair of silver, blue and white shoes were named after the only other Lions or Cowboys player I loved, Deion Sanders.  The Lions, well I couldn’t name them Hermann Moore and that’s it to memorable Lions.  As for the Cowboys, they were all a-holes, so no respect will be paid to Troy, Emmit, Michael, etc.  But Deion Sanders, he was my guy.  I loved him with the Atlanta Braves/Falcons, l loved him with the 49ers, and I survived him being a Cowboy.  So Neon (left shoe) Deion (right shoe) made his way into my rotation in early September.  Neon Deion was going to take me through my long runs and have about 125 miles on them when it came time for the Whistlestop Marathon.  Perfect.  Broken in, but still fresh with more than enough cushioning left in them. 

 

As I have reported in my last post, my last 2+ weeks were terrible.  My legs felt terrible and injuries were becoming more than nagging pain, but full on injury.  My confidence was at an all time low and my pain at an all time high.  Things were not going well.  I changed my workout schedule and changed my marathon goals to “survival mode”, just finish.  It was late last week when I was doing a Twitter search on marathons and I found the following tweet:

 

twitter Ethiopian_MarathonTeam:  @KenyonNationalMarathonTeam:  Guys, it seems like the plan is working. Our sabotage of Dave’s NeonDeion shoes is a success. He is injured. We now have a shot at the Whistlestop About 2 hours ago from UberTwitter

 

WHAT!?!?!  The stinkin’ Ethiopian and Kenyon marathoners are working together to injure me?  Well this means war…. And I’m coming to the race with some brass knuckles.  Heck who needs those.  I’m picking up one of the other racers and I’ll beat the Ethiopians and Kenyons with their fellow conspirators. 

 

So that ticked me off.  I put Neon Deion aside to pulled old Barry Sanders out from the back of the closet.  My Saturday long (well long run for a tapering week) went awesome.  My Monday and Wednesday runs this week were awesome as well.  I will not let those sucka’s hold me down.  I’m back.

 

So while there are still some lingering effects from my 2+ weeks of bad running in sabotaged shoes, my anger and drive to destroy the Kenyon and Ethiopian marathoners will bring me through. 

 

 My Kitchen:  Krissy Running Pasta  18/17

For the last year+, whenever I have a long run, Krissy makes me some special magical running pasta and it’s been fantastic.  I will be eating it for the 3 days leading up to the marathon.  As my gift to you all, here is the recipe (add a little more salt if close to a long run/marathon):

1 box penne rigate or mostaccioli

4-5 Tblsp. Extra virgin Olive oil

A few dashes of Basil, or Italian seasoning, or basil and rosemary Pine nuts – around 1/2 cup?

Make pasta

While pasta is boiling in salted water (I use sea salt), toast pine nuts in broiler or on stove in skillet, no oil. Watch them, they burn quickly once they start turning brown. Drain pasta, add oil, seasoning and pine nuts. Mix and serve.

 May add cherry or grape tomatoes. Slice them in halves put on a cookie sheet with the oil and seasoning. Add at the end.

 

Ho ChunkWho knew that the Ho Chunk Casino in Wisconsin had a sports book.  But they are the closest thing to local action for the Whistlestop Marathon.  They just put up their opening numbers and have me at 2:1 to complete the marathon and 10,000:1 to beat the crap out of those sabotaging Kenyons and Ethiopians.

The wheels are falling off

 

Wheels off

 

My running has turned to poop! Failed races, shortened runs, weeks off, injuries, are all words that can describe the last 2+ weeks of my marathon training. However, with all of this, and only 9 days to go until the Whistlestop Marathon, I feel pretty confident in my ability to complete it (before they close the track down). So here is a list of the challenges over the last 2 weeks:

 

-Chicago Half Marathon—this started off pretty well. Slurp was held up by Barack landing in MN, but got in without a problem, we ate some dinner, relaxed and got to bed early. Unfortunately it was a beautiful night, so the Wrigleyville drunks were out in force. I slept right through their shenanigans, but Slurp and Krissy were up a lot of the night.

The morning of the race we all work up in time and got ready. We all already had everything laid out, so we just popped on our running gear and out the door. After a quick Red Line ride to the loop, we transferred over to the Green Line which brings us about 4 or 5 blocks from the race. Unless… the Green Line doesn’t start until 35 min before the race. We contemplated a different route, but stayed with our plan and the Green Line…. We arrived about 10 min early and walked over. We missed the gun while we were at gear check, but that’s fine, because it took 6 minutes for the crowd to get over the starting line. Slurp, Krissy and I all started together; about 10 min after the gun. At that point, Slurp was off and Krissy and I began our nice slow run.

There were about 30x this many people at the starting line.

There were about 30x this many people at the starting line.

The first 8-10 miles were pretty uneventful. We stuck perfectly with our planned pace time and were ready to whup up on my Arch Nemesis, Marilyn, the 75 year old woman who crushed me at a half marathon last year. The sun was out and there was not a bit of shade. We ran most of the race up and down Lake Shore Drive, and while the view was spectacular, it was a lot of miles on concrete with a lot of miles with no shade. I think this combo really started hitting me around mile 10-11 and my pace started slowing as a newly found stomach cramp started growing on my right side. At mile 11.5, I told Krissy to move on without me and I needed a few minutes to try to walk off my cramp. It never happened. I very slowly ran the rest of the race, but the added minutes to the end caused me to miss my Arch Nemesis by 4 min.

On a good note, Krissy crushed my Arch Nemesis (damn you Marilyn) but in the process, Krissy became my new Arch Nemesis.

This is what I looked like when I was done

This is what I looked like when I was done

After the race I was exhausted. I ran training runs of 13miles over 1min/mile faster than this race. And I felt awesome after the runs. After this race, I was dead to the world and developed a nasty cough that I still have 16 days later. The race ticked me off and stole my confidence.

 -My 19 mile training run. The following week I had a 19 mile training run (which was supposed to be followed with a 21 mile training run the next weekend). I got up a little late for this run, but it was a pretty overcast day, so no biggie. My first 15 miles were without incident. My 13 mile time crushed my half marathon time (figures) and the only real incident was with some weak ass Pittsburgh Steelers fans. Let me explain:

I had a green shirt too.  This is what I did to the Steelers fans.

I had a green shirt too. This is what I did to the Steelers fans.

It was the Sunday when the Bears were hosting the Steelers. I was running the worst chunk of the Chicago Lake path (under lake shore drive on lower wacker, just north of Navy Pier). This is the only place on the lake path where space is limited. Since it’s a sidewalk next to a busy street, it’s about 3-4 people wide, with guard rails on each side. With this being a very busy running day (Chicago marathoners were doing a big 20 mile run at the same time) there were tons of runners and bikers on this stretch. Usually most people go single file here so walkers/runners/bikers can get through. Not these 9 Steelers fans. They were 3 wide and 3 deep (a nice matrix). These were wide guys as well. Well everyone was trying to go around and they were being total A-hole and not letting people pass. They were getting wider or just getting in people’s way. Unlike most Steelers fans I know, these guys were total jerks. So when it was my time to pass, I politely said “excuse me” so I could get through. Nothing. I said it again “excuse me guys”. One guy looks over and doesn’t move. I had been running 10.5 miles at this point, so I made a fun decision, I would slide by. By this, I mean I ran buy and rubbed up against these guys. I was soaked. They… were slimed. If they weren’t moving, forget them. I totally soaked these guys with my sweat-filled shirt. One guy tried to trip me, but missed. I would have reacted, but they were 9 and I was a very exhausted 1. So I let it go and ran by, knowing they would be enjoying a wet sweaty-Dave soaked shirt for a while.

Besides the Steelers fans, it was good. Around mile 15 I started getting sore. Weird soreness at this point in a training run is typical. I’m abusing my body, so rightfully so, it’s giving me some grief. However around mile 17, I started having a very dull sensation in my left knee. It seemed pretty standard and I only had 2 miles left, so I kept moving. Around 17.5, it became a very sharp stabbing pain. I was surprised, so I decided to walk for a minute. Only 1.5 miles left, no reason to be silly. NOPE. I made it about 5 more steps and knew I was done. The pain was extreme, so I pulled off the course, called Krissy and had her pick me up.

-The pain didn’t leave for a while. Then my body was exhausted for the next few days, so I decided to skip my 21 mile run the next week and start my taper a week early. I also took a full week to rest and recover. While there is still some benefit to running and training 3 weeks before a marathon, I wasn’t going to push it. If I am going to survive and complete the marathon, I would need the rest more than anything else. So I took last week off. Then this week I started running a few 4 mile runs. My knee is fine. The rest of my body, however is pissed. I lost a decent amount of endurance in that week, and my body was used to running. After 7 days off, my body was telling me that it was pretty happy not running. Shin and calf pains have been following, but they aren’t major right now.

This is the guy I need to stay away from.  He's coming for the last place guy.

This is the guy I need to stay away from. He's coming for the last place guy.

So now my goal has changed. It’s no longer working on a 5:30 hour completion. Now it’s slowing down and just completing the race in 6hrs, before the race officials stop recording times and close off the course. This changes things for me. I will most likely be the last person to finish the race. That means the volunteers who are at the water stops will be saying this “Ugh, did that Mexican dude with the tied-dye shirt go past yet. He’s last, so after he passes, we can go home.” It also means if trouble strikes, no one will be following me to help. I’m running through a forest here, Woodchuks, Badgers, rabid-Deer will be all around. If one of those creatures comes onto the trail and eats me. No one will know. Maybe with my running gear, I’ll have to bring a Bow and arrows. Yeah, that should work.

And that’s it. I’m busted and hobbled and going into a marathon with a crappy three weeks of running going into it… But, unless those badgers eat me alive, I have a pretty good feeling. Just completing the race in 6hrs is cutting almost 3hrs of my previous time. Hard core marathoners try to shave 2 minutes here and 7 minutes there. I’m shaving 180 minutes. Ahhh, eat that Kenyons. Next post should be after the race…. Unless the badgers get to me first.

After hearing about my last few weeks, The Venetian has changed their odds. For a while they completely took me off the board. Now it’s 4:1 against me finishing. Vegas confidence in me seems to have fallen off.

Mosh Pit Marathon

Marathons are not limited to running, everyone has a marathon of some sort or another.  Some people play poker for 24+ hours straight and that is their marathon.  Some kids try to stay up till 3am during a sleepover and that is their marathon.  When the Chicago tunnels flooded my dad worked 30 or 40 hours straight to help fix them, that was his marathon.  Well I found a new one, one I did not know I was training for, but was thrust in my face: a Mosh Pit Marathon.  And I can truthfully say, if it wasn’t for my Whistlestop Marathon training, I would have been one of the dozens who passed out and were pulled out of the pit. 

It was like this, but more crazy

It was like this, but more crazy

Here is the scenario: I was at the Aragon Ball Room for one of the last-ever NIN shows (Thanks Bones).  The place was packed, but as soon as Trent came out, everyone packed in even more.  It was as tight as those “how many people can we cram in a phone booth” games.  Of course we needed to get as close as possible, so Bones and I ended up in the chaos and only about8 feet from the stage.  The next 2 hours and 20 minutes were constant bouncing, pushing and defending myself from people flying into me from the sides or behind.  The show was fantastic, but it was hot as heck.  About half way through the show, people started passing out.  However, I stood (or bounced strong).  Not during football doubles, or wrestling practice or even the Honolulu Marathon have I sweat as much as I did that evening, but I survived to enjoy the show with an awesome view.  So remember, you may not always know what you are training for, but your training may definitely come in handy when you least expect it.

 Outside of my mosh pit marathon, regular marathon training has been going well.  I’m up to 15 miles on my long runs, with a 19 miler coming up in 9 days.  This is the scary part of my training since I had to amend my training schedule due to those shin splints.  Chicago Half Marathon (with Krissy and Slurp) this weekend, then 19m long run next weekend, then a 21m long run the following.  I don’t like the high mileage jumps, and am taking some miles off the middle of the week to make up for it, but it’s the hand I was dealt. 

 The Foot Clan who has been terrorizing/mugging people in Lincoln Park and the surrounding area have not been caught, but they have been pretty quiet the last few weeks.  I think they got wind that I was coming after them and they fled.  Mark one down for the good guys.

 So Slurp and I have been playing around with an idea, so I’m going to throw it out and see what I think.  In true Slurp and Q fashion, we have been late to every race we have ever run.  But because of that, we have been able to constantly pass people up since they are going slower and our speed (or lack of slowness in my case) makes up the difference for the late start.  It’s a big psychological edge because it feels good to feel like you are making progress.  And from my blister blowout from last year’s marathon, I know the other end of it, and it bites when everyone is passing you up.  So now comes the challenge.  How late do we cross the start line.  It was 20min for races past, but that only gives Krissy and I 2hrs and 40min before they start closing down the course.  We can make 3hrs, but 2:40 is going to have to be a great run with cool weather.  Do we go 10 min?  We aren’t passing up as many, but we should be able to nail 2:50?  I’m not sure, and it’s driving me mad.  I’m up for any suggestions that people have.

 T-minus 44 hours until the Chicago Half Marathon and T-minus 26 hours until Slurp lands.  I received my pre-race massage yesterday (thanks Krissy) and feel pretty good this morning.  I just started breaking in a new pair of shoes (won’t wear them for the race, but they made my feet feel nice on my training runs).  I have my tied-dye shirt from the Terrapin 5K all clean and ready to be my race-day shirt (I don’t think anyone will miss me, but then again, they probably won’t miss the biggest dude on the course either).  My Garmin battery is fully charged.  I have an ample supply of Vanilla Goo and a freshly shaved head (less heat, less resistance).  I think I’m ready to go.

 Irish Oak  Irish Bar/restaurant  12 out of 17

 I run past the Irish Oak pretty regularly, but haven’t stopped in for a while.  Luckily it was the annual Cubs/Mets game with the boys, so we made our yearly trip to the Oak.  I have tried other meals at the Irish Oak that have been pretty average (although people say the Fish and Chips is good, I just don’t dig on fish).  However, the corned beef sandwich is pretty damn tasty.  If you get a side of curry with your fries…. Look out.  For food I feel the Irish Oak is a 1-trick pony, but they do their trick pretty well.  On the bar side, they do a pretty decent job with a good beer selection and a surprisingly low Spam/meathead:regular person ratio considering they are in the heart of Wrigleyville.  For a meal I won’t often go to the Irish Oak, but when I do, I’m pleased with my corned beef sandwich, curry fries and Smithwicks.

I was looking up some Poker Room Rates at Wynn the other day and they let me know that their sportsbook is very pleased with my recent runs.  After my 2:34.40 13 mile training run a few weeks back, they put my odds of completing the Whistlestop Marathon in 6hrs (before they close the course) at 6:5.  Positive odds, heck yeah.

Ooh, here is something else I just found.  I think I can be tracked via bib # if you are anxious and can’t wait for my next post.

Dave Martinez  — bib number 6028

The Foot Clan has invaded Lakeview

The Foot Clan

The Foot Clan

Remember the Foot Clan from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?  Well they have invaded Lakeview/Wrigleyville and have been mugging dudes in their 20’s and 30’s the last week.  Here is a quick reminder for those of you who, unlike myself, may not regularly sing the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle song.

Headed by Shredder they were anything but good.

Misguided, unloved, they called them The Foot.

They could terrorize and be angry youths….

 
While this has been going on for a few weeks, I didn’t find out about this until a few days ago.  But here is some reassuring info from my Sunday 9mile run.  Krissy and I were at my P’s and didn’t get home unit 9ish.  We quickly got changed and headed to the lake path for a run.  We ran the first 4 miles together, then Krissy broke off (short recovery run for her) and I continued the last 5 miles by myself.  Now in the direction I go, 3 of those miles are in the darkest most remote part of the lake path.  Since the Chicago Rock and Roll Half Marathon was earlier in the day, there were significantly less runners around, so I was totally by myself for most of the run.  At the dark scary part, I saw a cop, parked on the trail and was staring at me.  I didn’t think much of it, kinda weird but that’s all, and ran past him.  About a half mile later I hit my turnaround, and he was still there on my way back.  Then, as I hit mile 8.5 I saw a couple of bike cops.  I giggled to myself (because bike cops are always funny), and ran on.  A minute later, 2 more bike cops.  I checked to make sure they were different bike cops (and it wasn’t a glitch in the Matrix) and they were indeed different ones.  That was strange at 11pm, but I kept running as I was exhausted.   When I got to mile 9, I moved off the path a few feet to stretch by a tree.  I looked up, and I saw 12 bike cops, all hanging out.  About a trillion jokes were running through my head, but there was a big street festival in my neighborhood, so I figured it was related.  I laughed a lot on the inside, and went home.  

Chicago PD, keeping me safe

Chicago PD, keeping me safe

Upon learning about the “group of young men mugging runners/bikers” I realized those cops were indeed out there to stop these punks.  They must have seen a single dude, running by himself and thought I was nuts.  For the first time in my life, the cops were on my side and were looking at me as a potential victim and not a suspect.  It was rather refreshing. 

 

 

 

 

Dave-made defense.  Take that Foot Clan

Dave-made defense. Take that Foot Clan

Once I learned about these punks (who will be referred to as The Foot from this point forward), I needed to make some adjustments to my running.  I usually run at night because… well because getting up at 5am bites and I work late. Sometimes Krissy and I run together, but usually only once during the week and on Sundays, so I needed to keep myself safe from The Foot.  My first step was just planning a route that was busy.  During my weekday 3-5 mile runs, I usually just run around the local streets, so I adjusted my distance to stay on busier streets the whole time.  The next thing I needed to do was channel my inner-ninja.  Similar to running, you can’t just go full out ninja without warming up.  So before I ran I broke a few boards with my head, and karate-chopped Krissy in the throat.  And finally, I armed myself.  It made sense to bring a sword or some nunchucks, but those would be a burden during the run, so I had to get creative.  I wanted to just load my fist with something heavy, but then I fell upon a genius idea: Loaded fist with corkscrew punch.  It would be discreet, but if someone messed with they’d be screwed (yup, pun fully intended).  So using my routing, channeling my inner-ninja, and arming myself seemed to do the trick, because I am 2 for 2 on weeknight runs where I haven’t been mugged or beaten by The Foot.

 I have been checking and haven’t heard much from The Foot in the last few days, so I’m guessing either the increased police presence or fear of some awesome runner with a corkscrew fist has scared them back into the shadows.  And that’s good.   For one reason, I live in a safe (albeit often drunk) neighborhood and want it to return that way.  The other reason is I am having a very difficult time sewing CoolMax to make my superhero costume.  I don’t think running clothes and superhero outfits are intended to be one in the same.

 Outside of being a running ninja, training has been going well.  I took a few days off about 10 days ago, as my knees were feeling pretty cruddy, but that seems to have passed.  My slightly faster than normal ramping up of my long runs is going OK.  I’m finding myself pretty sore during the run, but 2 days later I’m back to normal, so I think I’m recovering healthy.  I just started a new VO2max workout and HOLY POOP it’s exhausting.  Check out the 30/30 workout here on active.com.  I think this will do a ton to help both my overall endurance and help me pick up a little speed, but the workout immediately reminded me of wrestling workouts.  It’s going as hard as you can for a short period of time, and following that up by going as hard as you can again…. Then, when you are finished, you have to work out a little more to properly cool down.  I have heard quite a few positive things about VO2max workouts recently, so hopefully this helps (because it sure hurts).

 El Jardin Restaurant:  Mexican food 16 out of 17

 El Jardin Resturant (not to be confused with El Jardin Café which is a block and a half north) is the best Mexican restaurant I have been to in the city.  Their prices are OK, but they are on restaurants.com, so when there is a 80% coupon sale (almost every day) you can pick up a good meal and drinks for 4 people for $70-$80.  While I have positive reviews from Bill, Jar, Brittany, Brittany’s dude, Uncle Mike and Tia Rachel, Monica , Benito, Duch and Leslie on all of the food there, I have only had one meal and I have it every time.  The Tampiquena.  Best. Steak. On. Earth.  That’s all I can say, and it’s easy to say because it’s true.  Krissy get’s veggie stuff and says that they are very good as well.  Others have gotten other random meals, all positive.  They also have very good margaritas, and VERY strong.  I have literally carried people away from El Jarden after just a few of their tasty original margaritas on the rocks. 

 Bones was at the Statrosphere last weekend and got the recent odds from their Sportsbook.  They are giving me 2:3 odds on completing the Whistlestop Marathon in the 6hr time limit.  I think they heard about The Foot, and adjusted their odds for potential mugging injuries.

Terrapin 5K and recovery beer

Beer makes you a better athlete

Beer makes you a better athlete

Beer is good for you. It (along with chocolate milk) are the best possible drinks to help you recover after a race. I’m serious, this is the best news I have heard since that report about the Smoke Monster from Lost was getting his own TV show. There has been some research recently that showed that athletes who drank beer or chocolate milk as a recovery to a run/race rehydrated better and had increased muscle recovery (less muscle damage) than those who drank water, Gatorade or other recovery drinks. I’m not sure if that applies to Soy Chocolate Milk or Rice Chocolate Milk, but I’m hoping so. And as for beer, a 6-pack of the High Life, or even tasty Honey Brown, cost less than a 6-pack of Gatorade, so drinking beer is the fiscally responsible thing to do. This works out perfectly, because attached to my Terrapin 5K bib, was a coupon for a free slice of pizza and a free beer.

Terrapin 5K

Terrapin 5K

The race was yesterday and turned out great. Bones, Wudchuk and I had a little bit of a time scare, but the surprisingly efficient Red Line got us to Hutchinson Field with minutes to spare. We didn’t need to check any gear, so after a quick pit stop, we headed for the starting line. It seemed like everyone was already lined up on the very narrow sidewalk, but we went to the end and did some stretching. I think the race started as some point in time, but I didn’t hear anything, I just saw the long line get a bit shorter. And shorter. And shorter. Next thing I knew, I was about 3 minutes into Terrible Lie (NIN) and we were crossing the start line, about 3.5 min on the clock. Right after we crossed the start, Wudchuk took off and started playing Indy-Slurp to get around runners. Bones quickly followed him. As for me, I started into a nice warm-up pace.

My plan was not to “race” this event, but to use it as a speed workout in my marathon training. Lately I have been pacing about 12/min miles, so I figured 36-38 min would be expected. Since it was a speed workout, I expected a min or two off of that. My plan for the day was my first fartlek training. Besides sounding like some G or PG rated Disney joke, it’s also a style of training where you randomly pick various destinations throughout a workout to run intensely, then you settle back in for a while at a regular pace, then you randomly go intense for a while and so forth. A 5K race is a little short, but seemed like a good opportunity for my first fartlek.

This plan worked out pretty well, because there was a ton of traffic along the course of the Terrapin 5K. It was along the lake path, just north of Soldier Field, and while it was a wider part of the path, it wasn’t intended for a 1600 person race. So I ran my basic 12 min/mile pace in traffic, then had an intensity burst when I had an opening. The plan worked well and outside of the moments where there was 5 soccer moms, side-by-side, taking up the whole path, I ran it to perfection. The race went by pretty quick and my only planned sprint was the last .25 miles. There was a “Mile 1” sign and clock, a “Mile 2” sign and clock, so at Mile 3 (when I saw the marker, not when I hit it), I was going to kick it in. … No Mile 3 sign and with about a hundred meters to go, I saw the finish and just kicked it in there.

Me and the boys after the race

Me and the boys after the race

I finished at 32:56 (or 10:36 miles). It was a little faster than I expected, and I’m pretty thrilled with the results, especially considering I handled it like a training run and had a TON of energy left in the tank at the end. Bones and Wudchuk each had PR’s as well. Wudchuk shot out fast and Bones paced behind him about 20-50 meters. Then at mile 2 (ish) Bones caught up and they ran the rest of the race together (26:06). We then walked over, got our free beer (for optimum recovery), pizza, ice cream and brownie; sat down and enjoyed a Grateful Dead cover band. Pretty solid race for all.

For my food review this week, I’ll talk about a place I ran past/to/and from. The food provided by the Terrapin 5K

Terrapin 5K: free food 8 out of 17.

After our race we got some free food. Free (well I guess we paid our $40 entry to the race, which is a little high) is a plus. Our tasty treat included a slice of Homerun Inn Pizza. I’m a bit of a pizza snob and was unimpressed by the Homerun Inn pizza. All pizza is good, even lame Domino’s, but this wasn’t much better than that. Our desert of Cherry Garcia ice cream and non-hash brownies were pretty good and helped get rid of the taste of the pizza. The beer was the real highlight of this meal and saved overall rating. It was Magic Hat or something like that. I tried the red beer (some cool funny name, but I don’t remember) and it was great. Not only rehydrated (I am not sore today, it did its job) but it was very tasty. I would definitely pick some up if I found it at the liquor store.

The Rio sportsbook must have been impressed with my 5K results, because today’s odds on me completing the Whistlestop Marathon are 1:3.

I run so much better than babies

This baby is so much slower than me

This baby is so much slower than me

It’s true, when it comes to running, I leave babies in the dust. I kick their ass at running…. And to be honest, I cry about it a lot less too.

Over the past few weeks I have been at a number of parties, BBQ’s, events, etc where there have been a plethora of babies. Boys and girls both. And at each occasion there have been babies trying to run from place to place. So after a few beverages, I started a deep thought session about why I’m so much better than these babies. Sure endurance, size, stride length, come into play, but when you really break it down, my form is just so much better.

Nervous that some babies might catch up with me, I really focused on my form the past week (plus) and I think it has been helping as my runs have been very productive. The first place where I really focused on my form was during my speed work. Krissy and I set out to take on our first ever strides workout and holy poop I was wiped out the next day. While I have seen some other info since, the info I read suggested doing 800m runs with 1:30 rests in between. The runs were at about 85-90% of a sprint and the rest was back at a slow jog/fast walk pace. That was the plan, but like all good plans, it was “adjusted” at the last second. A little bit of a time crunch came into play, so we couldn’t hit the lake and ended up doing our strides around the side streets of Wrigleyville. So 4 blocks of running, followed by 2 blocks of recovery was our new adjusted stride. The results are TBD, but I’m hoping they were productive, because when we finished up, we were both completely exhausted. Also, the following day I was a little bit more sore than I cared to be (given my injury recovery state of training), so instead of a weekly speed/hill workout, I think I am going to space them out to every other week.

Since I took my Shin-Splint-Break, I have only been running 3ish mile runs, not enough to hold off the ever-advancing babies. My goal was to get back into running for a few weeks with minimal stress on my shins/body. Those worked out well, but I am 12 weeks away from the Whistlestop Marathon, and 3 mile runs are not going to cut it. So I decided it was time to start slowly adding some mileage. I was able to complete 2 runs of 5 miles each and did so without a problem. My first run was by myself, I was feeling very fresh that day, and completed it in slightly under 1hr. While a training run with 12/min miles is a joke to most people, it is exactly 20% less than my training runs in July of 2008, so I’ll take it. In fact if I can keep up this 20%/year time improvement, I’ll be running at world record time in less than 5 years. Look out world.

Another way I’m better than babies, is I can create plans for my marathon. My current plan has been demolished and the following plan is what I think I will use. I don’t love it, but I think with my current 12 weeks, current state of my shins and recent history of only 12-15ish miles per week (since coming off 3 weeks off for the shins spints).

New race plan

I used Dave-logic (this is one of the places where the babies are in much better shape than me) to create the above schedule. If anyone has some thoughts, please share, because I am not a fan of this schedule. I think it helps me stay close to a 10% increase per week and still has me getting a 19 and 21 mile run in before the race, but if there a better way to get there, I’m open to ideas.

These guys rock, no really, they do.

These guys rock, no really, they do.

Yesterday I picked up the packets for the Terrapin 5K (which will take place on Thursday). All I can say is that so far I am VERY impressed with RAM (Running Away Mulitsports), their store and most importantly their race setup/organization. I’ll have more to say after the race, but unless something major happens RAM has now become my local running shop. I used to be a loyal Fleet Feet guy, but my last trip over there was ugly. Krissy and I showed up to get some shoes. I wanted some replacement shoes (as mine hit their mileage limit) and Krissy wanted to be fitted for her first-ever running shoes. I showed the Fleet Feet dude my old running shoe and asked him if he saw any irregularities that would cause me to need a different shoe. He didn’t even look at my shoe, went to the back, brought me out 2 Nike shoes and a slightly different Mizuno shoe. I tried them on and the Mizuno still fit best (my heel felt nice and locked in and tons of room in the toe box). I told him I thought they were a different shoe, but he insisted they were the same and I shouldn’t get hung up on colors. Well I brought them home, and big surprise… they were a similar but more expensive version of the same shoe. Krissy then told the same guy she wanted to get fitted for her first shoe. She said she wanted to pick out the right shoe that day but wasn’t going to purchase for a week because she was going to wait until the next payday. The guy stopped her in her tracks and said that if she wasn’t buying that day, it was useless to have a fitting. I have a feeling we just had a crappy employee (a baby would definitely do a better job than that dude), but it was a pretty miserable experience and was bad enough that I am taking a break (at the very least) from Fleet Feet for a while. In the mean time, I highly suggest that any runners in the Chicagoland area should check out RAM.

I have run past more places in the city this week, so here is another review:

The Dark Horse: Bar food 14 out of 17

The Dark Horse is my favorite bar in Chicago…. And they have food. Great daily specials (like 25 cent wings and the like) but the real treat is the Pulled Pork Nachos. I get mine without olives, but regardless of the setup they are the best junk food snack/meal on earth (not just the city, but the planet). I have shared this treat with at least 15-20 people (I love to go to the Dark Horse right after a Cubs game) and every person has agreed (although I think when I went with AB, Juan and Mills, their rating may have been influenced by Old Style) that these are the best Nacho’s in existence. They do have food besides Pulled Pork Nacho’s, but I don’t know why. Hippie Krissy is a big fan of their goat cheese appetizer thing. Others have had positive things to say about the burgers and wings, so go check it out, have some dinner, then stay for a few beers. Here is a Dave guarantee, if you go here and don’t love the Pulled Pork Nacho’s, I’ll buy you a beer.

The MGM sports book does not seem to be as confident in me as other casinos. I just checked and they have just posed 2:3 odds on me completing the Whistlestop Marathon. The cool thing about MGM, is they also set an official under/over line on my time. MGM is giving me 6hrs and 11 minutes. Forget those guys, I’m pounding the under.

Look who’s back

Strange things happen at 3am, this is one of them

Strange things happen at 3am, this is one of them

There are two types of people in the world, those who succumb to shin splints and those who punch shin splints in the jugular. I think I have officially become a jugular puncher, and that’s good. It’s been 3 weeks since I have been back to running and I have been injury free. Because I am paranoid about another overuse injury, I have limited myself to 2-4 runs, each about 3 miles. I think my new baseline has been set, so this week I am planning some increases in distance and a maybe some speed work (no hill work, probably strides or something). Besides the weeks of rest, regular massage and short runs, I think/fear the biggest factor in my loss of shin splint is my Converse Probation. That bites. Wearing running shoes for everything is definitely more comfortable, but the feeling of a nice pair of high top Chucks can’t be replicated. I had some DT’s from my cold turkey withdraw, but I think I’m finally starting to come around. I haven’t reached for Converse, then cursed like crazy as I put on other shoes, in over a week.

Other good/bad/good/ok news is that after seeing good ‘ol Dr. Pohlman, I found out (as suspected) that I still have hypothyroidism. Since I skipped the Dr. recommended meds last time, and nothing changed, I finally folded and am (for the first time ever) taking some meds. From what Dr. P told me, the hypothyroidism is the cause of the energy loss and weight gain over the last few years. I thought I was just getting older, but who knew. He also said that might help explain how I trained for a marathon (last year) and gained 10 lbs. That one was a mystery to me, so I’m glad I can tell Scooby and Shaggy they can put that one to rest.

So I started taking these meds. It usually takes 4-6 weeks before you can definitely determine their efficacy but after just 2 weeks something awesome happened: My muscles don’t hurt anymore. Heck I didn’t know they were sore in the first place. For the last 4 years, whenever Krissy would massage me, she could use very little pressure. I thought I was a sissy and that was why I couldn’t take much pressure. But during my last massage, she was able to use “regular person pressure”. I didn’t even know muscle soreness was associated with hypothyroidism. So, total bonus. Now I can recognize how my muscles used to ache and can feel the difference. My runs over the last week feel different. My short run (5 miles or less) pace has dropped dramatically (over a minute/mile). I feel like I was running in sand or water and just came out of it. A strange freedom as I feel very agile. So with some hidden benefits associated with this, I’m wondering what other things have been screwed up by my hypothyroidism that will magically become fixed without me knowing it. Here are the ones I’m hoping for:

-ability to fly (I haven’t been able to fly before, I’m hoping once the meds get worked into my system I can fly)
-increased height (I’m 5’11”, but always wanted to be 6’+… drugs, a little bit of help here)
-deeper voice (I’m not talking slightly deeper, I want a James Earl Jones or Billy Dee Williams voice. “It works every time”)
-broad chest (I can probably do this on my own with hard work, but I want something that is effort free. Like when Ren Hoek (from Ren and Stimpy) has his Pectoral Implants)
-Monty Cristo making ability (what a delicious sandwich, I sure wish I knew how to make one. Oh wait, magic daily pills will make me learn)
-Tecmo Bowl skillz (yes with a Z. As a kid, Mike, Ira and Dan always whupped my but in Tecmo Bowl, I want revenge)

Here is Ren pre-pectoral implant

Here is Ren pre-pectoral implant

From what I have read, I’ll see some effects from the drugs right away, but will know the true effects after 4-6 weeks. So I guess I should get the supplies for my Monty Cristo now, because, well you never know when it’ll kick in. While I hate taking drugs, I guess living a healthy life (and having the ability to finally lose weight, fly and make a tasty sandwhich) are an OK tradeoff.

Oh, another weird reaction to these drugs, insomnia. For some reason about 3-4 nights a week I can’t fall asleep until 4am. The benefit here is I have a lot of newly found free time. I have been playing poker and watching terrible horror movies so far, but that might get old. If anyone needs anything done from midnight to 4 am, let me know. Karmen has already volunteered to have me take care of Nora when she wakes up in the middle of the night, but I’m ready for more. If you need someone to drive you home from the bar or perhaps a place to use the washroom after a long night drinking in Wrigleyville, call me, I’ll just be watching “The Fly” for the 30th time. (This paragraph has been brought to you by 5hr Energy)

In my many runs around Wrigleyville, and other spots in Chicago, I pass by a number of interesting places to eat. So I decided that each post I’ll give a quick review of a different place I ran past during the past week.

Cozy Noodle: Pan-Asian food. 17 out of 17 (my scale, I can make it any number I want)

This spot is on the corner of Sheffield and Cornelia (a half block south of the Harry Caray statue)

This is my favorite place to eat in all of Chicago. I swear that Krissy and I pay their mortgage with our regular business there. The food is fantastic, the service is great. We usually take it to go (live across the street), but if you dine in, you will be thrilled with the décor (old school toys, everywhere). BYOB, so the booze prices are great (4 liquor stores within 2 blocks). Every person I have brought here has had great reviews. A typical dinner, with appetizers (great crab Rangoon) is $23 for a couple (and you will have food to bring home). Lunch specials are $5 for meal and appetizer. My personal favorite is the Mild Yellow Curry (a very sweet curry) with chicken. I get an extra rice with it and it becomes two huge meals (officially somewhere in the 3.5-4 servings range). If you live in the area or go to a Cubs game you must check this place out. If you don’t you will never experience a truly fulfilled life. I wish I was joking but the food is that good.

Update from the Bellagio sports book, and the new odds for me completing the Whistlestop are 1:1. Even money, I’ll take it.

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