Predator in Wisconsin

No I don’t mean a new Dateline special.

This week, for my long run, I found myself in Elkhart Lake Wisconsin for the wedding of my friends M and C. I was there from Fri-Sun, so I would have to do my run in the Badger State. In past weeks I have discussed the mixture of drinking vs. staying up late and tried to find a happy medium that would work for my training. Well for the post-rehersal dinner party, drinking started at 8 and continued at a very accelerated pace until about 1am. Very accelerated, involving shots (for my boy D’s birthday). Shots and I used to be friends until a few years ago. Now they make me time travel and go from midnight until about 1:30am. Funny how that happens.

Well I woke up the next morning in pretty rough shape. But I have to do my weekly run, so after some encouraging from K, I get up, fill up my water bottle, get ready and go for a run. There was not a 7 mile track to be found, so luckily I had GPS on my watch which told me exactly how far I had gone. I started off and was in pain, wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. But I think because of the new environment, I was running fast.

-Mile one, away from the resort, past a golf course and up some country road with no sidewalks and not even a shoulder. Little dangerous, so I headed into town.
-Mile two, still running a little fast. I made my way into town and stayed on the main roads. Went past the a few stores when I saw something interesting. They had a “get cash fast” sign, but it wasn’t for pawning stuff or for a paycheck advance, it was for ebaying stuff. I thought it was kind of an ingenious idea, but then something else weird happened. I went past the store that was pawning off ebay stuff, and it was a Doll Store. Really. So I run past this doll store and am completely creeped out by the dolls in the window. What store could possibly be connected to this…oh it’s a Doll Hospital. It looked like I a mini M*A*S*H set. I was expecting a doll of Klinger or Radar to be sitting in there. Where the heck am I, who does this and why am I looking around, making sure Chucky isn’t about to chop my ankles.
-Mile three, hitting my pace and I think I sweat out the hangover. I’m feeling good now. I am hitting a lot of hills now, A LOT, and made it past the creepy doll store/doll hospital/ebay store and feel safe again. The road ran out of sidewalks again, but there was a park with a path. I went over and started a serious downhill decent. I went past the ball fields, playground and basketball court. The trail turned from concrete to blacktop to gravel. Then all of a sudden, as I was looking down, paying attention to the uneven trail I looked up and was in the middle of some jungle. I don’t know how it happened but I swear I was in the jungle from Predator. Once again, kind of freaked out. But at the same time, I had to keep moving because I needed to log some miles before I got back into town. So despite the hairs on my neck standing and my fear of being skinned by a Predator, I moved on. And kept moving down. Down down down. Logic wasn’t my friend now, because if I actually was thinking I would have realized that as I keep going down, eventually I’ll have to go up again. For some reason I thought this jungle was going to turn into an MC Escher painting and despite continuously going down I was eventually going to find the road and be at the top. Well I never found out if the jungle path ended at the road because once it got so narrow that I couldn’t stand in it, I turned around and headed back. Uphill….ouch.
-Mile four, out of the Predator jungle and up the huge ascent in the park. I didn’t care about the uphill in the park, I was just happy to be out of that jungle alive. I decided to run back into town and try to go away from downtown. Actually behind my pace now because of the Predator jungle, but a nice flat piece of road.
-Mile five, going out of town lasted a few blocks, now I’m about to enter the touristy downtown and still have to find a way to produce 2+ miles. I went into town and was immediately mobbed by strollers and soccer moms as the tourists were all over and loving this quaint little town. I got out of there ASAP and started running up and down the side streets. The people in their yards were a bit confused, but I logged some miles.
-Mile six-found a county road that unfortunately went up hill very steeply, but it got me away from the thousands of tourists so I took it. It was very big, but seemed almost flat on the way down. Hmmm.
-Mile seven-home stretch so I ran a little hot on the way back to the resort. A lot of tourists and the resort people gave weird looks as an extremely sweaty, hairy, I’m guessing smelly dude passed by, but forget them I’m almost there. Made it back 4 minutes and 16 seconds ahead of my 7 miles pace. Rockin’.

Wisconsin is very hilly. While I’m sure that’s good for me, it surprised me and I wasn’t ready. I hurt for 2 days following. Wisconsin is also very creepy and scary. I suggest anyone running there, do it with a friend, preferably a friend who is Arnold Schwarzenegger and can survive a Predator attack. Another lesson learned this week: While drinking may slow me down or make my run more painful, it doesn’t cause me to miss my run. I think getting home past 1 or 2 or 3 am is what is hurting my long runs. Good info.

It’s gotta be the shoes

I am the fastest man alive.

Seriously I am. I got my new shoes and they make all the difference in the world. Last week I headed over to Fleet Feet and told them I needed some shoes. I expected them to have some ideas, but they surprised me. They made me roll up my pants, put on some “demo shoes” and run on a treadmill for a few minutes. They recorded the way my feet hit the ground and showed it to me on some monster plasma. After I was finally able to pull my eyes away from my sexy calves, I saw that I have decent form with a slight pronation on my right foot.

Dude came back with 3 pair of shoes and had me try them on and run around a bit with each pair. This guy was really into shoes (I dare someone to truthfully tell me he doesn’t have a foot fetish). For me, they were all the same. They felt like shoes. They were all lighter than the current New Balance running shoes I was training in. They all locked my foot in and felt great when I hit the ground. They were shoes. But shoe-guy was talking about the wave technology blah blah blah and cooling release this and that. I didn’t feel any of it. I truly felt that if I told this Shoe McGee that they were all the same to me, he would either cry or go OJ Simpson on me. I decided that since the first pair I tried on stared with an M, and my last name starts with an M, that’s a good enough reason to pick those. So I made up some stuff about my foot feeling more secure in those shoes (so he didn’t cry/kill me) and was on my way.

I’ll pop a picture of my shoes up later, but they are mostly white with yellow and black. Yellow and black are Pittsburgh colors (Pirates, Steelers, Latin Kings-oops- , Penguins), which is pretty cool since it’s my good Western PA customers who helped me pay for them. So I decided to name my shoes after my favorite Pittsburgh sports guy and also a dude who liked to do things for charity: My left shoe is named Roberto and my right shoe is named Clemente.

Roberto Clemente and I went for our long run on Saturday, 6 miles. And you know what, with Roberto Clemente on my side, I felt no pain. The run was awesome. The best I have felt running since high school track. The pace was perfect and we finished almost exactly on time for our group. I officially ran a quarter of a marathon last Saturday. If I ran a quarter of a marathon each week, I could technically say I ran a marathon in 506hrs (with a few weeks of work, sleeping, playing poker and watching TV in the process). Not too shabby.

This week is 7 miles and I’ll have to run it on my own in Wisconsin. My watch has GPS, so I should be able to make up my own course without a problem. The problem, as it has been for the entire training so far, is I’ll be out late Friday night. 2 weeks ago I hit 4:30am and it was too late. Last week I got to bed around 1am and it was fine. I’ll work on something in the middle and see what makes Goldilocks happy.

Here are the totals so far, 31 miles run, 1 pair of shoes purchased, 7 people donated to date, 6 lbs lost and 1 book about Snakes on a Plane read (I have to prepare for emergencies on the plane ride over or back).

Look left

I figured out how to create a poll. So vote yo.

Pushing the limit

Having my long run every Saturday morning creates a very unique issue: I like to go out late on Friday nights. I decided to use this week to test my limits a bit and see how late I can stay out and still have a successful run on Saturday morning. 7 Mary 3 was playing out in Rockford on Friday, so Bones, Duch, JTB and I made a little road trip. Because testing 1 limit is no fun, I decided to test another: how many drinks can I have Friday night and still have a successful run.

Tangent: While the locals at a run down bar in Rockford create some fun stereotypes in my head (most include long stringy hair and a Trans-Am), they completely blew my stereotype out of the water when no one screamed “Cumbersome, play Cumbersome” like some knucklehead has at every single 7 Mary 3 show I’ve ever been to. Good job Rockford locals. However, here’s an area for improvement…. Let’s limit the excessive high-fives (good rule for people everywhere) and air guitarring towards the band. In fact, for the 15 years that I have been going to shows, I have never seen anyone air guitar towards the band. Especially some dude who looks like Daddy Warbucks. Creepy.

So after a number of beers and a lot of shenanigans, the show ends and we get the boot at 1:45am. After driving back, and dropping the guys off in Naperville, I get home at 4:30am.

7:15 the alarm rings and I get up without a problem. For about 30 seconds I thought I might be the coolest guy ever. Then I throw my shorts and shirt on and grab my shoes. I bent over to tie the laces and almost fell over. I don’t know what happened, but my liver and whatever part of my body requires sleep they got together and reminded my brain that they hate me. I stood up for a few moments, tried to walk around, looked over at my mega comfy bed and ……woke up about 5 hours later.

Lesson learned: Have to go to bed before 4:30am, have to drink less than….well maybe a little less beer. Next week maybe I’ll try 3:30 and some Jack and Cokes.

I missed my Saturday group run, but have my pace #’s down so I made my run on Sunday morning. Holy poop it’s amazing how much more fun it is to run when you don’t have shin splints. This week’s run was 5 miles. Mile 1, no problem but a little tired. Mile 2, wow, this is easier than last week. Mile 3, half way there, maybe I’m a professional runner. I weigh 250lbs, so maybe I’m 2 professional runners. Mile 4, is that a pebble in my shoe. Mile 4.5, that can’t be a pebble because I don’t have rocks in my apartment that could have gotten in there. Mile 4.75, forget pebbles I think I have an asteroid in my shoe, but only a quarter mile now, don’t stop. Mile 4.9. I hate rocks so much, almost there, but who cares if I stop it won’t hurt anyone, shut-up no quitting, 1/10 of a mile, that’s nothing. Mile 5, can’t wait to see what’s in there, it is probably a rock the size of baseball based on how it feels, it’s….. nothing. I officially have a psychiatric problem. In addition to donations to my fundraising effort, I am now taking donations of Thorazine.

Going to the store for some new shoes and my water belt today. Forget fit, pronation and style; I hope they have green shoes. Green shoes make you run faster.

Lots of donations too, so a huge thanks to AB, Juan, Colin, Danielle, Jamie and Mandy. We are cranking away. Oh, and related to this, I learned how to use this cool scroll feature on the donation page to give thanks to the donors. Check out my webpage mastering skills

http://www.aidsmarathon.com/participant.asp?runner=CH-4072&EventCode=HN08

it’s on the lower left side.

22 total miles have been run so far over the last few weeks. 22 more than I have run in the previous 6 months, so I’m well on my way. This upcoming week will be 6 miles, which is the equivalent of running from Wrigley Field to the Sears Tower. Yikes.