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.

Advertisements

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.