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.

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.

Velociraptors in Lincoln Park

Prehistoric goose

Prehistoric goose

It was another injury filled week, but I was still able to get 3 runs in (with one being a Sunday long run). Just last night Krissy was able to user her Jedi massage powers to discover another injury in my lower leg: my perenium, peroneus, perpendicular…some perXXX word. While doing a post run calf massage Krissy started working this muscle (that I didn’t even know existed until yesterday) and my foot immediately went numb. While I’m sure a numb foot is never a good thing, it was nice to have finally discovered the cause of all my lower leg pain. I think once this pergo, perennial (whatever) thing is fixed, I’m pretty sure I’ll ramp up to Kenyon speed in no time.

For this week’s long run I decided to take the lake path straight south for 5 miles and then loop back up the same way. For those of you not familiar with the running path for the north side of the city, it goes like this (for 5 miles). I started at mile 2.85 of the path, which is at the totem pole on Addison. The path then goes south along the lake to Belmont. At that time it shoots under Lake Shore Drive and then goes through Lincoln Park for about 2 miles, and past the zoo. From there I took the North Avenue bridge back over LSD and back on the lake path. Right past Castaways (where I always become jealous of the people on the beach, drinking beer, while I’m running). Along the lake past Oak Street Beach (FYI, the palm trees were planted this weekend), along the painful angled area between the lake and LSD, and then over to Navy Pier. To get a full 5 miles, I need to run lower Wacker a bit, but that might be the worst running stretch in the history of Earth, so I usually do circles around Navy Pier. Then I go back up the same way. 10 miles with plenty of water fountains, pretty much the perfect path.

Overall it was a great run. The weather was cool (which was awesome) maybe around 70 degrees and the sun was out most of the time with a few nice shady spots. One of our notebooks (of course the one with iTunes) pooped the bed, so I took on the run with whatever was in my phone. I wanted to try something different so I started with some Incubus. Ahh, 50/50, some was real nice running music, the rest (while good music) made me want to shoot myself in the head as a runner. Way too slow and depressing. That was quickly replaced with my old faituful: NIN- the All That Could Have Been album. Trent’s fast tempo and utter hatred for everything nice in the world became a nice change of pace. It helped keep me at a nice pace. I had been going out a little fast in my previous long runs, so I was mindful to slow it down a little and hopefully prevent the Mon-Th shin splints that follow.

Since I like for my long runs to be alone, I usually have a lot of time to look around and observe. This week I was thinking a lot about the concept of wisdom and how it differs from knowledge. Particularly how we all have quite a bit of knowledge that we have picked up (mostly from our parents) over the years. Don’t touch the stove, look both ways before crossing, no matter how good they taste-2am burrito’s will get you sick one day, are all good examples. We know that info, but until the years go by and we have some sort of interaction, experience or observation, we never really truly understand it. When we do, that is when knowledge becomes wisdom.

A great example of this happened the last 2 weeks while I was running. What happened on both occassions is that some little kids (3, 4, 6, who knows, they all look like kids to me) saw some geese (just sitting around, quacking, minding thier business and doing genereal goose things) and decided they would like to chase and maybe catch these geese. Now I’m sure that these parents had given the following rules to the kids: don’t chase the geese, don’t go after the animals, leave the animals alone… Unfortunately for the kids (but fortunately for me, because it was damn funny) they didn’t internalize this instruction and think they don’t need to listen. Oops.

So here is what happened (twice in seperate weeks, so I’m sure this is goose law, written in a handbook or something): The kids (moving in pairs for some reason) pick out a goose and start chasing it. The geese seperate and the kids single out a single goose and chase it away from the group (the goose’s A-hole buddies take off on him). The goose runs a few steps, then stops and lets the kids run/wobble back up to him, then the goose runs away and stops, kids run, and the cycle continues for maybe 25-30 seconds. After this 30 seconds, when the kids have the goose isolated and are starting to catch up, something amazing happens that makes me think that geese are the distant relatives of Velociraptors…..

The new raptor

The new raptor

Magically 2-3 invisable geese come out of nowhere and flank the kids. I poop you not this happens. At that time the chased (decoy) goose, turns around and charges the kids. The kids turn to run, but there is no where to go. They are trapped in the goose triangle. In both situations the kids just started crying and ran off (to thier parents, who one of the times was recording the whole thing. For the love of god, if anyone knows the dude who was recording that on Sun May 31st, please please send it to me). No children or geese were harmed in this story, so I think it’s possible to conclude the following points:

1) These kids now have goose wisdom and will most likely never chase a goose again
2) This is absolutely hillarious. Next weekend I might get a blanket, a cooler, and some friends and just sit near the “goose spot” and watch this happen over and over again.
3) Geese are the long lost relatives of Velociraptors (yes a capital “V” because they are that cool)

Outside of the fun goose/raptor part in the park it was fairly uneventful. A few drunk funny people on the beach, a few bikers who were speeding through as if they didn’t see the hundreds of people on the path and some really cool old guys playing chess over at the chess-gazibo; pretty typical.

This is a high milage week, I’m supposed to do 32, but based on the wierdness in lower leg I think I’m going to cut a lot of the runs almost in half. That should get me about 22-24. Next week is a recovery week, so only 18 scheduled. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that after those two weeks of low milage, along with the greatest running help known to man (a wife who is a massage therapist), I’ll be good to go after that and can continue my training. The Whistlestop Marathon doesn’t care that I might be injured and they are closing that course after 6hrs, so I had best get ready so I’ll be done in time.