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.

Running like a movie star

I'm the guy on the right.  Shin splints are the dude on the left.

I'm the guy on the right. Shin splints are the dude on the left.

Heee-yah!!!! Karate chop to the throat for my arch nemesis “the shin splint”. I’m back and feeling good. After a brutal 2 weeks of rest, I am able to run again and run I did. It was a measly, slow, 3 miles, but I ran and I feel good. The timing is perfect, since the 16 week countdown to the Whistlestop Marathon has officially begun. I will have to adjust my schedule some, since my 16 week schedule has me starting off at about 20 or 25 miles a week. For the next 3 weeks, to stay safe and shin splint free I think I’m going to be around 10-13 miles, so hopefully that works out. We’ll see.

During my two weeks I rested, stretched and played a ton of Wii Fit (I still am the world champ fish catcher while in Penguin suit). Also, while desperately looking for help in taking care of my shins, temporarily retired my Chuck Taylor Converse. This was pretty tough since I wear them (I have 13 pair) daily, but for the amount of awesomeness they have, there is an equal amount of terrible support and absent cushioning. Besides just having a nice marathon run, my new goal is to complete the marathon so I can wear my chucks again (oh shoot, right when the marathon is over, it’s time for snow and I’ll have to retire them again, nuts).

I am signing up for a 5K. Usually 5K’s don’t do much for me, I really enjoy the endurance aspect of marathons/half marathons, but I don’t think I can pass this one up. Plus, my guys Bones and Wudchuk are running the 5K and I haven’t run with them ever. Check out the awesome swag that comes with this race. http://www.terrapin5k.com/ I don’t even love (I mildly appreciate) the Grateful Dead, but the race looks fun, the shirt and bandana are tied-dyed and awesome, there is pizza, beer and live music after, so it needs to be done, and it shall.

Over my 2 weeks of rest I was reading a lot and trying to become a student of running. So after reading got boring I moved on to my favorite form of media, the movies. After careful polling and research (consulting myself), I came up with the following list of most educational runs in the movies (fear not, Forrest Gump will not be mentioned).

List of movie runs that have taught me the most:

Special Mention:

Kevin Spacey, Verbal Kint/Keyser Söze, Usual Suspects: The scene is when Verbal leaves police headquarters and is walking down the street. At first you see Verbal limping with his gimpy leg, then WHAM, in a matter of 3 steps he’s walking normal. This scene is also important because if it’s the first time you saw the movie, it’s the HOLY POOP moment when you realize Verbal is Keyser Söze. This one falls under Special Mention because he’s not really running here. However, if I ever get injured (again) while running and I need to go from Gimp to Gung-ho marathoner, I think I’ll do my best Keyser Söze impersonation and be running again in no time (then I’ll go rock a bunch of face, because that’s what Keyser Söze does).

Billy Cole teaching me that "do anything" attitude Billy Blanks (yes the Tae Bo guy), Billy Cole, Last Boyscout: The scene here is when it’s raining, Billy is catching a ton of heat for his “illicit” activities, he’s hopped up on drugs and running down the sidelines in the middle of the football game. First a linebacker comes at Billy, so Billy pulls a gun out and shoots him. Linebacker out of the way. Billy keeps running, then a safety drifts over for the tackle, another bullet to the knee. At this point everyone backs off as Billy runs to the end zone, pulls off his helmet, gets on one knee, says “Ain’t life a B$&#@” and blows his head off. While I don’t think I’ll be running with a gun at any point in time, I appreciate Billy’s Do Anything To Win attitude. Hopefully the end result will be better, but if I need to hunker down and get creative, I have that in my back pocket.

Top 5

#5– Seth Rogen, Ben Stone, Knocked Up: The scene is when Ben is in his house smoking what I can only guess is flavored tobacco (has to be, anything else might be illegal). An earthquake hits. Ben is shocked, grabs his bong and runs out of the house to safety. Granted, he leaves his pregnant girlfriend in the house, but let’s ignore that part and focus on the running. Ben was suddenly thrown in a dangerous situation, but instead of panicking or rolling up into a ball and crying, he grabbed what was important to him and ran to safely. I think this run will help me when the unexpected happens during a race. You can’t predict a blister, you can’t predict a trip and fall, you can’t predict some jackhole next to you doing something stupid and you can’t predict Ben’s earthquake. But what you can do, is take hold of the situation, just get the essentials and make your way to a safe place/aid station.

#4– Steve Buscemi, Mr. Pink, Reservoir Dogs: The scene… well it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie so who knows what point in time it is, but it’s right after the diamond heist, Mr. Blonde shot up the place and now everyone is running away. Mr. Pink has the diamonds and is making his getaway. The cops are in hot pursuit but Pink is determined to get away. He’s running across a street, get’s plowed by a car and knocked to the street. He gets up and keeps on moving (well he carjacks the woman who hit him and then drives away). Watch this scene, now watch it again. Check out Mr. Pink, now that is some determination. Mr. Pink refused to give up (because of death or jail, which are pretty good motivators). That’s the drive one needs when running a race. I don’t want to rob a jewelry store (unless you think I can get away with it) but I want that determination in my races. With it, no Kenyon can stop me.

Mr Larson is telling me that style isn't everything

Mr Larson is telling me that style isn't everything

#3– Mr. Larson, Happy Gilmore: The scene on this one is right after Happy makes his awesome mini-golf-like putt and wins the Green Jacket. Shooter then steals the jacket and runs away. Shooters run is lame, he’d be in the 60’s or 70’s on this list. However, Mr. Larson (Happy’s former foreman who had a nail in his head for half the movie) is having none of Shooters shenanigans and is quickly on the chase. Mr. Larson looks ridiculous (and scary) as he is chasing after Shooter, but eventually he catches Shooter. While I am not a vain man, this is an important reminder that it’s not about looking good, it’s about getting the job done. No matter what I do, I will not look like a graceful runner, in fact after 20 miles I would be happy to look like Mr. Larson; but I need to focus on the task at hand (completing my race) and cross the line ugly.

#2– Bruce Willis, John McClain, Die Hard: The scene is when John is being pursued by Hans Gruber (what a great bad-guy name) and co. Due to John’s situation when the terrorists arrived, he was sans shoes. Hans knew this, so he has his thug, Karl, shot up a bunch of glass walls all around John. Then he (along with Karl) either shoot or throw a grenade or something at John and make him run (with his bare feet) across all of the busted glass they just shot out. Luckily John is one of the baddest of the all-time bad asses so he runs across the glass without a problem. Simple message here, no matter how much pain I am in during a race…. At least I’m not running barefoot across glass while terrorists are shooting at me. It’s not that bad, so sac up and run.

I couldn't find a pic of Ripley running, but she even looks goofy running backwards

I couldn't find a pic of Ripley running, but she even looks goofy running backwards

#1– Sigourney Weaver, Ellen Ripley, Aliens: (possible unfair status of #1, but this is probably my favorite movie of all time) The scene is the last action scene in the whole movie. Ripley, Newt and Bishop were just surprised because a 20-25 ft queen alien is on their ship (Bishop is real surprised since he was ripped in half). Ripley needs to get from where she is to a docking bay so she could put on the power loader and fight the queen alien. So Ripley has a few options, she can stroll to the docking bay, she can crawl, skip, do the worm, but Ripley instead decides to run. And after watching her run, I have no clue how the alien didn’t catch her. It’s ridiculous. It is like someone said to her “I bet you $10 you can’t run with your midsection way out in front and your feet and head way behind.” If that was the case, she won $10. If I ever have a daughter, I’ll watch this movie with her from the time she is 2 or 3, just to make sure she never runs like this. Sometimes the biggest lessons in life are negative reinforcement. That is the case here, it isn’t “run like this, train like this, be this determined”, nope the best movie running lesson of them all is: No matter what you do, never run like Ripley.

So that’s it to my reviews. I can finally run now, so I’ll probably stop watching movies that have running in them and actually run.