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.

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.

Starting off a new year of running

So fresh (5 months) off of my bittersweet victory in completing the Honolulu Marathon I got together with Slurp and told him I was planning another half and full marathon. Slurp said he was planning the same, so we decided on the two following races: The Chicago Half Marathon and the Whistlestop Marathon.

Vader can definatley motivate me to run faster

Vader can definatley motivate me to run faster

The Chicago Half Marathon has special meaning. We have run it once (2006) and intended to run 2004 and 2005 to no avail. In 2004 I think we just both got lazy. My registration was free through work, so no big loss on my part. In 2005 I trained pretty well, running 5x times a week, but unfortunatlely (about 24 hrs before the race) as I was helping my parents move and I severely twisted my ankle. Finally in 2006 we signed up and I ran the race with no training at all (but 25lbs lighter). I finished, with a ton of walking, in just over 3 yrs. Since we started almost a half hour late, I was racing the cops who were trying to kick me off the street so it could be reopened. While this is just a tune up race before the full marathon, 4 weeks later, I will be nice to run it in a controlled manner and not feel like I’m going to pass out at the end. Hopefully this time I can remember not to have tasty and delicious Cozy Noodle curry chicken the night before.

The other race is the Whistlestop Marathon in Wisconsin (almost Duluth MN, on Lake Superior). Slurp’s in-laws have a cabin in the area and this is the same race as the half marathon we ran last year. In true Slurp and Q. fashon, we showed up and started about a half hour late (2 for 2, I’ve never started a half marathon on time). This is also the race where I was handidly defeated by an 80 or 90 year old woman. I’ve never planned to win a race, but I guess I do always want to have faster times than the women in the XX yrs+ category. This marathon will be my chance to avenge my greatest defeat. If that same woman (I have it somewhere, but I rember her name was Maude or something from Duluth MN) is running the half marathon, hopefully I’ll be able to defeat her with my 1st half time. The other struggle here is that the marathon has a 6hr max. I think that’s a 13.44min/mile pace. Way faster than my 14min race pace I was hoping for in Honolulu. Hopefully I can pick up some speed my October.

So those are the planned races. I started running again in April when the weather cooperated and then full time in May. My plan is to use May to get my base miles in, then start really training hard come June. So far this month I have had some minor injury issues. First was a groin pull from playing softball, that had me out for about 5 days. Then earlier this week some nasty shin splints made thier way into my legs. I guess those are typical since I’m ramping up my miles pretty quickly from week to week. Luckily Krissy is a genius of a massage therapist and helped me to seperate some muscle from the bone (pretty painfull stuff) and also stretch my calves so that they wouldn’t hurt on upcoming runs.

My pace is a little better than last year. Last year is was 15/min miles and this year it looks like 14/min miles is where I’m at so far. I have to keep improving that for both races, but I have a ton of time so I think it should be OK. These races being only my 3rd half and 2nd marathon, I’m not looking for Kenyon times, just good comfortable Dave times.

The other thing slowing me down is my weight. I dropped about 5 lbs in the last month, but I think I’d like to drop at least another 30-40 by the time the marathon hits. Another 40 lbs would have me, average sized by American standards, fat by marathoner standards, fat by global standards but thin by sumo wrestler standards. And thats right where I want to be. I read that a loss of 1lb=2seconds/mile. If you take off 40, that’s 1min 20 sec/mile. That would bring me well below my 6 hr time limit for the race… and might even get me to my personal goal of beating Glynis or whatever her name is. She will be defeated.

So that is where everything stands today. Slowly building up to a comfortable 25-30 miles a week, but doing so while building my own running/training strategy. Should be fun and the mistakes should be even more fun.