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2007 Races/Events

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Monday, April 30, 2007

Short River To River followup

I managed to dig up some data from my performance at the 2006 River To River for comparison to this year's running. Last year, I ran leg 7 (which is a bit easier than leg 6, to say the least), averaging an 8:16 pace. This year, I finished with an average pace of 7:48, over significantly more difficult sections...that's 28 seconds per mile faster! I guess that means training + nutrition's worked :)

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

River To River Race Report

Josh, Kathleen and I met the Buffalo for lunch on Friday, then packed up the car and headed for Marion.

Much attention was paid to the cross in Effingham
Effingham cross
and the French school buses
French schoolbus
(we kept driving past school buses with all of the text on them written in French. We both saw this, so I'm confident it wasn't a pre-race hallucination)

Arrived in Marion around 6, just as 'A Country Boy Can Survive' was starting to play - a perfect start to the weekend. Got checked in, drank beer on the patio for a little while, met up with several more members of the team (including the important cutest alternate runner ever)
The 9th (and cutest) member of the team
then headed down to 17th Street Bar and Grill for the traditional pre-race fried pickles and meat extravaganza (I had the 3 meat sampler (brisket, pork shoulder, and hot links) with greens and red beans and rice)

Headed back to the hotel for pre-race meeting/poker game
Pre-race strategy meeting
then off to rest up for the big day.

Met up at about 6:30 to head out for our 8:45 race start (as you can see, Lucky was ready to go)
Lucky practicing his baton handling skills

And at 8:45am, we were off - 8 runners, 80 miles, 1 day. From soon after River To River last year until this year's running, I was sure I wanted to run as runner 6 (which includes some of the hardest legs of the course). By the time my first leg came about, I wasn't sure on that. We'd fallen pretty far behind in the team standings (we do River To River as more of a fun running vacation than super-competitive event, but I still wanted us to finish well), and while I have tried to do as much hill training as possible, Central Illinois' hill training opportunities are few and far between. Our #5 runner laid down the law on leg 5, finishing in fantastic time, and I knew it was time for me to step up.
The handoff to start leg #6
I took off on leg 6 (listed as 'Very Hard' by the River To River organizers - see below for an elevation profile) at as fast a pace as I thought I could maintain

I finished roughly 25:26 later, at an average pace of 7:42!
Running Leg #6
Keep in mind that my 5k PR pace is only 18 seconds per mile faster than this, and I still had two more legs that I needed to run, including 'The Hardest')

Rested up a bit before leg #14 (a much easier leg), ate a kabanos, took some recovery supplements (Anti-Fatigue Caps and Tissue Rejuvenator), spent a bit of time with a TENS unit on to speed recovery), and worked on rehydrating a bit. Leg #14 was a welcome rest compared to legs 6 and 22, and allowed me to pick up the pace a little more, finishing in roughly 18:23, at an average pace of 7:21 (3 seconds per mile faster than my 5k PR pace) - see below for elevation profile

With that, it was time to rest up for the infamous leg #22. I'd been thinking about this leg since I saw it last year on my first running of River To River, and I was determined to dominate the course, and help to make sure that we'd make it to Golconda before the cutoff time (shortly before starting leg 22, I told the team captain "Either we're making it to Golconda before they close the course, or I'm going to the Emergency Room, and I don't want to go to the ER today"). Shortly after making that pledge, I was off.
Running leg #22
Leg #22 starts off nice and easy, but as you can see, gets significantly steeper.

(The River To River course description says about leg #22, "This is the favorite section for everyone except Runner number 6.

There is a short uphill leaving the exchange, then an easy downhill to Lusk Creek. As you cross the bridge, the hill ahead of you does not look too bad. Unfortunately (or fortunately), you can't see most of it!")

I passed 5 people on leg #22, one of whom ended up catching up to me and passing me, and one of whom I passed in a sprint to the exchange point
Almost at the finish!
I finished leg #22 in roughly 31:06, at an average pace of 8:11, and while I did take a much needed brief rest in the grass after finishing, in a good bit of pain...
And I'm done!
...I did not end up in the ER!
We ended up in Golconda 11:00:35 after starting, having managed to move up from 2nd to last place (in the 8:45 start group) at one point in the race to 117th place out of 227 teams!
80 miles, 8 runners, 1 puppy, 1 day
We spent a little bit of time in Golconda, had a little dinner, grabbed a drink, then headed back to Marion. It's traditional for the Buffalo to appoint one of the runners of the team Most Valuable Buffalo for their performance, and this year given my performance as runner #6 (averaging roughly 7:48 pace over the some of the hardest legs of the course), that runner was me, which has resulted in fame, fortune, and a major sponsorship deal!
MVB Baton
(OK, so in reality, it resulted in my getting to take the baton home. That's at least as cool as any of the other things mentioned above, and I'm thrilled as hell)

Got back to the hotel, split some Arrogant Bastard Ale with Josh, had a little more kabanos, and drifted off to sleep to rest up for the ride back to Champaign the next day.
Josh and a fine recovery beverage

All in all, a fantastic experience, and I hope to do River To River again. I've managed to recover pretty quickly - no knee pain at all, and I was able to do a recovery run on Monday, and a fartlek run on Tuesday. Took yesterday off from running, will get some speed work in today either over lunch or after work.

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Monday, April 16, 2007

Clinton Lake Race Report - Updated

So at long last, here's my report on the Clinton Lake 30 Mile Trail Race (more on why it's taken me so long to get this written shortly)
A view of Clinton Lake

I did fairly by the book, old school carb-loading for the race (2 days of carb-depletion with very high-intensity runs, followed by 4 days of carb-loading).
Traditional Irish Carb-Loading
Let me tell you, those two days of carb-depletion were no fun, although some of the carb-loading meals I made helped to make up for it (see above for details).

Several days before the race, we got a good bit of rain, helping to guarantee a good muddy trail for the race.
The rain that started falling several days before the race

Josh came down on the Friday before the race to help me out for the weekend and crew for me at the race. Had a couple of beers and tapas, did a slow leisurely walk home, and then ordered one of my traditional naked pizzas (no meat, no cheese, lots of veggies). Relaxed on Saturday, picked up my race packet, and feasted on gnocchi and red sauce Saturday night.

Sunday morning, got up bright and early at about 0500, had a light breakfast, and got the last of my gear together.

Shea Packs the Cooler for a Long Day (2007)
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

Driving over to the start was relatively uneventful, except for the incredibly strange mermaid/dolphin statue being transported down I-74 at 0700 on a Sunday morning...

Weird Mermaid-Dolphin Statue (2007)
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

Got to the starting line with plenty of time to spare, got everything set up, and had a little time to relax before the start of the race.

Shea At The Starting Line
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

0805 rolled around (the race started a few minutes late), and we were off for 30 miles of fun in the woods!

Shea Begins His 1st of 3 Ten Mile Loops (2007)
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

The first loop went very well, finishing in roughly 01:55, feeling good, and slightly ahead of pace (my goal was to run each loop in roughly 2:00, going for roughly a 6:00 finish)

Shea Completes His First 10 Mile Loop (2007)
Originally uploaded by electrojosh.

I swapped bottles of Perpetuem and took off on my second loop, trying to pretty much keep the same pace as the first loop, maybe slowing it down a little bit since I had a few minutes in the bank. The mud was pretty stirred up by the time we got to the second loop, which made for ankle-deep (and in some places, deeper) mud, which is right up my alley.
Someone (not me) after the Clinton Lake race
I made it to the 1/2-way aid station with no problems, grabbed a little water, and took off to finish my second loop.
Water at one of the Clinton Lake aid stations
A few miles past the aid station, I felt a sudden sharp pain in the side of my right knee. I adjusted my gait and slowed down my pace a little, which seemed to help somewhat. The pain seemed the worst if I was running downhill, so I decided to continue walking the uphills, running the flats (few as they were - see below for an elevation profile [my GPS lost signal in a number of places, so it marks the course as slightly short]), and walking the downhills as needed.

I finished the second loops in a good bit of pain, briefly considered DNFing due to my knee, changed my socks (the previous pair being completely soaked with mud), watched the race winner finish (in 4:23), and decided to go for the third loop. I was pretty sure at that point that there was no way I'd manage a 6:00 finish, but I was also confident that I could finish before the cutoff. The last loop was slow (as expected) and painful (as expected). I tried to run as much of the third loop as possible, but that didn't end up being very much, at least for the first half of the loop. I hit the 1/2-way aid station, and took off with roughly 5 miles left to go. I soon realized/discovered that running (albeit slowly) didn't really hurt a lot worse than walking, so I decided to try running as much of the rest of the course as possible. With about 3-1/2 miles left, I saw another runner about 1/2 a mile behind me, slowly but surely catching up to me. Determined to beat him, I picked up the pace a bit more, at which point he picked up the pace as well. I kept up the pace as much as possible, and managed to hold off being passed by him for about a mile or so. At that point, I realized there was no way I was going to be able to keep up the pace without doing something nasty (or is that nastier?) to my knee, and he passed me. Josh met me about 2 miles from the finish line, and ran/walked the rest of the course with me.

I ended up finishing in 7:05, in a good bit of pain. I finished 30th out of 70 starters, 18 of whom DNFed.
Crossing the finish line
Walked slowly over to the car, peeled off my socks, and got a good look at the mud accumulated on my legs
Muddy Muddy Muddy
and the wrinkle-fest that was my feet after 7 hours of mud and water...
My feet, post Clinton Lake Trail Race

The week after Clinton Lake consisted of a good deal of icing and elevating my leg, a few short runs, and by the end of the week, I felt pretty much back to normal - the Saturday after Clinton, I did a 2 hour cycling session on the trainer, immediately followed by a 4 mile run. A little ache in my knee after that run, but nothing too bad, so I figured I was pretty well recovered at that point.

Last week I'd been planning on being pretty much back to higher level of training. Weather was cold, so I went to the gym on Monday for 8x400m intervals plus a little bit of core work. Felt a little run down on Monday when I was leaving work, but figured it was just due to my first interval run in a while. Monday night was mostly me tossing and turning with a fever, which lasted most of Tuesday. Aside from 1 relatively short cycling session on the trainer, I took all of last week off from training. Now, I think I'm pretty much back to normal, and I think I should be in pretty good shape for River To River this coming weekend.

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Friday, March 30, 2007

Shamrock Shuffle report

Went up to Chicago for fine dining (Cousin's IV, Cafe Bolero, Green Zebra, Karyn's Cooked, Twisted Spoke), fine music (Bloc Party), fine running (Shamrock Shuffle), and fine bike tune upping (more on that later)

We drove up on Friday, dropped my bike off at Get A Grip Cycles for tune-up/overhaul. I've got a couple of big cycling events planned for this season, so I wanted to get an overhaul at the start of the season. We'd budgeted $200 to cover the cost of the overhaul, which is what was listed on the Get A Grip website. We stopped in for a quick bite at Cousin's IV, got settled in where we were staying, and then I met up with Josh and Denise to hit the Shamrock Shuffle expo for packet pickup. Hit Cafe Bolero for some great Cuban food, then off to the Congress Theatre for Bloc Party, who ended up playing the following setlist:
Song For Clay (Disappear Here)
Positive Tension
Hunting For Witches
Waiting For The 7:18
This Modern Love
Little Thoughts
The Prayer
So Here We Are
Like Eating Glass
She's Hearing Voices

Chilled out on Saturday, dinner at Green Zebra, then off to rest up for Shamrock.

Headed downtown for the race, checked my gear, and made my way to the B Corral. Given that I'm running the Clinton Lake 30 Mile Trail Race this Sunday, I didn't want to push things too hard at the race, so I decided to treat the race as a speedy tempo run. As usual, I was off like a flash at the start of the race, although I got my pace down to a manageable speed pretty quickly. I ended up finishing in 36:48 (7:24 pace, which is about 20 seconds per mile slower than my 5k PR pace), placing 1,397th out of 23,865 finishers, which places me in the top 5.9% of finishers! Significantly more impressive is the fact that Kathleen finished the course walking in 1:09:46, even while not feeling well.

Got my gear, drank a Muscle Milk for recovery, met up with Kathleen, and decided to run up to Karyn's Cooked where we were meeting people for brunch. Had a fantastic brunch, then headed to Get A Grip to pick up my bike. They did a fantastic job on the bike, and I grabbed a few Hammer Gels that I needed for Clinton Lake. The added bonus was discovering that the grand total for the overhaul and Hammer Gel was $9.81 - I'd forgotten that since I bought the bike from Get A Grip, they include free tune-up once a year! I've ridden my bike since the overhaul, and they did a great job - I cannot say enough good things about them as a bike shop!

We did a quick shopping trip at Binny's (2 bottles of Quelque Chose, a bottle of Cantillon Lambic, and a 1/3# of Rolf Beeler Hoch Ybrig), then headed up to Josh's for the post-Shamrock party. Hung out there for a while, then ended up going to Twisted Spoke for dinner/drinks.

Drove back here first thing Monday morning, then started prepping for Clinton Lake (more on that in a later post)

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Treadmill results

I did the treadmill fundraiser on Saturday, and ended up getting in 3.82 miles over the course of the hour at 15% incline (for reference, the average incline for the Pikes Peak Ascent is "only" 11%), and I managed to eat 6 cookies afterwards. Most of the time since then has been relaxing and vacationing until the conference starts.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007


So, my plan for today way to get up with the dogs at ~0600, feed them, grab a little breakfast, and get a 14 mile run in, for a grand total of 34 miles this weekend. Got up with the dogs, checked my email, and discovered that I had somehow missed being paged by work at 0215 when one of my services went down. Not a good start to the day. Ended up working until about 0930, then started getting ready for the run....hit the road and ended up wussing out, finishing the run early after getting in only 13.47 miles.


I did the run at 10:08 pace - nice and easy long run, especially after yesterday's long run. My legs are feeling pretty beat up today, but the Shea-stack helped greatly!

(as will the cookies that Kathleen's making right now)

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Fifteen percent concentrated power of will...

Yesterday was a rest/carb-loading day for the planned 20 mile training run @ Clinton Lake that was planned for today. Last night, one of the local runners who had gone to Clinton Lake yesterday to check on trail conditions reported standing water between knee and waist deep, and large amounts of ice...running roughly 9 miles on the trail took him well over 2 hours, and he's quite a bit faster than I am.

Breakfast first thing this morning was a bowl of quinoa cereal and a cup of coffee, then off to car pool to Clinton Lake. I showed up at the car pool point planning on doing as much of the trail as possible, and then finishing out the 20 miler on the roads around Clinton Lake if needed. However, only one other person showed up, and he showed up because he hadn't read the message posted last night regarding the trail conditions, so he decided not to run under those conditions. I headed back to home, still determined to get 20 miles in today without:
  • going to the gym and using the treadmill
  • running loops at one of the local parks
I headed out from home, and quickly discovered how slippery it was, mostly on sidewalk sections that people had never bothered to clear after any of the snowfall. It was snowing lightly but steadily for pretty much all of my run, temperatures around 25F, with 20-30MPH wind from the west. My plan for the run was to do about 9:30 pace, with short walk breaks every hour for small amounts of solid food (getting my final fueling determined for the Clinton Lake 30 Mile Run). After my third slip and fall on the ice in a relatively short amount of time, I quickly revised my plan to run 9:00-9:15 pace as much as possible, walking any sections that looked icy, and still doing short walk breaks every hour.

I ended up getting in 20.2 miles, at a 10:04 pace, including dealing with the icy sections...felt fantastic up until the 15 mile point, a little off from about mile 15-18, and was hurting pretty bad from mile 18 on (it didn't help that the first 1/4 mile or so from about mile 18 on was nothing but ice).

During the run, I ended up drinking two 20 oz bottles of fuel/water (3 scoops of Perpetuem per bottle), plus 1 Real Omega3 bar that I cut up into quarters. After the first hour, I had 2 Endurolytes, and at hours 2 and 3, I had 2 Endurolytes and 1 Anti-Fatigue Cap.

Immediately after getting home from the run, I had 1 bottle of Uncle Shea's Double-Patented Miracle Recovery Beverage, a 15 minute ice bath, and then my usual post-long run meal (3 pancakes, no butter, no syrup, plus 2 eggs over-easy).

Since then, I've also had two more Endurolytes and a bucket of water, and I'm about to have the rest of a bottle of Pedialyte that we had in our freezer (I weighed myself after I finished the run, and discovered that I'd lost about 7-1/2 pounds of water weight during the course of the run,and I can tell that my electrolytes are a bit off still...)

Now on to recovery/resting tonight (will most likely stretch out on the couch, watch UFC, and enjoy my traditional between hard event dinner of a cheeseless pizza from Papa John's), then will get a 14 mile run in tomorrow morning before brunch.

I'm feeling pretty good looking towards Clinton Lake!

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Monday, February 19, 2007

Clinton Lake it is...

They announced the winner of the North Pole Marathon contest, and it was Bobby Bostic, who I think will be a fantastic choice. That means that on April 1st, I'll be running the Clinton Lake 30 Mile Trail Run.

Ironically, appropriately, they're predicting temperatures in the 40s and 50s this week, which should result in a pretty much complete absence of snow to run in...

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Saturday, February 17, 2007

More fun in the snow!

As promised, here's what I did after my mini-vacation...

We had an 18 mile training run scheduled for today to train for the Clinton Trail Race, which I also thought would be a good training run for the North Pole Marathon if I end up at that (I should hear about that by Monday). We drove out to Allerton in a steadily falling snow (although nothing nearly as bad as Tuesday's blizzard), and were presented with the following on the trail
Looking out on the Allerton Schroth trail
That's roughly mid-calf deep snow, with a completely ungroomed trail when we started.
A view of the Allerton Schroth trail
The plan was to run 3 loops of the 6 mile trail. The depth and density of the snow disagreed strongly with us on that...

A little over 2 hours after the start, we finished the first loop of the course, and were pretty much done for the day at that point (the loop was described by the organizer, who ran >200 miles at this year's Across The Years, as "pretty damn tough...I don't think anyone considered a 2nd or 3rd loop"), and rather snow encrusted...
Post run icebergs on shoes
We stopped at the Red Wheel for breakfast afterwards, and I had my traditional post-run breakfast (The Shea-Stack - three buttermilk pancakes, no butter, with three eggs over-easy sandwiched in the pancakes)
The Shea-stack special

The wind had picked up a bit by the time we left the restaurant, and conditions on the road were not great on the way back home. About half way back to Champaign, the truck I was in decided that the day would be more exciting if we spun around a couple times on the highway, ending up in the middle of the median, pointing in the opposite direction to our intended travel, in snow deep enough that I had trouble getting my door open to get out. The other car of runners was a few minutes behind us, so they were able to stop and help us get dug/pushed out. The unpleasant (and somewhat amusing in retrospect) part was the fact that I was standing directly behind one of the back wheels pushing, which resulted in
  1. being repeatedly pelted with snow/ice in a very sensitive place
  2. looking like this by the time we were doneGrrr

Came home, took a hot bath, and now I'm resting up for tomorrow's cycling time trial

Update: Kathleen just pointed out that I left out how I felt about today's run (probably due to focusing on the epic nature, and my run-in with the snow goblins flinging snowballs at my crotch)...I had a blast - do I wish I'd gotten 18 miles in? Of course I do, but I had a great time on the run, and can't complain about it as training for the North Pole Marathon, that's for sure.

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Details on tonight's run

Setting out for a run
Originally uploaded by infoninja.
Here's what things looked like when I set out for tonight's run - click through for details on the photo...

I ended up covering .58 miles at an average pace of 26:23, with an average heart rate of 159, and a max HR of 175.

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Man plans, and God laughs

Well, I went for my "run", such as it was. We're still in a blizzard, and only a couple of people in my section of town besides me have cleared the sidewalk in front of their house. As a result, the majority of my run was in snow well above my knees, with wind above 30MPH. I ended up covering a little over half a mile in about 15 minutes...I was feeling pretty good at the end of it, and was feeling like I could have continued, but I didn't really think I get quality mileage in at that point, so I decided to come inside for hot chocolate chip cookies and Bushmills.

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Fun in the snow!

We're in the midst of a blizzard, and the University has canceled classes due to weather for the first time since 1979. I'm working from home today, except for Spinervals Time Trial Special before breakfast, and a recently completed hour and 15 minutes of shoveling snow to work up a good lunch appetite...

Will probably go for a little run tonight - see how I do in deep snow/heavy wind conditions (wind's gusting up to 40MPH currently). Two days until the winner of the North Pole Marathon contest is announced - if you've been considering adding a comment/testimonial to my entry but haven't yet, there's still time at:

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Do these running tights make my ass look fat?

Went for a a run this afternoon in positively balmy weather (-2F wind chill - at the end of the run, there was a little bit of Perpetuem left in my water bottle, and that was a pretty thick slush). Ended up doing 12.1 miles @ 9:23 pace, including short walk breaks every 2 miles (working on fueling mechanics for ultras). I've finally got a handle on the glasses fogging up problem - wiping down my glasses with an anti-fogging cloth, plus wearing a pair of ski goggles seem to have mostly taken care of the problem. I had a couple of very small fogging/icing problems over the course of the run, but nothing too major.

The park sidewalks were clear of snow for the most part, which allowed me to focus a bit more on determining my fueling/anti-fogging strategies for the North Pole Marathon.

I did the run in 6 loops around the perimeter of one of the local parks, plus a short loop through the park to finish the run. About half-way through the run, 3 young deer ran across one of the busier streets bordering the park, almost right in front of me - pretty cool experience...

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Friday, February 09, 2007

The North Pole Marathon contest winner should be announced in less than 7 days, and I'm on pins and needles at this point. The cold has continued here pretty much unabated, which has given me the opportunity for more cold weather training, although not as much as I'd like - we got a good deal of snow on Tuesday, so my tempo run on Tuesday and my hill intervals on Thursday were done at the gym. I had plans for a fairly easy 9:00 pace 4 miler this morning, but that was derailed by the fact that apparently people in this town are in capable of clearing the sidewalk in front of their house after it snows. Weather was 6F with 8MPH wind - positively balmy!

A good deal of the run was in ankle-deep snow, varying between relatively fluffy powder and unevenly packed snow/melt/dirt with frequent holes from previous walkers, so my average pace ended up being 10:39, and that was pushing - my average HR for the run was 169, and that's with several walking breaks included. I'm figuring it was good training for the North Pole...

My legs are feeling pretty beat up currently, and I'm planning on a 12-13 miler tomorrow. I had been planning on using one of my typical road routes for that, but given the snow, I'm probably going to head for one of the parks in town and just do it in 3-4 mile loops.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

One more item re: Winterfest 5k, plus more fun in the cold

One item I forgot re: yesterday's 5k - in response to the question "How cold was it?", my best answer/example is the fact that breathing through my mouth during warmup and the race was a problem, due to the fact that my tongue kept going numb...
Today I decided to do a nice and easy 3 mile recovery run at about 9:00 pace. Ended up running slightly more than 3 miles, with fairly even splits. In a repeat of yesterday's weather, it was -7.5F when I left the house, with about 7MPH wind, for a lovely wind chill of -22F/-30C. I bundled up a bit more than yesterday, which kept me warmer, but certainly forced me to run slower. Running gear this morning was as follows:
  • On the bottom half of my body:
    • 2 pairs of wool blend running/hiking socks
    • Brooks Axiom trainers
    • Silk base layer
    • Under Armour tights
    • Running tights
    • Patagonia wind tights
  • On the top half of my body:
    • Silk base layer
    • Under Armour wicking top
    • 500 Festival technical shirt
    • Heavy weight wicking shirt
    • Cycling windbreaker
    • Thinsulate gloves
    • Thinsulate mittens
    • Neoprene/fleece face mask
    • Fleece ear band
    • Wicking skullcap
    • Running hat
I had a great time on the run - the only problems I had was the aforementioned lack of speed due to all the layers, and the fact that by the time I got home, my face mask was frozen stiff, my glasses were completely iced over, and there was so much ice on my eyelids and eyelashes that when I got inside and started to warm up, I initially thought I was crying from all the icemelt running down my face. All in all, I had a blast!

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Kankakee Winterfest 5k Race Results

First of all, I'll deal with the bad news. My goal was to use the Winterfest 5k to try to qualify for a seeded start position at the half-marathon in Indianapolis. That didn't happen. Now I'll step through the race and give y'all the good news at the end. We drove up to Kankakee this morning (in a car borrowed at the last minute from friends after the water pump in ours went to the great junkyard in the sky). I'd been watching the weather forecast pretty closely all weekend, since I knew it was going to be super cold and windy, and wanted some idea of how cold it was going to be. I discovered first-hand how cold it was while warming up (as much as one can when it's this cold).
Gear required for a race @ -14F wind chill(click for annotations on specific gear)
When we got there, it was 6.8F, with 23MPH winds from the WNW. That works out to -14F/-26C wind chill (the North Pole Marathon lists average wind chill in 2003, 2004, and 2006 of -29C, -25C, and -10C, respectively), and a couple somewhat uncomfortable sections of a roughly rectangular 2 lap course.

And they're off!
A little over 100 runners started at promptly 1pm - I ran this race last year, setting my 5k PR of 23:20.1. The course was almost identical this year, except they re-routed the finish very slightly so the chute put us directly into a nice toasty warm building to quickly take the chill off after we finished.

I got a good start, a little slower than my goal pace, but not that far off. Turning the first corner into the wind, I suddenly felt like I was running through molasses. The course took us in and out of the wind several times, but due to the way the race was laid out and the direction of the wind, we ended up running into a roughly 25MPH headwind for almost all of one section of the course, and into that same wind as a cross/headwind for another section of the course. Since it was a 2 lap course, we got to play in the wind in each of those sections twice!

Crossing the finish line - official finish time of 23:04.9
My dream goal was to finish in less than 20:30, which would qualify me for the #2 seeded start corral at the 500 Festival Mini-Marathon. I ended up finishing in 23:04.9, shaving more than :15 off my 5k PR (and doing it in very cold and windy circumstances - last year when I ran this race, it was 30F, with 14MPH wind, for a balmy wind chill of 19F)

Ow - my aching everything
Waiting for me at the finish - a loving spouse (thanks, sweetie!), a space blanket (thanks, Chicago Marathon!), and a recovery beverage (thanks, protein powder, Cell-Tech, and glutamine!)

Relaxing before my award
I got changed into warm and dry clothing, and decided to relax a bit and stay for the awards ceremony, where I discovered several things:
  1. I finished 24th out of 106 finishers (placing me very nicely in the top 25%). Last year, I finished 64th out of 179 finisher, which didn't even get me into the top third.
  2. I placed 2nd in the Male 30-34 age group, for my first age group award!
    First age group award that I've gotten
  3. The age group award has a polar bear on it - a good sign for the North Pole Marathon contest, perhaps?

(Note - if you'd like to leave a supporting statement on my North Pole Marathon contest entry, they're still accepting testimonials at:

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bring. it. on.

Predicted conditions in Kankakee at the start of the 5k:
  • 4F temperature
  • 19MPH wind from the WNW (curently, the wind there is 16MPH, gusting to 25MPH)
That'll result in wind chill of -16F/-27C.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Clarification re: North Pole Marathon entry

I've realized that my original posting re: my contest entry was a little unclear - if you are wanting to post a supporting statement regarding my entry, please do it at (my entry statement), not on my blog...

Thanks much!

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Yes, I'm crazy

As of today, my entry has been posted to the North Pole Marathon contest - if I win, I'll be running in the North Pole Marathon on or about April 15th. The contest closes on January 31st, and they'll be announcing the winner on or about February 15th.

Please feel free to post any supporting messages to my entry if you've got something to share that the contest organizers should hear. Or if you just want to send me to the North Pole....


Update: if you are posting a supporting message, please make sure to post it to (my contest entry) - thanks much!

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Monday, January 15, 2007

Update re: new year's progress

Well, the original plan had been for this posting to accompany a new design for the blog, but the design isn't ready yet, so here goes....

I don't know if it's getting on top of my nutrition, or what, but this has been a great year thus far in terms of training - see below for workouts/paces, etc:
1/2 AM: Core/flexibility work1
1/2 PM (lunch): 1.75mile run to track, 7x600 @ 6:20.85 pace, 1.75mile run from track

1/3 AM: Core/flexibility work1
1/3 PM: Gym - 10:00 treadmill warmup, 35:00 freeweight circuit training, 10:00 treadmill cooldown

1/4 AM: Core/flexibility work1
1/4 PM: 45:00 indoor cycling - Spinervals No Slackers Allowed

1/5 AM: 7mile slow training run @ 9:44 pace

1/6 AM: 3:00:00 indoor cycling - Spinervals Tough Love

1/7 AM: 6mile run @ 8:21 pace

1/8 AM: Core/flexibility work1
1/8 PM: Gym - 10:00 treadmill warmup, 25:00 Crossfit, 10:00 treadmill (hill intervals) cooldown

1/9 AM: Core/flexibility work1
1/9 PM: 6mile run @ 7:55 pace

1/10 AM: Core/flexibility work1

1/11 AM: Core/flexibility work1
1/11 PM: Gym - Treadmill interval workout (10:00 warmup, 12x00:30 @ 6:18 pace w/ 1:00 @ 11:00 pace rest intervals, 7:00 cooldown), 10:00 free weight circuit training

1/12 AM: Core/flexibility work1
1/12 PM (lunch): 4.4mile run @ 8:24 pace

1/13 AM: 8mile run @ 8:36 pace

1/14 PM: 01:30:00 indoor cycling - Spinervals Mental Toughness

1/15 AM: Core/flexibility work1
1/15 AM: 3.5mile recovery run @ 8:26 pace

Most of the runs have, even when I've been pushing myself, felt better than I remember in a long time. I did briefly worry that it was due entirely to the CW-X tights that I got for Christmas, since I was using those for the first speedwork run @ the track, which felt unnaturally good for speedwork, but I've done runs both with and without the tights, but I've had really good runs both with and without the tights (the 7:55 6-miler was w/out the tights), so that's definitely not it. That said, I'm a huge fan of the tights, and will definitely be continuing to use them...

If I can keep things up, 2007 is looking to be a great year!

1Core/flexibility work consists of:
50 Stability Ball Crunches
15 Stability Ball Push-ups
50 Stability Ball Crunches
15 Stability Ball Push-ups
50 Stability Ball Oblique Crunches
20 Stability Ball Push-ups
50 Stability Ball Reverse Crunches
5:00 stretching

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Monday, January 08, 2007

Road trips, new places to run, and the quest for the One Ring

Christmas was spent in Iowa, half w/ Kathleen's family, half with mine (see pictures below of me with a Christmas elf my mom (geez, when did I get so tall?), as well as a picture of her two Braccos (Jasper in the foreground, Grace in the background)
Holy crap!  I'm tall!
Awww!  Who's a giant puppy?

I got a bit of running in while in Iowa - an easy 8 mile recovery run (9:39 pace) while visiting Kathleen's parents, which was fantastic - left the house before the sun was up, ran 4 miles out into the country (out to the entrance to Kent Park, for anyone from the Iowa City region), then ran back. Also did a 4 miler while at my moms, which was awful (the run, not my mom's) - I don't know if I'd had too much Christmas food, or what was up, but my speed was awful (ended up averaging 8:34, and was supposed to be doing much speedier than that), and my legs just felt dead.

The last night we were in Iowa, Kathleen was playing my mom's harp before I made dessert. At one point shortly after she finished playing, I was in another room, when all of a sudden, I could hear Kathleen and my mom talking in a hushed tone about something. I came downstairs to discover that, while putting her wedding ring back on, Kathleen had accidentally dropped the ring into the open heating register in the floor, and the ring was too far into the ductwork to be able to reach.
Evil Evil Hole In The Floor

So, without further ado, we journeyed forth into the gloom of the unfinished century-old basement
Descending to find the One Ring

The basement consisted of a dirt floor....
Happy basement funland

cobwebs and spider fossils...
Ring pipes and spider fossils

and plenty of fiberglass to wrestle with while questing for the one ring.
Fiberglass wrestling while questing for the One Ring

After about an hour of fiberglass/ductwork wrestling, I managed to get the section of ductwork leading to the register detached from the duct closer to the furnace at which point I was able to push the ring close enough to the opening of the register that my mom was able to reach it from above.
The resting place of the One Ring
(My initial idea had been to detach the duct from the register, reach in and grab the ring - however, there was no way we were going to be able to get the duct taken off of the register)

With that, I scraped off the dirt/fiberglass/dead spiders, showered up, and made the dessert (a variation of Escoffier's Christmas omelette, which is basically an omelette filled with mincemeat and flambeed with rum - I filled it with a mixture of ground almonds (and I think hazelnuts - I'm not sure on that), raisins, Grand Marnier, and orange juice, and added a little vanilla to the eggs before making the omelette) - turned out very well!

The following will only be truly significant for one reader - shortly before leaving for my mom's house, I said the following to Kathleen:
"If someone gets me Lore of Running for Christmas, I'm going to train to run Comrades in a few years"

Well, guess what my mom got me?

Josh, you still up for it? I'm thinking post-Boston :)

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©2007 Shea Nangle