Refereed 2 IHSA State Playoff games last night.

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Had a good time in rainy cold conditions at Carmel High School who hosted two regional games last night. I was in the Center for Carmel vs North Chicago and was an AR for the Grayslake Central vs Wauconda game. I made no mistakes in either game (gauged by decibel level of coaches complaints generally) or self recrimination (not often).

From an exercise perspective I got in 6.5 miles of wind sprints, side to side running and running backwards. Which is not a bad thing. The second game where I was the linesman had more sprinting up and down, and given that Carmel has an old artificial turf field was somewhat hard on my feet. Plus wearing wet clothing for 4 hours is not pleasant.

National Physical Fitness and Sport Month Survey

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So a few weeks ago I was asked to fill out a survey about my fitness habits and I was asked the following questions to contribute to this survey. Being an egomaniac of course I love to share my opinion with as many people as possible, so this was right up my alley!

Here are the questions with my answers:

  1. What is your favorite way to stay active? Running? HIIT? Weight training? Sports?
    I enjoy running although it can be dull, so I sprinkle in a liberal amount of speed work, its always fun to go fast. I also weight train to keep toned.
  2. How many times a week to you strive to workout?
    Generally I run 4 times a week, with 2 days of weight training, Saturday is combo day so I have two days off after my sunday long run.
  3. Is there a pre/post workout routine you would like to share?
    I really do nothing before or after, I generally warm up for the run by walking the first 1/2 mile or so.
  4. Do you have any tips on injury prevention?Knock on wood I have never had a serious injury, I attribute that to good genes, but I also weight train which I am a firm believer in for injury prevention.
  5. How does nutrition play into your fitness regimen?
    Hardly at all, but it should and its something I am starting to explore.
  6. What health benefits do you find most attractive about staying active? (Physical, psychological, or both!)
    Mental mostly, I like the way I look certainly, but it allows me to manage stress, and to be healthier which is great for the overall mental attitude.
  7. What do you do to stay motivated when you are exhausted/under the weather/etc.?
    Well it depends on why I am in that state, but generally rest, I have never been afraid of taking a couple of days off to recharge.
  8. How has your fitness routine/goals changed throughout the years? Why?
    I have changed from more competitive sports to more fitness based sports, for the physical/mental improvement process, while I am still competitive, its more with myself then in a team environment.
Here is some information about the surveyors. BHG360° conducted an informal survey of a variety of health and fitness bloggers (like me!), from active mothers like Mackenzie McKee to certified trainers like Leslie Ann Quillen. They asked them to share their tips and advice about working out and staying in shape—and how to keep up the motivation. As you can see from this snapshot of health-minded individuals, those of us interested in living well tend to use many different strategies and regimens to complement our lifestyle and reach our fitness goals. In the spirit of National Physical Fitness and Sport Month, we invite you to share these and other tips.




Sleep and Recovery

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So I read an article a few months ago about recovery after a marathon. The central point was that for every mile, you need a day of recovery. I scoffed at that. 26 days to recover? How could that be? Well while I am still not sure about that today is 11 days post marathon and I feel pretty good.  I have noticed one thing that is quite interesting.

I track all sorts of bio-data with a Basis watch, so I know my resting heart rate, sleep time, type and quality as well as body temperature. My sleep which has averaged about 380 to 400 minutes a night in the 17 week intensive phase of training (about normal for me) jumped to 420-430 minutes during the taper as I focused on extra sleep, and getting up later.

So now post marathon I have been letting sleep do what it will. The last 11 days have all averaged over 450 minutes, with significant chunks of time spent in what Basis calls "deep sleep" where you body refreshes and renews muscles and boosts your immune system. I have averaged about 20% of my sleep time in this phase in the past. In the last 11 nights, I have been over 30% consistently. By the way 15-30% of your total sleep time is considered normal.

So one can infer that I am still recovering, even though my morning waking up heart rate has returned to its normal pre-marathon range days ago and I feel zero residual soreness (that was gone within 4 days) my inner workings are still repairing themselves.

Next Race is 22 days away! The Northshore Classic Half Marathon

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So this morning I registered for the Northshore Classic a half marathon run in Highland Park. Oddly this will be the first of my three long races that I have run in Illinois all the others have been in Wisconsin (Trail-breaker Half, Madison Half and the the Wisconsin Marathon). My PR for the half is 2:50:56 at the Madison Half last November. My time for the half in the Wisconsin Marathon was approximately 2:40 and change. I have run numerous half's during my long runs leading up to the marathon and have always been lower then 2:50 (times of 2:37, 2:42, and 2:47).

So I need to figure out a goal for this race which I think should be in the 2:38 to 2:30 range, but I need to make sure the pace is realistic for the lower time goal of 2:30. I also need to watch myself because the marathon will only be 28 days in the rear view mirror and I want to make sure I am fully recovered. I feel good today (7 days later) but all the literature I have read says it takes about a day for every mile you ran. So some of my quickie training for the this half will fall into the recovery zone.

My tentative plan (starting week of May 11) for the Northshore Half is as follows:

Week 3-- Runs of 3, 5, 7 for 15 miles total
Week 2-- Runs of  3, 5, 3, 9 for 20 total miles
Week 1--  Runs of 3, 5 and then 13.1 on race day for 21 miles.

Follow up from the Marathon

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So its Wednesday, and its the 4th day since the marathon. I am feeling some residual soreness in my calves this morning. However the thighs are not feeling anything this morning, they had been sore for a couple of days. Everything else is fine.

I am quite happy with my physical condition, I think the training was the key. I do realize that my body is still recovering even though I may not be seeing or feeling it so I am taking it easy, with some light jogging tomorrow and then some more on  the weekend.

I am going to run the Northshore Half on May 31 in Highland Park. I like the level of fitness I am at so with just a couple of medium length runs the 10 days before the half I am going to try to improve on my 2:50 PR, my half time was 2:40 in the marathon, so I would like to push a little bit harder and get a 2:35.

Wisconsin Marathon: Race Report

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So after 16 months, a loss of 37 pounds, a significant improvement in fitness, it was finally race day. In the lead up to the race I was reasonably calm, although the last 24 hours I was questioning everything. Long story short I was going along a wee bit faster then my goal pace until mile 16 and then I started to cramp in my calves, which ended any semblance of hitting my goal pace. I finished a handful of second under 6 hours (although the results say 5 minutes higher, it is my Garmin that disagrees, and I it took me at least that long to get to the start line).

The Good
I had a good parking space so lining up for the race was not traumatic and the start was easy, it took me about 5 minutes to get to the start line. Other then a trip to the bathroom at mile 11, and a stop to say hi to a friend at mile 14, all my miles were right in my comfort zone in the 12 minute range. I used the first mile as a warmup, basically not using the walks in the walk/run process, and felt fine.

In fact for the entire race I never felt tired and or winded, I always felt like I had the energy to go forward....its just that this happened.

The Bad and the Ugly
So at mile 17, my right calf cramped so badly, that there was about a 2 inch square 1/2 inch deep indentation right on the inside of it. Not to be out done the left one joined in a mile or so later. So from the knees up I felt fine. I was gratified to have the medical person on the bike, say she had never seen anything like that, so at least I was boundary pushing!

The reality of this was it moved my times into the 15 minute per mile pace for the rest of the race. I had the energy to run forward, but my calves would not let me push off, without starting to cramp or actually cramping from mile 17 until mile 23, when the banana I had at mile 22 and the gels I got at mile 18.5 and 19.5 kicked in, plus the gels I was carrying. As I write this (24 hours later) my calves are lightly bruised from the intensity of the cramping.

My daughter joined me at mile 23 and encouraged me to the finish line, which I am grateful for and my legs responded to that and were able to generate a couple of 14 minute miles, but the cramping was more severe the last two miles and I regressed to 15 minute miles.

Not really on the radar here, but I got two blisters on my arches by mile 6, which in the grand scheme of things were annoying, but did not affect me in any way shape or form.

The Funny
So in the start corral a nice gentlemen came up to me and asked me are you Lord_Selfie on Instagram? I said yes, and he introduced himself as a follower (I am of him as well) then I was recognized by another follower out on the course. I also saw a co-worker on the course, who I knew was a runner, and a fast one (finished 13th in Mens Marathon) and was able to blurt "hey I know you" to him before he went past me like a low flying jet.

I also saw a tragedy, someone dropped an entire box of donuts holes in the middle of the race fortunately a police officer nearby told me the perpetrator was taken into custody. That's like a war crime in Wisconsin! I did wonder to myself if the 5 second rule applied during a marathon.

The Course
Was very flat, with only a few ups and downs mostly in the first 10 miles, the worst part was the road from 5-6 and then back again for 9-10 along the shore, was just a mess, and it hurt my feet. After the half marathoners turned for home I still had a long way to go, and it got much quieter, although the support was great out there. I could have done without the dirt roads, but that's a minor quibble. Overall it was a great race.

I saw my friend Dave at the aid station at mile 18.5 and 19.5 which was a blessing given what was happening, he cheered me up quite a bit. I also saw another friend who was running, who finished 10 minutes ahead of me twice.

The Data:
2:40 first half, 3:19 second half 5:59 finish
10:54, 12:22, 12:08, 12:14, 11:32
12:09, 12:26, 12:25, 12:36, 12:20
13:01, 12:37, 12:45, 12:48, 13:11
13:37, 15:20, 15:09, 15:27, 15:05
15:33, 15:18, 14:06, 14:12, 15:45
15:50

48 Hours To Go!

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Super edgy, up until yesterday I was okay with everything. Not today. Woke up all ready to go. This evening I am going to do my final 5 miles of my training cycle.

I missed 1 run and 7 weight training days during my 20 week marathon program. I ran 441 miles total, for an average of 22 miles a week, with a high week of 35 miles. I did 5 runs of over 15 miles. Which are the 5 longest runs of my entire life.

Even though I have yet to complete my first marathon, I have already signed up for my second, Chicago, for this fall. But more on that later!

Week 18-- Vacation, lots of walking, plus some amazing runs!

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So we were in Phoenix, the Grand Canyon, and Gallup, New Mexico for a week on vacation. I got all my runs in, however two stood out, one was my long run last Sunday right outside our rental in the Deem Hills, which ended up curtailed by the fact that trails were and up and down were much different then running on flats to my legs. So the first run below was supposed to be 10 miles but ended up being 6.5 since the last mile and a half was on trails. Which I enjoyed immensely but can see the need for appropriate trail oriented shoes for trail running.

The next run was along the south rim of the Grand Canyon at dawn. There is not much else I can say about this run other then it was along the south rim of the Grand Canyon at dawn, and spectacular. My Garmin was being a little flaky and recording me running straight out into the canyon on air. This was an amazing run. From the running perspective I ran on paved trails, with lots of little sharp ups and downs, and I must confess I stopped more then once to take pictures and selfies. The run was also at 6,500 feet and I felt limited distress from that and the 25 degree weather, which I strongly suspect is not correct, more like 40, since I ran in shorts and a tech shirt, with limited discomfort.



I had two other runs of 6 and 4 miles that were unremarkable, the only one of interest was in Gallup at 6,600 feet of altitude.

My daughter and I did a hike up to the top of Mount Sunrise outside Scottsdale on Saturday morning, with a gain in 1,300 feet over 2 miles to the summit which clearly counts as hill training. Fantastic
views and great company.

So on Saturday morning I woke up and realized that the marathon is 7 days away and I finally started to feel some nerves, I have been antsy and edgy wanting to run, which from my reading is normal while you are tapering. Never thought I would see the day I would be dying to run!

I ate as well as I could while on vacation and maintained my weight as of this morning back in Round Lake. This week I am going to focus on hydration and eating as cleanly as I can so I am ready to roll next Saturday.

Week 17-- A tapering we shall go!

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So after 16 weeks of training culminated in my big 20 miler last Sunday. Week 17 brought a downsizing in mileage from the mid 30's of the last few weeks to the mid 20's this week and next.  The theory behind a taper is your body rests and recovers while your reduced training base holds your fitness in place, so on race day you are primed, rested and fit enough for a big effort.

It is interesting to note that one of the symptoms of tapering that you have to fight is the urge to go out and run, seeking the runners high, so to speak, which oddly enough despite being under the weather most of the week, I have had.

The residue of the long run was pretty much gone by Wednesday, with some significant soreness in the front, lower thighs from the hills at independence grove gone in 2-3 days.

So for the next week I will be training at altitude in Arizona on a vacation to visit the desert and most specifically the Grand Canyon, we are staying in a lodge right off the south rim of the Grand Canyon which I am looking froward to! So there will not be as much blogging from there.

I have a 10 miler Sunday in Phoenix and a few scattered 6-8 miles runs next week and then I return for the final push to the Wisconsin Marathon.

Help me, help Ronald McDonald House Charities this fall.

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So even though I have yet to run my first marathon, I am already planning for my second one this fall. So on October 11, 2015, I will be representing Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon! As a member of Team RMHC, I will be training, fundraising and ultimately running 26.2 miles to help keep families close when they need it most.

My daughter and her bestie Dana turned me onto the great work this organization does for families through their college sorority where RMHC was their charity of choice. I have committed to raising a $1,000 for the RMHC, which given my ability to raise money for other causes hopefully will not be to hard to achieve.

I am going to seed the account with a few of my game checks from refereeing, probably the ones where the coaches think I stink, and are shouting at me about that the precise manner of my stench, and I while I am glaring at him from the field, thinking I am not doing this for the money you chump, that's the game I am donating from. Given my performances recently that might be every game!

But more to the point did you know RMHC helps nearly 9 million families stay close and connected to their children who are battling a life-threatening illness or injury each year? It costs approximately $60 to keep a family close by their sick child. Together, by reaching our goal, we can help over 21,650 children heal and cope better with their families by their sides. It’s incredible what we can accomplish together!

I am asking for your support to help me reach my fundraising goal and more importantly, to help more than 21,650 children and families stay close. Be a part of the RMHC network of HOPE, STRENGTH and SUPPORT. No gift is too small. Your donation, of any amount, will not only help me achieve my goal, but will make a difference to those who need it the most. Together, we can make a difference!

Click here to visit my personal page.
Thank you for your gift, together and with 26.2 miles we can accomplish great things!

Its all down hill from here! Week 16 is done!

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So this week culminated with my final long run a 20 miler today, I was going to go do it at a special event in Kenosha, but since it was Greek Easter today I ended up doing it at Independence Grove. I felt great until about mile 18 where the sharp hills in the NW corner of the route finished off my thighs, with some cramping, I was able to walk it off, but deliberately did not push at all to the finish.

Overall I am very pleased with the run, the fueling went well, the clothes I wore were fine, I need to tighten up my heart monitor a wee bit since it slipped a few times so I am not sure of my actual HR during the run. I did Clif Shot Bloks throughout and had zero stomach distress. so after 20 miles I do know something, and that is I can finish a marathon! It would be brutal if I was cramping from mile 18 to the finish line but I could stagger home from there. In addition I got a PR for a half marathon today by 13 minutes no less.

Overall my week was 32 miles, and now I am in my taper!

So here are my mile splits:
11:00, 11:55, 12:44, 11:43, 11:55, 11:59, 12:03, 12:01, 11:46, 11:45, 12:07, 12:11, 12:01, 12:02, 12:20, 12:35, 12:47, 12:35, 13:39, 13:04

Mile 1-5-- 59:17
Mile 6-10-- 1:00:00
Mile 11-15-- 1:00:00
Mile 16-20-- 1:04:40
13.1-- 2:37:00
Total time 4:06:40

Local Races on local races!

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So I became aware of this new site called localraces.com they do some nice things listing races and resources for, wait for it, local races!

They appear to aggregate upcoming race event information from 3rd party registration engines like Active.com and others. They also have some area trails, running clubs, and cycling clubs, Plus content and event management software, and secure online event and membership registration capabilities.

Chicago area runners can:
  • Search and sign up for upcoming Chicago area race events across all major registration engines
  • Find Chicago area running and cycling clubs and even register online for club membership
  • Discover group runs, rides, and social activities
  • Browse and learn about local trails
  • Explore a community resource directory of running retailers, bike shops, and more
  • Manage their activities, including their race itinerary, race results, event photos, personal records, and goals.
I would suggest you check it out, the more traffic and information this site has the better it will become.

My time for Wisconsin? You heard it here first!

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So today at lunch, I plotted out my fitness curve, my times in training, and in races as well as road work. I have been using my own variant of the Galloway Run Walk, running for .35 miles and walking for .15 miles. Rather then using a time equation it made it easier to calculate my mile splits.

However it works out to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds of running and 2 minutes and 25 seconds of walking with a few seconds variance in the walking portion and a 10-15 variance.

So extrapolating my training times I am able to run at the 10:40 mile with reasonable ease for the run portion and the 16:00 minute mile walk is brisk but well within myself.  I used a handy web calculator to come up with my pacing for the 10:40/16:00 pace and it came up with 5:21. I would be very happy with this time. To be candid I would be happy with anything up to about 5:45 in terms of time.

I jotted the pacing numbers down and they are pictured above, I am going to be able to evaluate this number a little bit better after the long 20 mile run on Sunday morning.

Week 15 is done! With a 15 Mile easter egg hunt!

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So after this mornings 15 miler I have one big week left and then I start my taper after next Sunday's 20 miler. I ended up doing my run today on the treadmill because I wanted to focus on going slow. Which I was able to do, although I kept itching to dial up the speed, the whole time. Next week outdoors on pavement without fail!

The goal was to keep my heart rate low and to exercise below my ventilatory threshold which I was able to do for about 90% of the run. I felt good throughout, however I was feeling a little bit hungry near the 13 mile mark, so I might think about including a small snack about 60 minutes before race time, or carrying some extra Clif Shot Bloks on me (I am very partial to Citrus) and adding a few more calories to my fuel stops or perhaps both strategies can be incorporated. I need to decide before next Sunday for my dress rehearsal for the marathon.

Coupled with the Yasso 800 workout from Friday mentioned in the last post, and the running I did via refereeing and other scheduled runs this weekend, I hit 35 miles for the week, my highest ever! Next week is 39 miles and then I taper until race day.

Crushed the Yasso 800 workout

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The theory behind Yasso 800s is that your time in minutes and seconds for a workout of 10 times 800 meters (two laps of the track) with equal recovery time is the same as the hours and minutes of your marathon time. For example, if you can run 10 times 800 meters in three minutes and 20 seconds with three minutes and 20 seconds recovery, then this predicts that you can run three hours and 20 minutes for your marathon. Run 2:40 for the 800s and you can run 2:40 for the marathon. For more information go here.

So while you are supposed to do them about 3 weeks beforehand I was unable to do mine in that time frame given my personal schedule. So today was the day and I could not have been more pleased. I had to do them on a treadmill which was not ideal, but I had no access to a track today with most local schools in session.

I did a one mile warmup and then ran these 4:53, 4:46, 5:01, 4:50, 4;53, 4:46, 4:52, 4:47, 4:52, 4:54 AVG Pace 4:51 with a 2 minute rest between the intervals. Considering my goal for the Wisconsin Marathon has always been 5:15 to 5:30, hitting a 4:51 average pace is very exciting. I am not changing my marathon time goal, but this workout showed me that my goal time and the finish line are within my reach.

So while I have 29 days to go to the marathon, I only have 3 significant runs left, a 15 miler this Sunday, a 20 milers the week after, and a 10 miler the week after that, as I taper my way to the start line all my other runs are less then 10 miles.

Very pleased but while the Yasso 800 says a 4:51 marathon is within reach, I am targeting a 5:15 to 5:30 one. I will leave the sub 5 hour marathon until Chicago this fall.