Tuesday, December 30, 2014

1000 Miles Away

I think I will call 2014 the year of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. At the beginning of May, Anna and I ran the Indianapolis Mini Marathon, crossing the yard bricks mid-race and capturing Anna kissing the bricks. Next, at the end of May, the family attended the annual 500 mile race. What else could I do on the track? There are additional opportunities throughout the year to take advantage of, but which one....

Since I sat during the 500 and ran the mini, I thought bicycling would be a good choice. There was a free June Saturday on our busy calendar, so Will and I signed up for the Indiana Tour de Cure. Not only could we test our bikes out on the smooth surface of the track, but we could contribute to finding a cure for diabetes. Neither Will nor I had been riding much in the spring so we opted for the 75k ride. We started on the track and at the yard of bricks and after about a half a lap of the track we went out on the roads for the majority of our ride before returning to the track to finish up with a few laps. I didn't kiss the bricks during the Mini, but both Will and I took advantage of the opportunity after the ride.

For the rest of the year, bike riding took a backseat to running. Will's early morning summer schedule got me out early before work, which allowed me to beat the heat and stay consistent with my training. I also showed some maturity (I know it's about time), listened to my body, and took easy/rest days when I was supposed to and a few extra days off when I felt some minor aches and pains, rather than wait for them to become big deals. That consistency kept me on the roads throughout the year without any breaks. In my 33+ years of running, I can't remember a entire year that I stayed that consistent. I haven't kept my pre-digital training logs, but I'm pretty positive that I've never put in the mileage I achieved this year. For the first time, I was able to cross the 1000 mile mark in a calendar year. I've chased that number for probably the past five years and I'm pretty proud of marking that accomplishment.

So where does that take me next year? Having reached the 1000 mile plateau, I'm not going to chase any total mileage marks from the start of the year, but I'm sure I will look at my total mileage as the year goes on and if I'm close to a mileage milestone, I'm sure I will work to achieve it. Doing a couple races this past year definitely has got me wanting to compete some more next year. I have some thoughts races, but haven't signed up for anything yet. As we close out 2014, those 2015 plans are TBD, but I hope they once again include events with my family.

At this point, I'd be happy with just another consistent year like 2014.

Artist for Song in Title: Hoodoo Gurus

Sunday, May 4, 2014


After a couple years of on again, off again training (more off than on), this spring I am on again. Things haven't been perfect, but I've been smarter about dealing with the little aches and pains and have been able to stay on the road. I'm not sure if my new found smarts is a new level of maturity or a feeling of responsibility to my daughter, Anna, to stay running. Anna reached the end of her swimming career this winter and decided to lace up her shoes and run a half-marathon. As part of her quest, she has asked me to not only co-run the race with her, but to join her for most of the training runs. Who am I to deny my teenage daughter some one-on-one time?

Anna picked the Indianapolis mini-marathon as her target race, we got signed up, and committed to our training. Looking back on the last few months, I think both of us would have preferred to have a couple more weeks to prepare before race day, but we worked with what we were given and got in the training we could.

Race day came to near perfect weather; low 50s (F), but a little breezy. The good news was it was a tail wind for the 2nd half of the race. We found our corral with plenty of time to join about 35,000 friends on the course. Anna wasn't sure about wearing trash bags as coats while we waited for the start, but after standing around for about 30 minutes, she understood and was glad she had it to wear.

As this was Anna's first try at this distance, and she hadn't been back to running but for about 10 weeks, the goal was merely to finish strong. With that in mind; our strategy was to run comfortably for the first 10 miles, then pick up the pace if we felt capable. And the strategy was executed to a T. We avoided going with the rush at the start and settled into a barely conversational pace. We clicked along having a nice conversation and only took a brief stop on the start/finish line of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway so Anna could kiss the bricks. As she is a big Indy 500 fan, I'm honestly not sure if she didn't chose to do the race just to kiss the bricks.

After our 2.5 mile lap around the Speedway, we exited the track and started our way back to downtown Indy and the finish. We had been passing people fairly consistently throughout the early miles, but as we hit mile 9 the number we were passing definitely increased. Then at mile 10, we decided it was time to pick up the pace and increased our per mile pace by a full minute. It was then that the number of people we were passing really increased. We had to work pretty hard in the final mile and half to maintain our pace, but maintain we did; mile 13 was our fastest of the race.

At the finish line, we grasped hands to cross together, but we had to raise our hands up over the head of a man we passed right at the line. We were tired, but we ran a negative split by at least 4 minutes! We grabbed some refreshments and made our way back to the car for our drive home. On our way home we talked about the experience and Anna admitted she would consider running another half-marathon. As running mentor - success; as Dad - a huge win! I had just shared a great experience with my daughter and only hope that she asks me to run side by side with her in the future.

Artist for Song in Title: John Mayer

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cold Hands

For the first time in about 2 years single digit temps (Farenheit) hit where I live in the US Midwest. My employer opened a new fitness center (and outdoor track!) on our campus at the beginning of 2013, so it's been interesting to see who waits in line for the treadmills and who heads outside. I don't hate the treadmill,  I just like being outside and getting fresh air.

Today it was 9 F when I headed out the door of the fitness center. As part of the opening festivities, today was planned to be "Pack the Track" day, but that was changed when the mercury dipped. I decided to stay on the track today instead of playing tag with the city stoplights, and was able to have the track all to myself. The medium wind made it a little cold on my face for the first half mile or so, but after that I was very comfortable.

When I headed back in, I got to spend my stretching time being called "dedicated", "crazy", and "mental". I just tell people if you have good clothes, layer them, and limit exposed skin, it isn't cold at all.

When is it too cold for you to head out?

Artist for Song in Title: AFI

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thank You

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. This year, as we have for the past 4 years, my family got up on Thanksgiving morning to join with a few thousand others (17k this year) to participate in our local Drumstick Dash. The proceeds from this race go to a local mission, so that is a definite plus to participating. I'm thankful anytime the entire family willingly does anything together, but especially when it's running.

We split up at the start, with the boys doing the 4.6 mile route (I know, weird distance) while the girls did the 2.5. I didn't have a timed number, but I slipped into the coral with my son who did. I've just gotten my training started up again after another bought with nagging injuries and he hadn't run since cross country season ended, so we weren't going to run too hard. We ran comfortably hard and pulled each other along for the first 4 miles, being satisfied with our constantly increasing pace. At the 4 mile marker I got stuck behind a group of slower runners and my son shot me a quick glance as he put in a slight burst to surge ahead. My legs didn't have chase in them, so I just maintained my pace and smiled as I watched him run to the finish, thankful for the time we spent together.

Artist for Song in Title: Dido

Sunday, July 1, 2012

30 Years in the Bathroom

Thirty years ago, I was just a youngster who wanted to do everything, all sports, playing music, etc. If I enjoyed doing it, it was game.

Then one early summer day in 1981 while heading home from a church work project, something unexpected happened; the motor scooter I was driving made contact with rear of an AMC Gremlin (see photo). In the collision, the result was very clear - the moped and I lost...big time. After surgery and a few days in the hospital, I surrendered a summer of my life to sitting on my back side with my left leg extended in a cast. The cast was hiding 2 screws and 18 staples. My right leg was blessed with 11 stitches from the cut the license plate inflicted.

As someone who was small and scrawny (see photo), it was amazing how much muscle atrophy could occur in just 4 weeks. By the time the cast came off, my left leg was noticeably smaller than my right. I spent the next 2 years trying to continue with the full list of activities, but things were more difficult than they were before the accident. In the spring of 1982 I began running and I found myself enjoying it more and more. Without the accident I don't know if I would have taken to distance running, but fate helped me reach that conclusion.

Artist for Song in Title: The Wonderstuff
note about the song title: In case you are wondering, the bathroom part has nothing to do with any part of my story. In my effort to use song titles to title all of my posts, having '30 years' in the title was too perfect to avoid using.