Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Embrace the snowyness

Jason and i just got back from running. That's right. 2 times this week....well 2 times this week if you start the week at sunday. I usually don't so, ok ok 1 time this week.

But anyways, it went awesome! For the first time in a long time I can say that. We started off pretty slow and after the first half mile or so I just tried to keep everything sprinting if a fast song came on, or slowing way down if I didn't feel perfect. We ran 4.7 miles and it didn't feel that far at all. I thought maybe it was 4 miles, but to my surprise it was a bit farther.

The weather here in chicago has been ridiculous so far. We have way more snow than we did all of last winter, I think. It's windy, it's nasty, I am super busy at work....but keeping running on this type of schudule doesn't take so much time and I feel so much better after a good run.

We are going to florida sometime in the near future for the holidays and so will be able to run in the sun down there, so that will be good also to get back on track for a new year.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Where did the running go?

My god have Jason and I gotten busy these last few weeks. not that this is an excuse for not running as there is no excuse for that kind of behavior. However things have gotten a bit crazy over here. To make a rather long story short, we need to accelerate our graduation aside from the fact that we want to figure out what we want to be when we grow up, but we could have some job possibilites in New York City. So we are going to attempt a graduation around October 1st. Yowza....that's only like 9 months away!!! This had not been the plan a couple weeks ago but as with everything in life, things change. So Jason and I will be moving away from cushy grad student lifestyle to oh shit my ass is on fire life style. Back to the long hours at the lab and working on the weekends. But it's ok because there is perhaps a tiny light bulb at the end of the tunnel.

So what does that mean for running? I just need to do a much better job of time management, the train is still a big possibility, and running at work will have to become a bigger event. Hopefully we'll be able to get our act together and work from home one day a week and then could run in the neighborhood.

We had not been running lately though but was able to trek through the snow this afternoon for an easy three miler. Will stick with these type of runs for awhile until I can wrap all parts of this new life into 24 hours. We are planning a trip to Florida for the right i think that would be next week or so.... also so it will be fun to run in the sun for a few days.

Monday, November 28, 2005


Well Jason sums up nicely below the last week of running...or non running. We are on the road again starting wednesday for a conference down in Bloomington. I think maybe just setting the bar a little lower for this week would be alright. Maybe try and get 16 miles in.....4 runs of 4 miles. we'll just have to see. Here are the plots from the last week. Yuck.

Vacation over

In honor of a holiday built on eating, napping, and watching football, Leah and I ran very little this last week. Sure, it's sad to see the mileage graph take a dip, but in this case it was sort of necessary.

I think after the marathon, when we were ready to start running again, we were so excited to not have to train (i.e. we could run for fun) that we had energy to burn. All of our runs were fast - faster than we had ever run. This was great fun, but it ended up being pretty hard on the legs. By the week before Thanksgiving, when we had finally made it up to around 30 miles per week, my shins had begun to hurt...a lot. And it wasn't just that they were sore, it was that they felt like all the strength had gone out of them. Also, they weren't just sore while I ran; it hurt to walk as well. Leah was having the same problem.

Shin pain is evil. It isn't like it is impossible to run, but it is definitely not fun. The insidious ache sucks the motivation right out of you. The question of "why am I doing this" comes screaming to the forefront. So, to put it simply, this is something that needed to go away.

I guess the first thing that is always recommended when the ol' legs start to hurt is rest, and so rest we did. We took Thursday, Friday, and Saturday off and cut our Sunday run down to ~5 miles. Hopefully this rest will help a bit and the shin-ache will go away. It is one thing to run through pain when there is a marathon on the is quite another thing to do it when you are just trying to run for fun in the off-season.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fort Wayne Long Run

We spent the weekend at Jasons' parent's house in Fort Wayne, IN to celebrate Thanksgiving since we will be going to my aunt's house on Thursday (by the way, this is by far my favorite holiday of the much delicious food!)

We didn't run on Friday or Saturday to give our poor shins a bit of a break. We did walk to the gym on Friday evening and lifted some weights and as Jason likes to say, got big and huge. Today then we ran ~9.3 miles (!). Putting our weekly total at about 28 miles. You can see the charts below that show our progress since the marathon and we have been adding distance each week but I feel we are now getting to a point where we can sit for awhile. I would like to be consistant at 30 miles per week until we start seriously training for our next big race which will be the Indianapolis 1/2 Marathon on May 6th. I would also like our longs runs to be consistant at 10 miles. So we are just about there. Don't know if this will happen next week because of the big family bash in Frankfort Indiana, but we will try and get them all in.

By the way. Frankfort's high school mascot is the Hot Dogs

The Frankfort Hot Dogs......I couldn't even make this up!

Friday, November 18, 2005


Yesterday we ran at Fermi Lab again and I had a lot of pain on the outside of my shins. This is so annoying because of course I can still run forward but it was really painful. I get this often and lots of times it starts to happen when my shoes start to go. I am wearing Asics 2100's and there is probably only about 150 miles on them, which is not a lot. So I am wondering if it is bothering me because I have been adding miles very quickly...?

We ran about .75 miles and then stopped to stretch which always helps for about a .25 miles after that. The pain does eventually stop though so I was able to get through the run without have to walk or stopping to stretch again.

We will probably not run today or tomorrow to give our legs a bit of a break. We are going to Fort Wayne, IN to visit Jason's parents for thanksgiving and so we will run on Sunday morning around there. We will try and walk to the gym tonight though and work out. We'll see as it will depend on what time we want to leave for Indiana.

Last night we went to see Saw 2 with some memeber of our volleyball team. oh man was it scary! I am such a sucker for horror flicks and this one lived up to it's predecesor. Good twist and scary scenes.....eeek. (i totally checked the backseat of my car before we got in to drive home...hahahaha)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Quick Note about distance

I just wanted to mention that the distance we ended up going last night was about 6.9 miles. This is a little more reasonable for us right now than 8 miles two nights in a row. The run really was nice because we didn't have to stop at any lights. I think we got lucky for some at the end though, but still a much better solution I think.

This way we zigzag through downtown and then end up at Oak Street beach for a nice run home. Tonight we will again run around the ring here at work. Tonight we are going to see Saw 2 with some friends. After the first one, I seriously went around my apartment and turned on every CREEPY. Hopefully this one is as good.

Left, Right, Left, Right...

A military parade?

Nope, it's just the adventures of Insane Girl and her dashing sidekick, Jason...the Great. This is the sidekick's story.

To make a long story short, it was cold yesterday. It started out cold in the morning and then, as luck would have it, it just kept getting colder. But the good news was that the cold was accompanied by 20 mph wind, gusting up to 30 mph.


Well, if you know Insane Girl, you know this is just her kind of thing. She'll start singing the theme to Rocky, punching the air, and running circles around her sidekick. Me, I was worried I would freeze my ass off.

No, I mean that literally.

I figured that, right around mile four of our run home, I would hear a dull thud and turn around to find two quivering lumps of flesh lying on the ground, mocking me with their not-attached-to-my-body-ness. That's just not something you want to see...ever.

Luckily, though, it ended up not being that bad. Instead of running through Millenium Park to get to the Lakefront path, we zig-zagged through downtown, crossing whatever street allowed us the rightaway. This meandering run was really nice because it broke up the early part of the run into little pieces and also because that nasty wind was never in our face for too long. By the time we made it to the lake, we were already halfway done and the whole run felt so much shorter.

Next time on The Adventures of Insane Girl and Her Dashing Sidekick, Jason (Note: must find zippier title): Four feet of snow? Bah!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

LSD and the Windy City

Last night in our continued quest for getting runs in during our commute, we decided instead of running down one of the busiest streets in the city and getting stopped at every light we would instead run all the way to the lake front, and then run the lake front path home. It's needless to say it was a spectacular run. We ran east to Milienium Park and were able to run through this park and over the BP Bridge. For those of you who ran the Chicago Marathon, or the Shamrock Shuffle, this is the bridge that you run under at the very beginning of the race. It was so beautiful downtown at night and running through this park was a much different experience than just walking through it in the summer.

We landed on the lake front path at the Harbor that is on Monroe (maybe it's even called the Monroe st. harbor). We ran this path so many times over the summer that I knew the route and was beginning to realize we might be going a bit farther than we had hoped. Oh well, it was really fun to run along Lake Shore Drive, right along the lake. There were a few other runners on the path and I would give them a wave as they passed by. I think I get about a 25% wave return. Well I was noticing that the wind was really picking up, or maybe it had been bad the whole time, just at my back.

I got off the lakefront path and kept running North for about a half a mile and everytime we got to a street corner, seriously the wind just about picked me up and would push me into Jason. I knew that the last mile or so of the run was directly running west and I knew that it was going to be a tough finish. I told Jason that we had to be tough for this last mile and we did make it back to our apartment without being blown away.

This morning I checked the distance of the route (click here) and it looks to be about 8 miles. This is farther than we ran on Sunday and so somewhat negates the long run on Sundays. We'll try this again tonight. By the way the weather yesterday was 50 degees. I woke up this morning to 30 degrees and some snow flurries! I love Chicago winters. It's so all of a sudden. One day fall. Next day dead of winter. Ah well, it had to happen sometime.

***Note I found these pictures online, I would like to start carrying my camera with my so I can take my own pictures. I have a Canon power shot camera which is very tiny, so soon I will do that

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hey, Spidey!

Appropriately enough, I am my favorite comic book hero. Batman would have been cooler, though.

You scored as The Amazing Spider-Man. After being bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker was transformed from a nerdy high school student into New York's greatest hero. Peter enjoys the thrill of being a super hero, but he struggles with the burdens of leading a double life. He hopes someday to win the heart of his true love Mary Jane, the woman he's loved since before he even liked girls. Right now, he just wants to make it through college and pay his bills.

The Amazing Spider-Man


James Bond, Agent 007


Indiana Jones


The Terminator


Batman, the Dark Knight


Neo, the "One"


Lara Croft


Captain Jack Sparrow


William Wallace


El Zorro




Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with


From Flatman's blog I took the "Which Action Hero are you"quiz.

That's right. 007 James Bond....perhaps Jamie Bond for me......A good top 3 though too!

You scored as James Bond, Agent 007. James Bond is MI6's best agent, a suave, sophisticated super spy with charm, cunning, and a license's to kill. He doesn't care about rules or regulations and somewhat amoral. He does care about saving humanity though, as well as the beautiful women who fill his world. Bond has expensive tastes, a wide knowledge of many subjects, and his usually armed with a clever gadget and an appropriate one-liner.

James Bond, Agent 007


Neo, the "One"


Captain Jack Sparrow




El Zorro


The Terminator


Lara Croft


Indiana Jones


The Amazing Spider-Man


Batman, the Dark Knight


William Wallace


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with

Monday, November 14, 2005

Sunday Run

Yesterday we planned to go about 7 miles, going a little further down the lakefront path than we did last week. We ran at about 6pm and now that the winter months are coming the light in the evening is going. It was fully dark when we left, but it was a really beautiful run along the lake. We run south from our house so our view along the lake is downtown Chicago with all the building lit up. It's really an amazing sight. We ran to the North Ave bridge and then meandered our way back through the neighborhood. Amazingly enough we didn't get stopped at any lights which was nice.

We did about 25 miles last week which is a nice increase from the week before, and from the weekly distances that we kept last winter.

We only found one problem with running home from the train and that was all the stop lights along the way. On wednesday it felt that we had gotten stopped at all of them. This week we will extend these runs a little bit and run east to the lake, and then home along the lakefront path. It gets very annoying when you finally get a rhythm going to have to stop at a light. So this should increase our weekly distance thise week, but this is all we will add as I don't want to do too much too fast and get myself hurt.

Here are the up to date graphs of our progress.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Missing Someone You Never Met

Yesterday afternoon I watched the NBC coverage of the 2005 Ironman World Championship that takes place in Hawaii. Of course they had the personal interest stories that all good sport coverage takes care of. They really all bring a tear to your eye...but there was one of personal interst to me, Jonathan S. Blais. Jon was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gerig's disease) in May, but decided to compete in this years Ironman competition. My grandmother (my Dad's mom) died of this disease when I was 9 months old. I have heard so many stories, and seen so many pictures of her that I really wish that I would have had the chance to meet least at an age when I would remember meeting her. When my Dad talks about her, I feel that he is telling a story that I could envision myself doing. For example, she used to play in a volleyball league at the junior high one evening during the week, that is until she found out that her daughter and all her friends called it the "old ladies gym club" (or something to that effect). So she never went again.

She was also an avid bowler (as Dad says, "I didn't see my mom one Friday night my entire childhood"). My dad and stepmom recently moved out of their house and onto their sailboat (read about their adventures here) and of course I got a lot of stuff since they cannot take it with them (which is great for my tiny 1 bedroom apartment) . But he said, "Do you want my mom's bowling ball? It has her initials on it" I said, "Sure, how heavy is it," thinking that I could use it when I went to play. He said, "16 lbs". I guess when she went to buy it they asked her how heavy of a ball she wanted, she asked how heavy do they get, they said 16 lbs, she said I'll take that.

She was 5'11" tall and wore size 10.5 size shoes. These are exactly my propotions (well 10.5 for running shoes 10 on all others). Apparently her good friend once gave her bowling shoes for Christmas, size 7.5. When my grandmother asked what the hell was wrong with her as obviously these weren't going to fit her, her friend told her that she just wanted to see her have to return them for a bigger size...a bigger size by 3, not just a half a size or something.

I think it was very hard for my grandfather see his wife take the turn that she did with the disease. I don't know if I could imagine watching someone that I loved who was so active in sports and life in general get a disease which cuts off your ability to move. He told me that they had stopped at a restaurant and she couldn't walk up the stairs to the entrace and had to go through the kitchen entrance. He said that's when he realized that something was really wrong.

I grew up Ukranian Catholic and when I couldn't sleep or something, my mom would say, pray or talk to God or whatever. Well I never really was into the God thing, but I would try and talk to my grandmother. I always thought that she was watching me and just hanging out. I am sad that I only know her through the stories and not her personally. I think that we would have been good friends if she were still alive.

As far as grandparents go I am pretty lucky as my other 3 are still alive and are 3 people that are truly spectacular. They have lived lives and come from a time that I can't even fathom. But after watching the Jon Brais complete an Ironman with this horrific disease I cannot help but to think of Lucille Welty, a woman that I never got to meet, but miss all the time.

Saturday, November 12, 2005


Beers that is. We live about a half mile from Wrigley Field so finding cheap beer in our neighborhood is quite the find. The bar across the street from the ball park (Bernies) has $1 bottles of domestic beers and $3 cheeseburgers (w/fries) on Thursday nights. Of course this is only if the Cubs aren't in town(otherwise the beers are like 6 bucks), so now that it's the off season, for both the Cubs and the marathon, we tend to frequent this place when we get home on Thursdays. If anyone reading this lives in Chicago, come join us!

I had big BIG plans to get up early on Friday and go to the gym in the morning and then run 3 miles or so in the evening. Well that didn't happen as "getting up early" wasn't going to happen. We work at home on Friday's but we are working these computer shifts and so had to be in front of the computer from 10am-6pm.

We did run to the gym in the evening and then worked out and ran home. Our little routine at the gym is the following:

3 sets dips/pullups on the machine that assists you to do this
3 sets on the bench press
3 sets of biceps/triceps
3 sets of shoulder exercises
3 sets for upper back
3 sets for lower back

(I don't know the real name for any of these things...i like shoulder exercises....sounds like i'm in the 50's...come on kids time to do your exercises)

So I think the total amount of running yesterday was 1.5 miles. Actually this ended up being ok, because I would like to add the 5th day of running back in slowly. Tomorrow our plan is to go out for 7 miles. Today is an off day.

Friday, November 11, 2005

You be matter, I'll be anti-matter


Just like it says below, Leah and I did our very best impression of a proton and an anti-proton racing around the ring except that, instead of eventually crashing together at energies not seen since the birth of our universe, we just occasionally brushed up against each other while tooling down the road. Other than that, though, our impression was dead on.

Anyway, that is neither here nor there. Basically, we ran at work yesterday and it was business as usual. Business as usual, that is, until the conclusion of our loop when, all of a sudden, Leah was gone! Well, that's the way it seemed to me anyway because she started sprinting towards the finish line and suddenly her form was just a blur.

This was just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Because, you see, I started sprinting too. I did; I was hauling ass. But, as I'm forcing my body closer and closer to its top speed, she's just casually gliding along unaware of me clawing at the air trying desparately to catch up.

Faster and faster I go. My body starts to shake like a Klingon Bird of Prey appraoching warp speed (yes I just said that. No, I'm not ashamed), body parts flying off, clouds of steam coming out of my ass and what about Leah? Well, she's jusy coasting along doing her nails (figuratively speaking, of course). And do you know what it reminded me of? It was like watching the women start the NY marathon. They looked like they were barely moving and I thought to myself, aren't they starting off awfully slow? Of course, they were, as they start off at aroung a 6 minute mile pace. They were running miles I can only dream of and it looked like they were hardly trying.

That's what it looked like from my vantage point of 10 feet behind Leah (wait, no, 20 feet...30 feet...geez). It looked completely effortless as she approached top speed. Just smooth as can be.

So, I'll tell you what. I'm just going to go ahead and let her win these little sprints at the end of our runs. She can go ahead and run "fast". Because, as we all know, the marathon isn't a sprint, it's a...well, it's a marathon. Which is really far.

It just must be nice to be able to acutally race the protons around the ring...and win.

Running the Ring

Yesterday Jason and I ran at work which I was a little worried about. While we were training for the marathon we would need to run at work sometimes and the lab is basically farm country with a big ass particle accelerator on it. So not too much to look at, especially when one is used to running through downtown streets.

But we made the decision to run around the ring instead of just around the grounds and it was (like all of our runs lately) a great run. The main building is really an amazing piece of architecture and it looked so cool at night with all the lights on. This picture was taken on the other side than we were running on (just found it online).

There is something to be said about running at work. There are times when I hate being a grad student. I hate the menial jobs that we get stuck with, I hate the teeny salary that we get....

But then there are times that the project that you have been working on for 1.5 years works or at least doesn't make situations worse for ALL the physics groups. When you realize that you work at the most prestigous physics lab in the world which is pretty spectacular realization. I still don't know what I want to be when I "grow up", but this all has to lead somewhere. As far as my time now, I will always look upon this part of my life fondly. I mean, moved back to Bloomington, back to Chicago, got married, ran a marathon, and eventually got a PhD in physics. That's a lot of doing in 5 years. Well we all know that I like being busy!

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Running Into the Wind

Yesterday, we ran home again from the train station. I realized when I got to work and checked the temperature for that evening I might have not brought enough clothing.

The temp was 45 with a 25 mph NW wind.

I had brought running shorts, a tank top and a long sleeve t-shirt. hmm. Luckily I married a very smart man who brougth 2 long sleeve shirts. he was able to wear the sweatshirt he wore to work and one of these and so I was able to nab an extra long sleeve shirt.

The run went well again, actually much better for me than the first time we did this because I didn't have that annoying pack sitting around my waist (notice how I refrain from calling this thing a fanny pack). But jeez the wind was quite the event. One good thing I suppose about running in a loop is that at least for part of the run you can get a break from the wind, but if you run in a straight line and the wind is in your face, it's going to be there for the next hour.

But we live in Chicago, and expect the weather to not be ideal throughout the winter months. However, we were able to get through it last year, through all the snow storms and 10 degree days. I am hopeing that we will still be able to do this even though this winter our milage will be higher than last year. I just HATE running on a treadmill and once I get out there on the path, no matter what the weather I can usually survive it. I always say that the hardest part is getting out the door, once you are out there you might as well finish. :-)

Today we will run here at Fermi Lab...probably around the main ring.
(I love doing this because we send protons and anti-protons around this ring at about the speed of light....I like to think that I am racing lots of math to do in my head to try and figure out how many times the protons have gone around in just one of my steps.)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Jason's take on commuting/running

...or runnuting, as the kids are calling it these days.

It's fantastic. It's the only way to travel and it's about 10,000 times better than sitting on the Eisenhower. Commuting with bike was nice too, but this is so much better because I get home and my run is done. Just like magic.

There were a couple really cool things about it. First off, Clark street is an exceptionally cool street to run down, especially at night. Between the restaurants and the bars and the park, there are tons of different looks and neighborhoods. Time absolutely flew by. I mean, we were running pretty fast, but that's not really the point. It still took probably 50 minutes to get home, but it felt like 20.

Another really great thing was the feeling of getting somewhere. Whenever we run, as Leah mentions below, we either make some sort of loop or do a straight-out-straight-back run. This is great if we are running from home (and the only real option) but it is so much cooler to run from point A to point B (luckily enough, point A was the train station and point B was our house. Otherwise, who knows where we would have ended up). I really like the idea of using my legs for transportation and if not for the potential smell issue, I think this would always be a great idea. Just run everywhere!

And finally, yes, the backpack was fine. I never really noticed except when I was noticing that I didn't notice it. Got that? It is sort of like when we are running and I notice that my breathing has been fine which completely screws up my breathing and I have to spend the next five minutes trying to get it under control. Basically, the only time I noticed the bag was if I expanded my lungs more than usual and then I would feel the chest-strap a bit, but it didn't restrict my breathing any. I will probably go ahead and loosen the strap for the next run as I thought it was more necessary than it really is. This give me high hopes for using a hydration backpack in the winter as they are apparently not as annoying as they look.

So, in summary, commuting is much better without a car and I'm really grateful that Leah came up with the idea.

Running and Getting Somewhere

Tonight Jason and I tried our plan to use our commute as time to get some training runs in. So we had this problem of loving to read on the train, but not wanting to exactly carry our books home with us. We went to REI to see what kind of interesting things we could find. I had posted this question on one of the Runners Worlds Forums and there was a suggestion to try one of these water backpacks and to take the bladder out. Jason found one of these that is very small so he got that(on the left) and I found a small, you might call it a "fanny pack", but I won't because that would be too nerdy. We also thought that the water pack would be good for some longer runs we want to do during the winter months because the water fountains are turned off along the lake front, I don't know if I want to do a 10 -15 mile run and not have any water.

So we started downtown at Madison and Canal and ran east to Clark St. This was so beautiful and fun to run across the rivers. Then just took this all the way home (bascially). This ended up being a 6 mile run. You can see the full route here. This was such a fun run because we got somewhere. We have to get from point A to B somehow and to be able to use a run to do part of that really made the trip much better. It was also fun to run downtown and through some neighborhoods that we don't get to see because we tend to run from our door in some kind of loop and then back to our door.

As far as the packs go, I guess Jason's worked really well, while mine didn't. I couldn't quite get the thing to sit right on my waist. I put the pack part right above my fanny thinking that perhaps it would just sit on my lower back and not bother me too much. Unfortunatly it kept sliding around and I had to cinch the strap tight so that it wouldn't bounce. This became a problem at the end as we were moving a pretty good clip and it was affecting my breathing/stomach (too tight!!!). Jason said his little bag didn't bother him AT ALL so he will carry my book from now on and perhaps we can take turns with that.

We will try this again tomorrow and then slightly shorter runs on Thursday (4.25 mi) and Friday (3.8 mi). Whee!!!

Monday, November 07, 2005

Musings on Sunday's run

I think Leah did a better job than I ever could of describing our great 6 mile run on Sunday. I will just add that it was wonderful to get back out there and that Chicago's Lakefront path is as good as it gets and it is probably at its best in early November.

But while running, I couldn't help but think some thoughts (it's what I do). One of the things I thought of during our run was how differently everyone runs. Granted, there weren't exactly throngs of people to look at on this particular rainy Sunday morning, but everyone we passed was just a bit different.

There was the girl who ran as if she either was nursing an injury or had one leg shorter than the other. Whatever it was, it gave the appearance that she had more control over one side of her body than the other. Then there was another guy who ran very deliberately and heavily, as if each step was a big commitment and he wanted to be absolutely sure of it. And, of course, the 50 year old super run who blew past us with his perfect form. I hate that guy.

Just to be clear, I'm not judging. I have nowhere near perfect form. Leah has, in my opinion, nearly perfect form. She holds her arms at the perfect angle, takes nice, clean strides, and doesn't bounce very much (especially when we run faster). And when she sprints, it is a thing of beauty. She is a real runner and a natural runner. I just picked this sport up later in life, so I have a few flaws in my form that I doubt I will correct anytime soon.

The main thing that I would like to correct is my arm angle. Mainly this is an aesthetic thing, as I think the race photos look better when I don't hold my arms up high. I've heard it helps with the running, too, but that's really just a side benefit of looking good. Maybe a picture would help. I run like this most of the time:

But when I get tired, my form really can go to a bad place. My arms get much higher...which would be good in boxing, but less ideal in running. Unfortunately, I've been known to get tired in races and then those arms start climbing...and then invariably a picture is taken. For example:

I think I've gotten a lot better about this in the past half year or so. I didn't really notice this happening during the marathon. Like they say, everyone has a different running style and different things work for different people. I'm not really concerned about having the "perfect form" or anything along this lines as long as I can run far. I just hope it doesn't go to the bad place anymore.

Too Many Meetings

So our plan was to run 3 or so miles this morning before coming into work. That of course was before there was a new "task force" created here at work which apparently I need to be a part of even though it has NOTHING to do with my thesis topic which I am just NOW getting to work on. These meetings are going to be at 8:30 or 9am on Monday mornings and Monday evenings I play volleyball at work which in the end makes for about a 12 hour day. AUGH!!!!

I love the concept of the "task force" being created now when the problem the force is addressing is a problem that has been around for years. That's what you get working for an organization that is a part of the Department of Energy....lots of task forces....not a lot of things accomplished execpt more meetings and more discussing.

Talk amongst yourselves...i'll give you a topic....

I'll update the blog tomorrow when we get home from running home from the train (very exciting!) Then this week we will run Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri and Sunday.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

4 Weeks Later

Today is 4 weeks after the Chicago marathon. Wow, it doesn't seem like it was that long ago. I think that running that race has made a huge impact on my life and has absolutly changed the way I want to live it. Jason and I have already planned on running 4 races next year instead of just two and we will be taking a much more intense attitude toward the training by incorporating speed/hill work and in general running more miles per week.

Today was also the NYC marathon and we went out for our 6 mile run and was thinking about all the excitement that must be happening 1000 miles east of us. Remember standing and just waiting for the race to start and looking at all the people around us. Crazy. We have been following a fellow debut marathoner in his quest to run a marathon and was running the NYC marathon today. I just checked the tracker and he finished in 4:43. Congrats Danny!

Our 6 mile run followed roughly this route. We ended at the Jewel though instead of our apartment because we needed a few things for our traditional big Sunday breakfast. We tried to run this route about a week and a half after the marathon and made it about 3 miles. Felt awesome today however and finished with my usual little sprint :-) I have been listening to music again via my ipod shuffle and realized how much I missed it while training for the marathon. Although I do think it's imporant to get out there and listen to nature and your feet hitting the pavement, I also think it's way fun to get Jon Bon Jovi's Shot Through the Heart jammin in your ears.

This week we will attempt our running home from the train station and was happy to get through 6 miles today since we will need to do that tuesday and wednesday. Here are some plots from the week tracking our progress, these can also been seen under the Running Progress link on the upper right.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Slow And Steady

Today we got up at 6am and were out running by about 6:40 or so. Felt "ok". not bad. not great. I think my legs didn't even wake up until about 2 miles into the run. We ran our favorite "less than 4" route. It was good though that we got up and got the run done because this evening we are going to our friends house and so wouldn't be able to get the run in during the evening and then tomorrow morning I wanted to go to the gym and play racquetball and lift some weights before Jason's shift starts at 10am. My cousin is coming to hang out with us tomorrow, so if we wanted to get in 4 running days this week it had to be in the morning. It totally helps me get up and out of bed if I realize that there will be no other time that I can get that run in. It's a great feeling too I think being able to accomplish something (even if it is a stupid 3.8 mile run) when you don't exactly want to because your are nice and comfy in bed :-)

So this weekend marks 4 weeks after the marathon and so next week will add some intensity into our runs. We will try and run 5 days a week instead of 4 and will try and up the distance. I am thinking something like this :
  • M : am 3.8 miles
  • T : pm 6 miles
  • W : pm 6 miles
    • Tuesday and Wednesday we will be trying this new idea to run home from the train station. We'll see how it works out
  • R : OFF
  • F : 3.8 miles
  • S : OFF
  • S : 6 or 7

This will put our weekly distance at about 25 miles, which isn't too shabby. This week should end up at about 17.8 miles, so it might be a bit much of an increase but we will just see how we feel and alter it accordingly if we feel the need.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Too Many SweetTarts

As Jason mentions below our run yesterday was quick and awesome. We ran this route which is 4.34 miles. However we have a big bowl of halloween candy left over, your various assortments of sweet tarts, tootsie rolls, twizzlers and laffy taffys. I was snacking on said candies when we got home from work before we went running and oh was I feeling it in my belly about 1.5 miles into the run. I was able to keep up the pace though even with the rumblings in my tummy, but for future note

Less sweet tarts = better run.

I like running fast

Or rather, I like running "fast." I mean, it's fast to me, but to your average Kenyan it's sleeping. Which is the perfect segue given that we ran last night way past my bedtime. By the time we got home the Daily Show was on. The Daily Show. That's on, like, at 10!


But yes, it's true, we woke up a bit late on Wednesday morning and so our morning run was relegated to the night. And we were smokin' fast last night! It just feels really good to do more than simply plod on, gathering miles like wild flowers (yes, I just wrote that. No, I'm not proud). And it seems to be easier on the joints. I think if you run faster you run smoother and there is less bouncing and joint-jarring. Of course, the pain in the lungs goes up quite a bit, but I think this will be reduced by the future speed-work that we plan on working into our training.

But, in general, it just totally rocks to be out of training and able to pick up the pace a bit.

(Now if I can just take another minute off of last night's pace, I'll be able to qualify for Boston. Boston's evil.)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Running Teyemas

I just found out that my three cousins, Scottie, Erik and Lisa are also going to plan on running the Indianapolis half marathon in May. This should make the race even more fun. I have never run a race where other people I knew (except for Jason) were running also.

Go Go Welty-Rieger-Teyema Team ( yes i am just that nerdy!)

Carting Books

I am trying to find an easy way that Jason and I could get our books home from the train station while running (as per my commuting idea talked about below). I found this little pack online and it might be just right since it sits on your lower back, but it is small. Would it hold two small paperbacks even?

It will be quite the change to carry anything because we have never carried fuel belts or anything like that. The other idea I had would be to find shirts that are similar (or exactly) like the ones bikers wear that have the big pocket in the lower back, used usually I am assuming to hold food and what not. I am wondering if the size of this pocket however is the perfecct size for a paperback.

Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

7 Continents?

I think it would be pretty cool to have run marathons on 7 different continents (for those counting, that would be all the continents). Sure, it would require a decent travel budget, but if you spread it out enough it would just be a great way to travel and see the world. This seems like a great idea, but one of those continents is Antarctica.

And that would be one brisk marathon.

Take a look as the Antarctica Marathon page. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that they are the only marathon that advertises with an iceberg. To be honest, though, the running conditions don't sound all that bad. 15-30 degrees Fahrenheit is not all that cold, especially if you train in Chicago.

I'm guessing this is a small field, though, which I think would make it that much more difficult. However, it is in freakin' Antarctica, and I think it sounds like fun.

All penguins are welcome.

Call Me Crazy

This morning we ran 3.88 miles and felt pretty good. Got up at 6:15am (like I promised myself I would) and were running by about 6:35 or so. It was cool out but a really beautiful morning. I took my ipod shuffle which used to have really really really awesome songs on. So I recently reloaded it with different songs only to find that it was replaced with very very very slow songs. Gotta do something about that as at the end of the run I had to keep pushing past songs. But all in all the run went really well.

So why can you call me crazy? Here's my new idea.

Jason and I live in Chicago but work in Batavia which is about an hour drive away. So we have two drivers so it's not all that bad, but it can get repetative after awhile. Last summer while training for the marathon Jason and I would ride our bikes downtown and take a train out to batavia, and then drive from there to work. It was great during the summer because our car didn't have air conditioning and it was a nice change of pace and we read on the train and so on. On the other hand, we were exhausted because were biking about 12 miles a day (which i know is not a lot) but then also training for the marathon. So we would get home and then have to run and it just got to be too much.

So here's my new idea. This keeps our cost of travel per week about the same, but changes things up a bit and lets us get training runs in simply. So here is the schedule
  • Monday : Run in the AM, drive to work and back (as usual)
  • Tuesday : Drive to work in AM take Metra downtown after work BUT RUN HOME FROM HERE!
  • Wednesday : Take the el downtown, Metra to work, Metra back downtown RUN HOME
  • Thursday : Take el downtown, metra to work, drive home. Perhaps an running off day
  • Friday : Work from home and run whenever.
So its about 5.5 miles downtown from our apartment. So we get home and get our training run done AT THE SAME TIME. I love to multitask. Plus if we wanted to go farther than this distance we could always switch up the run and run along the lake or whatever instead of city streets.

We would only do this schedule if we weren't in some training program for a race. Right now that is looking like the rest of this month, December, January and then maybe June. We would have to be hyper organized with clothing and how do we get our books that we read on the train home in the afternoons while running (small backpack???) But we will start to try it out next week and see how it goes and we'll update the system on the blog.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Getting back into it

I'm excited to be getting back into running on a full-time basis. After the marathon, we sort of had to back off from running and let our legs recover. However, as the weeks pass, the distance gets to slowly creep up.

What I'm really hoping for is that on Sunday we can do this really nifty 6.0 mile loop. The thing about the loop that is cool is that we stay right on the shore of Lake Michigan rather than taking the inside part of the lakefront path. And in the fall, if you run along the shore in the afternoon, it is quite spectacular. On an overcast November day, the water is a very cold, grey color and the tide is high so the waves come crashing up in a very dramatic fashion. It is like running in a movie (except that, I suppose, in a movie you would probably be chased by Vikings while you ran or something like that. Luckily there are very few Vikings along the Lakefront path).

Of course, it wasn't so nice the last time we tried to run it. A couple Sundays ago, we tried this loop without pre-measuring it...who knew it was so far? Well, our legs certainly knew the distance and right around the 3.5 mile marker they made their opinion known. It was like hitting a wall and all of a sudden our legs started hurting everywhere. And so we had to walk the last 2.5 miles which, on a normal day, wouldn't be a big deal. However, it was about 45 degrees out and the wind was gusting up over 20 mph. Let's just say this wonderful, movie-set like running loop didn't have the Hollywood ending.

I'm hoping, then, that we really are back to the point where we can start doing some nice, longish runs (without having to trudge back home, shivering in the wind). I understand that taking time to recover is important, but running less than 4 miles every run gets old after awhile. After all, half the fun of running a marathon is getting to reply to the question "what did you do today" with a shrug and a casual "oh, we just ran 10 miles."

All Minied up

Jason and I just signed up to run the Indianapolis Mini Marathon on May 6, 2006. We ran this in 2004 and was the first major race that we competed in (and by competed I mean ran in as we aren't exactly competative). Our finishing time was 1:57 and our goal for this year is 1:50. The last time we trained for this we didn't run that many miles during the week and didn't do any speedwork. However, we were training in Bloomington, IN and so all of our training runs were on hilly roads. So hopefully this year with more experience, and some speed work we'll be able to drop the time a little bit. This was such a fun race so I am looking foward to running it again! Plus now I have the fear of the upcoming race and so have to keep on my training schedule.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Weekly update

Above are the updated plots of our workouts this week.

I didn't really feel like runninng this afternoon after the crazy weekend that we had. But we ran 3.87 miles and actually felt good during the whole thing.

This week we will start these shifts at work that are 10am-6pm everyday. This will continue for 3 weeks and then a week off and then another 2 weeks. This will be a tad annoying but I think it'll be good because it will force us to be regulated with our schedules and hence make workouts stay regular.

Halloween Aftermath

What a weekend! With all of our marathon training for the past many many months we have not gone out like that in a long time. On Friday we had our work halloween party and it ended up being a blast! I was worried at the beginning because there were not that many people there, but as time went on and kegs got emptied I realized it was quite the exiciting party. Yesterday we went out to dinner with our friends Corey and Danny and then went to my friend Becki's halloween party which was pretty fun. Both nights we went to bed around 3:30. Yowza. We are going to attempt a run after the Bears game. We'll see.

Friday, October 28, 2005

The First Marathoner

Everyone knows the story of the original marathoner, right? This guy, Pheidippides, ran from Athens to Marathon to deliver a message of victory over the Persians...and then promptly died.

And then 2000 years later later, apparently because it went so well the first time, hundreds of thousands of people re-enact his dead march every year by entering in various 26.2 mile runs which we'll call "marathons".

Doesn't it seem strange that the guy dies after just one of these races and yet people will do this every year. I think so too.

Anyway, in case you are wondering where I am going with this, that's my costume. I'll have a toga (we'll pretend that's what the Greeks wore...close enough, anyway), my race number ("1" in this case) and "Go Pheidippides" down my arms. And, of course, socks and my running shoes. I'm the original marathoner! Or, I'm a drunk frat guy at a toga party...I'm cool with either costume.

And yes, there will be pictures.


Well tonight there is a biggish halloween party here at work. Since I am on the party planning committee I was semi in charge of getting this thing up and running, hence I have to have a costume. So Jason and I went to our local thrift store last night to try and come up with something. Here are some ideas we had
  • high school king/queen of the prom (they had old ridiculous prom dresses)
  • dead bride (groom)
  • trashyiest couple ever....
  • disco queen
But then I saw the many many racks of 80's clothes and knew what I had to do. First of all, the only reason that these clothes exist is because someone bought them 20 years ago and thought they were the coolest thing ever. So I found a pair of stone washed jeans with....wait for lace patches all over it. Oh yes I did. I could barely get my foot through the bottoms of these things because they are so tapered. So I had the pants now what. Oh that's right. I found an orange mesh tube top. excellent. So I plan on going crazy with big hair, side pony tail (with scrunchi and everything), nice dark eye make up, hot pink, blue and green socks (layered of course), big earrings......ahhh the fashion of my childhood.

What were people thinking? I'll post pictures from the party tomorrow.

As far as running. Will run tomorrow and sunday to keep the weekly runs at 4 days a week right now.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Reflections on Two Years of Barefoot Running

Reflections on Two Years of Barefoot Running:

This guy runs barefoot. So at first I thought that he must live somewhere warm to do this. Nope. He lives in Kansas City and says that he runs in all weather INCLUDING SNOW!!

That's insane. I have real problem with cold toes in the winter, I can't imagine shedding my shoes. yowza.

Fun Run

Today's run went really well. As Leah mentions below, we just ran through the city along the sidewalks. But it was really nice to get out there and not know the distance, not know the time, and not feel sore. Before, on all our runs (post-marathon), something had hurt. One day it was my shins, another day I couldn't breath, and every day my knees hurt. So it was very refreshing to get out there and not have to worry about pain or breathing. It seems that we are finally recovering from the marathon.

It is nice not being in training. I had forgotten what it was like to just run for running's sake. You might say, those runs are "fun runs" (which, coincidentally enough, is the title of this post).

Pretty soon we will start building up the milage again, but for now it is alright just knocking off 3-4 miles at a time.

Perfect Speed

Today we ran before we came into work and I thought it would be fun to run through the neigborhood instead of over to the lakefront path because we have spent the last 3 months on the lakefront path, so change is good. We left around 7:45 and felt good the whole way. I have been having a pain in the muscles in the backs of my legs but it only hurt at the beginning and stopped as I continued. When we left I was a little worried because there was a lot of lights along the way, but as the title of this posts states apparently we ran the perfect speed because we made ALL of the lights. (ok except one...but still good!) So in the end the loop was 4.25 miles, so it totally is starting to feel like we are back to normal....well almost (or were we ever normal?)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Screwed up Sleeping

Last week Jason and I slept less than ideal hours. We would sleep like 4 hours a night and then I would not be able to fall asleep the next night and so another 4 hours and so on. We had a wonderfully relaxng weekend with lots of sleeping and napping and so on. The problem comes when we start a new week of work and want to get up early and on it.

I guess I should mention that Jason and I are graduate students working towards a PhD in physics (we aren't that nerdy.....except that we are) but the point is that we don't have to keep any certain hours. We live in Chicago but work at Fermi National Laboratory which is in Batavia, IL. To try and dodge traffic and be able to run in the winter when there is very little daylight we like to try and work very early. Leaving home ~5:30am and getting home around 4pm. So this is fine except when Sunday night comes and now I can't sleep because I had a wonderful weekend of rest and then I have to get up at 4:30 in the morning, it just doesn't happen.

I HAVE TO GET MORE SLEEP or at least be more regulated about it. I would like to get 6 hours a night and then a bit more on the weekends.

Another note of interest. I played a lot with excel last night trying to make a graph that is useful/interesting. So above the "contributers" on the right hand side is a now a link called Running Progress, you can click here and see the graph change on a daily basis. I am going to then just always include this on my Sunday evening posts. So here is the newest version of "runner tracker". The yellow shows the distance ran that day. The purple is the weekly sum of the distances (I will eventuall include a marker of some kind signifying the end of a week) and the green is a sum of the yearly distance. Physics Nerd to the rescue. My entire purpose as a graduate student is to make many many (many) different kind of plots, so that experience helped a bit here.

Nails and Notes

My unbelievably disgusting fourth toenail has finally fallen off. Seriously, that thing was one of the worst things I have ever encountered (visually didn't hurt that bad). It wasn't just that the nail was black, but also most of the toe around the nail was black. It was 90% blood-clot, 10% toe (which isn't the ratio I usually shoot for).

But, anyway, it's gone now and my toe now looks like it has a little alien head on the end of it. Still gross, but in a different way.

Now the Big Toe nail is about 50% off. I think it is going to get the axe tonight.

From now on I'll be going by 8 Toes Jason or, if you prefer, Ol' Eight Toes.

In other news, Leah and I went to the gym last night and worked out on the elliptical machines (no, I don't just pick at my toes). This was an experiment for me, as the last time I tried these machines was in college, and I definitely didn't much enjoy the experience. It just doesn't come naturally to me. According to Leah, when I try to use the elliptical, my upper body is completely rigid and I stick my ass all the way out. Much like Michael Flatley, Lord of the Dance, nothing moves except my legs. Suffice to say, this is a somewhat embarassing experience and one I am still trying to live down.

But yesterday was much better. I was going to be comfortable, dammit, or die trying. And so I managed to complete 30 minutes on the elliptical without making a complete ass of myself.

We also worked out and lifted many heavy objects. I'm huge now.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Weekly Milage

I am trying this new thing where I keep track graphically of how our runs are going. I don't know exactly how to do this quite yet. But for now, I just have our progress last week. This graph shows our additive distance each day. This is good because then the last day is our total distance for the week. Maybe somehow on top of this I can show the actual distance we ran each day....or how we do on a week by week basis. So stay tuned for more progress on this front

Today we walked to the gym an then did the stupid boring elliptical machines for 30minutes. The back of my knee has been royally bothering me lately and didn't want to push it. So 2 miles of walking to and from the gym and then ...

***side comment from Jason***
"My big toe isn't going to be around much longer either"
(he just pulled off his 4th toenail. It's totally gross)

...I guess the machine calculates how much distance you do and it was 2.7 miles. Then we lifted weights and ended with some situps.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Sunday Run

Well we are still in the process of slowly getting back into the running. We went for a Sunday run, but went at 12:30 pm instead of our usual summer 6:00 am start time. Here's the route. I think we probably went a little fast, I didn't time it but was breathing pretty hard by the end of it. I'm so happy that we are out there running again so soon after the marathon. I want to really try and make sure we keep up with it so that we can be in really good shape when we start training for our next races. We have a tenative plan of trying to get more races in next year and so far it looks like this is our plan:
  1. Shamrock Shuffle - Chicago, IL
  2. Indy Mini Marathon - Indianapolis, IN
  3. 3 Rivers 12 K - Fort Wayne, IN
  4. Chicago Marathon - Chicago, IL
We'll see if these happen. I know that the indy mini fill in fast so we would have to sign up fast. I do think that being signed up for races keeps up the training morale. So I would like to try and make it a common thing.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Almost a little bit better

This week has been bad for the sleep thing. Jason and I have gotten like 4 hours of sleep each night and so yesterday we were so tired when we got home. But running is totally a part of our routine and so we jumped into some running clothes and we were off. I love this running after the marathon stuff, no distance, no routres, no timing. Just getting outside in the crisp Fall air and moving the legs. So I wanted to do this route. Obviously I was not really thinking about the distance, but was just anxious to get outside an enjoy the weather and the lakefront. Ok so I also didn't take into account how chilly it was going to be when I stopped running. The back of my knee was bothering me and so we started walking after we got water. There is no need to push through pain now that there is no race coming up.

On the way back home we ran into Steve and Marilyn who are friends of my dad's. (Steve was also my AP english teacher!) So after chatting with them awhile we were about a mile from the house and freezing. So we walked fast and got home.

This is a great loop for future referance though.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Well now what?

So the title of this blog is Marathon Running.....but the marathon is over now. Well FOR now anyways. We had such a great time not only running the actual event but all the training that led up to it we are planning on running another marathon next year....probably Chicago again since we live here and it freakin' rocks.

So now what?

We took a full week off from running. I was going crazy because it's hard going from training 4-5 days a week for 10 months to nothing. But I was good and took the time off. We are just going to get back into it slowly. Our race plans include The Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago and perhaps the Indianapolis 1/2 marathon. We'll see.

As far as training. On Monday we ran to the gym, worked out and ran back home. It was so HARD. The running was alright, except that I was out of Then at the gym they have this machine where you can do assited dips and pullups and I used a lot of assitance and my muscles were basically done after that. Did a few more machines, some situps and then ran back home. I am going to put the hardness of monday on the fact that we are still in recovery....yeah that's it........

We will try the same workout today and see how it goes.

Jason's Race Report

Sorry this is so late. The race was such a big deal that I wanted to write a really nifty race report that was carefully crafted and well thought out. While those are lovely intentions, it really just ended up being something that is likely to never get finished. This needs to get written, however, as we are now in a whole new stage of our running and it is time to move on.

With that...

The Race Report

Phase 1: Jason Feels good

I was a little surprised at the start of this race. When Leah and I ran the Indianapolis Half Marathon, I can remember standing in my start corral doubting my readiness. I believe my actual thoughts as they fired the start gun in Indy were: "Wait, we can't start yet, what if I'm not ready?!?" It wasn't just that I was worried about my running shape, but I was worried that maybe I did something wrong and didn't tie my shoes tight enough or would have to pee. In Chicago, I didn't have any of those fears (although, as it turns out, I should have). I felt mostly ready to start and wasn't especially concerned about how far we had to go before we crossed the finish line. This lack of fear and nervousness is really suprising given what I know of myself.

The first mile went amazingly fast. It seemed like we went down a little hill, under a bridge, and then *boom*, the first mile marker. That was a great feeling and made me feel like this marathon thing would be a breeze (note to self: respect the distance, dammit!!) . We saw our intrepid crew of spectators for the first time shortly after and that was all a blur. I saw Scott and Sue at the front and then the only other person I saw was Leah's Aunt Donna as I hurled my long sleeve t-shirt at her face (sorry about that). We just passed them so quickly I couldn't take everyone in. I made a mental note to make sure I made contact with my niece the next time we saw her so that she wouldn't be disappointed.

After the first, the miles really just melted away for awhile. As we passed through downtown and headed north, I was really pleased to find that my legs felt pretty decent and I didn't have to work out too many kinks. I was just completely absorbed in the enormity of the event and the shear volume of people watching me run. Honestly, it was a little surreal. Before I knew it, I was approaching our neighborhood. One of my favorite memories from the race was running up Sheridan and running directly alongside the running path where we did all of our training. I felt like I should cross the road and hopped on the path (I didn't, though).

Around mile 6 or 7 I became very aware of the fact that Leah and I hadn't been talking much during this run. She had mentioned some knee stiffness but hadn't said much beyond that and so I was hoping that she was doing alright. Conversation wasn't really an option, however, as I was just too overwhelmed to have any intelligent thoughts or the ability to form words.

The next encounter with our spectator team was at mile 8-ish. They positioned themselves on the wall at the corner of Addison and Broadway and this time we spotted them in time for me to see everyone. We both waved like maniacs and I shouted my niece's name as she was perched on my Dad's shoulders. And then they were gone and we were running up Broadway, a street we'd been down hundreds of times before.

There were an unbelievable number of spectators lining the streets of the North side including dancing drag queens and men dressed as cheerleaders. It was an amazing amount of fun. The crowd carried us for awhile but around mile 11 or 12 Leah started to get a little down as she mentioned in her report below. I wanted to try and help since I was feeling good, but I still had the little problem of being unable to form sentenced. The best advice I could give was to note that if we kept going, the miles would just go away. Apparently, it worked, so that makes me happy. Sometime between mile 11 and 16 it got quiet and I got a little desperate for some conversation, so I shared the only thought I had been having for the past 3 miles or so. My "conversation starter": "Hey, you know what I've been thinking about for the last half hour? Bob Loblaw." If that makes no sense, say it out loud (if it still doesn't make sense, say it faster). Don't blame me, it's from a TV show.

Anyway, mile 16 was long but that was really the only tough mile before mile 20. I started to drag a bit at mile 20 but I knew that in the 21-22 mile range we would have more spectators. And sure enough, first we saw our good friend Corey and her little baby at 21 and then at mile 22 we saw our road crew again. What you can't tell from reading these race reports is how absolutely amazing the road crew was. They were the best part of the race (except maybe the finishing part). But then we passed them, and the only thing between us and the end was lots of pavement.

At some point, I can't pinpoint exactly when, my quad started to go bad. I actually think it was at mile 18, but I'm not sure. Anyway, one spot on my quad tightened up badly and I could feel it with every stride. It sort of felt like it was going to burst out of my leg at some point and I was a little concerned, although I knew Leah had gone through the same thing in training and had survived. If she ran 6 weeks with this problem, then I could run 6 miles.

Phase 2: Jason goes Bye-Bye

Remember that "respect the distance" thing I mentioned earlier? Well, I respect it fully now, because it is a long, long way to go and I felt it all at the end. I'm not sure what changed, but my breathing started to get a bit ragged around mile 22 or so. Leah claims she never heard me breathing, but it was loud and clear in my head. Except the clear part, that's not true. It was loud and wheezy in my head. I was a little worried. Never in any of my long training runs did I run out of breath. The problems always involved leg, back, or shoulder aches and pains, but never breathing. I think it may have been caused by the quad thing as those nagging pains can be very distracting and make the running seem harder than it actually is. Regardless of the cause, I was worried. For the first time, I started to be very concerned that I wouldn't be finishing the race without walking a significant portion of it (which I very much didn't want to do). This, however, was also the point where Leah started to feel much better and kept on running like a pro. My only goal in this race was to finish with Leah, and so I was going to have to keep running as well. Oh God.

Phase 3: Thank God Leah kept running, because I died somewhere back there

Mile 23: Man, only 3 miles to go, this is the distance that I always say is easy if you can get there because then one mile later there are only 2 miles to go and anyone can run 2 miles. As it turns out, this is complete and total bullshit. The only actual thought going through my head at mile 23 was how I would never make it and that the thought of running 2 more miles once I got to the next mile marker...well, that's just stupid. There was absolutely no way that I could run 3 more miles, but Leah just kept on running, and so I did too.

That's the nice thing about running: it's easy. You just put one foot in front of the other.

Mile 24: I want to walk. We very briefly pause to walk at an aid station, but it is not as long as I was planning. However, Leah is saying that we are almost done and wants to press on, and so do I. I really don't want to let on to how badly I'm doing. I never, ever like to be the one to slow us down. The spectators mock me with cries of "You're almost there, you can do it." Actually, no, I'm not almost done and I can't make it; clearly you are mistaken. I know I shouldn't feel this way, but it just seems so far and I am basically dead. Right now I owe everything to Leah. She is the only reason I'm still running.

Mile 25: We cross the 25 mile marker and I know that I should feel relief. After all, there are only 1.2 miles to go and so we are practically done. However, I don't feel that way. Part of the problem is that we are still in the numbered street and I know we have to get to Roosevelt, but in my head the numbered streets have to go all the way to zero before I get to Roosevelt. This is not actually the case, and of course it doesn't matter because a mile is a mile, but right now logic is not my friend. Logic is for people who can breath.

Mile 25.2: The "One Mile Left" marker!!!!! Only 2 minutes have passed between the 25 and 25.2 mile marker, but it seems so different. I know I can run a mile because it becomes a half mile so quickly and then a quarter mile, and then done. We are cruising now and passing all the people who went out too fast and are now walking. The crowd is screaming all around us and we are going to make it! In a couple more minutes we will be marathoners! We start to approach Roosevelt and I can see the runners starting to make the turn and head up the hill. I know at the top of the hill is the 26 mile marker and then, of course, the finish line. We make the turn and hey! This hill's not that bad. We surge past dozens of walkers and make it halfway up the hill when we spot our road crew again! Hey, they made it! A little extra surge and we reach the 26 mile marker. The finish line is in sight. All I can think is "Come on finish, please hurry" and "you're almost there, don't stop now."

Mile 26.2: We made it. Alright then, I'm ready to sit down.

And a half hour later I finally do get to sit down.

This was probably the most amazing thing I have ever down. I know it was the hardest. But we both made it and crossed the finish line together. Leah and I made a great team as I felt good for the first 20 miles, and she felt good for the last 6.2. Running partners don't come much better.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Walking a little funny

Well it's all over and we did it! We finished in 4 hours 20 minutes, which was our exact goal! How about that! I wanted to write a really long detailed post about how I felt during the race, before the race after the race but it was all so exciting and crazy that it's hard to recollect any of it!

At the beginning I think we should have warmed up and stretched a little bit in at all. It was a bit cold and we were in the pens with about 40 minutes to go. We probably could have warmed up and stretched at the location we chose in the pen. This might have proved useful later on in the race. We started talking to some other newbies next to us who also seemed a little on edge. Then we started moving forward and slowly but surely the starting gates got closer.

Oh my gosh and then we are running and there are millions of people around us, on the course, on the sidelines cheering us on. I am in awe of how many other crazy people have decided to run this race. Almost immediately I see someone wearing a Maine East high school sweatshirt, which is my alma mater. I scream at him, "Hey Maine East! I went there, that was my high school" He smiled and waved and probably thought that I was only a little crazy.

A little bit after our first mile we see our family and friends wearing all red with big red signs that say, "Go Leah, Go Jason....." I start jumping and running and trying to get their attention, we run right in front of them and throw our long sleeve t-shirts at them and we are on our way to more miles.

We run the loop downtown and I am amazed. It's about 8:30 in the morning on a Sunday, the streets are not only packed, but music is BLASTING through the streets of downtown Chicago. It's unbelievable. I am overwhelmed with everything.

We start to head north and as we continue in this direction we start to run in more and more familiar territory. We run by Lincoln Park Zoo, and then I really know where we are because we are running right next to the Lake front path, which I have run on thousands of times. I know this area by heart. All of a sudden we are at Addison Av and I know to start looking for our family and friends. There are literally thousands of people at the corner of Addison and Broadway all screaming and cheering and wait, there is the family. Run by and say hi, grab some candy from them and we are gone.

We continue up Broadway and the road we are running on looks like something out of a TV commercial. The road is packed with runners, the spectators have moved in on the street and are going crazy. Wow. I really can't get over how many spectators there were at this point in the race.

We get to mile 10 and all of a sudden I realize that my knee is starting to get a little stiff. Great I think, I am only at mile 10 and my leg is starting to hurt. We go another mile, stop for some Gatorade walking through the stand a few steps. Alright we are back on it. I realize that we are not yet half way, my legs hurt and I start to get a little negative. We keep moving forward and wait, we are near mile 12 where is the family. Oh there are the red signs, run near them and wave!!!! Can't believe they made it back south to see us.

Alright, almost halfway now. There is the sign, check my watch. It's take 2:07 to get here. If we can keep this pace we'll make the 4:15 goal we had set. But my legs are killing me. We keep going, get to the Gatorade stand at 15 miles and walk through it. One of the volunteers says, "Now the slow ones come...." and I yell back, "HEY, we aren't slow we're fantastic!!!!" Everyone around me cheers. Alright, back on the running thing. But I have to stretch my legs. Alright, Alright. Legs stretched. Break is over. 10 miles to go. Let's get on it. I tell Jason that this is horrible and I'm never doing this again. He says, listen if we just keep running the miles will come and go and we'll be done. I think, well of course. So we stay on it.

At mile 18 there is a stand for some of this power gel stuff. I look for the tangerine flavor because I remember that this one is double caffeinated and thought it might help my brain. I take the top off it and push some of the most awfully gross goop into my mouth. YUCK. I quickly get to the water stand and take some water to get the taste out of my mouth. I realize I should have taken all of the goop right before the water, because then maybe itwouldn't have been that bad. Oh well. Time to keep going.

We get to mile 20. Well this is what it's all about right. This is the part that you train for. So now I get my mind into finishing mode and I'm on it. All of a sudden I hear my name and I see my best friend Corey and her Husband and baby. I peel to the side to give her a hug. I can't believe that she found us in the crowd. Total boost of energy hits me and we are on it. There is mile 21 we are about to enter china town. Wait Wait there are some red signs. Wave at the family and grab some candy. One bite of snickers bar, and then some Gatorade at the next stop. Getting close now.

The miles start peeling off for me at this point. Mile 22, 4 miles to go. I remember when we were training and every time we would get to the point where there was 4 miles to go I would say, "anyone can run 4 miles". I had this distance photocopied in my brain. I knew I could do it now.

We come up on Sox Park and I know this is as far south as we will have to go. Mile 23.

Mile 24!!!! I realize that when we get to the next mile marker there will only be one mile to go. There it is. Mile 25. Right after this is a sign that says, One Mile to Go.

I can feel it now. The girl in front of us says this is it; this is what she has been training for the past year. The crowds are huge, everyone is screaming. We make the turn onto Roosevelt, and then turn onto Columbus; there it is the Finish Line. I hear someone screaming my name. It's my Dad. I can't believe he made it to the finish line. Jason and I grab hands and cross the line.

I am overwhelmed just thinking about it again and apparently I do remember a lot about the race. Just had to get it all sorted out.

I am proud of us for keeping the same pace throughout the race. I know that our first 3 miles were at 10 minute miles, and I am guessing some of the middle ones were faster or slower. But we only walked when we got Gatorade or water. We didn’t walk at all if not at one of these stands. The aid stops are so crowded anyways, and crazy and slippery that there was no real need to run through them and bounce Gatorade all over yourself. At the end many of the people that had passed us earlier in the race were walking and we were running by them. That made me so proud of us for sticking through it all the way!

I have to thank our family and friends for being there for us. Their support helped us get through the race in ways they can never understand. Thanks you guys!


looks like I got the bug.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Okay, I really should post here too. I've been pretty preoccupied with trying to hide this face from the world:


whenever I think about this weekend (as Leah sums up below nicely). My fingernails are pretty much all gone and I've been very jittery recently (especially my legs). Other than that, I'm just really excited about the idea of the race and eager to get it on. Let's get this party started already!!

Monday, October 03, 2005

holy crap it's almost here

The marathon is this weekend. THIS weekend. Did everyone hear me right? THIS WEEKEND.

I am so so so so nervous. All of the runs recently have been going really well. We ended up running Saturday morning instead of Friday night because we stayed at the Lab to help with a volleyball tournament. That run went alright. Saturday evening we had a wedding to go to and probably danced a little too much as woke up with slightly sore feet.....i know i know how stupid. But we ran our 8 mile run in the evening and it went alright although it was raining really hard at the start.

We will run wed/thur/fri this week with distances of 3/4/2. I want to try and sleep as much as possible on Friday night because I don't know how much sleeping i'll get done on Saturday.

After the race we are going to our friends Kay and Gary's house for an after marathon party. We will just go straight there from the race and shower and all that good stuff there. Thank you to them for having everyone over. And early apologies if I fall asleep while talking to you ;-)

Other non-running related news. I was elected to the Graduate Student Association at Fermi perhaps I can form some running clubs or something through that.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Can't wait to run

Yesterday we ran 6 miles and again felt good. Felt fast! Again for the first time in a long time the runs are not dragging along with nothing to focus on except the various pains in the body.

So I can't wait to run my 3 miles this afternoon.

Ran in the new shoes and they felt really good. So bouncy! I'll keep track of the milages on these shoes as well as keeping up with the old ones. I don't think the old shoes are quite dead so I might keep these in use for short runs and so on.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Go Go Manager of Fleet Feet

Earlier this morning I had e-mail the Fleet Feet chicago people about the horrible service I receieved at their store.

I just wanted to note that the manager of the store wrote me back apologizing and explaining the situation in more detail. Perhaps this is the true sign of a good company and not how a couple of minions behaved.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Nice and Easy

We went 4 miles today and for the first time in a long time my legs felt good! Not only my legs, but it seems that running life has re-entered my body. For awhile my runs have been long and tedious and just ughhy.

I know it was only 4 miles today but still all of a sudden I was at the turn around point. The weather was super crappy too...windy and rainy.

Anyways, I am doing ok with the taper, but Jason and I are being VERY snappy with each other. I guess when you stop running lots of miles a week the extra energy has to go somewhere else.