Tag Archives: Racing

Spring Sunday Stats, #2

The kids are in the tub, so I only have a few minutes to post before someone starts crying or splashing (or spitting water onto someone else’s butt — sorry for the interruption).

Weather: Sunny and cool (around 55 at 11am when I went out for a run). Gusts blowing west from the lake down Irving Park Road like a wind tunnel.

Miles run: 9.74, in 1:30:31. That’s slow for me, even these days, and I’m not sure why. I got a lot of sleep, had a decent breakfast, and felt pretty good, but I just didn’t have any speed in me today. The Solider Field 10-Miler is next Saturday, and I am not anticipating a PR. I’m hoping to do better than I did today, though.

What I played on my iPod during my run: I Should Be Writing #90, Geek Fu Action Grip Morning Show Lite After Dark #12, and Phedippidations #140 — yes, it was a Mostly Mur run.

Words written on Meet the Larssons: 2,220! That takes me over 75K, to 75,945 words. For the first weekend in quite a while, I took a significant chuck of time and sat my butt in front of the MacBook and just wrote. For about two hours, I turned off my internet connection, shut down Mail and Firefox and any application other than Scrivener and iTunes, played tunes from a large mixed playlist I have of songs I know well enough that they can serve as background music (mostly 70s and 80s supergroups like Styx and Rush, lots and lots of Zevon, some Johnny Cash and Jimmy Buffett for variety), and just wrote. I got up once to use the bathroom, and once to put on socks because my feet were cold, but otherwise stayed planted in the chair. It felt damn good. Mrs. Unfocused took the kids out for most of the day, so I had time to get in my run, do some work for my paying job, and still do solid time on the novel. She’s a saint.

All that, and two blog posts. I feel productive as hell. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have children to wash.

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I Walk Like a Cowboy…

… because my quads are killing me. I was right — I’m paying for my caffeine-fueled race on Sunday. Damn DOMS.

I’ll Pay For This.

I ran the 2008 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K this morning. The Shuffle is the kick-off for the Chicago racing season and, for many of us, the true start of spring. In keeping with the kind of winter we had and the way spring has started, it was below 40 degrees at the starting line. For the first time since I started running this race (1997, I think), I wimped out and wore tights instead of shorts. I felt like a real wuss when I saw the guy with no shirt, covered in green body paint and wearing a neon green wig.

I set a personal record today by over a minute — I came in under 36 minutes, far and away my best time ever. Yes, I’m bragging, but with a purpose: I have discovered the secret to fast times, and I’m going to share it with you. It isn’t training; I haven’t done much running this winter, or any cross training. It isn’t diet; I have not been particularly careful about what I’ve been putting in my mouth the last few months. And I got less than seven hours of sleep last night.

Here’s the secret: drugs.

This morning, I arrived downtown just over an hour before the start of the race. I parked, emerged onto Michigan Avenue, and immediately began to look around for a dealer. I knew there had to be one nearby. There! I ducked into a storefront doorway, and placed my order. Minutes later, I had it: a double espresso. I gulped it down while it was still hot, and I was off to the races!

Oh, I know the side effects, but I was willing to bet I could get to the port-a-johns before the race started, and in fact I handled that issue just fine. Mrs. Unfocused says I need to put an asterix by my time this year, but I say if the major leaguers can do it, so can I. I just hope that I don’t develop a tolerance and have to move up to triple and quadruple espressos, because that could get expensive.

I’m going to feel it tomorrow, that much I promise you.

Long Run Sunday

Not that long ago — a few months, at most, although it seems like much longer — my regular Sunday morning run was ten miles, week in and week out. Yesterday, with a lucky combination of better weather than we’ve been having and a lack of other plans, I was able to take my first Sunday morning run in weeks. I slogged out a painfully slow one hour run of almost exactly two-thirds of my former Sunday distance. My running has gone to hell this snowbound winter, but the Shamrock Shuffle is two weeks away and I need to get some miles under my belt so that I don’t embarrass myself. Not that anyone else is concerned about my time, but I’ll know if I’m getting slower. I already know I’m getting older; I can feel it in my knees. I can tell that this running season, Aleve and I will be close friends once again.

I decided at the beginning of the year that once again, 2008 will not be a marathon year for me. I would like to get two or three half marathons under my belt again, and try for a PR at that distance, but I just don’t have time to train for a marathon. I will probably end the 2008 racing season with [insert trumpet fanfare here] the Phedippidations World Wide Half Marathon, a virtual race for entrants all over the world. I ran the first one in 2006, but had to miss 2007; I don’t intend to miss it again. Registration hasn’t opened yet, but I think Phedippidations podcaster Steve Runner announced that the race will be held the weekend of October 11 and 12, 2008 (whichever works best for you). It’s a great idea, and Steve and the other organizers put a lot of effort into making it fun.

If you’re running the Shamrock Shuffle on March 30, maybe I’ll see you there. I’ll be wearing black shorts and a white cap.

On Racing: in which the countdown begins to the 2008 racing season

It’s official: Bank of America is the official sponsor of what had been the LaSalle Bank racing series. I just received an email notifying me of the upcoming registration dates for the 2008 Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle (March 30; registration opens January 1) and the 2008 Bank of American Chicago Marathon (October 12; registration opens February 1). The race websites haven’t been updated yet, though — they still show LaSalle Banks as the sponsor, and the 2007 information. I hope they maintain LaSalle’s commitment to Chicago racing, but my fear is that in a few years, after the merger is old news, B of A will let the sponsorship go, following the pattern of out-of-town companies drastically reducing their community involvement after they take over local companies. I hope I’m wrong — it’s a big commitment to sponsor these races, and big sponsors are hard to come by.

I’ll register for the Shuffle right away — I’ve only missed a couple since my first one in 1998 (at least, I think it was 1998 — it could have been as early as 1995). No marathon for me in 2008, though. All signs point to another busy year at the office, and I won’t be able to put in the training time. Instead, I’ll concentrate on half marathons for distance, and getting my 5K time down to below 20 minutes. My fastest time is 20:36, so the 5K goal is in the realm of the possible, although I don’t think it will be easy, and I’m going to have to make much more of an effort with my speedwork than I made this past year. In 2007, my 5K time came down precisely 0.0 seconds. It was a busy year at work, with a lot more travel than 2006, and sometimes just staying level is a victory.