Sunday, May 31, 2009

Training: 100 Miles!

What a great month May was! I worked out on 15 of 31 days and, on Wii Fit, my weight was down 5 pounds over the last 2 months. I wish it were more, but since I have been working out, I'm going with muscle weighing more than fat and I'm replacing muscle with fat and, yeah.... Anyway, 5 pounds is better than none and I do see a small difference in how my pants fit me, so that's encouraging. Today's run also put me over the 100 mile mark, officially, for Nike+. I lost a few runs when I first started using the system, but it is a gratifying accomplishment nonetheless. Hopefully the next 100 come faster. I think the next milestone is 500 miles, which seems a LONG way away.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gear Review: Nathan Shoepocket+

On yesterday's run, I used the Nathan Human Propulsion Laboratory's Shoepocket+ and found no difference between having the sensor under the foot or strapped on top of the laces. Within minutes, I had forgotten it was on. At this low price, it's a definite purchase, just so running can be tracked using any shoe brand. While I haven't minded using the Nike+ shoes, they have not always been ideal. Recommended.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Northern Illinois Trail Runners Organization

The Northern Trail Runners Organization is located in the DeKalb/Sycamore area and looks like a fun group. More info available on their blog.

Race: Chicago Trail Series: Xtreme Trail Run 12K 08/08/2009 (CANCELLED)


Race: Chicago Trail Series: Renegade Trail Run 10K 07/11/2009 (59:09 or 59:45 or 59:09))

Beautiful morning for it; woke up to a rainy gloomy day, bad attitude after not a great night's sleep, but headed out the door and I'm glad I did. A little confused about my finish times, thought I just broke 1 hour (Nike+ says 59:45, I thought the clock at the finish line said 59:59), but the official results show a time of 59:09.9, which would be much better than I expected. Went out very slowly, purposefully passed on 2 runners in the first mile, though many went behind me on their own. Between miles 2 and 3 saw a deer, which was neat. Got onto the back of a 10:00/mile group for the first 3 miles and then tried to pick up the pace each of the last 3 miles, only moderately successful. However, I'm happy I actually ran and improved on my time from last year. TNF Endurance Challenge in October again, I'll see if I can improve on this time again.

(07/07/2009 Hope to beat last year's time of 1:04:02.3 for 10k, run at The North Face Endurance Challenge near Madison, WI.)

Race: Chicago Trail Series: X-Country Trail Run 8K 06/06/2009: 46:02.5

What a beautiful morning for a run. Deer Grove is a fantastic location to hold a race like this: lots of trees, limestone and dirt paths, plenty of parking, plenty of port-a-lets. This race really showed me how much more training I need, how out of shape I am, how I have to become more serious.

Typically, I took off too fast and suffered through miles 2 and 3. By mile 4, however, I felt pretty good and really enjoyed the burn of the last mile. With some urging from the spectators, I even managed to out-kick another competitor in the last 50 yards or so. In my age group (40-49), I was 21 of 26, and 88 of 156 overall. My time of 46:02.5 works out to about 9:17 per mile, which I feel good about.

10k in July and 12k in August. Yikes!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Obituary: Sam Maloof dies at 93; designer and builder of simple, beautiful furniture - Los Angeles Times

Sam Maloof was an amzing talent. When I was in high school, his work inspired me to try my hand at woodworking and I prepared to apprentice myself to learn the trade. However, it was not to be, as my parents valued a college education too much to allow me to forgo that experience. Later I worked as a carpenter on many luxury home building and remodeling projects in the Chicagoland area. To this day I still love working with my hands and sometimes rue that I was a dutiful son and didn't follow that dream.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Run: Canal Walk & White River State Park -- Indianapolis, IN

A very enjoyable run on another city-created trail. I'm staying at the Renaissance Inn On The Canal, with beautiful views and proximity to lots and lots of interesting things in downtown Indianapolis. This was another 3 miler that stretched out to 5 as I pushed myself along, looking at museums, public art, a university, water, and the zoo (actually, I only smelled that...). I also posted my fastest mile (according to Nike +): 8:52 -- neat to break 9:00.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Gear Review: Nike + Ipod Armband

This morning, I decided to use my Nike + Ipod Armband, which I haven't used, because I just don't like it! It is made for people with little upper arms. Now, I'm overweight, but most of the fat is in my face and belly, not arms. The armband barely fits around my bicep, barely cinching closed around the upper arm. Then, when I bend my arm to run, it cuts and squeezes the upper arm like a mad old aunt. This morning I ran in the Hidden Lake Forest Preserve (a favorite spot of mine) in a steady rain through endless overgrown trails of wet trees and bushes. In other words, a blast! However, on top of the discomfort of the armband, it also allowed a LOT of moisture in under the plastic protector, fogging up so much I could barely see the Nano screen. Definitely not recommended except for those runners with little arms who don't sweat or run through wet areas. Mine is going in the charity bag.

Gear Review: Sof Comfort Gel Heel Cup

I recently purchased a pair of Nike + Air Pegasus ESC shoes (see post) and while I really appreciate their comfort, lightness, and sureness underfoot, I discovered a slight problem. Being such a chunky monkey, I was compressing the heel padding so much that I could feel the rigid supports, which was uncomfortable and I worried that I would end up bruising my heels. This morning I purchased Gel Heel Cups made by Sof Comfort, and the problem was solved! Definitely a worthwhile purchase for those runners who are on the bigger size or anyone who has heel discomfort.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Races: Xterra Trail Run - Chicago Series

Today I registered for 3 races over the summer, held at Deerfield Park, in Palatine, IL. The 3 races are June 6, 2009: X-Country Trail Run 8k, July 11, 2009: Renegade Trail Run 10k, and August 8, 2009: XTREME Trail Run 12k. I'm hoping that this keeps me motivated over the summer to keep training. They'll also be good race experience before I head up to Wisconsin for The North Face Endurance Challenge 10k in October. For more information on the races in Palatine, check out the website.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Run: Mississippi River Heritage Trail - Minneapolis, MN

I had an awesome run this morning following parts of the Heritage Trail.
Starting in downtown, I ran up the riverside, then crossed over to Boom
Island. Nicollet Island followed then back across the river via the
Stone Arch Bridge. I had planned on running 3 miles or so, but there were
so many secondary paths and trails and bridges, that I ended up doing 5
miles and loving every minute. It was a great mix of street, boardwalk,
brick, gravel, and dirt. They really love runners here!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Trail Race: TransRockies Run

This sounds like an amazing trail race to participate in. I'm nowhere near in shape to try it, but maybe in future years...

From the race website:

Runners from all over the world will run, eat and live together as they cover 113 miles of spectacular scenery, fully supported by a dedicated and professional Event Team who will look after all aspects of their food, accommodations and on-course support. The course includes a mix of singletrack and forest road with nearly 25,000 feet of elevation gain, reaching altitudes of over 12,500 ft. Racers are fed and housed in a tent city, and treated to hot showers and other amenities every night, and are supported throughout each stage with feed and aid stations along with a fully-equipped and mobile medical team. Each day’s run is filmed by a professional TV crew who produce footage which is shown during the daily awards ceremony recognizing the stage and overall leaders.

A sample menu (breakfast):

Hot Oatmeal
Diced Fruit & Berries, Whole Bananas
Orange Juice & Cranberry Juice
Coffee, Hot Chocolate & Herb Teas
Fresh Scrambled Eggs with Cheddar Cheese, Country Potatoes
Sausage & Bacon
Vegetarian Potatoes with Onion & Peppers
Mini Bagels, Butter, Assorted Preserves, Peanut Butter & Cream Cheese

All I can say is that it sound awesome and I wish I was fit enough to try.

Video: Nike Naked Running Camp

If you haven't seen this, it's really funny!

Nike naked running.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Game: Blackhawks v. Canucks 05/05/2009

(Phone camera shot of our view)

Last night my son and I went to the Blackhawks game. Unfortunately, the Blackhawks came out flat and dug themselves into a hole they couldn't get out of. As many people are now hoping, just "One Goal" in the first period would be nice.

We literally sat in the nosebleed seats. When I looked over at my son, midway through the 2nd period, his nose was gushing and he had a pool of blood in his hand. Yikes! I had no tissues or napkins, so I pulled off my jersey and tried to stop the flow -- polyester is definitely not a good material for sopping up blood!

All in all it was a great time, bummer that the Hawks lost, but really enjoyable father-son time.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Gear Review: Nike Air Pegasus + 25 ESC

Yesterday I purchased the Nike Air Pegasus + 25 ESC running shoes and went for a run this morning to try them out. Except for my being fat and out of shape, I really enjoyed the run. The shoes are very light weight and seemed comfortable both on the pavement and off. It's been raining here for the last two weeks on and off so the pavement was wet, the grass wet and muddy. No problems, no slipping, complete confidence in my footing. Definitely recommended and I bought them on sale at a large sporting goods chain, so it's a good time to get a pair.

Random Fact: Denise Richards

Apparently Denise Richards grew up in the house across the street from us and was here yesterday filming the pilot for a reality series she will be starring in. Who'd a thunk it?

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports -

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women