Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Training coming up

Yes, delicious catchup! Made from tomatoes of loving homes*.
No! Wait! Actually I am trying to catch you up on my running activities.

Last week, I ran 33.82 miles. The week before that I ran 18 miles (but 45 miles from the week before that).

Some of us bloggers are headed for Chicago this year. I am.

Others are Melisa, Maddy, Petra, David, Ryan & Susan.

I am going to run a marathon for the first time in my life. Which brings us to training…

This is a modified Hal Higdon training schedule for a full marathon. At least, it started out that way. It has been modified for me. It was not modified by an expert. I modified it.

I will not strength train. I hate strength training. I won’t do it. But that is just me.

I will cross train. I have the mountain bike out of storage and it is getting prepared as a medium to use on Mondays for cross training.

Opinions? Let me have it, friends!

*Thanks goes to A Prairie Home Companion for the catchup blurb.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

On The Road To Chicago (Again)...

When I visit a new place or city, I try to look beyond the normal, everyday tourist sites. Chicago is well known for the nightclubs, museums, fountains, Navy Pier and, of course, Sears Tower. Have you ever wondered about what else might be available to look at? Here are some of the things that I have found…

Museum of Surgical Sciences
1524 N. Lake Shore Drive
It houses a fascinating array of instruments, artists' renderings and graphic descriptions of the history of surgery. If it was allegedly medical at any point in history, you can probably find it here.

63rd Street Indian (30’ Cigar Store Indian)
6258 South Pulaski
A large cigar store indian (not strictly a Paul Bunyan).

Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
Pet Cemetery Nominee - The Man-Eaters of Tsavo (lions)
Two lions terrorized an East African British work crew in 1898. The duty of the work crew was to build a bridge over the Tsavo River. The lions developed such a taste for human flesh that they would stop at nothing to obtain it. The official death count is listed in the 30s, but estimates run as high as 110 when the count includes local Africans not associated with the bridge project.
Statue Burnishing, aside from noses -Vague Recollections
They had an exhibit of life sized bronze statues of the races of man positioned around the second floor balcony. Both males and females in their native garb lined the halls, with nothing to keep visitors from touching them. For the African and South American natives, it was not their noses or toes that were shiny, but much more intimate portions of their anatomy.

Eastland Disaster Plaque
Downtown, south bank of the Chicago River, on the northeast corner of LaSalle St. and Wacker Drive.
845 Western Electric employees and family members died when their Chicago River faring ship overturned on the morning of July 24, 1915. You can find out more about this at -

Chicago's Wrigley Field
Fans jam beer cans into the outstretched hand of the statue of Harry Caray.

Metal Giraffe (10’ foot tall in private yard)
From the intersection of State and Madison (where all addresses begin in Chicago) go south twelve blocks to Roosevelt road. Proceed south through that intersection. The giraffe is about ten houses south of Roosevelt on the right side of the street. How can an animal be a Paul Bunyan?

Museum of Holography
1134 W. Washington Blvd.
The only museum devoted to holography.

Museum of Science and Industry
Many interesting displays including the coal mine, ½” slices of a man (vertical) and a woman (horizontal), a WWII German submarine, and a Walk-Thru Heart (Anatomical model is big enough to stroll inside). These are all among many other (more normal) exhibits.

Muffler Man - Mr. Bendo
3940 W Grand Ave.
A ‘Paul Bunyan’ metal statue.

Bob Newhart Statue
600 E Grand Ave, At Navy Pier.
A statue celebrating a TV icon -- fictional character Bob Hartley played by Bob Newhart on the "The Bob Newhart Show." The bronze sculpture will stand in front of his fictional office building at 430 North Michigan Avenue.

Weber Grill Restaurant
539 North State Street
Giant grill sticking out of building. Large metal griller statue inside.

Prayer Booths at the Navy Pier
600 E Grand Ave.
Not your usual tourist available booth and not a bad thing, either!

Salt Stain Virgin Mary
Fullerton Avenue, underneath the Kennedy Expressway - I-90.

Monument to Jack Brickhouse, Famous Announcer
On N. Michigan Ave., just south of the Tribune Tower and a stone's throw from the Bob Newhart statue.

Hyde Park's Escaped Parakeets
Nichols Park, between 53rd and 54th Sts. and Kenwood and Kimbark Aves. A parakeet population in the wild.

Alley Where John Dillinger Was Gunned Down
2433 N. Lincoln Ave.
North side of the city. I-90/94 exit 47A, east on Fullerton Ave. for about two miles, then make a sharp left at the intersection of Fullerton, Lincoln Ave., and Halstead St., onto Lincoln Ave. The alley will be up a third of a block on the right, a few doors down from the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater.

Giant Man Made of Plastic Barrels
US 10 West at the Clark's Garden Center and Stone Depot. As it is composed of plastic barrels, this is not strictly a Paul Bunyan either.

Large Radio Flyer Wagon Large? More like Massive!
6515 W Grand Avenue, where Grand turns into Fullerton.

"Wizard of Oz" Tin Man statue
Corner of Lincoln Ave, Belden Ave. It is a little south down Lincoln from the intersection of Lincoln, Halsted and Fullerton

30-foot tall DNA strand
3333 Green Bay Road

Muffler man (what? Another Paul Bunyan? Yes!)
On Grand Ave. (Rt.132) 1 block east of Rt. 41.

Site of the St Valentine's Day Massacre
2122 N. Clark St. North side of the city. I-90/94 exit 47A, east on Fullerton Ave. for two miles, then right onto Clark St. The vacant lot where the Garage used to stand is 2.5 blocks south (between Webster and Dickens), on the right, next to a nursing home.

Not Your Mama's Bus Tour
1331 S. Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago.
StreetWise (Chicago's homeless newspaper) sponsors a tour of Chicago that is based on true stories by former homeless people (women, men and youth). They go to several stops, including-the site of the 1968 Democratic Convention Riots (where hippies and student protestors chanted,"The whole world is watching!" and where at least one person was killed), Cabrini Green (one of Chicago's most notorius housing projects and the site of TV's Good Times), Malcolm X College, Chicago's Civic Center and the spot where a homeless SteetWise vendor was was shot to death by an off-duty police officer. The tour goes past some of Chicago's most famous off the beaten track spots like Cook County Hospital (think E.R.and Chicago Hope) and through the south, west and north loop areas and downtown.

Superdawg Hot Dog Drive-in
Intersection of Milwaukee Ave. and Devon near the NW border of Chicago and Niles.
There is a restaurant called Superdawg with two Giant hot dogs (him & her) standing on top of the roof.

In Conclusion...
These rather fun and unusual sights were found at a very interesting website known for finding the odd and unusual. Called Roadside America, it finds and catalogs roadside attractions. What is mentioned above may or may not be open. We will have to wait and see. You can visit them at I would like to thank them for making my future visit to Chicago a little more interesting...

Oh yeah... I kept referring to a Paul Bunyan - Whatever did I mean? Basically a Paul Bunyan is a Roadside statue or other tributes to the Great Tree-Biter, Paul Bunyan. They usually refer to Muffler Men, those large metal statues that were known to adorn muffler shops. You can find out more about them (and find one or two in your area) by going to here or here!
Again thanks goes to Roadside America for their interest and diligence in tracking these bits of Americana!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Colorado Colfax Race Report

Getting There!
You know, for this swing shift worker, 4:00 AM comes awfully early. I did wake up prior to the alarm going off. I made coffee and drank a large glass of water. I got dressed, made up some oatmeal (forced it down) and double checked my gym bag.

I think I did my best preparations for this race. I made sure I was hydrated and nourished. I ate in a very healthy fashion for the entire week before the event. As a matter of fact, I made a noodle dish that night before. Home made noodles, roasted chicken strips with a light white sauce and parmesan, colby and cheddar cheeses. How delicious and filling, as well as fueling!

I had packed the night before. We had been to the expo the day before to pick up the bib number and the chip. I pinned the bib on my shirt and the chip on my left shoe. My running electronics were packed, charged and ready in their case.

I had also outlined and followed a training plan that brought me up to this point. Only the race will tell me now if I have succeeded!

We (my friend, Tom and I), headed out the door @ 4:45 AM. The birds were awake and alive. Making so much noise, you could not help but notice it! Streets were fairly empty until we got to the area of Denver's City Park. They got busy then. We worried about parking but did find a parking space at the Museum of Nature and Science. Several major street arteries were already closed.

We went to the expo tents and found the Start and Finish lines. Now it was a matter of waiting. I handed off my jacket to Tom and headed for a good place in the queue. Time ticked down and my nervousness went up!

The Race!
The Colorado Colfax Marathon includes a wheelchair race. The wheelchair athletes were getting ready and were lined up at the start line. They would start first.

For the rest of us, the start looked like this -
Watch the Race start on YouTube!

The course seemed flat. It wound through City Park and then headed toward Colfax.

It followed Colfax Avenue east to Aurora. It headed north through the Anschutz Medical Campus (the old Fitzsimmons location) and then west on 17th Street.

The sun was in our faces on the way out. It was bright but not hot. A great morning for a race.

Water/Gatorade stations were located every 2 miles. There were 2 porta-pottys at every one. There were official clocks at the water stations so you could check your progress. The water stations were slow but got it out. It was not a run through at many of them as the cups were being grabbed and emptied as quickly as they were being filled!

During the first half, I checked my Garmin 205 a lot. I tried for an 11:00 minute pace. I found an older lady running at that pace and drafted her almost to the half-way point. She started to get progressively slower. I thanked her and headed on past.

I was disappointed that there wasn't a chip reading mat at the midway point. I did want to check my splits (hoping for a negative split). I know that the Garmin does laps, but I use it for both running and jeeping. I didn't have it set for mile laps.

I stepped it up. I was running at 10:30 Pace for most of the second half. The sun was at our backs. It is definitely Spring in Denver and 17th Street was green and verdant. It was great to watch as I ran.

My legs were getting tired. I was counting the blocks back to city park. My left arm by the elbow was starting to cramp if I held it wrong. The backs of my legs were getting tight. With 1 mile to go, I felt myself start to slow down. One last water station and a shot of Gatorade!

Another mile and there was the entrance to the park. I stepped it up. ".2 miles to go! Two tenths of a mile!" Someone shouted. I kicked it again. I finally saw the finish line.

"I see the finish line!" I screamed! (or was that a murmur?) I kicked it again. I passed 2 people on my way in. I ran it in for position 1245 out of 1966! My race was over!

After The Race!
From the finish line, I enterred the chute. A young man stepped up and handed me my finisher's medal (remember that this was the whole purpose for this race). I stared at it then smiled. I have done it!

I received a space blanket (I didn't need one, but it was offered and I have never gotten one at a competition - Besides it would be useful for camping and Jeeping).

There was a bottleneck at chip removal. Runners were coming in and the 4 chip removing volunteers were very busy. My chip was pulled and then I enterred a tent with food and water. Safeway and Panterra Bread did a great job and provided all kinds and manner of food. I grabbed a little of everything and head on out.

We went through the expo tent again. There was even more swag to get. It was great. Tom met me in the expo tent. I told him that I really wanted to get a cup of coffee - Good thing we had one in the Jeep!

It was a great way to spend a very early Sunday morning. I was confident and I felt fully prepared. I was so happy when Tom told me to go to the preliminary results table to get my results! The PR was a wonderful thing to get.

Jack Kerouac once said that Colfax was the "wickedest street in America." From what I experienced today, that image is definitely changed!

Tired but Invigorated Runner!

Now For All Of YOU!
I would really like to thank all of you that read and support this blog. Many of you encouraged me, gave me pieces of advice or were just there following the path to this race. Some of you just lurk. I appreciate each and everyone of you. Thanks! Thanks a lot! It does make a difference!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

It Is Done! Gone The Run!!

Just a quick note to say...

I did PR!

I did 2 official half-marathons last year. The first was 2:32, the second was 2:27. When I ran the Phedippidations world-wide half last year, I ran it in 2:22.
I am happy with today's results; either the net time of 2:20 or the gun time of 2:24 makes me happy with my efforts.

Training does work!

This is my finisher medal! It is the real reason for the race in the first place.

Great way to spend a weekend!

Race report will come soon!

The Colorado Colfax Race people did a great job! It was a beautiful morning.

I am one very happy turtle this morning!

And They're Off!

In less than 2 hours, the Colorado Colfax Half-Marathon will be at the Start line, then we will be off!

Race report later!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

1 Day To Go...

By this time tomorrow I will have run the half-marathon!

News at 11!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Guess What?

Oh, darn! You guessed it!

2 days to go! (Less than actually!)

I did a quick short run this morning, and am on the taper to the race!

I go for the race packet tomorrow at the expo in City Park. Then off for a relaxing afternoon at the Denver Zoo with family.

Anyone interested in a race report?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Umm... Err...

3 days to go -

I'll run 1 1/2 miles tomorrow and then rest and psyche up on Saturday!

I also have family in town - They want to see the Denver Zoo on Saturday, but that'll work! The Expo is in the same city park that the Zoo is in (and in the same general area!

And... I'm puppy sitting my little friend, Dusty!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

4 Days To Go...

This is it! The Colorado Colfax Half-Marathon!

(From the website -

I’ll be running it at the very early hour of 6:00AM. Remember that I am a swing shifter and, yes – 6:00 AM is extremely early for me!

I’m on the taper now. 2.50 miles tomorrow. 1.50 or so on Friday. Saturday is a rest/psyche up day (I will have to go get the race packetand see what the Expo offers). Sunday morning is the race.

This is a fairly good-sized race in the 3rd or 4th year. There were 2,000 participants in last year’s race. An email returned to me after I asked for the number of registrants told me, “Registration amounts have exceeded last year.”

I think it will be interesting!

I am debating whether or not to carry a camera with me! After all, I will be carrying some foldable cash, some Cliff’s shot blocks and there is room for other. I will not carry a cell this time.

What? Oh that. I anticipate bringing it in under 2:30. I really just want the finisher’s medal!

Thanks everyone for your support! What a great group of friends and fellow bloggers! When you feel that life kicks you in the (well, you know what I mean…) then you can get back up, look it right in the eye and say, “No ifs, ands or butts, please!”

[Did I spell that correctly?]

Monday, May 12, 2008

My First 10K...

Do You Write a Blog?
When do you do it? Obviously time is a factor. You write it when you are able. But…

Do you wait until your mood is up? Do you mull over an entry before you ever consider putting pen to paper (so to speak)? Does a blog have to be upbeat?

Do you share your frustrations? Do you talk about not meeting a goal, or do you sweep it under a rug?

I thought about all of that prior to writing this race report.

The Race Report
I woke up Saturday morning expecting rain and wet streets. I got up in plenty of time and looked outside. It looked like it might have rained but the streets were dry! That changed while I made some coffee and started to get some things ready. I looked out a little after the first time and saw wet streets! Oh no, I thought.

I had my gym bag packed and I was ready to go soon after 7:00 AM. It was dry out when we left. It took us 10 minutes to get the park. There were lots of people there already. I went up to the registration table and got my race packet.

We went back to the car to get warm again. As I looked through the goodie bag, we discovered we did not have a camera with us. We packed up and headed for the house. We got back to the start line with 5 minutes to the start.

Waiting For The Start!

The sun had been out and then gone away. I debated wearing my jacket, but decided against it.

We were off. I hadn’t heard the announcement, but when everyone around you starts to move, it is generally a good thing to go along with them. The race had 194 finishers in the 10K. It was a slow start but soon all of us were on the run.

The course was 6+ miles along the DeKoevend park area and the Highline Canal (an old farming and irrigation canal) in the Southern part of Denver and the suburbs. The weather did not improve much during the run, but there were times of sunshine and I was warm enough to not need my jacket.

We ran north on the highline canal for about a mile. My first mile was at a good pace. People were settling in to a same-paced grouping for most of the run.

There are so many styles and efforts in these things and it can be interesting to observe all of that while you run. There are those who pass you going hell-bent for leather. There are the run/walk people that pas you and then you leap frog them. There were a lot of attractive young ladies who could distract a person.

We turned around and headed back toward the park. The highline canal follows the perimeter of the park. At about the 3mile point, I passed my friend, Tom, and Molly, the dog. I told him I was off on my pace and he shouted to hustle. I was able to pick it up a bit.

3 miles into it!

Then I found the hill! At 3.25 miles into the course there was a right hand turn down a hilly street. I picked it up again to make up some time I knew I would lose on the way back up. I ran that hill, but definitely it slowed me down. I lost the younger guy I was drafting after on that hill.

After the hill, the race continued along the highline canal. Another turn around point put us at 1.5 miles from the finish line. It felt uphill all the way to the turn around point, so this is when I figured I could make up some time. I picked it up.

Before I knew it, I could see the parking lot filled with cars. Soon after that, the tents were visible. The sun had come out and it was warming up considerably. I could see the finish line, so I picked up the pace again. I passed 4 people on the way down the rise. I passed the line with arms up! It was over!

Sprint to the Finish!

Soon after, the sun went under again. I wore my jacket again.

It is a community race so the 5K was delayed until the timekeeping equipment could be freed up. That race started off late.

The winds picked up and the skies got dark. I really felt sorry for those participating in the 5K run/walk. It wasn’t pleasant conditions at the end.

As the awards were handed out, the temperature dropped and the wind got brutal. I stayed for the awards, and then ran again, heading for some warmth and a drive for home.

Times – Personal Record!I placed 143 out of 194. My official time was 1:02:59. Tom got the picture above (1:02:53) as I crossed the line. He also ran a stopwatch from actual crossing the start to crossing the finish line, it pegged it as 1:02:41.

And Now?
All in all, it was a good day. I was disappointed and disillusioned. But I was also glad that I went. It gives me a target for my next 10K race.

Right now, I am concentrating on the Colorado Colfax Half-Marathon on the morning of the 18th.

There is always humor in any situation. This bike was at the park. Notice the clever use of old Colorado License plates used for fenders...

Friday, May 09, 2008

Nervous... Nervous...

My first ever 10K race tomorrow...

I've trained for it. I know I am ready. I really want to run it under an hour. As I am human, the nearer to race time I get the less confidence I have. Why is that?
This is a community fun run. The same venue that last year I ran my first 5K in. That was a lot of fun.

My (umm... err...) coach (Tom, my friend) wants me to give it my all. He states adamantly again and again (and again and again) that it is a competition and that he expects me to bring it in under an hour. I suspect that he is trying to fire me up and get me ready.

I do look at it as a competition. I will give it my all. But I also look at these things as social networking. Getting to talk to other runners and compare notes.

Oh well... We'll see how I do. I'll post a race report sometime this weekend!

Last year - I'm #319. Tom (who for some reason elected not to run this year) is next to me (#320).

Monday, May 05, 2008

Ode to the Long Run!

You know, the long run is an amazing phenomenon! Nothing that I know of is as personal and intimate as it is!

Ode to the Long Run

Here’s to the long run I run every week
It is the path to my performance peak.
Its time spent outside that is making me better
(time outside, of course, is based on the weather)!

At first it’s a matter of getting used to it.
Breathing the air, moving the legs, and feeling fit.
As it’s time alone, it’s also time to think
It becomes automatic, a physical/mental link.

I can listen to music, but not all of the time
I sometimes listen, but it is all sublime.
Left to myself, its my thoughts I explore
Knowing I have lots of time ‘til I make it back to my door.

What do YOU listen to on your long run?
What do you think of? Do you engage yourself mentally for fun?
Or is it more serious, do you solve a personal flaw?
Is your mind on hold, observing the sights of the nature you saw?

Think about it!

Last week, I ran 45.74 miles. It is not that I am a running machine at the cost of everything else. It is actually because I switched the long run last weekend so I could attend a Sunday Jeep trail run (I did not run it, but I did hike 4 miles!)

Just a reminder... I am running a 10K this weekend. I am running my first half-marathon of the year on May 18th. It turns out my sister, Alice, and her daughter, Jessica, will be there to watch and probably laugh ("We didn't know anyone could run a half-marathon that slowly and still finish!") I will get my half-marathon medal!

Long Runs Again?
I thought I would share my paths for my recent weekend long runs. They are both run on the Platte River Recreation Path, both North into Denver territory and South through Englewood and into Littleton. If I were to run them both at the same time it would be a full marathon+! But there is time for that later...

Sunday, April 27th - North in Denver Territory!

Saturday, May 3 - South through Englewood and Littleton.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Snowing Again!

Today is May 1st. It is snowing in the Denver area again. Weather is so much fun this time of year.

Now... Just so you know... I don't have to complain about the weather (there are lots of other things that I could complain about - with or without reason), it is just so much fun to complain about the weather!

I have run 30.05 miles this week. I generally set my training week on a Sunday to Saturday basis. I usually run 30 or so miles a week. I like to do physical runs 6 days a week. This week will change that.

I have a Jeep trail scheduled for Sunday morning. I won't be able to do my usual long run on Sunday. As I have completed my 30 miles already for this week, I was going to take tomorrow as a day of rest (I may run a mile or two to calibrate the Nike+ Sportband). Saturday, I would run 12 miles as my long run for the week (probably on the DREADmill due to the weather). I would take Sunday off and run the additional miles for next week from Monday to Friday. One should be flexible in training.

Nike+ Sportband
I like it. I have calibrated it twice now. The first one was for a base calibration (as I had found out it was recording less than I was running). I didn't do a good job on the calibration, as the next run recorded as longer than I ran and at a much faster pace than I actually ran.
So I reset the unit. Today I ran on the treadmill at a 10:00 pace. I calibrated the USB device using the software again (the treadmill reported 3.55 and the Nike+ system reported 3.33).
I plan on a short (mile or 2) run tomorrow to see if it is closer in the calibration.

1 other observation. The laptop that I use has both Vista Basic and Windows XP Pro on it. I did not like the Nike+ Utility software on the Vista side, but it seems to work great on the WinXP side. Just an observation for those of you interested in the Sportband.

Adam talked of a website that I had not heard of before. I went to try it out. I like the website and will use it in the future. It is an additional website to the others that I use. What does that mean?
The website accepts direct additions (runs, data, information) from several devices, but I am using it for Nike+ information. I can sync to Nike+ and then have Runner+ sync to the Nike site.
Runner+ looks like a great social site and I think it will be very popular in the future!
You can even find an ANOTHER RUNNER challenge there!
Check it out at

Let me know what you think of it!

South Suburban Parks & Recreation - Highline Canal Run
I am running in a 10K on Saturday, May 10. I ran the 5K last year (as my first official competition) mostly due to all of you, my friends and fellow bloggers encouraging me to go and do it! It was a lot of fun last and I look forward to it in less than 9 days! Of course, In addition to the 10K I will have to run to my house from the competition to get my long run of 12+ miles in for the week. That will be my last long run prior to the...

Colorado Colfax Half-Marathon
On Sunday, May 18th, I will be running the Colorado Colfax Half-Marathon. It will be my first Half-marathon of 2008 and my 4th total half-marathon!