When sayin' you're gonna go for it just isn't enough.

Saturday, October 12, 2013


On the eve of my 10th Chicago Marathon, I wanted to share a few thoughts that have been in my head the last few days and weeks.

I love running. I love marathoning. It has taught me so much.  I can honestly say I am a better person because of it. Running has made me appreciate so many things from family to friends to health. I can’t say how many friends I have made through running, friends that live nearby and friends that live across the country and even around the world.  I’ll remain friends with some of these people forever.

Runners are a special breed. We’re weird, we can be selfish, we like to talk about ourselves and definitely like to drink beer and talk about running. And talk about running some more. We wake up early to run, we put our bodies through hell to see if we can run faster or farther than the last time.  Or sometimes both.

I have had the honor of raising money for Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy in honor of little Cru. With the help of many, many people, we were able to raise over $40,000 in 2008 and 2009 to help that organization try to find a cure for that terrible disease.

I have made running goals that I have not met and others that I have crushed. It takes a great support system to be able to do this, and I could not do it without the love and support of my wife Tiffany. She’s everything to me. She’s there unwavering through the ups, the downs and the in-betweens. She’s amazing.

And our two beautiful children are awesome. Most of the time. But they are so much fun. Don’t let anyone ever tell you kids aren’t a lot of work. I run to be healthy. Several health conditions are present in my family and that’s a huge motivating factor for me. I know what I don’t want to happen to me. I want to be around forever for them and for Tiffany.

I love the rush and the feeling of working hard and accomplishing a goal. I remember the things that people say when they doubt your abilities. I still have a list in my head.  I don’t hold ill will toward any of those people, it’s really great motivation.

Anyway, I don’t know if there’s a real point to all of these ramblings. I am grateful and thankful I have been able to run 9 of these in a row. Tomorrow is number 10. After you’ve had success, it’s hard to get caught up in not being in the best shape, not getting the optimal weather, or anything else that may impede you from hitting your goals. This training cycle has been all over the place and I have certainly been in better shape entering a marathon. But I do know a few things. I am excited and thrilled to be running tomorrow. The weather will be fantastic.  I am happy I am healthy and will be toeing the line at Chicago again. It won’t be a PR, but I will give it everything I have. I can’t wait to hear the National Anthem and feel the goose bumps up and down my arms and neck.  And then the horn sounds to start the race. It’s really amazing. I can’t wait to see the millions of people lining the streets. They’re cheering on friends, relatives and strangers all the same. The marathon is a celebration of life - those that are living it to their fullest and those that are no longer here.  I can’t wait to see Tiffany, Isla and Gannon and my in-laws. I have said it before and I’ll say it again, there is nothing better than seeing them on the course.  I will hit the finish line without any regrets.

Here’s to tomorrow and making it as great as possible. I can’t wait.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Highlights from Yesterday's Run

I headed in to the longest run planned run of the cycle, my hamstrings and hip flexors were shot from the company softball game on Friday. No lie. The important part is that we won both games, kept the undefeated streak alive and held onto the Peapod softball trophy for another year. 

Mile 0.01 - Get the Garmin signal get about 10 steps in and trip. And go down hard. I had my water bottle in my right hand and landed on my right arm and shoulder. Holy shit. Peel myself off the pavement in the alley, collect myself and decide to stop my watch. Was now sweating despite it only being about 50 degrees.  My knee is a little bloody, my right arm is bleeding and I can’t lift my arm above my shoulder. If I walk back in 5 minutes after leaving, Tiffany would probably hit me over the head with a baseball bat. And Bosley would probably wake up the kids. Off I go, with a throbbing shoulder, a bloody arm and knee. Only the second time I have fallen in 9 years of running (not including a couple mishaps on some ice).

Mile 1 – 9:12 pace. This is going to be a long morning. 

Mile 4 – After slowly working down the pace, I see the first group of runners from the CARA Ready to Run 20 miler.  Here we fucking go. This training run features bibs and supported water and Gatorade stations. And assholes. Lots of them. Just because you sign up for a training run doesn’t mean you can run 10 wide across the lake path.  After a couple near misses, I finally yell at some of them when a biker passing these guys nearly takes me out. 

Mile 5 – Witness a near collision between a biker and runner. 

Mile 6 – Finally work my way running upstream the crowd and end up mixing back in with the fast runners after they loop around.  Who runs a 20 miler at 6:30 pace? I am guessing this group is probably running too fast. What do I know though?

Mile 7- Try to lift my arm above my shoulder above my head. Can’t. 

Mile 8.5 – Chat with the volunteer at the Fleet Feet Gatorade stand at North Ave. Thank him and tell him to get ready for the onslaught. 

 Mile 10 – Clicking away some potential MP miles.  Pretty much not seeing any bibs, so I found a sweet spot.  Hamstrings, hip flexors, shoulder, all seem to be working well. 

Mile 10.5 – I see a helicopter overhead, about a mile up. Never a good sign.

Mile 11 – Grab a Gatorade, exchange pleasantries with another runner and he tells me he almost smashed into a dude who was on the end of 8 guys wide, not paying attention, and shockingly, wearing a bib. See some police lights ahead.

Mile 11.40 – Is that a plane? Right next to the lake path? WTF? It is a plane. And there are TV trucks everywhere. 

Mile 11.5 – turnaround point. And someone is taking some professional photos in their running gear. You look great, lady. But there’s a plane next to you that apparently landed on Lake Shore Drive a couple hours earlier.

Mile 11.6 – God damn it. Running back upstream. I am at Jackson. I need to get up to Fullerton or Diversey to make them disappear.

Mile 12.5 – Of all the parts on the lake path, this is probably the worst when it comes to footing and space. 75% is very cambered, so a majority of runners run close to the edge of the path. The only thing about this edge is that right over it is the lake. Really. Fall off, you’re in the lake.  Needless to say, there's a pack of fools coming at me, in addition to a growing number of regular people out for walks, jogs, pushing strollers, walking dogs, etc. Have to yell at another guy not paying attention as he’s barely giving enough space for one person to pass. My pace starts slowing down as I am now more concerned about not falling in the lake than how fast I am running.

Mile 12.7 – A warm “Good morning runners!”  from one of the group leaders of the training run. Who’s the asshole now?

Mile 13 – Have a strawberry Clif shot. Makes me want to vomit. Not sure why, normally I like these things. 

Mile 14 – Right shoulder now hurting. Hamstrings barking a bit after the 10 second stop to grab a sip of water and throw away the Clif wrapper. Marathon pace pretty much goes out the window at the end of this mile. 

Mile 14.5 – Grab a Gatorade from the same guy from several  miles ago. Wishes me luck. Tell him I can get away from the crowd in just one more mile. He laughs.

Mile 15.5 – Decide to escape and take the inner path at Fullerton. Sweet relief.

Mile 17.1 – See a dachshund being walked on the path. He has a golf ball in his mouth.

Mile 17.3 – See a raccoon running along the tennis courts. What the hell is going on?

Mile 17.35 – The raccoon is running towards a guy who’s talking to a guy on the other side of the fence.  Should I say something? Not sure, it may be interesting to see what would happen. The guy finally sees him. And starts sprinting.

Mile 18 – A guy passes me. I say hello, he says hi and asks how I am doing. The negative energy has officially taken over and I say. “Hanging in there!” I have now become a negative asshole.  Some people may even say I have been a dickhead for a while.  Get over myself, tell myself I should be happy that I am healthy and out here doing something that I love.

Mile 19 – Choke down a Gu. Or was it a Clif shot? Either way, it sucked.

Mile 20- Taking in water. Not drinking it. Taking it in. Regretting that I decided to run 23 miles. Clearly the good vibes have once again departed.

Mile 21 - Why do people use multiple questions marks? I get it. You're asking a question. The only thing you are emphasizing is your ability to hit the question mark multiple times.

Mile 21.5 – Receive a warm hello from an older lady. Faith in humanity once again restored.

Mile 22.85- Damn it. My tweaked route on the way back in has left me short. Run another block past the house.

Mile 23 – Done. Hobble up the stairs. Realize my shirt on my side is also bloody for some unknown reason.  Just shoot me. A fitting way to unceremoniously end a mediocre training cycle.