Today I Learned… Cross Country Skiing Is Fun!

56 years, 2 months, and 16 days into my life I found out that I actually like cross country skiing!

Now this isn’t my first attempt at XC skiing. Kari and I bought some skis for ourselves Christmas 1992. We took them out to the local park and fell down numerous times and had some fun. We got busy with our young lives together, having kids and moving that most of the time the skis were tossed up into the attic and forgotten about. We tried again shortly after moving into our current home, probably around 2001, but after trying them out on a very difficult place to ski, we brought them home and put them back into the attic again.

Flash ahead to February 2019 we decided to haul them up to our lake home in upper Wisconsin and give them a try up there, a place where winter is serious about being winter. We drove to a place called Minocqua Winter Park where they have numerous groomed trails. However that day the park was hosting a XC ski race, a marathon actually, and after deciding we’d be too embarrassed in front of this group of people we opted to head home and try them out on our frozen lake. That went well until I fell and my 25 year old ski boots ripped apart in the most comical way. The boot literally ripped itself from the sole and left the sole on the ski that was quickly skiing far away from me!

Me holding the ski with the sole of the boot still attached. Looks like I need some new ski boots.

We came up north on January 1st, 2020 to spend some time before the holidays were over and tried to give XC skiing another go. I think we were all a little nervous when we got there, but we checked in and strapped on the skis and found the easiest trail we could find. We all struggled a little at first and there were a few falls, but we quickly got the hang of it and off we went.

My three snow bunnies on the Cookie trail.

Ashley seemed to struggle a little more than the rest of us, falling on her tush enough times that she was having some pain with that. So Kari and her headed back to the chalet and Rebecca and I attempted to complete the loop.

I think we were having more fun taking selfies.
That hill looked seriously dangerous!
Last selfie out on the trail.

I forgot to start my watch’s XC ski app right when we started, but I did hit the start button after about 15 minutes of skiing. When Rebecca and I got back we had gone a little over 3.5 miles in an hour and twenty-one minutes. After reuniting with Kari and Ashley and finding out that Ashley was feeling pretty sore after falling so much, we packed it in and headed home for some much deserved hot chocolate. I can’t wait to go back!

2019 Running and Triathlon Year in Review

 2019 RUNNING AND TRIATHLON YEAR IN REVIEW

I had another great year of running and creating memorable moments in 2019.  So very thankful that I can still do what I enjoy doing and reflecting back on the memories I made.  I have kept track of my running miles since 1989, so I only tally up the number of runs, miles, and time spent running in my stats.  Here’s how 2019 went for me with running and triathlon.

JANUARY – Not much to reflect upon here.  Most were treadmill runs and nothing out of the ordinary.

  • Total Runs:  14
  • Average Weekly Miles:  22.4
  • Total Hours:  11.8
  • Total Miles:  89.5

 

FEBRUARY – Another winter month to get through and focus on recovery.

  • Total Runs:  10
  • Average Weekly Miles:  15
  • Total Hours:  9
  • Total Miles:  60

 

MARCH – Ironman Chattanooga training begins! I chose to be a little loose with the training this time around starting out by following the “Just Finish” plan but then decided to commit to the competitive plan like usual.  I did drop the swimming down considerably, mostly just doing two 45-minute swims per week.  The monthly totals for March reflect what miles the beginning stages of the plan prescribes, plus some time off for a trip to Nashville to see some colleges with Rebecca.

  • Total Runs:  12
  • Average Weekly Miles:  12.1
  • Total Hours:  7
  • Total Miles:  48.3

 

APRIL – Weekly training going well, as long as I don’t ruin things for myself.  For example –  I’m My Own Worst Enemy

  • Total Runs:  16
  • Average Weekly Miles:  23.8
  • Total Hours:  14
  • Total Miles:  95

 

MAY – Still swim/bike/run training and getting into the swing of things.

  • Total Runs:  18
  • Average Weekly Miles:  24.8
  • Total Hours:  13.3
  • Total Miles:  99

 

JUNE – I officially kicked off the racing season this month with a 5K and a sprint triathlon in June.  (See below for the race reports.)

 

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Me with my Short Run on a Long Day 5K age group medal post-race, trying to stay dry.

 

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  30
  • Total Hours:  17.5
  • Total Miles:  119

 

JULY – Time for a vacation and some more racing!

 

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The final stretch of the 2019 Manteno Tri.

 

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  33
  • Total Hours:  19.5
  • Total Miles:  130

 

AUGUST – It got hot just as the training ramped up big time.

 

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Just two Ironman trainees wondering why we love this sport so much.

 

  • Total Runs:  19
  • Average Weekly Miles:  38.4
  • Total Hours:  23.4
  • Total Miles:  154

 

SEPTEMBER – September came with the wrapping up of 30-weeks of Ironman training and racing a very hot 2019 Ironman Chattanooga.  Even with the heat and all the suffering, it was an epic day.

 

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The first 100 feet of the Ironman Chattanooga marathon leg.

 

  • Total Runs:  19
  •  Average Weekly Miles:  36.7
  • Total Hours:  22.5
  • Total Miles:  146.6

 

OCTOBER – I debated with myself as to whether I should defer the Chicago Marathon to 2020 seeing that it was two weeks after Ironman Chattanooga, but I committed to it and decided to see if I could parlay all that Ironman training into another Boston Marathon qualifier.  I did!  But not by much.

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If it wasn’t for the crappy winds, the day would have been perfect marathon running weather.  
  • Total Runs:  15
  • Average Weekly Miles:  24
  • Total Hours:  13.5
  • Total Miles:  95.7

 

NOVEMBER – Looking back at 2018, November 2019 was almost a mirror image in terms of the stats below.  I ran a couple of races, which probably did more damage to me than good.

2019 ACE Wheaton Hot Cider Hustle Saturday (30 of 1951)
The start of the 2019 Hot Cider Hustle, Wheaton, IL.  I’m in 2nd place!  It didn’t last long.
  • Total Runs:  13
  • Average Weekly Miles:  21
  • Total Hours:  12
  • Total Miles:  84

 

DECEMBER – I paid for the four races I did, which ended up causing me some weird leg left leg/knee pain.  I never had pain in the rear portion of the leg/knee area before.  It wouldn’t hurt during the run really, but afterward, I would have some dull pain that would linger.  I would rest it a few days and then feel fine only to go back out and get the same result.  I decided to shut down running on December 26th for the rest of the year.

  • Total Runs: 12
  • Average Weekly Miles: 17.9
  • Total Hours: 11
  • Total Miles: 71.5

 

2019 RUNNING TOTALS

  • Total Runs:  188
  • Average Weekly Miles:  25
  • Total Hours:  174.5
  • Total Miles:  1193.2

 

LIFETIME RUNNING TOTALS (31st Year of Running)

  • Total Lifetime Runs:  4777 – 154 runs per year average
  • Total Lifetime Hours:  3509.5 – 113 hours per year average
  • Total Lifetime Miles:  26188 – 844 miles per year average

 

2019 RACE REPORTS

I had a pretty successful year racing again, getting some more age group and finisher medals to add to my collection.  Here are the summaries with a link to the race recaps.

 

TRIATHLON REVIEW

I think I had a pretty good year with triathlon.  Ironman training went well and ended with a very good effort on an extremely hot day in Chattanooga.  And I medaled in the other two sprint tri’s that I did, which is always the goal.  I’m really looking forward to another year of racing.

SWIM TOTALS:   Total Swims:  34  /  Total Distance:  69,461 yards (39.5 miles)

BIKE TOTALS:  Total Rides:  132  /  Total Miles:  3694

 

GOALS FOR 2020

In May I registered for a race that had piqued my interest.  The race is called the “Big Hill Bonk” (read about it here: My First Ultramarathon?) and is in Beloit, Wisconsin in early April 2020.  It’s an elimination/last runner standing type race format in which you run a 4.16-mile loop in an hour and keep doing that until only one runner is left.  So this run could be my first ultramarathon if I decide to keep going past eight loops.  I was training pretty well for it and starting to build some decent weekend long run miles, but the leg/knee injury thing has screwed up my training.  I think I will still be able to get to the starting line and get in enough loops to push me over 50K.

I decided to take a year off from running the Chicago Marathon.  I have legacy status, so I should be able to sign up again in 2020 for the 2021 race if I want to.  My Gunner teammates and I were discussing doing another Ironman in 2020, but I’m not sure how serious everyone is.  We’re at the point that we have done the races nearest to us and may to commit to traveling farther to do a different race, or just sign up for one we have already done.  A lot of the fun in doing them is experiencing a new race locale.  I hear that Ironman is returning to Idaho in 2021, so I definitely have it on my must-do list.  If the Gunners shoot for another go-around I will definitely be in.  I just have to fit it around getting my youngest off to college.  I’m not missing that.

If the Ironman thing doesn’t pan out and I survive the Big Hill Bonk run, I may look to sign up for a 100-mile ultramarathon.  I have a local friend who is fond of the Tunnel Hill 100 Miler in southern Illinois, but I have also eyed the Hennepin 100 race out by Sterling, Illinois.  We’ll see.  Got to get some experience first.

 

 

 

Confessions of an Un-peaceful Peaceful Sleeper

an amazing run

Last night I was enjoying a really deep sleep.  Honestly, most nights I enjoy a really deep sleep.  Now, you might ask how does one actually “enjoy” a deep sleep?  Well, I’m not sure really, but when the bedquake hit, it jolted me from the deep sleep I was enjoying and I was now no longer enjoying it!  A bedquake?  What’s a bedquake?

A bedquake is something my wife Kari has invented in order to prevent me from having a really deep sleep.  It’s a tactic she resorts to when the foot rub on my calf doesn’t work.  The foot rub on the calf is only good to disrupt my sleep if I’m not that deep into it.  One night I was just dozing off and could feel this strange calf massage thing going on.  I thought, “huh, that’s strange,” and just rolled over and went back to sleep. But…

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Live Classic Rock Songs That Are Better Than The Studio Versions

an amazing run

I was listening to Classic Vinyl on SiriusXM radio in the car the other day when they played the original studio version of Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band’s Turn the Page, and it didn’t seem right.  It sounded different in my ear, as I was used to the live version of the song.  That got me thinking about live versions of rock songs that are much better than the original studio version.  Songs that if the radio DJ was going to play that one specific song, he or she would grab the live version over the studio version every time.

Not sure what propelled the popularity of live albums during the 1970’s.  You don’t see them being as popular in later decades.  Live music and concerts were growing to huge proportions in the 70’s.  It may have been a money grab from the record label, but I’m just…

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2018 Running & Triathlon Year in Review

2018 RUNNING AND TRIATHLON YEAR IN REVIEW

 

 

30th Running Year

I can wrap up 2018 in a couple words:  overtrained and rainy.  In 2018 I turned 55 years old and it certainly feels like it.  The work I did in the three prior years while maintaining a three plus year run everyday running streak turned me into a pretty good runner and triathlete until it became too much.  By the beginning of 2018 I was starting to feel beat up and it only got worse.  By the time I made it to the starting line of my first Boston Marathon in April I wasn’t sure I could even finish it, but I did, in the rain, the first of  many 2018 events run in rainy conditions.  The day after running Boston, I ended my running streak and spent the rest of 2018 trying to recover and rebuild.  There was a little bit of success there, but I am still searching to recapture the ability to get the personal bests that were happening consistently in 2016.

2018 just wasn’t my year for running.  I was in a groove the past five years or so, claiming at each year end that I had just had the best running year ever.  But not this year.  It seems like I have plateaued, hit a wall, or just plain have gotten old.  I’m not sure about the excuse of being old, as I have set plenty of personal bests the last few years in both marathons and Ironman and qualifying for and running my first Boston Marathon.  I think I may have just pushed a little too hard toward the end of 2017 and into 2018 that I need to reset myself.  It’s hard for me because although my body reminds me daily that I’m in my mid-fifties, my brain still acts like a twenty-something.  The brain is writing checks that my body cannot cash any more.  I think I need to put my training on some sort of budget, but my brain has already declared that I’m doing two more marathons next year.  Dumb brain.  Anyway, I did try to dial it back into a rebuild this year, dropping my 3 year running streak and taking more rest days, as well as not trying to set a personal best on every damn training run (thanks a lot, Strava).

30 YEARS – WOW!  One thing I’ve been thinking a lot about as I run is that I have been doing it for 30 years now.  I started experimenting with running in my teens and college days, but I didn’t start keeping track of my miles until 1989, when I started to see myself going farther and getting faster and wanted to see how I improved over time.  I just kept writing it down.  Now I log it with an app, which has taken some of the fun out of it because I used to write down comments and notes about my run when I logged it by hand, but I do not do so as much now.  I used to hand write this yearly wrap up as well, but I think I enjoy sharing it on this blog page more.  I can add photos and leave and share memories that I can look back on easily.  Some day I will get around to writing about the years and miles of running I have accumulated, but for now I will just keep on running and enjoying the miles.

 

 

2018 – RUNNING REVIEW

Here’s a monthly wrap up of my running miles and milestones.

JANUARY

  • Total Runs:  31
  • Average Weekly Miles:  35.5
  • Total Hours:  20.4
  • Total Miles:  142

Nothing much of note in this month.  Training for the Boston Marathon had begun.  I do remember it being super cold and occasional runs in the snow.

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I tossed some older running shirts that I never wear.  That is a big move by me.

FEBRUARY

  • Total Runs:  28
  • Average Weekly Miles:  29
  • Total Hours:  17
  • Total Miles:  116

Still training for Boston in the cold.

MARCH

  • Total Runs:  31
  • Average Weekly Miles:  40
  • Total Hours:  23.4
  • Total Miles:  159

The plan upped the mileage this month preparing for my date with Boston.  I did my one long run on 3/23, an 18 miler.  I had no intention on doing any longer runs.  I was pretty sore and had no energy.

APRIL

  • Total Runs:  23
  • Average Weekly Miles:  27.5
  • Total Hours:  16.3
  • Total Miles:  110
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My first Boston Marathon!  I think that might be Des Linden behind me.  Maybe not.

Yay!  I ran my first Boston Marathon!  It was quite an experience that I will never forget.  I beat Galen Rupp!  Okay, he dropped out and I didn’t, but technically I think that still qualifies as a win.  (The link to my race reports will be at the bottom of this post.)

Immediately after finishing the Boston Marathon I kept the promise to myself that I would drop my running streak. I needed to recover from 3 plus years of running at least a mile every day.  It was a good challenge, but it had worn out it’s welcome.  Here’s the wrap up of the running streak:  RIP Running Streak

MAY

  • Total Runs:  17
  • Average Weekly Miles:  25
  • Total Hours:  14.75
  • Total Miles:  100

Recovery from Boston was pretty quick and I started enjoying some milder running weather.  I was kind of surprised that I hit 100 miles this month.

JUNE

  • Total Runs:  18
  • Average Weekly Miles:  23
  • Total Hours:  13.3
  • Total Miles:  93
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Had fun running the 5K with the youngin’s, Ben and his girlfriend Emily.  Ben was the overall winner and Emily grabbed 1st in her age group and 13th overall.

I jumped back into the 5K race season with a decent but slower than usual finish time, but still nabbed a first place age group award in the getting old division at the Frankfort Short Run on a Long Day 5K.  As nice of a finish that is, I had my first ever Did Not Start to a race I had signed up for.  The weather on race day morning of the Batavia Triathlon was threatening enough for me not to waste my time driving up there, thinking it would be canceled.  I took a gamble and lost, as the race was delayed and shortened, but it’s a punch to the gut when you drop out when others committed to it and got it done.

JULY

  • Total Runs:  17
  • Average Weekly Miles:  33
  • Total Hours:  19.7
  • Total Miles:  135

The corral seeding came out for the Chicago Marathon and they put me in the E corral, which is weird because the time I used to qualify for the race should have put me in the D corral from the start.  So, I applied to move up to the D corral based on that previous qualifying time and hatched a plan to move up to the C corral by trying to run a qualifier in a half marathon.  So on 7/21 I toed the line in Hoffman Estates and attempted to run a sub-1:35 half marathon.  I was kind of shooting for the stars, and missed it by about 4 minutes, but it was a pretty good time for a rainy half marathon in July.  I was happy to be in the D corral.

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‘Murica!  The people behind me were finishing the 10K as I wrapped up the half marathon.  I love when that happens.

I also did the Manteno Tri at the end of this month, with Kari doing the duathlon.  We both did well, placing 2nd in our age groups.  Fun race.

AUGUST

  • Total Runs:  20
  • Average Weekly Miles:  39.5
  • Total Hours:  23.4
  • Total Miles:  158

Marathon training was ramping up again.  I did the Chicago Triathlon with my Gunner mates and our side kicks.  That was a hot race.  First time that I HAD to walk a portion of a running race as the temp was into the 90’s.

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SEPTEMBER

  • Total Runs:  19
  •  Average Weekly Miles:  42
  • Total Hours:  24.2
  • Total Miles:  167

Highlight of this month was running the Frankfort/New Lenox Running Club’s 20 mile training run.  I did surprisingly well and built a lot of confidence on a mid-September Saturday.  Since it’s not a race, here’s the link to that report:  The Dreaded 20 Mile Training Run

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Last few feet of the F’NRC 20 mile training run.

OCTOBER

  • Total Runs:  17
  • Average Weekly Miles:  25
  • Total Hours:  15
  • Total Miles:  102

I gave my best to the 2018 Chicago Marathon but it just wasn’t my year.  I held on and was on pace for the first half and slowly lost it from there.  The highlight of the race was running with my son Ben, who was running his first.  And boy did he, finishing in 2:47.  Impressive!  I dialed it way back after the marathon.

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Running the marathon with my son was the highlight of the year.

NOVEMBER

  • Total Runs:  13
  • Average Weekly Miles:  21
  • Total Hours:  12
  • Total Miles:  83

I really went into recovery mode in November and I think it paid off.  I find that my feet and calves were no longer killing me like they were in 2017.  I did start adding some bike spinning on non-running days.

DECEMBER

  • Total Runs: 15
  • Average Weekly Miles: 20
  • Total Hours: 12
  • Total Miles: 82

 

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2018 RUNNING TOTALS

  • Total Runs:  249
  • Average Weekly Miles:  27.8
  • Total Hours:  211.5
  • Total Miles:  1447

 

LIFETIME RUNNING TOTALS

  • Total Lifetime Runs:  4589 – 153 runs per year average
  • Total Lifetime Hours:  3335 – 111 hours per year average
  • Total Lifetime Miles:  24995 (Really?!  Missed it by 5 miles!) – 833 miles per year average

 

TRIATHLON REVIEW

This was a dial back year of sorts for triathlon.  I signed up for three and only started two  as I chickened out for the Batavia Tri.  But the year was pretty much dedicated to doing the Boston and Chicago marathons.  I was thinking that 2019 would be a bigger year for tri’s but I’ve already signed up for two more marathons!  I am definitely planning on another Ironman in the next year or two.  Swim and bike totals were way down from 2017.

SWIM TOTALS:   Total Swims:  11  /  Total Distance:  14,475 yards

BIKE TOTALS:  Total Rides:  75  /  Total Miles:  1484

 

RACE REPORTS

 

GOALS FOR 2019

I was really planning to take it easy in 2019, seeing that I didn’t re-qualify for Boston, but that just made me mad.  Ben and Emily qualified for Boston 2020 and now I wasn’t content to be a spectator, which I was just fine with in October.  But I thought it over and decided to give it one more shot at qualifying.  I looked around and found the Spring BQ 26.2 in Batavia, IL in early April 2019.  Fortunately, I met the qualifying standard to get into this race and I look forward to running it.  It’s an 8 lapper on a bike path, and they treat you like an elite with a table for your own sports drink and nutrition – cool!  I hope to dial it in, lock it down and run sub-3:35 for another BQ and join Ben and Emily in Boston.  But if it doesn’t happen, I’ll once again be glad to be a spectator in Boston.

Speaking of dialing it in, I’m going to utilize Don Fink’s Mastering the Marathon plan for us older athletes.  It’s geared to the over 40 runners, which I certainly qualify.  There’s more recovery and I can swap some runs in the plan for running related activities, in my case cycling.  This will hopefully still prepare me to do well at the marathon as well as allow me to gear up for the triathlon season.

Regardless of how I do in the spring marathon, I plan on taking it easy for Chicago.  The only way I push hard is if my buddy Jeff wants to run it together, but I don’t think I can keep up with him.  I’m thinking I might put that race away for a while even though I have legacy status to maintain.  Running it every other year would maintain my legacy status.  I might focus on 70.3’s and Ironman for a while instead.

Of course I still plan on running my favorite local 5K’s and the triathlons I like to do.  I’m already signed up for the Batavia Tri and will definitely sign up for Manteno again.  It’s a fun race.

That’s it for 2018.  See you on the trail in 2019!

2018 Chicago Marathon Race Report

2018 Chicago Marathon

October 7, 2018 / Chicago, Illinois

Time:  3:52:07

Place:  11629 Overall / 8508 Male

 

For my 19th time, I hereby do declare I WILL NEVER RUN ANOTHER MARATHON AGAIN!  This time I MEAN IT!

This Chicago Marathon will definitely go down as one of my most memorable.  The race was my third long distance race this year that was run in the rain.  It brought back memories of Boston last April, cool temps, wind and rain.  This was a light version of Boston though.  The temperature was near 60 degrees instead of 40, and the rain wasn’t pouring.  The wind was only noticeable when running certain directions, and only briefly.  Thankfully, Boston taught me how to manage crappy running weather, but you can never be fully prepared.  And it turns out I’m not sure I was fully prepared for this one.

I was looking forward to running Chicago, as my son was going to be running it as his first marathon.  Notice I didn’t say that we would be running it together.  He’s fast, I’m not.  Well, not as fast as he is anyway.  But I looked forward to sharing that experience together.

Here’s the lowdown on how the Chicago Marathon went for me.

TRAINING

After finishing the Boston Marathon I needed to give my body a break.  I was beat.  I showed up at Boston way overtrained and worn out.  The day after Boston I ended my three year running streak of running at least a mile everyday, and told myself I had to get myself right again.

After a trip to the doctor, I learned what I was kind of assuming, that I had thyroid issues.  Blood tests confirmed it, and now I’m taking a synthetic thyroid medication for the rest of my life.  I had thought that it might change things for me metabolically, but my doctor buddy said not to expect miracles.  He was right.  I really struggled to lose the ten pounds I had gained over the winter and spring.  Eventually, I did drop a few pounds, but nothing like what I had expected.  One positive was that I wasn’t as tired as I had been before, so that is a plus.

In mid-June I began following the same 16-week advanced training plan that I usually use.  I also had been doing some triathlon related training, hoping to throw in a couple of races before the longer mileage weeks started to kick in.  I ended up doing a sprint triathlon in June and the Chicago Triathlon in August.

I was a little nervous about the training after struggling with the Boston training and the race itself, but it actually went pretty well.  The highlight for me was the 20 mile training run I did three weeks out from the race.  I was able to hold my 8 min/mile pace fairly easily through that run and it really gave me a confidence boost.  You can read about it here:  The Dreaded 20 Mile Training Run

 

RACE WEEKEND

I took Friday off and headed to Chicago to attend the expo with Ben and his girl friend Emily.  Every year that I had gone to the expo I would see proud Boston finishers parading around in their Boston Marathon jackets and be somewhat envious.  This year, even though I didn’t really need a jacket, I decided I was going to peacock the hell out my one Boston Marathon finish and sport that damn jacket at the expo.  I wasn’t alone.  I saw numerous Boston 2018 celebration jackets.

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Me, Ben and my jacket heading to meet Emily and go to the expo.

 

We ended up getting there around midday, and man was it crazy!  I had never seen it so crowded before.

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For a minute I thought I was in the corral of the actual race.  This was just the holding area to get in and pick up the race packet.  I had never seen it this bad before.

Ben and I got our bibs and started the trek through the expo.  We ended up spending money on mostly disappointing official Nike marathon gear and other odds and ends.  We caught a glimpse of Deena Kastor and then decided to get out of there.  The expo can be overwhelming after awhile.

Saturday, we all met downtown in the late afternoon and met at our hotel, the Chicago Palmer House Hilton.  The hotel lobby was impressive, the rooms not so much.  It’s location to the race start area was ideal, but a little bit of a hike from the finish.  The Chicago Hilton is a better option for being closer to the finish, but I didn’t book it fast enough and had to settle for the Palmer House.  I will say there were better dining options nearby, and I opted for the Corner Bakery and got some loaded baked potato soup and bread for an evening carb load.  I had already eaten some pasta at home around 1 pm, so I think I had enough carb loading for the day.

Ben and I talked some race day strategy and I laid out my options for what to wear in the race.  I had already kind of chosen the outfit, but I had brought some options in case I changed my mind.

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Only thing not showing is my matching grey with red Hoka Cliftons.

Sleep went well except for a weird moment in the middle of the night where I found myself sweating like crazy.  I got up, used the bathroom, and went back to sleep.  The alarm finally went off, and I got myself ready for the day.

 

RACE MORNING

Ben met me at the room and after some last minute assurances, we decided it was time to head to the corrals.

 

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It wasn’t raining yet, but we wanted to keep warm.

We were advised to go into the corrals by entering into a specific gate based on our corral assignments, but I wasn’t having any of that.  The first and closest gate was at Jackson and we got in line.  Just as we were getting near the inspection point this Chinese guy cuts in front of us.  Then he couldn’t understand why they wouldn’t let him carry in his sling bag because only the clear plastic gear bag was allowed.  Fortunately, they let him put it into his gear bag, which he should have done in the first place.  Off to a great start, but we weren’t done with him yet.  As you pass security, there are event photographers ready to take your pre-race photo, so Ben and I decided to do so.  Just after the guy takes our picture, we realize the guy photobombed us.

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We made an international friend!

I’m smiling in the photo, but I was laughing right after it when I realized he was in the photo too!  Here’s one without Mr. E10796:

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Still laughing about our friend.

Ben and I got to the split where Corrals A and B went one way and C through E went another.  I told him that I loved him and that I was proud of him and that I don’t tell him that enough.  We hugged and I headed straight to the toilets.

Once in the corral I found it pretty empty as I was there pretty early.  So I headed to the front of it to the rope that separates the C corral from D and just hung out.  I used my portable urinal (my nearly empty Gatorade bottle) under my plastic bag three times before the race started which surprised me, as I had used the port-o-lets twice before getting into my corral.  Nerves I guess.  After the anthem the start horn blew and I pulled the plastic garbage bag off and tossed the bag and bottle over the fence, and we started the 7 minute shuffle to the start line.  Ben said he crossed the line within 10 seconds.  It took me 7:18 to cross it.  I gave him a head start.

 

RACE

Start to 5K:  Overall Time:  0:25:12 / Ave. Pace 8:07 min/mile

I started off well and felt pretty strong, although my first split was about 8:15 min/mile which surprised me a little.  It is hard to concentrate on pace right at the start because we are still packed tight a little, and you spend more time getting through the field than thinking about pace.  It was in that first half mile that my Garmin lost track of me as we were under Randolph Street and Wacker Drive and put my split a couple of tenths off at each subsequent mile marker.  Ben was going to hit his lap button every mile, but I’m done with that business.  I had decided I was warm enough without my homemade tube sock arm warmers and stuck them in my shorts in case I needed them again.

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Ben (in blue) coming thru the 4K area where our cheer crew was waiting.

Our Cheer Crew was amazing.  Kari and Rebecca, along with our friends Jeff and Jill were there, plus Emily and a couple of Ben’s running buddies from Loras College braved the wet day to cheer us on.  Although I had told Kari to stick with Ben, I saw Jeff and Jill up through the half way point, and then Jeff at a few other spots.  Seeing everyone was always a big pick-me-up.

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Me greeting the Cheer Crew.  

 

5K to 10K:  Overall time:  0:49:03 / 5K Split:  0:24:31 / Ave. Pace 7:54 min/mile

It was raining pretty steady now but I wasn’t cold really.  I managed to get my pace under 8 minute miles and was feeling good.  Nothing out of the ordinary through here, just still going north.

 

10K to 15K:  Overall time:  1:14:29 / 5K Split:  0:24:27 / Ave. Pace 7:59 min/mile

Miles 6 through 9 really had nothing remarkable about them.  Right about the 10K mark the 3:25 pace group went by me and I took note of that.  I usually see an Elvis impersonator through this stretch, but I’m guessing that he wasn’t into the rain this year. I did start to sense I was getting a blister on my left pinky toe from my shoes being soaked.  That was a little surprising because I had lubed up my toes very well.  Kept my average pace near 8 min/miles.

 

15K to 20K:  Overall time:  1:39:55 / 5K Split:  0:25:26 / Ave. Pace 8:11 min/mile

As I neared the halfway point, I started to tell I was slowing a little.  The effort was getting harder even though I was on top of my nutrition plan.  I felt okay, but that would change as I passed the halfway point.

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Wet, but still content.  (This photo won’t stay center justified for some reason!)

 

Halfway:   Overall Time:  1:45:42 / Ave. Pace 8:29 min/mile

I hit the halfway and felt not so great.  I was only 45 seconds over my intended split of 1:45:00 for the half, but I knew that I was losing it.  My average pace dropped from 8 to 8:30 min/mile and I really didn’t see how I was going to maintain it.

 

Halfway to 25K:  Overall Time:  2:06:32 / Split:  0:20:51 / Ave. Pace 8:36 min/mile

At the 14 mile area I saw Jeff and Jill and said I wasn’t feeling good any longer.  It seemed like I was being drained of my energy.  We had just passed a couple little inclines downtown, but I don’t think that was a factor.  I was starting to realize that this was going to be a get to the finish line in one piece marathon for me.  My time goal of 3:30 was slipping away.

 

25K to 30K:  Overall Time:  2:34:01 / 5K Split:  0:27:30 / Ave. Pace 8:51 min/mile

I generally call this section the Dead Zone and it was no different this year.  It’s mainly just runners along this portion as it is the farthest west part of the course.  I will say though, that I expected the rain to drive away the crowds this year and in reality, the course was pretty populated with cheering fans.  My time is creeping closer to the 9 min/mile average.

 

30K to 35K:  Overall Time:  3:03:47 / 5K Split:  0:29:46 / Ave. Pace 9:35 min/mile

Running through Pilsen and Chinatown are highlights of the race usually, but not this time.  I just wanted to get past the 20 mile mark and know I had 10K to go.  It was in this section that the 3:30 pace group passed me by like I was standing still.  I was resigned that my goal of finishing 3:30 was gone, and I also knew that being sub-3:35 for a Boston Marathon qualifier was pretty much out the door.  I was a just finisher now.

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Mile 21 – Chinatown

 

35K to 40K:  Overall Time:  3:37:22 / 5K Split:  0:33:35 / Ave. Pace 10:49 min/mile

Hello 3:35 pace group.  Goodbye 3:35 pace group.  I was walking the aid stations now and willing myself to keep moving forward.  In 2016 I was passing these zombies, this year I was one of the un-dead.  Along this section I did get a pick-me-up though – I saw the guy that is always at Ironman Wisconsin on Old Sauk Pass wearing the orange afro-wig.  He was cheering us on here as well.  I stopped and said hello to him because we spent some time with him on that course cheering for Jeff and his sister Jan.

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I wish I had a good side, but sadly I don’t.  This definitely isn’t it.  I feel bad for E8772, having my dumb ass in his photo.  

 

40K to the Finish:  Overall time:  3:52:07 / Split 0:14:46 / Ave. Pace 10:50 min/mile

I saw Kari and Rebecca waiting for me after the 25 mile mark and I stopped to say hello.  Not much longer and I would be done.

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Saw Kari and Rebecca and I headed to their side of Michigan Avenue.  

I started to press forward and make it up Roosevelt Road and head to the finish.  As I was climbing Mount Roosevelt as we marathoners call it, a volunteer said to “Fight up the hill!”  I told her I was a lover not a fighter.  She laughed and then I heard her yell, “then Love up that hill!”

As I headed toward the finish I heard my name get called out from the stands.  I turned to look and saw Calvin Jordan, a fellow runner from New Lenox that I had met this fall.  I made a beeline over to him and said hello.  I think he thought I was nuts not sprinting for the finish, but I was glad to end the run with a friendly face and hello.

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Wrapping it up.  
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Finally done with 26.2 miles.  

 

Conclusion

The goal for me was to take advantage of a 10 minute Boston qualifying cushion that I would receive just by turning 55 years old.  But in September, the BAA decided to reduce the qualifying times by 5 minutes.  So I went from needing a 3:40 marathon to 3:35, which didn’t seem to be out of the possibility for me seeing that I had ran a 3:25 in 2016.  But this just wasn’t my year.  I wanted to join Ben and Emily in Boston in 2020, but instead of being in the field, I will happily go to be a spectator.

I think my main issue this year was volume, and essentially too much of it for a guy in his mid-fifties.  When I finished Boston in April, my body was beat.  Everything hurt.  So I dropped the 3+ year running streak I had and worked on rebuilding myself.  I was really feeling pretty good again come summer, and when I did my 20 mile training run in late September, I held that 8 min/mile pace well.  Just wasn’t my year this year.

But I must say I’m very proud of my 3:52:07 finish.  Being sub-4 hours is always pretty cool.

 

Ben made me very proud.  He crushed his first marathon in 2:47:11!  After the race he seemed like it was just another day of running to him!  Not tired at all.  The next day I went out and got my Chicago Tribune and saw that he was in the banner photo at the top!

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I also found this photo of him online.  Not sure where that hard left turn is, but seeing that the field is pretty spread out and the sparse crowd, I’m guessing toward the latter part of the race.  It could be up near mile 8 though.  

 

We wrapped up race day back at the Corner Bakery with some hot soup and then headed for home.

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The Trump Tower was off to the left of me and I was trying to pull Ben over to get the sign in the photo, but he wasn’t having any of that!  Proud dad with his running boy!

 

 

 

Ranking the Rock Group Names of RnR HOF Inductees

Okay, I’m bored.  My training is over for the season, and it’s raining outside.  I was running on the treadmill, listening to my shuffled music playlist and thinking about the names of the bands that I was listening to:  Judas Priest.  The Babys.  Foreigner.  So I started thinking which names were just bad and which names were bad ass.  Then I thought there are too many names out there to list, so I decided to rank the names of the groups that have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Although I did give a pass to a couple of bands with proper names, I immediately dismissed singular artists and those who went by their names from this list.  Although the Jimi Hendrix Experience might be one of the most bad ass names out there, I am choosing not to use proper names.  These bands didn’t choose the name, it was given and they probably couldn’t think of a cool name on their own, or they had the “all about me” attitude.  So forget Elton John, Billy Joel, and Bruce Springsteen.  It’s my list, go make your own.  I also omitted back up bands that were second to the main star, such as The Comets, The Crickets, and The Four Seasons.

I ranked them not by how musical they are, or how much I like the band.  If that was the case the list would be 1. Rush, 2. Styx (not in the HoF, I know.  They’re in mine.) – but more about how I feel the name conveys the spirit of the group.  I have tried to include an explanation of the name, which can make their ranking better or worse in some cases.  Special consideration is given to how rock and roll the name is.  And mostly if it really is bad ass.  

Remember, this isn’t about the band or their music – just their names.  This might be the most useless list of all time.   I probably wasted five hours on this dumb list.  I had fun with it though.

 

 

FROM WORST TO BEST – MY RANKING OF ROCK AND ROLL GROUP NAMES FROM GROUPS INDUCTED INTO THE ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME 

 

Now for the really bad.  The Worst Name Goes to…

85 – THE STOOGES – Year after year my favorite band Rush was passed over, and these guys get in way before them?!  I can’t even think of a single song that these dopes even sang.  They do absolutely nothing for me, and the fact that it sounds like they ripped off the name from the Three Stooges really pisses me off!  WORST NAME ON MY LIST, BOYS.  P.S. YOU SUCK!

84 – N.W.A. – W.T.F.?  Not rock and roll.  Hate the genre, hate the name, hate the fact they are in the HoF.

83 – THE MOONGLOWS – Never heard of them, typical 1950’s era singing group name.  At least they aren’t N.W.A.

82 – THE BLUE CAPS – I never heard of these guys either, but I have learned that a whole lot of awesome musicians were inspired by this early rock and roll back up band.  The name is a bottom feeder.

81 – THE FAMOUS FLAMES – Never heard of them.  Have you heard of James Brown?  He got his start here.

80 – THE FLAMINGOS – Inspired by flamingos, apparently.  I’m uninspired.

79 – THE DELLS – Not sure of the origin of the name, but the band hailed from Harvey, Illinois.

78 – THE RONETTES – “Ette” anything is uninspiring.  Inspired Eddie Money, though.

77 – THE SHIRELLES – Shirley = Shirelles.

76 – RUN-DMC – Again, not rock and roll.  Just nicknames.

75 – THE COASTERS – The story is they went from coast to coast.

74 – THE IMPRESSIONS – Sorry, they never left one on me.

73 – THE COMETS – These guys produced the music for Bill Haley, who took all the credit.  Not sure why the RnR HoF gave them their own induction.

72 – THE CRICKETS – Buddy Holly’s band.  Named for the insect that seems to them to be the most musical.  I guess they carried on without Buddy.

71 – SEX PISTOLS – Okay, I’m not going to even look this one up.  I don’t want to know.  Very punk rock though.  I should probably rank them higher, but screw punk rock.

70 – TRAFFIC – They got the idea from watching cars drive by.  Boring activity, boring name.

69 – LOVIN’ SPOONFUL – A nod to heroin?!  Yikes.  In reality, it came from a song lyric by some guy named John Hurt.  Do you believe in magic?

68 – THE HOLLIES – Must have thought the world of Buddy Holly.  A lot of those in the HoF did.

67 – THE MAMAS AND THE PAPAS – Folkies, whom I would have guessed the Mamas portion of the name came from Mama Cass.  But I guess the Hell’s Angels referred to their female companions as “mamas.”  Why they would honor that, who knows.

66 – JACKSON 5 – They were the Jackson’s and there was five of them.  One was named Michael, I believe.

65 – THE YARDBIRDS – I would have guessed they added “yard” to the “birds” to differentiate themselves from The Byrds, but I guess it referred to hobos hanging out along the rail yard.  That little fact alone moves it up a little higher on the chart for me.

64 – THE VENTURES – Suggested by one of the band member’s mother.  Negative points for that, dudes.  Hawaii 5-0 is legendary though.

63 – THE BAND – When Dylan switched to electric guitar, it pissed off the critics.  The Band worked with Dylan at that time and apparently the band known as “The Hawks” were snubbed by the critics, referring to them as just “the band.”  Uninspiring name, but they have their devotees.

62 – U2 – Most assume it has to do the spy plane, but apparently Bono says it was about interacting with the audience, as in “you too.”  Okay, Bono.

61 – THE POLICE – I couldn’t confirm this, but apparently Stewart Copeland’s dad was in the CIA, and he suggested the name. Great band, boring name.

60 – THE BEACH BOYS – These California boys were supposed to be the embodiment of the beach lifestyle.  In reality, none of them knew how to surf.  But they nailed the culture for sure.

59 – THE O’JAYS – Named themselves after a popular Cleveland disc jockey.

58 – THE PLATTERS – The name defines the 50’s era groups.

57 – THE DRIFTERS – Apparently, a lot of members drifted in and out of this band.

56 – RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS – They’re red, they’re hot, yada yada yada.

55 – THE (YOUNG) RASCALS – They wanted to be called “The Rascals” but another group called “Harmonica Rascals” said to stop it, so their manager added the “Young” part.  I wonder whatever happened to the “Harmonica Rascals?”  Actually, I don’t care.

54 – PARLIMENT FUNKADELIC – Basically a combo of two groups, but I don’t care where the name comes from, the name fits the band.

53 – ABBA – The name comes from the first initials of each of the band members:  Agnetha, Benny, Bjorn, and Anni-Frid.  Is it Ah-baa, or AB-a?  I’ll never get it right.

52 – GREEN DAY – Pot plays a roll in this one.  No kidding.  Originally they called themselves “Sweet Children.”  Green Day is a reference to Billie Joe’s first pot experience.  Okay.

51 – THE SMALL FACES/FACES – We have small faces, lets go with that!

50 – THE DOORS – Typical of 1960’s era bands, it seems like they just said “Hey, there’s a door! Let’s roll with that.”  But actually it came from a book called “The Doors of Perception,” which had some sort of trippy meaning.  Far out, man.

49 – CREAM – They considered themselves the cream of the crop.  I guess.

48 – NIRVANA – “I wanted a name that was kind of beautiful or nice and pretty instead of a mean, raunchy punk name like the Angry Samoans.”  – Kurt Cobain.  Talk about taking people by surprise.

47 – TALKING HEADS – A friend of Tina Weymouth’s suggested the name.

 

The names are getting a little better…

46 – EAGLES – In Steve Martin’s biography he mentions that Glen Frey (I think) was a friend and was starting a band called “Eagles.”  Steve questions it and inquires if he means “The Eagles”.  Frey was adamant about it just being Eagles.  I’m with Steve.

45 – BUFFALO SPRINGFIELD – Took the name from a steam roller parked on a roadway.

44 – R.E.M. – They had some really bad name ideas prior to Stipe randomly picking the name from a dictionary.  Thank god.  Previous suggestions of “Can of Piss” and “Negro Wives” probably were not in their best interests.

43 – BEASTIE BOYS – My thoughts on the Rock and Roll HoF are that it should only include true rock and roll artists, but that line isn’t clear cut anymore.  And even though I kind of dismissed this band as being rap-crap, it’s rap-crap with a rock and roll attitude.

42 – ALICE COOPER – Wait a minute!  I know I said no proper names!  But who we all assume to be Alice was really Vincent Furnier.  Originally they called themselves the Spiders, but decided to change their name from something obvious to something a little more “old lady-ish” to have more shock value, according to Vincent – oops, I mean Alice.

41 – BLONDIE – Pretty obvious that the name comes from Deborah Harry’s bleached out hair. Got into the HoF on the strength of what, two songs?  Gimme a break.

40 – GUNS N’ ROSES – Shouldn’t it be Guns ‘n’ Roses?  I always heard it was a combo of the names of L.A. Guns Tracii Guns and Axl Rose’s names.  This is a band that makes me immediately change the radio station.  I’m not sure why.  I bought the first album and liked it.  Just got sick of it.  But the name defines the hard rocking Hair Band era.

39 – PUBLIC ENEMY – Again, not a fan of non-rock and roll.  But a pretty good name.

38 – CHICAGO – These guys went from calling themselves the “Big Thing” to “Chicago Transit Authority,” who quickly ordered them to cease and desist.  They shortened it to Chicago, playing homage to their city.  I’m surprised old man Daley didn’t tell them to knock it off too.

37 – AC/DC – The Young boys got the name from the back of their sister’s sewing machine that was labeled AC/DC.  She sewed Angus’s school boy uniform for him.  They thought that reflected the power of their sound.  Later they were bit embarrassed to find out that it also meant being bisexual.

36 – THE PRETENDERS – Apparently took the name from the song “The Great Pretender” from fellow inductees The Platters.

35 – STEELY DAN – Are you ready for this?  It came from a name of a dildo in some book.  Dan was Steely, for sure.  I would have ranked them higher if it wasn’t for the dildo thing

34 – CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL – John Fogerty had a friend named Creedence Nuball, and the Clearwater part came from a beer advertisement.  The Revival was a nod to the numerous changes the band had gone through.  It’s a mouthful, but CCR is all you need to say.

33 – KISS – This was the band of my preteen years.  I had every album.  The best part of the name is the logo.  One of the best logos ever.

32 – QUEEN – I took several years of me listening to this band to understand the reference.  And I was shocked when it was announced that Freddie had AIDS.  Certainly rock royalty.

31 – HEART – Started as Hocus Pocus and White Heart and dropped the unnecessary parts.  Great band.  Definitely defines the spirit of the Wilson sisters.  I hear they are fighting and not talking to each other.  Maybe should rename themselves “Broken Heart.”

30 – THE BYRDS – The Birds would probably be at the bottom of the list.  Changing the “i” to a “y” = genius.  Actually, they were just following what the Beatles did.

29 – FLEETWOOD MAC – I’m giving another pass to a group name consisting of proper names.  The drummer isn’t named Fleetwood Mac, or Mac Fleetwood.  His name is Mick Fleetwood, and his buddy was bassist John McVie, aka Mac.  Apparently Peter Green who was the guitarist in the group at the time coined the name to keep them from leaving.

28 – YES – A simple positive name that was supposed to be temporary.  It stuck.  One of the best band logos ever.

27 – ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA – From what I can gather, a “light” orchestra was just that, a small group of string instruments.  And ELO electrified that concept.

26 – THE ANIMALS – Given the name thanks to their wild stage performances.  Easy there, tiger.

25 – THE TEMPTATIONS – This group may own the record for most “previously known as” group names.  Another iconic name.

24 – THE SUPREMES – Staked their claim to girl group rock royalty with that name.  This list isn’t about my favorite groups, remember?

23 – THE WHO – Apparently they were already going deaf from how loud they played that they couldn’t hear the suggestions of friends.  The who?  Yes, that’s right.  Whatever the name, they should be on Mount Rockmore with the Beatles and Stones.

22 – JOURNEY – They tried a radio contest to name the band, but didn’t click with any of the suggestions.  They went from “Golden Gate Rhythm Section” (horrible) to Journey after one of their roadies suggested it.  Their “journey’ took them from jazz fusion/prog rock to arena rock kings.

21 – EARTH, WIND & FIRE – A couple of the band member’s zodiac signs had influence on the name.  I think it conveys their music pretty well.

20 – PEARL JAM – If I get this wrong, I’m going to hear about it from a buddy.  They loved basketball player Mookie Blaylock for some reason, and originally called themselves that.  Avoiding possible legal issues they changed it to Pearl and added Jam.  Eddie Vedder had a great-grandmother named Pearl, and the Jam part I read came from attending a Neil Young concert in which he “jammed” on stage.  I dunno.  Cool name though.  I should rank them higher, but my buddy dissed the Barenaked Ladies once.  There has to be some punishment for that.

19 – JEFFERSON AIRPLANE – One of the members had a friend who gave out silly nick names. The nickname “Blind Thomas Jefferson Airplane” was shortened.  I’m guessing they jumped on the sci-fi bandwagon of the late 70’s to change Airplane to Starship.  Both are unique and interesting, and fit the styles of music the band was playing at the time.

18 – THE CLASH – Inspired from newspaper articles referring to news about clashes in current events.  The name fits the band.

17 – DEEP PURPLE – Ritchie Blackmore’s grandmother liked a Bing Crosby song called “Deep Purple.”  No lie.  I looked it up.

16 – THE VELVET UNDERGROUND – The name comes from a book about “the secret sexual subculture” of the 1960’s.  Whatever.  Cool name though.

15 – THE BEATLES – I get it, they got the beat.  Actually, they pretty much defined where rock and roll was at and where it was going.  For the early 1960’s, it was spot on.

14 – GENESIS – The band shortened the name from “Genesis to Revelation.”  I’m glad they did.

13 – THE GRATEFUL DEAD – I never got this band or their popularity, but the name is super cool.  Apparently chosen by Jerry Garcia from a dictionary.

12 – THE KINKS – A huge part of the British Invasion, and one that left a mark.  Great name.  It probably pissed off a lot of Archie Bunker types with baby boomer daughters.

11 – METALLICA – For someone who liked hard rock, I never clicked with these guys at their start.  But the name exemplifies BAD ASS.

 

And now for the Top Ten…

10 – PINK FLOYD – By the way, which one is Pink?  Actually Pink is Pink Anderson and Floyd was Floyd Council, two blues artists that Sid Barrett had records of.  Was called “The Pink Floyd Sound” for a while, and apparently David Gilmour occasionally refers to the band as “The Pink Floyd.”  Iconic rock name.

9 – LED ZEPPELIN – Keith Moon was said to react to the formation of this band with how he thought it would go over.  I guess he was wrong.

8 – CHEAP TRICK – Apparently they took in a Slade concert and Tom Petersson commented that they used every “cheap trick” in their show.  The band nails the moniker.

7 – VAN HALEN – It’s a last name, and I’m breaking my rule again.  But you can shut up.  Probably one of the coolest names from bands from my era.

6 – ZZ TOP – Lots of arguing over the origin of this one.  Popular is the suggestion that the two most known cigarette rolling papers were Zig-Zag and Top.  Makes sense.  Very unique name and band.

5 – AEROSMITH – Joey Kramer thought his take on the book Arrowsmith was pretty cool.  I agree.

4 – LYNYRD SKYNYRD – If you don’t know the story behind this name, shame on you.  Go back to your pop, or alternative, or whatever the hell you listen to.  Easy choice to be near the top.

3 – BLACK SABBATH – They started out with Earth, but got told to change it thanks to another band already using it.  Geezer Butler was into black magic and the occult, and wrote the vast majority of their lyrics, so there was influence there.  But they had seen a 1963 Boris Karloff filmed called “Black Sabbath” and the rest is history.

2 – THE ROLLING STONES – References to rolling stones abound in blues music.  Brian Jones is credited with suggesting it, inspired by the Muddy Waters song.  Maybe the most iconic rock band name ever.  Maybe.

And Number One goes to…

1 – RUSH – The name was given to them by the older brother of the drummer they kicked out of the band.  Classic.  There was no way I was not putting my favorite band number one.  It’s my list, remember?

 

 

 

 

Race Week is Here!

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 30 – October 9 > October 14

Race Week is finally here!!!  Thirty weeks of training can be really slow moving at times, but it seems that the final week before the race will just fly by.  And looking back on 30 weeks of training is a journey in itself.

Race day is almost here, the weather is looking to be decent enough, and the excitement is building.  I can’t wait to join my teammates for another great event – Ironman Louisville 2017!

I will recap the last few days of this week in my race recap after the race next week sometime, but here is a summary of the 30 weeks of training that chronicles my journey to Louisville.

Week 1 – Yay! Week 1 is Done!

Week 2 – Treadmills, Rocking my Brain, & New Digs

Week 3 – Texting and Ironman Training

Week 4 – I Will Need Two of Everything

Week 5 – Balancing Life While Training

Week 6 – Focusing on the “A” Race

Week 7 – Great Finish to Week 7

Week 8 – Happy Mother’s Day

Week 9 – Week 9 Wrap-up

Week 10 – Memorial Day Reminders

Week 11 – Week 11 Fun: Training and Racing

Week 12 – Throwing Caution to the Wind

Week 13 – Breaking the Monotony of Training

Week 14 – A Week of Jumbled Training

Week 15 – Halfway Done, But Not Quite

Week 16 – Yay! Vacation!

Week 17 – Jeff is a GUNNER

Week 18 – Swapping Weeks and Gauging My Readiness

Week 19 – Sprinting in the Beater

Week 20 – My Brain on Ironman

Week 21 – I’M READY!!! Umm, wait – maybe not

Week 22 – It Beat Me

Week 23 – The Highs and Lows of Week 23

Week 24 – Laboring on Labor Day

Week 25 – Teammates Make It Fun

Week 26 – My Butt Spoke to Me

Week 27 – The Dreaded Week 27

Week 28 – The Week of Awesome

Week 29 – Do I Really Want to Call Myself That Anymore?

 

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 2900 yards this week / 113,150 yards total

1 Bikes – 12 miles this week / 10583 miles total

6 Runs – 16 miles this week / 996 miles

2017 Ironman Louisville, I am READY!

Yay! Week 1 is Done!

IRONMAN LOUISVILLE 2017 TRAINING

WEEK 1 – March 20 > March 26

Very glad to have one of the 30 weeks of training in the books.  I was excited to get started, and to once again be following a plan instead of just doing whatever certainly gives you a sense of accomplishment.

So if you are wondering what the first week of an Ironman training plan looks like, here’s how it went for me.

Monday – Rest day!  But I ended up doing a 30 minute stationary bike spin and a 2 mile treadmill run.

Tuesday – A swim and run.  I am following the easier “Just Finish” version of the swim plan in Be Iron Fit, so it was a 1600 yard swim today.  200 yard warm-up, 8×50 drills, 5×100’s with 20 seconds rest in between 100’s, another 8×50 drill set, and a 100 yard cool down.  I was very surprised at how much my shoulders and arms were fatigued during the swim.  I’m sure it will get easier within the next couple of weeks.  I averaged about 2:02/100 yds.  The run was supposed to be a 30 minute run in Zone 2, which is a light pace run.  I gunned it instead, pushing to finish 4 miles in the 30 minutes.  So much for following the plan.

Wednesday –  The bike/run brick day.  I always think of this day as an easy day, because it sort of is.  30 minutes on the bike with a 15 minute run and you are done.  Beats Thursday, that’s for sure.

Thursday – 3-shower Thursday.  I get up and shower before I go to work.  Swimming was up first, and I was still sore from Tuesday’s effort, having not done any swimming in months.  The fitness will come eventually, though.  You swim, then you take shower number 2 to get the chlorine smell off of you.  Then it’s off to home to spin on the bike for 30 minutes.  And since I am a running streaker, I get to do a mile after that on the treadmill to keep my streak alive.  Then it’s time for shower number 3 followed by a liberal coating of lotion so my skin doesn’t dry up completely and leave me itchy for two days.  I don’t like Thursday.

Friday –  It’s typically a run day, but since I was leaving town on Saturday to drive to Minocqua, Wisconsin I decided to do both Saturday’s 60 minute bike and brick the 30 minute run.  If I hadn’t, I would have missed the bike altogether.  Now I can do an easy mile or two before leaving on Saturday, and just do some easy running for the following three days after that.

Saturday/Sunday – An easy two mile run on the treadmill at home and then drove to the Northwoods. Sunday was an easy 5 miler around Minocqua.

So there we have it, Week 1 is in the books.  Just 29 more to go.

TOTALS:

2 Swims – 3200 yards total

4 Bikes – 41 miles total

7 Runs – 20 miles total

Gunners-2-1
Week 1 is DONE!  

 

30 Weeks to Ironman Number 3

HOW FAR IS THAT, AGAIN?

I was dropping my college freshman off at school after being home two weeks for spring break, and we stopped in at the local Culver’s for a quick dinner.  The young man at the counter recognized that I was wearing a hat with the Ironman logo on it and asked me about it.

“How far is that again?” he asked.  I had already anticipated the question, and I gave him the automatic response – 140.6 total miles – 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 mile bike ride, and a full marathon of 26.2 miles.  Like most people who are slightly aware of what an Ironman triathlon is, they are almost always surprised to learn of the distances.  In all honesty, knowing those distances, especially the 2.4 mile swim, was what had kept me out of doing the event for many years.  I just couldn’t wrap my brain around the possibility.  I could never swim that far.  I was surprised initially at those numbers as well.

But as he was wrapping his brain around it, I was contemplating a much different number:  30.  30 weeks, actually.  And not just the 30 weeks until my next Ironman race, Ironman Louisville on October 15, 2017.  I was thinking about the 30 weeks of many miles of training to get to that point of being able to actually attempt the 140.6 miles in under 16 hours.*   Last year I swam about 150,000 yards, cycled more than 2,600 miles, and ran over 1,000 miles in training just leading up to the 140.6 miles on race day at Ironman Lake Placid.  So, is 140.6 miles far?  Sure.  But the mileage put into training makes 140.6 miles a piece of cake.

So yeah, an Ironman is a long way to swim/bike/run.  And 30 weeks is a long time to prepare for the race.  But if my past two Ironman races are any indicator, I expect that number three will be just as memorable and just as fun.

I plan on taking it day by day.  As they say in Ironman, just keep moving forward.

*  (IMLOU only gives you 16 hours to finish it, unlike the 17 hours for the others.)

GOALS AND PLANS FOR TRAINING FOR IRONMAN LOUISVILLE

Not long after finishing Ironman Lake Placid in July 2016, I was already thinking about the next one.  Like a day after finishing the race.  Lake Placid was quite a haul from the south Chicago suburbs, and I was kind of hoping to try a race closer to home.  I briefly thought about doing Ironman Wisconsin again, and as much I love that race and locale, I thought that maybe a race that isn’t full of hills that are referred to as “bitches” by the triathletes  would be better.  I was hoping for a flatter bike course.  After consulting with my buddy Dave, we settled on Louisville.  It’s pros are a mostly downstream swim with the current, a bike course that consists mostly of rolling hills much like those where I live, and a run course filled with crowds and an exciting finish line.  But the biggest factor was that the race was moved from August to mid-October.  Can you imagine an Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky in the middle of August?  I’ll take mid- October, thank you very much.

The cons:  My wife is a UK grad!  And we bleed BLUE, not red!  The race also conflicts somewhat with the Chicago Marathon, a race that I have grown to love and hate to miss, especially since it will be the 40th running.  Also, my youngest is in a highly competitive marching band and has the state championship on the Saturday before the race.  Hopefully, they can make it down to watch me finish.

The training plan I am using for this race is the same one that I have used for the past two, “Be Iron Fit” by Don Fink.  I will be following the Competitive plan for the 30 weeks with a couple slight changes.  I really don’t like swimming much, and my confidence in my ability to swim has grown.  So I plan to follow the “Just Finish” plan for the swim and see how it goes.  I’m well under the cutoff time for the swim, so I think I can cut back on it without any problems.

The other issue I have is that I am still enjoying a run streak that I started on January 1, 2015.  Now that I’m 2+ years into it, I would hate to have to kill that off.  I made it through last year running every day training for IMLP, so I think I can manage it okay.

My preliminary plan for the race is to hopefully shoot for a new personal best.  Actually, that’s every race I do.  But I think IMLOU will be much faster than the hilly IMMOO, and the mountainous IMLP.  Hopefully the current of the Ohio River will produce a fast swim time for me, somewhere around 1:10.  Many of the race reports I have read indicate that the author had a great swim.  I also hope to take advantage of that bike course and shave 30 minutes off my current 6:46 bike PR.  I may even use my full disc aero wheel for this one.  I have yet to race with it.  And if the temperature for the run is in the 70’s, I really hope to be around 4 hours or under for the run.  I will work hard at those goals, but the weather is the biggest factor.

I started on my triathlon journey with my two life long friends, Dave and his brother John.  And last year we added another very close friend Jeff, and Dave’s son Alex to our team of Gunners.  John has a newborn, and claims he’s skipping this one.  But I never believe John.  He’s a poker player with a great poker face.  Since IMLOU doesn’t seem to sellout anymore, I’m not betting against John joining us at the midnight hour.  Alex has indicated that two of his college Tri-Hawks teammates from the University of Iowa may join us this year as well.

Hopefully the summer will be filled with Gunner get togethers for group rides, open water swims and lots of great conversations through our hilarious group texts.  I’m hoping for a memorable and safe 30 weeks of training for all of us.

So, Day 1 of Week 1 is in the books.  It’s a rest day.  I rode a spin bike for 8 miles/30 minutes, and ran two miles on the treadmill.  So much for resting.

Gunners-2-1
30 Weeks begins today!  Go GUNNERS!