Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

(Running related material at the end)

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Christmas morning run.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Daily Kick in the Butt

Runners World sends out a dialy "Kick in the Butt" email, usually some quote or motivation slogan. Today's "Kick in the Butt" made me laugh:

Bad Weather

Sign up to receive your own "Kick in the Butt".

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Things to do with a waterproof camera

Jillian on left, Jessica on right

Thursday, November 22, 2007

2007 Bonfield Express 5k Turkey Trot

Not much of a write-up just a few pictures so I can say that I'm getting caught up on my race reports.

This is, by far, the best race picture of me ever. Serious. I'm not very photogenic when it comes to race pictues, so this ones a keeper.


Me and Doug Faron at the race line up.


Support from the home team!


Shirt of the day:


For more information about the Bonfield Express 5k race and Bonfield Express Foundation, click here: http://www.bonfieldexpress.com

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Do It Yourself Duathlon (aka I GOT FIRST!)

Roll The Tollway

I always enjoy one-off races. While I have my regulars, it's always exciting to run a new race--whether it's the inaugural race of a series, a race out of state, or those once-in-a-lifetime races such as today's Tollway Bike/Run.

As the completion of the I-355 extension neared, the Illinois Toll Authority organized a 20 mile bike ride that looped most of the 12 mile extension and also a 5k run on the same day.

I immediately signed up for the 5k run, only to realize the run wasn't until 11:30am. After reviewing the situation, I signed up for the bike ride to fill up my morning.

Wacker Drive is Done (2002)The morning of the event I dug out my "Wacker Drive Is Done" shirt from 2002 -- a race the city of Chicago organized after the rehab of lower and upper Wacker Drive. I packed my stuff and headed out the door.

There were no plans for the days events, just a bike ride followed by a run. No time goals, no pressure.

Almost since I left my house I noticed people riding their bikes heading south towards the starting area in Lemont. I wasn't sure how many of the morning's bikers were going to Roll The Tollway, but their numbers grew the closer I got.

PB103744cropaEvery other car on the road at that time had bike racks with bikes of every shape and size.

I found a parking lot within a 1 mile of the start, loaded up my backpack and rode right up to the next wave.

PB103754Usually one-off events are a bit disorganized but I found the signage great and the volunteer staff . For the biking portion, there was no check-in or packet pick-up. A wrist-band was mailed the week before and that was all that was needed.

PB103772Bikers were sent off in waves. After several minutes of announcements, another wave would be sent off.

After we were let go it was 22 miles of open sailing.

PB103779Bikes of all kinds were on the course... big bikes, little bikes, bikes with training wheels, bikes with 3 wheels, bikes with 4 wheels, fat tire bikes, thin tire bikes, fast bikes, slow bikes, tandem bikes, recumbent bikes, tandem recumbent bikes, bikes that fold, and even bikes with dogs...

PB103807...and bikes from Canada...

PB103856I kept a steady pace. With my road bike in recurring state of (dis)repair, I brought my mountain bike. I had no target speed or time goals--only to be finished in time for the 5k.

I finished the 22 mile just after 11am which means I had less than 30 minutes to get to the start line. Several bikers were racking their bikes, changing clothes, and pinning on race bibs. I hadn't even picked up my packet yet...

Chapter #2

PB113895I ran to the pick-up tent, grabbed my packet and before I darted off to the start line I noticed a note on the envelope "1st to Sign Up!". Really? I opened my envelope and sure enough, my race bib was number "1".

Immediately after pinning on my race bib I became a mini-celebrity. People would point "Hey, he's number 1!". I was wished "Good Luck #1" by a number of people. I was even approached by someone who claims he was once "#1" in a race a few years ago. I was told I should frame my "#1" race bib. Someone even offered to buy it from me.

I have since learned about the super-secret society of People-With-#1-Race-Bibs. It's so secret most members don't even know who the other members are.

PB103861The start was even more crowded that I anticipated, and since I was late getting to the start line, I was stuck in the back.

PB103864At the back of pack, I bumped in to no less than a dozen people I know. Most were families running/walking as a group or pushing strollers.

PB103867Soon we were off and I was stuck in walking traffic. But the scenery was great. The course was fairly straight, 1.55 miles out, 1.55 miles in. From the start, you could see all the way out to the turnaround and the lengthening line of 5,000+ runners. I had a lot of passing to do.

I did my best and made some progress. I weaved back and forth across the roadway--probably adding a few 1/10th of a mile--as large groups of people were clumped together. The course was not flat, but the uphill was gentle enough it was hardly noticeable.

On the return trip the headwind became more of a factor than grade. However, my temporary-celebrity-status as "that #1 guy" made it bearable. I received cheers and high-fives from numerous people that I passed still on the outbound leg. I had expected my "Wacker Drive" shirt to attract more attention, but its limelight was stolen by the fluke chance of the registration queue.

PB103883Props to Salute Inc for a well organized, one-off event--actually two one-off events (although I've been told that the post-race shuttle bus service left something to be desired).

With a self-timed finish of 25:32, this qualifies as an "average" 5k time for me. However, I will always remember this race as my first "#1" race. Maybe I can put this race bib on my Hole-In-One Golf Ball rack until I have something else to display.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Spirit of the Marathon

I'm pumped! The trailer alone is motivating enough...

The North American premier is this weekend in Chicago. Visit the official website for more details: http://www.marathonmovie.com

This movie will also be shown at the Chicago Film Festival.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon

I'm not sure why, but I set my alarm for 3:30am. I wasn't to meet Steve until 5:30 and two hours was more than enough time to get ready for this mornings race.

After showering and getting dressed, I double checked my gear and scanned my pre-race checklist for the third time. Yep, I'm ready. What do I do for the next hour?

I laid back down and enjoyed a cat nap. With a few minutes to spare, I darted out the door and stopped at Dunkin Donuts for the pre-race drink of champions.

Steve and I met up, made a quick stop at Starbucks (never hurts to have two doses of
caffiene...) and headed to the race area.

This was Steve's first half marathon and I was impressed with how calm and prepared he was. I've done several half's before and you would have thought I was giving a public speech with as nervous as I was.

We found a decent parking spot within a half mile of the start. Before we got out of the car, the lot was filled and the parking lot was filled with runners going through their pre-race rituals.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usAfter scoping out the starting area, we run into Doug and Jenny from the Downers Grove running club. We stretch and discuss our race strategy. Before long the emcee calls the runners to the starting line. As we head over we run into Matt and Matt, also from the Downers Grove running club. We wish each other good luck and start getting into position.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usJenny and I had similar time goals so we lined up together around the 9min/mile sign which happens to be right at the intersection. It begins to get crowded and people continue to move in every direction trying to find "their" spot.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usWith no warning we begin moving forward. There are a few false starts before we're at the start line and we take off. The start line was much narrower than the road, while it made getting to the start line a bit tough, it meant things opened up once we went through.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usJenny and I settled into a rhythm and checked with each other several times if this was an ok pace. While the roads were crowded, we had no problem staying with our pace and passing (or getting passed) as we needed.

Our first mile clocked in just under 9 minutes. Perfect. We'll hold this pace.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usBefore mile 2 came the water station. I was carrying a fuel belt so we skipped this station and saved a few seconds. Even with skipping the station, mile 2 clock in at 9:54, about a full minute slower. But we felt good and running strong, but didn't want to cross the line and get out of a rhythm.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usJenny and I kept elbowing each other as we'd maneover to pass another runner. We kept telling each other "excuse me", "sorry"--and it was happening a lot. Finally we made a pact that it wasn't intentional and an apology was automatically understood. I did break this pact once after I made a full arm impact that I thought might give her a black eye.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usWe completely missed the mile 3 marker but was glad to see mile 4 whiz by with an average 9:40 pace. Not the pace we origianlly planned for, but quicker than the previous split.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usCarrying a water bottle allowed us skip every other water station. However, after reaching the half way mark we started our run/walk schedule. As we learned from training, walking doesn't always slow you down and can often lead to quicker times. But the course was now on Lake Shore Drive with no shade, and the morning sun was rising high and beating down.

We alternated Gatorade and water at the aid stops and I downed a few mocha Clif Shots along the way. It was getting hot, but we kept hydrated and maintained pace. Somewhere between around mile 8 the crowd picked up a lot and gave us a boost. I was having fun giving the crowds high-fives and trying to distract myself. It must have worked as I missed all the mile markers until 11.

At this point the course leaves Lake Shore Drive. Only 2 short miles to go, but we lose the crowd and reality sets in once again. Ok, one more walking break and then we attack the last two.

We pick up the pace just a hair and our conversation practically stops as we cross the line into the next zone. Mile 12 comes up and I tell Jenny I'll see her at the finish. I was sure I was holding her back but I had to walk just one more time. It was short, maybe 30 seconds, just enough to catch my breath.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usWe turn the corner and begin our final stretch home. I see my family cheering me on and I get the boost I need to finish. I give it everything I have left which, at this point, isn't much.

The coarse winds back and forth a bit and there was a collective subdue cheer from the runners when the finish line came into view.

Final time: 2:12

I'm always glad to have another finish under my belt. While I'm disappointed I actually ran this race 4 minutes slower than my half marathon a month ago (in which I bonked half-way through), I ran a smarter and more consistent race. Except for the first mile, every other mile was within 60 seconds of each other.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usSo...what did I learn? Running with someone can make the miles go by faster, thanks Jenny for hanging with me for 2 hours on a Sunday morning.

Everything else I knew, but I actually did it this time: (1) Stick with the same food and drink schedule you practice in training (2) Walking can actually make you go faster, but at worse, you break even.

Now it's time to rest before next weekend's 24 miler.

"The man who can drive himself further once the effort gets painful is the man who will win."
- Sir Roger Bannister

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usMe, Jenny, Doug post-race

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usCongratulations Steve on your first Half Marathon finish!

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usI've always wanted to be on a Wheaties box

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usJessica, champion cheerer-on-er

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usJillian, another champion cheerer-on-er

Monday, September 10, 2007


Haven't had time to do a writeup on the Chicago Half Marathon this past weekend. But I do remember the best shirt I saw...

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
DLF Dead Last Finish
is greater than
DNF Did Not Finish
which greatly exceeds
DNS Did Not Start


"The greatest pleasure in life is doing the things people say we cannot do."
-- Walter Bagehot

Monday, September 03, 2007

Anyone can run 20 miles...

It's 6 am on Saturday and we pull up to Prairie Path junction just west of downtown Wheaton. There were few cars around, but already we noticed several runners up and down each of the three branches. It was a comfortable morning, crisp air and not too hot. A great day to get in 20 miles.

We loaded up our Fuel Belts, had one last bite of bread and sip of coffee before weighing ourselves. If we weighed before and after the run, and kept track of how much we drank, we could approximate our sweat-rate. Additionally, we could see if we were drinking enough (or too much) during the run. Losing more than 2-3% of your body weight can affect performance. Dehydration is considered a loss of 3-5%. A loss of 5% or more would send most people to the hospital.




We headed east from mile "0" out towards Elmhurst; 10 miles out and 10 miles back. It was nice to soak in some new scenery, after countless laps at Waterfall Glen this summer.

One major difference the the sheer number of people on this trail. We passed _thousands_ of people during our 20 mile trek. Many of them in groups of 5 up to 30 in a pack.

We started asking other groups, as we passed them, how far they were running today. Most groups were running 18-20 miles.

Many running clubs and stores set up water and Gatorade tables along the coarse. Some groups kept a "closed" table, only handing out drinks to club members. Most were open and even invited all runners to fuel up.

We hit the 10 mile marker and turned around.

The miles flew by as we continued to pass hundreds of runners. I can never remember a time we were more than 100 yards from another group.

With 3 miles to go the mental game kicked in and the benefit of staying together as group made turned the game in our favor.

Around the Glen Ellyn train station we passed the Farmers Markets and soaked in the smells. Many groups were stopping here and were going through their post-run routine; stretching, eating, etc. There was a juice bar nearby with numerous runners walking through the drive through.

From here to the mile 0 junction the number of runners dropped of significantly and we finished with little fanfare.

I had bagels, bananas and more drinks in the car which I brought out for everyone to enjoy.

At our post-run weigh-in I dropped 4 lbs for a 2% weight-loss. Far from critical, but it shows I still need to drink more.

We loaded up and stopped at McDonalds for the short trip home. We were all starved and proud of our run. Certainly our morning workout would more than make up for any bagel-egg-sausage sandwich.

Karin noted her heart-rate-monitor shows she burned 1400 calories on this morning's run. I glanced at my HRM which showed a whopping 3400 calories burned. I guess that's the difference between a 120 lbs female and a 200 lbs male.

A huge thanks to Kitty, Kathy, and Karin for keeping me company on this jog. Can't wait for our last long run before the marathon.

"Anyone can run 20 miles. It's the next six that count."
--Barry Magee, Bronze Medallist in 1960 Olympic marathon

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Insanity - 4. extreme folly; senselessness; foolhardiness

—Synonyms 1. dementia, lunacy, madness, craziness, mania, aberration.

It's amazing how busy life can get -- and then you try to cram in training for marathon and your life goes from crazy to flat out insane.

It's not a cliche to say that running is no longer a habit, but an addiction.

The marathon schedule called for a 19 mile run this weekend. Most of the group met Saturday at 6am to run. But I needed to coach a soccer game early that morning and had family plans the rest of the day.

At least one other person in our group wanted to run Sunday morning as well. Even on Sunday we had committments late morning so we agreed on a 4:30am start time.

The insanity begins.

I woke up 3:30am Sunday morning to heavy downpour and thunderstorms. I checked the forecast and noticed the severe weather moving out of our area so I continued to grab my stuff and head out the door. When my wife questions whether or not I'm running on any particular morning, my response is always they same (it's also the same response I use to motivate my self to get out the door each morning): they don't cancel the race because of a little ran.

Shortly after 4:30am I arrive at Waterfall Glen and my running partner is already there. Before long, we're off and running for two laps at WFG... at 4:45 in the morning, in the dark, and a steady down pour.

It's barely 5am, still dark outside, the rain continues and it begins lightning again yet neither of us hesitate passing mile 2. At this point we realize we have clearly crossed the line and begin to laugh at our obsessive behavior.

Most people would consider someone who chooses to run a marathon as insane, but if they knew what was involved in our training on a week-to-week basis throughout the program it would remove any doubt in their mind.

Around mile 7 we pass our first runner of the day.

We complete our first lap of 9.5 miles in around 1 hour and 50 minutes. We held a good pace as we knew we’d have to do it. We made a quick stop at the car to refill our water bottles and grab a quick bite. In less than 3 minutes we started our second lap.

We decided to run the second lap with a 1-2 minute walking break every 20 minutes. We also ran the second lap clockwise so we could count our miles down on the posted markers. I believe this is also the more difficult way to run the trail, but I know that is not universally accepted.

We came across at least 40 people other people on the trail, mostly runners but a few groups of bikers as well. As we catch the passing the glance of the oncoming runners we’d often break into bursts of laughter as realized how crazy we all must be and how crazy we’d appear to the rest of world—if they weren’t at home sleeping.

Somewhere on this lap we notice our legs are on autopilot, so we try to mix things up a bit. We try different things; running backwards, sideways, skipping, deep strides—anything we could find to loosen up a bit. Its hurts but it also feels good to stretch.

17 miles into the run and we hit the mile 2 marker. We feel so good at this point we agree to pick the pace up. We had always maintained a pace just quick enough were we could still talk. But the last two miles our conversation fell quiet and the pace quickened.

Before long we came to the trail-head and the finish line was in sight. It was difficult to stop running, but we made it.

Our last mile clocked in as our fastest of the set, and the second lap was a full four minutes faster than the first lap—to which we can only credit our run/walk strategy.

During our cooldown, Kitty (my running partner) asked something I didn’t expect: “Did you learn anything from the run today?” Hmmm…. What did I learn?

1) Walking can definitely make you go faster.
2) If you have a refuel and re-hydrate plan, stick with it. If you don’t, make one up!
3) My socks are too short.
4) You’re less likely to ‘cheat’ when running with a friend.
5) Don’t take yourself too seriously.
6) There’s no longer any doubt that I’m an addict.

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.
-- T. S. Eliot

Here's my impression of Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption:Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Saturday, August 04, 2007

26 miles in 24 hours

9 weeks to go until Chicago Marathon 2007 and training milage is reaching new heights.

I ran 9.5 miles on Friday (one lap at Waterfall Glenn) and 16.5 miles Saturday morning (three laps at Springbrook Praire). That brings me to 26 miles in just over 24 hours.

Next weekL: Rest: Running miles cut by a third with a bit of crosstraining thrown in.

Sunday August 12st, Chicago Distance Classic 13.1 miles

Thursday, August 02, 2007


I almost always carry a camera with me. Especially when running. I see so many interesting things and nothing helps capture the memory like a still photograph.

Its been years since I pulled out a home movie, but hardly a week goes by that I don't flip through a few dozen snapshots of time. I've started the monumental task of scanning and labeling my parents and grandparents photo albums.

So what does this have to do with running? On this particular day I leave my camera at home. I almost go back for it when I realize the battery isn't charged so I'd be limited in my picture snapping capabilities.

Besides, there are several days and several runs that pass by without taking a pictures. Certainly this would just be another one of those days.

Less than 1/2 mile into my run at Waterfall Glen, I pass by a doe and her small fawn who are grazing (do deer graze?) on the edge of the path. Without a picture, no one would believe that I came with 10 feet of the deer as they watched me pass by. No running off, just a cautious glance as we cross paths. Unbelievable.

Before the mile is over I pass a sled-dogs-in-training group. A wheeled sled with 6 dogs pulling the trainer. Another unusual sight without a picture.

I have since bought a second rechargable battery for the camera so one is always charged, and I just need to swap batteries. No more excuses for being camera-less.

5 weeks and no updates??

Time is flying by. I cna't believe it's been 5 weeks since I last updated this blog. No wonder I don't get any hits. Is my life really that boring? Between training, work, training, family, and training I managed to cram in a vacation.

I spent some time in Branson MO. The weather was hot and crappy, so we spent a lot of time getting wet.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usFree Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Eating ice cream.
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And even a few runs. My longest run on vacation was 9 miles which included a trip to the water tower and back.
Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
with a few hills inbetween
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Friday, July 06, 2007

Mans Best Friend

I occassionally get asked about my running partner.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usRoxas is a 2 year-old Shiba Inu we rescued from the Midwest Shiba Inu Rescue (MSIR). He was picked up as a stray in Harvey, IL and spent 2 months in a dog pound before being picked up by MSIR. In December of 2006 we adopted Roxas as our family pet.

Fortunate for me Roxas loves to run. Several times a week he goes on my regular 4 mile loop which he handles with ease. His longest run to date is 7 miles.


Monday, June 25, 2007

Downers Grove 10 Miler Race Report

It never fails. Mid-June roles around and I can't wait to compete in the Downers Grove 5 & 10 Miler. I've been running this race as long as I can remember running races. And now that I live in Downers Grove it's nothing short of a reunion race for me; meeting up with friends and racing on the same streets I train on.

Most races I never look at the course ahead of time. I always took the follow-the-person-ahead-of-you strategy. However, a well memorized race course does provide a slight advantage.

It's 4am and I literally bounce out of bed this morning. I'm normally an early morning person. I know that freaks most people out, but I actually enjoy getting up early. I check my PDA which contains my schedule of things to do in the morning and a time schedule to follow. Yes, an early morning person and anal retentive. Are you scared yet?

Shower, dress and grab my gear bag. My first stop? Dunkin Donuts. The usual? Large iced coffee with cream and sugar.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usRace check-in is all of 2 miles from my house. Arrival time: 5:20am. I get waved into the volunteer lot (certainly no runner would arrive this early!). I sip my iced coffee and enjoy the view as I watch the setup crews erect tents, put up the finishing chute and carry supplies.

The pre-race registration table not yet manned. Around 6am someone arrives and I'm the first customer of the day.

Fast forward one hour. I'm now sitting on a park bench just outside the Park District office. The registration tables are now crammed. Race day registration is out the door. An announcement is made that the port-o-potty vendor is running late and that the only bathrooms available are inside the PD building. Another line forms. I sip my coffee and slowly work on a Clif Bar.

7:10 and I take a quick warm-up and head over to the start line. By 7:20 the street is starting to fill. I greet several friends and get prepared for the start. I see a few friends that are first time runners and wish them well.

I've decided that picking a starting location is more of an art than a science. Even pace markers doesn't help with the qualitative decision of where to line up. Line up too close to the front and you get run over, elbowed, and provide a road block for the faster runners. Line up too far back, and you're the one elbowing your way to the front, cursing the walkers, and leaping ahead at every opportunity.

Once the gun went off I immediately knew I was too far back. I charge ahead the best I could sometimes leaping to the right-of-way to pass groups of people. But the race starts in an area with large trees in the right-of-way making this a not-so-easy task. However, the small rolling hills give me a good view of the large group of runners ahead of me.

Before the first half mile the crowd thins out and I'm able to settle into pace with plenty of room to maneuver. Next thing I know, Mile 1 is down: 8:10.

My goal was to keep every mile under 9:00 minutes. 8:10 is a good start, now I just need to keep it up for 9 more miles.

Before I realized it, Mile 2 was down: 8:40. I'm still on target. The miles literally fly by.

Between mile 2 and mile 3 is the infamous Downers Grove version of the Bermuda triangle. The course comes to a 3-way intersection with the roads forming a triangle-shaped island in the middle. Instead of taking the "short" section through, you must run to the far point, make almost a 180 degree turn around a cone and head back. I'm sure this is deliberate as if it was a matter of distance, one could simply move the starting line back 50 yards.

To make it worse, the second lap (for those of us running 10 miles) the cone is moved out another 10 yards.

While Mile 3 clocked in at 9:01, Mile 4 was here in a blink of an eye at 8:41.

Have you ever taken a trip where getting there seems to take soooo long? But after your vacation is over and you head home, the return trip speeds right by. Maybe because it's familiar territory...and that's the way is was with this race. Recognizable landscapes, schools, and streets make for a short run - I can't believe I'm at mile 4 already.

Just before the 4 mile mark, the crowd speeds up. I'm sure this wasn't an illusion. Half the group is only running 5 miles while the 10 milers repeat the same lap. I try not to get swept up in the kick too much, but I was feeling good and wanted to keep a sub-9 pace.

I realize the last 3 miles I have been following at old lady. I'm not sure how old this lady is--but I checked the 5 mile results and there is a 76 year old lady that finished around this time averaging a 8:38 pace for 5 miles. Hopefully I haven't offended anyone by calling a 76 year old lady old...but if it's any consolation, I only hope that when I'm 76 years old I can give some someone half-my-age a run for his/her money. On the bright side, it looks like I have 40 more years to set a PR at any distance.

Just ahead is the finish line and less than 50 yards in front the 10 milers turn and repeat the loop. I was surprised at the number of people going for 10. There is still a steady stream of runners in front of me.

The second half flew by quicker than first. After mile 6 (also 1) there is a house that puts a lawn sprinkler in the street for the runners to run through. In the 10+ years I have run this race, I can count on this house for a cool shower when needed.

Around mile 7.5 we come upon the Bermuda-Grove Triangle and, sure enough, the cone is another 30 feet into the intersection.

Before I reach mile 8 I realize I'm still feeling quite good and start picking my targets. Mile 7 would be my slowest of the day at 9:04.

Just after I passed two runners, a hear two people approaching from the rear with a similar strategy. They pass me for a moment as we reach the south peak of the Lyman Ave Valley.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us
Mile 9.0 - 9.75 follows Lyman Ave which is probably has the most elevation change on the course. When standing on the far south side, you can look out 3/4 of a mile to the other "peak" with the road almost disappearing in-between. It's no Death Valley, mind you, but it is one of the most challenging stretchs we have in the area, and it's at the last mile of the race.

As we start the descent I use every bit of gravity available and shift into neutral. My speed is uncomfortably fast but this is no time to put on the brakes. I pass 4 people (including my the two that just passed me) before I reach the bottom.

As we begin the climb up the back side I downshift, taking short strides and doubling my cadence. With my head back and chest out I easily tackle the climb back out of Lyman Ave Valley and pass 3 more people.

At the upcoming right hander I'm able to pass a few more. I feel like I'm playing a video game, placing my crosshairs on a target, knocking them down and moving on to the next. No one has passed me (and gotten away with it) for the last 1.5 miles.

The left hander from Park Ave to Randall St is greater than 90 degrees and I had to swing this corner wide to keep my speed up.

I could just barely see the finish line ahead through the overhanging trees.

Three more people ahead of me and then a wide gap. I picked off two without problems. Number 3, however, had his own plans.

As I approach my final target, I noticed him give a passing glance over his shoulder to confirm someone was behind him. He picks up his pace to stay just ahead of me. I return the favor and speed up. The parry continues with #3 giving no more effort than required to stay a single stride ahead of me.

This continues for the final 1/4 mile and my frustration grows. The dark side of me wants to grab his shirt.

I have nothing left to give as we reach the tip of the funnel. I back off, pat my worthy opponent on the back and greet him with a "nice race."

My final mile would tie with my first mile as the fastest two miles of the race at 8:10.

My final time of 1:27 would be my second best 10 mile finish ever.

Props to Downers Grove Park District for hosting another successful running race. Aid stations were well placed and every intersection had someone with a traffic control sign.

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usDoug, Jenny, Kathy, Russ

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.usMatt, Steve, Matt, Russ

Final splits:

Mile 1 - 8:10
Mile 2 - 8:40
Mile 3 - 9:01
Mile 4 - 8:41
Mile 5 - 8:58
Mile 6 - 8:43
Mile 7 - 9:01
Mile 8 - 9:04
Mile 9 - 8:42
Mile 10 - 8:10

Final - 1:27:05 for an average pace of 8:42

Everyone is an athlete. The only difference is that some of us are in training and some are not.
--Dr. George Sheehan, writer and philosopher