Friday, December 31, 2010

If It Ain't Rainin, We Ain't Trainin

It's December 31st and it's nearly 60 degrees outside...perfect day for a run, right?? Oh, did I mention that it's also pouring down rain and there are tornado warnings??!! I've said it before and I'll say it again, screw the elements. If you want to make it happen then sometimes you just gotta say what the F....and let it roll. 7 miles later and I feel fantastic...just like I knew I would. Thanks to my new Northface jacket for keeping me dry, my Nike tights for keeping my legs fresh, and my wicked tunes for keeping me motivated.

Here to making it happen on New Year's Eve!!!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Ho Ho GO!!

Merry Christmas loyal readers!! I hope this holiday season finds you all healthy, fit, and running on ginnis. I was certainly feeling the sluggishness of the holiday feasting this morning....I knew the only cure was to get out and make it happen. I knocked out 10 solid miles on the dreadmill. It felt fantastic. I have to admit, the first 3-4 were pretty rough....visions of sugar plums were dancing in my...belly. But, I stuck with it and made it to 10. YEAH, take that Rudolph!!!

When I got home from the gym even the wife was feeling the Christmas feasting blues, so.....

She rocked the ninja gear and went for a stroll!!! Here's to making it happen ninja style!!!

Heck, even Ty got in on the exercise bug today!!

Bouncy style!!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Not Dead Yet!

That's right folks, I'm still alive. I've still been putting in the miles on the dreadmill and I've still been hitting the weights. But, clearly....I have not been blogging much. After today's 11.5 miles I just couldn't refuse a quick update for my loyal readers.

I must admit, the winter running season is already getting a bit old. I've been logging around 30 miles per week, all on the dreadmill. I'm really not training for next half marathon is at the end of April and I'm sure I'll do a few shorter races (St Pat's 5K!)....but, you know how it still gots to put the miles in to keep the pounds off!

So here's to making it happen, even when there's snow on the ground yo!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Jingle Bell 5K - 20:57

With hopes of crushing my 5K PR (20:56) and possibly finishing in under 20:00, I signed up for the Jingle Bell 5K run yesterday. I really wasn't quite sure what to expect with my finish time, but I was looking forward to doing a fast race. Unfortunately, momma nature decided to let her winds blow so hard that at times it felt like I was running in place. The wind, combined with the unusual course, meant no PR for me. To be honest, deep down I kind of knew that I wasn't quite ready to break 20:00. BUT, that day is coming....this is my promise to you!!

After I got home from the race I took Doug the dog for a nice 2.44 mile cool down....Doug's first run!!! YEAH!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Back on the Road Again

My recovery is officially complete....and I managed to get a few good runs in during the down time!

I wasn't quite sure when to start running again after Chicago on 10-10-10, but by 10-14-10 I was sooo ready to hit the pavement again. I did a nice 4 miler....and honestly, it felt like 14. My knees and feet were barkin, big time. I hit the pavement again on the following a nice 6.5 in. It felt great....still not 100% good to go, but I was well on my way.

On the following Monday I started back in the gym and back on the weights. This week I started working out with a fellow Gold's Gym morning regular. He's a cool guy and an Army Vet....we seem to be a good mix. We are going to rotate our strength training plans every other week or so. He's going to help me stick with a toning plan (lighter weights/higher reps) since I always want to lift heavy...and I'm going to help us pack on more muscle (higher weights/lower reps).

On Monday we hit BIG chest and followed it up with a 5 mile treadmill run. On Tuesday we did the standard 7 mile run and then hit abs. Wednesday was a no run day and instead we just hit back and lats really hard. On Thursday we did sprint intervals that felt fan-frickin-tastic. Then we followed it up with some legs and abs....YEAH! It had been looong time since I hit legs... On Friday we hit arms and shoulders and then we knocked out a quick 5 miles on the treadmill. I took Saturday off and then hit today with a nice 8.11 mile run in 1:06, 8:10 pace.....YEAH!!! Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta......or something like that.

It sure felt good to be back on the road again....felt even better to get the lead out with a tough hilly run. AND...I did it in my new Chicago Marathon participant shirt!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to continue to hit the weights hard over the next several months. I'll also be doing some shorter races (5Ks) and then I'll start training for half-marathon season in the spring. I'll be posting my 2011 race calendar be ready loyal Ginnis readers!!

Monday, October 11, 2010

I'm a Marathon Man

It's official folks....I'm a marathon man!!! Do you believe that??? Who would have thought that I could run 26.2 freaking miles??? Just over 2 years ago I weighed around 270lbs, I hated my life, hated my body, and I wasn't motivated to do a thing about it. I never would have dreamed of being able to run for 4 and a half hours......but, YEAH....I DID IT!!! All of that training, all of that suffering, all of those early morning miles....I MADE IT HAPPEN!!

Traci and I arrived in the city at around 2:00pm or so on Saturday. We had no problems at all getting to the expo. It was totally cool.....MUCH different from the Illinois Marathon expo. There was a lot of free stuff and a ton of really cool stuff. I got checked in, picked up my packet, bought some more Gu and some throw-away gloves (that I totally didn't need), and then we browsed the expo a bit. But...not too much, cause my dogs needed to rest!

After some quick lodging adjustments, we ended up at our final destination for the evening. I ordered some plain spaghetti and washed it down with a tasty beverage (Gatorade). I called it a night pretty stinkin early.

I woke up just before 4am to the sound of sirens (a constant sound throughout the night) and I decided it was a good time to get things moving. I ate half of a bagel, took a nice warm shower, and then downed a tasty endurance shake with a bit of coffee......yummy!! Traci and I were out of the door by 6:00am and we made it to the race area with plenty of time to spare. The weather was perfect...nice and cool, probably around the upper 50s, maybe lower 60s. We said our goodbyes and goodlucks at the gate and then we went our own ways - me to torture town and her to McDonald's for some pre-race observer fuel. :)

Pre-race photo op!! A little blurry due to my pre-race jitters.

After finding my spot in the open corral area with the 4:00 hour pace team, I was ready to go. I waited it out with the 45,000+ other runners just trying to take it all on. Still not sure what to expect along my 26.2 mile journey, but excited to test myself. At around 7:30am the race started....I crossed the start line about 13 minutes later. I was expecting to be in the line for over 30 minutes, so I was pleasantly pleased with the minimal corral time.

And we were off! (this is actually at the 2 mile mark, but my photo crew couldn't be at the start line)

I have to admit...the first 3 miles were kind of a mess. TONS of people, including about 10,000 people that overestimated their speed and quickly became obstacles for the pace groups. There were also lots of people cheering and waving...and just plain goofing off. In fact, one girl took a hard spill almost immediately after crossing the start line because she wasn't paying attention. Lesson learned, I hope.

So, the first several miles were a blur. I had a few issues that popped up immediately....minor side stitch and some odd foot pain that I couldn't figure out. But, I pressed on and the side stitch went away....the foot pain remained, but it wasn't really an issue. I was feeling it....I was slightly ahead of schedule at every mile mark....thanks to my cool pace tat.

I had my first Gu at mile 5, took a quick treeline potty break at around mile 6, and at around mile 7 that stinkin side stitch came back again. This time it was a bit more serious. I tried to adjust my breathing, slow my pace down a bit, and try to hold my arms over my head. It finally went away....and it didn't manage to slow me down too much. In fact, I hit the halfway mark right on schedule. I remember thinking, YEAH, I'm going to do this thing in 4 hours!! And then....

It seems like every running issue that I've dealt with over the past year or so came back on Sunday. The side stitch came back hardcore, my IT band flared up, and my feet/toes were hurting.....and the temperature continued to rise. I think I heard that it ended up being as high as 89 degrees. It was painful....but not as painful as watching my pace get slower and knowing that my goal of finishing in under 4 hours was gradually fading away.

Before I knew it, I was severely dehydrated...even though I drank at every water stop. I did Gatorade and water...made sure I got some decent gulps in at every stop...but, it wasn't enough. And my pace continued to drop. I'm not sure exactly at what point I knew that I had to adjust my goals, but the realty eventually set in. I remember thinking to myself, 'Okay, it's not that bad...just remember, your first goal was to finish the damn thing'. So that's what I focused on...finishing.

As the miles went on, I seriously wondered how I was going to even finish. I very clearly remember thinking that there was no way....there was no way I was going to make this one happen. My side stitch was about to make me hurl, I had nearly stopped sweating from being so dehydrated, and my IT Band was bringing me to a limp. In between mile 17-18 I found a bit of joy....a running buddy and her husband were cheering me on!!! She even ran out to give me a fist was exactly what I needed....I drove on...for a bit.

After I hit mile 18 I realized that I still had 8.2 miles to body was telling me to walk or die, but my heart was telling me to think about the moment. The's where you live at mile 18 when you have nothing left to give...the moment where you decide to give up and walk, or dig deep...REAL DEEP and push through. I was slow folks,...but I wasn't going to walk. I knew that I would never forgive myself. So I pressed on.

One of my other running buddies and I were talking during one of our weekly morning runs about a race day mantra....something to keep playing in your head to keep you going. My mantra has always been, 'Make it happen'. But, at 18.5 miles, I changed it. I kept saying to myself,

'Feet, just get me to mile 20...and let God do the rest'.

That's exactly what happened. Those last 6.2 miles were brutal...absolutely brutal. To this day, I have no idea how I did...I have NO idea how I kept running....I just did. It really seemed like the last 5 miles lasted an eternity. I didn't want to look at my watch or at the mile markers....I just looked ahead, gazing into the crowd....hoping to see a finish line.

Finally, I looked up and saw a sign that said 800 meters to go...then 400 meters, then I saw it. It was glorious. The final turn...the final hill. I very clearly remember thinking, what idiot designed this course so that the final stretch involved a freaking hill?? But, somehow, someway....I found my feet again on the hill. I finished hard, all the way to the FINISH LINE.

Ahhh.....I'm a marathon man.

I couldn't have made it happen without the support from so many people. Training for a marathon really takes a team - of people that may not understand why you do it, but are there to pick you up anyway. Thanks to all of you that have inspired me, picked me up when I needed it, ran with me, laughed with me, gave me chocolate milk, made me ice baths, finished my long runs with me in the pouring rain, sang songs with me during 5:15AM runs, shared SitReps with me, motivated me, and had an extreme amount of patience with me. A very special thank you to my wonderful family...I know I had to be away from you every weekend for the past 18 weeks....thanks for understanding and for supporting my crazy bucket list. I dedicate my finisher's medal to all of you - I wouldn't be a marathon man without you.

Here's to asking your legs to get you to 20 and letting God do the rest. Here's to making it happen and here's to Running on Ginnis!!!!!!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One Week

One Week....that's what stands between this moment and the most difficult running journey of my entire life. 26.2. 26.2. I see those numbers in everything....they haven't left my mind for several days now. 18 long weeks ago I started to train for this thing...and now I'm one week away from making it happen. Training is the challenge....the race is the reward. YEAH.

Since my last 2o miler, I've had some really solid runs. My long run that followed the 20 miler was absolutely outstanding. I did 13.25 at an 8:30 pace.....had a GREAT 13.1 time. The run felt perfect. I had some good runs during the week and then yesterday I capped off my weekend training runs with a decent 8 miler. I had intended to do a rehearsal run, sticking with marathon pace, but I ended up going just a little bit faster.....because I was cooold yo!

This coming week should be interesting. I have to admit, this tapering business ain't easy. I don't like not being able to run my standard mileage....especially when I want to continue to eat like I have been. I know I shouldn't be worried about gaining weight, but I am worried about overeating!! I just keep telling myself that after the race I'll get back to my normal fitness and nutrition routines.

I almost have my running gear ready to shoes-check, new socks-check, shorts-check, gel-check, official Chicago Marathon running shirt......on its way!!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Make 20 Your ____

I knocked out my second 20 miler yesterday!!! YEAH!! AND....I shaved 14 MINUTES off from my last 20 mile time!! But still...20 miles ain't no joke.

I've always thought of myself as a person that has had to work hard for everything...nothing ever comes easy. That was certainly the case yesterday as I pounded out my final 20 mile run before the marathon. I shoved off at around 0830...less than 10 minutes after I started I had to make a quick pit stop (I apologize to any passer-byers). But, then I was good to go for another 8 miles or so when I had to make my second pit stop. I used the same route that I had ran a couple of weeks ago...basically, route 9 all the way to my parents' house. But, this time I did things a bit different. I carb'd up on Thursday and some on Friday, and I drank an endurance shake about 2 hours before I started the run. The changes clearly made quite a difference. My legs hurt like crazy, but my stomach and endurance felt pretty good. I had energy throughout the entire run. AND, my hydration team met me at mile 12 for some ice cold drink!!!!! It was a beautiful thing.

Now, back to the whole working hard for everything bit. Even though I felt fairly decent, as already noted, my legs were a'hurtin. My knees were a'hurtin....and my dogs were a'barkin (feet). But, I knew that at around mile 15 or 16 I was going to get some extra motivation, so I pressed on. And so did the rain. Right at mile 15 God decided that the first 2+ hours of my run were too easy, so He opened the clouds and dumped His holy rain on me. Just after mile 16, my motivation the form of high speed, motivated Air Force combat bro! When I saw him, I knew that the rain wouldn't phase me. I knew that it was time to make it happen. So we did it together. We finished the run, soaking wet. We made 20 our b*tch.

And then we celebrated.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Getting the Lead Out

Yesterday's run was off the chain!! I had a great 14 miler in some beautiful felt out-friggin-standing. Okay, so maybe not exactly 'off the chain' material, but it certainly felt like I was getting the lead out. I finished at an 8:47 pace with fuel still left in the tank. It was a great confidence-building run as I'm about to head into my next 20 miler this coming weekend.

There seems to be a point in some of my runs where I can actually feel my feet and legs pushing off of the pavement. Sometimes running just feels like you are dragging your legs along...but this run was different. I could feel a spring in my feet and I could feel my muscles moving me forward. I've missed that feeling!!

Next weekend's run will be interesting. I'll be doing my last super long run before I start to taper down for Chicago. I've decided to run the same (dangerous) route that I did for my last 20 miler. I'm going to run from my house to my parental unit's house, all on Route 9. BUT, my younger bro is in town on leave and he's going to meet me at the 15 mile mark and we are going to finish the run together!!! YEAH!!!!

I've also decided that I'm not eating enough before my long runs. The balance of consuming enough fuel without over-eating is still a challenge for me. But, I certainly consumed some fuel (read: overeating) for a few meals on Friday and Saturday, which may have helped with my run. I'll have to keep this in mind for the upcoming 20 miler and for race day.

Monday, September 6, 2010

20 Something...

That's right. 20 miles. DONE. 20 long, slow, and painful miles. DONE. Check it off, cross it out, chew it up and spit it's finished. I don't want to see it again....well, at least for another 2 weeks when I tackle my next 20 miler.

As of Friday night, I still wasn't sure about my route. But, I finally landed on a destination, the place of dwelling for my parental units. I didn't want to do an out and back, or a 10 mile circle (2xs)....and I figured that running to an actual destination might be a little more motivating. I was right...and I certainly needed some extra motivation.

By mile 10, as I passed through my old hometown, my quads and calves were already a'burnin. But, I remember thinking that a few years ago I never would have thought of 10 miles as being a fairly easy half-way point...crazy. In order to help with the hydration problems I ran into last weekend, I ended up buying a new water bottle with a hand strap. It worked out really well...and it even has a pouch for a Gu! I downed my first Gu at around mile 6. Unfortunately, by about mile 15 I knew I was going to run out of water/Gatorade. I was cool with it though because I thought my hydration team was planning to leave the hydration headquarters a little early to meet me along the route with some fresh hydration. However....there was a slight communication breakdown and the hydration team had no plans of meeting me. But....I kept telling myself that any minute they would pull up along side of me and give me a VERY cold bottle of Gatorade. Just the thought kept me moving...a little. :)

I had another Gu at around the 15 mile mark as I was trying to ration my drink. By mile 18 I was fresh out of the drink and I was hurtin....BAD. The thought of stopping crossed my mind...then I picked up that thought, looked at its ugly face, and spit on it. 2 miles. 2 MILES. Nothing was stopping me. NOTHING.

Before I knew it, I had made it to the parental headquarters. I crawled inside, they made me an ice bath and poured me some chocolate milk. I was good to go.

It was an amazing, and VERY painful run. Those last 2 miles were quite an experience. I'm convinced that you have to be comfortable with reaching a point in your mental and physical state in which you aren't thinking, you aren't seeing, and you aren't are just moving. You have no idea how you are moving, but you are. Somehow, your feet continue to pick themselves up as you reach closer to the finish line. Your brain is no longer in control....something else takes over. I don't know what it is and I don't really know how to explain it. It's an odd experience, yet one that I can't wait to feel again at the next finish line.

20 miles ain't no joke. I come.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Note to self....

Hello blog-o-peers! First, to my very, very loyal fan(s?)....I'm so sorry for not writing lately. When I started this blog I told myself that I never wanted to feel pressured into writing....I didn't want another deadline. But seriously dudes, this is ridiculous. Unfortunately, I just haven't had much to write about lately. My training has really taken a hit these past couple of weeks......vacation and time in sick's been brutal. Unfortunately, I got sick on vacation so that was even more brutal!! I do hope to post a few pics of my vacation soon....

Anywho....this week I finally had a couple of great runs and after looking at a few of the training plans that I've been using, I decided that I was really due for some pain. Some serious pain. Sooo....I marked today as my first 20 miler day! But wait....before you begin to think about how much of a running stud I am.....I didn't quite make 20. :(

I started the run at around 8:00am (note to self: I will start much closer to 6am next time). I shoved off feeling good. It wasn't hot out and there was a nice cool breeze. I really wasn't sure what route to take and I wanted to stay somewhat local. So, I landed with doing one of my 10 mile routes twice (note to self: bad idea). You see, the 10 mile route that I landed on is very hilly. Very. Hilly. Got it? The first 4 miles or so are loaded with some pretty serious hills that just kick my booty. But, I drove on. Unfortunately, by mile 4, my water bottle was done driving on. I had a water bottle emergency folks. Out of nowhere, the cap completely popped off of my water bottle and fell to the road in multiple pieces. I still have no idea what happened, but I had to stop and pick up what was once my perfectly good method of much needed hydration. The stopping and the struggle of trying to drink through an open hole while running was bad news.....needless to say, my hydration strategy was not looking good.

But, I did press on and luckily, my 10 mile route took me past my hydration team was waiting for me with iced Gatorade and half of a granola bar. The Gatorade was a life was amazing.....but....I was so thirsty from not drinking enough during the first 10 that I sucked down the tasty beverage rather quickly. After another round of stinking hills and the blazing sun beating down on me, I was nearly out of the drink. by mile 14 I knew I was going to run out and I had to change my route in order to swing by my house again.

My hydration team obviously wasn't expecting me to stop by again, so I had to run inside.....I was hurting. My legs immediately started to cramp as I down a glass of ice water. My hydration team refilled my bottle and I was off.....but, my pace was probably just a little faster than a slow crawl. I knew there was no way that I would make it to 20. I was feeling dehydrated and my legs were completely dead. Finally, at mile body was telling me that if I didn't turn back I would pay a painful price. Running has certainly taught me to listen to my body more.....I've learned this the hard way....and I wasn't about to mess with it.....especially since I'm 6 weeks away from race day. So......I turned back. Or....limped back, rather. I made it to 17.17 miles.

Yeah, I'm a little disappointed....but, I know that 20 this weekend is ahead of many training plans, so I'm trying not to sweat it. I'll knock out 20 next weekend and I'll pick a better route (read: flat) and I'll have a better hydration strategy.

Note to self: 17.17 miles still ain't no joke. Here's to making 20 happen next weekend!!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Moving Along

I haven't updated my loyal fans since my last long (and painful) run, so I'm due for a post. Things are moving along with my Chicago training....I still have yet to find a training plan that I'm sticking with, but I think I'm on track with most plans.

After my 18 miler I scaled it back a bit during the week and then hit a decent 10 mile hill run the following weekend. Then, this past week I picked up the mileage and speed a bit more....had a couple of great runs during the week. I was considering doing a 20 miler yesterday.....even though I know that most training plans aren't calling for 20 for a few more weeks.....but, I woke up and just wasn't feeling it. Plus, we had some things to get done and I didn't exactly have management approval to be gone for 3 hours.

So I took off at around 0800 and told the wife to just head towards Normal in about 2.5 hours. I ended up running a 15 mile route that I've done before and I had time for an extra half mile. It was a great run....I did it at marathon race pace.....I definitely could have done more. I'm still kind of kicking myself for either not picking up the pace a bit or not running 20. Oh well, at least I have some confidence back after my miserable 18 miler.

I have determine that the hydration belt will be a no-go for future runs....and I need to figure something else out. I ended up carrying my water bottle bottle for the entire run. I'll either need to plant water along the route or arrange for someone to drop some off to me along the run.....

I'll be hitting it hard this week as we prepare to shove off for the eastern Caribbean next week!!!!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

SitRep - 18 Mile Style....PRs out the wazzoo

I hit a couple of new personal records today....first, my longest run EVER...18 MILES!! YEAH!! Second, my best 18 mile time EVER!!! HA! I'm not gonna lie folks, it was was was brutally hell. I had planned to run from my house to my bro Hendo's house and then finish up the rest with him. I was already at a little over 14 miles by the time I arrived at his house. I was hot, dehydrated, and out of water. I can't tell you how good it felt to see him walking down his driveway with a cold water bottle for me.

I was really only planning to do about 15 or so....I was off on my mileage just a bit when I linked up with Hendo and I knew he was wanting to get a run in. So, I drove on. We debated about the distance we would go as we got started...I said, "let's go for 3 and maybe we'll get 4". He said, "we'll do 4". I was struggling...big time. I know I was close to heat exhaustion. I was ready to call it quits at mile 15, but Hendo helped me press on. By mile 17 I was dead...completely drained. My entire body was hurting and I was on the verge of barfing. But, we drove on.

By the time we reached our stopping point, I had absolutely nothing left. I basically collapsed on the side of Hendo's driveway. I woke up to him pouring ice cold water on felt amazing and it certainly perked me up. There's no question, I owe this run to Hendo - good friends give you what you want, great friends give you what you need.

Hard to believe that in about 3 months, I'll be running an additional 8.2 miles more than where I ended up today. Here's to making it happen!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

Today was one of the best Independence Days I've ever had. I had the privilege of riding 32 miles with some of the bravest men and women in our nation's history. My buddy Hendo and I participated in the Sea to Shining Sea bike ride. This is a group of wounded soldiers that are biking across America to raise funds and awareness for wounded troops. Hendo and I biked from Pekin, IL to Normal, IL with the group today. It was an honor....and quite an inspiration. Here's to the men and women that have fought, are fighting, and will fight for our independence.

P.S. Here's a pic of Hendo and I with former US Ambassador to Iraq, Paul Bremer...turns out he's a pretty good biker!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chicago Marathon Training - Week 1

I ended week 1 with a nice 12.26 mile run yesterday. It was a beautiful morning and I finished just before it started to get hot. I tried a new route and only encountered one ill-tempered dog.....he got a face full of Gatorade too.

Week 1 called for a total of 36 miles.....a bit high for the first week, but I rolled with it. I'm using a training plan from Runner's World Smart Coach. I'm still working on getting my pace to where it should be, but my endurance feels pretty good. I have noticed some pain in my left leg....perhaps new IT Band I'll have to watch it. I've read about runners who get IT Band syndrome in one leg, let it heal, and then get it in the other leg right away......

Yesterday's run:

Monday: 9 miles
Tuesday: 7 miles
Thursday: 8 miles
Saturday: 12.26 miles

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Easy Rider

Thanks to my bro, Hendo, yesterday I was able to get in my first ever road bike ride!! After a quick 4 hour 'nap' (thanks to a night out with friends), I woke up and drove to Hendo's house. We were on the road just before 0730. We hit a route through the deep...deep back country.....and it was a BLAST! We were planning to do around 20 miles, but we were both feeling pretty good so we made it to 27.27 miles. It was absolutely awesome....I loved it. I'll admit, there were a couple of hills that really kicked my butt, but I truly enjoyed the challenge. I think I could definitely get used to the biking thing on my non-running days.....or maybe even on my running days???

Later yesterday afternoon I found myself with a really strong desire to....SWEAT! Plus, the weather was amazing (read: HOT), so I had to get outside. I did a very nice and relaxing 'recovery' 5 mile run. It was awesome just to get outside and sweat some more.

Today is Father's Day, so I'm sitting back and replenishing all of the carbs that I lost yesterday!! :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Turkeying Around

I did another last minute decision 5k this weekend....the Tremont Turkey Festival 5k! Believe it or not, but this was my first ever Turkey Festival 5k....which is strange because I went to school at Tremont! I was pretty nervous about the race...I really wasn't planning to do any 5ks this summer because I figured the speed work might be too stressful on the knee, and I certainly don't want to do anything that will delay my training plan for Chicago. But....I woke up to a very muggy morning on Saturday and decided to make it happen. AND...the wifey AND the Mom2 ran it with me!!!! This was the wifey's first ever how cool is that??!!

I saw a lot of folks that I know/went to school with....many of which did not recognize me! ;) I also saw the Johnson family, who completely ROCKED the course, as always (those dudes are amazing!!).

Considering that last week was really my first week back from IT Band recovery, I was pretty pleased with my time - 21:45. Not a PR, but I still pushed it pretty good. Overall, it was a great experience and a race that I'll probably continue to run. There's talk of a mini-triathlon in Tremont in a couple of weeks....Hmmmm.....

Race results:

Me with my on pre-race

The wifey and Mom2 ready to pound out 3.1!!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Sixes and Fixes

I'm up to 6 miles now!! I did 5.5 on Wednesday and then 6 yesterday. Still not fast by any means, but I'm getting there. Wednesday's pace was around 8:32 while Friday's was close to 8:44. It was friggin hot out there folks!! My IT band was hurtin a little bit on Wednesday.....BUT, on Friday....there was NO pain!!!! Not sure what changed really. I did wear an IT band support wrap on Friday's run, but that hasn't done much for me before, so who knows. Regardless, it felt SUPER....for the first time in a while, I felt FIXED.

I'm still going to take it slow as I build myself back up, but I really feel like I'm getting there. It's amazing how far back I fell though in terms of speed and endurance. I have some serious work to do on my breathing and hydration which should help things a bit.

Rock out!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And I Ran....

That's right blog-o-lites, I ran today. For the first time in many weeks, I ran. It wasn't far and it wasn't fast, but....I RAN. 4.34 miles. It felt absolutely amazing to be back on the pavement. The sun was beating down on me, the sweat was pouring out, the tunes were rockin, and I was lovin it. It's really hard to describe the feeling that running gives me....while I'm out there, it's just me and the road. Nothing else.

When I got home I made myself a delicious protein shake with a side of FF yogurt, strawberries, and a 1/4 cup of granola. Mmmmmmm......

P.S. I apologize to all of the local residents that may have been temporarily blinded by the glare of my pale white skin. It was way too stinkin hot to keep a shirt on today.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

It's a Boy!

I had my first physical therapy session this week....they did a ultrasound on my knee. Turns out that my knee is 8 weeks pregnant. HA. Actually, the ultrasound is suppose to help accelerate the healing process. It took about 5 minutes and then I was done...I didn't feel a thing. I'm hoping this actually works.

For the past few days my IT band has actually been feeling pretty good. Walking up and down stairs isn't nearly has painful as it was a few weeks ago and I've been able to get some quality miles in on the stationary bike. Depending on how things go this weekend, I'm considering a short run on Monday morning (don't tell the doc!!). We'll see...

I've got a weekend full of today, bachelor party tonight, and bday goodness tomorrow. Can't wait for my cheesecake!!! I will say that turning 31 has been interesting for me. Now that I'm 'in my thirties' I'm really starting to reflect upon my life. So many good things have happened these past few years and it's hard to imagine celebrating my 31st in my former body and mind. It took me 31 years to reach this point of fitness....crazy that some people think they can do it in a few weeks. I'm also really feeling an urge to buy a fast sports-car....bday present maybe? :)

Here's to fitness, golf, good clean fun, and lots O' cheesecake!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Injury SitRep

Yep...still injured. I'm starting physical therapy tomorrow...the doc says I could start to see some changes after just 2-3 sessions. I REALLY hope so. Not being able to run is killing me. I know, it could be a lot worse for me...but, the running addiction is a hard habit to break once you get completely hooked. You feelin me dawg?

Here's to recovery...let's hope I'm back on the pavement soon.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Illinois Half Marathon

Well, the Illinois Half Marathon is complete!!!...yet my knees and toes continue to BURN!!! I'm not gonna lie folks, this was by far the most challenging run/race I've ever completed - and I'm afraid my time shows the pain. 1:59:37....well beyond my PR and well beyond my target goal for this race. Stinkin knees....

Unfortunately, it wasn't just the knee that contributed to the poor time. I felt bad from the get go. Bad stomach cramps kicked in as soon as I started to run. Then at about mile 3.31 my knee bit it....hard. Luckily, I was able to run through it...or limp through it rather. I worked it out, but it was painful for the entire run. The stomach cramps went away until mile that time my knee was screaming and my calves were cramping up. It was also friggin hot out there and there still weren't enough water stations!! Regardless....I FINISHED. I did beat my time from last year, but not by I am happy about that!

Here's to never giving up, never quitting, and to MAKING IT HAPPEN!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I'm Digital!

Just in case you still have refused to go out and pay a few bucks to buy the magazine, it appears that the April issue of Men's Health is online now.

Check it out!

Belly Off!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


9 days until the Illinois Half Marathon!!! Knee issues, chance for rain, lack of training over the past few excuses!! This could be an interesting race folks!!


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Suck it Up and DRIVE ON

Today I reached a milestone in the p0st-cortisone knee recovery period. It's down to the wire on the Illinois half marathon training, so today was a pretty critical training day. I tried to run on Thursday, but made it to 5 miles and the knee had enough. I took Friday and Saturday off, icing and Aleve'ing. Today was the day. I decided I was just going to run until I couldn't handle the pain.

I picked a fairly flat route and set out to build my confidence for 1 MAY. I did the first 3 or so and felt decent, so I decided just to do the same loop again. By the time I reached the 6 mile mark the knee was definitely barking....but, I felt like I could endure the pain for a bit more. So....I drove on. Mile 7....feel the burn, suck it up.....mile 8....wanna quit, suck it up.....mile 9....good to go. 9 miles today....I'm not gonna lie, it wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't painfree. It wasn't fast either, but I learned a very valuable lesson. I can do's going to be painful and it's not going to be at PR pace. But, I can do it. You know what though?'s NEVER been easy. I don't expect that to change. My knee hurts like a sunuva-you know what, but I'm not about to quit....even if I have to crawl across that damn finish line. Yeah, that's how I roll. :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Kneed a New Posting

Dear loyal bloggies, I sincerely apologize for the delay in my postings. I know many of you have been anxiously awaiting the next update from Running on Ginnis. I haven't posted much because quite frankly....I haven't had much to post about. I've had a few good runs over the past several weeks, but not nearly as many as I would have liked.

But for good reason....for around two months I've been dealing with some soreness in my knee. Well, about 2.5 weeks ago I did a nice 10 miler (in the rain) and I had to negotiate a significant obstacle.....a huge ass hill!! Seriously, it had to be around a 1/2 mile. After negotiating the hilly obstacle, I felt fine. But once I reached my FOB (forward operating base....aka home) I immediately began to feel pain...not soreness, but pain, in my right knee...which lasted for a few days.

I tried to get a few runs in afterwards, but the knee just wasn't having it. My mileage has been extremely low and with the Illinois Half coming up in less than 3 weeks, I knew I kneeded to take action.

I took a trip into a sports medicine office today and had some xrays taken. Good news: nothing is structurally wrong with my knee!! Bad news: lots of inflammation and fluid. So, the doc laid out my options: 1. lay off the running for even longer, continue to take Ibuprofen, and gradually work my way back to higher mileage 2. Get a cortisone shot and possibly be ready to go in two weeks or less. I told the doc that I don't do well with gradual and slow healing....and then said I was leaning towards the cortisone.

I asked him if the shot hurt, he said yep. I said, let's do it doc. Yeah, cuz that's how I roll. (note: please do not validate this story with the doctor....due to doctor-patient confidentiality reasons, of course). Sooo....after the doc provided me with SEVERAL warnings about the EXTREME pain, I decided that it was time to drive on anyway. He pulled out a needle, which appeared to be a good 3-4 feet in length, and poked me with the good stuff right in the sore spot.

The doc said some people begin to notice improvement within a day or two and some people feel it after about two weeks. I have no time to waste, so I'm hoping I begin to feel the results soon.

See said knee below. WARNING: Due to the graphic nature of this picture, I strongly urge you to restrict viewing by minors and non-runners.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

15 for the Constitution

Yesterday the weather was absolutely beautiful so I decided to get my long run. I had to go into work for a class and as soon as I was done I gathered up my gear, found a place (phone booth) to change into my costume, and I was off. I haven't ran in B-ton in a very long time, so prior to getting started I did some route recon. The Constitution Trail is a very nice benefit to the Normal citizens of B-ton (insert corny drum sound here) and it sounded like a good place for me to start.

I parked on one side of town and decided that I would run out about 7.5 and then turn around. It kind of worked.....except the trail ended just before I hit the 5 mile mark....soooo, I had to improvise a bit. would have worked out swell, except I wasn't feeling too great for most of the run. I had stomach cramps for the first 7 the time I started feeling better my legs started cramping up. Then and mile 10 I actually had to stop for a second and suck down some Gu and Gatorade. That seemed to help with the stomach issues, but my dogs were still barkin pretty bad. I was VERY close to stopping at 10 miles, but like a good little soldier, I sucked it up and drove on. I was happy with my distance (15 miles), but I wasn't too pleased with my speed. I was waaaay too slow. I suspect the stomach issues were related to my diet.....I probably hadn't eaten enough. I downed a full bagel with jelly in the early morning and then had a banana about 3.5 hours before I started the run. Me thinks my tummy needed more, I was not properly hydrated. Oh well.....15 slow miles is a heckuva lot better than nuthin.

I'm still planning to do some intervals (5 miles?) and arms/shoulders tomorrow, but so far I'm at 36 miles for the week.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

St. Pat's 5K - 20:56

Well, I was planning to do a 10 miler today.....but, the weather was crappy and I just wasn't feeling the treadmill. Soooo.....literally 30 minutes before registration ended, I decided to run the St. Patrick's Day 5K race in Bloomington. I changed out of my comfy Sunday rags and I sprinted out the door at a few minutes after 12:00...registration ended at 12:30....on a good day, it takes 35 minutes to get from my house to Bloomington. I arrived at the VFW and managed to find one illegal parking spot available.....after a mad dash into the VFW Hall I reached the registration booth with seconds to spare....whew. Unfortunately, I was too late to get a cool race shirt! :(

I've never ran this race, in fact, I didn't even know about it until a co-worker mentioned it to me on Thursday. It was a nice flat course and had a really good turnout. I finished in 20:56, which is a new 5K PR for me! I placed 45th out of around 596 (I was bib 638....not sure on the final count yet...I might have been the last runner to register...). I was 6th place in my age group....damn those speedy 30-34 year olds!!!

Overall, this was a fun race and I'm glad I decided to run it. I had been thinking about doing a speed race or two before the Illinois Half and this one was a great way to start the 2010 race season.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Hot Off the Press!

Extra, extra!! The April issue of Men's Health magazine is now hitting stores. Be sure to checkout page 50!! I'll try to post the article as soon as I get my own copy.

All autographed copies must be ordered at least 2 days in advance....HA!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Shorts Weather!

It's absolutely beautiful out there, I had to take advantage of the shorts weather and get my long run in. 13.29 miles total.....A training half marathon PR!! My 13.1 came in at about 1:48:44. The entire run felt GREAT....a very nice stroll through the Mackinaw River Valley. No dogs, corn dust, or crazy drivers....the only issue was a little muddy patch just after I crossed the river. Felt soooo good to be outside again in shorts!


BTW, thanks to Mike for sharing this AWESOME quote:

"This my body. And I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study
it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I'm on.
What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?"

-Lance Armstrong

Monday, March 1, 2010

Vegas Baby!

Not that any of my loyal readers have noticed, but my blogging has been reduced significantly over the past several weeks. I've got a few things going on right now (bottles, diapers, school, trying to sell our house, work, etc) and I just haven't had the time for running on ginnis! So sorry to disappoint you....

20 of my 30 miles this week were logged in the fitness center at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas! It was a pretty nice fitness center....I like the treadmills that have TVs on them! :) I managed to score a new 7 mile treadmill PR: 55:03. I'm also doing my treadmill runs at a 1% incline now, in order to be better prepared for the Illinois half on 1 MAY.

Vegas was full of bad eats and good treats (booze)....this week I'll be hitting the miles hard and I'll be disciplined with the eating.....oh, and no booze.

I also had a 10 mile treadmill PR at the gym the other day: 1:20:49 (1% incline, of course)!!! I know I've said this before, but it seems that when I eat a lot I rack up the PRs....but I also gain weight...Grrrrrr. Need to find the right balance.....

Yesterday I did something pretty crazy....for a good cause! I jumped into a freezing cold lake to raise money for Special Olympics!! It was a BLAST!

Here's a pre-plunge pic for you!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Winter Blues Much?

In my previous life I always looked forward to the winter season because it meant sweaters to hide in, no swimming pools, and Irish hot cocoa every night. :), I'm really ready for some warmer weather. I'm ready for long runs outside, I'm ready for swimming pools (seriously!), I'm ready for shorts and t-shirts, and I'm ready for a nice cold Mich Ultra after pounding the pavement for a few hours. I sure hope warmer weather is in the forecast soon!

This weather is taking its toll on a lot of do you stay motivated during the winter?

Monday, February 1, 2010

It's Official!! Chicago 2010!!

Dear Curt,
Congratulations! You are now registered for Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Please check the event's official website for updates:

What am I thinking??? Another item to cross off on my bucket list I suppose. I'll start my official training plan after the U of I half on May 1st. Here we go Chicago!!

PRs Out the Wazoo

Another week, another 7 mile PR. I went from a 55:37 PR down to 55:10! I'm really starting to feel good on those 7 milers!! I'm starting to wonder if I should bump them up to 8 milers?... I had a pretty high mileage week. The run schedule was a bit off, but my Saturday to Saturday mileage was around 47.5 miles (normally my mileage starts the day after my long run and ends on a long run).

Saturday: 11 miles outside (too slow!)
Sunday: Fast 2 mile sprint, abs
Monday: 5 mile, 7:55 pace, chest
Tuesday: 7 miles, 7:54 pace, abs & LEGS
Wednesday: 20 minutes ellpitical, back, lats, & arms
Thursday: 10.49, 8:07 pace, abs
Friday: arms, shoulders, & pushups
Saturday: 12.1 treadmill, 1:38:10 (still on track for a new half marathon PR!!!)

P.S. Today I shall register for the CHICAGO MARATHON!!!!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Post-flu 11

Hello fellow bloggies. It's been a while since we've last talked! I blame my busy schedule of kiddos, school, and work....oh and there's that flu thing. Last weekend it hit me bad. I was totally OUT Sat-Mon....didn't do a thing but lay down and hydrate (okay, I might have gotten some CoD in also). It was miserable. I finally made my way back to the gym on Tuesday. I knew I wasn't in running condition yet, so I just did 20 minutes on the elliptical machine and then had a decent chest workout. Overall....I felt pretty good. By Wednesday morning I was ready to get some miles in....and I had a new 7 mile PR (55:37; 7:57 ave pace)!! I beat last week's 7 mile PR (55:49; 7:59 ave pace)!!! Thanks Mr. flu!! I also had a great 40 minute tempo run (5.41 miles) on Thursday. I'm really starting to like the tempo runs - 3 minutes fast, 2 minutes at a slower pace. I followed Thursday's run with a really good back and lats workout. Then, I hit arms and shoulders really hard on Friday. Sooo....that leaves me to today!

Since I wasn't able to get a good long run in last weekend, I knew I had to get some miles in today....and it was around 37 degrees out, so great running conditions....until I started running and realized how windy it was. The wind sucked!! There was also a constant mist in the air that seemed to make everything wet. As if the weather conditions weren't enough, I just felt weak today. I was still able to get a decent 11 miles in, but it wasn't nearly as fast as I had hoped. I'm trying to convince myself that I'm still recovering. AND...a decent 11 is better than nuthin!!!

11 miles, 1:34:41, 8:36 average pace...check it out:

On a side note, I also wanted to give a quick update on my shoe situation. I'm sure my loyal bloggies recall how I was struggling with my replacement New Balance shoes. I've been getting some serious blisters because they appear to be more narrow in the toe than my previous NB shoes. I'm trying a few different things with them, including better socks, running w/out my orthotics, and of course, more Aquaphor. I'm still working on it, so we'll see what happens. I do want to mention how AWESOME the guys at Often Running in Normal, IL have been. I HIGHLY recommend Often Running if you are in the market for any running gear needs. I really hate being the high maintenance customer, but the guys at OR totally understand the issues that runners face. Often Running - check it out! (website is under construction)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Treadmill PR?....13.2 (1:49:56)

Okay, so I know there's some debate in the running community about whether you count training PRs as actual PRs. My, they don't officially count....but, YES, they totally count for bragging rights! :)

Yesterday I did 13.2 (an extra. .1...for the troops of course) at 1:49:56. It was a great run...I'm really liking my new hydration strategy. I still remember how sick and dehydrated I was after the Lewis and Clark half this past fall (1:51:31). The mixture of Gatorade and Clif Shot Bloks is very effective! 13.2 was on a treadmill....I'm sooo ready for better running weather. After last weekend's 12.2 miles someone asked me why I didn't just go for the full half marathon...well, the treadmill maker people decided that treadmills should only go up to 99 minute runs. Anyone that runs longer than 99 minutes on a treadmill must be insane, have already collapsed on the floor, or forgot to turn the thing off. So at the 99 minute mark I had to stop and reset it and then basically sprint the last 1.4 miles. It was inconvenient, but it still felt outstanding. I was pretty bored before I hit the halfway mark, but luckily there was a good basketball game on TV and I was able to do some people watching due to the continued 'New Year's Resolution' crowd.

One of my favorite (and probably a bit arrogant?) things to do during my long treadmill runs is to take note of the people that I outlast on the a way it keeps me motivated to see them steadily drop off as I keep going. It sort of makes me feel like I'm passing them in a race. Yes, maybe it is a bit arrogant and competitive, but have I told you how boring those long treadmill runs are?? I need all the help I can get to keep me moving....and to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

On a side note...I've been getting some mad blisters on my toes after switching to my New Balance 1064s. It's amazing how my running form is impacted by a few stride completely changes, which of course, can lead to injury. Very frustrating....especially after hearing so many good things about the 1064s and since my 1063s had a minor defect after only 3 months. So, I pulled out the defective 1063s and did my long run with blisters, no foot problem. Turns out that the 1064s must be a bit more narrow in the toe area than the 1063s. Not sure what I'm going to do....most likely I'll go back to the running shop and talk to the experts. Stay tuned...

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Finish Strong

I finished off my excellent Christmas vacation with an awesome 12.1 miles on the treadmill yesterday. I was really hoping to get another outside run in, but when the windchill is in the negatives I tend to stay indoors.... The run felt GREAT!!! I finished in a half marathon PR pace - I definitely could have kept going. I also tried a new hydration/electrolyte strategy using some of my Christmas goodies. My momma-in-law gave me some Cliff Shot Bloks in my stocking (orange and black cherry). I popped one black cherry blok before my run, one at the 30 minute mark, 60 minute mark, and then I had another at around the 9 or 10 mile mark. I followed each blok with a few sips of Gatorade. Everything felt outstanding - no side ache, no stomach cramps, and no signs of dehydration. I'll definitely continue to keep this strategy up for long runs and maybe even some of my runs during the week.

I've really enjoyed the time away from work and even the time away from the gym this week. But, my body is telling me that it's time to get back into the routine.

2009 has been a year of transformation for me. I completed my first half marathon in the spring, tackled the hills of the Steamboat 15k, shaved 9 minutes off of my half marathon time at the Lewis and Clark race, shaved just under 7 minutes off of my PR 5k time, dropped over 100LBS(!!!!), dropped about 10-12 inches in pant size (size 40-42 to size 30), went from wearing 3XL/XXL shirts to smalls and mediums, and I had my first photo shoot (HA!!!)

I found myself again in 2009...I had been lost for a long time - It's nice to be back.

So, here's to strong 2010!!!!

Looking out at the road rushing under my wheels
I don't know how to tell you all just how crazy this life feels
I look around for the friends that I used to turn to, to pull me through
Looking into their eyes I see them running too

-Jackson Browne

Running on, Running on Ginnis!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

1 MAY 2010

Dear Curt,
Congratulations! You are now registered for Illinois Marathon. Please check the event's official website for updates:

I've officially registered for my first race in 2010!! I'll be doing the Illinois Half Marathon for the second time. This was my very first half was an awesome experience and I'm going to try to make the race an annual tradition.

Here's a summary of the races that I'm planning to do in 2010:

May - Illnois Half Marathon
June - Steamboat 15k
September - Louis and Clark Half Marathon (I might change this up a bit if I find a different race in August)
October - Chicago FULL Marathon (YEAH!!)

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!!

2009 was a transformational year for me (which I will blog about after I recover from last night's fun), but this picture pretty much says it all! Here's to 2010!!