Sunday, March 22, 2009

Chicago's Lake Shore Drive - My Run

Since Wednesday I've been in Traverse City Michigan. You can fly directly there but I saved over $500 flying into Chicago and making the 6 hour drive (one way) there. The weather is not bad, but I did pass through quite a bit of snow on the way there. It was just pretty snow, coming down hard but not sticking to the road. After finishing work last night I drove a few hours then spent the night in Holland MI. When I resumed my trip this morning, I kept seeing these signs for a big casino in New Buffalo MI. I decided to stop there and play a little video poker. This is a pretty large casino. I found a machine and started playing. I hit for $75 (I was playing a quarter machine) within about 10 minutes. I decided to lose up to $5 of that and quit. I did just that. So I only spend about 20 minutes in the casino and then resumed my trip to Chicago. I arrived in Chicago around 1 and decided to visit my maternal roots. My mother is from Chicago, and every summer until I left for college we would spend two weeks visiting my grandmother. My mother had two sisters living there, and one from Brooklyn who would plan her vacation to be in Chicago at the same time. I drove to the S side and turned onto Evans from 47th street. My grandmother lived at 4736 S. Evans. When I was a kid 47th street was jumping. It's pretty dead now and looks like a ghetto. When we used to visit it was brimming with activity of black folks hustling and bustling and running businesses. Theaters and restaurants, blues and jazz clubs, just people taking care of business and having a good time. Maybe it is selective memory, but to me it was a great place and a great time.
After my drive down memory lane I headed out toward Midway Airport and my hotel. Midway is west of Chicago and their secondary airport after O'Hare. I checked in and changed into my running clothes to head near downtown and Lakeshore drive. I parked near the Shedd Aquarium and headed N. on Lakeshore. My car read 63 degrees at my hotel, but it was closer to 45 at the lake. I turned around after about 1/4 mile to go back and get my gloves. I picked them up and headed N again. I ran almost past down town, about 4 miles out and then turned around. It's nice to run beside the lake and see the people and activity, but the trail really is not that nice. It is mostly concrete and is cambered toward the lake as you hit the downtown area. I finished up with 8 miles, and headed back to my hotel. I leave in the morning to head back home.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

"St. Paddy's Day Great Race of the Great Plains"

Yesterday I ran this 8k. This is a well done and well attended race. Since it's in the middle of March, you never know what the weather will be like. Last year it was cold and windy. This year it was overcast and rain was possible. It was cool, mid 40's, but not cold. There was no wind. I decided I wanted to hold 4:30 k's which would put me right at 36 minutes. We started and when I checked my watch, I was doing right at 4. I knew that was too fast and I backed off just a bit to 4:20. This course is at Lake Hefner, which is why it was unusual not to be windy, and is an out, back past the start and then back to the finish. I felt good in the first half, and started feeling even better. I never really fell below the 4:30 mark and picked it up to 4:15 for the last k. This resulted in a new P R 34:45, ok, by 2 seconds, but I'll take them where I can get them. That was good enough for 2nd in my age group, 1st did it in 30 minutes so I don't have to kick myself for not cutting a few seconds off my time. This race gave trophies for everything including age group placings. This race did what I wish more races would do. If you won a top 3 trophy, you didn't get both that and the age group trophy. Since the guy that beat me won 2nd place masters, I got the 1st place trophy.

Today I ran with the running club. They were doing 11 miles, supposed to be 12 but there is construction on the course. I ran fairly conservatively, but overdid it just a bit. I've been having some IT band issues, and it flares up around 8 miles. I've been stretching it but I need to keep my runs under 8 until I get over this.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Creek Classic & Training Run

Yesterday I ran the Creek Classic. This is a 5 & 10 K run in a suburb of OKC. It is not a bad run, but has a bad component which I'll mention later. In years past the 5k was part of the running club series, this year it was the 10k. It was a very windy day but not cold. I knew when we headed south into the wind it would be a problem. But one we all had to deal with. We started and I was trying to hold 4:30 kilometers. I was able to do this until we made the turn south and then my pace dropped quite a bit. The race finishes with a turn W then N. When we headed west I thought I would get some relief but it was not to be. The crosswind was almost as bad as the head wind. I wanted to stop and walk but resisted the urge. When we turned south with a tail wind I picked it back up a bit and was able to finish strong. I heard footsteps behind me and thought I'm not letting anyone do that to me at the end. I finished and my time was 45:54. Good enough for 1st in age group. The awards are given out in the school cafeteria and it was then that I recalled that the last time I ran this race they took forever to give them out. Same thing this time only since I ran the 10k, I had to wait even longer. I don't know why they can't get it together, this race has run for several years. Anyway, they finally get to the 10k awards, and run out of first place medals. That didn't bother me so much as the delay.
Today the marathon training group was doing 20 miles. Since I ran a marathon last week and the race yesterday I knew I wasn't going to do 20, but wanted to run some. I ended up with 14 miles and was fading after about 10. But I was by myself so I wasn't slowing anyone down. I need this to be a fall back week, and I'll race an 8k next weekend. I probably won't race again until April after that.