Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Day Thirty-dOne - Uecker - Let the Park My Butt on the Sofaothon begin!

The end.  That's what today was.  Or was it?

Technically, realistically, practically Marcothon 2013 ended today.  It was done when I finished my 3.3 miles with Catherine.  I had a total of 101 miles for the month of December.  More than I've had in a month since I started running a year and a half ago.  I was able to take off my shoes, pull off my hat, strip off the running tights and say, "It's finished."

Why then does it feel like it's not done?  Does it have anything to do with the things I learned about myself as a runner this month?  Or more importantly, does it have anything to do with the things that I might have learned about myself as a person?

I'm not sure.  I think it's because at this point I'm a bit too tired to know exactly what it is I have learned.

I know that I have a will to finish something that is physically pretty demanding.  In many ways I knew that before, from being a swimmer and football player in my younger days.  In all honesty, it feels different and new this time.  It might be because I am much older.  That I pushed myself through, an almost three day flu.  A cough that seemed to last for a couple weeks and countless other little things that I think all runners go through in the quest to better themselves.  I am stronger now that I was 31 days ago.  I feel a bit leaner even though I don't think I lost a single pound.

I also know that I didn't do this alone.  Yes, I ran all the miles, but this was not a solo accomplishment.

My wife, Catherine, helped me daily.  To get out the door, to put the feet on the pavement and the head on straight.  I listened to her a lot during all of this.  When the flu hit on day 5 we talked about whether to pitch it in or not.  I finally got to the point where I could get out the door and go from there.  There were the many days she ran with me and the days when she just kicked me in the ass and asked if I was going to chuck it when I was so close to finishing. No way I finish this without her.  Absolutely none!

There were all the members of the HFCRC who were doing this too.  Whether we were meeting for straddle runs, runs in Izaak Walton, meeting on the street, or just encouraging each other by reading each others blogs.  Giving each other grief on Facebook, or just knowing that they were out there somewhere too enduring the same crappy weather I was.

There was also, all the other people running the Marcothon and posting from different places all over the world.  Some of their stories were inspiring and moving.  Reading about someone's midnight run under the stars to finish.  Another runner having to drop out with 2 days to go because of an allergic reaction.  And many more that just made me realize that as runners we belong to a community that we can all lean on and be inspired by, if we so choose to be.

I have a feeling that in the next days, weeks and months I will come to realize that there were many other things that this experience has taught me.  I'm sure that I will draw on this when I start training for my first half-marathon in 2014.  What I look forward to are the times when something from this comes up and smacks me in the face as a lesson I had no idea that was learned or being taught from all of this madness.

Real quickly in closing I would also like to thank all of the people that have read my blog and made comments along the way.  Knowing that I wasn't alone out there made it much easier to finish this.  It really did.  Also, a huge thank you to my mother-in-law.  Without the thermal tights for my birthday, there is no way I would have faced the subzero temperatures.
It is done!

Stats don't matter today.  They just don't.

Marcothon 2013, you are completely in the books.

Day 31: Stine - DONE. DONE.DONE. Windchill of -8 Didn't Stop Us!!!

After 31 cold days....
All done...with frozen sweat next to my hair and ear....lovely!

wait..."cold" isn't the best adjective to describe this.

Let's try this again.

After 31 challenging, cold, frigid, subzero, sleepless, stressful, invigorating, busy, therapeutic, laundry-filled, marcothon days, I can finally say - I DID IT!

Joel and Jeff's "Happy Dance"
I honestly have to put this feat up with my 8 marathons.  The challenge of getting out the door every single day is something I honestly I didn't think I had in me.  Not only was it getting out the door, it was massive amounts of laundry, one of the WORST Chicago Decembers in years, and a busy work/family/holiday season.  I ran many with my Marco-Maniac comrades: Joel, Jeff, Priscilla, Eric, Rick, Gerard, and Jason - and many other faithful friends who joined us for weekday and weekend mileage in the horrendous weather and even the Midnight Straddle Runs including Eric Z, Gavin, Kim, Mark, Meghan, Pam, Megan, Kelly, and many other great partners in the HFCRC running family!  I also drug out my family on one occasion to join me, and even have Steve M. to thank for "roping" me into this Marcothon from the beginning! (PS..Steve - we need to set a date next week for some post-Marco beer to commiserate!)

It may appear to be quite the love-hate relationship.  Because honestly, it has been.  My mileage was higher than any December in my last 10 years of running.  123.3 miles.  This is the 3rd highest mileage month of 2013:  August: 167.6, July 127.5, December 123.3

Marcothon 2013

123.3 mi
Month of December 2013

Month of December 2013
Calories Burned

Month of December 2013
Average Pace

8:52 per mi
Month of October 2013
Elevation Climb

12,974 ft
Month of December 2013

Month of December 2013
But to be honest, I was always thankful at the end of each and every run to have "made it".  Having bundled up for anywhere from 3-10 miles each and every day, outside every single damn time, and have come out on the other side without even one pound gained over the holiday season.  NEVER in my life has that happened...EVER.

On the lake at Izaak Walton with Jeff, Kim, Priscilla and Joel
I reflect back on this month and it wasn't an injury or the weather that really ever got in my way though.  I almost stood in my way of getting out there each and every day.  It was about me finding time for ME.  I often prioritize work, family, and everyone and everything else - except me.  Did my sleep sacrifice? - yep - at times (like the double straddle midnight run I did alone early in the month because that was the ONLY time to do it!).  Did I get to see new places that I might have not experienced?  Yep - Boston, Cardondale, Chicago's lakefront, and my hometown of Raymond.  I also made even better friends on the trails and became a better mom and wife.  I feel better physically, emotionally, and spiritually.... And that helps everyone.
   "If Mamma Ain't Happy, Ain't NOBODY Happy!"
We did it! Jeff, Priscilla, Eric and I

I know one thing for sure, tomorrow I am doing NOTHING.  Seriously - I plan to relax and not think once about running.  That is the plan.  However, I know I'll be antsy and itching to get back out there. We joke that this is a "sickness".  It honestly is.  Seeing new sights, teaching my family to live a healthy lifestyle, and keeping my mind happy and healthy is just some of the benefits that running has brought to my life.

What will my next marathon, race, or adventure be?  I have absolutely no idea.  I plan to begin my Marcothon hangover (aka...couchothon) tomorrow and we'll just see what's next.

What a ride....I've secretly loved every stinkin' day of it :)  (shh....don't tell anyone)

Today's Run Data and Map HERE - it was a balmy 7 degrees (windchill of -8 degrees!!!) once again.

Tuesday Run

DEC 31, 2013  -  8:57 AM








Day 31 -- Bauer -- All Done!!!!!!

Izaak Walton
Waiting for a pair of trail shoes to arrive via UPS, my plans were accelerated as the group  agreed on an 8:45 start time to a trail run.  Frantically searching for dry clothing, cleaning my car of snow, and driving too fast to get Izaak Walton Preserve, I still missed the group!   

The Loop
I quickly chased down the 3.6 mile loop, but eventually realized that I was on my own.  I cut the loop a bit short to see if I could connect with the group, and I found them at the end of their 3.6.  We decided to run the loop again, in the opposite direction.  This time around, the pace was calmer, and it was easy to settle into the beauty of the park.  Tabitha, Priscilla, and Kim cut-off halfway through, while Joel and Jeff stuck with me in my effort to get 125 miles for the month.

Jeff, Me, Joel

I guess that is that.  Marcothon done.

Summary for the month of December -- the 32nd run was from a timed "Jake Sprints" session.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Day 30: Stine - Cold One Done...ONE MORE!

Well...ONE MORE DAMN RUN.  I don't have much to say.  It was cold.  Super Cold.  Marcothon is truly making me earn it. Here I am at mile 2.  My face was too frozen to smile.

I decided after this picture was taken to say "Screw You Marco" and instead of doing the marcominimum...I decided for 6+....yeah, it was cold but I felt great.  This was 30 straight days of running outside in the Chicago weather.  I was so happy to be home.  Below is me showing my proud "one more run" finger after I had slightly "unfrozen".  Today it was 7 degrees before the wind chill. Tomorrow the forecast is snow.  I scoff at that.  I plan to run 5+ again.  I'm going out with a bang. TAKE.THAT. MARCO.

My run data HERE

Monday Run

DEC 30, 2013  -  8:16 AM








Day 30 - Uecker - The one finger salute to Marcothon?

Day 30 - Today was a bit nuts.  Lots on the plate to do.  Had to get my run in earlyish, but also wanted to let it warm up a bit.  It was chilly out there this morning.  After that it was take my sister in brother-in-law to the airport (they're Rose Bowl bound), get home, swim practice, swim holiday party and trying to get the house somewhat in order for New Years Eve...

So I headed out and just ran.  Had a hot cup of joe about 30 minutes before in anticipation of the cold.  I think I ran through the caffeine in the first mile.  It's the quickest legitimate split I've had in the last few weeks.  8:44 for the first one.  For me, that's moving.  My goal for 2014 is to be able to do that, or a bit better for a 5K.  I believe that is completely doable.

Another possible one finger salute to Marco?
Then the caffeine seemed to leave me and I was left to my own devices for speed.  I started to slow a bit.  Shortly after the 2 mile post I passed Eric Bauer, fellow Marco-nut, going the opposite direction. He was just starting his day 30.  We gave each other the one finger salute, indicating only one more left to go.  He posted shortly after is run that we had done this, "but not the middle finger although that might have been appropriate to do."  This got me thinking.  Would we have been flipping each other off or the Marcothon?  Not sure, but it was fun to see him.

After laughing to myself over that just being goofy I finished up and then moved on with the rest of my day.

Day Next-to-last - you are in the books.

RAN 3.17 MI ON 12/30/13


Sunday, December 29, 2013

Day 29 - Archer - ugly miles and two to go

Not a pretty run, not a pretty picture.
After a high of 50's on Friday, today started in the 30's and dropped all day.  My time slot for running would be in between church and cooking for a small Chicago Bears get together.  I hit the streets with 6 in mind and hadn't planned on anything with speed. I can't blame the snail pace on the freezing light drizzle. After 2 miles in I knew that six or more would not be an option.  I hadn't eaten too much yesterday but felt like lbs of food were hanging out in the belly.  Not too comfortable, then I really needed to pee.  Fortunately, there are stops along the way when needed.  Today it was the Flossmoor Brewery.  After relief, I ran back towards home with wind blowing the sleet drops right into my face.  With a little extra loop I hit 5 right near my house and thought of the determination of Tabitha.  If she sets her mileage goal, she'll run an extra something to hit her mark.  I did have 6 in mind and knew what I could add to hit the mark.  Sorry Tabitha, inspiration was not enough and my mind said #### that.  I turned right into my dead end street and stopped.

More than the Marco minimum, 5.12 in 57:29.  Still in the running.

My after run rebound took the form of friends, chili, snacks, good beer, and a choking Chicago Bear's.

Day 29 : Stine - Family Fun Run

Today was a day I was kinda dreading to run.  After running 10 yesterday (and don't mind the 27 days straight before that), I knew I'd be sore and would wanna run tonight instead of early this morning for maximum recovery time.  To my surprise, my husband woke up and said something I haven't heard all month... "Can I run your Marcothon with you today?"  WHAT?!?

Of course, I tried to decipher if this was a dream or a reality. I decided not to question it and just jumped out of bed!  And of course, the baby came too!  We were on a tight timetable with needing to leave for church by 9:15, so we were up and out by 8:15.  The temperature wasn't bad yet (but much cooler compared to the 50s we had yesterday), so all was good.  Also notice the super white shoes Chris is wearing.  He got new tennis shoes for Christmas, so he was very anxious to try them out.
Dad and Logan....racing down the hill!

As we were about 50 yards into the run I spotted fellow Marco-Maniac Gerard coming down Terrace Rd.  Great to see others enduring the same punishment...I mean "experience" that I am :)  All in all a great short run (they only ran about half of it with me...but I'll take it) and starting to feel some sore of senioritis with the anxiety of only two more runs.  Kinda tempted to do a double straddle tomorrow night to end it on a bang...we'll see about that :)

Run Data HERE

Marco run 29...with Chris and Logan
Sun, Dec 29, 2013 8:23 AM Central Time (US & Canada) By tabysu1

Activity Type: Running | Event Type: Uncategorized | Course: --
Distance: 3.12 mi
Time: 29:07
Avg Pace: 9:20 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 66 ft
Calories: 369 C
Time: 29:07
Moving Time: 28:42
Elapsed Time: 34:33
Avg Pace: 9:20 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace: 9:12 min/mi
Best Pace: 6:45 min/mi
Elevation Gain: 66 ft
Elevation Loss: 69 ft
Min Elevation: 644 ft
Max Elevation: 666 ft

Avg Pace
Summary 29:07.4 3.12 9:20
1 9:31.7 1.00 9:32
2 9:34.1 1.00 9:34
3 8:59.7 1.00 9:00
4 1:01.9 0.12 8:35
Feels like 28°
7 mph W wind
Humidity 80%
Source: KIGQ

Day 29 - Uecker - I don't wanna...

Day 29 brought with it a major case of the "I don't wannas."  Really didn't want to do this one.  At all.  That got thrown out the window when Catherine said, "Are you really going to bail with only three runs left?"

How many you got left?
I guess not.  So off we went.  Was really a pretty goofy run.  GPS was way off.  I did the first mile in 5:35 according to my phone.  I doubt I could do that for a mile full out, fully rested and all I was running was 1 mile.  Not going to happen.  Not with this old bag o' bones for a body.

We got through it before the weather started to turn.  Shortly after we were done it started to drizzle which started to freeze.  Very glad that Catherine put the boot to my backside and got me moving this morning.

Have a feeling tomorrow won't be quite so easy.  Forecast is for single digit temperatures...at best.

Day 29, you are in the books.

Not to be believed, although I know I did at least 3, the stats for the day:

RAN 3.60 MI ON 12/29/13


Day 29 - Bauer- Wet and Grey

No sunshine through the window today, and it is a tad bit colder than day 28 (50 degrees!).    Today's temperature skirting 32, I was greeted with a mix of drizzle and freezing rain, which melted quickly on my glasses, and left me with relatively poor visibility. 

4 weeks ago, in remarkably similar conditions,  I ran this course in 27:40, and today I ran it in 30:42.


Marcothon is definitely slowing me down.  Two more days! 


Saturday, December 28, 2013

Day 28 - Uecker - At this stage dogs are faster than me...

Day 28 - Another beautiful 40º day.  Feels so nice being able to be wearing only a shirt and jacket.  Especially with the knowledge that the last 2 days of this might be in the single digits again.  Enjoying this while I can.

Jake Sprints!

Catherine and I went out for an easy 3 today.  The rest of the running group were meeting for either 6 or 10 today and then breakfast.  Don't have it in me to do 6 at this point of Marco.  Feeling a bit run down and just getting up and out the door seems to take as much energy as doing the 3 itself.

We were just going along and had just about hit the 2 mile mark when we came upon Eric Bauer and Jake.  Eric has posted and talked a few times about Jake Sprints.  Today we got to witness them.  Jake can fly!  A faster puggle I have never encountered.  We had a lot of fun with them, even though it was brief, and then we went on to finish our run.

Day 28 in the books.  3 more to go.

RAN 3.13 MI ON 12/28/13


Day 28 Archer running madness 13.16 miles

There was a planned group run at 7:00, but Carrie tagged me in a post asking if I wanted to get my Marcomiles in with her at 6:30 at Walt's.  She’s good, by tagging me of course I would run with her.  She planned on 8, so I brought water and a gel.  Hillary joined us but was suffering from a sinus infection.  They talked about Christmas with their kids which made the miles fly by.  The pace was perfect and about 5 we dropped off Hillary and Walt's.  I had no idea where we were running, I was just following Carrie.  For some reason we seemed to pick up the pace.  Of course we blamed each other. As we closed in on Walt’s the mileage was a little over eight and a half. 
Looking ahead I noticed a cluster of runners coming towards us.  It was the 7:00 group and I knew from their posted route they had another 5 to run.  I hadn’t seen a couple of the HFCRC member for a little while.  I hopped on the end of the train with my Marcothon leader Tabitha.  I like Tabitha’s pace, always have. It’s just enough to make me work harder than I would but I have a sense she could drop me in a heartbeat if she chose to.  When I joined them I thought I would run a half mile or so just to chat.  Closer to a mile in, I knew it would be 4 more and my body didn’t feel bad at all.  What the hell, I pulled out the gel, asked Tabitha if she was going to stay at this pace or run faster (she was nursing a tight hammy so she would stay at this pace), and foolishly committed to completing the run with her.  The last two miles I got real hungry.  The last half I my left quad when asked me “what are you doing dude?” As we can close to the main street to turn left back to Walt's, Tabitha says she needs to go right for 2/10 of a mile so she can get an even ten.  I love it when she has set a distance goal, by God she will not stop short. I hadn’t heard 13 miles yet from the smart phone and wanted to get a half in so I turned right.  2 blocks in I heard 13 and about faced back to Walt's.  They were going out to eat at Blueberry Hill.  I so wanted to go (even had my wrist wallet on, the gift I got from Margaret at the HFCRC gift exchange), but knew I would not choose wisely what to eat.  Still looking to shed some more fat so I headed home after picking up blueberries to make pancakes for my wife and I.  Well turns out I took longer than expected running and someone wasn’t happy they had to wait for the car.  Needless to say, I didn’t make pancakes, but life is good and the run was awesome.
So take that day 28 of Marcothon.  My longest run of the year, a freakin’ half marathon.  Makes me wonder what it might have felt like if Marcothon wasn’t trashing my legs.
13.16 miles in 2:07:49 http://www.mapmyride.com/workout/452029543
Very pleased with the splits:  1 mi 10:19; 2 mi 10:16; 3 mi 10:21; 4 mi 10:46; 5 mi 09:57; 6 mi 10:19; 7 mi 09:18; 8 mi 9:21; 9 mi 09:10; 10 mi 08:50; 11 mi 08:53; 12 mi 09:03; 13 mi 08:52; 13.2 mi 9:45
My friend Bart posted that if I can do this now our birthday run is on! big time!  We share the same birthday and he lives roughly 14 miles from work and wants to run into work for his (our) birthday. I have offered to run with him.  Here’s hoping the weather is as nice on March 12th!

Day 28: Stine - Out With A BANG! 10 Mile Marcothon run with Breakfast!

Today was the group long run.  With only 4 days left, I've been very tempted to scrape by with the daily minimum, but when Mark posted this morning's route, I noticed there was a 5 mile and a 10 mile option.  After getting confirmation from my pace partners that they were game for 10, I figured why the heck not!?

The weather couldn't be any more perfect this morning.  At 7am it was 32 degrees and it continued to warm up all day.  By the time we hit the second loop, it was incredibly sunny as well.  With little to no slick spots and a great group, the miles just continued to click off.  My right hammie has been revolting recently, so I needed to stop to stretch it twice today.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see Marco-mate +Jeffry Archer at 5 miles running back to the start with Carrie....he looped back to say hi and reassure me that he had already done about 8.5 and was going to head back after chit-chatting a little bit.  Then....he said "You Gonna Keep Running This Pace?"...Puzzled, I said "Yeah".  Well, I guess he liked it because he ran another 5 with me at a 9 min/mile pace.  Seriously - this dude does spin and swims 1,000 times a week + is doing Marcothon.  The group has collectively decided - he is a cyborg after he completed his 13.1+ mileage this morning.  Heck, I'm dead from my 10 miler.  He does everything above + a half marathon.  RIDICULOUS AND AMAZING.

The best part....we all went out for breakfast today!  With a table with about 14-16 at it, we all enjoyed replenishing all the calories we burned - and then some :)  The Denver skillet was mighty delish.  I even got hassled for buying Mark's breakfast (long story!)

Best breakfast around - Blueberry Hill, Homewood IL

Run Data HERE

Oh yeah, If you're on Garmin Connect - let's "connect" too!

Sat, Dec 28, 2013 7:09 AM Central Time (US & Canada) By tabysu1
Activity Type: Running Event Type: Uncategorized | Course: --

Distance:10.02 mi
Avg Pace:8:59 min/mi
Elevation Gain:231 ft
Calories:1,176 C
Moving Time:1:29:51
Elapsed Time:1:34:42
Avg Pace:8:59 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:8:58 min/mi
Best Pace:8:13 min/mi
Elevation Gain:231 ft
Elevation Loss:230 ft
Min Elevation:625 ft
Max Elevation:700 ft