Once again, the fine folks at the Chicago Half Marathon have generously donated an entry for the September 9th, Chicago Half Marathon, which takes place on a beautiful out and back course that is actually run on Lake Shore Drive. Details about the course and facilities etc. can be found here. You can view some of the highlights of the 2010 race here.
The Half Marathon starts at 7am followed by a 5K start at 7:45am. All runners receive the following:
Commemorative Technical long-sleeve T-shirt
Computerized Timing & Scoring
Great course support
Entertainment throughout the course
Outstanding post-race party in beautiful Jackson Park
Water & Gatorade Endurance available at 10 aid stations along the route
USATF certified course
and finishers receive a Custom finishers medal.
Post-race party complete with Michelob ULTRA (ID required) and free Chicago Style pizza
Packet pickup will be at Navy Pier, Exhibit Hall B at 600 N. Grand Avenue. Expo hours are Friday September 7th from noon to 7pm and Saturday September 8th from 9am till 5pm. Admission to the expo is free and open to the general public but you will need to pay for parking. Just plan ahead, get there early and walk around the pier and enjoy what Chicago has to offer. There is NO Race Day Pickup on Sunday the 9th, so if you forget, you will be watching the race from the sidelines. The deadline for race entry is September 2nd.
I am on the road quite a bit and one of my biggest challenges is staying on track with my training while traveling. I often go to locations that are quite a bit higher in altitude than Chicago and need to cut back on miles, or I am in and out of town for a one or two day trip with no time to even put my sneakers on.
To enter our giveaway for a free race entry, just comment on this post and let us know how you stay on track for your training while traveling or on vacation. I will pick the winner at random on Sunday July 29th at midnight, so you have 3 weeks to enter. We will send the winner an email with their free signup code. Please only enter if you are able to attend the race and use the code. You are welcome to comment even if you don’t want to enter, but let us know in the comment to exclude you from the drawing. Good luck and see you at the race.
Note: If you are participating in the Allstate Half tomorrow (June 9th) you are also eligible for the Windy City Challenge which will net you a third special finishers medal if you also complete the Chicago Half on September 9th.
Update: I gave the drawing one more week and will be selecting the winner on August 5th
Congratulations to Matt M. You are the lucky winner of the free race entry. See you at the finish line.
In a previous post from March 1st, I wrote about my need for a new pair of running shoes and my proposed selection process, such as it is. After a combination of research and happy coincidence, I ended up selecting the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 11, and could not be more thrilled with my selection.
The research part was a combination of online resources and the vast staff knowledge at Dick Pond Athletics in Lisle Illinois, where I purchased the shoes. The happy coincidence was that a Groupon popped into my inbox the week I was doing my research. The offer was to purchase a $50 certificate for $25, good at any Dick Pond store and since I was already going to make a purchase there, I jumped on the offer right away.
I visited Dick Pond and discussed my needs, past experience and future plans with the staff. They had me try on a few different pairs for sizing, comfort and I’m not ashamed to say, looks. They have an in shop treadmill so I was able to do a few miles before making a final decision. The Brooks ran a little smaller than the Kayanos, so I ended up with a size 11.5 instead of the size 11 that I had in the Asics. The brooks were also $40 less expensive, not cheaper, that the Asics so with the coupon, tax and tip I was out the doo for less than $75 dollars US.
I have already used them to run the Home Team Charity Run 10K in Chicago and they performed very well, with no rubbing, plenty of stability and an abundance of comfort. I realize this was a short run but was none the less a good test for a new pair of kicks.
Next step is to keep an eye out for clearance deals so I can stock at least one more pair for the next Disney Marathon. See you there.
Once again, the fine folks at the 13.1 Marathon Series have generously donated an entry for the June 4th, 2011 Half Marathon, which takes place along the beautiful Chicago lakefront path. Details about the course and facilities etc. can be found here.
Packet pickup will once again be a Fleet Feet Pipers Alley at 1620 N. Wells Street. If you have not been to the Old Town area in a while, parking is hard to find, so you may want to go with a friend and have one of you run in for pickup while the other circles the block. They had parking validation at a garage around the corner last year, but if that garage is full you are out of luck. Just plan ahead, or better yet, plan on spending a few hours, get there early and walk around and enjoy the neighborhood for a while. Pickup is on Thursday June 2nd from 4 – 8 PM and Friday June 3rd from 10am – 8PM. There is NO Race Day Pickup so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
To enter our giveaway for a free race entry, just comment on this post and let us know how the cost of race entry fees has affected your choice of races to enter. I will pick the winner at random on Thursday April 28th at midnight, so you have just over two weeks to enter. We will send the winner an email with their free signup code. Please only enter if you will be able to use the code. You are welcome to comment even if you don’t want to enter, but let us know in the comment to exclude you from the drawing. Good luck and see you at the race.
UPDATE: 4/28/2001 – The drawing is tonight so get your entries in.
Update: 4/29/2011 – Congratulations go out to Kristan Huenink who is the winner in our random drawing for the entry in this years Chicago 13.1. Thanks to everyone for your insightful comments on the high cost of racing. We will have more giveaways this year so keep in touch.
We are having our first giveaway this month to celebrate the upcoming 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon and Karhu 5K, which both take place on Sunday June 13, 2010 along Chicago’s beautiful lakefront. Our generous sponsor Karhu is giving RunMorganRun readers a chance to win a brand new pair of Karhu “Forward Ride” running shoes. The lucky winner can sport a new pair of kicks while they enjoy the sights and sounds of the 13.1 Chicago Half Marathon or the Karhu 5K. Please note that the winners choice of size and color subject to availability. Instructions are below.
Forward Fulcrum Ride Women’s in charcoal and violet – Men’s in charcoal and yellow
Multiple Options for Multiple Entries:
1.) Just visitKarhu.com to read about the awesome Forward Fulcrum Ride shoes, then leave a comment on this post about what you think is the best feature of the shoe and how you would like to incorporate the shoe into your running lifestyle. (You may enter once a day.) Remember, leave an interesting comment. If I cannot contact the random winner, you might be chosen instead based on your comment.
2.) Blog about this giveaway on your blog with a link back to this post. Come back and leave me a Comment with a link to your blog post. (If your comment doesn’t show up right away, don’t worry – it may have been filtered and just need approval.)
3.) Tweet it. If you Twitter a link to this giveaway, come back and comment here to let me know your Twitter name for another entry!
Feel free to do all three to gather multiple entries to win! You have until midnight CST on Monday, June 7, 2010, to enter so that we can get the shoes to the winner in time for the run. The winner will be drawn at random from all entries and will be notified by email. Good luck.
Note: This contest is only available to Chicago area residents.
Update: 6/8/10 Congratulations Mike S. He is the winner of our shoe giveaway. Look for his review here after he has put them thru their paces.
Had another great run today on my road to recovery. It was just a short 4 miler but I felt really good and I did not break the two rules I broke on Wednesday night (tonight I started the run at 6:30 pm and waited till after the workout to eat). Not being so rushed makes a big difference in my attitude towards the run and allows me to concentrate on what I need to accomplish.
Wednesday I talked about using my iPod and Nike+ to help track my progress and crank through some of the podcasts I listen to. The Nike Running site, which is where you upload your workout data from the ipod, has added some really nice motivational features in the last year. In particular, I like the goals section where you can set a goal for yourself and track your progress on line. You can challenge yourself to run faster, run farther, run more often, burn calories or set a coaching program for yourself. The coaching section is helpful if you are training for a 5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon or some other custom distance.
The challenges section allows you to participate in pre built challenges like the January challenge to rack up the most miles in one month per team. In this case, team participation was determined by the state you live in. Other challenges let you select the team you wanted to run for, like you alma mater if it is a college based challenge. I just joined one that challenges you to run 210 miles in 2010. You can also create your own challenge and invite the public to participate.
Once I get rolling with the Nike add on, I like to listen to podcasts via headphones or some small computer speakers that I Velcroed to the treadmill. Tonight it was ‘Buzz Out Loud (BOL)’, one of the many great CNET technology podcasts you can find at www.cnet.com/podcasts. BOL is usually just over an hour long so I can get a nice 10K in per episode including a warm up and cool down. I have a backlog of podcasts left over from my injury time so I have a bit of catching up to do. I plan on squeezing in a few audio books as well that I have form www.audible.com. I will post a review of those in my book section once I finish each book. You can’t beat feeding the mind and the body at the same time.
I finally got back in the swing of things after my marathon induced deltoid ligament injury. I was able to squeeze in some time on the hotel treadmill following a client site visit, but I broke two of my basic rule of training.
Don’t eat right before you run
Don’t run after 8pm
Breaking these rules resulted in a very painful return to my road to recovery. I returned from the client at 8:30 and was dying to work up a sweat so I got changed and headed down to the exercise room for a quick 5K. The exercise room was just one treadmill and one bike but it was good enough to stay my craving for a workout. The treadmill was angled so I could see the TV for some no volume distraction, but I could also see myself in a full wall of floor to ceiling mirrors. That was pretty depressing. I knew I felt heavy from not running full on for almost 3 weeks but the giggle factor was not very attractive, at least not for a guy. I felt like and it looked like I had swallowed a small balloon which was hovering just below my rib cage. The bloat from dinner was very distracting and I felt like I was working harder to cover the usual distance at my usual speed. Sure I have lost much of my capacity (you can loose up to 70% of you training capacity if you stop your workouts for 1 month) but the recent meal was just messing up my focus.
I always travel with my 4GB 3rd gen iPod and a Nike+ add on for my shoes so I can multitask and catch up on the podcasts I subscribe to. I don’t believe you can regularly multitask as you are dividing your attention or time slicing instead doing two or more things at the same time. Running requires very little concentration so it does allow me to focus my attention on something else and podcasts are perfect for that activity. Pacing is the only thing that usually requires my concentration. If any part of my body wants me to pay attention I know pretty quick and I can focus on that ache or pain instantly then get back to the podcast if I determine it is not urgent or a threat. I had just a tiny bit of swelling in the previously bad ankle and no noticeable pain so all in all, a good return to my training.
I am looking forward to the races in 2010 and want to get some of my old friends involved. If any of you in the Chicago area want to get off that couch and join in, there are many great local running clubs that can help you with that goal. I highly recommend Dick Pond Athletics and Runner’s Grove as sources for encouragement and mentoring. See you on the road.
I felt surprisingly good for just one day after the race. I usually feel the pain in my knees on days two and three but today I could easily get out of bet without a nurses aide. We decided to take it easy and sleep in so we did not get moving until about 9am (that is sleeping in at Disney). We had a light day planned in the parks, then a big dinner and show lined up for the evening.
Matt’s legs were bothering him so we let him sleep in a bit longer and we headed over to the Magic Kingdom. Mom and Dad had not been on Pirates’ or the Haunted Mansion since they were refurbished, so we made sure to hit those and a few more attractions. By the way, the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor is a hidden gem. I would not have done it had the lines been longer but I am glad we did. Very funny.
We met Matt at Epcot at about 2pm and the lines where very short again so we were able to do all the attractions that everyone wanted. We then decided to eat/drink around the world. That is where you have a drink and or food at every country in world showcase. We went from left to right (Mexico to Canada) and had a sample in each country. We only did one small item among the four of us because we did not want to fill up before the big dinner tonight.
One other thing that we got to do was a semi private photo op. I say semi private because it is open to Disney VISA members only. It takes place every day from 1:30 – 4 in Inventions West and features a surprise guest or two. Today it was Minnie and Goofy, so we were able to get a bunch of photos with them with either our camera or the photo pass photographer that was present. We also received a free 5×7 of our choice from all the photos taken. After the photo shoot we headed back to the Beach Club.
Our hotel was just across the lake from Disney’s Boardwalk resort, very close to where our dinner was scheduled. If you plan on visiting Disney World I would suggest taking advantage of what they call and ADR (Advance Dining Reservation). You are allowed to book up to 180 days in advance (as of this article), and you can book for your length of stay up to 10 days. We used ADR’s for all our reservations including tonight’s dinner at Kouzzina. Kouzzina is Cat Cora’s new restaurant which recently replace Spoodle’s on the boardwalk. My daughter is a big fan (as am I) of the Food Network and Cat is the first female Iron Chef on the show of the same name.
The menu was a wonderful Mediterranean/Greek mix with a nice selection of lamb, fish, pasta and steaks. We all tried something different and were no disappointed although my fast food son was a bit perplexed when I tried to explain what a béchamel was (his pasta was topped with cinnamon roasted lamb meat sauce, béchamel and cheeses). If you like Ouzo, the Ouzo-tini kicks butt.
We left happy and stuffed and made our way back to the hotel to get some blankets. I had a special night outside planned for the four of us so we need a few extra layers to keep the cold out. Every night Epcot has a fireworks/light/music show called Illuminations. If you know when you are going to be down there you can try to book an Illuminations cruise. I say try, because there are only 5 available each night (actually four on Mondays as Nippon travel has a standing reservation every Monday for members of their tour groups). You can book 90 days in advance by calling (407) WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529), but be sure to call early. The phone open at 8AM EST so start calling a few minutes before that. I have been lucky to book twice and got the last boat each time. My first cruise was cancelled because of lightening (sorry Lorie), so this was my first actual time on the boat.
The boat is a 21 foot pontoon that fits up to 10 people for a flat rate, so if you have some friends along with you you can spread the cost a bit. They provide some drinks (non-alcoholic) and snacks and you are able to order food, even dinners to ring on the boat. The only think you can’t do is bring your own food.
We were lucky enough to get Michael Scibetta as our captain that evening. If you are a hardcore fan or Disney, you probably know about the WDW Radio Podcast and have heard Michael on the show. He was the one driving Breathless II in the video ‘Catching You Breathless’.
Michael takes you around the lake for a short cruise before parking just under the bridge that separates France from England in Epcot. From there we had a front row seat for the Illuminations show and Michael was kind enough to give my parents his version of the events that were unfolding during the show. If you are lucky enough to book one of the boats, I highly recommend contacting Michael to see if you can schedule him to be your captain that night.
We had brought extra blankets to keep out the cold but I was so wrapped up in the experience that I didn’t really notice it anyway. The family really enjoyed the show and the cruise and I was grateful that I was able to share it with them.
As you hear so often in Disney ‘What a Magical Day’.
Matt was not too happy to be getting up again at 3:30 to make the 4:00 bus over to race setup, but he was at least able to grunt answers to my questions. We pinned our number to our sweatshirts, attached the timing tape to our shoes and headed out into the 28 degree morning by 3:55.
They used timing tape this year instead of chips. Cheaper and you don’t have to stop at the finish to have it removed from your shoe.
It was very quiet at the bus stop with everyone kind of keeping to themselves or having hushed conversations with their groups of people. The bus itself was standing room only and I was in the very back so I had kind of a surreal view. With all the people standing in the dark with both arms out stretched holding on, it looked like a long row of gymnasts suspended in the iron cross position.
The walk to the prerace area had a quiet tenseness as well. There was an MC in the distance trying to pump up the crowd with a thumping beat, but all I heard was the swishing of track pants, Mylar blankets and trash bags. I really enjoyed the quiet walk to the corrals as it gave me time to mentally prepare although Matt said it was like a death march. Quiet, dark, heads down, slow footsteps and the swishing sounds.
For those non runners, we sometimes bring a large trash bag along to fit over our body as protection from the cold. You can discard it right before the race and not feel bad about dropping a piece of clothing that you will never see again. We prefer to go to the thrift store and get an old 60 cent sweatshirt which has a bit more warmth than the plastic bag provides. For those who do drop their clothing, Disney picks it up, washes it and donates it to local groups for distribution to the needy.
We started right on time at 5:40, with the blue group (fast people) and the first wave of the red group starting at the same time on opposite sides of the highway median. We started out with the 5 hour pace group and were doing well for the first 5 miles, at which time both Matt’s quads locked up and that set the tone for the rest of the race. As much as he wanted to keep up with the group he could not do it. The competitive bastard in me wanted to push him to continue, but the dad in me did not want him to suffer through the next 6 plus hours. I estimated the time by timing our next mile at his max walking/running/shuffling pace and came up with about a 13-14 minute mile.
To be honest, this took all the pressure off me and made it an easy day except for a few nagging issues. Let me retract that. There is nothing easy about a marathon and calling it that would cheapen the work so many of those participants put in in order to be there.
The nagging issues were two fold, one expected and one unexpected. The expected one was a hip issue that occurs when I fast walk as opposed to running. My running gate is smooth and my feet hit the ground under my body for a comfortable stride. When I fast walk my legs come more around from the outside in on each stride and I can feel it in my his more, which after 20 plus miles makes them sore.
The second issue was cold related. Blisters. Blisters in the cold? You bet. When you feet don’t warm up and expand, your shoes are too loose, they rub and you get some huge blisters, in my case on both heels. One popped at mile 20 and the other at mile 25. I have never had that issue before so I was not ready for the shock of pain when each one exploded. the problem is that nice cushion of fluid is now gone and you are rubbing the raw skin against your shoe.
My advice for the cold weather, bring an extra pair of thin socks in case you feet don’t expand enough and stop at the med tents if you feel a blister coming on. Although the other problem was the blister prevention pads that they had were frozen together at some of the med tents so you have to stop a a few tents to find ones you could use. Bring your own if you are worried.
Matt kept telling me to go on ahead, that he was holding me back and I kept saying no, it’s OK I want to help you finish. He did not realize when you get that fatigued it can be tough to estimate your true pace without a timing watch.
I swear by my trusty Garmin 305 and will treat myself to the 310X once I compete in my first Triathlon.
I wanted him to see that I was trying to help him along and not just being a drill sergeant so every few miles I would let him take the lead and walk just off his shoulder so he set the pace. I would then give him the pace time so he could see we were moving slower than he thought. At that point we would pick up the pace again to where I though he could manage and still finish.
If this was any other race, he may have had an even harder time, but the wonderful thing about the Disney race is all the activity to help keep your mind off the pain. Now don’t get discouraged. Is it painful? You bet. But is it worth it? Without a doubt. There are few feelings like crossing that finish line, still on your feet, and it was especially great to do it had in hand with my son.
I don’t have that picture yet but I will post it as soon as I get it from ASI (the company that does all the Disney Marathon photos). In the mean time, this is one of us back at the hotel, all smiles and wearing our Mickey bling.
A special thanks to my parents who came down to see two of their generations finish this experience together. Also, many thanks to all the families who were lining the course cheering for the participants that they did not even know. I had so many people congratulate me in the parks, in the elevator on the bus and anywhere I had me medal on. It is a tradition to wear your medal to the parks following your run, although you can usually tell the runners in the parks the next day. They are the ones who are walking like they are 90 years old or getting off the bus in a side step. Thanks to all the volunteers as well. It took a lot of people to pull that off and I thank you all.
Are you kidding me? Full winter wear in Florida? I have never experienced a wind chill in Orlando before but I can cross that off my list now. We slept in knowing we would try to avoid frostbite and make it a short day. Once again the park was not busy at all so the attractions had short if any wait at all. The cat family does not like the cold so the safari had about 1/2 the animals you usually see and the ones that were out looked very confused about the weather.
What’s wrong with this picture? Coats.
Matt started to cramp up pretty bad from the cold, so he left the park early to go back to the room to warm up and prepare for tomorrow (watch football games and relax). We had enough of the wind burn and decided to pack it in by 4pm.
Tomorrow is the big day and I am concerned about the cold as I have wimpy lungs. Ever since I was little, running or doing other strenuous activity in cold weather is murder on my chest and I end up getting walking pneumonia or bronchitis or some other thing that knocks me out for a few weeks. Matt’s legs will also be a factor tomorrow. This probably will not be a good first marathon from a time perspective but I am not going to leave a man behind to better my time. If we have to walk some of the marathon I will do it to stay with my son.
We are laying out all our gear for tomorrow, then settling in to watch the Cowboys vs Eagles game. Tomorrows post should be interesting.
4:45 wake up call and onto the bus at 5:45am. The busses are the nice big tour coaches and heated which is a plus when it is 38 degrees outside. One stop at the Wilderness Lodge to pick up other guests and we were in the Epcot parking lot by 6:05 for the 7am start.
the theme for this years 5K was UP and away based on the recent Disney release. Carl Fredrickson, Russell and Doug were there to entertain the kids with a photo op in front of Carl’s house.
Lots of eager runners and many still half asleep kids.
The starting fireworks.
We started at 7 on the dot and ran out into the parking lot, made a sweeping right turn and followed the road to a service road entrance behind Test Track. We ran under test track and entered the countries between Mexico and Norway. The course took us all the way around World Showcase before we exited the park and International Gateway and then reentered at England. we ran down the main walkway past Spaceship Earth to the park entrance the made a right hand 180 to head back past Spaceship Earth before making a left back out the park towards the finish line.
The finish line after we had gone through and received our medal.
Lots of support at the finish from spectators in the grandstands and many wonderful volunteers all along the route. Thanks to all the volunteers. Even though it was cold and we had to dodge runners in the first mile or so, it was still a PR day and a great warm-up for the Marathon on Sunday.
Mom and Dad are arriving today, so we had to check out of the Towers to move over to Beach Club. They were able to get out of Chicago despite the snowstorm last night so we are grateful for that and very excited to see them. Matt and I made our way over to the Beach club and secured a wheelchair to help make dad’s bad back a bit more bearable. The room was ready and our request for first floor accommodations was granted. The bags were scheduled to be delivered in 3 to 4 hours so we decided to go out on the front lawn and play some catch (Matt has the foresight to travel with two mitts and a baseball at all times). We played catch for about 45 minutes, until the webbing broke on my glove (Matt says it is because of the power of his throw, I said it is because I have had the glove since Purdue days.)
They arrived on the Magical Express and we took them to the room to drop off their bags, then on to Epcot which is just a short walk away via the International Gateway entrance. Walked around a bit and did a few of the rides that they were comfortable doing (no Mission Space). The lines were very manageable, again because of the weather.
We got back to the room at 6 to get ready for our dinner reservation at the California Grill which is on top of the Contemporary Resort. We had a 7:30 reservation so that we could view the 8:00 Magic Kingdom fire works from our table. Dinner was excellent as it always is at that location. We did experience a first for us at Disney World… Invisible fireworks. At about 7:45, a nice heavy fog moved in to blanket the Magic Kingdom. By 8 when the fireworks started, we could see almost all the castle but when the fireworks where launched, we could see them leave the ground but no payoff. They pipe the ‘wishes’ music into the restaurant to sync with the show, so it was a bit weird hearing the audio cues but not see the visual ones.
We headed back to Ecpot for Extra Magic Hours (we get to stay in later than the public since we are staying at a Disney resort). It was pretty deserted so ride lines were very short. A quick hot chocolate, then back to the room.