Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Arctic Frog 25K Race Report

First off... i dare say this is on the best race photos i have gotten during a race.  Thank you Guy on Fat Tire Bike for snapping it... thinking this was around mile 8ish. 

Also, my write up for Chicago Athlete!

Second year doing this year and happy to report lots of changes for the better this year.  It is a 2 loop course for the 50K'ers and 1 loop for the 25K.  Race takes place in the Libertyville forest preserve with easy parking, actual toilets at the start and a casual laid back vibe.
For me, i ended up beating my time last year by 30 seconds including a mile while i walked and talked to my boss about work and a hop on a horse for a picture.  I didn't have any expectations for this race other than to log the miles so beating last years time by a bit was icing on the cake.

It is always a crapshoot with weather in December but thankfully it wasn't freezing which i was thankful for.  I still bundled up and wore my trusty Asics lined jacket and warm wear but felt good the entire time. Right before the gun went off, i realized that i forgot my phone.. i really wanted to have it and sprinted back to the car and ended up being the last person to cross the start!
Beginning of the race
Found a good rhythm within a mile and chugged along at a decent pace for me for the first five miles.  The air wasn't too crisp so it didn't hurt to breath.. thankfully!   The course was similar to the year before with slight modifications.  3 fingers with a victory lap around the preserve at the end.  The first two "fingers" were longer (and were a mix of limestone gravel and road) while the last one was only a mile and fully trail.
Part of the course, nice and wooded.

I felt good in the beginning, was enjoying myself, chatting with others until  i started getting a blister around mile 7... ugh.. It doesn't happen often for me but man, i hated that small 2 cm part of my foot over and over for like 8 miles.  Funny thing was, i expected it to be fully bleeding post race and it was just weird skin rubbage/water blister.  I think i have decided for me, when i get those feelings, i need to pop the water blister and cover it with a bandaid as that seems to bother me less. 

Anyways, i digress.  I plugged along for the rest of the race, slowing down considerably.  My boss called and actually ended up chatting with him for an entire mile.  I needed the excuse and walked a glorious 20 min mile with grace! haha.   Then after i started picking up the pace, i saw some guys riding horses and asked if i could get a selfie.  Within seconds, he was off his horse and wanted me to jump up... Aside from the fact i am allergic, that horse was TALL and I had been running for 13 miles in the cold at this point.  After some effort, a leg cramp and the guy basically pushing my butt up to the top, i not have a horse mid race pic.  There was no forward progress since you know I am always battling the "bottom 10" spots :)

Hoped off to then complete the final loop around the reservoir and finished 30 seconds faster than last year.  After the mile walking and horse pic, one has to question what i was doing last year???

Finished only to turn around and see the winner of the 50K cross.   He was from out of town and catching a flight to Alabama so Mr. Uberlube ending up giving me all of his winnings which included a bunch of local gift certificates.  As a friend to the RD, I gave them back to him to raffle off but had to laugh as my prize for not getting lapped by the winner was getting the winner's winnings! (say that 10 times)

Special thanks to Powerbar for sponsoring the event and pulling through with a last minute request! 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Chardon Turkey Trot 5K

Decided to stay close to my parents house for the turkey trot this year and went with the Chardon 5K approximately 15 minute from Gates Mills.  It was Scott's first time running since the marathon (yes, 6 weeks).... so we enjoyed our trotting pace and had a few laughs along the way.  

The race was definitely "small town" set up.  Easy parking, local vendors came out to support and the roads/path were completely clear due to it being Thanksgiving morning and the police monitoring the few traffic spots.  The course was nice with a small portion of out and back and loop around the town square in the beginning and end of the race.   Post race had donuts, oranges and other breakfast goodies.  Proceeds went to stop human trafficking and hopefully a fair amount went to cause since it wasn't the cheapest race.  

Turkey Troy streak lives on!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

LUNGevity's Breathe Deep Busse Woods 5K

Early November brought decent temps for Chicago and signed up with Lungevity's 5K last minute with Josh and his friend.  The cost for kids was super reasonable and it was Josh's friends first 5K.  The race had a very local vibe and a bit disorganized.  They ran out of bibs and shirts but since Josh and Shane were running for so cheap we were ok with that.  The race was an out and back on the path in Busse Woods with a run around the Elk that live in the preserve.   The boys did great with Josh finishing around 25 minutes.  Got a great pic on him on his way back to the finish.

Easy event, nothing fancy but great way to support a good cause and be thankful for our healthy lungs! 

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Country Sole 10K

Had the fever for another run and signed up for Country Sole on a complete whim. The race was at Montrose and b/c of only 1,500 people ran, there was plenty of parking near the start.  Got there with 30 minute before go time.  Plenty of time and for me (who loves cutting it close) too much time before the start.

The weather was chilly and the sun just rose before the gun went off.  As i was standing there waiting to start, I kindof ran through the idea that what if I just did the 5K... i was cold and was my mind was wandering. With the half, 10K and 5K all starting at the same time, they managed traffic well.  The lakepath was pretty empty with the colder temps coming in.

For me, I stuck to the plan, stay in a mild uncomfortable pace.  Not so uncomfortable that I wanted to walk to not like running, but in a pace where I was able to keep going. I definitely thank Orange Theory and their "push pace" methods help me keep going. 

Crossed the finish line feeling good but also could tell i pushed myself at the end.  Official time was 1:02:01 with a 10:00 min (exactly) mile average.  A 3 minute PR which I know I could improve on.  Afterwards, they served Eggs and Biscuits.  (Didn't touch the gravy but used them to ensure my salt packets didn't fly awaybut the eggs were yummy.)  Walked back to my car, changed shirts and got back before my family was even awake.  Not bad for a quick jaunt along the lake. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


Always dreamed of running a marathon with Scott... last Sunday my dreams came true.  Full detailed post on its way.. hoping to do a "Nic's Perspective" and "Scott's Perspective" write up for this one.  Since i don't know if this will ever happen again, i better get the memories down now!

Chicago Run MFG 13.1

Here is my write up for Chicago Athlete

While the race seemed like it was going to draw a big crowd, as Dave Kappas said, it was an "intimate group" for the half and "even more intimate group" for the 5K.  Benefits of a small group include:  easy parking, no bathroom lines and no major congestion on the path (that is shared with the general public).   Only real downfall is it feels like a training run and not a race.. but it is supported and we needed a long run, so it worked for us. Bizarre thing is for a big event group, their social media was totally dead and very limited emails leading up to race.  Don't get me wrong, i hate a ton of emails but there were so few, i almost wasn't sure if it was happening.  They have since removed the link for the Chicago Mini 13.1 on their webpage. 
Scott needed to log some miles and we chugged along and got them done in this race.  The weather was nice at the start but warmed up towards the end which made for some slower miles.  Our goal was to: get a run/walk pattern down and not completely fall off pace at the end. It was a slower half but we got the job done.  Scott might have said "how am i going to run twice as far?"  over and over after we finished :)

North Shore Tri Race Report

Finished my tri season with my "backyard tri."  Only 10 minutes from my house, this race is a perfect one to finish the year with.  The race itself is very well organized and friendly to all levels.  With the addition of the supersprint, it was even more newbie friendly this year.

Morning of, i convinced/weasled Scott to drop me off.  I was concerned about parking but ended up being really easy.  Gilson park was completely empty so those driving themselves had no issue getting there.  (I should have remembered this from 2 years ago but i think Scott drove me that time too).  Anyways, got my bike racked and ready and made my way over to the swim start.  I went to rack my bike and the girl next to me said there wasn't enough room.  I could tell she was new to the sport and created some small talk as it was clear she was nervous.  I told her i wouldn't take up much space and set up my stuff.  Within 10 minutes, 2 more people racked in the same space she was concerned about.  Little interactions like these are a reminder that we all started like she did at one time.  With 4 bags for a sprint and her 3 gels for the bike.  It reminds me how far I have come in the sport and also makes me appreciate that we still race the same course. 

The swim is a point to point and like it was 2 years ago... very cold water.  I heard it was in the 50's and it sure felt like it.  My face was pretty cold within a few hundred yards and I had an ear ache on my breathing side for a good week after the race.  I was convinced I could feel the small drop of cold water that was in there all week.  I made my way through the water, albeit slow, and existed with little feeling in my hands and feet.

Bike is a two loop course and felt good on it.  There is some weaving and b/c of so many newbies. Kept a 16.63 MPH pace and felt good entering T2.

Run was a 1-loop course.  Nice residential streets completely closed and some great views of the Wilmette neighborhoods and Bahai Temple.  One aid station you pass twice.  Got to see a few friends along the course and also found myself next to a dude with white see-through shorts for about a mile.  It was the most memorizing.. "don't look, but i can't stop staring" mile I have ever run.  He kept me pushing and crossed the finish line ~3.5 minutes faster than i did 2 years ago. 

Scott picked me up and then had church a few hours later.  With the half marathon Saturday and this race on a Sunday, after church, I snuggled up with Lucy and took a huge nap.  Great way to end the tri season and no regrets with my decision to keep this season with short distances.  I needed a mental break and because of the shift, was able to throw a few weekends to Scott for long runs.  Next year, will go longer.. till then.. off season. 

1:37:42 - 2016
1:41:07 - 2014