Columbus Marathon 2014 Recap – Warning Long

Wow it has been a minute since I have last posted on here. A lot has been happening in my life and there will be more to come on that in the next upcoming days and weeks that I’ll fill you all in on. But for now here is how my 2nd marathon went this past weekend.

I signed up for the race in February and have been training all summer long with a awesome running club i joined in the winter. I am really glad I joined. Not only have I met some lifelong friends, but I was able to train very efficiently to get ready for the Columbus Marathon.

I grew up in Ohio as well as my g/f, Audrey. Hence why this race was on top of our list. Our friends and family could come watch and it’d mark one more race off the list.

We both had to work on Friday so we woke up early Saturday at was out the door at 4:04AM. I am one of the guys who like to get an early start when traveling. I always want that extra time in case I want to do anything, but mainly so I can get to the destination early in time to do more things. Columbus is a 6 hour drive for me from Chicago, so we got in town at 11, with a one hour time change. It’s always better coming back in gaining a whole hour! We were going to meet up with some friends for lunch, who were also running, and hit up the expo, but they ended up being very late so we never got the chance to see them until race day Sunday. So instead we got a bite to eat at Tim Hortons, and headed over to the Convention Center for the Expo. The expo was very disappointing to me, but since my only other marathon expo was Chicago I had very high expectations. We took our time looking through the venders and cool run stuff. I ended up getting a marathon jacket and we each got awesome Christmas Tree Ornaments to commemorate the event. I then stopped by the Children’s Champions booth to get my free swag for helping donate to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital. The race is for them and I was able to help donate $425 to the cause! It is such a great feeling to know you have helped out such a  great cause. This was my first time supporting and running for a charity and it makes me want to do it again. I received a Champion T-Shirt, a 26.2 Champion magnet, and a band to get me into the post race VIP tent(with heaters, private bathrooms, massages, and catered Panera lunch!). the lunch ended up not being such a  great thing, but more on that later. We then picked up the bibs and race swag and headed over to Audrey’s aunts house to hang out before dinner.

EXPO

EXPO

We had dinner reservations at the oldest Italian restaurant in Columbus, Tat Ristorante Di Famiglia. Both our families involved, it ended up being 21 people all together. It was a great meal and I would love to go back someday! It was really nice also to have so many family members come out to celebrate with us the night before and enjoy a great meal.

After the meal I headed to the hotel with my parents to stay the night. Audrey picked me up in the morning, as she stayed at the aunt’s house with her family, and we headed to the prepaid parking garage a block away from the start line! We got out of the car at 6:40 for the 7:30 start and headed to the start line. We were able to get entry in the VIP bathrooms that had no line! That made my morning for sure. Then off to Corral B we went. Corral B was in the first wave so I did not have to wait long to start. The starting line was pre-race festivities were the best I’ve seen so far. There was fireworks, blasting music to Thundersrtuck(my favorite song!), and hyped runners to get the party started.

At the Start

At the Start

The weather was perfect! 45 degree start and it only got up to 52 with the sun out the whole time. I shed my throwaway sweats and started with gloves and arm sleeves and shed these about 8 miles in.  The start was mainly uphill, but not real bad as the whole course is generally flat except 2 hills, which i walked to save my legs. I started off a little too slow, which is a good thing, First mile was 9:12, and i didn’t see this pace again until mile 21. After the first 2 miles i settled in to my 8:45-50 pace range i was hoping for. I knew i would lose some steam in the end and I needed some time space in order for me to get my under 4 goal.

I can’t believe how fast the first 13.1 miles went. They flew by. I saw my family 2 times and that helped a lot but the crowd support was awesome the whole first half. Then i saw the 11 of the 18000 runners head off to the finish and then I knew things were about to get real. A couple of my friends caught up to me and we ran together the next 4 miles until they fell behind. I was feeling great and then we hit mile 18, just after Ohio State Stadium(which we got to run through). My legs started to get fatigued and it wasn’t long after in which they were killing me. Miles 20-26.2 is kind of a blur and they all ran together. I did stop and take walking water station breaks for 3 times after mile 22, which i believe helped a lot! My pace began to drop at mile 21, but I knew i had less than an hour left to run and that I could get a sub4 with some walk breaks. I made it struggling to 25 and felt like i could just stop but I forced myself and pushed though. It was either hurt and finish in my goal or hurt and finish later and be devastated. Either way it was going to hurt, so I kept pushing. My last walk break was about mile 25.

I rounded the last corner heading back into downtown and the seas of people were amazing. They really picked up my spirits and i felt a surge to finish. Out of nowhere I see my support team with Audrey(she finished the half in a PR of 2:09!, so proud of her!), and they were yelling and cheering for me. With only .3 left I knew i was going to get a sub4 but it was going to be really close. I did not stop and kept pushing to the end and crossed the line with a time of 3:59:12!! I was so stoked but hurt so bad. I couldn’t have been happier to get the medal put around my neck and see my family after to celebrate. I did it. I reached my goal with 48 seconds to spare!

splits1 splits2 splits3

MILE 25.5

MILE 25.5

Immediately i saw my dad and we picked up my gear check and headed to the VIP tent. I changed and we got something to eat. I forced down some cantaloupe and a small turkey sandwich. Everyone says you should eat within 30 minutes from the finish, so I did. after which i felt horrible and 45 minutes later threw everything back up in the hotel parking lot. Not so much fun! After that i felt great and 100% normal which was perfect timing because as we were headed to the car to leave the hotel we noticed we had a major flat tire.

Thankfully there was a NTB garage a mile away that was opened on Sundays and was able to fix the tire in 2 hours. In the meantime we headed next door and had a post-race meal while we waited on the tire. Then it was a nice 6 hour drive back to Chicago. If things could not get any worse, right when we hit the city’s Dan Ryan expressway the traffic came to an abrupt halt. Great just what i wanted to be i the car even longer after a marathon. I soon found out the traffic was stopped b/c they temp closed the 5 lane expressway because Obama was in town and on the move. Finally made it home about midnight after a very fun filled marathon day/weekend!

Overall it was a great experience and all the hard summer training paid off and I crushed my previous marathon time by over an hour and i got a sub 4! I could not be happier with my time.

Now the question is should i run another marathon or stay with half’s for now on. Only time will tell, but I already want to sign up again to beat this time.

FINISH MEDAL!

FINISH MEDAL!

Mile 5. Feeling great.

Mile 5. Feeling great.

mar3

Mile 25. Pretty Rough

Mile 25. Pretty Rough

Columbus Marathon – New PR!

3:59:12!

June in Review

June was a very good month for running for me. Not as much running as April this year, but I had good quality workouts with weekly speed runs on the track. I am really liking the speed workouts. They are tough but I love them and feel like they really are helping out with the whole getting faster thing.

 

I ran a total of 66 miles. Average 7:58/mile.

Now onto July and the start of Marathon training!

 

Message to the Division III Athlete

Being a D3 basketball player myself, I completely agree with what is said here. Very well said!

Jason Sofman

Last night I found some time to go to Rowan’s Rec Center to play basketball, and it reminded me how great of an experience it was to play for Rowan’s men’s team the past three years. For anyone who hasn’t seen me play, I was one of those players who never had the most talent or athletic ability, but I would just make all the hustle plays I could. Being the shortest center in the NJAC at 6’2″, this is what I had to do to earn my spot. Going into some games, my goal was to just to wear down my opponents to get some easy lay-ups, and win the match-up battle. My senior year (thanks to my great teammates), I was able to average over 10 PPG, 5RPG, and ended the season with the highest FG percentage in the league; a modest stat line, but an overachievement in…

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First Speed Workouts 1&2

I have been meaning to start speed workouts for sometime now. The running group i have been with for a few months now was able to get access to the local high school track, and started last week. We are doing the speed training every Tuesday for 11 weeks.

Last week was the first workout. We did 4 800’s – which i found out is a 1/2 mile. Stupid metric system. Ha. I ran with a couple others as they are in my minute/mile range. We decided to start off at a 7:30 pace for the 1st 800(2 laps around the track) to see how we did and how it felt. Well that quickly went out the window as we finished in 3:15. A 6:30 pace! It was tough but felt good. The remaining 3 we did at the same pace trying not to fall back. It was a tough workout but afterwards I felt great.  A very successful 1st track speed workout.

Yesterday was the 2nd day and we did 10 400’s. Yes not 8 as i was hoping for. Running that many 400’s is way harder than running 800’s I think. I hate stopping and restarting.

I really had no idea what to run the first one in and again me and the same couple ran the first one in 1:23. Under 6 mi/miles! We really pushed it, and I was afraid I could not do that pace or faster for all 10. We stayed in the range but gradually went down to 1:30 toward the last 400. It did not help that it was raining last night and the wind pelted the rain on us for the last 200 of each lap. All in all it was awesome, once I finished. All I could think about was how many I had left, but i finished them all in great time and really surprised myself.

 

I am pretty happy with the speed workouts so far. They are hard but a lot of fun! I am glad I have running buddies to help push me and for me to catch up to. I am already excited to see what’s in store for next week.

 

Have you done speed workouts? How do you like them?

Sternwheel 5k Recap(1st 5k of 2014)

When i traveled back to my hometown in Ohio for Memorial Day weekend, I signed up for the Sternwheel 5k. Like all 5k’s in my hometown area, they are usually small, compared to the likes of any race in the Chicagoland area. Total runners and walkers equaled around 230. I was hoping to be able to place in my age group and thought i would have a good chance of doing so back home.

I was one of the luck few that started right upfront. I have never started a race in the very front, but that is just where i ended up before we started out. I knew a couple of other runners that were also doing this race, so it was nice to catch up before and after, and also nice to have someone there I knew to catch. One of my friends was also in town for a wedding, and i soon found out runs 6-6:30 min/miles. He just got into my age group this year, 25-29, so there went the top spot for me i thought.

The race organizer’s thanked everyone for coming out and said a few words, and then the gun went off. We started out absolutely flying! I looked down at my watch where it said 5:45/mile. what was i doing?! I guess i felt so good, that i did not realize how fast i was actually going. It was not only me zooming by either, as most of the front pack was doing this pace, until i slowed down a bit. Others tried to keep the pace, but was soon falling back too. I kept my pace right around 7 for the first mile and then fell down to about 7:20-30. At this pace i knew i would get a PR. My previous 5k pr was 7:38/mile and i knew but the way i was running that i would be able to pass this up.

I started getting near the finish and passed a few others, and sprinter across the line in 22:29! I felt great, and even better once i realized my friend finished 1st overall. Not only was i happy for him, but that also meant a better chance for me to finish in my age group.

As soon as the last walker came in, about 56 minutes total, we all made our way down the street for the awards ceremony and to have bagels, banana, and even some cookies. They started calling off the names of the overall winners and then on to the age groups. When they hit the 25-29 age group they said first place, Daun Lutes. I stopped and said what? really? I was shocked to learn i got first in my age group. I walked to the front, and Miss Sternwheel 2013 put the medal around my neck. I couldn’t have been happier, and more shocked.

I know it is only a small race, but getting first in my age group out of 8 made me proud of all my hard training and all those miles and miles i have been putting in.

Now onto the next race – Which i have yet to sign up for. That decision will be made in the next day or so.

 

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Workout Wednesday and cheers to Memorial Day weekend!

sternwheel 5k

Happy Thursday! one more day closer to a 3 day weekend, and a 4 day weekend for me. That’s right. I am taking off tomorrow for an extended break off work to drive back home to Ohio. I can’t wait!

Yesterday was a doozey of a workout day for me. I have not done this much in a while.

I started off with a 11 mile bike ride to work. It was the best morning so far for a great ride. My first of this year to work. I left my place at 5:45 and made the 11 mile ride and arrived at 6:30. Then i made my way to the gym at work(which is an awesome perk!) and did a 50 minute workout. First time in 4 weeks that I did arms, and I can really feel them today. I guess that’s what i get for taking the last 4 weeks off from lifting. I finished the workout with abs and stretching/foam rolling. Then it was onto shower before my workday started.

biketowork

Right at 5 i changed and headed out the door for another 11 mile ride back home. This ride was more difficult, as it always is, because there is so much more traffic on the roads in the late afternoon than there is at 6am. I also had to take the roads both way,s as all the trails are flooded with all the rain we had recently. Once I got home a little before 6, it gave me enough time to change, grab a drink of water, and head out the door with Audrey to catch up with our regular Wednesday night  running group for a run. Last night’s run was a 4 mile jaunt around a new to us running town. I drive through the town everyday to work, but have never ran there. Well let me just say there is so much traffic! Once we finally got to the other side of the main road it wasn’t so bad, but then there came the hills out of nowhere. The temperature and humidity did not make anything better as it was 85 degrees. By far the hottest day of the year so far that I, and many others in the mid-west, have ran in. I was really waring out fast and could feel it around mile 2. All the biking and workout earlier in the day, with no food since lunch, was getting to me. I did end up finishing the 4 miles with a 8:15 pace, which was great!

This will be my last run until Saturday morning. I just signed up for my first 5k of the year. The Sternwheel 5k in Marietta, OH. I have never ran this race myself, even though I grew up and lived there for the past 25 years. It supports the annual Sternwheeler festival, that attract thousands of people every year. Marietta is a small river town on the Ohio river and hundreds of stern-wheelers make there way to the city for a week long festival. It really is the biggest festival of the season for this small city 14,000. I myself grew up in a suburb of Marietta, with a  population of about 2,000. So yes I am a small-town guy, and miss it a lot compared to the big city life of Chicago and it’s massive suburbs.

sternwheel festival

The 5k starts at 8, and I am hoping to beat my 5k PR of 23:40. I have no trained for a 5k specifically, as I have been running longer distances lately, but feel that I have a shot of beating this pr. I just need to go out faster and keep up the pace for 3 miles or so and see where it gets me. I want to average 7:30/mile if i can and maybe even get under 23 minutes. The one good thing about these smaller races is that I’ll have a chance of placing in my age group! I have not placed in my age group since the last race i did back home in Ohio. 25-29 yr olds sure are fast!

The rest of the weekend I will enjoy being home with friends and family. The only plans i have is to make the 9 hour drive each way and to run Saturday morning. I can’t wait to see what else I get into while I’m there. It’s going to be a relaxing weekend for sure.

Anyone else racing this weekend?

Excited for the 3 day/ Memorial Day Weekend? Any awesome plans?!  Have a great break and enjoy the outside festivities!

Chicago Spring Half Marathon/Weekend Recap

First off, sorry that this might be a little long winded and also for posting this on Wednesday. It has been a busy week, but on the bright-side it’s already Wednesday and another 4 day weekend for this guy!

I had another great half marathon on Sunday. I will get to this in a little bit not to ruin the surprise.

On Thursday night, Audrey’s parents came into town. We had a whole 3 day weekend with nothing but fun and it was great. Friday we took the hour train ride into Chicago for a fun filled day, but it ended up being cold, rainy, and even snow. Yes, that’s right i said snow in May! It was only a couple flurries, and course it was not going to stick, but good grief. Hopefully that’s the last of that. So instead of going on a boat cruise, as we had planned, we rescheduled and walked around the city exploring a little bit. We ate lunch at P.F. Changs then headed to Lincoln Park to pick up our race packets at Fleet Feet. We then headed across the road to the Lincoln Park Conservatory. It was a much needed warmup break from the nasty cold outside. My favorite part, aside from it being free, was the banana trees and fake mini dinosaurs placed in very discreet places. Once you saw the first one, you keep finding more! After the warm-up we headed a little south to eat at one of the best Italian pizza places in town. The Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder. Pizza Pot Pies that they have a huge and the best! It’s a cash only place, and the dining experience is one of a kind, and very private. The service is great, and they really do take care of you while your there. Once we ate, and couldn’t move, we took the 1 mile walk to the train station, stopping at some stores along the way, and headed back home.

Saturday was a local, more relaxing day. We ate brunch at one of the best breakfast restaurants i have ever been too, Wildberry Pancakes. I got the banana bread french toast with a side of 3 very thick pieces of bacon. Absolutely the best french toast ever created, by my standards.

Banana Bread French Toast

Banana Bread French Toast

After eating myself to death, we headed to the local forest preserve park, to show her parents around and where spend a lot of time. I love Independence Grove. We kayak, fish(mostly just me), bike, walk, and run around this park all the time. It truly is a great local place to spend the outdoors with a lot of things to do for the whole family. One day I will have a picnic there too. Just need to make the time.

We then headed into downtown Libertyville and Lake Forest to do some small shopping. We ended the day with Olive Garden pasta. I had the lasagna with plenty of salad and bread sticks. I topped this off with some ice cream and a little or big treat, called the Maple Bacon Donut. It is made from a  local bakery in Libertyville, Lovin Oven, and is by far the best donut I have ever had. Just try and take a bite and put it down.

Maple Bacon Long john

Maple Bacon Long john

 

The rest of the night we watched movies, and Audrey and I packed all our racing stuff up for the next morning.

Sunday was a very early morning with a 4am wake-up call. We had to head out the door at 4:45 to drop off my car at the train station. We drove her parents care into Chicago and parked, that way they could head back to Ohio once the race was over. We got into the city by 6:00 and walked our way to the start line. I had a small gear check bag, and the parents carried the rest of our stuff. It is always great to have others watch and carry your extra clothes and what not!

I got in my corral, C, by 6:45, and the race started at 7. Those 15-25 minutes to start took forever! A went first and then the rest of the corrals started 4 minutes after each other. The reason for this, is because the race itself was on the Lakefront Path. I was placed directly behind the 1:50 pacers, which was right where i wanted to be!

Corral B

Corral C

I started just before 7:10, and away we went. I kept the 1:50 pacers in my eye sight and was averaging about 8:25/mile the first 5-6 miles. At the half-way, turnaround mark, I had to pee so bad that I thought my bladder was going to give out. I have never had to go this bad in my life i thought, and there was no way i was stopping. I have never stopped to pee in a race before and I didn’t want to then, but something was telling me i had to. Luckily, right at the 10k mark there was a restroom so i ran in as fast as i could and back out. It was the longest 20-30 seconds of my life. I knew i had plenty of time to catch back up to the pacers so I took my time and gradually increased the pace. I could not believe how great i was feeling. At 10.5 miles, I caught back up to the 1:50 pacers, where there was a whole group trying to keep the pace. I thought this would be the perfect time to make my move, with just under a 5k left, so I passed them and never looked back. Once I passed them, I would just keep picking people off right and left, and that gave me a huge confidence boost. Then i realized i was passing a lot of the 10k runners, not the half runners. At about this time I passed one of my friend’s that was there to watch her boyfriend, and that helped me push a little faster. I came up on the 12 mile mark, and passed Audrey’s parent’s and they were cheering and said i was looking great and to push it. I started pacing then about 7:50 and feeling even better.

This is when i realized i was definitely going to get a new PR and my goal of under 1:50, but how much lower could i actually finish in? I sprinted the last 50 yards to the finish line and my final time was 1:48:53. NEW PR CRUSHED! 2 Weeks ago I got a new PR at 1:53:15. Just over a 4 minute new pr, and I was ecstatic. I was actually even a little disappointed, as I thought I could have ran a little faster. And what if i didn’t take that pit-stop half-way thru? But I’ll try and finish better the next half, and I am not worrying too much about that right now. I just cruised past another record and I am very happy with that. I grabbed my medal, along with a towel, and some bars, water, and gatorade. I made my way to the finish line area to cheer on Audrey. She passed by me and was on her way to finish her very first half-marathon. She finished in 2:24:00 exactly, and was sore and tired. She did awesome for her first race!

Audrey finishing her first Half-Marathon

Audrey finishing her first Half-Marathon

Once the race was over, we all regrouped, and had some post-race food, then headed to Navy Pier to take a river and Lake boat cruise. It was the perfect way to relax and have fun after a great race. After the boat ride her parents dropped us off at the train station, and they headed back to Ohio. We made our way back home and ordered a celebratory pizza and hung out the rest of the night!

This weekend was so fun, but went by way too fast! I already can’t wait for this weekend. a 4 day weekend! I am taking Friday off to drive the 9 hours back to Ohio for a holiday weekend.

Here are some pictures of the weekend.

New PR

New PR

Medal and Bib

Medal and Bib

Audrey feeling great! So is the girl behind her too i can see.

Audrey feeling great! So is the girl behind her too i can see.

Finishing strong, 12 mile Mark.

Finishing strong, 12 mile Mark.

Hanging out at the river downtown, waiting on the train

Hanging out at the river downtown, waiting on the train

Sears(Willis) Tower

Sears(Willis) Tower

Spring is Here! Finally!

Spring is Here! Finally!

Medal count is growing!

Medal count is growing!

 

I hope everyone else’s weekend/races were awesome as well! Happy Hump Day and best of luck training this week! Get out and enjoy this spring weather!

 

Here’s to a 3 day weekend and 3rd Half Marathon

Today is my Friday! I am psyched for my first day off tomorrow, of the year, and my first of 2 straight 3 day weekends! Being off work, and leaving my worries behind, is going to feel great. Even though the weather totally sucks for this weekend, I am not going to let it get in my way of having fun. Last weekend was in the 70-80’s with sunshine and this weekend is in the 50’s and rain, all except Sunday-race-day(60’s and sun!).

Audrey’s parents are coming to stay the weekend with us, for her first half-marathon. We have a lot of plans worked out right now, and the rain is just going to get in the way. Especially for a 90 minute Chicago River boat ride tour. Hopefully the rain holds off tomorrow for that one. Tomorrow is also packet pick up day for us, for the 7th Chicago Spring Half Marathon. Other plans for the weekend is to eat at the Chicago Pizza and oven grinder(Pizza Pot Pies!), and some other low-key events. We all get a long great together, so it should be a fun-filled weekend. They are excited to see her race her first long run, as well as hit up the big city. In case you did not already know we are from small town America, in rural Ohio. To put it in easy to know terms, I graduated high school with 72 classmates, and my town as 2 whole caution lights!

chicago spring hm

Sunday will also be my 3rd Half-Marathon ever, and my 2nd of this year. I am pretty excited for it. The current forecast looks awesome to run in, and the race is on the Chicago’s Lakefront Path. It starts downtown and heads south before looping back north for an amazing view of the city. I have never been this way before, so it will be a new experience.

I am relaxed and ready to start the race. I feel I am well prepared, and aiming for a new PR of less than 1:52:15. If all goes well, I hope to crush this time. There will be starting corrals and pacers for this half. A first for me running a half. I noticed them during the Chicago full Marathon, but have not seen them or used them during another race. I am hoping to stick with the 1:50 pacer for most of the race, and maybe if I’m lucky, try and get in front for the 2nd half of the run. Right now I don’t know what wave or corral I am starting in, but I hope it is near my pacer. If i don’t end up with the pacer, that is fine by me. I know how I want to run the race, so I am not going to let something else, like not being with a pacer, make or break my run.  When signing up for the race, everyone was to select what they think their pace would be. That was in January, and I don’t remember, so I will find out tomorrow when picking up my packet.

 

Who else is RACING this weekend?

Any big plans?

 

Gifts for someone’s First Half Marathon??

Thankfully my girlfriend does not read this blog, or I would not be able to write this post.

Next weekend, my girlfriend, Audrey, will be running in her very first half-marathon. Actually her first race over a 5k. I know this is a big deal, as I did this last year, and really want to surprise her with a great congratulatory gift. The only question is what should i get her?

gift-ideas-runners

The first gift that popped into my head, was a running or 13.1 engraved Pandora bead. She loves Pandora, and I knew this would be perfect. But after going to a Pandora store, and checking online, I soon found out that they don’t sell running charms for bracelets. The lady at the store said they used to but are discontinued. They do offer engraved charms for bracelets on some 3rd party websites, but they are generic and not Pandora. I know her and she does not like the generic beads on her Pandora bracelet, so that option is out.

Have you ever received a running gift from a first race of a certain distance? I am here for suggestions, so please yell em out! Anything is game for me. Thanks in advance!