Chicago Marathon Weekend — Before the Race

Preparations for our Chicago trip were in full swing for most of last week. One of the most important things that had to be done before we left was a haircut. During the course of fundraising for Team Up! a friend had told me he was willing to make a sizeable donation this year, but I was going to have to earn it. An idea was thrown out and when another friend caught wind of it he agreed to match the donation. For a $400 donation, I had agreed to shave something into the back of my hair and it had to remain for the entirety of our trip.  This is the result:

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It’s a 13 hour drive from Upstate New York to Chicago, so to make it easier on the kids we left at bedtime on Thursday night. Within the span of a few minutes both kids were snoring in the back seat leaving us able to drive a solid chunk of the trip without having to stop. Traveling this way has it’s pros and cons – the kids sleep but that leaves us staying up the entire night driving – it’s exhausting!

Our first stop was at O’Hare International Airport to pick up our back up for the weekend – Grandma! She flew in from Michigan for the weekend to help us out with the kids while we attended the various activities that we had planned. Poor timing on our part left us stuck in early morning Chicago traffic. Once we left the airport it took us nearly an hour to get over to the expo.

Once we arrived at McCormick Place and walked what seemed like a mile to get to the actual expo it was time to pick up bibs! The kids were a little overwhelmed with the amount of people so they hung out with Grandma outside while we visited some of the vendors and did a little shopping. We also stopped at the Nike pace booth to sign up for a pace group for Sunday.

After the expo we were all pretty hungry so we checked into our hotel and set out for food. After dinner we were all pretty exhausted from traveling all night so it was an early bedtime.

On Saturday morning we were up bright and early as I had registered to run the Chicago International 5K.

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 The first International Chicago 5k began at Daley Plaza, where the Chicago Marathon starting line was many years ago. It was a great event and great start to the weekend. The course ran along Lake Michigan and finished a short distance from the marathon finish line. It was a timed event but I was using it as a shakeout run, so I just enjoyed the views and went for a three mile jog. 

We had plans to take the kids to the Shedd Aquarium so once the 5K was complete we picked up the kids and Grandma and made our way back across town.  We also had something extra special planned for the Aquarium. Parker was going to get a chance to meet his IRun4 buddy who flew in from New Orleans to run the marathon with Team Up! We were all very excited to get the chance to meet Rachel and her boyfriend. They spent the morning with us while we checked out all of the exhibits. Both kids had a blast – they especially loved the penguins!

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After several hours at Shedd it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready for the Team Up! Chicago team dinner. Just like last year it was held at Maggiano’s Little Italy. We got a chance to meet some other team members who would be running the next day. I also had the opportunity to speak and share a little bit about our family and our reasons for choosing to run with Team Up!

 

After spending a couple of hours at the dinner it was time to head back to the hotel to get ready to tackle 26.2 the next morning!

 

Lake Placid Classic Recap

Last weekend I ran my only tune-up race before the 2016 Chicago Marathon in gorgeous Lake Placid, New York. The Classic, in its 46th year, is known as “The Original Lake Placid Half Marathon.”

The race is known for its gorgeous views and challenging course profile. This was my second time participating in this race, as I ran back in 2014 when I finished 18th in a time of 1:37:50.

We left early the morning of the race and traveled the approximately hour and half to Lake Placid. We arrived in plenty of time and picked up my bib, race shirt and commemorative pint glass. The family hung out on the Olympic Oval that hosted the 1980 Winter Games where Eric Heiden won 5 gold medals and set four Olympic Records and one World Record in the process. Jen and I have had the opportunity to skate on history — many years ago pre-children. Parker and I completed some warm-up laps, took some pictures and prepared for the race.

The course begins right out in front of the Olympic Oval and makes it way through town, around Mirror Lake and out of town past the Ski Jumping Complex before making it’s way out to River Road and gorgeous scenery.

The race went about as well as I could have hoped and I was running on pace through the first 10 miles. However, the last 3 miles I just didn’t have the legs to power through the hills and fell behind my pace. I crossed the finish line in 1:29:40, beat my personal course best by 8:10 and finished 1:02 short of my personal best. I love races where my son, the avid runner, can cross the finish line with me; it’s a special moment for both him and I and I love seeing the smile on his face.

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I finished in 4th place overall, 3rd male and first in my 30-39 age group. For my efforts I received a nice rustic plaque (although a new one is being sent because the manufacturer made an error and printed 5K on them rather than 13.1), a $50 gift certificate to a local running store, wonderful medal and the confidence heading into Chicago that my next goal is within reach.

 

On your mark…

It’s that time of year everybody – race season! Tomorrow begins a stretch of 3 races over the next two months. I begin with the Lake Placid Classic (a half marathon tune-up), followed by the Chicago Marathon on October 9th and close out the year with the New York City Marathon on November 6th.

Lake Placid Classic:

I last ran this event in 2014 and finished  a respectable 18th overall in 1:37:50, my best time at this point in history.

I hadn’t trained then nearly as hard as I have the last two years and since this race in 2014 I have lowered my half marathon time to 1:28:50. I have ambitions to best this time tomorrow, giving me a large boost of confidence as I begin my taper for Chicago. I’m realistic that this may not happen and I’m just hoping to enjoy the event and finish healthy.

2016 Chicago Marathon:

IMG_1624My “Main Event” this fall, this will be my second Chicago Marathon in a row. This is a special event for the fact that I am a member of Team Up! with Autism Speaks and running on behalf of my son. I’m saddened to know that Jen is not able to run this race with me this year after all her hard work training and fundraising due to her injury, but she’ll still be going and participating in most of festivities.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t aiming for a PR. I have worked hard all summer in pursuit of this goal. 30 more days before I see if it was enough.

 

 

New York City Marathon:

0038tMy final event for 2016 is the biggest of all marathons. Last year I ran this event on short notice as a last-minute charity runner. I finished under 3:30 and was impressed that I even ran that fast coming back from a great run in Chicago only weeks earlier. I definitely have a lot more understanding and respect for this race course now and although I don’t anticipate aiming for a PR, I would like to improve on my time from last year.

 

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Travis’ Look Back at Nine Weeks of Training

Good morning and welcome back to the Tale of 2 Halfs.

This week I began the back half of my training plan for the Chicago Marathon and am currently only 57 days away from the start line. I thought this would be a great time to recap how my training went over the first nine weeks and look ahead to what’s in store over the final days.

I began this training plan by taking the entire first scheduled week of runs off as I had just completed the 2016 Buffalo Marathon and was still recovering from that hot and humid race. I picked up at the start of week two and haven’t looked back since.

Here are some stats:

Number of Runs: 49 Activities
Distance: 375.12 mi
Avg Run Distance: 7.66 mi
Total Time: 49:01:52 h:m:s
Elevation Gain: 7,487 ft
Avg Speed: 7.7 mph
Calories Burned: 36,650 C

Over the course of eight weeks of running, I missed one scheduled run as part of a two-a-day and had to alter three other runs for various reasons. In total, I missed 7.75 scheduled miles – by far the fewest miles missed during the first half of a training plan and definitely an improvement over my last training cycle for the Buffalo Marathon. However, this week and next will be a challenge to get my runs completed with traveling and such, but that’s for the second half recap.

Over the next two months, I hit the longest of my long runs at 22 miles and have one final tune-up half marathon on September 10th at the Lake Placid Classic. Fundraising for Team Up! with Autism Speaks is complete, with hopefully a little more trickling in over the last days.

I’m looking forward to toeing the line in Chicago and going for a PR.

Weekly Wrap #33: 7/25-7/31

Happy Monday! It’s not been a very eventful week here. The majority of our free time was spent on our driveway project, which is now finished! I wasn’t completely sold on why we needed new rocks…but now that it’s done I’m very glad we did it. It looks a thousand times better than it did before!

Monday was our 7th wedding anniversary. We totally failed at taking a picture, but we celebrated with dinner out. We tried a new to us place just across the border into Canada called Truffles. They served specialty burgers and fries that did not disappoint! I wasn’t overly adventurous (they had alligator burgers as well as one coated in 23 karat gold) and got one topped with avocado while Travis had a venison burger.

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Tuesday we ended up spending some extra time at the doctor with Peyton. She’s been battling a nasty cough for the majority of the month that got significantly worse. Poor thing is finally getting back to normal now!

We’re prepping to leave for Michigan later this week. We’re really looking forward to spending some time with family. We’ve also got a wedding to attend this trip so we’ll get to see some extended family members that we don’t get to see often at all!

Travis: At the end of July I had amassed a total of 1,209 miles for the year and 216 in July. August should be my highest mileage month leading up to the Chicago Marathon which is now only 10 weeks away. I received my tenative corral assignment over the weekend which means it’s getting close! Just have to keep pushing through this sheer exhaustion and persevere. 

Monday: 6 miles (a.m.) @ 8:08 pace – I skipped my evening run to celebrate my anniversary. 

Tuesday:  2 Mile Warm Up, 8 x 800 meters @ 5k pace w/ 90 second recovery, 2 Mile Cool Down – 8:01 pace

Wednesday: 6 miles + Strides @ 7:27 pace

Thursday: 11 miles – 1 Mile Warm Up, 9 Miles Marathon Pace, 1 Mile Cool Down @ 7:18 pace

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 17 mile Long Run @ 8:03 pace

Sunday: 6 miles @ 9:00 pace

Total Weekly Mileage: 54 miles

Jen: I’ve been feeling downright exhausted lately. Most likely from training, heat, life in general…all of the above? I’ve already run double the miles that I ran last year. For our run the year challenge I’m currently sitting at 736 and July marked my highest mileage month ever with 132 miles. Its crazy for me to think that I ran somewhere just shy of 300 miles for the entire year last year and I did nearly half of that in one month alone. In an effort to tone up before our Dominican vacation in January I’ve started stepping up my strength workouts in the past week as well. Nothing like a week on a beach upcoming to provide a little extra motivation! There was a little step back in my long run this week to act as a recovery run.

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: unplanned rest day

Wednesday: 2 mile WU, 2×2 mile at tempo pace with 0.5 recovery, 0.5 mile CD- 7 miles total

Thursday: 3 miles

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 4 miles

Sunday: 10 miles

Total weekly mileage:  24 miles

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Weekly Wrap #32: 7/18-7/24

 

Phew! This summer seems to be getting the best of us. Apologies again for a lack of posting.

I got back from Nashville Tuesday morning around 5 am. My only options for flights got me back into New York at midnight and then I still had a five hour drive home from the airport. Exhausted didn’t even begin to cover it! I had a great weekend away with my sister but was glad to get back home to the family. Here’s a few photos from my trip:

 

Travis and the kids had a great weekend at home as well! It was our local SummerFest, so they had some fun playing in bounce houses and getting Ice Cream and Cotton Candy.

 

 

We’ve also been working on a major outdoor project that will hopefully be wrapping up at the end of this week. We’ve currently got our entire driveway ripped apart and will be getting all new stone laid down. Between that project and cleaning up from the couple big storms we’ve had there’s been a lot of yard work this week!

Today is also our seventh wedding anniversary. Time sure flies when you’re having fun!

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I think that’s about it for a catch up…here’s our workouts from the week:

Travis: It’s that time of the training cycle where I’m constantly exhausted and always eating. My body is craving a break from work also after two 10-day work stretches in a row. Despite the constant exhaustion, the body is handling the increase in mileage very well, with only a few minor muscle aches. I’m very pleased with my training times and have loved seeing negative splits on all my longer runs. 

Monday: 6 miles (planned 8) @ 8:11 pace

Tuesday: 8 miles – 2 Mile Warm Up, 5 x 1 Mile Tempo Pace, 1 Mile Cool Down – 7:37 pace

Wednesday: 5.50 miles + Strides (planned 6) @ 7:46 pace

Thursday: 8 miles Marathon Pace @ 7:02 pace

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 16 mile Long Run @ 7:49 pace — second half 3:15 (min:sec) faster than first half

Sunday: 6 miles @ 8:08 pace

Total Weekly Mileage: 49.50 miles

Jen: Week 8 of training for the Chicago Marathon just wrapped up! It’s crazy to think that we’re just a few short months away from the race already! Training has been going well. I’m up to 15 miles in my long runs at this point. I’ve started to try different things with fueling…I think I’ll have a whole post about that once I finish experimenting. 

Monday: Rest Day

Tuesday: 3 miles

Wednesday:4 miles

Thursday: 2 miles warm up, 3 miles @ tempo, 1 mile cool down

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 3 miles

Sunday: 14.5 miles

Total weekly mileage:  30.5 miles

WeeklyWrap

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