Sunday, November 20, 2011

Last Long Run and Pic Dump

Sunday, November 20, 2011  at 10:17 PM
As I write this, my legs and calves and knees and everything associated with running is still sore from our last long run this morning.  This Thursday will be the big day as Jenn and I run the Atlanta Half Marathon for our pre-Thanksgiving-meal-calorie-burning run.  But, today, as we ran 10 miles, there was a distinct difference in the outcome.  Jennifer smoked her run with the fastest average yet of 9:56's/mile.  That was a huge jump from a few weeks ago when she ran the same route and averaged 10:10's/mile.  She's pretty awesome and is totally going to dominate her goal of finishing in under 2:15.  I, on the other hand, was a perfect example of poor and lazy training.  I wish I could say that I have a good excuse, but I'll have to chalk it up to laziness and bad weather.  Well, another reason would be that I'm carrying around a little more weight than I did this summer due to eating too many of these babies:
There's nothing like some good chocolate chip cookies!

I realized today that I haven't had a long run or ANY run at the pace I'm shooting for in about three weeks.  That's pathetic!  Yes, I've gone on some shorter runs with Jenn, but the problem is, that even though they are way more fun with her, they don't help me work on the speed I need. So today's run was a pretty good sufferfest.  My goal was to average anything under 8:24's/mile, which is the pace that I have to run in order to beat 1:50.  My average after 10 miles, you ask?  8:23's.  Yes, I made it, but it was really tough, and I think that from the way the average was hemorrhaging, I don't think I could have held that pace for the last 5k.  That being said, I do think that with the adrenaline, the crowd support, and the pace groups, I'll be able to beat my goal and not FAIL!

On to other things...

On Friday, I spent all day working on our car.  It has 130,000ish miles, and the struts and shocks had NEVER been changed.  From the unusual wear pattern on the tires, it was obvious that everything was shot and needed to be replaced.  So, I ordered the struts and shocks from a business that I totally recommend for anything auto,  They have amazing prices, free shipping, and my parts arrived so quickly!  In fact, I ordered them on a Wednesday afternoon, and they were sitting on my front porch by 11am the next day.  That's amazing!  Anyway, I had never done this job, but after renting a spring compressor from Autozone, I had everything off and replaced in no time, like 6 hours!  Here's a picture of me in the middle of it all.
You can tell I was doing this for the first time as you see my laptop open to a forum with picture to help.
Everything works, and it is SO MUCH better than before.  I bet our tires will wear much better and last much longer now too.

Yesterday was a whole lot of fun.  After church and eating with some friends/family, Jennifer and I decided to get our Christmas cheer on.  We drove to Michigan City, IN to hop on the South Shore Line train that goes from South Bend to Chicago.
Jennifer had taken the train a couple times, but I was all giddy as this was my first ride.  It wasn't too bad at all.  It took about an hour and a half that included several stops to pick up passengers.  It was pretty comfortable, and I really have no complaints since we didn't have to drive or pay for parking!
I was messing with Instagram on my phone for this pic.  Can you tell we're not really looking at the lens?
Finally, we arrived in Chicago for the Magnificent Mile Christmas Lights/Parade.  We had to walk a couple blocks to the corner of Michigan and Wacker where the parade would pass by.  All I can say is, we weren't the only people that thought this would be a great way to welcome the Christmas season.  There were TONS of people there, and to top it off, they were all cranky and pushy.
Jennifer was pretty awesome and "pushed" us to about 30 feet from the front.  It would have been a great spot to see the parade, but as soon as Mickey Mouse came by, all the parents popped their kids on their shoulders, and we got a great view of their backs!  Why should the kids get to see the parade?  :)  We spent the next hour right underneath this streetlight with shoes.

The only way to see the parade was to raise my phone and take a couple pics.  I'm not too sure about the iphone's camera.  Sometimes the pictures are great, but other times they are pretty weak.  Here are a few pictures from the parade.

After the parade had ended, there was a ten minute fireworks display that was a little lacking.  Here is a little video of what it was like.

Once everything was done and the crown began to disperse, Jenn and I were starving!  We tried to eat at Giordano's pizza, but the hour and 20 minute wait was a little too much for us.  We ended up eating at one of our favorite places, Noodles & Co.

After some delicious noodles, we decided to walk down Michigan Ave. to see the shops and lights.  It was a lot of fun!

We made it to our train on time and got home around 1am.  All in all, it was a blast.  The parade wasn't all that great.  The fireworks weren't all that great.  But to have a fun night with your best friend is always terrific!

I leave you with one last picture of Maglee to wish you a good week.  She's a huge fan of clean laundry, especially if it is soft!

Have a happy Thanksgiving!  I'll give you a race report and a meal report sometime next week.  Jenn and I are headed south to my parents place.  Have a great time wherever you will be, and take it easy on the Turkey!


Cory Reese

I believe that crowd may exceed my person-per-square-footage ratio. I'm glad you guys man-handled your way to a better spot.

Good luck at the Atlanta Half. You're going to rock it!

Ironman By Thirty

You've got this race! Today may have sucked, but now you have time to taper and knock it out of the park on Thursday!

Nice work on the auto work! Everytime I do work on the cars, I swear that it is the last time and that I'll just pay someone to do it next time. But then, something else breaks and I can't bring myself to take it somewhere. Thanks for the link on parts! I just did brakes on my car. Bought the pads and rotors on Amazon for less than $30 for everything! Crazy. A single rotor cost $40 at the Napa B&M store. I've done shocks/struts before a couple of times so I know how much of a pain they can be.

The iPhone camera sure isn't great at night, but it is a far improvement from previous versions.

We really wish we could have worked it out to make it down to Chicago with you. I would have lifted you up on my shoulders so that you could see. haha!

That pic of Maglee is priceless!

Hope you two have a Happy Thanksgiving and safe travels!


Hope you all have a wonderful T-giving and especially a very successful marathon. I think all that race day adrenaline will be just what you need to to get an extra push to the finish line!
Can I tell you how impressed I am with your DIY skills ...Pastor by day, marathoner, triathlete, and car mechanic by night! Amazing!


Wow! You've been busy! And so very versatile! :)

That looks like way more people then I want to deal with! And I for one am relly not ready for Christmas yet.

Good luck on your race! You guys are going to do fantastic!


First - great job to both of you on the run! :) I think you'll be pleasantly surprised who well you do this weekend! :) And those cookies, well the dough, looks awesome! See... my cookies never make it to the oven! :)

How fun that you took the train to Chicago! Mmmmm... noodles and company! I think that's my favorite place to eat now. Their mac and cheese is to die for! :)


Great 10 miler!! Looks like you are totally ready for Thursday - I cannot wait to read how it goes for ya.

That is pretty cool taking a train ride to Chicago - my younger sister lives there so we visit as often as possible. There is a group of us actually going up to run the Chicago marathon next year if you are interested.

Anyway - Hope you and Jenn have a Happy Turkey Day!


Nice runs... both of you. I predict solidly under 1:50

Have fun in GA... be safe!

Caratunk Girl

Awesome runs for you both!!

So neat to take the train to Chicago!! Fun fun!!

Happy TUrkey day!

Ms. Duffy

Trust in race-day adrenaline to get you up to speed!

Nice job with the car repairs. That just looks so... *complicated* to me. I would definitely break the car.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Susan DeBruin

Haha, you are way braver than me working on the car. Good luck on your race this week - you both are going to do great! Can't wait to hear how it goes. Happy Thanksgiving!


I grew up in Davenport, IA and sometimes we'd go up to Chicago to do what you did this past weekend...always a very fun and special time. So glad you enjoyed your evening there. Giordano's is a great place, I hope you are able to get there sometime (nothing wrong with Noodles and Co in the meantime :)).

I think your half is going to go well beings you were able to run 10 at the pace you wish to for the half. The taper and the race will really pull you in and get your legs pumping fast :). I stunned myself when I ran the Denver RnR 1/2 at a pace that was a min/mile faster than I've seen in over a year. Crazy!

Good luck to you and your wife, I hope you both have fantastic races and don't forget to have a blast, too!!! Happy Thanksgiving!


You totally have the sub 1:50! I'm going to aim for the same, so we'll be channeling each other this weekend at our races! BEST OF LUCK to you both - you are going to be great!

Loved the Chicago pictures! We took the train there for Thanksgiving a few years ago and loved wandering around without the worry of a car!

Happiest of Thanksgivings to you - we'll chat soon! :)


Ok. I'm voting for more photo dumps in the future.
Love. Photos!!

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