Thursday, November 28, 2013

Rethinking the drinking #2 - Why not BYOH? ... in Bring Your Own Hydration.

Disclaimer: I have no experience organizing a road race. Specifically, I have no idea how many of gallons of sports drink mix, water and cups to order for a race that has up to 1,000 entrants.  However, volunteering at today's Turkey Chase 8K made me wonder if too much was ordered.

I was at the first hydration station the course map gives you a rough idea where it was.  I can tell you that it was 10 feet from the lakefront.  Today was in the high 20's, and there was a westward wind which could have blown a lot of used cups in the water.  Fortunately, my fellow volunteers and I were diligent, and made sure this didn't happen. 
See photo:

The race started at 9:00 AM CST, and by 9:07 the fast runners, i.e. the ones doing 5-7 minutes splits had zipped by us as if we weren't there.  By 9:15, we were all handing out cups of water and Gatorade, but we were in no danger of running out. (Hey, we even offered drinks to non big-wearing passers-by.) 

In the end, we ended up throwing out stuff in cups. Couldn't drink it all.  Couldn't give stuff away. The unused bottles Gatorade concentrate and and unopened water jugs were set aside for another race.  The experience left me wondering if I had to be there.

To review: this was a very cold Thanksgiving day 8K.  A high of 20 degrees F.  But even if the morning had been in the 40s, did a race that only goes slightly under 5 miles need two hydration stations?  How about one near the turnaround point North of Cermack road, and then all the other liquids near the finish line?

I would not be wondering about this if this was a Summertime 8K. I wouldn't be wondering about this, if it was a springtime race in the South.  Heck, I've done early morning runs in Austin, Texas on Easter weekends.  70 degrees  at 6 in the morning?!? Every one's hydration demands are going to change when the mornings are in the 60's & the 70's.

But I'm in the Midwest.  Even if we didn't have this unusually  cold November weather, no one's going to collapse from dehydration when it's 40 degrees outside, unless they're really careless.  It seems that during October, Midwestern race organizers could "green" up their races a little more.  

In other words:  less hydration stations,  which would mean less paper cups, and thus less mess to clean up.  Encourage people to bring their own water bottles and hydration belts.

Perhaps the waiver could be changed to include a phrase saying: "Although the organizers will provide a limited amount of water and sports drink on the course, you the entrant will be assumed to be responsible for knowing you hydration needs.  You are encouraged to wear a hydration belt or to bring your own water bottle."

Monday, November 11, 2013

Run the Madison Marathon in 4:40? Um, er, how about COMPLETE the Madison Marathon - Part 2

Post Marathon thoughts.
--The official time: 5:05:50
--Yes, I walked some of the race.  Pride, Schmide-at the 18th mile I started alternating short walks with runs.
--I'm definitely buying one of those roller thingies, that are used on the IT band.  I need something to massage the glutes, which started giving me problems around the 18th mile.
--When I went up to Madison in October, I intended to find the "boring parts".  i,.e. long flat parts that SEEM TO GO ON FOREVER.  In retrospect, I should have walked sections of John Nolen drive.  Yeah, yeah, it's a very scenic view of Lake Monona and Monona Bay.  However, it's at the 23rd through 25th mile, BEFORE you make the climb to the finish line at the Capitol.  And it's a long way down Nolen before you get to the turnaround.
--Saturday was a good day to get the pre-race jitters/gawking tourist mode out of my system.  Try the Farmers Market at the Capitol.  They have kale.  Note: they sell cheese curds.  Um, maybe for a post race protein recharge.
--I'm glad I changed my motel registration to a hostel registration.  Not only did it save $$, it was closer to the start line, and - lo and behold - there were other marathoners staying here!  Nice to know I wasn't the only nutter waking up early on Sunday.
--However, I was the first marathoner up.  I've gotten used to getting up early (i.e. 4AM CST) in order to get to downtown races.
--This was the QUIETEST road race I've ever run!  No bands by the side of the road.  There were people with boom boxes once in a while.  Other than that, the loudest sound was the sound of human powered transportation.  MY ROAD, MADISON!  You can have it back on Monday.
--Don't people use these races to play "dress-up"?  I only saw one Supergirl, and one "Wonder Woman".  There was someone wearing a "Run Against Walker" sweatshirt, but otherwise, no snark about the present Governor.
--The spectators were so polite.  That is, no really smart-assed signs, as compared to what I've seen in Chicago. No, KEEP RUNNING - I JUST FARTED.
--However, I did see:  WORST. PARADE. EVER
                                    26.2 IS YOUR BITCH
                                    SORRY, YOU STILL HAVE TO RAKE THE LEAVES
                                     PAIN NOW. BEER LATER
--Then there was the woman holding the sign which said: IF 26.2 MILES WAS EASY
                                                                                      I'D BE YOUR MOTHER

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Things I see on a run through Chicago

In order to break up the tedium of a long run down Foster Ave., I sometimes run South to Carmen, go East on Carmen, and head back North to Kilbourn.  The Kilbourn segment of the run is interesting because of the houses: flat roof Lustrons(?) on the East side, and bungalows on the West Side.  The neighborhood is called North Mayfair.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Run the Madison Marathon in 4:40? Um, er, how about COMPLETE the Madison Marathon, and otherthoughts..

--When I applied for the Fall Madison Marathon, I was asked what my predicted time would be.  Since it was my first marathon, I took my average time in the two half marathons I ran and doubled it.
--However, I've been taking an "unexpected taper".  In other words, I'm getting over a bout of bronchitis, and haven't done any long running in almost two weeks.  I'm taking antibiotics, and taking it easy.  The most vigorous thing I've done was a four mile walk yesterday. It didn't leave me collapsed in a massive coughing fit, so that's progress.
--Therefore, tonight, I'm going to escalate to a thirty minute  treadmill run.  No blazing speed- 11:30 miles at most.
--I'd like an 11:30 per mile pace to be my starting pace.  It's going to be hard to exercise self control at the beginning, and not want to zip along at a ten minute pace.  (Well, that's zipping along for me.)  According to the elevation chart on the map, the first mile is mostly downhill.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Notes of a First Time Volunteer

1. I'll have to wake up early.  REALLY early.  Wake up at Oh My God Dark Thirty in order to make it down to the Start Corrals where I am volunteering.
2. But I do get a light breakfast and a jacket with the logo to wear.
3. As usual, there will be hydration stations offering water and Gatorade.  Other stations will offer gels: "...PowerGel® Energy Gels will be featured at Aid Station 13 (Mile 17.8) on the Bank of America Chicago Marathon course route. Available flavors will be in both caffeinated (Chocolate, Strawberry Banana) and non-caffeinated (Vanilla, Orange Dream and Pomegranate Blueberry Acai.." it says here.
4. On the other hand, take a look at the map
Notice that at Halsted St., South of 18th, there's a food station.  It's indicated with a banana.
Huh? Someone who needed a potassium fix is going to run along, grab a yellow one, start peeling and then eating, all the while running?
I can't wrap my mind around that.  I eat bananas after the run, not during it.  A gel during the race, chased with water?  Sure.  A banana?  I don't know.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Can you see THIS during the Chicago Marathon?...

...I think not.
While I'm volunteering at Chicago's Marathon next week, I'll be running Madison's fall Marathon in November.
I was curious as to how hilly the course was going to be, so I went up there for the day, to walk as much of the course as I could.
OK, they're not as steep as the ones I've walked/run in Austin, Texas, but ya sure, ya betcha it will be rolling terrain.
It's a scenic course to, in that it will take the runners through the Wisconsin Arboretum. The fall colors might be gone by November, but you might see these birds.
These are wild turkeys.  I also saw a pheasant crossing the road, but he/she moved too fast to shoot.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

The Measure of Things

        I wish I had one this earlier:  Measure the distance of my run from my house to River Park, Measure the distance of the hilliest part of the River Park trail, and....yeah yeah.  Well, better late than never.  Why my concern?  I've signed up the Madison Marathon on Nov. 10th, and I have become panicked greatly concerned about not getting enough hill work in.  I need practice at running downhill, as much as I do running uphill.  Within the Chicago city limits, there are very few hills that would match the Madison terrain.  River Park has a section, that comes close to it.  It runs between Foster and Argyle Avenues.
      Yesterday, I did a series of runs, putting the Map My Run app on my phone to good use.    The run from my house to the River Park trail is 5.9 miles.  The really hilly part of the River Park trail is .3 miles.
I was going to run the hilly part at least 6 or 7 times, but I just had to check on the progress of the resurfacing of the nearby track, which is South of Foster on Argyle, West of Albion.

   So, bugger the hill work - I ran a mile of ladders.
   While running I had an epiphany: I want a pair of track spikes.  I never ran track & field in high school or college, but dagnabbit, before I leave this Earthly  life, I want to tear around this track in some red spikes.
Yup, that's my "Midlife Crisis" - no cherry Corvette Convertible.  I'm cheap, I admit it. Give me a pair of
(fill in brand name) shoes with spikes, and let me haul my assets around this track.

Some of you are saying "You were distracted from your training plan." Um, yes & no.  My plan was to measure distances run for future reference.  I did get some hill running done.  However my plan is to look for ways to add variety.
And I missed this track while it was being renovated!  I liked to run a mile (4 laps) to check my pace.
The weather's still good here, and there's still time to get those spikes.