Saturday, August 20, 2016

Madison Mini-Marathon Complete!

Chock up another one!
The collection Grows!
 Add another half marathon to the trophy rack!   13.1 more miles in the can!  It was an interesting race today,

Early Start.  Noe the rain!
Preparing for Precipitation!
 Despite the bleak prediction of rain, the rain held off for most of the race.  The day started out wet, however the drizzle stopped moments before the start time and the did not return until we were packing up for home back at the hotel.  In fact, as I speak,  there are blue skies and sunshine here in Iowa.   It looks like Wellman got plenty of rain from the puddles and mud.  But before I get sidetracked,   let's focus back on the race...

Time to get wet....maybe.

A quick visit to the Bathrooms.
Early morning start time with drizzle in the back ground.   Cheryl has been planning for a wet race ever since the first Grandma's Marathon;  and they poor emergency ponchos have been languishing in the glove box ever since.   She was VERY excited to be able to pull them out and actually use them.  ( You can actually see her excitement!)

So excited, she can barely contain it!

Lose the Poncho, check the Garmin.
But moments after we arrived at the start line,  the rain stopped and the heat picked up.  Time to lose the Ponchos!  It was a strange thing.  The clouds hid the sun for most of the day, but the heat and high humidity stuck around for the entire race!   It did not cool down until we were packing up the car.   And then, along with the cool air, came the wind!  Luckily the race was over for Cheryl before she had to battle that challenge.   As it was,  the heat and humidity were plenty.
No mascot captures this year.

So, with bathroom breaks and national anthem out of the way,  the race began.   I was a little bummed that I was unable to capture any race shots this time.  The new camera has it's own identity... and taking action sport shots is not one of them.   Not that it mattered much.   Cheryl ran past me so quickly,  I probably would have had trouble capturing her with the old camera.  I finally gave up and decided to record her with video.  With only moderate success.
Cheryl's elbow...behind the blue guy

Wanna see?   Check out how she blows past me at the 30 second mark.  (look for the guy with the green shirt,  Cheryl is hidden behind the lady in the purple-ish top.   Don't feel too bad if you miss her the first time;   she's a blur!)  At 30 seconds,  she is in the lower right corner wearing orange shorts and turquoise top.
 The video quality is crap compared to the original... Hmm,  Guess blogger does not like videos much.

Cheryl rounds the corner to the finish.
Finally a still shot that turned out.
At the finish,  I managed to capture a couple of stills before she raced past me.   Her final time was 1 hour 47 minutes.   She averaged an 8:12 minute per mile pace.  Not her best, but the heat, rain, and job are all factors.  On the brighter note:   She did say she had a good time running and felt like she was running well,  until she saw the time.  Ah, but how time seems to always  ruin everything.....

Time to hang out by the water
And show off the medal.
Afterwards,  we collected the beer and finishers medal  ( not in that order); and sat around swapping stories, drinking beer and feeding the imaginary fish and ducks near the water.  We sat next to the bandstand as they read off the winners and age group awards.

And drink the beer!

And hear about the "winners" 
 Cheryl did not win any...but informed me that she did manage to place 12th in her age group.   (Which sounds good on a blog, but I guess that is about as good as finishing next to last...So she tells me.)  

Cheryl offers a bribe.
Hiro displays his disappointment
Upon arriving home,  the cat was a little upset with us for leaving him cooped up inside for a day and a half.  From the looks of it,  the squirrels and birds must have had a heyday wit the feeders.  Both of them were empty.   I filled them up while Cheryl bribed the cat with a Boston Creme cake slice.  Hiro seemed interested in just the creme frosting.
Hiro inspects he offer...

Takes a sniff...

So,  Cheryl gets to add another medal to her growing list of successes ( and semi- successes)  in the world of running.  She thinks that this year's medals are fewer than she had hoped, but at least some of the medals have ulterior uses that come in handy from time to time.
And then a taste.   Bribe accepted!

These medals come in handy
If only Cheryl would use them properly
Speaking of beer,  we managed to purchase a fine sampling of the local brews that are not found here in Iowa.   I can't wait to try them all!   The one I had last night was very nice.  I guess the Germans are good for  a few things after all.  ( I can say that, because I'm part German.....The bad half)

Lift and pull...lift and pull!
Hope everyone is having a great weekend so far and if you happen on a good German beer from Wisconsin,  I would recommend giving it a go.  you never know where you may discover your next newest favorite beer.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Madison Mini-Marathon Packet Pickup

This way to the Expo!
Cheryl sizes up the shoes...
Here we are in Wisconsin,  alive and well.   The Travel time was just a few minutes past annoying, but we did not have to swap drivers or experience driver burnout.  That being said,   after three and a half hours driving....( ok,  a little over 4 hours with bathroom breaks included) We are both a little exhausted.
Cheryl remembers those Chairs

Waiting for the Packets
I'm not sure why, but I seem to remember last year's event going slightly more smoothly than this year.   We first had a little trouble trying to find parking.   And then we ended up walking about 3/4ths of a mile to the Expo.

Cheryl makes sure papers are in order.
Time to see what the Packet contains.
The Expo and registration was in the Student Union for University of Wisconsin.  After checking in and getting the packet,  we checked out the merchandise to see if there was anything Cheryl could add to her arsenal of running gear.
Checking out the Merchandise

Cheryl thinks it is a little too big.

They did have a pretty cool shirt with the names of the people who were running the race this year.   unfortunately,  Cheryl felt it was too big for her and that she most likely would never wear it.  But it was cool to see her name on one of the shirts.

But this shirt literally has her name on it!
Pizza with lots of Wisconsin Cheese!
After that,  we climbed down the stairs to the food court,   We sampled a slice of veggie-pizza and  some cheesy french bread.   Yumm!

Checking out the school market
We noticed that the dairy products were all produced locally.   Meaning:   there on campus!   This should not be much of a surprise, as MSU also had the food science building supply all of the ice-cream, milk and cheese for the campus and city of East Lansing.  It also makes sense since this is WISCONSIN!   The Dairy capitol of the country.
Milk produced on campus.

Along with Ice-cream and cheese.
Heading back to the Hotel
So we have finally checked in to the hotel room and purchased our Wisconsin beer for the return trip.   Cheryl tried on her race shirt to make sure it fit properly and looks good.   Now, the only thing left is to post this blog entry and get some rest.  Looks like thunderstorms pretty much all during the race and even into the afternoon.  Good news if you need to keep cool while you are running.   Bad news if the lightning cancels the race.  Also,  the forecast called for the temps to hover in the 70's.   That is still a little warm for a race,  but perhaps the drizzle will counter it enough for Cheryl to endure it. We shall see.
The Official Race Shirt.

Rain and thunder predicted.   Might be fun!
The weather this year has just been kind of dud.   Mostly wet and hot all summer long.   These is not the most fun conditions for running....or even biking for that matter.   Heck,  I don't even like walking outside when the weather is 80+ degrees with a 90% humidity.  I'm hoping this fall can somehow compensate for the last few months of hostile weather.   I'm sure Cheryl would appreciate it if the conditions for Chicago improved as well.  Fingers crossed...and wish us all luck for tomorrow.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Cheryl's 16 Mile 18 Mile Run.....

I should say an 18 mile run that turned into a 16 mile run.   No,  today was not a meltdown day...which was a good thing.   It WAS, however,   very hot!   We have been blessed with pleasant weather and cool temps up until today.  Today the thermometer tipped over 80 degrees and the sun beat down on us with out so much as a cool breeze.
  Cheryl,  ( wisely, in my opinion) decided to trim off a couple of the miles to limit the exposure to hostile running conditions.  Although she refuses to admit that "wimping out" on the last two miles of the long run was a good thing;  she DOES recognize that there are limits to the amount of heat and sun one can take.   And coming off of 50 degree weather without building up a tolerance for warmer temps could spell disaster.  And no one wants that....especially me!

And isn't that what training runs are all about anyway?  By acclimating your body for running in those hot humid conditions, you slowly and safely build up your tolerances so you can handle the uncertain conditions a race might throw at you.   It is simply the smart thing to do....

That being said,  sometimes overachievers like Cheryl feel like they are cheating themselves if they do not run to their maximum potential every time.  I'm not the best person too critique or evaluate such a mentality...being proud of my "slacker" status.  However, I understand  ( somewhat) when you feel like you could have done better in any given situation.

But enough about all that!    Time to look at the Cool pictures of RABBITS and BIRDS!

As promised, I somehow managed to capture a few bunnies on the trail.   Not as many as previous runs, they still managed to poke their heads up  here and there to offer a photo op.  The trail must have had the maintenance crew come out and level off the divets, rabbit holes, and weeds.  All and all, it was a pleasant trail to bike/run on today.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Running of the Hills!

Today we ran the 5 mile "hill" loop.   Yes, there are "hills" in Iowa City.   Granted, they are more of the "rolling prairie" hills than the deep chasms you may find in Colorado or Kentucky.  But...Hills non the less.

Not our normal routine,  hills provide a decent training experience for Cheryl on those hilly courses up north and around Missouri.  That way she is not surprised by a challenging terrain when she is in "racing mode."   That being said,   we choose to limit the amount of stress our training runs offer.   Simply being long distances in the heat, cold, rain, or wind is usually enough for the both of us.
#1.  DON'T!

However,  today was a pleasant day and Cheryl thought that a "short" 5 mile run through the trees and hills would be a pleasant chance the day before our next long run.   The route is familiar enough...we have bone it many many times before....  But I thought today of how the experience plays out;  and how it might be an entertaining blog post.   So here is goes!    Cheryl and Ethan's conversation as we navigate the hills.  (I'll simply highlight the important stuff in conversation mode..)

Down hill:

Cheryl:   "I can't wait to buy more shoes!  I can't wait to race again!  I love shopping for shorts!  I love shopping for clothes!  I love RUNNING!   I just read a book about running!   I just read an article about running!   I read that sleeping can help my running!   I read that runners live longer!   I read that weather helps running!   I read that running helps running!  I LOVE running!"

Ethan:   "WEEEEE!    I love going down hill!   I think I saw a butterfly over there.   I think I saw an oriole over there.    That reminds me of fish....specifically the rete mirabile  in fish that helps them with the counter-current exchange in Oxygen.   This way they can capture 90 % of the oxygen out of the water.   Did you see that tree?   I think that is some species of Cherry...judging by the bark and leaves.   Check out the topography on this landscape!   See how the water will trickle down through capillary action to the clay and loam filled pond.   The clay prevents the water from escaping and provides an ecosystem for the frogs, crayfish and other fauna...I love going down hill!"


Cheryl:  ".  .   ..   ....    ....    ..."

Ethan: "OMG!  How long is this stretch going to last?   My legs feel like spaghetti.   I can't breathe.   I can hardly peddle.  My legs are on fire!    How long IS this hill?    Are we almost to the top?   I have to take off my outer layer...I'm BURNING UP!  Now I CAN"T feel my legs!   I'm in my LOWEST GEAR.....Why is this not EASIER?   I HATE HILLS!"

So yeah,  it's kind of like that.  Remember, I'm on a bike and Cheryl is running.  Downhill, Our conversations are mostly like that....we talk at each other ..rather than to each other. ( not really,  but I for the purpose of comedy,  I thought that line sounded cool.)    However,  Cheryl shuts up when climbing hills; and I suddenly become aware of how out of shape I am.  But it all works out in our practice to be miserable.