50 State Challenge Map

50 State Challenge Map
States completed

Friday, July 27, 2012

Monday, July 23, 2012

Up Next: Rhode Island

Providence Half Marathon will be on August 19.  As I've written before, I'm excited for this not only because this will be a nice Half (I hear Providence is very nice) but also because my sister Maria will accompany me.  I don't see her too often being I'm in Washington, D.C. and she in NJ so I'm really looking forward to that weekend.  She is a lot of fun to travel with and very easy going.  That's a nice combination for my detail oriented Half weekends.  An added bonus is she's bringing her husband Rich.  He and I have a very nice yet comedic relationship.  It involves 99% of constantly making fun of each other to no end and 1% serious brother-in-law time.  Family reunions, holidays, weekend visits to NJ are highlighted with my Rich time.  He's one funny guy.  He also just happens to see my sister as the center of his universe.  He's a good guy.

The plan is to go up, run the Half, and then spend some time in Newport.  The race will start and finish downtown Providence in front of the State House.  The route will have scenic water views along the final mile of the course as we head back downtown to the finish line and then a post-race concert on the State House grounds.  It should be lot of fun.  Details and pics will of course follow.

Illinois - done

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chicago weekend

A great weekend and Half in Chicago.  I wanted to blog last night to go over my Saturday but ended up going to bed a bit early for this morning's race.  So here a recap of events.

Yesterday was Expo day to pick up my packet.  However, prior to heading out to McCormick Place Amanda and I stopped at Francesca's Forno in Wicker Park for brunch.  This is a great place.  It has big chandeliers and open windows looking out on the street that let in a nice breeze on an already hot day in Chicago.  It was a nice way to start the day with a bloody Mary and eggs Benedict.  But, not just any eggs Benedict.  This was eggs Benedict with risotto.  A great combination.  The roasted potatoes has a pepper seasoning that was great and added a little fun to your standard roasted potato.  In a word:  delicious. 

From there we headed to the Expo which is on Lake Shore Drive near the shore of Lake Michigan.  It provided some great views.  We picked up my packet and took some nice Expo pics.  From there we headed back downtown to Michigan Avenue where Amanda showed me "Mag Mile."  To you non  Chicago people, that's Magnificent Mile.  It's a mile of restaurants, bars, and shopping that I'd say is something similar to NYC's Fifth Avenue.  We took in the sights before heading back to Bucktown for dinner and an early night for race day (starting at 6:30)

The Chicago Half was great.  It started and ended at Grant Park.  Here's a little tour for you:  http://runrocknroll.competitor.com/2012/07/chicago/2012-rock-n-roll-chicago-course-tour_32408

It went all through The Loop and along Lake Michigan giving a nice tour of Chicago.  The hills (as we all know my downfall) were not bad at all and I felt good throughout the race.  The only negative experience along the race worth mentioning is something that happened to the arch of my right foot.  For lack of a better description, I'd say it was going into spasms.  As I planted my foot and extended my arch I'd feel it twitching so after a while I of course got concerned.  I stopped for one minute to walk and see how it felt slowing down.  It stopped and felt fine.  So I continued but took a slower pace.  I'm certain this is related to my Plantar Fasciitis.  It did not hurt but it's going to require a quick look by the doctor.  I don't want to take any chances.

I finished in 1:43:06 and placed 666 overall out of 14,881.  In my age group (30-34) I placed 101 out of 1095.  My pace was 7:52  You can see the results here.  I'm happy with this considering I did not like how I finished in Connecticut.  I'll now get ready for Rhode Island in four weeks.  I'd of course like to bring my time down and back to the 1:30s but will be taking it slow out of concerns for my foot.  I travel to Providence with my sister Maria and brother-in-law Rich which will be fun.  This will be their first travel with me to a Half.

I'm now relaxing a bit until my flight back to DC tonight at 7.  A great weekend in Chicago with my buddy Amanda.  She was the best host I could ask for.

 Up next:  Rhode Island

Chicago pics

Francesca's Forno in Wicker Park

Much needed bloody mary's


Clearly enjoying

Arancini Benedict ... possibly the best brunch I've ever had


Expo along Lakeshore

Mag Mile

My buddy

Start line

I tried keeping up.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicago arrival

I arrived in Chicago early today and headed straight to downtown to meet my good friend Amanda. I've known Amanda since my days in Cleveland and we stayed great friends after her move to Chicago and mine to Washington, D.C.  It was a great day and evening with her.

I met her at her office on S. Wacker and waited for her to get off work.  Once she got off work we headed to her neighborhood of Bucktown.  First, let me say I love where she lives.  It reminds me of Park Slope in NYC.  It's filled with great bars, restaurants, dog parks, brownstones, and hole in the walls to frequent.  I like it a lot.

We headed to Lotties where we had drinks and caught up.  Amanda and I chat every day but it was great to finally talk to her in person.  After drinks we headed to her apartment where we relaxed and got ready for dinner.  Dinner was at Ada St.  It was delicious.  We had the octopus, steak tartare, and steak tenderloin.  Afterwards we went for drinks at Northside before heading to Lotties and then back to the apartment. 

I'm keeping this post short as today we'll be heading to the Expo for packet pickup and then seeing the city.  I'll take some more pics and update tomorrow night.  And then Sunday is the Half.

Stay tuned.

Chicago arrival pics

L train to downtown

Sears Tower

Chicago River

Drinks at Lottie's with my friend Amanda

Enjoying my beer

Clearly I'm enjoying my Friday night in Chicago


Lottie's after dinner

End of the evening

Thursday, July 12, 2012

A walk down memory lane ...

So I was on Facebook this morning and happen to come across some pics that I thought would be good to put on here.  After all, this is a running blog and these are from a major running event.  They were from the 2008 ING NYC marathon.  Come on.  It doesn't get any bigger than that.

These are not the best but it's all I had.  If I find some running shots from along the race in the archive I'll be sure to post them.  In the mile 18 shot you'll see my very good friends Bill and Carly who came all the way from Cleveland to meet me during this race.  It was awesome.  This was a big event so it was nice to have some friends there.

I finished in 4:13.  I was cruising up until mile 22 when I began to cramp.  At first it was just my calf muscles tightening up and then it turned really bad.  Every muscle in both legs just tightened up.  I stopped and stretched as much as I could but I knew I was losing precious time.  My goal was to come in under 4:00.  Later that evening - after discussing how I ran the race - I realized that I had not stopped at enough water stops to adequately hydrate and get the electrolytes my muscles needed.  I fell victim to the rush of running quickly and seeing my good pace (1:40 Half) getting me to my desired goal.  I would forgo stopping to hydrate in order to not slow down.  A very big mistake that would cost me in the end.

Live and learn!  I've never made that mistake again.  Overall, it was still a great experience to run through NYC and finally say I ran the NYC marathon.
Finding my packet

Bib shot in front of the big race board

"26.2 Miles of Heart" pretty much sums it up the day

Carly looking for me among thousands

They found me looking pretty damn tired

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Heat wave continues ...

Yesterday was the tenth day in a row that DC saw 95+ degrees.  A record.  This article goes into good detail on the records DC hit yesterday.  It's certainly been challenging to go running in this heat so I've spent a bit more time at the gym on the bike and weights.

It appears the heat wave will break tomorrow and we'll get back down into the 80s.  Good timing as Chicago is in exactly two weeks from today.  I'm looking forward to some cooler evenings to go on longer runs.
Hot in the car today

Front page of Sunday's Washington Post

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Live life on your own terms

Fourth of July just passed yesterday and today I came across this Huffington Post article on my Twitter feed.  I really like it.  A lot.  It's a Fourth of July manifesto that mentions 31 ways to live life on your own terms.

I like it because it speaks to how you can live your life on better terms, and a number can be applied towards running and working towards completing your goals/challenges.  I found it to be inspiring and motivational.  I posted those that keep me moving below.


The "Live Life on Your Own Terms" Manifesto:

- "If you're not willing to go all the way, don't start the journey at all!" -- Charlemagne

- Be the type of person you want to meet.

- Be so good that they can't ignore you!

- Commit to not giving a f*ck what people think. Daily.

- "Excessive fear and self-doubt are the greatest detractors of personal genius." -- Robert Kiyosaki

- "You can either throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face!" -- Gatorade

- Repeat after me: "I can do this!!!"

- Never, never, never, never, never, never give up. Never!

Monday, July 2, 2012

50 state challenge update

I've been asked by many today where I stand in this running challenge.  So I wanted to post a short update.  I've completed 11 of 50 Halfs.  Once I've completed Annapolis in December, I will close 2012 with a total of 17.

I'm still working on getting a tab up on this blog mapping the US with each completed state colored off.  This way people can have a visual of where I stand.  Until then, I'm hoping updates like this will suffice.

A hot, hot weekend

It was a very hot and humid weekend here in DC surpassing 100 degrees Friday - Sunday.  See here as it appears to not be letting up this Monday morning - "From St. Louis, Missouri, to Washington, D.C., temperatures were forecast to hit more all-time records on Monday."

However, that didn't keep me from hitting the pavement all weekend.  I did a light four -miler Friday evening once it started to cool down a bit.  Then I was up early Saturday to go along the same route and then a 7 am run on Sunday with my running group.  It was our usual Sunday route from Iwo Jima Memorial in Arlington to the National Monument in DC and back.  But, man was it humid.  Towards the end we took every water break we could and slowed down the pace with the occasional walk.  You've really got to be careful in these temps as it can seriously lead to heat stroke regardless of your age or endurance level.  So I wasn't taking any chances and kept my start times early morning, way before peak times.

I'll see how the temperature is later today after work to try to get one in if possible.  Good times.

Oh, and a special shoutout to my good buddy Mike Toole who also braved the NYC temperatures this past weekend to get himself back into his running routine.  Mike's had an on and off again relationship with the running shoes but I like that he always gives an effort to get back into it.  In the end, I know he's here to stay.  I'm currently planning my 2013 running calendar and I know he'll be joining me on at least one Half next year (hopefully more)  It should be fun.  Look out for the pics.  If there's one thing he's good at, it's taking a good picture (see pic that follows)

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A great phone call

I just spoke with my sister Maria.  She confirmed that she and her husband Rich will be accompanying me to Rhode Island when I run my Providence Half on August 19.  This is great news for me.  Not only because I love spending time with my sister but also that she gets to be a part of this challenge history.  That's important to me as I'll have this memory to always look back on.