Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Chicago: Information

I put together some information for all of us. I've also made copies of train schedules, start/finish area maps, observer and participant guides that I'll bring along with me.

Presidential Towers (Christopher, Emily, Jennifer, Sara?, Sally, and Justin)
Address: 555 West Madison, Chicago IL 60661
Phone: 866.273.0973

Hilton Chicago (Mary Ann, Betsy and Molly)
Address: 720 South Michigan, Chicago IL 60605
Phone: 312.922.4400

Expo / Packet Pickup: Friday 9a - 8p & Saturday 9a - 6p
Place: McCormick Place Convention Center: North Building, Hall B1
Address: 2301 South Martin Luther King Drive
Directions: - Public Transportation (From Apartments):
  1. Take a cab to Wrigley square (North Michigan Ave & East Randolph Street)
  2. Take Train ME (Metra Electric) South - Millennium Station to McCormick Place Station (7 Minutes) - Departure Times (assuming Saturday) - f = flag stop: must signal conductor to stop (9:15a, 9:20a f, 10:20a, 11:15a, 11:20a f, 12:20p, 1:15a f, 1:20p, 2:20p, 3:05p f, 3:10p, 3:30p)
  3. Walk west towards McCormick Place Convention Center
  • Train Return: North - McCormick Place Station to Millennium Station (9 Minutes - Departure Times (assuming Saturday) - (9:51a, 9:59a, 10:51a, 11:51a, 11:59a, 12:51p, 1:51p, 1:59p, 2:51p, 3:51p, 3:59p)
Participant guide is your confirmation ticket, don’t forget it
Must pickup packets before race: No race day pickups
Get packet, then go to D-Tag Verification stations to test it
Get participant bag. Need this bag to check in your stuff on race day, also has the T-Shirt!

Holy Crap, Need Stuff:
Nike (Niketown) - all the running crap you need: 669 North Michigan Ave (take a cab)
CVS stores are everywhere downtown - one block north east from Presidential Towers on West Washington and Clinton:

Topolobampo - Mexican (Rick Bayless) @ 5:30p
445 North Clark Street - take a cab

Café Spiagia @ 7:00p
980 N Michigan Ave - take a cab

Table Fifty-Two @ 5:30p
52 West Elm Street - take a cab

Race Day
Race Starts @ 7:30a
Directions: - Public Transportation (From Apartments)
  1. Walk east to North Clinton, Walk North on Clinton to West Lake (3 blocks or about 10 minutes)
  2. Clinton-Green Station (L train) - look up!
  3. Take Pink Line: Direction = Loop (5 stops) to Adams/Wabash Station (~ 6 minutes) - (5:12a, 5:27a, 5:42a, 5:57a, 6:12a, 6:27a, 6:40a - then every 12 minutes after 6:40a)
  4. Walk East towards South Michigan (Can’t miss it from there)
  • Train Return: Take Green Line: Direction: Harlem/Lake or Madison/Wambash (next station) - Runs every 12-13 minutes before 12:00p: every 10 minutes after 12:00p
Misc Crud
NBC 5 local TV station will have coverage
SportsRadio 670AM will have coverage

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to 4 Miles......

This may be fall in the category of "you had to be there" or it was "better in person" but I"ll do my best to describe today's fun times during my run:

1. Started the run with Run DMC's "It's Tricky." This is the song that is scorched in my mind as my brother's -- Chris. So, when it started -- I started to smile and laugh out loud. Forgetting that I had my music blasting at full volume -- note to self: full volume is necessary; you have no ability to think of anything else when the music is so loud it fries your brain and numbs your senses to feel any pain or any other emotion other than loud music......I digress -- so, forgetting the volume -- I"m sure the people around me thought that I was more than a little insane when I said -- and probably yelled -- this one's for you Chris.

2. Usually, on short runs -- I notice the things immediately in front of me, rather than wander beyond 10 feet. Today, I decided to notice shirts people were wearing. Found some great ones -- these were my top three today:

A. A running shirt that said: Run. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Seems like all I do these days. So, I liked it. Very Fitting.

B. A pack of fast as crap runners running toward me on the trail. Maybe 15 girls in the pack. All cut, all young, all fast as shit. First thought -- depressing. Second though -- damn they are fast. Third thought -- there is a shit load of them. Fourth thought -- damn they are young -- high school. Fifth thought -- Oh, they are the UT Cross Country Team...hmm, am I that old that I think college girls are high school girls...eek. Then, out of the corner of my eye -- I see it. A really killer t-shirt -- maybe I notice it because she is the only one in the pack of hard-bodied, pre-having-birth-of-twin bodies to be wearing a shirt. It says: KICK ASSphalt. Hmm -- bout sums it up. I'll be kicking 26.2 miles of it in two weeks from today! Very Fitting once again!

C. Now -- the best shirt of the run. It was at the end, I had just finished. Walking back to my car. Let me set the visual. Little man in stature; big man in belly. Maybe a taller danny devito with more hair and tortoise shell glasses. Earnestly walking around the trail.......When I say big belly -- it's exactly that -- a big belly. Clearly, they guy eats his fair share of pasta.....Clearly, he needs to be walking the pasta off......Then I see his shirt: huge letters. White shirt, black letters -- kind of like those old Wham shirts from the 80's or those ACA Joe shirts from the 80's [I am fully aware that I have just dated myself, massively -- but you get the picture]. It says: Fat Ass. I almost choked on my gum [yes, I run with gum, sorry sally -- keeps the pace]. I laughed so hard. I had to go up to him and tell him that I loved the shirt. His explanation: "I love it, too. I wear it because you gotta have a sense of humor out here. Too many of these folks take this exercise stuff too seriously. I hate it [exercising] but obviously have to do it. Might as well has some fun with it." He owns the t-shirt kiosk in Barton Creek Mall -- he told me the other shirts he wears on the trail -- I cannot repeat them on this public forum. He wears them to get comments and break up the monotony of the trail. I had a great laugh and I think he did, too.

Two weeks from today! Let's rock it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tips for Travel

This may be a no-brainer but be sure to carry all of your running gear in a carry on. Also, be sure to bring multiple weather items -- for very cold to warm; some type of cover; whether it be a baseball cap or coolmax rain jacket for rain, etc. Also, if you are on the fence for new shoes -- now is the week to buy them and do your taper runs in them to be sure no rubbing and to break them in. You can use your old one's as back ups to give to our sherpas -- in the event of rain [nothing worse than running 26.2 in soaking shoes the entire way] or otherwise. Be sure to pack flip flops or tevas for after the race and dinner that night. Your feet will thank you for it! Go to goodwill and get your throw away jackets. Be sure to pack running gloves -- if it is cold, your hands will thank you for it. Love each of you! We are going to do this! What keeps me going is that picture at the end with all of us holding our finish medals, wearing our mylar blankets, and someone posting to facebook that we rocked it! love you. jpj

Sunday, September 19, 2010


We are exactly 21 days from the big day. As I think about this milestone approaching, I reflect on the following random topics:

1. There is something to be said for running the streets of your city in the pre-dawn hours. You get introduced to facets that you did not know existed. Such as, deer eating grass along a very busy highway; the smells of kitchens gearing up for the morning crowd--some smells good, some smells not so good; police officers going over their nightly call logs while drinking coffee; how people take care of their property -- from the pristine to the dilapidated; the various shapes of runners -- all shapes and sizes and the one you least expect to pass you does; how nasty the single sex bathroom is in the 7-11 at Manchaca and Dittmar [perhaps it gets cleaner in the would hope so]; trains that take FOREVER TO PASS so you can keep running; geez....and the list goes on.....

2. There is something to be said for your itunes hitting the right songs, time after time -- even though you have the tunes set on shuffle. I knew I had Saturday's run within the first two songs -- Started with Blister in the Sun and then I will Follow -- the two songs that stand out in my mind during my last Chicago Marathon. This is in stark comparison to my 4 mile run earlier in the week when I hated every song in the cue and wanted to throw the ipod in the lake! '

3. Amazing what running does -- for every good day; you have a bad. You just have to remember to keep going. With any luck -- Chicago will be a good day.

4. Further explanation on Number 2 above -- during a desolate part of the marathon [of which, very few exist given the crowd support] -- there was this lone guy with an amp and his electric guitar. He was singing blister in the sun. I needed a pick me up at the moment and by george -- in the middle of the barren warehouse district was this lone soul supporting the runners. He could not have known but he made my day. I LOVE that song. College years came back to memory. Anyway, During the last .2 of the marathon -- as we entered the grand stands -- I will Follow was blasting and the crowds cheering. I will Follow was one of my favorite dance tunes in college. I could not have ended the day any better. So, to start my run -- the one that I was dreading and fearful of finishing-- with these two song randomly selected by my ipod -- heavenly intervention. I knew I had it from the get-go! Hope to repeat that feeling in Chicago.

5. October 7, 2001 -- my first marathon. The Chicago Marathon. A mere few weeks after 9/11. There was a question of whether the marathon would even run. It did. We ran. We finished. At mile 18, the USA started bombing Afghanistan. I'll never forget it. One of the guys running near us must have been listening to the radio as opposed to tunes [we were not doing either] and he shouted it -- oh my, we are bombing Afghanistan. We all stopped. What did this mean? Is the marathon still going? As quickly as we stopped -- it was not lost on us that we were staring directly at the Sears Tower from the furthest point from the Tower -- it stood high in the skyline. As quickly as all of these events took place -- we all realized that they only way to get back to the start was to continue running. So, run we did -- but quietly. Almost surreal. Someone started singing Amazing Grace and we all joined in as we ran. I'll never forget that moment or the fact that while folks were losing their lives -- I was free to run and to run carefree. And, run we did.

6. One must have a marathon song -- in light of my notes above -- I have been searching for that "it" song. I finally found it. It's an unexpected tune. Not heart-pumping or energetic. It's actually mellow in comparison to the songs on my Chicago marathon playlist. But, it hit a cord with me -- particularly in light of note number 4 above -- it's Free by the Zac Brown Band. Something about it - it just fits for me. It makes me want to stretch my arms out to the sides and run with careless abandon -- much like I felt at mile 18 in 2001-- until the reality of the challenge at hand came back to focus -- shit, I still have 8.2 miles to run!

7. There is something to be said for the fact that when I hit 13 miles -- folks will have already finished the marathon; and many of them!

8. There is something to be said for the Mind-f*** that happens when you hit 26 miles. You know you are there but you still have .2 to go. You can see the finish but are not there yet. Your legs are dead; energy depleted; soreness is setting in......Nothing can prepare you for the adrenaline rush that happens. Your body takes over and you go -- whereas. you have battled your mind the entire run and this is the one time that the body says f***-it brain, I'm going for it and get the f- out of the way. Pardon the vernacular -- but that is exactly what happens and exactly what you say to yourself or think regardless of whether you cuss outside your head or not. And, for that last .2 it's you and finish. Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie may be running right next to you and you will not notice. Your focus is keen and you go, go, go. Just remember -- to look up before you cross so you can have a picture of you smiling as you kick this milestone out of the ballpark!

Chicago 2010 -- We're ready for ya! Wally, you done good. Take us the rest of the way. Go Piskuns Go!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Home Stretch

I'm terrified guys!  And normally when I become terrified I run....figuratively.  Yet I find it ironic that now, being the most terrified I can remember being my only job is to run...literally. 

28 days and counting.  My training has taken me to 16 miles.  Finished those in 2:26 and change.  This was also 6 weeks from marathon day.  I was so ahead of schedule, I decided to take an off week, make sure I wasn't over doing it to the point where I would injure myself before the actual run.

After the off week, I began to hit the pavement again on a rare Monday night, dodgeball timed perfectly in its off season to allow another night to run in my final month of training.  Feeling good and ready to begin the final stretch for what seems like a life time of training, I started my 'speed' run like a bullet, pacing at 6'20 for the first half mile.  I came upon the one hill, which is about two blocks long at a about a 20 degree slope and slowed it down to save room for the remaining 2 miles.  I completed the mile at just over 7' (my best mile yet).  Just as I passed about 1.5 miles a sharp and profound pain under my left foot shot through my whole left side and I had to stop running. It felt as if I had, ran...and landed right on top of a fist size rock.  I didn't remember run over anything that woudl make the type of pain I had.  But I just walked home and though everything would be better tomorrow.

It's now been 10 days.  The foot is still feeling a bit odd in some shoes, i.e. boots/heels, but I think I can start the runs again.

So I dive back into training this week. 

the last remaining training schedule is as follows:

Tuesday:  4 miles - speed run (sub 8min miles)
Wednesday: strength training/cross training
Thursday:  7 miles (2 m warm up - farlek 800m 10K speed, 400m jog - 1 mile cool jog)*
Friday: REST
Saturday: 14 miles (easy pace)
Sunday: Cross train/strength train- 3 hours

Monday: 6 miles

Tuesday:  4 miles - speed run (sub 8min miles)
Wednesday: strength training/cross training
Thursday:  9 miles (2 m warm up - farlek 800m 10K speed, 400m jog - 1 mile cool jog)*
Friday: REST
Saturday: 18 miles (easy pace)
Sunday: Cross train/strength train- 3 hours

Monday: 4 miles
Tuesday:  6 miles - speed run (sub 8min miles)
Wednesday: strength training/cross training
Thursday:  10 miles (2 m warm up - farlek 800m 10K speed, 400m jog - 1 mile cool jog)*
Friday: REST
Saturday: 20 miles (easy pace)
Sunday: Cross train/strength train- 3 hours

 Show me yours sibs, please!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


I really need to change my run play-list.

Instead of trying to figure out some great songs... I thought I'd just steal yours. Share your favorite run song (anyone reading this).

Sisters: add them all to your play-list for Chicago... It'll help remind us of each other, take our minds off ourselves and the misery of how bad our legs feel.

My favorite run song is "You Might Die Trying" by Dave Matthews Band from their DMB Live Trax, Vol 13 album (live).. It's one of those songs you "lose" in your head and by the end, you're hauling... not to mention is a long one at 10+ minutes. Worth the $1.29 from iTunes.

- Christopher

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Rock On!

Please, oh please say this is it. No more hot-spot! Ran 14 miles yesterday and the leg feels awesome... as if running MADE it go away. It's confusing, but I'll take it. Really hope to get somewhat close to my schedule again. Yesterday was supposed to be 18 miles, but 14 will do when I haven't run more than 6 (yes 6) miles at once since mid May.

- Christopher

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Will I want to do a half marathon 14 days after this full?  It's uber easy...virtually all down hill.