Sunday, September 24, 2006

Update from Montreal

Hello everyone in the States, and well everyone who is reading the blog no matter what country you hail from. I'm currently stuck at the Day's Inn on St Rene-something French sounding street in Downtown Montreal. I was forced to blow a whole weekend here because I still have three more days of training and my company is too cheap to fly me home for the weekend. Conscious of the fact that I was going to be on the road for an seeming interminable 10 days, I insisted on this location as it least it has an actual bed (in the other hotel we were staying at I was forced to sleep on a pull out couch) and it has wi-fi. Wi-fi which I am now updating my poor, neglected blog. I have done some runs while I've been here, although I forgot my Garmin Forerunner on both occasions. Wednesday night's run was particularly eventful, a run all the way across the Jean-Baptiste Bridge, got off, and then I wound up having to run across a 6 lane highway to get back on the Monteal bike trail. The bike trail betrayed me by winding up at a gravel parking lot in the middle of nowhere next to the river, with mysterious people in mini-vans and pick up trucks were parked every 100 feet or so for no particular reason, as it was 10:00 at night and there was literally nothing going on. Sufficiently creeped out and furious that there was no bridge to take me back across the river to get back to Monteal, I ran back towards the Jean-Baptiste bridge. Not wanting to cross the 6 lane highway again, I decided to keep running along the river to the next bridge, which was a good 2 miles down the river. I figured there would be a bridge going to the Casino Montreal, but again was denied. I had to keep running across a very creepy bridge the used cables to raise the road, rail road tracks, and bike trail I was on. The cables were singing in the 20 mph gusts and it sounded like the whole thing was about to fall down. I ran across to discover I could get back on the island that had Casino Montreal, which I decided to do. (There are two islands in the middle of the St. Lawrence River, one that has the casino, and the other an amusement park). There was a realllly long bridge (Pont Victoria) that I wanted to try and take back to Montreal, but the thing was so narrow there wasn't even a shoulder to run on (there were multiple warnings about no pedestrians), and I wasn't about to try and run on the railroad part of the bridge. There was one other option, an even longer run along a causeway to another bridge that crossed yet another island, and I would be about 4 miles upriver from Jean-Baptiste. I wasn't feeling that adventurous, and decided to put it off until tomorrow's run. In all Wednesday's run might have been around 12 miles or so. Monday's run was interesting in the fact I went up Mont Royal. At first I thought it was going to be a great endeavor, but in the end it wasn't as tall as I thought it was going to be. Don't get me wrong, it's quite a hike to the top, but I think the Sears Tower is considerably higher then it is. Here's a picture from the SE side of the mountain (not the tourist spot on the north side, I had to go way off the beaten path for this shot): I still on planning doing a rather long run tomorrow night as I still want to go by the Olympic Stadium and go through a tunnel that gets goes under the St. Lawrence River. Other then running, Montreal and I don't get along very well. Besides the whole hotel fiasco, the food situation is dire, with only Subway and McDonald's being the only places not to screwup my orders. Speaking of McDonald's, the Homeless people here, which are legion, use it as there primary begging point. Here's a picture of the residence-challenged individuals in the Salvation Army soup line: I've never seen so many homeless people in my life. It's a borderline epidemic up. All up and down St. Catherine they were out begging for my Canadien money. One had the audacity to interrupt me as I was eating my Bacon, Egg, and Cheese bagel and proceeded to tell me his life story as an unemployed pilot. The nerve! It's one thing to bug people on the street, but to go up to someone eating at a McD, that's just wrong. I cast one of my curses upon the whole of Montreal for this transgression upon my breakfast. I'm counting down the hours until I'm back home, about 72 of them I would imagine as I write this at 22:47 EDT Sunday(they use military time up here, which is kind of cool). Lord willing I will never have to come here again, or if I do, it will be for 5 days or less because this staying the weekend is the weekest thing I've ever been subjected to. How my brother is doing a year in Iraq is utterly beyond my comprehension. He is infinitely tougher then I'll ever be and my hat is off to him. Well that's enough whining, moaning, and groaning for now. Lest you think that moaning and groaning is a bad thing, remember the United States was founded by moaners and groaners who thought our taxes were too high. USA, I miss you and can't wait to return to you.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I have officially had it with my iPhono headhones. The red light is on and not go off no matter what. Stuck in Montreal with no music. Boo.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Godspeed Aaron

Today my brother is on his way to Iraq, having begun his journey there yesterday on the 5 year anniversary of 9/11. I can't give my brother enough credit, for he rejoined the National Guard after the horrific attacks on that beautiful September day that seems so long ago, knowing full well the danger ahead. I believe that the entire reason that we have not been attacked again has been the fact that we are taking the war to the enemy, in Afganistan and Iraq, by brave men and women in our Armed Forces. They ensure our freedom every day, and we can't possibly repay them. I would to thank my brother and everyone else in uniform as they go about the defense of our nation, and wish a quick and safe return to our great nation.

Running update

Well, although I'm slow, my run on Sunday was in the 20 mile range. My time was somewhere north of three hours, and I have to admit that I walked a mile or two of it as I hit the wall pretty hard around mile 18. For Sunday's run I ran down to the World Music Theater then back up to the Red Trail of the Cook County Forest preserver. In retrospect I suppose I should have brought some more water along, maybe parking my car at the beginning of the red trail to stock up on water. The Gu Gels continue to work well, I just need to eat a little bit more the night before to stave off the wall.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Sox season is over

To think, 48 hours ago, I thought the Sox were still in the hunt for a wild card spot. But after a dreadful performance last night (which I had the misfortune to witness personally) and Bobby Jenks blowing another save tonight, this season is done. The Sox maybe only a game and a half back for the wildcard, but it's not going to happen. If the starting pitching is good and the offense good, the bullpen will blow it. If the starting pitching dives, there's no offense like earlier in the year to make up for it. If every thing else is going good in a close game, the defense will make a stupid blunder. The Sox are finding ways to lose this year when last year they found ways to win. I'm tired of it. Even if they go on a run, I'll be in Montreal for 10 straight days and won't be able to watch it. So I'm officially giving up on this season. Maybe with the month of October to rest up, the starting pitching won't be so atrocious next year and 2007 can be another 2005. But I think the White Sox used up all the mojo last year and it maybe another 88 years for a championship.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Monday, September 04, 2006

Break on through

Today's Labor Day run was the first of my four "long" runs. Originally I planned to run the 9.4 mile "red" loop of the Cook Country Tinley Creek Bicycle Trail. Counting the 23 odd blocks it is from residence, it was going to be a run of about 15 miles. Today I went out in full marathon gear, which includes my Race Ready shorts, my IIT racing singlet, my trusty Fuel Belt with 4 pints of Ice Mountain water, 4 packets of GU Gel, my Garmin Forerunner, my Bluetake 420 headphones, and my always present Treo 650 which provided tunes and the god-forbid ability to call for a ride if I hurt myself. Seeing as it was a bit rainy today I passed on the sunscreen, but I never pass on the Blistex anti-chafing stuff. You should always put this stuff on the bottom of your feet, between your toes, inner thighs, under your armpit, your chest, and your shoulders, (basically anywhere there is going to be friction.) I had four pieces of toast with jelly and drank two 20 oz. bottles of water. I also had a GU Gel, since it said to take on 15 minutes before you run. Finally I was off. The only thing I screwed up on in my preparation was not putting in fresh batteries in the Garmin Forerunner, as it only lasted an hour into the run. Although this was frustrating, I had a pretty good idea of my pace from my conventional watch and the mile markers on the trail. Everything was going great for about 6 miles and then I felt really sluggish. All of a sudden, it felt like my legs were going through molasses. It didn't hurt, but I couldn't really strecth it out. Fearing a cramp, I downed some water and just tried to keep pace. After about two miles, it loosened up and I was back running normally again. I took a GU Gel every 45 minutes or so, and while they are incredibly difficult to swallow, (I used about half a pint to wash them down), they seemed to do their job and I never really hit the wall or anything. I felt so good coming off the red trail loop that I decided to head over to structure 32 to do 3 miles there. Over all I think I did around 18-19 miles in a little over 3 hours. I think I did OK for a first long run but I definitely need to pick up the pace next time. I plan on going into Chicago for next week's run to do a full dress rehearsal for the Marathon.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

You have new Picture Mail!

Stealth fighter sighting! Over Centennial Park at about 1:00 today. I've never seen one outside the air show.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Run around flooded Structure 32 in Tinley Park

Did a 5 mile run today at Structure 32. Thanks to the 25 year storm, Midlo Creek has run over into the lake drowning the piers.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Back to running

Well, now that the whole North Street affair has come and gone, I suppose it's time to return to blogging about other things. Then namesake of this blog, Tinley Harrier, is where I'll start. Some you may be wondering what a harrier is. While the first definition refers to an english hunting dog, the more relevant definition is "a runner on a cross-country team". While my time on cross-country team has come and gone (Tinley Park H.S. 1991-1994, IIT 1995-1996), I still like the term so I adopted it. I figured there wasn't anyone in my hometown Tinley Park blogging about their runs, and I was correct. So thus I am the Tinley Harrier. The 2006 Chicago Marathon is approaching rapidly, and I certainly have to make up some ground to get ready. Still, I have put down some lengthy runs, especially while I was in Canada a few weeks ago. (Note to everybody that calls me: I just got my wireless bill, and at 65 cents a minute for the roaming, unless there is a genuine threat to the republic, text me instead when I go back to Montreal on September 17th.) I ran with my actual running clothes last night, and relieved of the extra weight of my normal running clothes, I actually ran sub-9:00 minute pace for 3.2 mile, 26:37 time. Those of you that are new the running end of this blog, you may be wondering as to the signifigance of running sub 9:00 miles. If you run faster then a 9 minute mile for all 26.2 miles of a marathon, you will run the marathon in less then 4 hours. It's always been a goal of mine, but I seem to keep coming up short. Last year I came pretty close at 4:10:45. I don't know if I'll make it this year, but I'm certainly going to try! Everyone can follow along here at the Tinley Harrier on Sunday, October 22nd, as I live blog the 2006 Chicago Marathon. I plan on sending little posts from the race itself, and I'll have pictures at the beginning and end, with an audiopost wrapping up the days activities when I'm safely back in my car. I'm looking forward to it and I hope you follow along!