Haight's Hangout

From running to music... just a place for random thoughts and observations. No real thinking involved. A short escape from the mundane.

Monday, December 24, 2007

May Peace, Hope and Love be with you and your families. Today. Tomorrow. Forever.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Tucson Marathon

Well, there we are....the day before the Tuscon Marathon. Willie, Alex, Nicole, Megan, Lora, me and Anu. What a bunch of happy campers!!!

The weather was perfect. About 45ยบ when the race started. Alex, Nicole, Anu and I were doing the 13.1, while Megan, Willie and Lora were BROC by doing the 26.2.

Here we are just before the start. Just a little chilly, but hey, we're in Arizona having left a snowstorm in Chicago the day before. So no complaints.

For me, I'm just happy to be there and 'able' to participate. If any of you have been following my so called 'running journey' (or lack there of) over the last year, you've noticed it was basically nonexistant. I attribute it evenly between laziness, nasty shin splints, actually not being a 'runner' and did I mention laziness?

At any rate, I did conquor on aspect of those elements. Shin splints. After all this time dealing with new different shoes, different insoles, various stretches. I figured, why not start from scratch. Maybe i should go back to how I started back in 2005 where I had absolutely no injuries and was able to my first marathon. i went back to the first brand of shoes i used - Brooks Addictions 7. And presto!!! Shin splints disappeared after TWO runs.

OK, this doesn't mean Big Daddy is ready for Boston, but at least it's a start. So since about October-ish, I've been back at it. OK OK OK.....let's make this relative to me. Longish runs on Saturdays and about 8-12 miles during the weekdays up to the Tuscon Half. This big boy has a long way to go.

Coming down to Arizona I did have a goal of breaking 3 hours. Last March, I finished the Sarasota Half with a very smoooooooooth 3:20ish. But at that time, my goal was just to finish. The only race since then was the Bucktown 5K in September, which was fun but still not a true indicator of what was ahead of me.

If your not familiar with the Tucson Marathon, it starts about 4800ft elevation and ends up around 3000ft. The Half starts around 3900ft. Sure, sounds easy. All downhill. Piece of cake. No problem. Well, think again Cha Cha, if you're not used to this, your quads are gonna feel like they're going to explode if you start off too fast. Luckily, 'fast' is not in my running vocabulary. Along with that, I actually have pretty strong quads like most big fellas (one thing we possess over you skinny runners). So my game plan was this....run/walk at a 'very' easy pace until about the halfway mark. It worked. Yes, I wasn't making any landspeed records, but I was feeling pretty good at about the 7 mile mark. And considering my longest run during this stretch of training was only 9 miles....I was feeling good.

So here is where I drank some nitrous oxide and blew past the people I was going back and forth with for the first half of the race. My only walking was during some slight uphills and ocassional flat areas. But downhill I was cruising. Anyone remember John Candy when he got off course during his army training run and went down the hill in 'Stripes'? OK, there's your visual...ha!

The scenery was fantastic. Mountains were glorious. This was the polar opposite of the Chicago Marathon. 100,000 fans with skyscrapers vs. maybe 100 fans with cactus and schrubery. Awesome. The last couple miles weren't too scenic since we had to finish near civilization, but the finishline was insight and that was the sight that put a smile and this big boy's mug. Under 3 hours - 2:53:25. In my best 'Puddy' impersonation, "High five."

As for all our Chicago running group buddies, here's a brief recap......


Willie - just over 4 hours and even had a beer around the 25 mile mark

Megan - the roadrunner of the group, unfortunately missed BQ by 2 minutes :( 3:42

Lora - well, I'll let you check her adventure on her blog.


Alex - new runner but a natural...1:47 and some change

Nicole - just over 2:06...she'll break 2 soon

Anu - the runner that had no aches or pains the next day....a smooth 2:21....again

Here are some snapshots from our fun filled adventure.....

Stay tuned for Part II of the Arizona Experience....hopefully in a day or so

Sunday, July 29, 2007


....9 miles yesterday on the lakefront....humid...nasty...sore...tired


Sunday, June 17, 2007

Officially Summer

Since I went to my first Cub game of the year last Monday, I now declare it officially summer. And since they won...double bonus.

Of course since it's now summer, time for streetfests. On Friday, a few of us from work headed over to the Taste of Randolph Street. Fountains of Wayne (Stacey's Mom) was the main band there. Some good food and really long beer lines. I've been going to this one for a few years now and it's getting quite popular.

Saturday was our first training run for the Chicago Half. Lora is pacing again. We had four miles for the day. I'm still working my way back into some sort of shape, so there was definitely a bit of walking involved. Work in progress ;)

Today was my first Yoga class. Uh huh....yoga. I was a bit hesitant at first. I've never been the most 'flexible' guy. Prior to starting, I put in 30 minutes/2.9 miles on the elipitical, so I was already sweating like a pig....oink. The first 20-30 minutes were a bit tough. It was all new to me. But luckily, the last part seemed 'running' related. Very similar to stretches for after a long run. I think I'll be able to get the hang of it.

This afternoon went to Custer's Last Stand Art Fair. A few city blocks set aside for art, food and music. Rick Bayless (famous Chicago chef) was doing some demonstrations which was pretty cool. And overall, just a great time to people watch. And living in Evanston....lots of certain types to watch.

Next Sunday? Gay Pride Parade!!! Lora and I will be heading there for the grand spectacle. I've been a few times and it's a blast. If any of you locals are heading over, let us know and we'll meet up.

Go Cubs!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

I'm Back.....

Well, at least I'm going to give it a shot anyway.

I signed up for the Chicago Roadrunners half marathon training program. This will lead me into the Chicago Half Marathon in September. The ultimate goal is to be in 'decent' running shape to keep up with Lora for her Big 5-0 celebration.

We will be in Tuscon for a week in December to celebrate her big birthday. Of course, she has a weird way of celebrating. She's running the Tuscon Marathon. We'll see if I can get to that point. Right now I just need to get into some sort of running shape. So I will at least commit to that half, but if things go right and I can stick to it like i did in 2005, I'll join her for 26.2


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Yeah yeah yeah....I know...etc.

OK...I get it...one must keep up with blog entries in order for one to lay claim to a blog. I got it.

Since the dreadful 'Last Pro Football Game of the Year', it's been rather busy from many angles. Work, travels, condo stuff and even some running...yeah, go figure.

I'll litter this entry with a bunch of pics...

Here's my last football entry....about 3 hours before the 'Big Game'.

Well, after the big heartbreak that first Sunday of February, it was off to Key West for some serious shenanigans and buffoonary. There were 8 of us that went. Some of my old friends that I have known for years. Originally, one of the gals was getting married this same weekend in Key West. But about a month before the wedding, let's just say she kicked his ass to the curb...really hard. So, the ex-bride-to-be said, "We already have flights booked, so let's go down there anyway and cut loose! "

And that we did...

Here are the boys after a few cocktails and some serious seafood...

Here's where we had breakfast...twice out of three mornings. Needless to say the Blue Heaven was incredible. Mimosas or Bloody's while waiting for a table. Then breakfast from the gods.

Very cool how they mixed original 'weathered' items with created 'weathered' things. The place had a great atmosphere...
One of the goofier things...there were chickens and cats roaming around the joint. They weren't pests, just colorful characters...
Just a scenic portion of Duval Street...
....hopefully I'll get more pics from the others that made the trip.

After Key West, I decided to take a break and go to work for a week or so, because I had to rest up for about 9 days back in Florida. Did a lot of things once Lora and I got there. We had no real plans, but there's always something to do down there.

First thing of course was the Sarasota Half Marathon. My goal? Finish...regardless of the time. And I did. No, the time is irrelevant....not worth posting. There was a lot of walking involved. Considering this was the longest run I have had since the 2005 Chicago Marathon, finishing was fine with me. Heck, I think I only ran about 30 miles total since the 1st of the year prior to this race! Finishing was gratifying, but the best news of all? NO SHIN SPLINTS....AT ALL!!! I think I finally rid myself of that nasty issue.Here are my folks and my sister with Lora and me at a great seafood place. One of our many ventures of good eating....

We hooked up with Jason & Leah at a Cincinnati Reds spring training game. The weather was great and I even earned a sunburn. Jason and I were basically unofficial scouts for the Cubs. We agree that both the Reds and Phillies really suck and the Cubs should have no problem with them this year...

There are a few other pics on Lora's blog if you want to check them out.

And lastly, while we were down there....I had a birthday!!! I'm a ripe 44...hahaha. And on this day, a major purchase was made. Something I have needed for a very long time. A new vehicle. After test driving the Nissan Xterra(which I've been eyeballing for about 2 years now) & Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander, I decided on this beauty...the Toyota 4Runner... same color as this pic...minus the mountainous terrain.

It should be delivered no later than next Tuesday...woooooo hooooooo!!!

WOW...this was a long blog entry. I'm a bit winded. I might have to wait until April to do this again.

PS......I'm still doing ok on the exercise and weight loss thing. 19 pounds as of today since January 1st. I was a bit stagnant during February, but never really fell off the wagon. I was kind of in neutral. But I'm getting back on track and we'll keep on trucking...with my 4Runner :)

Monday, February 05, 2007

Bear Flu


Upset stomach...


Lack of concentration...

Blurred vision...

Mood swings...


Yep....the Bear Flu...it hit me Sunday. The only possible remedy is Cubs Spring Training in a few weeks.