Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Memorial Day Week

It has started. I know the calendar will tell you otherwise and this weekend is known as the unofficial start to summer, but I believe summer has started. The calendar just doesn't know better. To bolster my case I will give you the following facts.

Yesterday was the last day of school for Nora and Nigel. They are both a little bit sad. Each of them liked their teachers and made good friends during the year. Fortunately for them baseball started.

Nora had her first practice last night. She (and I for that matter) was a bit worried about playing this year. We missed last year and have not really picked up a bat or ball since t-ball. This year is coach pitch and there is a 10 pitch limit while at bat. The focus is still on teaching the fundamentals, but they are starting to implement more or the rules. Nora was concerned that the other kids would be way better than her as they had an extra year under their belts. This was not the case. She has a good arm, stays in front of the ball, and made decent contact at the plate. Their is only one boy there that could actually catch. She is right on pare with the rest.

Nigel starts t-ball tonight. He has no idea what he thinks of the whole idea. Some days he is very excited, others he just shrugs. I think he will have fun once he gets used to it. We are hoping one or more of his friends from class are on his team.

For the rest of the week....
Nora has practice Thursday evening, we have the PTO end of school movie night on Friday plus an after party at a friends house, both kids have games on Saturday. Enough right? Not so fast. Sunday brings the Fyke family reunion and a cook out that evening at a friends. Whew...done.

Oh wait...

I have a 4 mile race Monday morning, the Chiefs game at noon, and Nora has a game Monday night.

Now, you tell me summer has not started. It is going to be a good one!


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Slipping and Sliding in the Mud and the Blood at the CRUD

Yesterday Robin and I went out to a nearby college state park for a 8 hr endurance trail run called the CRUD 8. Neither of us were actually running in the event, but were there instead to help and learn about the behind the scenes portion of running a race. She and I are going to be first time race directors for a trail run on August 21st here in Eureka. I must confess that I failed miserably on the helping bit. I was too enthralled by all the fun going on in addition to the run and was unable to resist the call of the trail. I'll get into that in a bit but first a bit about the actual event.

The run was set up to be run as either a solo run or a relay team of 4, and followed a 5k loop until the final 45 min which was completed on a 1 mile loop. Robin and I hung out with a relay team of guys from here in Eureka most of the day. Our boys were in contention for the overall mens relay lead. In fact they led most of the day. When it was time to switch to the mile loop the top 2 teams were tied. If they completed the same number of laps on the mile loop there was going to be a 1 mile run off to determine the winner. Unfortunately for our guys they ran out of gas. They were a bit disappointed, but had a great time anyway. The best thing about an event like this is the camaraderie among all the people there. Most the runners were there cheering on and congratulating the runners on the mile loop. There was a competitiveness to the top two relay teams, but a good natured one at that. At the end of the day it just a bunch of like minded people spending the day running in a park, eating, drinking, playing bags, jarts, and just having a great time.

Back to Robin and me. We both took our shot at the loop. Her in her VFF's and me in my Nike Free 5.0's. Did I mention that we have had a bunch of rain in the week leading up to run? The trail was a hilly, muddy mess with areas of standing water, and only got worse as the day went along. I had zero traction. To get any kind of footing I had to hug the edge of the trail which force my right leg into the brush. It was a scratched up bloody mess. I think Robin fared a little better than I did but not much. For that matter, no one really fared well traction wise. Several of the hills required a duck walk to get up and the down hills were basically just controlled chaos with the hopes of not hitting a tree. IT WAS A BLAST! Robin did one loop and I did three. My hat goes off to the guys and gals that ran in the event. It was tough going. I fell on each of my loops including a self inflicted head first slide. Looked over my left shoulder to yield to runners in the event and tripped over my own feet. Nice!

They day was a blast and I am now completely hooked on trail running.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Illinois Half Marathon

Yesterday was my big day. The day that I have been training for for over two months, the Illinois half marathon.

The day started very early at the Robinson household, 4:00 a.m. for me and 4:20 for everyone else. I wanted to be on the road by 5 a.m. The race location is 1 1/2 hours away and I wanted to get there early enough to get warmed up and properly hydrated. Race time was set for 7:30 a.m. We made it out of the house by 5:10, not bad with two little kids, and met my parents near the interstate entrance. From there we caravaned on to Champaign. Getting into town took a bit longer than I had hoped and I really began to double think my decision to not go down the night before. Oh well, too late. We were on location and parked by about 6:50. I was able to get in a warm up run and Robin, the kids and my parents were able to find a good spot near the start to see me off.

The race started about ten minutes late. I mention this because that ten minutes was apparently enough to screw up a fellow runners pre-race bathroom needs. I had to help form a human wall so he could pee in a bottle. Makes me wonder what he would have done had the race started on time.

That is him in the white shirt, black shorts and all the way to the right.


We started under grey skies, low 60's, fairly humid with a steady but not over powering wind. Really good conditions actually, could have used a bit less humidity, but I will not complain. The race route itself was flat and very nice. We ran through neighborhoods, downtown Champaign, a nice park and back to Memorial Stadium for the finish. All along the route people were lined up cheering us on. People had signs, dressed in funny costumes, had noise makers, and generally created a party atmosphere. Heck of a way to motivate a runner!

My cheering section.

My goal was to run the race in 1hr 45min or less. In order to do that I was going to need to average 8 min/mile. I have done that on my long runs on several occasions so I felt pretty confident in meeting my goal. I took off with adrenaline flowing...maybe a bit too much. I ran the first 9 miles averaging around a 7:30 min/mile. Then I hit a wall. My pace dropped like a rock. I had several people yelling and encouraging Superman, I did have to admit at mile 12 that I was feeling a bit more like Clark Kent. That, however, would change.

Upon entering the stadium, seeing all the people in the stands, and the time on the clock was all the boost I needed. I was able to kick it into high gear and finish with a time of 1:43:06. I exceeded my goal, finished 314th of 6500, 32 in my age division, and trimmed 13 minutes off my time from last year. Not a bad run if you ask me.

Kicking to the finish.

After wandering around scanning the stands and drinking water I finally found Robin. She pointed the way to my parents and the kiddos who had watched the finish from the stands. They were all very excited and proud of me. Robin, doing a great job of crewing for me, had gatorade and peanutbutter and jelly sammiches for me. We hung out in the stands for a bit letting me cool down and recover. This allowed us to see the marathon winner come across. It is pretty impressive to see a guy run 26.2 miles in 45 more minutes than it took me to run 13.1. That guy was moving. After that we packed up our stuff, made it back to the car and head out. I spent the ride home recovering, re-hydrating and thinking about next year.

Reunited with Robin after the finish.