Friday, August 31, 2007

Ankle is Feeling Good

Today was a whole lot like yesterday: ice, massage, wrap, stretch, repeat. I had to walk to class twice, which put 3 miles on my ankle, but it felt pretty good. For my morning class I think I was walking a little funny, same with on the way to my afternoon class.

However, at the end of my Algorithms class I decided to ask a few questions and got demoralized; I won't go into the details here. On the way back I was walking pretty fast and completely forgot about my ankle! After I realized this, most of the sour mood went away, since it showed how much progress I'm making with my injury.

I emailed Jim, the guy I was supposed to run 24 miles with tomorrow, to let him know I'm bailing out on him. Right now I'm thinking my schedule looks something like this: easy trial run Sunday, Monday off, and resume normal training on Tuesday. As for the rest of my training, I'm pushing everything back one week and am going to do a 2 week taper instead of a 3 week. I hate tapering anyways, so maybe its for the best!

This ankle injury really emphasized the already obvious pattern of my ankle injuries. I will generally get some shin or knee pain, but never anything to put me out of commission. Heres a list of my ankle problems: Spring 2006 I had to take 3 months off due to overuse injury in my ankle, Fall 2006 had to take a week off three weeks before the Detroit Marathon due to over use in my ankle, early summer 2007, same deal, week off, and now I have an ankle sprain causing me to take a week off! If you miss the pattern there, you probably shouldn't be using a computer :)

Because of the glaringly obvious pattern, I'm starting ankle strengthening exercises in the very near future. Expect a post about various ankle stretches and strengthening exercises to help prevent ankle sprains and generally strengthen the area.

Happy running, to those who are able!


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Ankle Update

Today was a pretty unproductive day. On days I can't run I lose a lot of motivation to do much else, too. The story of my day was mostly ice, wrap/thaw, massage, stretch, repeat; all while playing video games or browsing the internet.

I had one class to go to in the middle of the day, and I made my way there and back without too much trouble; although I'm sure it wasn't doing my poor ankle much good. I gave myself twice as much time to get to class, since I was walking horribly slow.

By the end of the day, my ankle is feeling fairly good. Although thats what I thought last night too, and it wasn't the case in the morning! Tomorrow morning, if it feels as bad as it did this morning, I'm going to cancel my Saturday run too. If that happens, my training schedule for the next few weeks is going to get revamped a whole lot and my 3 week taper is gonna look more like a 2 week taper.

Nothing I can do now but be patient and keep up with the R.I.C.E. If I try to push it, who knows how long I'll be out of the game!

I hope everybody else's running is going good!


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Gah! My Ankle!

Yeah. You read that right. I used "gah!" and "my ankle" in the same phrase; I know it doesn't sound good.

Today was a nice, easy recovery run. I have class at 8am, so I was getting out before class to avoid traffic and what not. Its peaceful out anyways. Nobody is on the roads. Its quiet. A few medical students wandering to the various hospitals on campus. Maybe some older folks walking around. Then all of a sudden a choice four letter word breaks the silence as half my foot goes into a pot hole.

It only hurt for a second, then it felt fine. I broke the cardinal rule and I finished my run after twisting my ankle. After I finished, I iced it as a precaution. I could tell something was a little off about it, but it never swelled up. I talked to my family doctor (literally, its my dad) about it, and its just a stage 1 sprain (maybe it was phase, I remember the 1 for sure!). This means there are just some micro tears that will heal up after a little rest. It shouldn't take me out of the game for Chicago unless I do something really stupid.

Tomorrow I had a hard workout at the track planned, but I'm cancelling that. I'm going to take Thursday and Friday off, which will give it 72 hours to heal up. I have my long run still on the schedule for Saturday. The first six miles of it is a loop, so I have an easy way to bail out if it goes poorly. In fact, even if its feeling good, I might just run on that loop for the majority of my run just to play it safe.

All day I've been doing the whole Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation (RICE) scheme. I've mixed in a little bit of heat since it isn't swelling. I know the ice is what I'm supposed to do, but the heat is what actually make it feel better. Ice kind of makes it feel like a hinge that needs oil. Tomorrow I only have one class all day, so I'll have a lot of time to keep it elevated and iced. Friday is pretty low key too.

I haven't been stretching it at all yet because I've read stretching an injury immediately after it happens can actually make the tears worse. Although I'm not sure what the definition of 'immediately' was; is it a few hours? a day? If you know, share the knowledge!

I suppose all I have to do now is wait and keep at it with the RICE.

On the bright side, its storming like crazy right now, and I love a good storm!

I hope everybody else's running is going well.


Caught off guard, I've been tagged!

SLB, over at Quadrathon, decided to tag me. So here goes:

Jobs I’ve held
Since I'm not as *ahem* experienced as SLB, I'm going to start with highscool jobs!

  • Grocery store: Stocking / helping old ladies
  • Phone book factory: Material handler
  • Caterpillar Logistics: Intern
  • Eastern Illinois University: Math/Computer Science Tutor
  • Eastern Illinois University: Lab assistant
  • Caterpillar Electronics: Intern
  • University of Kentucky: Teaching Assistant

Movies I can watch over and over

This list makes me realize I need to watch more movies:

  • Eurotrip
  • Boondock Saints
  • Matrix Trilogy
  • Swordfish

Guilty pleasures

  • Frozen pizza
  • Ice cream
  • Getting unsuspecting victims addicted to running

Places I’ve lived

  • Dwight, IL
  • Charleston, IL
  • Peoria, IL
  • Lexington, KY (Woah! Out of Illinois, finally!)

Shows I enjoy

I really don't watch much TV at all, but if I happen to catch these, the TV will stay on:

  • Scrubs
  • Myth busters
  • Dirty jobs
  • Man vs. Wild
  • The Daily Show
  • The Colbert Report
  • Southpark

Web sites I visit daily

  • I check my email more than anybody ever should
  • Nike+ forums (when notified via email)
  • A big list of blogs
  • MotionBased, to see my runs once they're uploaded
  • Facebook
  •, to check the weather
  • Lately, the webpage with lots of information for being a teaching assistant
  • Class websites (not by choice!)

Places I’ve been on vacation

I've been all over the US, but never overseas. I'll try to give a complete list, but I know I'll leave something off:

  • Wisconsin Dells
  • Grand Canyon
  • Las Vegas
  • San Fransisco
  • Disney World
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Nags Head, North Carolina
  • Mount Rushmore
  • Colorado / Rocky Mountain National Park
  • Yosemite National Park
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Jamaica
  • Mexico
  • Various islands around the Caribbean (cruises rock!)
  • Michigan
  • Red wood forest (Northern California, I think)
  • Myrtle Beach
  • Washington DC
  • I'll give honorable mention to various Six Flags and Cedar Point trips, I love roller coasters!


It isn't so much a nickname, but my cousin started spelling my name "Dug" several years ago and it stuck. A lot of the time my parents even spell it Dug in birthday cards.


  • Loads of age group awards from races
  • My river to river relay team awarded me the baton as most valuable runner
  • SURE (Student Undergraduate Research at Eastern) Award for my research on face recognition with computers
  • Deans list the last 4 semesters or so
  • Awarded my BS in CS (Bachelor of Science in Computer Science) this May

So, now I think its my privilege to pass the torch on. Eenie meanie minie moe, catch an Ultra Monk Monkey by the toe! Oh wait.. she passed it to SLB! I pick.... Jes, over at Self Motivation! Pay her a visit and give her some outside motivation! :)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hilly Tempo Run

Today was the usual hilly tempo run, with one change. I finally started using "courses" on my Garmin, which means if I run a course once, my watch tells me how to do it again! This is good news since I just can't seem to remember the 7 mile course with twenty-one turns that we do in the dark at 5:30 in the morning.

So now that I actually know where I'm going, I can run my own workout. I really don't mean to sound like "ha! I'm faster than you!" Everybody in my group goes hard on Tuesdays for one reason: we want a good workout, but hard is relative.

Needless to say, today's workout went great. I felt like a dog that managed to get off his leash, and I was ready to roll. So after the warmup, we hit the hilly section where everyone takes off, and I ran my legs off. Another way to say it, is I started running way too fast to sustain it. I managed to run the 1.8 mile quick section at 6:06/mile and coasted in going a little under seven minute pace. This was a great start to a hard week of training.

In other news, my new Mizuno Wave Riders are really working magic on my right foot. Originally I was planning to switch between my new and old shoes, but I'm really hesitant to switch back now that my foot feels good as new.

I'm also thinking about running a 30K on September 23rd, which is two weeks before the Chicago Marathon. A friend of mine is running both the 30K and Chicago, and I think it would be a great way to decide if I'm able to sustain my pace for a 2:50 marathon, or if I should shoot for 3:00. I haven't signed up yet, but its really being considered. Also, its a smaller race so I might have a shot at winning. With all my running and racing, I've still never won a race. I've gotten so close I could taste it, but never pulled it off.

Thursday I'm running Yasso 800's, which should be a good gauge to tell me what kind of shape I'm in. With today, Thursday, and 21 or 24 miles on Saturday, this is going to be one crazy week!

Happy running,


Sunday, August 26, 2007

Weekly recap: 8/20 to 8/26

Another week, another bunch of miles. Heres the details:

Monday: Rest day. Did a lot of stretching to loosen up from my crazy amount of miles the previous two days.

Tuesday: 7 miles, some of it hilly and run fast.

Wednesday: 5 1/2 miles recovery.

Thursday: 7 miles, tempo run. Three miles of it was fast, the rest at a fairly relaxed pace.

Friday: Rest day, no running. Did an ab workout because I've been slacking in that department.

Saturday: 12 mile long run. This was a step back week since I had 21 miles last Saturday and 21 or 24 next Saturday. I did the first 10 miles with Val. When he said he had to slow down I took it as a cue to take off for the last few miles. Last three miles: 6:37, 6:40, 6:31.

Sunday: 5 mile tempo run. I got new shoes today, Mizuno Wave Riders, and was taking them for a test run with Bluegrass Runners. This turned into a great run since I didn't run as much on Saturday. Once I got going, I just kept pushing until I backed off the last mile. Splits were: 6:58, 6:46, 6:28, 6:07, 6:37.

Total miles: 37 and change.


All in all, a great week of training even if the volume was down a bit. I've been fighting with my right foot a little bit when not running. It still has never hurt me during a run. I got new shoes today in hopes that the old ones might be to blame. If the discomfort doesn't go away, the two remaining culprits are: running with my water bottle always in the left hand and always running on the left side of the road.

Next week, the heat gets turned back up. I plan to run Yasso 800's on Thursday to gauge my fitness. This is where you run 10x 800m at your goal marathon time in hours:minutes, converted to minutes:seconds. For example, I want to run 2:50 to 3:00 (hours:minutes) for the marathon, so each 800 should be 2:50 to 3:00 (minutes:seconds). I also will have a 21 or 24 mile run on Saturday, I am going to play this by ear pending how I feel after 21 miles.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Thirteen Miles with the Stumblers

Ah, how I love running with Todds Road Stumblers. Theres just something about meeting up with 30-40 people on Saturday morning, and a great bunch of people at that! Theres people of all ages and ability. I'm pretty sure I'm the youngest at 22, and theres one guy in his 80's. Eighty years old and running strong, unbelievable! After the run people hang out for an hour or longer just shooting the breeze, its a great way to meet great people.

As far as the run, I ran with Val and John for most of the run. John dropped back around 6 or 7 miles, and Val dropped around 10, so I pushed it fairly hard for the last 3 miles because I was feeling fresh. I'm still amazed by how beautiful it is out there by all the horse farms of Kentucky, I really need to remember to take some pictures one of these days!

My right foot is still giving me a little nagging pain, but never when I'm running. According to my Runners Repair Manual, it sounds like cuboid pain, which is a symptom of a 'weak foot'. I've narrowed the cause down to three things: I need different shoes, carrying a water bottle on the left is causing me to compensate with more weight on my right foot, or maybe it is due to running on roads which are slanted. Later today I'll go to the running store; regardless I'm continuing to heat/ice it, but I don't think it will get completely better until I get to the root of it!

I also got more birthday stuff in the mail today; an underarmour shirt, running socks, and cookies! I think my family is trying to fatten me up a little bit, but I'm in college, I'll take free food!

Happy running,


Friday, August 24, 2007

Stretching and Injury Prevention

Everybody knows they should stretch. The problem is a vast majority of runners simply don't know how to do it right! For a while I had heard there is more to stretching than I learned in grade school gym class, but I never listened too much. I had my way of doing things. I was stubborn. One day I was at the book store (Borders or Barnes & Noble, not sure which) and finally gave in and bought a fairly cheap ($25) book on stretching: The Anatomy of Stretching by: Brad Walker. Since then, I've completely revamped how I stretch; and it has paid off!

There are several parts stretching which are important, and are very common mistakes to make, here are some pointers:
  • Breathe! A lot of people have a tendency to hold their breathe while stretching. This makes the benefits of stretching much less since the muscles aren't getting the oxygen they need.
  • Hold it -- The benefits of stretching don't really start until you've held it for 10 seconds. This means 10 seconds should be the bare minimum, I usually hold them for 20. Actually, I generally hold it for 5 deep breathes, this combines the last two points!
  • Only until there is tension -- Stretching shouldn't hurt! Go as far as there is tension, and hold it there; it will generally get easier, so feel free to move forward as your muscle stretches, but only to the point of tension. If you stretch too far the body has a protective reflex to contract the muscle, which won't help with stretching at all!
  • Don't bounce! This is one I actually learned in gym class, but wasn't emphasized much. Let me emphasize this point. When bouncing further, you constantly cause the protective reflex, then when bouncing back you aren't stretching it much. Keep it constant!
To me, stretching falls into three big categories, each with their own purpose:
  • Before running -- Prevent pulled muscles, injury prevention
  • After running -- Aids the recovery process, improves flexibility
  • Stretching sessions -- Improves flexibility
Now, let me elaborate a little bit on each of these.

Before running:

You need to be careful when stretching before running. Its a big no-no to stretch cold muscles. If I can borrow a metaphor from Walker, its like trying to stretch an old rubber band; they don't have the usual stretch to them.

There are two ways to warm up muscles: active and passive. Active is just as it sounds; do something active to get your core temperature up a little bit to warm your muscles. You could run for a few minutes before stretching, do jumping jacks, push ups, sit ups; anything to get the blood pumping. Personally, I like to do push ups and sit ups.

An example of a passive warm up is to take a nice hot shower to warm up the muscles without doing work. I opt out of this because I don't like the idea of taking a shower both before and after I run, but to each their own.

After being warmed up, stretch away using the guide lines above!

After running:

The point of stretching after running is to help with the recovery process. This will help your legs not feel like bricks the next day; although it won't completely alleviate it. I usually hold stretches for a little longer after running. I'm not sure why, but I do.

Stretching sessions:

This is something really new for me. I never would have considered stretching except to run, but now I do; imagine that! The point of this is to improve flexibility, which in turn helps prevent injury. Also, I'm 95% sure stretching helped cure some knee problems I had in the past. My knee was hurting a little bit for a few weeks, and the only thing I think I changed in my training was my stretching; and viola, no more knee pain! And this is when running 50+ mile a week on pavement, so I think that says something.

In my opinion, its very important to make stretching a key part of working out; not an after thought, not "oh, if I remember to." Its helped my knee recover from what could have turned into an injury, so its definitely part of my routine now. Plus, its fairly relaxing to boot!

If theres any interest, I might post something on specific stretches I've deemed as useful. Although if there isn't much interest, I'm not going through the trouble of taking pictures of the different stretches. If you want to see specific examples, be sure to let me know! One more time I'd like to recommend the book The Anatomy of Stretching by Brad Walker; it talks in very simple terms and breaks things down very well. I've recommended it to several friends who purchased it, and none have been disappointed.

Happy running (and stretching!),


Thursday, August 23, 2007

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, its my birthday, and its a lot more low key than my big 21st! I'm in Kentucky and don't know too many people yet, but there have been loads of birthday wishes coming in all forms! Its weird having it be my birthday right after moving to a new state, a reason to celebrate and nobody to celebrate it with.

So like a little kid, I have to show off what I got! I can't do this without quoting "Scary Movie" from a few years back: "Yo, that jacket is tight, son. YA MEAN?!" (If you haven't seen it, you think I'm crazy now. Sweet!) I got my Chicago Marathon jacket in the mail today as a gift from my parents, check it out!

Besides that, I went for a great run this morning. It was a 7 mile run, 4 miles which were around race pace. Everything felt good, even my foot that has been giving me a little pain decided to behave. Hey, I'll take it on my birthday!

Now I get to take it fairly easy until next week. Rest day tomorrow, long run is only 12 (as opposed to 21) on Saturday, and my Sunday run gets cut back from 10 miles to 6. Hopefully this little step back will let any little problems heal up before I really hit it hard the next week!

Happy running!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

The Dork in Me

We all have something dorky that we do. Admit it, you do! (please?) Well, what happens when my runner and computer scientist counterparts meet? Way too detailed tracking of all my runs? You got it!

This whole running thing started off so innocently. I would just go out, start my watch, run for some amount of time, and be done with it. I didn't even write it down anywhere, keep track of weekly mileage, or know anything about proper training. I would just go out and run to my hearts content.

After getting injured a few times and wanting to see why, I progressed a little bit and started writing down my approximate mileage based on how long I was running. But then the trouble started around Christmas time when I got Nike+ to track my runs down to the hundredth of a mile. This is when I made the jump and stopped writing stuff down, all of it started going into Excel. With formulas. And graphs!

I started using the numbers to figure out other statistics too. Among these are miles this year, miles per week, percent increase from one week to the next, and an estimation of how many miles I'll run this year based on my averages. One thing I've found really useful is a graph which shows how many miles I've ran in the past 7 days. It shows the trends really well, and if theres a sharp increase, it usually corresponds to an injury! I think it shows a year in a nutshell really well, you can see every point I've gotten sick or injured, how I did my build up, etc.

Heres an example of all my numbers. I usually put in comments if theres anything notable such as races, injury, illness, etc.

Nike+ also gave me some approximate graphs of pace and stuff, but it just didn't cut it. Plus I had to have special shoes to use it, and that bugged me; I felt tied down to Nike. So then I got my wonderful Garmin Forerunner 305. Now this baby will tell me everything ANYBODY would want to know about their runs; pace, elevation, grade, where I've ran, time of day (imagine that, on a watch!), heart rate, and all my mile splits! I was hooked.

Thankfully I never included all this new information in Excel, but I pour over my splits after every single run, without fail! I'm a numbers person, what can I say?

So maybe I over do it a little bit with my tracking of my miles, but I can definitely tell you what works for me and what doesn't! If anybody wants to give in to their inner dork, I would gladly send out my Excel file!

Happy running,


Easy Run and Something Fresh

This morning was a nice, easy recovery run around campus. I saw maybe five people the entire run, the campus was completely dead. Much different than it will be in a few hours, when 27,000 students have their first day of class here at University of Kentucky.

I'll be one of them. I moved in three weeks ago, but today is my first day as a graduate student. I'm not completely sure what to expect, but I'll know within a few hours. Currently I'm optimistic, and for those of you who don't know me very well, that is a very hard thing to change.

Its different knowing going into an 8am class on the first day that I'll actually be alert. Much different than during my undergrad, I've had time to run, shower, eat breakfast, and apparently write about it before class. As opposed to rolling out of bed, grabbing a shirt, finding my sandals and wandering to class.

Since I need to finish getting ready, this entry will come to an abrupt halt.

Happy running,


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Weekly Recap -- 8/13 to 8/19

I decided I'm going to try and make a habit of posting a weekly summary of my training; doing that every day would be overkill. So here is this last week in a nutshell!


Monday: Rest day, I really need to get out on the bike again!

Tuesday: Ran "hard" with the 5:30am group, I didn't get a spectacular workout in, but it definitely wasn't just an easy workout.

Wednesday: Recovery run on my own, 5.56 miles averaging 7:41/mile

Thursday: Tempo run with Jeff from the 5:30am group. The meat of the workout was 6 miles around 6:40 pace, with two miles cool down.

Friday: Resting up for the weekend.

Saturday: 21 mile long run out at Todd's Road at 6am. First 16 miles at a relaxed 8 minute pace with whoever would run with me, I took off at 6:30/mile pace for the last 5 minutes to make it a fast finish long run.

Sunday: This was supposed to be a nice, slow, 10 mile recovery run. Wrong! I ran with the 6pm group starting at Commonwealth Stadium. I thought the pace would be relaxed, but the middle 5 miles ended up averaging 7 minute / mile.

Total miles: 52, a new high! Also worth mentioning, I had 80 miles over 9 days!


This was one great week of training. The long run went amazing. My ankles are mostly behaving, although every now and then there is a little discomfort when I walk around. I've been making a habit of giving it a one-two punch with heat and ice even if its not hurting just to give it a reminder to behave!

Next week, or I guess now it would be this week, is a step back week. I'm cutting back the intensity a little bit and am planning to run 35-40 miles.

On a non-running note, I was surprised to get comments on my blog. I'm not even sure how you guys are finding it, but good job!

Happy running,


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Long Runs with a Kick

We all know our long runs are the meat of any marathon training program; the most basic training programs essentially consist of base milage and a long run on the weekend. However, I've recently put a twist on my long runs. The idea originally came from Hal Higdon: he suggests doing a 3:1 workout every few weeks when feeling good. The idea is simple, run the first 75% easy then push for the remainder of the run.

I first read about this while training for my first marathon last year, and simply discarded it as crazy talk; running fast at the end of a 20 miler?! However, this time around my training is more about speed, and when I read similar advice recently (I believe in Runners World, although I'm not positive) I decided to give it a shot at the end of a long run where I'm feeling fresh.

My strategy is to do the majority of my run at a relaxed pace, about a minute per mile slower than goal race pace. If I have to run slower to run with a group, this is not a problem for me. Slow long runs are better because you will be on your feet for a longer time, thus increasing your endurance; although going too slow can result in poor form, too slow being more than 20% slower than goal pace (Advanced Marathoning by Pete Pfitzinger).

However when training with a specific time goal, one lingering question that was always on my mind is: Sure, I can do a tempo run at race pace, but can I hit it and hold it after 15 miles? To answer this question, I started running race pace for the last 25% of my long runs on days I'm feeling good at the end.

Although the experts may argue the physiological advantages of this aren't there, I can vouch for the psychological gains! The confidence this instills is tremendous, since you're proving there is still some spring left in your step at the end of a long run. I am much more confident in my ability to break three hours at Chicago after my last few long runs. Also, since I only ran hard for the last five miles I'm not as drained as I would be if I ran quick for the entire run; I will be ready to run hard again by Tuesday, as scheduled.

Please let me know if you've had any experience with this technique, or are planning to give it a shot! Make sure you let me know how it goes!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Todd's Road Stumblers

This morning I joined another running group in the area: Todd's Road Stumblers, as you might have guessed. This group is great! They have a club house several miles outside of Lexington out by a lot of the horse farms, and all their running routes are very scenic. The club house is just great, and designed just for a group of runners! The house is relatively empty, with a trophy case, quite a few chairs, a water fountain, a fridge, and a few tables for food and drink.

I arrived around 6am this morning and ran the six mile loop with five or six others, with the plan being to get back at 7am when the other runners leave and join a larger group for another 15 miles. The start of the run was very, very dark. Since we're in the country, the only light was that from the moon and maybe a small hint of the sun coming up. I kept my pace under control for this first loop to talk with the other runners, the company is always nice!

After our rather uneventful six mile loop, we stopped at the club house to refuel a little and met up with people going out for fifteen miles. There were maybe ten of us doing 15, but at least thirty people at the house! The entire 15 mile course was very hilly, no real killers like in Peoria (i.e. Mount ICC), but the road was always going up or down it seemed.

I ran 16 miles before asking the group for the rest of the route, and took off at race pace. Near the end of the run I could definitely feel the miles taking their toll, I had a slight pain in my back and could feel myself mentally bonking. I think I could have used another gel to get me through, although my pace never suffered; the last five miles averaged 6:30/mile.

Although I had no bad pains during the run, my right ankle had a dull ache afterwards. Giving it the one-two punch with heat and ice calmed it down and it feels great now! I'm very confident I will go under three hours at Chicago after such a promising workout! Alex (with 20 marathons under his belt) thinks my training points to a sub 2:50 finish if I want to go for it.

Here is a link to this workout:


Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Home, New Runs, New People

Ah, the joys of moving to a new state. Two weeks ago I moved to Kentucky for graduate school at University of Kentucky, and everything associated with it has been going great; especially the running!

The amount of group runs down here is simply amazing, and with just a few switches they all fit my schedule. So far I've done group runs on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. I'm planning to start doing long runs with a group on Saturdays, and just heard about a run on Wednesday morning. If nothing else, all these are definitely turning me into a morning person; most of them finish as the sun comes up!

It isn't only the amount of the group runs, but the quantity of the runners too. Even at 5:30am there will be 15-20 runners out and ready to roll. Some fast, some slow, but all of them are friendly.

It has been great getting out on new routes lately too. Most of the places I ran in Peoria the average person would consider suicide attempts, but I made due with what I had. There aren't as many monster hills here as in Peoria, but all the terrain is rolling, its very rarely flat. Also, nearly every road has either a sidewalk, a large shoulder, or both. All in all running has been much more pleasant here, the only downside has been this nasty heat wave; but the morning runs are mostly alleviating that.

Injury wise, training has been going great. My right ankle was giving me some nagging problems a few weeks ago but has been fine recently. If my long run this Saturday goes well, I'm 95% sure I'll be in the clear for Chicago since this is the first of my 20 milers.

52 days until Chicago!

Happy running,