Sunday, July 17, 2016

12 Hours Running in Lisle - Christmas in July

Year three of the Christmas in July ultra races in Lisle, IL. After volunteering the first two years it was time for me to lace up my running shoes and put one foot in front of the other for 12 hours on a 0.97 mile black top loop.


The race is put on by the DPRT RDs Ed and Terry both ultra runners themselves and Brian another ultra runner. Brian was sadly missing from the event this year due to breaking his leg in 5 places 10 days before the event when out trail running. Heal up fast Brian. Christmas in July races (CiJ) have found a following in the local ultra community and are loved by the Village of Lisle. To introduce runners to ultra running the RDs also put on a 5k and a 10k around Lisle's Community Park and neighboring office park. The timed ultra of 6 hours, 12 hours and 24 hours are contained in the park itself on a 0.97 mile loop (it was not possible to get exact 1 mile but then ultras are supposed to be a challenge) which is primarily black top paved and a small concrete sidewalk section. Given the fact that myself, the RDs and many of the ultra runners prefer dirt and limestone trails this added to the challenge but then again Badwater which is due to start a few days later is all paved road I was not going to complain.

I picked up my race number, timing chip (on ankle band), T shirt, a BUFF and wooly beanie during the week after work so just had to arrive at the event ready to go. I filled a small sports bag with some things such as change of running gear, a running jacket (it had rained year before), extra pair of shoes, plus a selection of nutrition products and electrolyte mixes. Also had a headlamp, my MP3 player - surprising as I NEVER use music when running and my Garmin which I knew would only last 5 hours. Plus a tote bag with a few water bottles. A fold up seat was in my car as it always is.

Arrived at the Lisle Senior High School which is in the middle of the park - nice setting for a school, finding plenty of parking and in time to meet friends and watch the 24 hour start at 10pm. Once they were off I carried my bag, chair and tote over to my friends Julie and Michelle canopy which was set up near the start/finish area right in the middle of what had become an orderly tent city. My set up was easy. Unfold the chair, put bag beside and arrange water bottles. Tossed my phone and asthma meds (just incase) in my waist pack, donned my favorite Clif Bar cap and turned on my headlamp.

Oh headlamp not working, darn it. Checked it and notice one of the AAA batteries had popped out. I had a small basic handheld light in my bag and by chance it too used AAA batteries, Mild panic over. As it was I ended up not using my headlamp during the race as it was well lit and my eyes adjusted to the darkness very quickly.

Just before 11pm the 12 hours gathered at the starting area so RD Ed could say some words. I started right at the back but a few got to the start line a few seconds later so I was not last to start :-)

The loop was really easy to follow and not because I was following everyone else but there was lights in bags along the whole route plus inflatable Santa, reindeer, snowmen and arrows in the right place. The loop went along the DuPage River, the park lake, over a cool bridge with running water canyon below, around a sled hill with a small climb leading to the tent city, diving back along the lake and festival park stage and into the HQ staging area. Very scenic even after multiple loops.

I had no real goals for this event. Longest run of the year was around 4.5 miles. Seriously thought a half marathon would be nice. No way would an ultra distance happen which was no issue. After 90 minutes I was already at 5 loops. Took a break and thought 5 miles plus a break every 2 hours equals an ultra. I quickly dismissed that thought and it was for the best. Once I had run longer than my limited training my progress slowed dramatically and the breaks got longer. But I was having fun, chatting with friends and cheering everyone on. As I had worked the Friday of the event I knew a nap during the race would be for the best; the one hour ended up being two hours but by that time 14 loops had been completed. Goal achived but more to come. I slept in my trusty fold up chair but with temps being chilly (for July) over night I woke up cold, just glad I had put on a running jacket before the break. Many people who were resting were in blankets and fleeces, smart. Took me a good full loop to warm up basically just hiking. Another break just before daybreak then finishing up with a few extra loops.

Waiting for final results but ended up with 19 loops or just over 18 miles (18.47 I think). Calling it 18 miles and although that is not much for 12 hours I am very happy with the result.

RD Terry was there to greet me when I finished and hand me a 12 hour medal. We chatted about the race for a little bit. I'll be volunteering at his DPRT and maybe running the half as well. Watched others finish their last few loops (fast guys had time for a few more; I finished with some time to spare but not really enough to get more in).

Although I have done four trail 50k races this was only my second timed race. My first which was my first ultra distance was Danville's Howl at the Moon many years (or moons ago). That is held on a 3+ mile loop. Although CiJ was around a mile loop there are some elements that are similar such as seeing the same aid station often, seeing the same runners over and over again - as they pass me, and all the tents.

CiJ is a great event, well organized and so caring for the runners. Next year I will be back but to volunteer. DPRT 50 (plus marathon and half) is in October put on by 2 of the CiJ RDs     

And to end a photo from near the end of the 12 hour. Tom, myself, Michelle and Julie. Tom and Julie did the 24 hour both hitting ultra distance (Tom finished quick so he could leave early). Michelle and I both hit out goals and made it fun. Photo by and from Annette Smith


Thursday, July 14, 2016

CiJ 2016. Running around a misshaped circle

Maybe I can claim I will be chasing and searching for Pokemons. Friday 15th July at 11pm I am running for 12 hours. Well I am signed up to have the chance to run for 12 hours but will likely run some, rest some, hang out some, volunteer some, eat some food, drink some drink, walk some. But no Pokémon will be involved. Hey I don't even know what this craze is.

But the craze I do know is happening in Lisle this weekend as a bunch of crazy ultra runners will be running a nearly one mile loop for 6 or 12 or 24 hours to see how many miles they can or desire to cover.

I volunteered at the event the past two years and now I get to run. Honestly have no training so to speak off and my only goal is to have fun plus of course hang out with the ultra crowd.

I will report back sometime this weekend but might post to Facebook during breaks.

Good luck to all running and volunteering and RDing.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Pokanoka 8 mile preview

Last July the 4th (2015) I had the pleasure of running a great no frills 8 mile trail race at Shabbona's Lake, the Pokanoka 8 mile run (and 1.8 mile walk). The pre-entry fee is cheap and if you sign up a week before the race you will get the race T shirt. The proceeds benefits a great cause, domestic violence agency for the prevention. In 2015 there was around 100 people in the 8 miler so small numbers but I feel it could grow. The 8 mile course is all trail mainly wide grass but a few dirt or narrow sections. A few rollers plus one big hill. It ducks in and out of meadows and trees while looping around a big lake. Around a mile out you cross a big earth dam.  Full details are on the race website including deadlines for fees and shirts plus course map.   

Sadly I will now have to miss this year due to a slow training start plus work requirements. Last year I ran with my friends Carina and Mike. We went really slow running, walking. hiking, power hiking. We just had fun out on the trails. I did say if I went back I'd be better trained and run a good loop. Sure I could finish but it would be slow like last year. As I building up for a few other races end of the year I am going to pass on the race this year but encourage you all to do it. I also might be working that day due to some changes and vacations occurring with one of my work centers. Given I need Labor Day off I have no problem working this holiday (plus time and a half pay)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Run with the Lions (April 30th)

Coming up on April 30th is the 3rd annual "Run with the Lions" at St James Farm Forest Preserve in Warrenville, IL. It is back at the original venue after a year at Danada due to major construction.

If the past two years are anything to go by it'll be another awesome race for a great cause. I did the race both years and was impressed by the organization and everything that came with the entry fee.

For race information and signing up head here:

You can read my race review from 2015 on this blog:

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

GLASA Chicago Marathon Charity Spots

Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association | Let no one site on the sidelines
Over the past four years or so I have been involved with a great organization to help them put on an evening Twilight 5k race in Lake Forest.
Great Lakes Adaptive Sports Association (GLASA) strives to ‘Let No One Sit on the Sidelines’ and operates under a mission to promote and support the optimal development and well-being of youth, adults and military veterans who have a physical or visual disability through the provision of inclusive recreation, fitness and competitive sports activities. GLASA offers opportunities for empowerment through education, leadership and training in collaboration with community-based organizations.
They raise funds to help those that normally can't partake in a variety of sports. Everyone from kids through adults including those that compete in the Paraolympics. One of those fund raisers is a team in the Chicago Marathon. GLASA as secured slots as detailed below.  
If you need more information please contact:
Cherie Hrusovsky 847-283-0908 (she authored the details that follow)
If you have ever wanted to run the Chicago Marathon, GLASA has your chance! GLASA has charity entries for the race and we are trying to spread the word. Do you want to run? Do you have friends who want to run? Please Facebook, tweet, Snapchat, Instagram or otherwise share with your networks! 
There are two different ways that you can join Team GLASA as a marathon runner on Sunday, October 9, 2016!
As a Charity Runner with a Guaranteed Entry: If you need a guaranteed entry to the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, GLASA has entries! GLASA can provide you with the opportunity to run in 2016, and you can commit to making a difference in the lives of individuals with physical disabilities. All guaranteed entry charity runners are required to raise a minimum of $1,000 in exchange for their entry, but GLASA will help you with fundraising assistance, a fundraising website, tips etc.
As a Charity Runner with a Non- Charity Entry:  There are a few ways that you can secure entry into the Bank of America Chicago marathon without using a charity entry. You can    1. Qualify as a legacy runner by having completed 5 Chicago Marathons within the last 10 years.    2. Qualify by running a sub 3:15 (men) or sub 3:45 (women).    3. If you do not qualify as a legacy runner or a time qualifier, you can also join the lottery and take your chances of being chosen during the spring lottery selection, March 10-April 21. The lottery option does not guarantee that you get a slot to run the marathon, but if you are successful in securing a slot via the lotto, GLASA will still welcome you to join our team!
If you use a non-charity entry, GLASA suggests a fundraising minimum of $260- ten dollars per mile. You are not contractually obligated to raise the $1,000 required of charity runners. You still receive all of the same benefits as the charity runners and you still get to make a difference in the lives of individuals with physical disabilities as you tackle your marathon challenge.
Benefits of Running with Team GLASA:
- Team GLASA Tech T Shirt
- Fundraising Guidance
- FREE Entry to Twilight 5k
- FREE Entry to the SALUTE 5k/10k
- Race Day Hospitality Room near the finish line
Easy gear check
Massage Therapist
                Continental Breakfast and Light Lunch
- Charity Mile Party for Your Family and Friends on Race Day
- Social Events
- Fundraising Incentives and Prizes
- CARA membership and Training Program
- Race entry reimbursement* (with a $2,000 fundraising minimum)
- The satisfaction of making a difference for individuals with physical and visual disabilities.
More information about Team GLASA and the Chicago Marathon:
Want to Register to Run with Team GLASA? Visit the website for the registration link for Team GLASA.
(Please note this is NOT a registration form for the Chicago Marathon. It is for the charity team. You need to register directly with the Chicago Marathon to secure your marathon entry. The marathon opens for registration on March 8th.)
 We will follow up with more information about fundraising pages, social events and incentives in the coming days. Right now, all you need to do is join the team and share this email with your family and friends so they can also run with GLASA!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Tour de Trails 20k

Preview number one

Over next few weeks I hope to write up a preview of the races I listed in my Super Duper Race list. These are all races that I hope to do in 2016 but have also had some involvement in before generally due to running or volunteer at them. As with any race please verify all details for yourself and every race is subject to changes right up to the moment it starts.

Today I am going to look at Rockford's Tour de Trails 12 mile, March 19th in Rock Cut State Park.

This race is part of a winter series put on by the Rockford Road Runners on various trail systems around the Rockford area. They hold a 3 mile (December), 6 mile (January), 9 mile (February), 12 mile (March). There was an option to do the whole series if you signed up for the series before the first race or you can do individual race such as the 12 mile in March.

In 2007 I completed this series. It was under a different RD and all races where held at Rock Cut. If you completed the series you earned the coveted orange survivor long sleeve shirt.

The new RD has kept the same general ideas but made some nice changes. Kept is the low entry fee, challenging courses, bring a dish to share, low key race but added a small SWAG item for each race: December was a Christmas tree ornament, March will be a long sleeve cotton T shirt (see race web for full details including limits on sign up deadlines for SWAG etc), holds each race at a different trail system in the Rockford area although March will be at Rock Cut, gives a hoodie for those completing the series.

My previous races at Rock Cut have included the 2007 series, the 12mile (well 20k) series race in 2012, and in September I've done the club's HOBO races including 25k twice and 50k once. Rock Cut is a great trail system including wide cross country trails, horse trails and single track trails. Some is flat, some hilly and there could be a creek or swallow river crossing depending on the trails used. And being the tail end of winter it could be dry, wet, snowy, icy. I've ran in all conditions at Rock Cut.

My reviews:

March 2012 20k

Rock Cut HOBO 50k


Friday, January 1, 2016

Here's some super duper races for 2016

Happy New Year my friends.

2015 wasn't a good one for me. Well some parts where but running was not. A few medical issues (pneumonia, allergies, bronchitis) basically prevented any running. I did a few races but they didn't go as planned but I made them fun and finished. Hoping for a better 2016. At least work and school went well but it was a busy time.

My plan for 2016 is to get back to running, do some races, volunteer at some races all while working hard and learning well. Not sure what races I'll be shooting for in 2016 but some ideas are listed and I intend to do profiles on those listed and even others. Maybe you'll be at some of these

March 19 Tour de Trails at Rock Cut SP in Rockford. 12 miles of trails 

April 30 Run with the Lions 5k St James Farm, Warrenville IL. 

May and June will likely find me volunteering at the Ice Age 50 and the Kettle Moraine 10044

July 4 Pokanoka's 8 mile trail race, Shabbona Lake, IL.

July 15-16 Christmas in July, Lisle IL. This event includes a 5k, 10k, 6 hour, 12 hour and 24 hour.

July 30 Hot, Hilly Hairy 50k Kenosha WI. Held on the famous UW- Parkside cross country course.

August 28 Muddy Monk's Nearly Sane half

October 15 Des Plaines River Trail, 50 mile, marathon, half marathon.

In the weeks ahead I plan to do a profile of each race detailing event details taken from their website, Facebook pages and my own experiences. I may add some other races and if any RDs want me to add their events please email me and I'll consider them ( Some of the above races are put on by RDs or organizations that do other events during the year or a series of races during the mentioned events so those will get some words during the profile postings. Good example is the Hot Hilly Hairy 50k put on my Kenosha Running Company who do a number of trail races during the year plus the HHH50k is one of a number of races held on the same day. Same with DPRT which if you have read my blogging you know what that event means to me.