Dec 22, 2007
Dec 21, 2007
Dec 10, 2007
Yesterday I was able to sneak out with my normal Sunday running group for 12-miles. It was the first time I was able to speak to Dan and Cathy (both parents) as a parent, which made for some real good conversation.
Dec 7, 2007
Nov 29, 2007
After our 4AM feed this morning (which ended at 4:30), I headed to the gym for a 5AM 5-miler and some light weights (the only type of weights I lift). Total run time 33:36. I'm looking forward to going 18-miles on Saturday morning with my Team in Training group. I need to get reacquainted with my slow-twitch muscles.
Nov 26, 2007
What I've learned so far?:
1. Make the most of every second of free time in your day
2. Newborns will eat your hand if you let them
3. They will also eat their own shirt
4. Diaper changes can be made into a game
5. Newborn cloths do not necessarily fit newborns
Nov 14, 2007
Speaking of spring, my Team in Training friends hooked me up with an amazing jogging stroller to use next year. It recommends the babies be 6 months before jogging with them in it so the May/June timeframe will work out perfect. My goal is to wear out the tires in one season! Don't know if that's possible, but I'll try! My friend who owns Fleet Feet Northfield picked out the stroller and all I can say is that I owe him and everyone who chipped in on it a world of thanks. It will without question go a long way in enriching the lifes of Caden, Cole, Teresa and myself.
Nov 13, 2007
One to show them when they're older
One of my favorites of Cole
Nov 12, 2007
Caden has been the stronger of the two since day 1 (nearly 4 weeks ago) so it's not surprising to Mom and I that he's ready to go home first. It sounds silly to say this so early on in his life, but I'm so proud of him for how amazing a brother he's been of late with Cole not feeling good and being very dependent on Teresa and I. It's almost as if Caden senses the need for Cole to have most of our attention. I've seen this type of behavior in our dogs and am amazed that one can sense when the other is down.
This past month has been an incredible look into what lies in store for us as parents of twins.
Caden - Ready to go home!
Nov 5, 2007
"Shay died trying to do his best, and there's little question that he will be the fourth member of the U.S. men's marathon team in Beijing -- absent but present in every stride his friends and former rivals take."
Oct 24, 2007
Oct 23, 2007
Oct 22, 2007
Cole hanging loose in his incubator
Cole Grady Whittaker
Caden Noah Whittaker
Oct 10, 2007
"Don't feel too bad. Imagine what my finish line photo is going to look like after having these babies!"
She always knows what to say to make me feel better. She even went as far as saying that if I held one of the babies she would signal "#1" with her free arm. So if you visit after the babies are born and see a picture of me finishing the Akron Marathon next to her post-delivery, you'll be "in" on the joke.
Turns out my finish line photo wasn't all that bad (sans elbow would have been better).
Oct 1, 2007
- The weather was PERFECT! Low 50's at the start with not a cloud in the sky. 60's and sunny by 10AM. Sitting, sundrenched, in Canal Park watching for my friends was a highlight.
- Convenient, FREE parking. I drove up the morning of the race and had no problem with traffic or finding a parking space central to both the start and the finish.
- Final 16 miles were breathtaking (UofA campus, Ohio-Erie Canal Towpath, Sand Run, Stan Hywett Hall & Gardens)! The miles flew by (for the most part)!
- Six GU stations and plenty of water/aid stops. No need to carry anything with me at the start. Good, one less thing!
- Medal is hardcore!
- The finish inside of Canal Stadium was cool, but too much of a novelty in my opinion. I'd rather the finish be on the road where there's plenty of space and no stadium stairs to climb afterwards.
- Only one finish chute! I finished on the heels of two half marathoners and was forced to share the same finish chute with them, and therefore, the same finish line photo. How 'bout one chute for marathoners and one for half marathoners?
- Only two GU flavors (chocolate and vanilla). Vanilla worked fine once I knew Tri-Berry was not an option (should list flavor choices on the web page).
Throughout the course, I saw the name we will be giving to one of our sons multiple times. It showed up on two street signs and on a campaign sign placed in the yards of many houses along the course. I was inspired to say the least. Congratulations to Cathy, Dan, Athena, Elizabeth, Janet, Darryl, Matt, Sara, Debbie, Heather and Jody. Also, congrats and thank you to Nick for pacing with me for 12+ miles.
Sep 21, 2007
Props to race organizers for making the event a successful one despite the need to make a last-minute course change due to ODOT restricting the use of one of the bridges on the planned course. Turns out the alternate course was a little short of 3.1 miles as everyone who crossed the finish line marveled at their record time (including me). Even so, I felt good about my race given the absence of mile markers and a water stop. Since adding regular tempo runs to my marathon training regime, blasting through a 5K has become a lot more enjoyable and seemingly less gruelling. Perhaps I'm realizing the benefits of getting older and becoming more of a seasoned runner ; )
Sep 11, 2007
Total Time: 1:00:33
Total Distance: 9.1 miles
Average Pace: 6:39
2-Mile Warm Up: 7:10, 6:42
8x800 (3-minute send-offs): 2:48:35, 2:44:40, 2:48:87, 2:49:64, 2:48:20, 2:46:84, 2:44:85, 2:43:56
Nursery Mural - In process
Sep 4, 2007
The balance of my weekend was great. I did some work in the yard and around the house, including installation of chair rail in the babies room. Teresa and I went to two Labor Day picnics and watched two good movies (The Shooter and Wild Hogs). Wild Hogs had Teresa rolling and nearly made me spit up my drink.
Aug 28, 2007
Aug 13, 2007
1. On August 8th at 6:46AM, my brother and his wife became the proud parents of a baby girl (Hannah Grace). She was 7 lbs, 14 oz and 20" long.
2. Painting commences in the twins room on August 8th (before and after pictures to come).
3. Officially registered for the Akron Marathon on September 29th.
4. Fairport Lighthouse Triathlon was a blast! Slow swim, decent bike, smokin' run.
5. FCK safe and sound in Arizona. His going away party was great!
6. First Team In Training group run this past Saturday followed by a pancake breakfast.
Jul 27, 2007
I'm really excited about the sprint triathlon in my hometown this weekend. I know Fairport Harbor like the back of my hand and it will be so much fun to experience it in a slightly different light. This race is the 15th annual, which means that it started while I was still in high school. I can't begin to imagine what I was busy doing on those Sunday mornings back in '93, '94 and '95 while a gathering of triathletes were racing around in my "backyard". Sleeping is my best guess. Kinda makes me appreciate how far I've come since being a punky littly high schooler.
Jul 23, 2007
I haven't lost any speed on the track and was happy with the final 3 miles of my 20-miler, of which I finished in 20:44 (6:55 pace). In preparation for Akron, I'm going to strength train my quads and hams more than usual and place an emphasis on long runs of at least 22 miles. I normally do not run 20 this far out from the race but I'm making a conscious effort to bump up my weekly mileage, which will probably also mean warming up and cooling down longer during speed work and tempo runs.
I'm registered for a sprint distance triathlon this weekend in my hometown of Fairport Harbor. I'm really excited because the swim is only 1/4-mile! I may have a chance of exiting the water with other triathletes and not all by my lonesome! Should be a blast!
Jul 18, 2007
We're still struggling with name ideas so feel free to share your thoughts. Naming twins is always a fun thing to do, but I should warn you that we've already been through the whole array of comical names... Abbot and Castello, Brooks and Dunn, Turner and Hooch, Cagney and Lacey, etc.
Jul 6, 2007
Speaking of fall marathons, I'm deciding between the Erie Marathon (at Presque Isle) or the Akron Marathon. Both are in September and both have good reputations. Akron is much larger and the course is more difficult. It's also more expensive. Hmmm, something small might be nice. But then again, a free pair of Brooks running shoes would be waiting for me at the finish line of the Akron Marathon. Decisions, decisions!
Jun 28, 2007
I'm searching for a shelf/hanger for my running medals and various awards I've received over the past 5 years. Anyone have some thoughts.
Jun 27, 2007
I ran this morning for the first time since Saturday and felt good... 3-miles at about 6:30 pace.
Jun 18, 2007
Jun 15, 2007
To be continued...
May 31, 2007
I hit the start mat in only 2 seconds and was pacing with a guy who I know is a consisent 2:54 marathoner. I made certain to stay behind him because I went out ahead of him 2 years ago in Columbus and paid the price later. The first 1/2 mile was exciting with the crowd on St. Clair and the large pack of runners at the front (mile 1 - 6:16). Unlike Boston, the crowd thinned out after the first mile but that was OK since we were heading east on the shoreway by mile 2 (6:37). There's a nice little bump during mile 2 that we would encounter again at mile 24. Miles 3-6 were relatively uneventful as we headed over the hills (i.e. bridges), out of the downtown section of the course and into the quiet of Edgewater St. in Lakewood. Gorgeous homes line the street and some faithful occupants were out at this early hour to take in the spectacle. I always try my best to acknowledge their presence but I'm afraid my facial expression, no matter how hard I try, remains solemn and focused. Oh well. I was looking forward to getting to W. 117th St. as I knew my family and friends would be waiting patiently for me. Also, the first Team in Training Scream Team is stationed there. Mile 3 - 6:37, Mile 4 - 6:02 (short?), Mile 5 - 6:44 (long?), Mile 6 - 6:18.
I took down my first gel at mile 5 and would alternate Powerade and water from one water stop to the next (as always, sports drink diluted 50% with water). The next few miles were the most fun for me as I fed off runners still heading west on the shoreway. I believe there were 140+ Team In Training marathoners and I must have crossed paths with 1/2 of them at this point. We exchanged a fist pump, a thumbs up, or my favorite, a peace sign! I wasn't thinking much about my pace at this point so I was happy to see that miles 7-9 were fairly consistent (a little fast perhaps), 6:25, 6:20 and 6:37, respectively.
Mile 10... this is about the point you realize that this is no ordinary run. I've done countless runs at or faster than my marathon pace but rarely do they exceed 10-miles. Legs start to ache slightly, arms begin to feel a little heavy, etc. Plus, I've separated myself from most of the pack by this point and am running alone. The faster half-marathoners/marathoners are well ahead of me and those pacing for an even sub-3 are still a few minutes back. I zoom through Ohio City, past St. Ignatious and am on a collision course with Jacob's Field. Miles 10-12, 6:36, 6:41 and 6:34.
As I approach the halfway point, I wonder if I can hold this pace. It still seems so easy and heck, what's another 13.1 miles?!? I know better though. I've done this once or twice before and know what happens after 20 miles. Once again, I accepted that in order to clock another sub-3, I would really have to work for it in the end. Another strange thing happens at this point... I realize the marathon I've been waiting months for is half over! It's the same kinda feeling you get halfway through your senior year in high school. Anyway, miles 13-16 went very smooth, 6:32, 6:40, 6:41 and 6:34.
Just past the 16-mile mark is the art museum. This is where a bunch of us went to cheer for runners last year and is also where I jumped in with Bridget and helped her through the final 10 miles. Teresa and our nephew Michael were waiting there for me this year. I was so stoked to see them! In general, I'm not much of a talker but after 1 hour and 40 minutes without muttering a word, I was happy to stop for a few seconds to say Hi and let her know how I was doing. So far, so good I thought as I continued on past the Botanical Gardens, Cleveland Institute of Music, Western Reserve Historical Society and the Museum of Natural History. There was a noticeable downhill at this point and I thought to hold back my pace a little. Also, I knew I had the clock on my side and could afford a couple slower miles with the hope of salvaging a little energy for the final 5-6 miles. Mile 17, 6:51. Mile 18, 6:59. This is the first time I've ever used this type of "save now, spend later" strategy this late in a marathon. Hmmm, don't they say not to try anything "new" on race day?
The easy part was long past and all I could hope for at this point was low winds as I turned onto North Marginal heading west back towards downtown. My aforementioned strategy backfired on me as I was unable to get back to my planned marathon pace by mile 20. Mile 19, 7:19. Mile 20, 7:16. Luckily for me, help showed up at mile 20.5 in the form of a fresh-legged 27 year old (AKA Bryce). I told him how the last few miles had gone and how I was feeling. Even though my splits were slowing, I felt good. After all, I had just passed (for good) a couple guys I had been yo-yo'ing with on MLK Blvd and ran strong past another guy who had taken to walking due to cramps. Mile 21, 7:10. Mile 22, 7:09. Bryce was encouraging me to lengthen my strides and would was helping me focus on short term goals like, "we're going to make this mile a good one" or "let's run hard to that building up there". It's amazing how far 4 miles can seem at this point.
Mile 23 was a blast as we neared the Rock'n'Roll Hall of Fame. Annie, Bryce's fiance, was out on the course as a coach for the Cleveland Team In Training group. She jumped in with us for 1/4-mile or so. Running with Bryce and Annie on my side was really special. I also managed to pick Lou out of the crowd at this point. Lou is such an inspiration to me for many reasons and as I slapped his hand on the way past, I felt as if some of his positive energy rubbed off on me. Mile 23, 7:03.
You'd be hard pressed to find one person who enjoys mile 24 of this course. Although it passes by the Science Center and Cleveland Browns Stadium, it ends with a tough climb up W. 3rd St. This is the same "bump" we encountered during mile 2 at which time it seemed like nothing. I labored pretty hard to the top, which seemed to take forever, and was able to resume my pre-hill pace by the 24-mile mark. Mile 24, 7:34.
With only 2 miles to go, and not having broke down completely, I was confident that I would once again break 3-hours. A couple of strong miles and I would finish in 2:56 something. Bryce was still with me and was doing his best to keep me focused and running strong. Small surges here and there was about all I had left but it was enough to keep my legs from locking up. Mile 25, 7:23.
Bryce peeled off E. 6th St. and left me to tackle the long stretch down Lakeside Ave. before turning back towards the finish line on St. Clair. Lakeside Ave was lined with cones on the right side of the street keeping runners on course. They were effective in that sense, but looking ahead, it seemed as though the cones went on forever! I was really struggling at this point but kept reminding myself of the scene at the finish line and that in a few short minutes I would be there to take it all in. I saw one my my Alaska Team In Training buddies just before the final turn onto St. Clair. The sun was peaking through the clouds at this point and I could almost see the finish line.
It was now time for the "Great Deception"! That is, running the last quarter mile strong and with a big smile on my face, thereby fooling the spectators into believing the previous 26 miles were a piece of cake. All the while, I was thinking of what I would do as I crossed the finish line. A little air guitar action would be fun, but my future children would never forgive me. Brushin' the dirt off my shoulders is a can't miss, but only to the hip-hop savvy. Struggling to muster a final kick or a smile (not even a tooth), I somehow managed to throw up my left hand with the old index finger shooting towards the sky. Then, I stopped!
2:57:54 was the official time, which I am thrilled with. Much better than my previous PR of 2:59:38 in which getting in under 3-hours wasn't a lock until the last tenth of a mile. Before getting my medal or having my chip removed, I walked over to where my Dad and brother were standing to talk with them. The father of one of my childhood friends heard my name announced as I crossed the finish line and came over to say hello. His daughter (my friend's kid sister) was running her first marathon. I believe Steve and Bridget were there to congratulate me as well but I'm not certain as the immediate 4-5 minutes following the run are a little fuzzy. I finally made my way over to receive my medal, etc. I took my time getting out of the 'runners only' area being sure to grab Twinkies, Iced tea, bananas, etc.
Teresa was on the left side of the final stretch and had to make her way through the crowd to find me. I imagined the scene from Rocky where he wins the fight and immediately begins to fight through the crowd yelling for Adrian! Teresa is my Adrian, minus the dorky glasses and day-job at a pet store (although she works with some animals). A big hug and kiss from her topped the race off and made it complete. We then went to brunch at Johnny Mango's in Ohio City and took our nephew to the Indians vs. Reds game in the afternoon, after which, he got to go down to the field and run the bases.
Things of note:
- I didn't have to use BodyGlide. I got away with wearing lightweight compression shorts under my running shorts and a lightweight longsleeve UnderArmour compression top.
- Gels every 5 miles seemed to work, although I may attempt to take them once every 4 miles after the first 10 miles.
- My lightweight Brooks Racer ST's served their purpose with no problems. I'm fortunate to be able to wear such light shoes for the longer distances.
- There's nothing like wearing the purple Team In Training jersey! I got support left and right throughout the course and felt inspired every time I looked down at it.
- It's almost impossible to ignore the discomfort at the end of a marathon. Even at the end when you know it will be over in seconds.
- I rather enjoyed the "new" course and will run it again in the future.
- Qualified for Boston by 13 minutes, but may not be able to go in 2008. 2009 is a definite although I may have to use the time in my fall marathon to enter.
May 20, 2007
1. Kissing Teresa goodbye as she wished me good luck before leaving the house
2. Running into Elizabeth and Janet before the race start and sharing in our excitement
3. Seeing for the first time all of my family and friends who came out to support me at mile marker 6
4. Running eastbound on the shoreway opposite the runners still heading westbound and literally receiving hundreds of "GO TEAM" cheers
5. Noticing Athena and Bryce rushing to the corner near mile 10 to catch me just in the nick of time
6. Seeing Teresa and our nephew Michael by the art museum and stopping for a kiss
7. High fiving a small pack of Team In Training supporters near mile 17 and overhearing one of them say "he's not even out of breath!"
8. Meeting up with Bryce at mile 20.5 and having him pace me through mile 25
9. Running with both Bryce and his fiance Annie (a Cleveland TNT Coach) for a few minutes near mile 23
10. Seeing and pulling some positive vibes from Lou at mile 23
11. Hearing my name announced as the first Team In Training finisher and crossing the finish line in under 3 hours
May 15, 2007
May 6, 2007
I started off at a comfortable pace as four others shot out considerably faster. By the 3/4 mile mark, one of the four had a shoelace issue and had to pull off to the side. The other three were pacing off of each other at what seemed to be a 6:00/mile pace. Mile 1 - 6:13 and I was already in no-mans land feeling a little tight and not entirely relaxed. Mile 2 - 6:15 and watching up ahead as one of the three leaders was falling behind. Miles 3-4 averaged out at 6:18 and I was almost caught up with the third place runner. I passed him during mile 5, which was either short or downhill, 5:52. My parents drove by a couple times at this point and even pulled off the side of the road to snap a few photos. I started to feel really strong and had a solid sixth and seventh mile, 6:12 and 6:07. Overtook second place by mile 8 but was too far back (or so it seemed) to make an effort to chase down the leader. One of my friends who has won many races and competed at somewhat of an elite level told me never to stop running hard because you never know the condition of the runners in front of you. Mile 10 - 6:13. Mile 11, 6:12, took us onto a dirt trail heading directly back to the stadium. Mile 12 - 6:13. I made an attempt to run a fast 13th mile and did OK, 6:10, but was starting to lose steam. I did well to listen to my friends advice because the leader was just finishing as I hit the track for the last 1/4-mile. Official finish time, 1:21:13 (6:12/mile), which is a personal best for me in the half-marathon.
Sunday - Hit the road at 6AM for 4 miles before meeting up with Cathy at 6:30 to run the last 16 miles of my final 20-miler before Cleveland. Again, it was a little on the chilly side but there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I had warmed up by 3 miles and ran comfortably throughout. I remember running one other "effortless" 20-miler before Boston '06 but they don't come along very often.
It's officially taper time!!