On the Road Again

After 3-4 months off from running due to some knee issues, in January I started ramping up my miles on the treadmill. I still experience a creaky knee when climbing stairs, but at least there is no pain. And during my runs I need to warm up gradually… starting with a quick walk for a few minutes, then a slow jog, and then eventually I can push myself fairly hard. If I start running hard too quickly, my knees definitely let me know.The majority of my runs so far have been on the treadmill but I plan to hit the streets again as the weather warms up and daylight starts sooner. I had a nice 8 mile run on Saturday, my longest run in quite some time, though my knees were a little more sore after it, likely due to the difference of running on pavement versus a treadmill.I received a Nike+iPod pedometer from my brother in December and have been using it to collect data for my runs. It’s proven to be fairly inaccurate depending on how I’ve calibrated it… if calibrated for the treadmill, it tracks about 10% low for subsequent runs and closer to 15-20% on pavement. If calibrated on pavement, the treadmill runs track about 15% too high. Regardless, it has given me a fun way to motivate me to get back into running. The graph above shows my progress for the past 3 months. I’m looking forward to watching the bars rise in the coming months.

Bright Eyes

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Amelia’s first two teeth broke through on her 5 month birthday. It’s funny to see her adjust to the new set of choppers. Occassionally she’ll move her jaw up and down to feel the teeth press her gums. It’s funny to watch. She’s a bit congested, too, though we’re not sure if it’s from the teething or whether she has a cold.

She’s also learning to roll over. First it was back to front. Then front to back. Now it’s both. This evening she rolled back-to-front-to-back-to-front in about a minute. Exciting times at Casa Windeler.

Pink Peepers

I was planning on taking Kaija swimming during my lunch break today at the nearby fitness center we recently joined. Plans have changed, however. She woke up this morning with puffy, slightly blood-shot eyes. “Mommy, I had a bunch of gunk in my eyes this morning, but I wiped it out. It’s all gone now.” Uh, oh. Jennifer’s mother, whom we had seen on Friday, called us on Saturday saying she had come down with Pinkeye, most likely contracted from our niece a few days prior. Sure enough, 3-4 days later we’ve got a case of it in our house. Amelia was rubbing one of her eyes a little more than usual last night, too, but so far does not show any of the symptoms… yet. I just hope Jennifer and I can avoid it. Jennifer’s taking the girls to the doctor to get some medicine. We’ll do our best to avoid sharing it with the rest of you!

Thankful For

As part of our usual bedtime routine, I read Kaija a number of stories before tucking her in. We usually read one book after she’s in bed. Tonight it was Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. After we were done, I asked her if she ever had bad days. She replied with, “When you don’t play with me.”My heart just about broke with those words. Working from home means I see her at lunch, though I often have phone conferences I need to call in on around that time. She often wants to play after eating but sometimes my schedule doesn’t allow for it. And since I tend to work hours baised toward the West Coast, there’s not much time for me to play with her in the evening before she needs to go to bed (especially if she hasn’t napped).So for this Thanksgiving, I’m most thankful for having such a strong relationship with Kaija (and my family in general). And I’m going to make every effort to make more time to spend with her in the future.

Relay Recap

This past weekend I participated in the Detroit Free Press Marathon Relay with a number of friends that I met while training for the Bayshore marathon through Team in Training (well, plus my friend Matt that I’ve known for a while and ran the Bayshore half marathon).Participating in the relay was certainly a different experience than any of the events that I’ve done previously (5K, half marathon, marathon). There was quite a bit of logistics involved in preparing for the race… who needed to get on which shuttle, how would we pass the time while waiting (before and after our segment), how would we hand off any bags containing warm-up gear/time wasters, how would we meet up again, when could we expect the runner of the previous segment to arrive at the hand-off area. After the race was done, we felt like we had performed more in the way of mental gymnastics than a physical feet (considering we had all done marathons/half marathons previously)… especially with all of the half and full marathon runners around.Our team was called Dino Might… a play on words with TNT, the acronym used for Team in Training. SIDENOTE: Our team name was listed by one of the Free Press sports writers as an “interesting” team name.We decided to get t-shirts made, which was another fun logistical exercise in itself – one person bought some nice synthetic athletic t-shirts at a discount, I designed the artwork (the dinosaur graphic came from a clip art website), another person arranged to have the artwork printed. The final result was close to what you see above, which is mock-up I sent to the printers. The t-shirts that we were able to get for cheap were black, so I figured the orange might be appropriate considering the proximity of the race to Halloween. The orange is darker than what is shown above and I had to get rid of the weathered look to the font, but I think it turned out pretty well.With the exception of strong winds, we lucked out with the weather. We could potentially have had rain or snow as was predicted in the days leading up to the race but were graced with clear skies. Such is Michigan weather. Still, I’m glad this marathon was not my first. From what I understand the winds were brutal across Bel Isle and did not let up the whole way back to the finish (the hardest part of a marathon anyway).Due to a case of “runner’s knee” that I’ve been dealing with for the past few months, I decided to run the shortest segment (3 miles). I believe the runner’s knee was a result of pushing myself too much, too quickly in my training after the break I took when Amelia was born. As a result, the muscles around my left kneecap have become out of balance. My knee makes a grinding noise when I climb stairs, can be quite painful if I’m not careful about warming up before running, and can also be sore after running if I don’t stretch and ice it. So while I was waiting to begin my segment, I ran back and forth along one of the nearby streets for about 10 minutes, streched, then jumped up and down a bit to keep my muscles warm. It seems to have paid off, as I didn’t have any knee pain while running nor did I have much after the event. In fact, only my quad were sore the next day, likely because I had only been doing a small amount of running leading up to the race to maintain a minimal amount of fitness without causing more harm to my knees.We ran fairly well, finishing 42nd out of 194 co-ed teams with a time of 3:49:40. A friend of mine also ran the relay with some friends of his with a team name of *cough* Twigs and Berries. They finished 12th out of 34 in the all-male division with a time of 3:39:57.I’m still waiting for photos from the event to be posted. I’ll be sure to update this entry when they become available. UPDATE: Official photos have been posted.SIDENOTE #2: Included in our registration packet was a copy of Michigan Sports & Fitness magazine. My coach from Team in Training mentioned to us a few months ago that a friend of his wrote for the magazine and was soliciting “Sage Advice from Marathon Host Clubs”. I passed along a bit of advice about answering Nature’s call before hitting The Wall… and it was selected for the article! Here’s how it appeared on page 20 of the October 2006 issue:

“You have to make the mind run the body. Never let the body tell the mind what to do.” These words from famous military leader General Patton keep DTRW member Bridget La Forest going. And a bit of practical advice came from Brahm Windeler, who wishes he hadn’t experienced the discomfort first-hand: “Try to use a porta-potty before mile 18 or whenever you expect to hit The Wall, even if you don’t think you really need to go.”

Of all the things to be quoted on. 🙂

Kiddo updates

It’s been a while, so I figured I’d check in and share a bit about the kids these days.Amelia is growing by leaps and bounds these days. One of her most recent milestones was that she rolled from her back to front for the first time on Sunday. Exciting times. Next thing I know she’ll be doing summersaults like Kaija does in the livingroom these days. Amelia loves to smile at us, too, which is quite amusing considering she has no teeth yet (though Jennifer believes her eye teeth are starting to cut through)… gums from ear to ear. I am so glad she did not end up being as collicky as I thought she might in the first few months.Kaija has embraced toddlerhood with gusto. Currently she’s exploring the art of deception. If she’s doing something that she knows she shouldn’t be doing (e.g. trying to get a cookie from the cookie jar) and thinks we might be about to check on her, she’ll tell us “Don’t come in here, Momma/Dadda”. We’ll ask her if she’s doing something she shouldn’t be doing. Silence. Admittedly she still has a bit to learn.She’s also become very inquistive with regards to anything an everything. “Why?” seems to have become the question of month:Me: Let’s go, sweetie. We need to get your shoes on you.Kaija: Why?Me: Because we’re about to go to Poppie (her name for grandpa) and Grandma’s house.Kaija: Why?Me: Because they’ve invited us over for dinner.Kaija: Why?Me: Because they love us and want to see you.Kaija: Why?Me: *sigh* Because they do. Now come on. Help me get your shoes on you…orKaija: What are you doin’, Dada?Me: [insert activity here]Kaija: Why?Me: [tired of the hundreds of incessant Why? questions that I’ve answered dutifully as a supportive parent up to this point] Why not?Kaija: Why yes?Me: *sigh* Because.Kaija: *sigh* Why yes?Me: You tell me.Kaija has also become a bit more creative in exploring concepts. For some reason or another, sometime’s she’ll call me Momma. I think it initially happened on accident, but it has developed into a quasi-game. I’ll tell her, “I’m not Momma, I’m [some other relative].” Recognizing that this is not the case, she finds the suggestion amusing and plays along with something like: “No, you’re not grandma, you’re Amelia and I’m Poppie.” Tonight at the dinner table she went even further with “I’m Grandma Judy’s Poppie. I’m funny. I tell jokes”. Jennifer and I got a kick out of that.

The Race is Run

Well, I did it. I ran my first marathon on Saturday morning up in Traverse City, MI. It was a definite challenge, and though I did have to walk a few times in the last 6 miles, the training through Team in Training was undeniably helpful. Thank you all for the support and donations to the cause you have given throughout my training. It would have been much more difficult and less enjoyable without it.The day began around 5:20 AM to the sound of my alarm clock. I hadn’t sleep very well. I’m not sure if it was anxiousness, the bed (too soft for me to be comfortable) or the air conditioning fan that sounded like a jet engine. All I know is that 5:20 AM came way too soon for going to bed around 10 PM. I jumped in the shower, threw on my clothes that I had laid out the night before, and met the rest of the TNT team in the hotel lobby at 5:45 AM. I ate two hard-boiled eggs and some bread (I usually have fried eggs on toast) while we waited for everyone to arrive.Jennifer drove me to the starting line at the Northwestern Michigan College campus, picking up her sister Robin and Robin’s husband Andy from their hotel along the way. The temperature was a nice 52 F at the 7 AM starting time and gradually warmed up during the morning (reaching about 67 F when I finished). There were few clouds in the sky and the humidity wasn’t too bad.I realized once I got to the event that I had forgotten my bandages back in the hotel room. Fortunately I bumped into Coach Ken when I got there. While he went to track some down, I took a slow lap or two around the track near the starting line to warm up my muscles before I stretched.My friends Matt and Kelly also decided to participate in the event, though Matt chose to do the half marathon and Kelly decided to do the 10 K. The half marathon participants were bussed to their starting line at the marathon half-way point so I didn’t see Matt before the race, but Kelly was able to track me down and wished me luck.I started and ran the majority of the race with the 3 people I did most of my training with: Kim, Susan and Julie. Coach Ken also stuck with us for the first mile or two, taking a few pictures of us along the way. Jennifer, Robin and Andy had found a spot along the sidelines near the start. They took a few photographs and video taped me running by.There were water/Gatorade stops every 2 miles or so. I took at least some water at each one, more so near the end. For fuel, I had 2 Organic Food Bars with me. I ate 1/3 of one every 4 miles. I wasn’t a big fan of the Omega 3/Flax bar, but the Active Greens with Chocolate one was pretty good.For the first portion of the race, we keep a pretty good pace. We started out relatively slow for the first mile or so but soon picked up the pace. Jennifer, Robin and Andy were able to get to the spectator spot between miles 6 and 7 to cheer me on some more.Between mile 8-9 Matt and I passed each other going in opposite directions and cheered each other on.Sue dropped behind a little before the half way point. For Kim, Julie and I, our time at the half way point (13.1 miles) was 2:00:02 (9:10 min/mile).By mile 16 or so, we were starting to feel tired, though I think I felt it more than Kim and Julie. They had brought their mp3 players with them and chose to put them to use around then. I had decided to forgo the mp3 player, heeding the threat of disqualification by the event coordinators. Apparently because the roads along the course were not closed, the event’s insurance wouldn’t cover the use of headphones. Regardless, quite a few people still used them, counting on the likelihood that the would not be confronted about it. In hindsight, I think I really could have benefitted from having my iPod to get me through the last few miles.At this point, Kim and Julie pulled ahead while I started to lag behind. By mile 19 I was doing all I could to convince myself to keep running. Kaija and my parents had joined Jennifer, Robin and Andy cheered me on as I passed by. At that point I was in rough shape and needed to take a leak. I made a pit stop to use a nearby port-a-potty. It was very difficult to start running again.I ran to the 20 mile marker and decided I had to walk a little if I was going to finish. For the next 6 miles I would walk a minute or two then run to the next mile marker and repeat.Sue caught up to me while I was walking with about 1.5 miles left to go. She offered to help get me through to the end. I started running again but was still feeling a little lightheaded and ended up walking a bit more, letting her continue on. With about 1.2 miles to go, I decided I was going to try to run the rest of the way. My mom and Kaija met up with me once more and cheered me on. Jennifer and my dad were waiting for me in a park just around the corner to cheer me on as well. Robin and Andy had gone back to the finish line to catch me there.Coach Ken met up with me just as I was entering the NMC campus once again. He definitely helped me tremendously through that last mile. The last 200 yards to the finish were on the track. Coach Ken let me go on my own and ran back to help out the next TNT member to come by. At this point it was all I could do to keep my feet moving one in front of the other. I heard my name and cheers from various TNT members as I rounded the bend on the track.I finished the second half with a time of 2:23:41.5 (10:58 min/mile), for a final time of 4:23:43.85 (10:04 min/mile). I was expecting to finish with a time around 4:20, and I was pretty darn close. I was a little disappointed that I ended up walking for a portion of the event and that I hadn’t beat that 4:20 time, but am nonetheless happy that I just finished the event. The complete results for the Bayshore Marathon have been posted on the event’s web site.After crossing the finish line, I was given a finisher’s medal and had the timing chip on my shoe removed. I headed to the TNT tent in the middle of the field and immediately started downing water, orange slices, bananas and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I met up with Kim, Sue, Julie and my family and just took it easy in the shade of the tent for a while. Matt and Kelly came back to say hello after getting a chance to shower after their events. I stuck around a little longer to cheer on a few more TNT team mates and then went back to the hotel to shower and nap.Recovery was pretty quick. My knees, lower back, and muscles around my hips were a bit sore for the rest of the day. Most of that discomfort was gone by the next day. I still don’t plan to run for the next week but will probably gradually get back into it sometime next week. I will enjoy the time off from running. The training was understandably tiring and I’ll be looking forward to having more energy at the end of the day.Robin took a number of photographs during the event. I haven’t had a chance to look through them yet but will post them soon.Several people have asked me whether I would run another marathon. Though those last 6 miles were one of the most gruelling physical challenges I’ve put myself through, I think I’d like to do it again, if only to see how much I can improve (and run the whole race). I’ve gotten to the point that I actually enjoy running and don’t merely do it to stay in shape. In the future I’d like to see what I can do about improving my pace, maybe running a few half marathons and other shorter races that don’t require so much recovery time. My fellow TNT team mates have also talked about doing the Detroit Free Press Marathon 5 person relay.

Purple Peep Eater Run

We spent Easter weekend on the west side of Michigan visiting Jennifer’s grandparents and extended family. I needed to get a long run in (14 miles) as part of my marathon training. I had considered doing part of the Hart-Montague trail (a former railroad bed), but then got the idea to see how far it was to run from Jennifer’s grandparents’ place in Pentwater down to her grandfather’s place almost due south, west of Shelby.Read more about the run on my Team in Training 2006 blog.

On the road again

The run this morning went really well. My collarbone barely bothered me. In fact, it was the rest of my body that was telling me, “Hold up there, buddy. You haven’t made us do anything this strenuous in a month.” So I decided to take it easy today: a warm up, 2 miles at a slow pace (11 min/mile), a cool down and a lot of stretching. It looks like I should be able to start ramping up the training this week.