Moonlight Miles 2019

Ever since the Crying fiasco (link here), I had been clawing my way back to running health.  Slowly trying to once again win back confidence from my internal heat controller which was now totally spooked since my first little training “mishap” back in 2014 (link here).  It took me several years to get my body over that heat related incident and now I was trying to do it again in less than 4 months.  The Bix 7 test (link here) proved conditioning was back for short runs (7 miles).  Being ready for a 30 miler back in July meant there was not a lot of stress to get through with the shorter miles – my training runs since getting back on my feet were rarely under 6 miles so extending it a bit more wasn’t that much of a stretch goal.  Now the IVS run was a better test and that turned out well (link here).  The final validation run before the big one was the Moonlight Miles race at the historic Oak Ridge Cemetery in my hometown of Springfield IL.

Moonlight Miles Half 2019 at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield IL

I have a history with this particular race and it isn’t a good one on the health front.  With the exception of last year, I think I have managed to leave my guts at the finish line (link here) .. and one year at every exit between Springfield and Peoria.(link here).  Don’t read that wrong, last year I might have kept everything down, but there were some brief moments of concern that I fought through (link here).   If there were serious residuals from  the overheat at the Cry or any gaps in the armor from under-training, it would rear its ugly head in this race for sure.  This is the starting picture of someone concerned as to how this was going to play out over the next couple of hours. The good news is they heeded my warnings last year and go rid of those damn ankle timing devices.  I bitched here how it had managed to cut my ankle up last year – this year they finally dispensed with that archaic device and went with the sensors on the bib – hmmm, maybe they read my blog ha!

Moonlight Miles Half 2019 at Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield IL

Hit the jump to find out how the race went!

Continue reading Moonlight Miles 2019

Squirrelly Attitude

Sticking with the featherless theme again for today’s post.  I try my best to be accommodating for my non-birder readers whenever I can. Having recently processed this set, figured there wasn’t a reason to let the chemicals dry before releasing them!

Back in February of 2015, I had the opportunity to visit my parents in Springfield IL.  The camera came with me in hopes of heading out to Washington Park to see what kind of ducks were hanging out in the ponds.  If you recall, the last time I was there a number of Wood Ducks made their happy way into the tin. (link here).  The Woodies were still there this trip, but a small bundle of fur ended up stealing the show.
Squirrel shot in Washington Park, Springfield IL February 2015
Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of photographing a number of squirrels – like here and here.  A lot of those were taken out west, but a few of those also featured the Eastern Fox Squirrel (at least this is what I think this specimen is).  However, this little gal (again, a logical guess) was quite animated upon discovering the big glass of The Beast pointed directly at it.  It suddenly became very possessive of its recently discovered acorn.

“Ummm, you looking at me over there Mr. Puny-man!?!”
Squirrel shot in Washington Park, Springfield IL February 2015

Hit the jump to see what kind of attitude Mr. Squirrel brings today.

Continue reading Squirrelly Attitude

Gut Check

Well, today I completed the last race of the 2016 season (well, at least of the ones that were planned).  In light of that, figured it would be a good time to get a previous race posted.  I hate it when I get too far behind on the race posts mainly due to how hard it is to remember everything about the race once another one is in the books.  The runs are stressful enough without that added task of trying to remember what the hell I was thinking in between big gulps of air.  Getting right to it, One week after running the IVS Half Marathon (link here), I headed down to Springfield IL to participate in the Oak Ridge Cemetery Moonlight Marathon.

Oak Ridge Cemetery Moonlight Marathon 2016

This year the race coordinators decided to cancel the prediction element of the marathon and instead simply added a half marathon and a quarter marathon.  This meant we didn’t need to form a team which turned out to be a good thing since Ryan got hurt and Sung forgot to sign up (Sung also ended up getting injured as well not soon after that).  So, it was just me this year.  Linda ended up having a conflict with a dog show so it was me by my lonesome to take on the half marathon.  I wasn’t too worried about it since I knew the course and I knew I was trained up for the distance based on the results of the previous week.  However, little did I know at the time that this race was going to be a major gut check.  Race day prep was pretty uneventful.  The predicted rain had moved out and the early temps were in norm for that time of year.  Lining up for the race everything still felt fine.  First loop would be in the light and the second loop would require the head lamp.  All good and even reminded myself to stay in control having already experienced the treacherous hills in the cemetery.

Jumping ahead, the first loop went as planned.  Pace was right at where I wanted to be.  The quarter marathon was going off an hour after we had started the half so they were lining up to get their leg started as I completed my first lap.  Oh, almost forgot, like the previous year, after 4 miles into the race, it was as if I was on a solo training run.  There was no one visible in front or behind me with the exception of some union points in the course where the various routes came together.  Just me, the road and gravestones wherever I looked.  The second loop was a completely different story.  As I hit the first hill back out something started to feel wrong.  A dull pain was starting to build in my gut, but my pace was holding so it didn’t cause much concern.  By mile 8 that dull pain had turned into a serious pain in the stomach and a serious concern was swirling in my head.  By mile 10 it couldn’t be ignored anymore, forcing me stop running to walk up a large hill as I contemplated whether I needed to throw up to relieve the problem.  It also became apparent that the night air was not cooling as expected and the reality of overheating was a possible cause.  Walking during a race is like a swift kick to the nuts after training so hard to make it to the starting line.  At the top of the hill my mind told my body to suck it up – we were running again… but not for long.  At 11 the body shut down again and another walk was needed to calm the stomach again.  This was not good and the only thing that kept playing in my head was how mad Linda was going to be.  Taking advantage of a lull in the stomach pain, I was able to start running again and closed out the race (thankfully there is a long downhill in mile 12 that help out tremendously).  Short of the Marathon run (link here), this might have been the most relieved I’ve been to see the finish line.  Too exhausted to reach down and take the timing chip off, I headed over to a nearby wall to rest – race officials were busy running after me to get my chip but that was the last thing on my mind (they eventually got it off of me ha).

Hit the jump to see how this ordeal turned out!

Continue reading Gut Check