August Running Recap – Went PLATINUM! :)

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That platinum trophy and covering the 100 miles in August in order to obtain it was probably the biggest thing I accomplished this month in terms of running & physical training.

I was away on business for over half the month so I got to run in four different states to help make that platinum trophy a reality.  I ran in Illinois, Missouri, Iowa and Kansas.

My Average weight is probably the next biggest thing accomplished since it’s the lowest it’s been all year at 251 lbs.  I had a single weigh in this past April at the end of my 12 week contest which was 242.6 and two weeks ago I revisited the 240’s with a weigh in around 245.

I got to swap a few comments earlier this month with the author of a blog named Fat to Fit.  This person  lost 140 pounds since April 30, 2013 with healthy eating and daily exercise.  I solidly realized and began to more fully appreciate the immense value of being able to keep excess weight off once it is lost.

This last weight loss contest I won in 2014 was my fifth time doing that contest.  Prior, I had completed the contest twice and placed 4th and 3rd respectively (each contest has been with 1,000 to 1,200 other contestants)  The other two times I entered, I did not finish.  I know, however, that in each of the contest I finished – including this one that I kept starting out and a higher and higher starting weight.  So, what’s the point of dropping weight if you’re just going to end up heavier than you started six months later?

Tracking my Average Monthly Weight is something new I started.  I weigh in every Thursday and blog that each which but now, at the end of the month I enter the average of my Thursday weigh ins and put that down in my Running Log tab in the Ave Weight column.

Well, September is a new month 🙂  I want another Platinum Trophy 🙂

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Moonlight Ramble


Saturday was kind of a wacky day.  I had originally planned up getting up and hitting the road by 5:30 a.m. and *thought* I could knock out 14 miles and be back home by 9 a.m. and have an hour before karate.  Well …my car had been acting up and by Friday night had gotten my full attention so I needed to get it into the shop by 8 a.m. on Sat so …. I woke up a little before 3 a.m. and hit the road to knock out those 14 miles and still be home in time to get my car in the shop!

Originally Planned Route

Originally Planned Route

The reality is shown below….


Do you see that arrow?  That’s me walking up and down the street looking between houses to find one without a fence at 3:30 in the morning so I could cut across a field and get back home ASAP …

As you can tell from the Average Speed (3.3 mph) I was barely walking let alone jogging but, I initially figured it was a long route and I would eventually kick in with some running (never happened).  I was in bed by 10:30 the night before so I got 3 sleep cycles (a sleep cycle is about 90 minutes long) but, I’m thinking 5 sleep cycles would have been better plus, the last meal I had was around noon the previous day since I had to work after that and by the time I got home it was too late to eat.

I did get a nice scale shot the other day – my first dip into the 240’s since the last week of my contest back in April!  🙂

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If nothing else, I did prove to myself that I can get up early and head out the door.  3 a.m. is pretty ridiculous though.  It is what it is.  For the most part, I felt like a phone with a 3% charge left on it.

I did make karate at 10 a.m. and sensei said something kind of interesting at the end of the workout.  He gave a lot of examples which all centered around the notion that if you had a fire that you wanted to put out then you wouldn’t pour gasoline on it, would you?  Of course not.  But, in the realm of human behavior, we generally don’t want to be mad or angry but often times when we are angry or upset – instead of working to put that fire out, we keep adding gasoline to the fire brewing in our mind instead of taking some control and doing something constructive to put it out.

This reminded me of some of the philosophy stuff I’d written about previously, the stuff from Nikolai Berdyaev who mentioned that living the good life is frequently dull, flat and commonplace.  I tend to think that is most true with people who don’t have many aspirations in life in which case I imagine any excitement would be welcome to at least add some texture to an otherwise drab existence.

Start of the Moonlight Ramble

Start of the Moonlight Ramble

Instead of starting a block or more behind the starting line, I did what I did at the Tour de Belleville and started a block ahead of the starting line and, once again, saved over an hour of my life by not having to wait to get started 🙂  The Moonlight Ramble is a ride and not a race so, there are no timing bibs.  The picture shows the very first riders (behind other people standing and waiting to jump in, same as me).  Those are the premier or elite riders and they pay a little extra to start at the very front.  I waited for all those speed demons to pass on by then jumped in myself.  🙂

I gotta admit, my legs were still pretty tired and, for the most part are perpetually sore from all the running so I did something I’ve never done before and that was to take the short route.  Something I noticed being in the first wave of riders is that there aren’t any fun or goofy riders.  The pics below should help explain what I mean by that.

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Every year is a little different route than the year before and this year’s route was very different.  We actually crossed over two highways and at the split between the long and short route was a big sign used in highway construction to indicate the split.  I was tempted to take the long route but the short route proved to be very, very interesting for me.  Most riders, especially in the first wave that I was riding in opted to take the long route but, I could see a dozen or so riders making the turn to take the shorter route.  I quickly passed most of the other riders until I came upon a couple and chatted with them a bit while we were grinding out an uphill incline.  Once that flattened out thought – I kicked it up into about 22nd gear and starting pumping those legs and easily pulled out ahead of them.  I never did see them again.  In fact, I didn’t see anybody, I was riding completely alone and there was nobody else ahead of me.  At one point when I think I was supposed to turn, a cop was yelling at some driver so I think I missed my turn there and then I was semi lost but figured I was only a couple blocks South of where I needed to be.  I took a guess on one of the roads and hoped it would take me back where I needed to be and it did.  I was actually the very first person to finish the short route of this years Moonlight Ramble 🙂

Short & Long Route

Short & Long Route

My Route

My Route

I had my earbuds tucked into my shirt while I was talking with the other riders but, once I was alone I put one back in and had Stevie Wonder was playing then and that helped me kick up the pace a bit.  I maintained a pace over 16 mph for the last 3 miles of the race.

Things are a lot different at the finish when you’re the first one there ….

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W14D4 – Tour de Donut!

2014-07-12 08.14.32 Front of shirt 🙂

The Tour de Donut held this past Saturday, July 12 in Staunton, Illinois was one of the funnest races I’ve ever participated in.  I was really excited about this race and felt like a kid on Christmas morning when the race first started out and we rode through the main street in Staunton where the ribfest was taking place that day and thousands of people lined the streets to cheer everyone on.

2014-07-12 08.15.10 Back of shirt

I think I passed out more smiles per mile in this race than any other I’ve been in.  The competitive racers led off the pack of about 1400 riders followed by us non-competitive riders 🙂  I watched the beginning of the race by the starting line and simply waited until the end of the pack caught up to me then fired up my Sports Tracker app and got some tunes playing in my ears and headed out 🙂  There was a gentleman at the end of the pack I took off with who was riding one of those recumbent bikes with three wheels and we chatted for a bit at the beginning and both liked the fact that nobody could pass us (because there was no one behind us) but we could still pass a lot of people 🙂

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2014-07-12 08.42.03 Official 2014 Racing Shirt for $85 🙂

Shortly after getting out of town we encountered a couple short, steep hills and the first minor accident I witnessed when a car was coming towards us and everyone had to slam on our brakes right after speeding down the hill.  One young lady lost it and fell off her bike.  I wasn’t able to pedal fast enough to downshift to an easier gear and had to gut it out to make it to the top.

2014-07-12 08.44.55 I never saw showers at a race before.

Around mile 25 I came upon an ambulance which had one of our riders in a stretcher, there was a sharp right hand turn in the road and some guy crashed pretty badly and had to be taken to the hospital.  Towards the end of the race, around mile 30, there was another ambulance that I saw pulling away from the scene of another crash.

I have a Trek 4500 Mountain bike I used for this race with big knobby tires but the serious riders had tires no wider than my thumb.  Even with my clunky type bike I managed to hit top speeds of 41 mph so I’m guessing the serious riders were going even faster.

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I saw the cyclery van a few times along the route and they helped out riders with flat tires and other mechanical issues.

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After the race was over, riders tore off the bottom part of their bibs which contained hash marks for every donut that was eaten and this data was used to help determine our Tour de Donut winners since 5 minutes was taken off our final time for every donut eaten.  🙂

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The first donut stop was in Mt Olive, Illinois and, at the time, I was thinking 8 miles is a pretty good distance for a race 🙂  I was feeling a little bit intimidated that there was another 16 miles to ride after that stop before the next donut stop.  I ate 6 donuts at that stop and washed it down with a bottle of water.

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There was a very nice straight, stretch of road right after the first donut stop a little over 5 miles long.  That was my fastest section in terms of average speed which was in the 18 mph range.

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The second donut stop was in the vicinity of Gilespie and Bneld Illinois.  I had 3 donuts at the second stop and 6 bottles of water 🙂  I think any time I may have saved from eating the donuts was easily offset by how long I stopped.  I probably spent a good 20 or 30 minutes at the second stop and I was much, much hotter than I was at my first stop.

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There were a total of 6,500 donuts available to be eaten at this race and a little over 2,000 bottles of water.  The time adjusted winner of the Tour de Donut ate 26 donuts for a time adjusted race duration of 36 seconds!  The winner for the most donuts eaten was 36!  OMG!  The ladies didn’t eat as much as the men and there was a tie for the most donuts eaten by a lady which was 12.

I remember I was excited at the beginning of the race and a little more stoic between the first and second donut stops but, I got excited again during the last 2 or 3 miles of the race.  I thought about my brother who loaned me a cushioned bike seat to put over my stock bike seat.  Without that cushion rides of 10-15 miles end up impairing nerves in the groin region and there’s a lot of tingling & numbness down in areas where there simply should not be numbness!  But, that extra seat cushion worked out great and totally alleviated that problem.

As I got closer to the end, I thought about my parents and the fact that they came up to the Ozarks last weekend to surprise me for my birthday.  I was feeling grateful.  There are times during my races, this bike race as well as others, when I feel a bit like Forest Gump when he takes off and runs across the country for a few years.  The points in the movie when he’s passing gorgeous scenery.  There was some very nice scenery along this route and some very picturesque moments.

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According to my Sports Tracker I finished the race in 2 hours 45 minutes and I think the tracker paused when I was at my donut stops so that would have been actual riding time.  I crossed the finish line at about 3h38min after the start of the race.

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I spent most of my time in Staunton at the Rib Festival.

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I got myself a beer at one end of the festival and slowly worked my way to the other end.

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I learned the eating portion of the festival didn’t start until 5 p.m. so I had some time to kill.

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In the middle of the festival were a couple live bands which were pretty darned good.  During sets there were a lot of people dancing in the middle of the street.

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2014-07-12 15.02.57To the left of the stage was a place where I bought 10 tickets for a chance to be an honorary rib judge 🙂

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There were a couple young pageant winners who were kept busy throughout the day.  They were present at the awards ceremony for the Tour de Donut and again, pictured below, they did the drawing to become a judge.  Unfortunately, my name wasn’t drawn 🙂

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At the opposite end of the festival I came across a bunch of bikers that had ridden in from Panama, Florida!  That’s a heck of a long ride.  The bike pictured below has a 500 cubic inch V-8 engine!

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I popped into Mr T’s Tavern to get out of the sun, have a couple beers and chat it up with the locals.  I finally did get my plate of ribs but the battery on my phone was shot by then so no pics of some really awesome ribs 🙂

This was a really fun ride.  A few years back, when I was still in school, I did some riding and learned my maximum riding limit was about 30 miles but, I ended up putting in a little sprint towards the end of this 35 mile race and could have easily kept going so I was pretty excited about that and feel much more confident about the 50 mile Half Century ride I have coming up in September.