I’m getting things going with fundraising for my Chicago Marathon team and I want to do something more than just ask for money. To that end, I’m going to offer a couple things a la Kickstarter-type premiums. One is an par-tay in the awesome Crawford-Langenberg Garage Darts and Beer Emporium, and the other is putting my mad DJ music curation skills to work for you.

Beer and Darty Party
The event is going to be a craft beer & darts party in our garage at our home in Oak Park on Saturday June 17th. This is a reprise of a fundraiser we hosted for Irving School a couple of summers ago that was super fun. I’ll provide a selection of beers and food (homemade bbq sliders and a nacho bar). We’ll play as much darts as we can manage before the beer drinking compromises safety.

If you would like to attend, please send me a donation of $25 per person (or more if you like❤️) by visiting my fundraising page at the link below:

http://chicagohomeless.donorpages.com/ChicagoMarathon2017/mattienodj/.

Mix Tape
Okay. Not actually a Mix Tape. I’m just old and continue to call what are playlists mix tapes.

Two  levels here.

  1. Actual Mixed Playlist: For a contribution of $20, I will curate a playlist personalized for you and will make a 60 minute continuous play mix for you which I will deliver to you on a real live actual compact disc. I will also give you a link to the unmixed source Spotify playlist.
  2. Spotify Playlist: For a contribution of $10, I will curate ~60 minute Spotify playlist personalized for you.

If you want an idea of what I listen to, you can find me on Spotify at mattienodj. My most recent playlist is at https://play.spotify.com/user/mattienodj/playlist/2U6B14ZkjTBrbSivSelxa8

Last week I ramped up big time with a bunch of mid-day runs in July heat. My long run this week was an 8-miler at the super hilly Morton Arboretum. It was a great setting. Tranquil. Serene. Beautiful. I love the Morton and the nearby Danada Woods for training. This was my first go at the Arboretum. Despite the hills, I loved it. The alternating shade of the trees with sweaty sun baked prairie was perfect for some 96 degree heat training. I took it slow and to be honest blew off 2 miles from my original 10 mile goal, but I think I did what I needed to.

Tomorrow begins pre-work morning strength training and short runs. Last year I made the big mistake of doing my mid-week runs on the treadmill and not doing much more than 3 or 4 miles. This week I start with 4 and ramp up to 7 during the week with a Saturday long run on 12 miles. Anyone up for a 7am trip to the Arboretum?

Last year I decided to give my finances a break, by limiting the number of short races I participate in. The 5Ks were a really essential goal when I was first ramping up from pudgy couch potato Mattie, but now it’s really the longer races that get me out of bed at 530a on a Sunday. And, at $50 a pop, 5K is not enough. I’d rather just donate some dough to a good cause.

All that said, I can’t give up the Shamrock Shuffle. It really has become a tradition. It was the first 8K I ran and was really the one race that sparked my serious interest and started me down the path to 15K to 13.1 and 26.2 and this year 2 x 26.2.

The race is a good practice drill for the cattle call aspects of a 35,000 participant race and despite the ridiculous numbers of runners is a lot of fun after a long winter of bleak, gray, frigid and solitary mornings.

This year, for me, the run was also a test of the speed work I’ve been doing over the winter, and a successful one at that. My hard work definitely paid off. Coupled with a return to yoga practice for strength and flexibility over the winter, I’ve shaved a full minute off of my street pace and remained mostly injury free.

A 47:08 PR in the race has left me a lot more confident of my ability to run the Chicagoland spring marathon in four weeks and the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay in June.

Wow. This training thing is really pretty incredible. I couldn’t have imagined being able to run 15 miles 4 years ago. I certainly wouldn’t have thought I could do that and then play nearly 90 minutes of soccer two days later. I feel good. Really, really good. Despite some seriously sustained insomnia over the past 24 months, I feel healthier and stronger than I have in years. I’m about 8 weeks out from my taper for my first ever marathon and so far feeling pretty good about it. If can just add a little over a mile a week on average, I’m home free.

Tonight I headed out for a run to makeup for missing the gym at lunch and stress-eating way too many snacks during the day. I got out a little later than I’d intended, but wanted to get at least a 5k in without being out past my usual chillaxin time. I decided to torch it. This usually is a recipe for major bonkage at right about the halfway point. I can push my pace no problem in the late morning, on an empty stomach. Most of my short distance PRs have been set under those very circumstances.

Night runs for me are usually post dinner which never works for me, but I managed to keep my plate light tonight, knowing that I intended to run. As a result, I was able to get a pretty sweet run in despite being outside my comfort zone. Well outside, considering I left the ipod and the Nike+ in my pack and opted for cicadas, the steady rhythm of my breath and the pounding of my heart in my ears and my feet on the pavement.

I managed 3.3 miles in 31 minutes which is right around a 9:24 mile. A little over my 5K PR pace, but all-in-all, a fairy casual Tuesday evening run that ended up feeling pretty damn effortless even in the heat, which I’m kinda hatin’ these days, even after a 13.1 mile training run Sunday morning. As with every little achievement like this now, I can’t help but think that maybe this whole 26.2 thing might be actually be possible. Clearly the training is doing something to my body.

Anyhoo. Seems like a good enough reason to add another of my intended categories to the blog. I suppose I could have used Soccer first given all that has transpired over the past few weeks, but somethings are more important than blogging even if your precious Oranje do end up losing. Arsenal preseason starts next week though, so I don’t expect the footie blogging to be too far off.

Beyond that, maybe some parenting stuff, some eco-rants and other stuff to keep my writing and coding skills rust-free.