Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Illinois Marathon: Best Western YOU SUCK

I get it, your a two star hotel, your rooms are supposed to be crappy, your bed uncomfortable and everything about you is supposed just be satisfactory, its not like your a 4 star hotel. However, this doesn't mean your customer service should be non-existent. In fact you should actually step up that battle because I don't mind staying in your mediocre hotel room if you treat me decent.

Here's my complaint: I'm running in the Champaign marathon Saturday, I booked a room there in December because all the nice hotels were booked up and you were the only thing left close to the start. It's OK I just need a place to sleep & shower! Fast forward and it turns out I need to be in town on Thursday night as well. I go online and find you have a king room with a fridge available, but my room is a queen. I don't want to have to check out/check in again so I'll take a queen. But the queen room, which is downgrade from the king/fridge room, is offered at a HIGHER rate than the king/fridge. I ask "Can I have the king rate for the queen room? This is a downgrade I'm taking, so it only makes sense, plus now I am staying TWO  nights apposed to one." And the Best Western said "No, we can't offer that." and when asked why I can't even get a logical reasoning behind this. To make it even WORSE I also request a late checkout because I'm running the marathon, I want to leave my stuff somewhere and come back and shower. I was informed I could have a late check out at NOON (normal check out is 11am) but it will cost me half a nights rate, roughly $40. Are you kidding me? I'm expected to pay HALF RATE for an additional hour! That's absurd!
I get that Champaign/Urbana and the whole surrounding area is sold out of hotel rooms but that is for FRIDAY night and hotels, including the Best Western, will be in a little bit more of a rush to get rooms ready for the following day but if I'm going to pay a half rate I expect to get more than an additional hour in the room.

I haven't even stayed there  yet and I'm already disgusted with this place and sadly all I can say is "What did you expect you're at the Best Western". I can't believe that this is the kind of reputation they are satisfied with having. Honestly if I hadn't already paid for Friday night I would cancel my reservation and book a hotel 30-40 minutes out of town but since I've already paid I can't. And just an FYI two weekends ago I was in Springfield to run their half marathon and stayed at a beautiful hotel downtown and when I requested a late check out, I was given until 2pm...FREE OF CHARGE!

Do you have a hotel horror story to share?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Illinois Marathon: Taper Down and Problematic Shoes

Yesterday was the 116th running of the Boston Marathon, the most prestigious of marathons, the race was held in record heat and was the slowest running of the race since 1985. The winner, Kenyan Wesley Korir finished the race in 2 hours, 12 minutes and 40 seconds, that was 10 minutes behind last years worlds best established at last years race.

In just 11 days I will take on my first running of a marathon, 26.2 miles, I'll be happy to finish in 4 hours and 15 minutes, however my dream finish is in 4 hours. As the race grows nearer and nearer all I can think about is "O-M-G I'll be running a marathon next weekend!".

Once hiccup I had this past week was with my shoes. The heal on my right shoe has been digging into me and cause quit a bit of discomfort, normally I just keep going and hope that it will just go away. However, I've been going with that mindset for about 2 weeks now with out it going away. I made the decision that I should go in for a second pair of shoes, that way I have two weeks to break them in. Luckily, when I purchased my Saucony's I had also really liked a pair of Brooks shoes, so I just made a quick stop into Running Central and got the 2nd pair. Adam, the owner, also showed me a trick I can do to the Saucony's to alleviate the pain, simply cut the heal of the shoe down a bit to relieve that pressure and I should still be able to use the shoes. He showed me his running shoes and he said he is always cutting them up and altering them. I never even thought of that. I haven't done this yet, I'm too chicken to cut up such an expensive pair of shoes, but I really need to do it so I can try them out and see if it helps. The Brooks in the meantime worked remarkable well on my 12 miles last weekend. I really need to do the alterations so I can figure out which shoes will be on my feet for the marathon. If the alteration works then I'll simply have two pairs of shoes that I can alter between on my runs. I've never purchased two pairs of running shoes to use in tandem, so this is a first for me.

In the meantime I am now on my taper down period, meaning I slowly back off the mileage leading up to the marathon, the photo you see up top is the calender (yes its a Rivermen calender) of my scheduled mileage. I'm ready, Illinois Marathon-here I come!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Holy $**t I Just RAN 20 Miles

I ran 20 miles and what do I have to show for it; it feels like my bones are crunching as I walk, I've got blisters on both feet between each toes, I feel like I ran 20 miles and I've got the worst case of chaffing you have EVER seen!

Friday morning began my plan and preparation for my 20 mile run and so did the bad feeling, maybe it was worry of running on Saturday, or  maybe it was because I was trying to replicate EXACTLY what I did for the 18 mile run. Either way I just knew something was off. Matters were not helped when plans changed on things that were out of my control and ended up throwing "my plan" into the wringer. On to a fresh set of plans. I also had to work Friday night, I was lucky that I was able to get myself out there by 10pm but I knew this was going to be difficult to pull of. However, after that I still had to go to the store to get some groceries because I had nothing in my house, not even toast or peanut butter. By the time I got home and into bed it was nearly midnight, Saturday wasn't looking good for me. I kept saying, "It's okay, just stay in bed until you wake up naturally, you'll be fine."

I slept very poorly and my head wasn't in it, today wasn't going to be great. My legs may have been in it, but we all know when it comes to running and distance running your head is just as important, if not more so. I had a great course planned, all of the bigger, challenging hills going down and the smaller hills going up. Stops were well planned, I had my GU and my running man next to me. At mile 5 the pain in the belly started to get me but I made it to the 8 mile pit stop just fine. Forward I went and about mile 9 I started to really doubt myself and slow down. First I was angry I was slow but I just kept telling myself that this is a "training run" my pace doesn't matter, all that matters is I make it through and that helped for a few miles. Once I reached 13 miles major doubt took over, I kept saying over and over "I can't do this" but I kept running and doubting. Then at mile 15 I really started to fatigue and I was hungry, my stomach was growling, I knew my last GU wasn't going to cut it at the next pit stop. So I got a Fiber One bar, a Gatorade AND my GU, off we continued. Mile 17 not only is my mind still saying "I can't" but now my body is saying it. At that point Matty tries to tell me it's okay to quit. I nearly bit his head off and spit daggers at him when I YELLED "I'M NOT FUCKING QUITTING!"

Quit I didn't and instead I ran the full 20 miles. I took alot more water breaks than I had planned or wanted but it was a training run and I finished, I didn't bike it, I didn't drive it, I ran TWENTY MILES!

This Saturday we kick off the 2012 race season with our first race a half marathon in Springfield, Illinois. Its a race we've talked about doing for nearly a year now although a tad hilly the bling at the finish is pretty bad ass, its a giant penny!