Friday, July 23, 2010

Project Warm Race 2 - Sunburn Six in the Stix

After the 50k the weekend before at Devil's Lake, I felt a little bit of unfinished business. Since I had to drop from the 50 mile race to the 50 Kilometer race, I felt that I needed to rebound quickly. Well two days after the 50K on Monday, I went for a 2 mile run and my muscles were screaming in pain but I ran 2 miles at a nice 10:30 minute per mile pace. Two days later on Wednesday, it happened to be my partner in crime and brother in law's birthday (Mr. Moses Plomero). His wife grilled some pork chops for his bday celebration and we ate like pigs... about an hour and a half later Moses told me he was going for a run, I was like are you crazy? We ate so much and he said, well I am going. So I decided to go too and see how my legs would feel. We went for a 5 mile run and we ran a nice 9 minute per mile pace. My muscles were still huritng but nothing like two days prior. This is when I decided that I needed to go for a long run soon. The following day, my best friend Anastasia texted me to tell me she wanted to do a 6 hour fun run race that was posted in facebook with the Chicago Ultrarunners club. So I said, yeah let's do it... I was all excited about it but nervous because I wasn't sure if my legs would be able to handle running for 6 hours after having ran the 50K the weekend before. And plus there was the question of my back, can my back take it...

I found out Friday night that Anastasia wasn't doing it anymore because she was still sore. Let's be fair to her, she ran the 50 mile race the week before unlike me. I decided that I would go ahead and run it anyway. I didn't know anyone at the race but I figured that it would be a great way to meet new people. I woke up Saturday early and got my stuff to go run the 6 hour fun run race. The race started at 7:30 am so it was already hot by the time it started. Something very interesting about this race is that there is no trees anywhere on the trail so there is obsolutely no way of hidding from our friend the sun. Well I am so happy that I came to this event. I met some great people, Dan, Brian, Kelly, Amanda, Tony, Torey, Ian and more that I can't even remember right now...

I started running with Dan, which is pictured above and I think we ran a good 10 miles together... Along the way, I met Torey and she ran some with us as well. It is always awesome to see how runners are such cool and friendly people. To listen to their stories and to tell them yours...

I was able to run 16 miles in 3 hours but by them it was 10:30 am and the sun was already kicking our butts, well mine for sure... My legs felt decent but I was starting to feel a little tired. My lower back was bothering me a little but it wasn't horrible. I told myself, Juan just take it one hour at a time and let's see what happens. Well the last 3 hours I only covered 10 more miles. The biggest reason was really how hot it was and we think the temperature went up as high as 94 degrees. But part of it was also been tired from the week before. So I was able to run and yes walk sometimes towards the last two hours a total of 26 miles. I was very proud of myself, to be able to come back one week later and be on my feet for 6 hours. I came in 16th place out of 49 runners and I was extremely happy about that. The next day Sunday I was ready to run again but I decided to relax and wait for Monday. Monday I ran 10.5 miles, 6 miles with the LTF running club. The reason why I mention this is because I feel like I have now reached a new level of fitness. I feel like my legs can do a lot more than just two months ago. The training, the races over the past 7 months are really starting to make my body very strong. I am now signed up for a 32 mile race on August 14th and of course the ultimate challange is October 23rd when I go for my first ever 100 mile race in Arizona... Stay tuned for more, this machine has a lot more to give... Please consider making a donation to Project Warm. a $20.00 donation can help buy a jacket for the winter so that a low income kid can go to school in the winter.

The machine Juarez always happy to take on the next challange!!!

After the race with my new friend Brian... Thanks Brian for putting this event together. It was just Juantastic!!!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Project Warm Race 1 - Dances with Dirt 50K 071010

This was my first race dedicated to Project Warm. I had decided to run the 50 mile race in Devil's Lake, WI. The race is called Dances with Dirt. I knew it was going to be tough but I didn't think it was going to be as difficult as it was. We had 6 members from our Life Time Fitness Running club coming to run this race and they also camped out with us the night before. Picture from left to right, Chuck, Kamil, Robin, Anastasia, Mike and myself.

A month before I had decided to take a camping trip with my family so that they could be having fun while I was running the race, and maybe they could see me running at some point. We camped out in Baraboo Hills Campground in Baraboo, WI. The campground was located 25 minutes away from the start of the race so it was perfect to stay there and not have to wake up so early to start our race.

Saturday July 10th, we woke up at 4 a.m. to get ready and we were at the starting location by 5:15 a.m. I was already concern about my lower back since I was having some issues since 3 or 4 weeks before and I am sure sleeping on a inflatable mattress was not ideal for my back. Regardless of my back problems, I was so excited to be there running my second 50 mile race of the year. It was so great to have my best friend Anastasia there running with me, along with the rest of my great friends that I mentioned above.

We started running exactly at 5:30 a.m.

Leg 1 is called "ski trip", it is 4.5 miles long and it has an elevation of 970ft and you descend exactly the same elevation, so your legs feel it right away from the start of the race.
Leg 2 is called "into thin air", this is 4.2 miles long and it has an elevation of 850ft and it descends 440ft. Here is when we get a chance to run some of the beautiful single Ice Age trail.
Leg 3 is called "rave run", this is a short 1.5 mile run where you get to take a chance on elevation with only 100ft and it descends 220 ft. nice chance to take a little break.
Leg 4 is called "swirling the bowl", this is 3.7 miles long with 320ft elevation and it descends 500ft SO it may look like you are not going up a lot but going down is not much easier on your legs as you may think.
Leg 5 is called "Yo Yo", this is 3.2 miles long and it has an elevation of 638ft and it descends 496ft. They claim this is the time to catch our breath but it felt like we were always going up. This is when you start thinking is this heaven? or is this hell?
Leg 6 is called "the Burma road", this is 2.4 miles long of easy out and back shady gravel road. 190ft elevation and 190ft descend so it was nice an easy and it was the last time that I actually ran hard trying to catch my friends Anastasia and Robin. They were running about a mile ahead of me and I was able to see them for last time. I gave it a try but by the end I knew that my back was hurting horrible and probably the fact that I was running really hard here just finished the job.
Leg 7 is called "over the edge", this is 1.9 miles long. It has 490FT of elevation and it descends 290ft. the first half mile is off trail with terrible footing, a lot of rocks and easy to twist an ankle.
Leg 8 is called "no bluffin", this is only 2.2 miles long but it felt like the end of the world... The elevation here goes straight up 800FT and it descends 420ft, this is when my back was saying "NO MAS", no more... As soon as I got to the top of these rock steps, I wasn't even sure if I could continue. By now my lower back pain was horrible, I had taken some pain medicine but it didn't do anything for me.
Leg 9 is called "Hold/Fold", this is 1.6 miles long and the easiest leg of the race with only 90ft of elevation and 290ft to descend. This is decision point at this point we have covered 25.2 miles of the race and you can decide to drop from the 50 mile race to a 50K race (31 miles). At this point I was barely running, my back couldn't take the pain anymore. My legs were still in decent shape but the bouncing when running was killing me. I stayed here for about 3 minutes really thinking hard if I should continue and try for the 50 miles or just be happy to complete the 50K. I decided that my back was more important than my ego and trust me that was not an easy decision... My friends who continue to the 50 miler had to do legs 4 to 9 all over. for me it continues next.
Leg 10 is called " Rave run backwards", this is 1.5 miles and the elevation is 220 ft. we only descended 100ft so this was fairly nice. This was leg 2 going the opposite direction.
Leg 11 is called "yeah that's what I am talking about", this is 4.2 miles with 440ft of elevation but we did go down a lot 850ft descend, at this point I was totally done, i was almost just walking and even the downhills hurt like crazy, I just wanted to finish already. This was a sad moment for a few minutes for me. When I finished there was nobody waiting for me at the end because my family didn't know that I had dropped to the 50K. I have to admit that I did cry for a couple of minutes because I felt I had failed to finished the 50 miles. After a couple of minutes it became clear in my head that I should be proud of myself because I basically ran 27 of the 31 miles with lower back pain and I didn't stop, at the very least I finished a 50K ultra Marathon.
Leg 12 is called "ski trip", this is 4.5 miles and this is the end for my friends running the 50 miles. They had to run/walk uphill 970ft and that was after already having run 45 miles and the descend was also 970ft. What a brutal way to finish a 50 mile run but all my 5 team members did it. You guys are amazing!!!

I am so looking forward to going back next year and running the 50 mile race. I will always finish what I start. I promise you that thinking about Operation Warm is what kept me going with pain in my 31 mile run. Thinking that my running can help kids get a winter jacket this winter is something that is fueling my desire to train harder and go longer and take more pain... Please consider donating $20.00 to the Carpentersville Rotary Club so we can buy winter jackets for all the kids in need.

I hope this has given you an idea of what the Devil's Lake Ultra was all about and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for helping and if not I thank you anyway for reading my blog... God Bless you and your families...

Juan "the machine" Juarez

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Operation Warm - Let's help the KIDS in Carpentersville

I have decided to run my following two races to help getting winter coats for the low income families but specifically the kids in Carpentersville, IL:

I will be running The Devil's Lake 50 Mile race in Wisconsin on July 10th:

and to close this great challange, I will be running my firts ever 100 mile race. The Lean Horse Hundred (100 miles) on August 28th and 29th:

My fellow friends, I promise you that I will not rest to get my body ready for that 100 mile race. I promise you that every step I take during my training and during my two races, all these kids will be pushing my mind, my heart and my body, to continue and to finish the races. I am commiting my time, my body and my money to help this great cause. I believe in helping my community, I believe in helping my fellow brothers and sisters but more importantly I believe in helping the kids in need of our help. Please join me in donating and helping the kids of Carpentersville. Today is for Carpentersville, tomorrow it could be for your town... We are asking for a $20.00 donation that will help buy a winter coat for a kid in need and if you can donate more, it would be very much appreciated. My company Solstice Technology Solutions ( and I are commited on donating $100.00 for each race I complete. Please read the information below and as you make your donation, please make sure to write down my name on the comment section of your check so we can keep track of the people who are supporting not only this great cause but the people that are also supporting me on this wonderful journey... As always, I am your humble servant and please let me know if you have any questions.

Juan "the machine" Juarez

This is a letter from our wonderful Chairperson Donna, who is leading this wonderful project:

My name is Donna Zoellick and I am Chairperson of Operation Warm for the Rotary Club of Carpentersville. The Rotary is a service organization which helps people in need. Read about Rotary worldwide at Operation Warm is a project to provide new winter coats to children whose families cannot provide one for them. Rotary purchases these new coats for $20 each. A carton contains six coats of thee colors, one size per box and gender specific. Rotary is raising money to buy as many boxes of coats as we can.

Carpentersville is a community with a wide range of economic diversity. The school system has a department that identifies families in need and is a funnel for the help given by Rotary and other organizations. The tough economy has increased the number of people in need. When the department head from the school system spoke to Rotary she outlined a large number of students in K-12 grades that needed help. There are even some students that are homeless and parentless. This is the United States of America. THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!!

Last year was the first year Rotary provided coats and we had little time to do so. We were proud to have raised enough money to provide 210 new coats to students at Golfview Elementary School. A new coat gives a child a sense of pride. To earn their coats the students wrote an essay on what the Boys and Girls Club of Dundee Township meant to them. Since we had limited funds the Boys and Girls Club identified children in need at the school who participated in their program. The essays were read out loud to all. Many children said that the Boys and Girls Club helped them with their homework and gave them a safe place to go after school. They also said that they were happy to get dinner from the Boys and Girls Club. Many of the children would not get dinner if it was not provided by the Boys and Girls Club. Some parents keep the children home in the winter since they cannot provide them with a coat. This is the United States of America. THIS SHOULD NOT HAPPEN!!

Last fall the new coats were a surprise for the kids. They were treated to a party and then led into the gym for the presentation of a coat to each child. There were many smiling faces. Those of us in Rotary and the Boys and Girls Club were touched by their gratitude.

This year Rotary has a goal to raise enough money to provide a new coat for every needy child in Carpentersville grades Kindergarten through 12th grade. It is a lofty goal but with the generosity of local businesses and citizens Rotary can achieve this goal. Operation Warm will be an annual cause for the Carpentersville Rotary. Children continue to grow and need new coats. New children enter the school system.

Rotary understands that these are tough times for us all. If you can help us in any way with a donation toward the new coat Operation Warm project we would appreciate it. Cash donations can be made at First American Bank, 261 S. Western Ave., Carpentersville, IL 60110 or send a check to Carpentersville Rotary Charitable Foundation, PO Box 946, Carpentersville, IL 60110. Rotary will order the coats in the month of September so we need your donations soon. The Rotary Club of Carpentersville thanks you in advance for your generosity.


Donna Zoellick, Chairperson, Operation Warm
The Rotary Club of Carpentersville

As I side note, I am also a member of the Carpentersville Rotary Club. We are looking for new members to join us in the Rotary Club. We are always looking for new talent and more importantly, we are looking for people who want to make a difference in the community. Please join me for a free breakfast at our next meeting and let me show you, how you too can make a difference (and you won't have to run 100 miles :0) ) Please let me know if you would be interested in attending a meeting.

Juan Juarez