Sunday, June 6, 2010

its been a while ...

Well I just spent sometime writing my first blog in a while and when I tried to publish it, it has disappeared.  So I am going to go through this again and hopefully it will work.  Its been rough since I last posted following the Lincoln marathon disaster.  My knee was in pretty intense pain for the first couple of weeks following the marathon and the worst is that it just felt incredibly weak.

I ended up going to the Dr. about the knee and after looking at the xrays he said structurally (bone) everything appeared ok.  When he started palpating my knee he hit these bumps on the inside of my knee and I almost jumped off the table.  It turns out that those lumps are plica and in a small part of the population they get folded over and inflamed, called Plica Syndrome, from over use.  I was told to stop running, cycling, etc for several weeks and hopefully it would become less inflamed.  In addition I am/was suppose to ice the area several times a day and take a very healthy dose of ibuprofen. If it still bothers me after a month then he would do a corisone injection.  If that does not work they can go in an snip the area.

It has been surprising to me how much and how quickly I missed running.  Over the past year, I have really begun to identify myself as a "runner."  Not only do I truly love the physical aspects of training and pushing my endurance but I love the mental aspects of running.  That mental struggle of pushing through the wall, whether thats when I am having a crappy run and I am only at 7 miles or whether its at 23 miles, is something I like.  Without running I felt like I lost that mental reset button that I need on a daily (or close to daily) basis.

Well, today I decided to go and give my knee a test run around Como Lake.  The lake is relatively short and I knew if I needed to stop it would be easy to get back to my car.  Also, the doctor had warned me against doing any sort of I ended up doing two laps and my knee held together fairly well.  I could definitely feel that my knee was It was obvious that I had not run in a long time as my lungs felt like they were full of cobwebs.  I am feeling good right now (icing the knee) and I hope I can keep up with these short runs.

Well it has also been a while since I shared another honky tonk gem with you.  Here is Tennessee Ernie Ford backed up by Jimmy Bryant and Speedy West.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Lincoln marathon -- Race report

As many of you know that run on a regular basis, you have good races and bad races.  This race was a very bad one.

Expo:  I had been to the expo last year and bought one of my first pairs of running shorts.  This year I returned and found some more running shorts.  These are a little shorter than the ones I bought last year but not as short as my short blue shorts, exactly what I was looking for.  I also found a pair of sleeves and calf compression sleeves by Skins.

The Lincoln Running Co. was selling them for 20$ each (normally 45). I bought a set of each but my arm sleeves were white.  The expo is pretty small but I kind of like it that way, only a few vendors but really how many of the same booth can you look at.  Lindsey and I picked up our chips and bibs (#298)

The Race: Lindsey, her brother Aron (1st half marathon), her sister Abbie (1st half marathon) headed down to race around 6:15ish Sunday morning.

Lindsey, Aron, and Abbie pre-race

Me and Lindsey pre-race.

Gun time was around 7am.  The place was pretty packed by the time we got there and after a pre-race bathroom break we settled in our pace groups.  Lindsey and I started at the 9:00 minute and Aron and Abbie around the 10:00.  The gun went off and it took us about 6 minutes to cross the start line.  The Lincoln marathon has grown considerably in the past few years.  This year there were close to 8000 runners and next year they are going to open it up to 10000. Most of these are halfers but it is still a considerable showing.  At the beginning of the run I was feeling great and felt like I could not quit.  I stayed with Lindsey for the first mile or two but started picking up my pace.

The first ten miles of the race were really great.  There was a lot of crowd support but the support was different.  There were a ton of people but few cheered for the runner they did not know.  The past two marathons I had done, the crowd cheered for everyone coming through.  As I was running the first third of this marathon I started to think that I was going to PR this race and PR by quite a bit.  I knew it was unlikely that I would BQ but I truly felt at the top of my game.  I was keeping a steady pace at the mid-7s, taking the few hills in stride.

My only real complaint of the course was between 8-10 miles "by Highway 2" where the marathoners were forced onto a path and it could not accommodate the number of runners that were there.  I had latched on to a 3:30 pace group (and was running 2 minutes ahead of them) and they were having a hard time passing people.  Especially a lot of people staying on the far left of the trail with head phones on, oblivious to the people trying to get passed them.

I started getting a bit nervous about my left knee around mile 10.  It suddenly started getting a bit tight and I had not felt that since the beggining of this marathons training.  I thought it might work its way out though.  We made the first pass by the stadium around mile 13 where the halfers left the race.  Right before this turn off, I saw one of the halfers in front of me start to teeter almost as if he was on stilts and he just crashed down on the ground.  Luckily, there were a couple of National Guard soldiers that were close by and they rushed to his aid.

Shortly after the halfers turn off, after the transition from another trail, I stepped off a curb crossing the street and thats when I realized I was in trouble.  My left knee seized up and the best way I could describe it was having a screwdriver jammed into the side of my leg.  It was excruciating.   Despite the pain, and maybe stupidly, I kept pushing myself.  I knew I was loosing pace but truly felt it at mile 20.  Right before the 20 mile marker, and I was beginning to struggle mentally through the intense pain, I heard someone yell my name.  It was Lindsey and she was flying.  She looked so good and was running strong. I told her that I was going to have to start walking, so she should keep moving.

The next six miles of the race were probably some of the longest and most grueling of my entire life.  I would try to run but the pain would build up to high and I would be force to walk.  It was truly demoralizing, particularly when I got to about mile 23 and I could see some of the racers driving down the road with their medals on.  People were being supportive, rolling down their windows, and cheering me on.  I can appreciate what they did now but their cheers and words of encouragement had the opposite effect on me, making me more frustrated.

The finish line for this race was in the stadium and I hobbled my way towards it.  As I entered the stadium I could see I was closing in on 430 and they called my name and I did not hear a single cheer or clap.  That was not fun but at that point I was just glad to be done.  I could not find Lindsey anywhere and it turns out that there was a good reason.  I went and collected my bag with my jacket and settled down outside hoping I would run into Lindsey eventually.  [subsequent pictures taken by Lindsey's mom, Tina]

After a couple of minutes of sitting on the ground, I heard Lindsey call my name and she came running over to me (I do not know how she had the energy).

 It turns out Lindsey kicked serious butt, running the race in 3:36 qualifying for Boston in the process. Looks like we are going to make a trip to Boston next spring! Despite feeling crappy and seriously dejected I was and continue to be so happy for her.  It truly turned out to be  a silver lining in the crappy black cloud of this marathon.  Aron and Abbie also did super well on their first half.  I am truly proud of the whole Filbert clan!

Aron Lindsey and I post race

Lindsey and I

Abbie and Aron showing off the goods!

I spent the next few hours rethinking the entire race, wondering if I had done something differently if I could have not experienced this injury.  I am not sure if there was anything I could have done.  Now though, as I sit here with a swollen, spasming knee I want to get back out there and redeem myself.  I do not think that I necessarily tore or did serious damage to it but it hurts and I figure it will continue to be for a bit. There is nothing I want though to get back out there and to start training again.

Several things I liked about this race and primarily these focused around the  aid/water stations were perfect!  There was a great mix  of Gatorade and water (one table of water then gatorade, then water and Gatorade) at each station, with the cups having lids and straws.  Each aid station also had oranges, bananas, and GU.  The support staff at each of these   stations was excellent.  Whether it was the National Guard folks or just the volunteers these people had the stations down pat.  I would have to say that these water stations far exceeded any other of the other marathons I had run.  All and all I recommend this marathon to the midwesternerns that can get there.  It does not cost an arm and a leg (like Austin), the course is not difficult (few hills), and the water stops are phenomenal!

My stats (even though it kills me to see these):
Overall place: 734
DIVPL: 99/120
10K:  48:53
13.1M:  1:42.30
20M:  2:44:27
Last 10K: 1:40:26<-- Last 6 miles took as long as my first 13.1 miles.
Chip time:  4:24:53

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Been gone so long and premarathon nerves

I have missed you my blogging world.  With the delightful turn of the weather a few weeks ago, there was also a corresponding severe uptick in my work load at the University.  I think the last day off I had was when Lindsey was here a couple of weeks ago.  Not fun.  I have only sporadically been able to check on all your blogs.

I have been barely keeping up with my runs too.  Despite the stress and just being generally tired, I have been having some really good runs. I can run consistently at about a 7:30 to 7:40 pace.   If I can sustain that pace, I would PR at Lincoln on Sunday.

I really can not believe that the marathon is closing in so fast.  After this marathon I am going to take a breather from marathon training for a couple of months.  I will continue to run on a regular basis but instead of hauling my butt on long runs I am going to go on much longer cycling ride.  I like following schedules but I am not sure what I should do when I am not training for something specific.  My next marathon wont be until October.  Any suggestions on a running plan 30ish miles a week?

Well the weather is looking good for the marathon on Sunday.  Right now the weather is forecasted to be a high of 67 and 8 mph winds.  Kind of sounds super nice.  We will see if it stays that way.

I will be back with a marathon wrap up and here is a great song/video that sums up my feelings of Nashville.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Redo of a run one year later.

I am really lucky to be living in the Twin Cities.  There seem to be never ending trails to go and run and if you plan it correctly you could run on a different trail with different types of scenary every day.  In fact the number of trails in Minneapolis has been a contributing factor that moved us past Portland, Oregon as the most bike friendly city in the US (according to Bicycling magazine).

Today, I decided that I would revisit one of the first longer runs I ever attempted.  On April 24th of last year I ran from my house down the Trout Brook trail, down the Gateway, around Phalen and back to my apartment.  This is approximately 10.5 miles.  Looking back at my running log, it took me 1:40 at a 9:07 pace.  I remember getting done with this run and wonder "How in the hell can anyone run a marathon?"  I had started to doubt that I would ever be able to run a marathon let alone run a half marathon.  I was so tired could barely move after this run.

Well fast forward almost a year and I redid that same run, but this time I brought my camera.

Me running by a little pond on the Trout Brook trail

The trees along the trail are starting to sprout some leaves

An old Rail Road bridge along the trail

Getting a bit closer to Phalen

Passing under the roads to get to Phalen

Still no leaves on the trees at Phalen but it sure was windy.

Some guy fishing

If you look closely this is the guy who walks his cat on a leash as I mentioned in a previous post. Unfortunately there was no monkey man.

Finishing up the loop around Phalen.

I finished up the run in 1:22 at a 7:50 pace and had a lot more energy in me.  Not only did I shave off 20 mins from the run but it was barely a struggle at all.  Its amazing to see how far you can come with a little training.

Todays music selection is one of my from one of my favorite current stars of the Honky Tonk, Wayne "The Train" Hancock.  I chose this song not only because it is one of my favorites but also for the thunderstorms that rocked my apartment this morning.  Enjoy!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Last of the "long" runs until the Lincoln marathon!

Well I have not been doing such a great job at posting lately but I have kept up my running.   I was down in NE last weekend visiting Lindsey and we had a couple of good runs.  Saturday was a Easter family get together and we went for a 5+ mile run with her brother and sister (both running the Lincoln half).  The weather had been nice and warm but the wind was insane.  On the way back the cross wind was actually blowing my legs into each other.  On Sunday, Lindsey and I went for a 20-miler on the Billy Wolf and Rock Island trails.

This is us running across the Dam at Hydes Park (I think that was the name of it)
Just shortly after the above picture was taken we saw a kid flying a kite

On our long run, something curious happened.  My left foot went totally numb while I was running.  It stayed numb for a mile or so and then curiously disappeared (the pain not my foot).

Last week was a great week, the first week I had run 40+ miles since the beginning of January.  I typically have been running about 30 - 35 miles a week but wish I could run much more.

This week I got back to my 30-35 miles week.  I would have done more but did not get a chance to get out on Monday and Tuesday.  Most of my runs this week, I was running consistently at below a 8:00 pace and most of my pain issues have slipped away.  On my long run yesterday along the river, the numb foot started up again.  I looked online at a couple of places (here for an example) and they said that it is typically from a small shoe or overly tight laces.  I do not feel like my laces are too tight and it only occurs in my left foot.  I hope its not the shoes because I have fallen in love with my Mizuno Waveriders and they feel perfect on my feet.  Since I had these shoes, my PF and shin issues have pretty much disappeared.

The Lincoln marathon is three weeks away.  I am feeling pretty good about it.  There are two things that I am looking forward to:  One, the course is very flat compared to the Austin Marathon a couple of months ago.
Click HERE to see Austins.

Second, the Lincoln Track Club has tried to get the finish line to finish in the Huskers stadium since they started the marathon and finally was able to get it to occur this year.

And .... a video from Webb Pierce!  Happy runnings.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Two good runs in a row!

Well it has been amazingly beautiful here in Minnesota this past week.  The weatherman said that its suppose to be closer to normal temperatures next week so I am trying to take advantage of this weather.

On Monday, I was feeling tired after my "recovery" bike ride so I ended up taking the day off.  Tuesday, I decided to run at Phalen and the place was packed.  To me, Phalen is one of the more perfect places to run.  It is 3.125 miles in one loop and has good hills.  Depending on the direction you go you can make the hills more gradual or steep.  All and all a good place despite its bad reputation.
The first loop I kept it at a 8:10 pace and was feeling tired but I started pushing it a bit harder.  I ended up doing two laps at a 7:23 pace.

Today, weather once again great but I was feeling a bit on the dehydrated side.  Today I ran around the Saint Paul campus.  Typically, a loop around the campus and through the fair grounds is a 4-mile loop (almost exactly).  I added in a little more around Como Ave to get the large hill on Como for a total of 4.75 miles.  Today I ran at a 7:39 pace.  Great run!

Tomorrow, I am running with the running group and I am looking forward to it.  We are meeting at the Presidents house and will do a River loop.   I will try to take some pictures.

In honor of my dehydration today, here is some Marty Robbins:

Monday, March 29, 2010

I just cant live that fast anymore

Its crazy that I have not posted all week and I promise I will do better this week.  I want to welcome all the new followers this week.  I look forward to following your blogs!

 This week just zipped by but it was a good week.  I put in a few runs this week running between 3-6 miles each day.  I am well below what I was running this summer but I have been so tired in the evenings.  I think one of the reasons is that I have once again drifted back to my old way of eating three meals a day.  Last summer during my peak mileage I was eating five times a day which provided me the energy to do longer runs (6 - 10) during the evening.  Now, I just feel wiped out around 3 to 4 pm and do not have it in me for the long runs.

On Saturday, I went running with a new running group.  I am not sure if they have a name but it was a good group.  We went running on the Greenway trail from Saint Paul out to Lake Calhoun and back about a 14 mile and back.  Because they are just initiating their training I added an additional 6 miles running along the river.  It was a great run and it was so nice to get it out of the way so early in the morning.   I talked to one of the runner's Tony about some of the marathoning/Iron manning experiences he has had.  I mentioned to him that Lindsey and I are thinking of trying to run a marathon in every state.  After this year we will have all of the same four states finished ... Minnesota, Texas, Nebraska, and New York.  We are thinking of trying to hit some of the more local marathons next year .... maybe Wisconsin (The Whistle Stop), Iowa, Fargo ND, or maybe something in South Dakota.  He said there are three that he highly recommends.  These are Big Sur in California, NY City Marathon, and the Marine Corp marathon in DC.  I really would like to run in all the big ones someday (NY, Chicago, and Boston [duh!]).  What are your favorite marathons?  Are there any other marathons you would recommend?

On Sunday, I went for my first bike ride of the year and it was GLORIOUS!  I have missed riding so much.  I rode with my friend Dave and Marcus out on the Greenway.  I did not have much in me after running the long run the day before but we ended up doing 21 miles at about an 18 mph pace.  Great ride.  Here are some pictures from the trip:

Pedestrian bridge over Minnehaha.

Dave and Marcus speeding away.

On the way back trying to keep up with Dave.

Marcus still smiling.

I have had this song in my head all day and thought I would share with you.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

a lot to report

Well, it has been a very eventful past few days.  On Thursday, I took advantage of the beautiful weather and ran a seven miler around campus.  It was absolutely amazing outside and at my first sub-8 min pace in a while.  It was great and these runs have been building my running confidence back up.  Lindsey does not agree with me, but I have this feeling that taking such a long break after my last marathon screwed up my muscles.  Given it was a hard race and I pushed myself, I think taking the two weeks off with very little running introduced all sorts of kinks and knots in my muscles that have take A LONG time to get worked out.

After my run, without realizing that the campus was closed I left my shoes in my gym locker.  The problem with leaving them here was that I would not be able to get them before the race (Get Lucky 7K!) on Saturday.  The only option I had, since I turned my last old pair into screw shoes, was to go out and by a new pair.  I had never been to Gear Running Store in Edina but I thought because that is where the packet pick up for the Get Lucky 7K! I would stop by and get a pair there.  The people working there were super friendly.  I had previously purchased a pair of Brooks Defynce (the ones stuck in my locker) and I have not loved these shoes and I wanted to try something different.  I tried on pretty much everything they had in stock and settled on a pair of Mizuno WaveRiders.  These shoes seemed to fit my feet perfect and I was going to have a couple of good runs in the next couple days to try them out.  Here is a pic of them:
 On Saturday was the day of the Team Ortho Get Lucky 7K! and it was freezing cold and windy outside.  Lindsey, Dave and Jon all ran the race with me.  I did not realize how cold it actually was until we got out there.  The wind was blowing right through my tights (I could not find my windproof underwear and would pay the price) and I had forgotten my gloves.  Lindsey and I did not want to go all out because we were planning on a long run this weekend so we thought we would bounce between an 8 and an 830 pace.  We also decided that we would run this entire race together, which we have never done before.

Here is a picture of Lindsey pre-race.  It was so chilly out that morning that we had to partake in some Dunn Brothers coffee before the race.

I was surprised at how popular this race is.  One thing that I have noticed with Team Ortho events is that they have been really well organized.  The routes have mileage markers, lots of portapotties, check in is perfect, and there is great race swag.  I really enjoy running these Team Ortho events and I highly suggest people looking into the whole range of events they have planned this year.

Lindsey and I started at the 8:30 pace location and it was pretty packed.  We continually moved up throughout the race.  The above picture was taken right at the start.  I was a little worried with this part of the race because there were so many potholes and I was very worried about turning an ankle.  It was also freezing and because I had no gloves my hands felt like they were about to break off.

As you can see from this picture, we really picked up the pace and were likely running about a 7 min pace.  By this point, I was no longer cold and was sweating like the dickens!

And after 6.5 K here is the finish portion of the race with Minneapolis in the background.    It really was a great finish!  Lindsey and I crossed the finish line at the same time 33:20, which turned out to be around a 7:40 pace.  Much better than what was expected.  Here are some of the other stats:

overall place: 228 out of 2593
division place: 42 out of 181
gender place: 173 out of 858

Lindsey did very well and placed in the top 10 of her division.  I am super proud of her!

Lindsey and I sat down at the finish and waited for Dave and Jon to cross the lines.  While we were waiting there, Julie, a fellow Minnesota blogger crossed the finish line shortly after us.   I had never met her in person before so I yelled out her name.  Julie is super nice and always posts encouraging comments on my blog.  Here is a picture of her and I that I stole from her blog (check out her rundown of the race too!)  It was nice getting to meet her and her husband in person and I hope that we get to run in some future runs together. 

After collecting up my sweatshirt we headed up to the car and got changed.  Included with our registration was a free beer at Kiernan's Pub.  The place was packed tight but after our beer, some good Irish music and great company we decided to head out.  First we all posed for a picture. 

My new shoes held up fantastically and I was starting to think these may be the shoes for me. 

Today, Lindsey and I had our long run.  Not overly thrilled with having to run this today we headed out to Chanhassen again to run the Three Rivers regional trail again.  This time I decided to run half of it south and then run the northern half that I ran last week.  In the middle, a cliff shot and water break.  The run was hard and even though the weather was good, it was not the best run.  Turned out though that we ran it at a really good pace, 8:40 which is the fastest long run I have had in quite some time.  I really love running with Lindsey and it was great to have her up this weekend to run.  Next week is a 20 miler and unfortunately that will have to be me running solo. 

My shoes survived the long run and fit my feet like a sock.  Fantastic!  I am so glad I got these shoes!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

if you are in minnesota you need to get out and run today!

I am a little surprised looking out the window right now, there is abundant sunlight and not a cloud in the sky.  When I looked at the weather report on Friday they said today was going to be another gray foggy day but its pretty much the opposite.  I had planned on going to do a short 3 mi recovery run from my house but when I got outside in shorts and a t shirt I was amazed at how nice it was.  The sun actually warmed me up.

My "recovery" run quickly turned into one of the nicest runs I have had in a long while.  My legs were not heavy and I was not exhausted from the get go, so I pushed on a little longer running up the gateway trail.  The trail was in great shape no snow or ice, kids on their bikes and people walking.  I got back and looked at my phone and it said just shy of 5 mi and at a 8:00 min pace.  I am so happy that spring is finally here and I can run again!

While I was running I gave the Crazy Heart Soundtrack a try and I have been surprised at how good it is.  I have been hearing some of the songs on the Swinging Doors show on KEXP and in the mix on Bootliquor on SomaFM.  I have yet to see the move never seems to work out right.  Anyways, Jeff Bridges and Colin Farrel both have great singing voices and the music is pretty good. Here is the title track from the soundtrack by Ryan Bingham:

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Hell yeah, a good long run!

  This past week I have only been able to run 3 miles each day due to this roving leg issue.  One day my left hip is bothering me, the next its the knee, and then jumps to the shin on my next leg.  Despite this wandering injury and my lack of packing in the miles, I registered for the Lincoln NE marathon on May 2nd on Thursday.  Lindsey has run this marathon several times and has really enjoyed it.  I am looking forward to it, now I just need to get back into the training schedule.  

So I went out for a 16 miler today and was a little hesitant about how it may go given the leg issues.  Before the run, I was down in Chanhassen as part of my job and thought that I would give the old rail trail a shot.  I went out north from Lake Riley and the trail was in really good condition.  One area close to the lack was still a little icy and mushy but the rest of the trail was in excellent shape.  I did an eight out and back.  On the way out it was directly into the wind and I had been a little under dressed but I kept up a really good 8:00 min pace.  No issues with the leg.  On the way back, the lack of water started getting to me and I was cramping up and my pace slowed dramatically.  All and all, the run was great and really picked up my mood.  I know I should not get demoralized by crummy runs but when you have several of them in a row, it can sap your drive to keep going.  Todays run was just what I needed, next time bring some water with me though.  

I was thinking this past week of some running goals for next year.  I am a goal oriented person and like to have tasks that I need to meet.  Keeps me going.  This year I am attempting to run four marathons in a year.  I ran Twin Cities in October, Austin in February, next is Lincoln and then Wineglass marathon in early October.  If I can get all of these done it will probably be the accomplishment of my first, physical/endurance goals in my life, especially given that I had only started running at this time last year.   So ... I was thinking of next year.  I do not think I am going to try to do this many marathons again in a year as it gets expensive and its hard taking the time off of work, but I plan on running two marathons a year at least for the foreseeable future.  One thing is I could try doing a smaller (i.e., 30-ish miles) ultramarathon.  The other was something  I stumbled across called Marathon Maniacs.   There are several levels of being a marathon maniac.  Most I do not have the time or the effort to try to accomplish unless I quit my job and trained full time (still I am not sure if my body would hold up).  The bronze level seems like it would be the most achievable to me.  I would need to:  1. 2 Marathons within a 16 day time frame or 2. 3 Marathons within a 90 day time frame.  I think I could run two marathons within 16 days or 3 within 90.  Well, its something to keep thinking about anyways.  

Song of the post is from the Gin Palace Jesters I used to see playing in Chicago during my brief stint there.  A bunch of great people and a really good follow up album, Road House Riot ... and other songs with words.  The last song on the album is perhaps my favorite of the album,Last One's Left Waltz.  Check them out.  

Monday, March 8, 2010

accuracy of running tools

Well, I am not sure how I managed it but I ended up catching the plague again.  I spent the better part of the weekend laying in bed with a tremendous sinus headache/congestion.  By Sunday, I had gathered up enough strength and felt good enough to go for a long run with Lindsey.

The run started out difficult as I had a hard time finding my stride.  My left leg has been so very tight since the Austin marathon but my mile three it had loosened up.  The run even cleared up my head and I felt really good the rest of the day.  On my run, I decided to try out jogtracker on my HTC Hero phone. We ran the entire run and noticed that the route was longer than we expected, in fact, it was an entire mile longer.  Mapmyrun tracked the run as 14.88 and jogtracker on my phone tracked it as 15.88.  I looked online and there appears to be pretty good support that Mapmyrun is accurate.

Zooming in close the map on jogtracker did not appear to follow our route too closely.  Has anyone ever used any of these phone apps?  Is there one better than the other?

In honor of the Slim Whitman record I have playing right now here is a little diddy by the man:

Thursday, March 4, 2010

finally some warmth!

Well it is now the start of March and finally the weather has turned.  Its been sunny all week and the 10 million feet of snow is now melting.  I can already feel my mood turning to hope.  This winter has been long as I have mentioned in almost every blog so far.  I kind of find this striking because I love winter but for some reason it has dragged on me this year.  I think there are probably two reasons for this: 1) I actually ran outside and trained for a marathon through the depth of the Minnesota winter and 2) for my job I spent most of every week outside in the freezing cold and on the ice.  The amount of time that I spent outside in the cold could damper even the most die hard winter lover.

Anyways, Lindsey and I tried to get back into the running again after about two weeks off from the Austin marathon.  I had run a few times during my "break"  but not very much.  I did notice that the few times I had been running there was an incredible tightness in my hips which in turn, led to some knee issues.  Well we tried running the Gateway trail, hoping to do a five and back, but the time we got to the trail it was a sheet of ice.  Luckily, I had my phone with jogtracker and we were able to map out a course.  It started off fine and I felt really strong.  On the way back though I started to get this horrible stabbing pain in my knee.  It was like someone was sliding a hot screwdriver under my patella.  It would go away and then I would try to run again and then BAM there it was again.  Not fun and not nice.  I ended up walking the last 3.5 miles and feeling pretty demoralised about the run.  I think one of the reasons why is connected to the tightness in the hips.  I ended up taking off most of the week cause I had to go to a meeting up in Brainerd but attempted my triumphant return today.

It was great outside today! The sun was shining, the snow is melting, birds are singing and I was running in some shorts.  It was an easy run around campus just under 5 miles at an 8ish pace.  Best part:  no knee pain.  I have been trying to get back into my stretching routine and I think that it may be helping.  One of the best ones I have found is the pigeon:
NOTE:  I do not look this graceful or relaxed doing this pose, in fact there may be a pained look on my face.  

I am going to keep my fingers crossed because I need to get back into the swing of things. The Lincoln marathon is coming up fast and I want to break the 330 mark.  

Musical suggestion:  Today while I was running I was going through some old music on my phone.  Last year around this time I was listening the hell out of Elliot Brood (a three-piece Canuck alt-country band. ) Here is one of my favs:


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

It feels good to be back running

I had originally planned on starting to run again this weekend, but the weather was pretty crummy in Lincoln so we put it off.  The more I kept thinking about it, the more I have been getting excited about getting back into running.  The weather is slowing going to start improving and the days are starting to get longer, making it much easier to run outside.  Plus, the Lincoln marathon is less than two months away so its time to get back on track.  I am looking forward to the Lincoln marathon and maybe hoping to improve my time a little farther.  Ideally, I would like to break the 3:30 mark and I think I could do it here.  We will see how the training goes and maybe shedding another few pounds might help.

Yesterday, I went and ran on the treadmill for a 3 miler and I was shocked that I had intense knee pain.  At first I was not going to be able to make a mile but held on for the remaining two miles.  The knee pain went away and I have no idea where it came from or where it went but I am glad its gone.  Today, it was cold and there was an intense wind blowing through.  Thank god for windproof underwear.  One of the cool things about todays run is that I got to try out some of the new apps for my new phone.  I recently bought Lindsey and I some HTC Hero phones and have been exciting about all the apps availiable for the phone.  I know there are a ton of running related apps for the iPhone but was not sure what was available for Android.  I found an app called jogtracker and took it for a spin around Como Lake.  The app easily tracked my distance and recorded my time.  I do wish the app had more with keeping track of workouts (calories, etc).  The other cool app that I had is an online music player called AOnline radio which will allow me to play two of my favorite stations Boot Liquor Radio from Soma.FM and KEXP.


Do you have any favorite running apps?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Austin Recap, Part Two

In continuation from yesterday ...

There were a lot of people so it took us just over 5 mins to cross the start line. The beginning of the run was great. Here is a map of the course:

Note:  I am not sure why the map says the course is 26.75 miles.

A lot of people cheering for you and it was nice running down S. Congress. Once we crossed the congress bridge the hills started. I felt bad seeing some people already huffing and puffing 2 miles into the race, especially knowing what I know now about the course.  All and all this short part of the course was great. It was definitely on the crowded side but given the hills, I was able to move around the people. It was really great having Lindsey and Cara at the beginning as we worked into our strides.

As we started heading towards mile seven I had gotten into a good pace and separated from Lindsey and Cara. After mile seven, it seemed like we were almost constantly heading up hills. Only a few, really seemed steep but I could feel the almost constant climb. At around mile 10 or 11, the marathoners split from the halfers and that’s when the course got much harder but the crowd support in this area was really great and it was fantastic to hear the encouragement from the crowd. Thinking that there was going to be a Gu stop at around mile marker 20, I decided to take my cliff shots at around mile 13. It was a good thing that I did because I had not realized that the whole back side of my shorts had crept down and was practically below my butt.

I think the worst stretch of the route was miles 15 through 17 and this was because we were primarily running along a highway. At mile 18, we finally got to start heading down hill again. I felt incredible for the run and was actually surprised when the 20 mile marker came around. Worse part, I NEVER saw the Gu station so did not get the needed energy boost. At this point I had settled somewhere between the 3:40:00 pace group and the 3:35:00 pace group and told myself that I was going to step it up when I hit the 23 mile marker. I was suprised at how good I was feeling but then my floor suddenly dropped out at mile 25 and it became a mental struggle to keep up the pace. I had been running a 8:01 min pace between miles 13 and 20, but the last 10K it dropped to 8:22.

I rounded the Texas capital and started going down a hill and the crowd support just erupted. It was amazing, everyone was screaming for each runner coming down. I looked up at the clock as I crossed the finish and it said 3:40 ish. I collected my medal and shirt and ate some food. Not shortly after I found both Lindsey and Cara and they were super happy with their times.

We hobbled back the mile back to the hotel and I went to check my name on the race results and … my name did not show up. I thought well maybe it was not ready yet so I checked Lindsey’s and Cara’s times and both of them showed up. It turned out that the chip never triggered my finish time. Has that ever happened to anyone before? Cara said it had happened to her at the Little Rock half marathon. I was super bummed because I had just PR’ed this race and it seemed like something between 5 and 10 minutes. I emailed the race people and he said all my splits showed up but he did not have a finish time so we would have to wait for the finish photos. Well those came out last evening and we were able to get the proper finish time. It was great that I got to start side-by-side with Cara and Lindsey because we were able to use the difference between their gun times and chip times as mine. So to put a conclusion on this long, long story I finished in 3:35:09, slightly off of my goal of 3:30:00 but given how hard this course and that I PR’ed by 8.5 minutes and was I was super happy.

Here were my standings:

Clock time
Chip time
Overall place
Gender place
Division Place
Age grade
  This was such a great experience, and although very stressful and hard, it was great to experience this with two great friends.  Now I am finishing my week break and will start running again this weekend (two short runs).  The Lincoln marathon is not far away!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Austin Recap, Part One

ell, I am not sure if you thought I might have died or been captured by aliens but I am back.  To spoil the story right off the bat, I survived my cold and made it to Austin and even finished the race.  The story is long so I am going to split it into two parts, one tonight and the other tomorrow.  Lets start!

Last week, I had that dreaded cold and was feeling pretty stressed and worried about the upcoming marathon in Austin. I took the advise that you shared with me and vitamined up and gradually felt better. The crummy thing was I only ran a few miles early in the week and by the time it got to getting to Austin, I felt really unprepared. I know its probably idiotic, but even though I busted my butt all winter running that I had screwed everything up the two weeks before the marathon. 

Lindsey, Cara, and I flew into Austin on Saturday with relatively few complications, especially considering that Dallas had gotten a foot of snow that night. My friend Rachel picked us up at the airport and dropped us off at the Holiday Inn Round Lake in Austin. Cara found this hotel and it was super nice because it was just a mile from S. Congress, the Expocenter and the marathon starting point. After dropping our bags off we took a shuttle to the expo to retrieve our chips, numbers, and to browse the wares. 

The expo was pretty large and had the usual vendors. We first went and got our numbers and chips. One of the give-aways to the runners was this cool bag:

and the best part:

The bag is designed for runners so there is a pouch for your shoes and all sorts of running gear. We took in some of the freebies and Cara and Lindsey went off to seek some of the good deals. I was not looking for anything in particular since I found the stuff I really needed in the past couple of weeks.

After the expo we headed out and took a look at the race Start/Finish and then grabbed some lunch and back to the Hotel room. We were all pretty tired by this point so we took a nap for a bit. By this point, I was getting antsy and knew I needed to go out and get a run in (the fear of not running much all week infiltrated my dreams). I was not prepared for the warmth of Austin so I overdressed for the run (it was 60 degrees but my phone said 39). Lindsey and I went out for a run just short of two miles.

It calmed me a bit and helped get some of the stiffness and cramps out of my legs. After a shower we got a taxi and went out to dinner. We had planned eating the traditional dinner of pasta but the restaurant we had planned on going to was PACKED so we walked down to another restaurant down the road.

Next morning we got up at 5 am and showered and prepared for the marathon. It was Lindsey’s birthday so we wished her a very Happy Birthday and Happy Valentines as well! It is always so hard to figure out what the heck to wear for a marathon. It was cold in the morning and the sun was not up yet so it was important to be warm but I did not want to be dressed like I did the day before for my short jog. I settled on my Saucony short shorts and tank top with my EMS bergelene top. I figured I could take off the top if I got too warm. We took a shuttle to the starting point. Here are a couple pictures of the pre-race.
Walking towards the starting line

The start line

Finding an open portapotty

Looking a bit nervous before the race

The plan was that we were all going to try to stay together for the first few miles and then depending how we were feeling break out from there. We lined up with the 9:00 minute pace group figuring we would move up. The gun went off, complete with fireworks, and we all started moving up.

More tomorrow!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010


I went to bed feeling great last night but then around 3 am I started waking up every hour from a SORE THROAT!

Then when I was getting ready for work the nasal drip started. I can't be sick. The marathon is only a few days away. I hope it clears up by then. I was going to go for a run tonight, but rather than pushing it I am going to go work in the office. Please, please go away!

Have you every raced with a cold?

Monday, February 8, 2010

another race added

Lindsey and I registered for our next race last night, the Get Lucky! 7K put on by Team Ortho in Minneapolis. It looks like a nice short race and you get a hoodie and this cool medal for the finishers:
Its similar to the Polar Dash medal in the whole stained glass theme.  I am excited about his race.  These shorter races are a lot of fun.  Any one else running this race?
Ran an easy three miles tonight on the treadmill.  Went pretty quick and was nice that I got to watch TV while I did.  Nothing beats running and watching a documentary about the Nazi war machine getting schmatz by the Air Force to keep you moving.  

I am wondering if I am going to go to the Metrodome tomorrow.  I have only missed one run there but I am wondering if its worth the drive over there for only three miles.  We will see!