Sunday, January 24, 2010

Last 20 miler until the marathon

Well I went ahead and did it, I completed the last 20 miler of this training period.  Next week is an easy 12 and then 8.  I do not know what I am going to do with all this extra energy.

I went running at the Calhoun Chain of Lakes.  For the first loop, I ran with my friend Lauren.  She is currently training for her first half marathon in Long Beach on Feb. 7.  It was nice having a running partner for the first half of the run.  The trails were pretty good, the worse spots were the connections between Lake Harriet and Lake Calhoun and then between Lake Calhoun and Lake of the Isles.  Did not end up using my screwshoes but it looks like I will have another opportunity this week.   It was pretty grey out and drizzled on us from time to time.

Second loop, I tried to keep it at around an 8 min pace and zipped around the lakes.  I felt pretty good, though my legs were cramping up about 500m from my finish point.  I was telling Lauren on our first loop that last time I saw some people windsurfing with snowboards out on Calhoun but they were not out there when we went by.  On my second loop, there they were:

Well, off to watch the Vikings game. 

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Necessity is the mother of all inventions

Well not invention but creation but I will get to that in a little bit.

As many of you may know, today was a pretty cruddy day.  Today was warm but rainy and I ended up needing to work today until noon so I missed my best chance of getting a long run in.  I decided that I would put it off until tomorrow which seems to work out cause I will get to run with Lauren around the Calhoun lakes.

I went and drove to the nearest access of the Gateway trail and saw that the conditions were less than ideal.  I decided that I would ....

yes, go for a snowshoe run.  It was a hard run and since it was super soft out.  I do not think I ever was so winded after a 5k run (i am guessing that was the length of the trail since they changed the course).  It was fun though and was able to try out the new jacket from the Running Room. 

Well given the conditions of the trails and the impending doom that is tomorrow (snow showers tonight and colder temperatures), I decided to make some screw shoes.  I had a friend from the UP tell me about how her husband makes these for her using ATV ice racing bits so I thought I would try to make some (I know that YakTrax are only 20$).  Before, I jumped into all of this I looked up "Screw shoes" before I started and found these two links HERE and HERE.  
I went to Menards and bought 100 sheet metal screws and some silicone caulk for 5$.

Notice the Polar Dash tag that I still have not
                                                    removed and the glass of Malbec.                                                    

I used my old shoes, though they have many, many miles on them. I ended up using 19 screws per shoe focusing on the greatest wear points and push off points.

We will see how they go tomorrow. 

Friday, January 22, 2010

early morning run

For some reason, my body has decided that it needs to wake up at 5am.  Not 5:15 not 4:59, but right smack on the nose, 5 am.  All week I have been fighting it, laying in bed and listening to NPR until 6.  This morning once again I wake right up at 5, listen to NPR for 15 minutes in bed, and decide that I will take advantage of this early rise by going to the gym to run the treadmill.  I would have preferred to have run outside but for those that may be reading this that are outside of Minn, everything is covered in a nice (or not so nice) sheen of ice. 

The treadmill was pretty good.  I ran an easy three miles just under an 8 min mile.  I probably could have gone for a few more but I plan on running my LAST 20 miler in this training regieme tomorrow and did not want to be tired for that.  Especially since I am going to be running it alone because my running partner is far away! 

Anyone in the Twin Cities area that reads this, do you know of any good routes that are not the Calhoun Lake loops or the Gateway trail?  I have run these to death and need a long run that does not require me to run on slick roads with oncoming traffic.

Good luck to all the Minnesota runners (and non-Minnesotan runners) that are running in the Securian 5K or Half marathon tomorrow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Where is everyone?

I ended up taking yesterday off.  For some reason my heels were hurting like hell yesterday.  Since I did the marathon in October, I wake up almost every morning with intense heel pain.  Good ole' plantar fasciitis.  It almost always goes away by the time I get to work it is gone (also with the aid of some ibuprofen) but yesterday I had pain all day long.  I thought that I should not push it last night.

Tonight, I went to the metrodome as usual and I was very surprised at how few people were there last night.  Where was everyone?  The roads were icy and fairly cruddy but they were not horrible.  Is everyone getting ready for the half marathon on Saturday?  Or could you just have been like me and plain tired.  I had wanted to run tempos again like on Tuesday but just did not have it in me.  Instead, I did 2 miles at an 8-830 minute pace, then did 2 miles at a 652 pace and then 2 miles at 8.

While I was running I was thinking about listening to music.  When I first started to run, I refused to run without an ipod.  I was actually worried about how I would make it through the Twin Cities marathon without one.  Then one day on a long run I decided to go without it.  Now, on all runs outside the metrodome or off the treadmill I do not use it.  I like being able to hear my breathing and pacing myself based on that.  I find that when I do have music on, I run to the pace of music and tend to have erratic paces or too fast of a pace.  What are your music listening preferences?  Ipod or no Ipod?

Speaking of music, here is another of my favorite albums of the year.  Slaid Cleaves, an artist out of Austin, released "Everything you love will be taken away." Not honky tonk per se but a magnificent americana blend of folk, country, and rock.  Typically, I just post a video of one of these songs from the album, but on his website he has this widget (below) that allows you to stream 4 of his songs.

iTunes sell music

But here is a video too:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tempo runs but feeling good

Went for a run tonight at the Metrodome. I got there much earlier than I have been lately, thanks to having a somewhat normal work day.  I had decided that I was going to try for tempo runs today.  My plan was to run a comfortable 8 minute mile then push myself for a mile then back to the comfortable and so on.  First faster run, I ended up running a 6:06 then a 6:40 and the last was a 6:34.  Not ultra fast or anything but it felt good at the end. 

Tomorrow, the weather is suppose to be kinda crummy but I was think of diversifying my running routine and getting a snowshoe run in at Phalen.  It really depends on how hard it is freezing rain and when I get out of lab meeting.   I know that their ski trail is about a 10K which would meet my Wednesday goals. 

I am going to share another one of my favorite 2009 albums, partly because this song as been stuck in my head all day.  The Maldives, another Seattle band,  released a new album this year that is magnitudes beyond than their great debut album. The musicianship by all 9 members of the band is superb.  The lyrics sung by front-man Jason Dodson are emotional, striking, and heartfelt.

Here is the song that has been stuck in my head ALL day (but I still love it):

Monday, January 18, 2010

Most expensive underwear ever

Its been a struggle shifting from wearing running shorts with liners to running pants.  Since it has been so incredibly cold lately, I have been trying to find the best running underwear to wear with my tights and running pants.  Typical boxers do not wick well enough, so being fairly cheap I went and bought some of the technical boxers at REI thinking these would be the answer.

Unfortunately, after trying them for several long runs, there are seams on the inner thigh that chafed my legs horrible.  On Sunday, I went to the Running Room on Grand and looked through their selection and it was pretty sparce but they did have these:

They did not have any bad seams and they had this extra benefit of having a wind guard in the front (sounds like a perfect idea on these COLD and WINDY MN days) but they were 25$.  I wind not normally spend 25 on a single pair of underwear but given the pain I have been in after the long runs I broke down and got them.   I gave them a try today on a 6.25 mile route around Phalen and I was amazed.  They worked great and no chafing issues, not sure how they will be on a long run but I will find out on my 20-miler this weekend.

I also found this jacket there:

Normally, the jacket was listed for 80$ and they had them onsale for 19.99$.  I have been looking for a better running jacket because I normally wear my Pearl Izumi cycling jacket.  The PI jacket is great for shorter runs (< 6 miles) but over that it gets sopping wet with sweat and then I FREEZE.  I also tried this new jacket today and it was fantastic.  It was such a great buy.

Weekly goals:
Sun: Off
Mon: 6 miles
Tues: 6 mile tempo (Metrodome)
Wed: 6 miles
Thur: 6 mile tempo (Metrodome)
Fri: 3-4 miles
Sat: 20 miles

I have also been thinking of sharing with you some of my favorite NEW albums from 2009.  It was a great year for some really good hardcore twang.  The first album is by Seattle native Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers.  This is an excellent album and has anything you could want:   Zoe's vocals and lyricism reminiscent of Dolly Parton, superb musicianship throughout but stellar mandolin and pedal steel.
Here is one of my favorite songs from the album:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday long run

Well, Lindsey and I were able to complete the longest run of this training schedule.  Here is the route we took.

We were happy at the start of the race:

All and all the run was good.  The weather was  nice (a whopping 25 degrees), though the wind was cold. I was really surprised at how crummy the condition of the trails though.  In many areas the trails were icy with hard packed snow and ice and we were forced to run on the road.  I have been having some Achilles tendon issues lately and I believe that it has something to do with running on the snow, particularly up hills.

There was some pretty cool graffiti on the trains when we ran through the energy park area:

And then got to see some Viking Warriors beating the crap out of each other in Como Park:

We finished up with our chocolate milk (my FAVORITE post-long run drink):

While Lindsey and I were running, we were talking about the benefits and costs of doing group training.  The motivation and the structure of group training is a great benefit, but the lack of flexibility has got to be a cost.  Because these runs take place at the same time every week, you can be forced to run in crummy conditions when waiting an hour or a day could make for a much happier run.  I have never trained with a group.  Have you ever trained in a group?  Do the benefits outweigh the costs for you?

Friday, January 15, 2010

An abbreviated description of my short life as a runner

Well, I got a few more miles in this week and I think I am ready for the longest run of training for the Austin Marathon.  Lindsey and I have a 22 miler tomorrow morning.  I really love training for marathons but I despise these really long runs.  They hurt and exhaust you, luckily you only have to do a few of them.  We have a 20 miler next weekend and then we get to start dropping the mileage.

I went to the Metrodome last night and it was a good run. 

I ran my scheduled 6 miles and at a pretty good pace.  I am not sure if its cause I have been getting there a bit later than I used to but I am surprised to see how many people are there.  Its never too many where its hard to run at a constant pace. I actually like seeing all the runners there and even though I do not know anyone, its nice seeing the same people week after week.

Running in the Metrodome last night got me thinking how much my life has changed over the year.  Last year at this time, I NEVER ran.  It was not until after I started dating Lindsey that she introduced me to running.  I started in March of 2009 but started off with tremendous hip pain.  With Lindsey's coaching I worked through a lot of the pain and I am not sure what happened but my hip pain disappeared.   I was truly inspired when Lindsey ran the Minneapolis Marathon last year.  I had never been to a running race before and could not imagine the thrill from seeing the runners through the mental and physical struggle of the marathon.

I really started following a running "schedule" when I got back from BRAN (a 454 mile Bike Ride Across Nebraska).  On a whim, I registered for the Twin Cities marathon.  I initially followed the beginner marathon training schedule from runners world but after three weeks I moved up to the intermediary schedule.  When the marathon came around, I was nervous but felt prepared.  I actually enjoyed every part of the marathon, even the last 6.2 miles.  I wanted to run at an 8:30 pace for the marathon and that was exactly what I did.

Shortly, after the marathon, Lindsey and I stumbled across the Austin marathon that takes place on her birthday.  Thus, we decided to start training for the marathon following a running schedule developed by Ann at the Lincoln Running Co.  I am hoping to run the marathon around an 8:00 pace.  We will see how it goes.

I also plan on running the Lincoln, NE Marathon and the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY.  The Wineglass marathon takes place on Oct. 3 which would mean that I would have run 4 marathons between Oct. 4 2009 - Oct. 3 2010.  The other cool thing about the Wineglass marathon is that my youngest sister and my mom are thinking of running in either the marathon or the relay.  I also plan on trying to do more 5Ks, 10Ks, and try my first half marathon but have not decided on specifics. 

2009 was a great year to start running and as an added bonus I lost 30 lbs.  I am looking forward to continue running through 2010 and meeting all the goals I set for myself. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

a tired metrodome run

After a long day out in the field on the ice, I made it out to the Metrodome last night for a run.  Originally, I had planned to run 8-10 miles but decided to limit it to just six last night.  When I got to the metrodome last night around 6 it was packed.  It is so nice to see runners of all levels there working out.  Run went good but I took it slow. 

Tonight I hope I can get out and get a run in during this heat wave (30+ degrees).  I never thought this day was going to come!

Monday, January 11, 2010

back from a weeks hiatus

Well, last week turned out to be a disaster as far as my running.  The cold that started out over the weekend hit me hard and kept me from going out all week.  Not exactly how I wanted to start out the new year.

On Friday, I travelled down to Lincoln to visit Lindsey since she is now back from Australia.  On Saturday, I finally went out and got new running shoes.  I think the last pair of shoes I bought were back in July.  If you figure I run an average of 30 miles a week (a conservative estimate) that is over 720 miles on one pair of shoes.  Since I started running last March, I have been using the Asics Cumulus series shoes (first the 10s then the 11s).  I really loved the 10s but had some issues with the 11s.  On the 11s they changed the side straps which created an awful tension point on the inside of my foot.  Over the 720 miles, I developed quite a callus in that point. I have been wanted to try a different shoe, so at the Lincoln Running Co. I tried the Mizuno Wave Rider and the Brooks Defyance.  I liked the Mizuno Wave Rider and could feel how much lighter the shoe was but it was hard to turn away from the cushion in the Brooks Defyance.  I broke in the shoes in a short 4mile run at the Lincoln Downtown Y.

The following day, Cara, Lindsey and I set out for our 20 mile long run.  I knew it was going to be a difficult run because I had not run all week but it was a DIFFICULT run.  I twisted my ankle in the snow and it took all I could to get through the run.  Thinking back across all my 20 mile training runs, I have never had a good 20 mile run.  Everyone hurts and is a mental struggle to get through.  Halfway through this run, I slipped into a very, very bad mood.  Luckily, Cara and Lindsey left me behind to wallow in my mood and I was able to work through it.  I ended up picking up the pace and finishing the entire run.

Today, I just finished up a 6.0 mile recovery run at Phalen Lake.  I really like running that lake.  For some reason when I run recovery runs at other places like Como, I struggle but this run tonight felt great and I could  feel all the lactic acid leaving my muscles.

In addition to a good run tonight, I FINALLY registered for the Austin marathon on Feb 14, 2010.  Lindsey and Cara registered too, so we are going to turn it into a road trip!

Weeks running outlook:
Sunday: 20 mile
Monday: 6 miles
Tuesday: 10 miles (metrodome)
Wednesday: 6 miles
Thursday: 6 miles (metrodome)
Friday: off
Saturday: 22 miles

Because I am back in running condition, here is a little diddy by Gene Autry:

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Under the weather

Ever since the Polar Dash on Friday I have just been wiped out and managed to pick up a cold in the process.  I meant to get out and do my long run (20 miles) but between feeling like crud and having too much work to do, I missed it.  Almost as if they had known, in the most recent issue of Runners World there is an article entitled "Moving Target:  How to outrun germs this cold season-and overcome the symptoms if a virus hits you."  Based on the way I am feeling, I fall into the second category of having the scratchy throat and stuffy nose but not full blown sick.  They suggest three things:  1) Don't skip your run, 2) Tend to your nose, and 3) Drink water throughout the day.  I have two and three under control but totally fell through with the run.  They suggest that when you are feeling under the weather, exercise can temporarily relieve the symptoms and not make you worse.  What are you suppose to do if its hard to muster the energy to fight the below zero chill? This is the first time I have missed a long run on the weekend and its frustrating.  I am hoping that maybe on Wednesday morning I can make up the run first thing in the morning (plus only suppose to be a low of ZERO).

This weeks goals are:
Monday: 6 miles
Tueday: 8 miles at the metrodome
Wednesday: 18-20 miles (maybe?)
Thursday: 4 miles at the metrodome
Friday: 6 miles
Saturday:  back on schedule for my long run!

In honor of this tired and lazy weekend here is some ole stuff from the Carter Sisters:

Friday, January 1, 2010

Ringing in the new year

Wow, these past few days have just flown by.  I ended up taking Wednesday off from running and went for some skate skiing at Como Park for a little bit.  I forgot how much of a workout that is.  I really need to spend some time working on my technique.  I just started last year and I struggle trying to get the V1 down.  Strangely, I have no problem doing the supposedly more difficult V2.

Last night, was New Years Eve and I went for a 4-miler at the Metrodome again, but brought my friend Lauren. I felt good getting the run done and not having to use the horrid treadmill.    

Today was the Polar Dash at 11am. It is part of the Team Ortho Marathon Series.  Here is some more info on the race by Heather Brown from WCCO-TV. Got a knit hat and gloves as part of the race swag, really nice.

  This was my first 10K and I was pretty excited about it.  Problem was no one I knew was there watching or participating, which kind of stunk, and it was freaking cold, 2 degrees.  I dressed warm with tights, my Mizuno Breath Thermal (one of the best items I ever purchased) and my new REI balaclava.  I started out with the 7:49 pace group but moved ahead of them by the first mile check.  It was a good out-and-back route, along the East River Parkway starting from the Shriners hospital.  I felt good through most of the race except that my eyelashes froze into my eyebrows which in turn froze into my hat.  Finished in 44:09 which is a 7:07 pace.  My goal had been to do a 7:30 pace so I was really happy.  I do think that if I had gotten a little more sleep last night and did not drink so many alcoholic beverages I would have been able to get a little faster.  All and all, a very fun and successful first 10K and a great way to ring in the new year.

Race Stats