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!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

one week from today, I will be running and running and running

The Austin Marathon is now less than one week away.  The weather outlook says that is going to be 56, 6 mph winds, and a few showers. I am a bit nervous about the race, particularly that I am not that familiar with the route and the courses hilly nature.  It was nice when I prepared for the Twin Cities marathon that I pretty much ran the entire route before the race and had a pretty good idea of what to expect.  Lindsey found this posting about the race course by Robin Hill at the Austin Post.  Robin starts out by saying 
Despite the hills, runners get faster times in Austin than on other, flatter Texas courses. But running well here is all about planning and some self-control - if you’re smart and patient, you won’t give up much time, and you’ll get enough long, faster stretches to recover and catch a little time back. Fail to manage the hills, and you’ll pay the price later.
I have been pretty good about hills but nervous about the general uphill nature of the course until about mile 18.  It looks like after that point it is primarily downhill until a slight uphill finish. My goal is to run atleast as well as I did in the Twin Cities marathon (8:30 pace), but I would like to keep it at an 8:00 pace overall.  We will see how it goes!

Lindsey and I went to Marshalls in Roseville yesterday to see if they had any running/fitness gear.  Here is what I found:

There were a bunch of Under Armour Heat Gear tights so I grabbed a pair (20$).  I also found an Asics StormShelter jacket (39$).  I mentioned this in previous posts, but I have been looking for a good water proof jacket, so I was very happy to find this jacket at a cheap price (normally around 130$).  Lindsey and I ran our final 8 miler last night around Phalen.  The run was good we kept it at a nice and steady pace.  The new gear worked and felt great when I ran.  The tights, I guess intended for warm weather, kept me feeling comfortable as long as I kept out of the wind.  The jacket was also a great fit.

Well, I still have a few more of my favorite albums to share from 2009.  The next album, is from honky tonker James 'Slim' Hand and called "Shadow on the ground"
Hand is a genuine honky tonker, in the vein of Hank Williams.  Shadow on the ground is chock full of everything you want in a country album, songs about drinking and heartbreak.  And then there is this song, about his pet parakeet.

I actually listen to this album frequently when I run in the Metrodome. You should check it out.

Friday, February 5, 2010

NPR story on barefoot running

Last night I went for my usual run at the Metrodome.  I did five miles at a 7:45ish pace and it was difficult.  Similar to Tuesday, suddenly my left shoe seems to be fitting weird.  It feels like someone with a foot two sizes bigger than mine crammed their foot in the shoe and went for a 20 miler, so it feels like my foot is slipping around in the shoe.  When I try to lace it up a bit tighter, I get a pressure point at the top of my foot.  As a result my gait was thrown off and I had terrible shin pains in my right leg.  It was no fun and worries me getting so close to the Austin Marathon (leaving in a week).  Anyone have any suggestions?

In a somewhat related running story that I heard in the news lately, NPR ran a story about barefoot running.  Here is a link to the story.  The author of a story, a proponent of the "human runner" school in Anthropology, studied the difference in running between people that run with shoes and without shoes.  He found that people who learn to run with shoes, hit heel first causing strong shockwaves, whereas people that learn to run without shoes land at the ball of their foot causing almost no shock.  The video provided with the story is pretty interesting.

I have been reading a lot more about barefoot running and think its an interesting idea.  I think that my biggest fear running barefoot would revolve around the environment.  I know there are things like the Vibram five fingers
but I would worry about cutting my foot on glass, rocks, and other miscellaneous debris.  I have cut and poked my feet with enough sharp things (e.g., fish hooks and cactus spines) walking around  to know that it just plain sucks!  The other concern is, how the hell are you suppose to train during the winter.  I have had enough trouble training for the marathon (note: I will not train for another winter marathon again) in normal gear, I could not imagine trying it "barefootish."

Happy Friday!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

a packed metrodome

Went for a 5 mile run tonight in the Metrodome.  It was very packed tonight.  I know I have mentioned this before but I really love running around other runners.  It does not matter if they are faster than me or slower, but there is something about being in an area where there are a lot of other runners. It is one of the main reasons why I like running in both the metrodome and around the Calhoun lakes.

Run tonight was a pretty blah run.  I was tired and my shoes just did not feel comfortable.  My left shoe started out too tight and when I loosened the laces I felt like I was sliding all over the place.  As a result I had this terrible throbbing pain in my right shin. Rather than pushing it for the 1 mile more and potentially screwing something up so close to the marathon, I just stopped. 

I was curious if anyone has heard any of the running related stories that have been on NPR in the last week?  MPR has been talking about the Arrowhead 135, an ultramarathon in the Minnesota Arrowhead Ultramarathon tests endurance limits | Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ.  Its a 135 mile, unsupported marathon through the Minnesota Arrowhead region.  The cool thing is that you can run it, you can bike it, or you can ski it.  The bike that most people use is the local, Surly Pugsley
I have no desire to participate in such an extreme endurance challenge like this where not only do you have to deal with the endurance part of participating in the ultramarathon but have to deal with melting the snow for water and competing in subzero temperatures. I do though truly respect the people that attempt a feat like this, even the ones that do not finish.  Hats off to you ultramarathoners competing in this challenge!

Monday, February 1, 2010

rejuvination ... sorta

Well last week was a rough week.  The past few weeks as part of my research, I have been spending a lot of time outside and seemed to have spent an inordinate amount of time in the especially colder temperatures last week.  As a result, I was just plain exhausted and in a bad funk.  Here is an little video that a professional photographer put together during some of our research two weeks ago in Gervais Lake in the west Metro.

I ended up only running at the Metrodome on Thursday night (6 miles) and a 12 miler on Sunday.  I am suppose to be tapering but crapola that was quite the drop in mileage, I just had no desire to run mentally or physically.  I barely even kept up with all the running blogs.  I went to NE to visit Lindsey this weekend and ran my 12 miler and it was such a good run.  I ran at a good clip and it restored me.  I do not think I have had a single good long mileage run this winter. I have never tried running in the depth of a Minnesota winter but it was much more difficult than I thought. I think after I reach my goal of 4 marathons in a year, this October, I will no longer train for a marathon during the winter months.  Still run, but no training.

Lindsey has been having some knee issues and has been concerned about the upcoming Austin Marathon (12 days!).  I tried giving her a massage on her calves and the back of her knee and was shocked at how notted up it was.  After working on it pretty intensely it unlocked somewhat and her knee pain was GONE.  We went to the Lincoln Running Co. and talked to Ann and she recommended the Trigger Point products.  The package came with a couple of DVDs and some balls and rollers to work your calves and feet.  Here is Lindsey doing some of the excercises (notice the grimace):

She said that although her calves are sore, the knee pain is gone. Hopefully, the pain continues to subside and she gets back into peak form.  I tried the same exercises and I was amazed.  Typically after a longer run, I always wake up with plantar facitalis the next morning but after doing these routines I had almost NO pain this morning. 
Well, after last weeks crummy week, I am ready to get back on the ball and complete my training.  I can not believe Austin is less than two weeks away!