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: