Wednesday, December 31, 2008

End of Year!

I will attempt to do a brief summary of the year... maybe tomorrow. Not much to report since it was another downer of a year as far as performances went.

Today was my last run of 2008 and I had to do it on the treadmill. Not exactly what I would have wished for but it was a good run anyway. Once I warmed up I set the speed at 8 mph and didn't touch it until I was done. Even at this easy pace I could tell the HR was at it's upper limits for aerobic conditioning but I didn't wear the monitor so I wasn't quite sure thus went on RPE. Legs felt pretty good and no pains to report. I was starting to get a tight right hip flexor but stretched it out quite a bit yesterday and felt wonderful today.

Totals:  1:00:00  8 miles (on treadmill  2% grade/ 8 mph <7:30>)

YEARS TOTALS: 2072 miles

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hartley Loops

I got word that the trails in Hartley were runnable without the use of snowshoes. This morning I would investigate this and see how the footing was and if the Yaktraks were compatible with the surface. The trails were decent, some rough spots, but for the most part very runnable for an easy run. The Yak's worked super for this terrain and I will most likely wear them throughout the season as they offer the extra confidence in stepping on what could be some slick, icy spots.
I ran all the single track trails with the exception of the guardrail loop and made my way home. A enjoyable run, but this run reminded me that it will be necessary to get moving on some stretching and strength training program again, as all the ups and downs left me a bit stiff.

Totals: 47:34  5.5 miles  (8:38 pace)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Vermilion Miles

Having the temperatures warm up last weekend made for some slippery roads this morning. I wasn't sure how the side roads would be so I took a chance on them and wore the Yaktraks. A wonderful combination which made for a super run. Excellent grip, no traffic and comfortable temps, (a balmy 22F at the tundra house), made the loop just fly bye. This loop may become a staple to the weekly volume because of the near perfect winter running conditions.
Just as I was finishing the weather pattern switched and the temps dropped near 8 degrees and the wind picked up quite a bit. 

Totals: 59:41   7.7 miles  (7:41 pace)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Wrap Up

I had a decent week of running going and then the weekend produced back to back zero's. My side of the family celebrated a belated Christmas Saturday and I was lazy on Sunday. No excuses. Lazy.

Weeks Totals: ~ 22 miles (4 runs/ 2 snowshoe)
Years Totals: 2051 miles

Friday, December 26, 2008

Yaktraks for Traction

I received a pair of the Yaktraks Pro for Christmas from my wife. What a fabulous present. Over the years I have come to realize that with each type of running terrain there are several different types of traction devices.

 I own a pair of "get a grips" that slip over your shoe and have little spikes to grasp the ice. These are good for spring running when there is little snow but lots of black ice on the roadways. I also own a pair of gortex Ice-Bugs. Not sure if they are still being sold on the market but these shoes were made in Canada, I believe, and though they were a good idea, the shoe didn't fit all feet and they were HEAVY. (the next year, Asics attempted to match the idea and not sure of their success) This type of shoe is very similar to get a grips by helping in icy conditions, but offer little help with more than two inches of snow. I'm not too sure why it took me so long to acquire a pair of Yaktraks but for condition like this morning, I have yet to enjoy running in what I call "sugar snow". Granted the roads had been plowed two days ago, with the warmer temperatures they soften and cause quite the slip to the ordinary shoe. Yaktraks offer a little more "bite" then other devices and that made all the difference in this mornings run. For conditions with more snow, get off the roads and hit the trails with a pair of running snowshoes. Running on snowshoes works many, small muscles that road running misses, because it forces you to change form just a bit, and also creates more leg lift with deeper snow conditions. If this isn't your "bag", hit the tracked trails of your local Nordic ski center. Just my take on the opportunities that you all have the day after Christmas. I'm off to work!

Totals: 38:30  4.9 miles

Thursday, December 25, 2008

'Overdressed' for Christmas

Merry Christmas to all bloggers and readers!

Prior to heading out for my run I glanced at the mercury and it read a solid zero. There didn't appear to be much wind but I figured I should be prepared for a little breeze. In these conditions it is best to err on the cautious side. Having sunny skies must have made the difference because I put too many layers on and paid the price while climbing for the first 2.5 miles. I must say though, my 'boys' were quite happy in their new, warm underwear that my honey got me as a present.

The course brought me up Woodland to Martin and home via Vermilion. Slow and easy was the goal for the day and I accomplished that.

Totals: 57:30  7.5 miles

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


This morning I followed my tracks from yesterday. Duluth got about 5" of fresh powder yesterday so some of my paths were covered quite well. Legs feel pretty good with snowshoeing. My quads felt a bit heavy this morning but once I got on the road for the return trip from the trailhead they felt light and snappy. Overall a good morning of running.

Totals: 55:00  (hartley snowshoe)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Today is a New Day" -chicken little

Take advantage of the season that surrounds you. That was exactly what I did this morning. With temps above zero and a steady snowfall already started I immediately made my way to the Hartley trails for an hour of snowshoe. The trails are getting in great shape and I had to break fresh trail only on the gasline. Snowshoeing is a different beast of running. You use the hip flexors a lot more and one needs to allow time for these muscles to adjust or you can drive yourself into the ground real fast. It was snowing at such a rate that once I made my way out of the woods some 50 minutes later, my initial tracks were covered up.

Totals: 58:00  (snowshoe to the gasline)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Feeling Lost

Reading marathon training plans can be a bit confusing. It may be the day or it has finally happened. I am sick of thinking of training. I just want to do it without doing the "thinking". Maybe I am grasping at any possibility to improve in my late 30's. Ok, I'll say it, almost 40! I want to train for 16-20 weeks and have that killer race for what seems everyone has had except ME!  Maybe I am looking for someone else to shoulder my pain and sorrow for when that race day comes and the race just doesn't unfold the way it was planned. (this is often the case)

I have an undergraduate degree in Exercise Science and a certification through the American College of Sports Medicine as a "Clinical Exercise Specialist", but I am just too fried at researching for ideas that might give me the extra edge. Would it be Pfitzinger, J. Daniels, Lydiard, HADD -training to get me to the next level of competition?  I'm exhausted and I want someone else to do the research. I'll do the running....
Any takers?  
As Chicken Little says, "tomorrow is a new day."  Maybe I will find some energy to read some new training books or articles online.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

No Good

Here is a total for the last two weeks of running.
Dec. 8-14th = 26.4 miles
Dec. 15-21st = 30 miles

I am a bit bummed with the lack of running going on. I have the mental motivation to get going and start getting to some serious base work again, but the weather just won't cooperate. I guess I am thankful there are no plans to do a Jan. or Feb. marathon like I had once entertained the thought of. 
I guess the good news is I broke 2K for the year.

Totals for Year = 2029 miles

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Singletrack Snowshoe

We got a ton of new snow. Near 8" of fresh, light powder. I knew the trails in Hartley would be calling my name and I needed to investigate their condition. After a slow 5 minute jog to the trail head I made my way to the singletrack and proceeded to make a loop. A loop that would include all but the "guardrail" loop. The legs felt good, but I could tell new muscles were getting a workout and I should take it easy. A  wonderful workout and I am looking forward to many more of these.

Totals: 55:00 ~6.5 miles  (HR Ave= 147)

Friday, December 19, 2008


I had to hit the roads early and cut the run a bit short today because of heading into work early. That was alright because the streets are once again becoming snow covered with fresh snow of what meteorologists are calling our second major snow fall. 
After slipping and sliding on the "sugar" snow I made my way through a half hour loop without any falls.

Totals: 32:40  4+ miles

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Frigid again

Similar conditions like yesterday. Cold, crisp, with a slight breeze, the kind of breeze when temperatures are in the negatives that make it feel like gale force winds. I managed to stick to the roads because Hartley trails are shitty right now. Out to Martin road and back via Vermillion

Totals: 8 miles

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Almost a Missed Opportunity

This morning was close to another zero for running. I snoozed the alarm a few times before my feet hit the floor and made my way to the basement. As I do most mornings, I stop at the sliding door to the porch and check on the wind conditions. This morning was relatively calm. The temps were much "better", meaning close to zero. By this time I was about thirty minutes late for getting out the door, but still had time to run a quick 5 miler.
As soon as I was running I knew it was going to be a good run. My legs felt fresh, because they are from all the down mileage weeks, and the grip from the crunchy snow made striding almost effortless. A quick loop through the cemetery, and some Hunters Park neighborhood streets and I was on my way back to the house. I am so glad I didn't skip this one!

Totals: 37:40 5 miles 7:35 pace

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

-26F Air Temp = No Running

The title says it all. With air temps in the -30 F below, that is where I call it off. Maybe a little treadmill running later tonight.

Monday, December 15, 2008

First Winter Blizzard

No running yesterday with the start of the winters first major blizzard.
Here is a link of what we were dealing with.

This morning the storm was over as far as accumulation, but the wind and frigid temperatures persisted. I ran an easy 45 minutes on the treadmill because of the temps and watching my son as his preschool was closed.

Totals: 44:38  6 miles   (1.5% grade/ 8.5 mph)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two More For The Trails

Friday= The coldest day of the winter yet! At our house, the "house in the tundra", had a temperature of -20F. The TV station on top of the hill had -13F, and down by the lake had -3F. No matter what, it was cold!
I made my way to the trails once again to stay protected from any wind that might have blown but the conditions were quite still. A full moon was glowing like no other, which gave me added light, as my headlamp faded quick with the cold temps and fragile batteries. The added bonus of running in conditions like that would be the traction one has. I wore my newest pair of NB 790's and the trails were crisp and clean. Feeling great, I ran the loop quicker than my past "winter" training times as of late. Overall, a great morning of running.

Totals: 46:00  5.6 miles  8:15 pace (trails)

Saturday=  the temperatures have risen and the footing has become terrible. I mean the kind of terrible where you wish you would have stayed in bed terrible. Slipping on the roads, I made my way to the same trails hoping to find better footing. It was a bit better but still miserable. I decided to take the pace very easy in hopes of keeping the slippage to a minimum. The trails were covered with an inch or two of fresh powder and I was the first to make fresh tracks, other than the rabbits, fox, squirrels, and deer that had beat me to the punch. After a complete guardrail loop and extra by the nature center I made my way home and called it a morning.

Totals: 1:04:34   7.2 miles  8:59 pace (trails and slippage)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tundra In The Dark

I missed running on Monday, just call it a lazy morning.
Tuesday I ran to the trails at Hartley and made my way through the singletrack and eventually ran into my "winter" running partner Chris Gardner. I say winter because we often cross paths during the winter months while we are base training. Our running  paths/ plans usually go different ways come spring and we don't end up running together all that much. With that said, it sure is nice to bump into a fellow runner in the early morning and have someone to talk with. 

Tuesday's Total:  1:01:00  6.8 miles

I got screwed out of a run on Wednesday because of an early morning meeting.
no miles recorded.

This morning I had the same plans as Tuesday and surprisingly ran into Chris again very early into the run. I was at six minutes and I could see his lamp shining my way. We ran a  nice loop, including the guardrail loop, and after making our way back to the pond I called it a morning and made the return trip home. A nice hour run in the cold tundra of the North. Temps were well below zero with the windchill.

 Wednesday's Totals:  1:01:00  6.8 miles

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Waterfront Hour

I made my way out to Jeremy's house to join him and Jay Lee for an easy hour along the western waterfront trail. With the added snow it was a bit slick in spots but not bad. Just for the sake of being safe regarding the "cold" I didn't want to run too long this weekend so I capped the day off at just over an hour. Good run, and looking forward to progressing next week.

Totals: 1:06:11  ~8.5 miles  (forgot the Garmin, no other data)

Weeks Totals: 19 miles (three runs)
Years Totals: 1973 miles

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Happy Trails

Today was another cold, crisp  winter day. The temps hovered near 0F and less wind. I headed to the trails to make my mark on the fresh two or three inches of snow that fell last night. The trails had one fresh track of a dog and two runners ahead of me. I am constantly amazed at the pace that is often run on the single track. I was putting forth a decent effort and could average "only" 8:27 pace. It's amazing, as once I hit the road to connect our house from the trails I was running similar effort at sub 7:00 pace.
Overall, a really good day with less residual from the virus last week.

Totals: 48:17   5.7 miles   8:27 pace

Friday, December 5, 2008

Welcome Back to the Tundra

This morning marked the first day of running in a week. The virus I had last week really took some time to kick and taking time off of running was a necessity. So, as I returned this morning I was greeted by minus degree temps along with a pretty stiff wind. I quickly made my way to the trails and ran an easy loop protected from the wind. That makes such a difference. I am now hoping the bugs are behind me and I can return to some steady mileage and get prepared for marathon build-up.

Totals: 38:19  4.6 miles  HR(135)  8:15 pace (trails)
temps: -6 F air temp with a stiff wind.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Make That Seven-- MN Music

The virus kicked my ass and allowed me to take a week, yes seven days off. Nothing. Zeros across the board. I should be able to get moving again tomorrow. Wow, hope nothing like that comes my way anytime soon.

A shout out to Kurt for doing a Minnesota Music review the last few postings. I have been waiting for him to reflect on one of my favorite bands that used to hit the bars in Duluth towards the end of their "days". I didn't find too much on the web but this should allow some decent memories for those that had a chance to dance and enjoy their entertainment. 
Sorry Kurt, no intentions to steal your posting idea but I had to share with yah. 
You can find it HERE.
(don't know how to post You Tube Video)