Sunday, January 31, 2010

2010 John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon

Mark Black's last race. #20 if following the race.

Colleen Wallin giving high-fives at the start.

A good look at start. Lot's of people out.

I love this picture. Look at the eyes of the two black dogs. I think they were giving me the look just to screw around. They look so happy and full of energy!

Here are some pictures I shot at the start of the race.
You can follow the race HERE.

Not So Fast....

Yesterday I was singing the song of feeling so good. Today, not the same song. I felt pretty much every step of my long run after the 80 minute mark. Not that it was painful, but I had to do a little more concentration on form and relaxation than I would like to have done with a rather slow long run. That's pretty much par for the course in the early stages of base-phase. Speaking of, the formal 20 week plan for Grandma's Marathon starts tomorrow. I noticed that Greg planned for me to take one day off, Friday's, for a couple of weeks until things adjust. That's pretty much what I have done for the last three weeks anyway so this will be a nice adjustment and hopefully forward progress.

In the afternoon the family took a cruise out to the start of the John Beargrease Sled Dog Race and I took a few pictures. 115 to be exact. I will post a few after this entry.

Totals: 1:58:30 15.3 miles

Weeks Totals: 48 miles (6 runs)
Years Totals: 173.8 miles

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Trails? OK I Guess...

I didn't plan on doing all my mileage on the trails but once I got going in Hartley I decided to stick to it and finish out the hour. I managed to run a short road section in Hartley Estates but the rest of my time consisted of single track trails that were in fair condition. I didn't mind the pokiness of the run today as I wanted to keep the pace slow and really start working on time and build up those mitochondria. I recently re-read my HADD article and it reminded me of how easy I should be taking some of these runs in the early base phase. My legs are really coming around, something I think I mentioned a time or two in earlier posts this week and it sure feels good. It's crazy but I am already looking forward to all those long runs, pace runs and whatever else is on the 'plan'.
Tomorrow will be another easy long effort. Happy Running!

PS: Tomorrow is the start of the John Beargrease Sled-dog race and we will be there taking pictures. Maybe I will post some later Sunday night.

Totals: 56:30 6.8 miles

Friday, January 29, 2010

Hungry Like A Wolf

Thursday I took the morning off as I was feeling lazy and didn't feel like putting all the clothes on and hitting the cold streets, but also at this point in my training cycle it is quite alright to allow for a day of recovery/rest during the build-up. I got up and did a few house chores instead and had a good cup of coffee.

This morning the temperatures were no better and the mercury read -12F and thankfully there was calm skies above with a near full moon. The footing has been good but if we don't get any snow soon the streets will soon be ice again. Hopefully my new Get A Grips will arrive by then and I will not have to worry too much. I can see some treadmill running in my near future as well.

For the loop this morning, as I neared the outer rural edges of town I was a bit confused if there was a wolf crying at me or a really good dog-wolf sound-like out there. I heard multiple howls and at one point thought I was being followed. I never saw an animal for blame, but the thought was there for a bit. Interesting. As for the rest of the run my legs are really starting to react to the daily grind and I should be able to add some miles next week and make the next jump. Good thing!

Total: 55:00 7+ miles

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fiber Optic Down

We are back online after a steam pipe burst which melted fiber optic lines and disrupted our internet service. You can read more here.

Monday I had all I could do just to get out the door and run in the slop again. I managed to stay mostly dry by running on campus and Skyline a bit. My legs felt tired, as often they do after a long effort on Sunday, but I know that is part of the plan and I need to get out on those difficult days.
Total: 38:00 ~4.5 miles

Tuesday was much better from many perspectives. The temps dropped which lead to better roads. They had a snow cover but I enjoyed them much more than the wet slop of the two previous days. I had running partner again, as Chris set up a nice hour run together. I added three or four striders at the end of the run and my legs thanked me for that.
Total: 56:30 7.5 miles

Wednesday the temps dropped even more and the wind chill was reported at -20F. The loop up past Pig's (soon not to be Pig's anymore) and home via Vermilion was in spectacular shape and my legs felt ready to rock. I kept the pace easy as hard running has no purpose at this stage. All aerobic. To top things off, I put new batteries in my headlamp and now I can be seen by all the sleepy drivers out there.
Total: 51:10 6.5 miles

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Long Wet Run

The positive side of today's run was that the ice was non-existent. Our group that consisted of Jeremy, Tony, Wynn and myself trudged our way east on Grand and Superior streets to the hour turn-around and returned on the same soggy streets that the weather provided. It's January and I had to run most of today's run with wet feet which made the last hour or so rather interesting. Cold, wet Little Piggy's.

Since that was only my second true long effort of the year I was a bit nervous but my legs held up well and I feel that all the hard work I did last fall is paying off big time. I decided to take my "emergency" gel at the hour mark and that was a good thing I was thinking ahead as I would have cratered without it.

The goal for the upcoming week is to slowly add some time to each run and stay aerobic for the entire week. That is not too hard to do with the running surfaces as they are. Slow jogging has been the theme as of late.

Total: 2:00:00 15.4 miles

Weeks Totals: 49 miles
Years Totals: 126.2 miles

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Last Call For Trails

The weather forecasters are calling for more ice, rain, heavy snow and winds throughout the rest of today and tomorrow. Great fun. I guess I will worry about it come tomorrow morning when it's time to go running again.

This morning I found myself pleasantly surprised in the Hartley trail cluster as the trails were in decent shape. I wore the Get A Grips which provided me the extra grab that the ice was requiring. My goal this morning was to run for an hour nice and easy and I accomplished that for the most part. My legs are adjusting to the routine and tomorrow should be a two hour jaunt if possible.

Total: 57:30 ~7 miles

Friday, January 22, 2010

Crack! Things Are Better

I woke up Thursday and all I could think of was to stay home. No running. So after a little evaluation of how I felt, I was fighting a virus this past week, the decision was to take a zero and head for my Chiropractor appointment. Good choice. I've said this before but the older we get, we should get wiser and avoid making the same mistakes of our younger years. (my point is I would have forced myself out the door five or ten years ago) I had a wonderful adjustment at the Chiro and with the added rest my run this morning was wonderful.

I made my way west on Skyline and did the short turnaround to make the out and back just under 55:00. My legs are starting to adjust to the "routine" again and even one week post bad-ass half-marathon snowshoe race my legs are ready to get movin'. Sweet!

My thanks to Greg McMillan for such a speed response and delivering my marathon plan that starts on Feb. 1st. Here we go again!

Total: 52:45 7.1 miles

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Get Your Feet On the Floor

It was a bit of a rough morning to get up, I'm not too sure why as I slept good, but I have to remember these mornings are only difficult to get started. Out of bed with my feet on the floor is the goal, then proceed. Once I hit the roads my legs felt pretty good and I decided to run a bit shorter and do a series of small loops around UMD, Chester Bowl, and lower Mt. Royal neighborhoods. Just to test the legs I threw in some 30 second striders. Overall I have a decent week going and hope to keep at it.
Another great weather morning: 21F, subtle wind 13 mph, no precip

Totals: 40:44 5.1 miles

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Making Ground

My legs woke up feeling a bit more refreshed than yesterday and I took advantage of it. Early morning running pal Chris made the initiative to set up a meeting at his driveway and eagerly accepted. Anytime you can have a mate to run with at 0530 you better jump at. We made the best of a loop in the outer Woodland territory and I must say it sure is nice to rid the ice! There remains to be enough to cause a catastrophe if one is not careful on the corners but taking it easy is the goal these days.
A great run with great company. Thanks Chris!

Totals: 1:05:30 8.6 miles

Monday, January 18, 2010

Muscle Soreness

Yesterday felt great. I thought I had run the snowshoe race smart and didn't cause too much muscle damage. Then came Monday. Can you say, Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness? I can. My quads felt a bit torched but not to the point of taking another zero.
I got up and hit a combination of single-track trails, snowmobile trails, and finished on the roads the last three miles. The last mile I was crawling but that is part of the game. Tomorrow will be a better day and I am looking forward to bumping up the volume in my runs.

Total: 49:30 6 miles easy

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Final Championships

*early morning sunrise in Canal Park

Saturday was the 20th and last running of the Northwoods Snowshoe Championships. I had no intention of running this race since I haven't run further than ~7 miles since the marathon on December 6th. I saw the Friday morning paper and it mentioned that the race was in it's last year of running and that made my decision quite easy. The race has a 10K, half-marathon, and full marathon distance to choose from and I chose the middle distance. I figured I could gut it out for a couple of hours and get a good long effort. Accomplished.

The race started on the groomed ski trails at Lester Park where we did a short loop taking us past the start, then ventured out for the big loop that runs the trails, some private land on fresh tracked snowmobile trail that crested Moose Mountain and the famous "power lines" and back via the ski trails. Overall the snow was decent, but there was plenty of loose sugar snow to deal with as well. I managed to run decent enough for the win and no major injuries to report except a little frost bite on two toes and some blisters. Easy to heal.

2:03:00 14 miles (gps)

End of Week Totals: 38 miles
Year: 77 miles

Friday, January 15, 2010

Better Days

I have found dry pavement! The last few days have been a mix of the same terrain and I like that. Dry. No ice. My legs/hip flexors are much better and now I have to focus on increasing the duration of all my runs and prepare for the real training at the end of the month heading into Feb.
This weekend I may try to add a bit of time and run my Sunday run near ninety minutes. Here's to better days!!

Tues: 46:00
Wed: 50:00
Thurs: 46:00
Fri: 0 (so far, dead tired, sore achilles)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Ups and Downs

After an enthusiastic Saturday my Sunday was a bust. My left hip flexor, both actually, was to the point where I had difficulty lifting my knee. Running was out of the question. I spent most of the morning going through a series of stretches just to loosen the bugger out. Looking back I may have figured out the culprit. With all the ice on the city streets my running took to the snowmobile trails. Good for the footing, bad for hip flexors with all the hills. Most of my "street miles" during the fall had some hills, but not the steep up and downs the snowmobile trails offer. So, for now, that is where my focus will be.

This morning upon awakening, I felt much better and made my way out the door with a pair of Get a Grips. Wrong choice. I should have worn the Yaktraks as the extra inch of snow we got last night made it too much for the "grips" to grab. At any rate, the sidewalks around UMD provided me with the miles I needed. Two loops plus an extra around my neighborhood streets gave me my allotted time. My goal this week is to run at least forty minutes all seven days. A step in the right direction I hope.

41:00 ~5.5 miles

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A Sour Week Turns Sweet

I had one of those weeks that made me wonder why I live where I do. When the temps are consistently in the -20's to -30'sF and all the streets remain ice, the trails are not tracked yet and the treadmill gets old, or occupied in my case, one begins to wonder what draws us to these parts of the country. Ask me again in July. My mind may be more clear and I may even have some bragging rights in regards to the weather. It's amazing how one week of "less than ideal" conditions can make me fall off the wagon. I'm looking forward to better days.

On Monday I woke up to feeling sick and if I had a phone near my bed I would have called in sick. Once I got up and moved about, sipped a cup of coffee and had a Tylenol or two I was feeling much better but at that time it was too late to go running. Tuesday was the same pattern but I felt much worse upon awakening. Wednesday found me feeling better physically but I had the cold temps to deal with. I hit the streets with a pair of "Get a grips" strapped to my feet and that made all the difference. A short loop and I was back home clearing the frost form my brow. I was able to repeat the same routine on Thursday and had a very good run. On Friday I woke up and heard on the radio that the wind chill temps were in the -30'sF and that is all I needed to hear. At that moment every ache in body was multiplied by a factor of ten! I didn't take much to talk me into staying in a warm bed and gaining an extra hour of rest. What I did manage to do was head out for a short ski at Hartley trails after work. I put on the headlamp and skied two loops of tracked, slick trails and realized that I am a runner, not a skier. I worked so hard and all I got was sore shoulders. I must have uttered, "skiing sucks" a dozen times or more on my two loops. Skiing doesn't suck, I just need to spend more time at it so it's not such a chore and more pleasurable. That leads me to this mornings run on the snowmobile trails. I did the same loop Chris and I had done last Saturday and then I added a short out and back on some single track. This was my best workout of the week as I was really starting to feel a bit more fluid with my stride. My hip flexors continue to be an issue and I hope I can nip them soon. I often wake up and have to do some stretches in bed just to get up as my hips feel locked in place. Too much ice! Once that goes, I'm sure things will improve quickly. Until then I will bitch and complain like no other, but in the end I will find myself chasing yet another marathon dream come June.

Weeks Review:
Monday: 0 miles
Tuesday: 0 miles
Wednesday: 42:00
Thursday: 44:00
Friday: 40:00 classic ski in Hartley
Saturday: 50:30 trails/snomo trails

Sunday, January 3, 2010

First Week Back

I completed the week with my first run out west at Jeremy's house. I finished up the second hour of their run as I ran just under an hour. Maybe next week I will work on adding time to one of my weekend runs.

Maybe it's just blowing out the rust, but my hip flexors and overall lower body is beginning to feel better. No major pains to worry about today.

Total: 55:00 ~7 miles

Weeks Total: 33.5 miles
Years Total: 20 miles

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Make It Two

Two days in a row on the snowmobile trails. That's three out of four this week. It really is the best running around right now unless someone else can point me in another direction. (no treadmill suggestions)

Chris and I made our way to more 'local' snomo trails and found them to be in spectacular shape. It was a bit odd not to see many people out and about. Come on people, its only -6F out! What are you going to do when it hits -30F?

I hope to keep some form of momentum heading into the workweek. My wife and I may end up swapping treadmill days just so we both get a flavor of outdoors.

44:40 ~6 miles

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Years!

Chris and I hit the snowmobile trails out from the Prindle road and enjoyed the serenity it offered until the snowmobilers woke up. We had a half dozen or so wiz past us and only one gave us the stink-eye.
My legs are beginning to make the turn for the better but my hip adductors are still a mess and are starting to make me worry just a bit. They respond very well to stretches and strength exercises, and I will continue to keep at it.

1:00:00 ~ 7 miles

21 miles
7 miles