Sunday, May 30, 2010

Three To Go

Three weeks to go until the start of Grandma's Marathon. This next week, after I recover from today's run, will be a nice steady-state workout followed by the weekend long run which is a 'finish fast long run'.

Yesterday morning was just beautiful and I took advantage of the nice weather while my wife was out running to do some chores around the house. Once she was home I got ready and I hit the trails. After loops in Hartley, Chester Bowl, and Rock Hill, I made my way home. The trails are nice and dry and running on them provides such a nice relief from the monotony of M-F roads. (I am a bit bummed that Hartley will undergo yet another "reroute" from the mountain bikers. Hartely managed to stay in relatively good shape until the vast number of mountain bikers started using the trail system a few years back. Don't get me wrong, they have a nice group of riders that do some excellent trail maintenance but problem is the ones that don't respect the wet trails and ride there anyway ruin it for the group we call "mountain bikers". We wouldn't have to worry about reroutes if bikes didn't use the trails. Example is Superior Hiking Trail (SHT) system. Those trails have existed for years and no reroutes are needed on that trail. It's foot traffic only. Oh well, the bridges they build are nice, I guess I should thank them for that)

Total: 1:15:00 9.5 miles

I ran the Grandma's Marathon course. Yep. The entire course. A lot of fellow runners do it every year as a ritual long run three or four weeks out. I have never done that. In years past I stopped at 24. So, when I contacted Greg last winter to develop a plan for G-ma's, I told him that I was a bit surprised my body had continued difficulty in the last 8K of the marathon out in Cali. For this build up he had me do more LONG runs and asked if I had any problems doing the full distance a try. Since I had never done that in years past, I figured I had nothing to loose but to try. That was today.

I wish we could have weather like this morning on marathon morning. Cool, 50F at start with a nice tailwind all the way to Canal Park. I took off with a bottle of Poweraide stashed at 12 miles and a water at 21.5 miles along with two gels pinned to my shorts. Keeping the pace down in the early miles was a chore. I didn't want to run under 7:00's and I kept to this very well. After a little lagging energy in miles 7-12, the Poweraide and gel number 1 took me through half way in 1:32:00. Wow, I thought. If I keep that up I will run a nice 3:04 marathon today. Miles 14-18 felt great and I was really looking forward to getting into town and running down London road. I took the second gel at mile 20 and had my water at 21.5. After a quick hello to the family, I pushed on to the finish. The only miles that made me work a bit, other than that bad patch early on, were the last two. Truly amazing. I have done 24 numerous times. There is something about 26. Those last two miles just start to beat you down. I finished well, not slowing and in fact I ran the second half in 1:30:00. What a great feeling to have run a marathon on a training day. I guess I can say I won my first marathon. Now I will take a good day or two of recovery then work into the rest of the week. I sure hope that everybody had a wonderful weekend of running.

Total: 3:02:07 26.2 miles

Weeks Total: 83 miles
Years Total: 1252.1 miles

Last LONG Run

26.2 = 3:02:07
More to come this evening. Time to eat. GPS showed 2800+ KCal's burned.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Middle Week Decent

The morning was beautiful and required a mere tee and shorts. The loop took me up to Kenwood and Howard Gnesen before making a loop down to Skyline Blvd. As time passed my internal clock could tell I had been running for about thirty minutes. When I looked my watch showed 30:40. Something happens at a half an hour. I begin to loosen up and start to breathe more freely. A super nice feeling. It was at that point I knew I would make my distance and be ready for the next days workout. Up until that point I thought the week was a wash and I would be taking more recovery days to the weekend. Once I got to the track I did a series of loops to round out the hour.

Total: 1:00:20 8.4 miles

I woke up eager to see how the legs would respond to a little tempo work. The assignment for the morning was to warm up, do 2 x 3 miles at tempo pace (5:20-5:35 pace) and end with a decent warm down. To be honest, when I looked up my paces on the McMillan calculator I was a bit weary that the paces would fall in the low end and possibly slower. I just told myself to run comfortably/hard and let the pace be what it may for the day fully knowing I was running on tired legs from the weekends race.

When I got the warm up complete and the next mile marker on the london road was approaching I knew it was time to get to work. I had to use my 'internal gps' as my watch was completely dead upon my discovery this morning. (in the end it was a blessing to NOT have it with me as I was able to get a feel for pace on my own.) As I worked into the first mile I was very happy to see 5:26 show as I crossed the one mile marker. The next was a bit harder and the third was relatively flat. After a nice 5 minute jog in between the intervals I regrouped and ran the next very consistently. The morning was a bit weird. I fully expected my lungs to be screaming at that pace and have me slow down, but my lungs were great and I was holding back on pace because of sore legs and glutes. Quite the pleasant surprise to say the least. After a nice warm down back uphill to the house I called it a morning of successful interval running.

Total: 1:28:42 12.5 miles
2X 3 mile tempo:
interval 1: 16:27
interval 2: 16:20

Had a difficult time getting out of the fart pit this morning. I snoozed the alarm for some 45 minutes before telling myself to get up and do run for at least a half an hour. That was all it took and I had a wonderful run out to Martin road and back to get a good hour of recovery type running in the books.
Another beautiful morning. Just a bit of soreness in the quads from yesterday's repeats but after the run I was feeling much better. I think I am turning the corner form the 10 mile race and should be ready for the 'marathon' on Sunday.

Total: 58:22 8 miles

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rough Start To Week

When the alarm sounded I was trying to convince myself to take a day off running and give myself the 'needed' rest. As you know, this goes against my golden rule number one. Don't make decisions of days off while in bed.
After shuffling down to the basement I knew I could give myself a decent chance and go run a loop that gave me the opportunity to cut short if needed. The pace was slow. I didn't mind that, as the purpose 48 hours post hard race should feel like shit and all I needed to do was flush out the lactate from my aching muscles. Accomplished. I ran my usual loop out to Martin road and home via Vermilion.

Total: 1:00:00 8 miles

Another sub par morning to start things off but I was out the door and on my way to a questionable run. The main issue this morning was the severity of GERD I was having. I'm not too sure of the source but it may have been a salad dressing I had last night. (the run would stir up the GERD so bad it ruined the first half of my day at work)
Once I hit the thirty minute mark I worked into a series of repeats of one minute. These repeats were on the schedule as "optional" and to survey my legs and do what I thought was beneficial. After a few repeats I was really loosening up and thought I had made it past the 'recovery' period since the 10 miler Saturday. Foolish. Not too fast. By the seventh repeat I was starting to wake up some soreness in my quads that was remaining from the race. That is where I called it a morning and ran some thirty minutes home in recovery mode. A good call on my part. I have been really trying to eat well, and keep in the fluids to allow my muscles to recover and by tomorrow I am thinking things will be much better and allow me to run hard on Thursday's workout. A little extra rest now is better than going into June fatigued.

Total: 1:12:00 10.5 miles
7 X 1 minute at 5min/mile

Sunday, May 23, 2010

SHT Recovery

To run or not to run? That was the question of the morning. I took my time deciding and eventually took it to the trails for an easy hour or so. The first five minutes were a bit stiff and once I hit the trailhead I knew that was where I belonged today. Days like today are usually a bit challenging as far as grinding it out most of the run with tired legs. I find that if I make it past thirty minutes then usually I start to feel better and will thank myself after the run for doing a good job at flushing out the crap from my muscles. The key to a run like this is EASY.

Running the single track, especially the SHT, makes it an easy decision to keep the pace very controlled. I like it that way. Today I managed to do a small loop in Hartley, make my way to the SHT spur trail down to Hawks Ridge and back, then finish up on the roads. One more easy, recovery-type day Monday and then back to work.

Total: 1:09:45 8.4 miles

Weeks Total: 60 miles
Years Total: 1169 miles

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Northern Lakes 10 Miler

First the last part of the work week.
Thursday I had to get out and do a short run with some type of pick-ups just to get the legs turning over. I have had this terrible pain in the butt/upper hamstring. Yeah, the point where the hamstring and glutes meet and insert on the pelvic floor. I have talked to many others whom suffer the same pain in the butt. I am now loaded with extra exercises and stretches to fix this and I hope it works.
Thursdays run was OK and I managed to get out and do a sunny Skyline Blvd. out and back along with 9 striders of 20+ seconds at 5 min./mile pace. My legs are feeling good, except the butt thing.

Total: 8.3 miles 1:00+

Just get out the door. I ran an easy half hour loop through the cemetery and return via Vermilion road. My legs felt much better this morning and I am feeling a bit more fluid. Off to the Northern Lakes 10 miler in White Bear Lake after work.

Total: 30:00 4 miles

I have read the results of this race of years past and have seen some rather quick times. I had my eye on the 40 year old record set by Dan "digger" Carlson which he ran in 54:14. I knew if I had a good day that would be possible.
The day was one of cloudy skies, temperatures in the low 60's and very humid. After the instructions and the horn blowing we were off and the first few miles pace seemed a bit quick but yet comfortable. I should have known but it was too fast for me. The first time, and the last time, I looked at the gps for pace it showed 5:10's and I was breathing like it was 5:10's. I made a conscious effort to slow down and the side stitch made it easier. After I made that decision it took a good three miles to get comfortable and ready to push again. After the 6th mile passed I was soon knocked back to 3rd place after trailing Wynn Davis by a mere 5 or 10 seconds. I was still slowing at that point and when I was knocked back to 3rd I made an effort to go with him and see how the stomach stitch would fair. I took a gel at 6 miles and it was starting to help me and I even entertained the idea of taking 2nd place back for a mile or so. When we hit 8th mile both 1st and 2nd place took it up a notch and I was falling back. It was then I decided to go for broke and turn up the heat myself and see how I could close. The last two miles were passed in 5:28, and 5:27 respectively. A good finish after running some 5:35's in the middle. When I broke the line I saw 55:17 and was pleased. To hang on to 5:25's for the age group record may have been a bit too aggressive, at least I gave it a go.
After a little cool down and some recovery aid my legs felt fair. Sunday may not be more than an hour or so but I am feeling pretty good of my efforts today.

So far in the new age category I am 2-0. Soon that may end but I am living it up while it lasts...

Totals: 14 miles
10 mile race: 55:17 3rd overall, 1st 40-49 age group.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Flush The Lactate Out

Recovery day. I needed it. My legs felt great yesterday during my long run and this morning they didn't. I ran nice and slow and flushed out the 'crap' from my muscles. Saw a truck Vermilion that is moving way too fast. Someone is going to get killed. On an up note, the birds were singing like no other. A great morning to be slogging along.

Total: 1:02:00 8.1 miles

I considered an extra day of recovery after the 24 on Sunday but during the warm up my legs felt extremely better than yesterday. I gave it the 'ol college try. After a 25 minute warm up I worked into some fartleks of 4X 3:30 at 5K race pace. The first two felt really good. The last two not so much. My IT-bands are tight and are pulling on some other hamstring muscles so I need to get some work done on them soon! I finished the workout with 3 X 40 seconds all out! Considering this workout was so close to my 24 I was pleased.

Total: 1:15:00 11 miles

I had the option of taking the morning off and resting. I didn't do that but I did cut my recovery run down some and I needed that. My legs were really heavy. I got an hour long massage last night to work on the tight IT-bands and hamstrings. That sure felt good. I think the lingering fatigue from my workout, plus the massage gave me some extra lactate to flush out of the muscles this morning and I felt every bit of it.

Total: 50:00 6.5 miles

Sunday, May 16, 2010

West Duluth Long Miles

I didn't have to work and after arriving home late after the mile race I took a little extra sleep and ran in late morning.
My legs had a bit of soreness I wasn't used to so I kept to Rock hill and ran solo for some time before the Koski's joined me for a few loops.

Total: 1:19:07 9 miles

no miles.
crewed for Chris Gardner who won the Superior 50K trail race. our family was camping at Temperance state campground and once we got back to Duluth I opted for a little rest prior to Sunday's long effort. A good choice!

Out west at Jeremy's place I joined him and Gelly for a nice long effort. Our first 100 minutes were on the Munger trail and we hammered out some 6:45 miles for a lot of the time before we slowed on the Western waterfront trail. Two more shorter loops from Jeremy's made the time for Adam and I as we ran near 3 hours. My watch read 2:58 and 24.5 miles. I managed to squeek one gel and a 20 oz. bottle of Poweraide on our passes of Jeremy's house. This run felt so much better than the first time I ran 24 it's amazing. I really think things are starting to come together.
I have a 10 mile race this upcoming weekend in WBL (White Bear Lake) and that should give me a idea how the marathon effort training has been going.

Total: 2:57:00 24.5 miles
(felt super!)

Weeks Total: 74 miles (6 runs)
Years Total: 1,108.7 miles

Friday, May 14, 2010

TC 1 Mile Update

Just a little delay on the report but I had an extremely busy three days away from the computers.
When I signed up for the Medtronic TC 1 Mile back a couple months ago I really didn't know if I was indeed going to run and for sure didn't know how to race a road mile. My main motivation for running a mile was the simple fact I have NEVER raced a mile and I have been running since middle school. How? Well, in high school I was a 800 meter, long jump, high jump and relay guy. I was never pushed into the mile and I never asked. In college, we had a 'club team' for indoor and outdoor track and our coach was just happy if we entered races and ran as the program was entirely funded on our teams fundraising events and out of our own pockets at times. During those years I ran the 5000 meters, 3000 meters and 3000 meter steeple chase a few times. So, that is how a runners avoids running a mile race until the age 40.

The evening was a cool (55 F), windy, and damp one. I really didn't care as that was how the weather has been in Duluth for the last week or two. I arrived downtown early to get a good parking spot next to the starting line just incase the rain was excessive. After several trips up and down Nicolett Mall I made myself familiar with land marks and tangents of the course. I was signed up for the Masters wave and I wasn't quite sure if I had the option of running in the " USATF club" wave so I was getting ready for potentially leading my wave and wanted to be able to push in the proper segments. I didn't have to worry about leading come race time as I did indeed get the green light to race in the 'club' wave and that was the best move of the night. There were tons of guys to chase and keep me "honest".

After the horn blew I decided to take it out a bit strong and see if I could recoup on the flats and have the slight downhill be my friend after the half way. When I saw my split at 1/4 mile I thought and felt like I blew my race. My mind was everywhere. I was thinking of too many things like, "where are the other 40 year olds, how much I am going to slow down, should I try to push now, can I break 4:45?" With all of these random thought just flowing in my head I finally quite thinking and decided to just run and I told myself if I just ran hard, the chips will fall as they may, and I probably will run a decent race. So that it just what I did. Just prior to 1/2 mile I made the decision to pass a group of guys that were slowing down. I made a good move on the outside and tow or three of them went with me. I kept my sights up ahead at some younger runners and just wanted to keep the gap the same. I had a good sense of where the 3/4 mile marker was and I had decided in warm up that is where one of my pushes would come from. I picked up the effort just a bit and it seemed to work because I was catching some more runners. After that move it was a subtle left turn and looking ahead I needed to push as hard as I could to the line. Some 200 meters later I crossed the line and felt like I was about to die. Marathons make your legs tired. Mile races make you feel like you are going to die! My heart was pounding in my chest and throat and I was thinking for sure it was going to explode out of my chest. After a quick walk around the finish area and a bottle of water I was told the timer was off and we needed to erase about 5-7 seconds off the clock time. Really? I didn't want to get my hopes up but if that were true I was thinking I just PR'd a mile at age 40. Sure enough I did! Wow, what relief. I didn't think I had that kind of race in me with all the 'marathon' training I have doing.

At the end of the night I ran a 4:37 mile. Not blazing fast by many peoples standard but I am happy with it and I think it shows some positive energy going into the summer. I don't think it means anything in regards to my marathon potential but it sure feels good to know I still have a little speed left in my legs.

I ran a short loop Thursday morning just to burn some energy.
35:00 4.8 miles

Warm up at race: 5.5 miles easy
Race: 1 mile
Warm down: 2 miles

Total for Thursday: 13.3 miles

easy road loop in Kenwood.
57:19 8.1 miles


More to come on the story/"experience".

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Girly Drinks

I know I am going to get crap for this for some time and I guess I deserve it. Cosmopolitans are girly drinks. What!? I have to have an excuse so here it goes. I think it started by having a sip of a drink my wife or sister was drinking. I liked it so the next time we went out I ordered a Cosmo. Nobody said a word! That's not my fault. Only thing worse is, I ordered it again last Friday night and the server was a bit confused as to who ordered the "girly drink". Wow, what a putz.... Never again.

On a training front I had a pretty miserable morning on Monday. On Sunday I would have never thought that the run took that much out of me, but I was sore in the low back and my lower legs, ie, calves mostly, were way tight. Tight to the point of being tingly all day at work. I was worried I had pinched a nerve in my back someway. I ran an easy hour loop and made the best of a stretching routine.

Total: 1:01:00 8.1 miles

This morning I woke up to rain. Steady little drizzle that made one wonder what to wear. I knew I was going to get wet, but the goal was to put it off as long as possible into the run. I decided wearing a light long sleeve shirt under a new Eddie Bauer First Ascent rain jacket I had bought a month ago. It kept me dry from the outside, but I sweat so much I ended up wet by the runs finish. I stayed warm, and it served as a good wind barrier with the winds howling out of the NorthEast. My legs felt 100% better and I was on the edge of doing some light speed repeats. I tried 5 or 6 and things just didn't feel as I would have liked so I aborted the effort and just ran mileage. Overall, a good decision and a good run.

Total: 1:17:00 11 miles

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Marathon Tempo Time Trial

This was my first type of run of this nature. I had mixed and matched some pieces of this workout in buildups of past but this was going to be interesting and fun.
I was to do a 20K marathon style tempo workout. What does that mean? Here is what my assignment was.
Ready myself for a quick pace right off the line, about 20-30 seconds slower than predicted marathon pace and then have the last 10k or so AT or just quicker than marathon pace. Check! Complete!
I had one of those kick ass training type days and this people is the reason to keep on training on the hard, tougher days. It's days like this that help soften the blow of a less than desirable race result. I've often said the journey to the marathon starting line can, and is often more enjoyable than the race itself. I got to run this workout under sunny skies with just a tad of a headwind heading towards the finish line of the Gary Bjorklund half marathon. (that was the course I ran today)

Here is how the workout unfolded:
I loosened up a bit at the car and started what I thought would be a warm up mile before starting to really pay attention at the mile split. Well, the first mile was a 6:21. That would be the slowest mile of the morning.
6:21, 6:10, 6:07, 6:18, 6:14, 6:03, 6:03, 5:54, 5:42, 5:55*, 5:44, 5:42, 5:48
*lemon drop hill
-the only concern is a tight upper ham, glute muscle I develop under a bit of stress. it worries me because I can see this being a problem in the latter miles of a marathon. i guess a little extra stretching and exercises may be warranted.

Total: 1:19:16 13.2 miles

Weeks Totals: 68 miles
Years Totals: 1034.7 miles

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Power Of Wind

I was pressed for time. I had a 0700 work meeting and I had pushed my workout off until Friday because of an extra day of recovery after last weekends 24. The night before was a good one and I made it to bed by 2130. When the alarm rousted me at 0425 I actually felt rested and busted out of bed and down to the basement. I find it amazing that it took me close to a half an hour to get out of the house. By 0455 I was on the streets and knew the warm up would be cut short. After two miles reached in near 15:00 I hit the split on my watch and proceeded to work into my first interval of 2 miles. It was very tough with a direct headwind that felt like gusts of 30 mph! It was at this point I realized to really focus on effort and not worry too much of what the watch said. The interval ended and I did my 4 minute jog and started working into the next interval and turning near the one mile mark and completing the interval with the wind. The last one was completely with the wind. A nice warm down and I made it home in some 70 minutes.
Here is a breakdown:
2 mile warm up 15:06
3 X 2 miles with 4 min rest
1: 11:13 5:40 pace
2: 10:57 5:32 pace
3: 10:29 5:16 pace
1.7 mile warm down 14:41 uphill

Total: 1:10:31 10.6 miles

The feeling of fatigue was overwhelming. Both Kari and I had this feeling on and off most of the week. I chalked it up to some virus that was causing us to feel like the living dead with headaches.
Once I got the energy I made my way to the trails and kept the pace easy and looped Chester Bowl and Rock Hill before making my way home. A super slow, easy run that i was happy i didn't skip.

1:01:55 7.3 miles

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Minute Repeats and Chester

I finally was able to wake up and feel energetic again and ready for some mileage. The 48 hour rule of easy running holds true once again. Thankfully!

I managed to get out on Skyline nice and early and get a thirty minute warm up before heading into my 10 X 1 minute hard. I ran most of the repeats at or under 5:00/mile pace and a few at 4:40 pace. I wanted to know what that pace felt like because that may be a little goal for next weeks race. One more workout to see if that is feasible. At any rate I ended the run with a near five mile warm down.

Total: 1:19:00 12.5 miles
10 X 1 min hard

I almost made this day a zero. What a shame because I had a very enjoyable run and this was one of those days that a person should remember as motivation to get their arse out of bed in the am. For some reason last night I came down with a killer headache and had that feeling of pre-sickness. I hit the fartpit at 930 and when I woke up all systems were a go except I was very tired. I managed to squeak in an extra 45 minutes of rest and then drag myself to the basement to get ready and go bother my trail runner buddy Chris who I knew was doing some running in Chester Bowl. Once I made my way about half way down the west river trail I ran into him and had a nice chat back up and down the east river trail before I let him go solo on the next trip uphill. I didn't want to run too hard given the workout I am going to do tomorrow. I managed to keep the uphill segment going to the ski jump and then one more loop to the bottom and a return trip to Skyline before heading home.
All the sore muscles in my lower abdomen and left hip flexor disappeared like I needed those hills to give them some extra work. Super! I found a cure and didn't even know it. An unexpected great run on a morning that I almost said, "screw it, I'm staying in bed." Don't do it people. Like I always said in the past, just get your feet on the floor and everything else will fall into place.

Total: 1:08:00 8 miles (trails)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Easy Back to Back

I may have mentioned this last season but I will mention it once again. One thing I have learned over the years, especially the last two or three, is to listen to my body after the long, long runs. Once I get up to 24 miles I really have to pay attention to recovery. I had the feeling I would need to take two easy days after the 24 on Sunday but I was willing to hit the hard stuff this morning if my body would let me. My inclinations were correct. Once I had a few miles in me I made the decision to make it another general aerobic run and push the faster stuff until Wednesday. Good decision. My legs thanked me all day. I believe I will be ready to pound out some minute repeats tomorrow and follow up with some longer repeats Friday morning.
The one thing I have to really focus on the next month or so is to keep loose by stretching and performing my leg and hip exercises. They help so much and I can tell when I slack a bit as things bet pretty tight real quick. Here are the last two mornings of easy running.

1:02:20 8 miles

1:01:00 8.1 miles

Sunday, May 2, 2010


The first 'real' long run in weeks. I wasn't too sure what to expect but I just go into them and take what the run will give me. I had good rest going into the run and woke up nice and early, had a cup of joe for the road and was on the trail just after 0700. After an hour of solo running I hooked up with Jeremy and Chris and together we ran a ninety minute loop, then Chris and I tacked on the final thirty minutes.

My legs felt really good for the most part. The last few miles they didn't feel 'good' but decent and those miles allowed me to remember what the last few miles of a marathon feels like. HEAVY. The muscles in my low abdomen started to fatigue as well as most of my hip flexors and glutes. Sounds like fun heh? Well, I managed to rehydrate and fuel up most of the day and am now feeling quite well. The next two days will tell the story how much this run took out of me.

Totals: 3:02:38 24.1 miles (7:34 pace)

Weeks Total: 82 miles
Years Total: 967 miles

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Rain Is Good

Friday I managed to get out and dodge the raindrops. There was a bit of mist when I left the house and it proceeded to give me hits of sprinkle throughout the hour run. This marked the first official morning run in shorts. It seems like my threshold is near 45 F as long as there is no serious wind off the lake.
I had a good loop and wasn't too tired from yesterday's 800's.

Total: 59:16 8 miles

This morning I managed to touch base with one of Duluth's most successful High School runners of yesteryear when I connected with Nic Matack. I mentioned to him what I would be running and that got him interested enough to join me. We had a wonderful run that started on trails and we eventually moved out to the roads as the trails were a bit greasy. Duluth managed to get some good rain out of the last two days and things will be really getting green soon.
My legs felt really good and I am ready for tomorrow's long run. It will be my first serious long run in a few weeks and all I need is the wind to work with me and not be kickin at 30 mph!

Total: 1:28:00 11 miles