Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Paid To Run

Elite athletes get paid to run. The best are millionaires. Hailie Gebrselassie to name one. At times I wish I had been good enough to be "elite" in our sport. Getting paid to do one of things I love the most would have been great. Well, I have figured out a way to scratch the itch.

This morning I got paid to run. Many mornings I do. This morning I found three dimes within 100 meters and I did indeed stop and pick all three of them up. This is not uncommon for me to do. Often in a group long run I will stop to pick up pennies, nickles, quarters but for some reason I haven't been so lucky with dimes. Looks like my luck is a changin' and I'm off to making some serious money.

The run took me out to Skyline under perfectly clear skies and cool temperatures in the middle 40'sF. That's even cool for Duluth standards. My legs are beginning to respond to the daily pound and I once again added 5 or 6 30 second bursts just to wake them up. It felt good. After the run I did a set of lower leg exercises. I need to improve my overall core strength and hips/glutes for sure.

Have a great day!

Total: 50:30 7.13 miles

Monday, June 28, 2010

Here We Go Again

This week marks the start for my quest to Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon on October 3rd. Though the early part of this build up will include some shorter races and workouts I may try a shorter 8-10 week peak program at latter part of the summer to peak for the TCM.

My goals for the rest of the summer include:
get a sub 16:00 5k
possibly sub 4:35 mile in September
run a half-marathon under 1:12:30
peak for TCM and nail my goal time!!!

This morning it was misting out a bit but the temperatures felt great and I managed to run a quick loop out through the cemetery and finish with 3 striders at UMD track. By the end my legs were feeling much better and I hope I can get things under way this week with some decent runs.

Total: 37:00 5 miles with 3 striders

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The One Week Cure

First off, to finish some totals for last week, along with the marathon I managed to log 55.6 miles for the week.
That brings my yearly Total to = 1420.4 miles

This past week was one of the usual post-marathon. I like to take most days off, maybe hike if I feel up to it, but for the most part I enjoy taking a nice mental break from running and give myself some time to reflect and allow the "wounds" to heal. It works quite well.

I was feeling very good by Wednesday and I entertained the idea of heading out for a half hour or so but resisted the urge and stayed home to drink coffee and read the paper. Thursday was much the same and while it was my work "friday", I was off to Michigan to visit the family, I knew that while vacationing my wife and I would sneak out to do a couple easy runs. Friday morning we set out for a road loop and we both struggled. Humid conditions along with a little sleep depravation made the hour feel like I was pounding down London road once again at mile 20. We kept the pace easy but my legs were very happy to see the end of our workout.

Saturday morning was a bit cooler, less humid and we took advantage of it making our way to the trails in Porcupine Mountain State Park. Running trails were so much nicer and we both felt uplifted to run where we felt natural. Keeping the run at just under an hour made my legs feel decent and I could tell that the muscles are making an effort at becoming fully recovered.

Sunday was a beautiful morning but one filled with coffee and treats. The night was a late one and I just didn't have it in me to head out to the trails again. The next week will be the true start at gaining my momentum for the summer and fall racing season.

Mon-Thursday: 0 miles

Friday: 1:00:00 road run with Kari
Saturday: 51:00 trails with Kari
Sunday: 0 miles

Total: 15 miles easy
Years Total: 1435.4 miles

Monday, June 21, 2010

Grandma's Marathon Recap

I've learned to let a few days pass until I write a marathon race report. It helps keep the bitterness factor to a minimum. Had I written the report on Saturday evening it would have been filled with thoughts of never doing a marathon again. I know better though. Those are very common thoughts when fresh off a good ass whoopin'. Here are the details. I hope to highlight both highs and lows...

Just to set the mood, as I write I have a nice, cool Samuel Adams pale ale and some good tunes running from my I-tunes collection. Old school Alice Cooper right now. (my mix is broad)

So, as many folks have already known, this years running of the Grandma's Marathon was greeted with better weather. For the most part. The temperatures were decent with highs during race time of mid to upper 60's. This is Duluth though. There is always a little twist to the weather. This year would be the crazy winds that stirred up sometime Thursday and wouldn't let up anytime until late Saturday night. Typical. The good news of the morning was the overcast skies. Little to no sun made running very comfortable.
I'm getting ahead of myself. The alarm sounded at 0430. Nothing new for me. That is one advantage of being an early morning runner throughout the year. I woke up, hit the bathroom, made a cup of coffee, toast, and a bowl of cereal. It took me about an hour to ready and off to the campus of UMD to catch the bus to the starting line. My goal was to hit a bus where I didn't know a sole. It worked, as I hustled up to the first bus in line and took a seat in the first row right next to a very cheerful, smiling middle aged woman. It didn't take long and we were talking of various races and experiences. I've learned to enjoy these types of experiences as in my early years of running I was way too serious and hated those "old" runners who wouldn't shut up on the way to the starting line. I now understand that chatting with others can be very settling. It puts so many things in perspective as to why we are all congregating in Duluth once a year to go push ourselves as hard as we can to get from Two Harbors to Duluth. It really is amazing. The bus trip was flawless and quick. I only wish I had gotten the name of the nice lady I was sitting next to. Oh well, I only hope she was thinking the same...maybe I pissed her off and she wished I just shut up.

After some time at the start and a little jog, saying hi to all it was time to get to the starting line and ready ourselves for the push to Duluth. At the start of any marathon I often just stare into the distance and reflect on the 'journey' that led me to the start. It truly is the best part of the race. Sure, I like racing, and I love when I can race to a PR, but my PR days are coming to an end and really it is all about the journey and how each and everyone of us got to the start. I like to reflect on the long runs, the workouts, the early morning darkness of the winter, the skunks, the mornings when I have to hit the woods in a panic and hope nobody sees me. All of this make me a marathoner and I love it!

It's now 7:15 and the race directors are moving us off to the side while the wheelers take off. After an applaud we have to line up and await for our gun to sound. At 7:30 we are off and I quickly find myself trailing a large crowd of Eastern Africans. Many. It takes me about a half mile and I can tell I am running a decent pace and I shouldn't be out too fast. A group of six or seven forms and we manage to hit some pretty good splits early in the race. I wore my Garmin 405 and set it to record mile splits automatically. My goal was not to look at my watch and run on effort but I just couldn't handle the urge to look. We buzzed the first mile in 5:42 the second in 5:48, followed by 5:48, and 5:49. The final mile I would run with this pack was 5:43 and I had to make a serious decision. I had to let the pack go and I was very torn as to my decision. I was feeling really good, but a runner should feel good that early in the race. But, with the wind and 21 more miles to run I made the decision to fall back and settle in 5:50's like the plan was called for. One major problem. That move would cause me to run solo from the 6th mile to the finish line in Canal Park. I did see, pass and get passed by a few runners but I had no runner hitting my same splits. Damn!

Once I was on my solo trip, after the 10k mark, I was cruising along and had a bottle or two of Poweraide in my belly and I was now getting the urge to pee. As I passed the 9 mile mark and heading down to the lake I took a quick glance behind me and saw no runners. A perfect opportunity. No spectators to offend and no runners. It took me near 30 seconds (yes runners are that anal that they time their pee's during a run) and I was back on the road. I was knocking off pretty consistent splits and I passed half way in 1:17:14 or so. Sweet, I thought. I can still run under 2:35 and get my goal. It was at half way I took my second gel and pushed through some lonely miles. The middle miles offer very little crowd support but it doesn't last too long. By mile 19 there are tons of people and the crowd grows as the miles in town pass. I felt like the hard miles of past marathons were behind me and all I had to do was maintain and I could reach the finish in a new PR, even with slowing some more, which I expected to do. When I passed 21 I looked for my bottle and it wasn't there. "No bottle for you at this table", said the volunteer. "Shit, there should be", I thought, but didn't say out loud as it wasn't his fault the bottle was missing. The trouble missing the bottle was I had a gel strapped to it. The good thing was I had one more spare in my shorts and I used it. No harm right? I had a feeling things were unraveling quickly before the gel regardless. Once I made it up Lemon Drop hill at mile 22 I was still optimistic I could muster out a sub 2:40 marathon. As I crested the hill I heard a male voice yell at me, "you're one ugly runner, but you are looking good!" What the hell kind of motivational chant is that? It takes all kinds I guess. My guess is he had a little liquid energy I didn't have on board.
As I pressed on to mile 23 I was enjoy the slight down grade of the course except one thing. As I turned the corner for one block to jump up from London road to Superior street my right hamstring was pulling and tweaked me into one of those quick, straight-legged, YIKES! kind of move. That was where I had to really alter my stride and keep things as easy as possible to make it to the finish line. I passed 24 at Fitgers and took my last Poweraide bottle took in the sights of a lovely downtown Duluth. The streets were lined with people and I could see straight down to Lake avenue where people often stand three rows deep screaming for their runners to come through. I was rigging bad and I knew I had to keep it easy to the finish. My right hamstring was hanging on my threads and I didn't want a full-on spasm to deal with. I passed the 25 mile mark and saw 2:32. That was supposed to be me at Little Angies passing under the finish banner. Could I run under 7 minutes for the last 1.2 miles? Hell no, but I kept the best mindset I could and tried to push as much as the hamstring would let me. Not to be, and after passing my lovely wife and child without a notice I made my way to the finish line. Wow, did it feel great to stop running. I wanted to stop so many times on London road and Superior street, knowing that I could rid any discomfort in a second by stopping. That is what makes the marathon so difficult. The latter miles can mess with your mind so bad, it's the ones that can say F-you I am not going to stop and keep running to the tape. I tried that, I just slowed a bunch.
(just a side note, I made the decision not to look at my watch from mile 16 to the finish. i ran on effort and that is where I started to slow??? HMMMM)

I want to thank so many people for being out there and yelling words of encouragement, except that asshole on Lemon drop, and I am so sorry I didn't acknowledge my wife and son, but I was so mentally shot I didn't hear them a bit. I am sure I didn't respond to many others as well. Sorry.

I am already signed up for the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Oct. and may the weather be on my side for once.

Here are the splits for those that like to look at that kind of thing:
5:51*downhill/pee break

2:41:14 26.2 miles

40th male, 46th overall, 4th in Masters, 3rd in 40-44 age group.

Friday, June 18, 2010

This Is It

This is what I have been waiting for. The marathon buzz, the newspaper articles, seeing runners everywhere, having near constant queeze in the stomach. Believe it or not this is why I get up every morning at 4:45 am and have for the last 6 months prior to tomorrow to train for Grandma's Marathon.

The week has gone about as well as I could have wished. My legs have really responded to the taper and I am feeling light and fast. I got a nice message from a close friend yesterday and it made a very solid point. Go out to the race and run as hard as I can for as long as I can and don't worry about others or conditions. It sounds simple. It is really. There are a lot of variables that are out there and for the most part, as long as you as a runner make it to the starting line healthy, the variables that may exist you can't control anyway, so why worry? My mind is in a happy place and I have to let my body respond. Fight to the end!!

As for the last part of this week it was rather simple and boring but here it is.

Wednesday: I made it out to the track after a little warm up and did 4 X 1000 meters at a medium-hard pace along with some easy 100's and 200's. My legs felt pretty good, but the last two intervals surprised me as I thought I was running even paces and I sped up considerably without change in effort. I guess that is a good thing?
20+ minutes warm up
4X1000 meters
3:19, 3:20, 3:16, 3:13
200 meter, 100, 100
20+ minutes warm down

8.8 miles total

Easy out on Skyline. Out and back with a few striders on the track.
35:00 5 miles

I got to run a short loop with an old running buddy Pat Russell. He and I did a short loop up Woodland and then a few 100 meter striders on the track. Nice to catch up with PR, it has been some time.
Legs are ready to rock!!
38:00 5 miles

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

It Never Fails

The taper. So many things can go wrong. Often it does. My taper went fairly well prior to Cal International in December and this taper seemed to be following. Until yesterday. I was at work and started to feel the burn in the nose and a sinus headache coming on strong. All my co-workers have had a virus on and off for a few weeks and I was working overtime to avoid any bugs entering my system. It worked so far and I am not about to give up without a fight. Lot's of vitamins, juice, aireborne, and water. It's working and I think I will be able to skate this one out. Because of this I ran easy Monday and this morning. One last effort tomorrow morning then a little rest before toeing the line Saturday morning.

It's so hard avoiding marathon fever when the race is in your backyard. When you travel to the race it can be easy to stick to yourself and not do a lot of marathon talk. Not in Duluth! Everywhere you go people are buzzing about the marathon. Most common question. What race are you doing? I read articles in the paper every morning, see posters and signs, and flags on the street lights to remind me that the race will be here and gone before I know it. So here is to a wonderful race, may all of us have PR's and glory to discuss once we cross the finish line.

Monday: 50:00 6.6 miles easy

Tuesday: 33:00 4 miles on treadmill easy.
(feeling a slight sinus cold)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Week Review Easy Day

It's kind of nice to have run my "longer run" on Saturday so I had a nice day to relax and enjoy a bit of the day. Not too much to enjoy as the rain was present once again.
My legs felt just fine after the uptempo finish yesterday and I am now looking forward to the last week of taper before the big dance on Saturday, June 19th at 0730.

Total: 32:00 4.5 miles

Weeks Total: 52 miles
Years Total: 1364.8 miles

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ready For War

So here we are. The final week. By this time next saturday it will all be over but the drinking of the swill and sharing our stories. "I was feeling good until... , did you see that one dude on the side of the road?, how did you feel going up lemon drop?, doesn't it suck passing Lake Avenue when you know the finish line is just over the overpass, yet you have one and a half miles of the course left?, my fluids were not going down well today..., wow, I tore it up coming downtown from Fitgers!" These are the types of comments that will most likely be heard among the groups gathering at the finish line. I love this time of year, I just get way anxious. One week to go. Let's enjoy it!

Yesterday I made the best of another grey, windy morning by hitting the trails for just under an hour. I beat any rain that showed up and for the most part the trails I ran were quite dry. My legs are starting to improve each day and are now sensing the race is approaching.

Total: 45:30 5 miles

Today was my last serious, longer effort. Twelve miles with the last 6 at marathon pace. I ended up running a bit later than usual so I avoided the london road, north shore crowds and hit a favorite loop of mine out north of Woodland.
Warming up I could feel the legs are continuing to reap the benefits of the decreased volume and taper mode. Once I got the warm up miles completed I dove into the fast-pace miles and ran very steady back home. As I was running this morning I kept a close monitor of my body and the little aches and pains and how to cope with them come race day. I am hoping for as little as possible that morning but it's a freakin' marathon and there will be aches and pains! This final week will be crazy but I love it and wouldn't have it any other way. It's been a long, very enjoyable road since January and I can't wait to see how my preparation will fare.

Here is how the workout looked this morning:
6.5 miles warm up
6 miles at 5:51 pace
.7 mile warm down to house

Total: 1:25:00 13.2 miles

Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Little Snap

The schedule this morning called for a little cruise interval training. I decided to make it a longer road fartlek-style just to avoid the track and it worked out well. I borrowed a road loop my buddy Chris has been using and it didn't disappoint.

After a twenty minute warm up I started to work into my first interval of 8 minutes. The pace on the roads was labeled as "medium-hard". So instead of staring at the GPS for pace I did an effort-based workout. Towards the end of the first interval I was starting to feel a little snap come back to the legs, something I have failed to feel in the previous month. The second and third interval went well and I felt like I had a good morning of uptempo running completed.

Here are the mornings details:
20 minute warm up
3 X 8 min. interval with 3 recovery
8 minutes= 5:43/mile pace
8minutes= 5:34/mile pace
8 minutes= 5:39/mile pace
3 X 30 seconds hard with 30 rest
20 minute recovery

Total: 1:10:00 10.5 miles

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Time To Settle

I had a slow, easy morning that was filled with visiting and coffee with the family before packing the camper and heading back to Duluth. A gorgeous day and I decided on a day of rest once I got home and was faced with a fair amount of chores around the house.
Total: 0 miles

Back on the roads for some 5K pace fartleks of one minute with one minute rest. I like these workouts because it makes the legs turn over but not too long or intense. With the usual half hour of warm up and warm down I had a nice morning of running but the hips sure are tight. WTF! Time to start to settle down and not let this taper thing go to my head. The other issue I have been wrestling with is my shoe choice for the race. I have it narrowed down to two pair and I will make the last minute decision after this weekends medium long effort. It's crazy how all the little things are not going as smooth as they did prior to Cal International. I guess that is just another point of wonder when it comes to the marathon.

Total: 1:18:00 10.5 miles
10 X 1 min. at 5K pace (5:05's)

This morning I was feeling a bit better and just a bit more fluid. Things may just be starting to come around. I am really keeping busy with the stretches of my calves, hips and glutes. I hope this works.
Nothing special this morning. Just a nice hour loop with three 100 meter striders on the track before going home.

Total: 58:00 8 miles easy

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Wet Weekend

I managed to to get out early on Saturday and run a decent loop on the roads. The trails were wet from the rain and I didn't want to slip and pull any more muscles. I am not feeling the best on my easy runs. I actually feel better on the faster, harder days. The only thing that remains a concern is the hips/glutes. Hopefully with the drop in volume over the next two weeks all this will come together just right. That is always the hope though, isn't it?
Total: 58:50 8+ miles

We were camping over the weekend while we attended my nieces high school graduation. I had one more semi-serious longer effort and I couldn't feel like I could miss it. So, I rousted myself from the warm bed in our camper and hit the roads by 0630 to perform a 14-16 miler with the last 5 or so miles at marathon pace. The trouble was the running routes are nill at best. I managed to find a nice country road that I was familiar with and ended my faster miles on highway 13. The drizzle was minimal but present and I was hesitant of starting the MP miles but once I did I felt amazing.
Five miles total at 5:53 pace and I could have pressed harder but didn't. The run was on the shorter side but I was happy with the effort.

Total: 1:38:00 14+ miles
5 miles at MP (5:53)

Weeks Total: 61 miles
Years Total: 1313.1 miles

Friday, June 4, 2010

Good To Be Back

I had to put this workout off until Friday because of the added recovery from my long run on Sunday. Yesterday I was starting to feel quite a bit better and this morning was much of the same. The plan called for a nice warm up, 7-10 miles at "steady state" pace, which for me was 5:35-5:45 pace, then a warm down.

When I woke up I didn't expect rain. Last evening kept me way busy and I didn't even think of the weather and I didn't look at the forecast for the morning, I don't believe them anyway. The rain was a steady, slow drizzle. Not bad, but still present. As hard as it is, I try to keep a positive attitude towards "less than ideal" weather during my training as the weather may give you a challenge come race day and there really is nothing you can do about it. So, this morning I approached the rain as though it was race day. If we all wake up on June 19th and there is a steady drizzle what are we going to do? Stay home and be pissed off? Not really, we are going to go to the starting line and give it our best with the conditions we are faced with. Same with training.

The warm up was shortened because I had to report to work early and I was pressed for time. (as it was I got up at 0425 just to get out by 0500) After a two mile warm up I started to work into my pace that was going to last for 8 miles. I got the pace dialed in using my gps then I tried not to look anymore and just use effort. It worked rather well and I ran very steady splits for the entire distance. I had a few hills that slowed me down, but overall I managed to keep a steady effort and ended the workout very pleased. A warm down got me home at about 12 miles. Overall a very good morning.

Total: 2 mile warm up
8 miles at 5:45/mile pace
(just under 46 min. total)
2 mile warm down

1:21:00 12.1 miles

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Wall

Couldn't see the first one.

Not this year...

This morning I was oh so close to taking a zero to assure my legs were recovered but I chose to head out for a short loop and I was thanking myself after. Finally my legs are coming around. I think tomorrow workout will go well. The only sight this morning was a dead rat on the trail in Hartley. Sick!

Total: 32:00 4 miles

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Taking It Easy Post LONG Run

Memorial Day. What a wonderful day in Duluth. Sunny skies and little breeze. I did a little trail maintenance near Rock Hill and then ventured into the trails for my recovery run. The guardrail loop in Hartley was calling my name and didn't disappoint. I managed to do the loop nice and easy and had my legs start to fatigue after 45 minutes or so.
Later in the afternoon, the family and myself went to one of the western trailheads of the SHT and walked along Kingsbury Creek for about 40 minutes. That walk helped flush a bit more 'junk' out of my legs. Overall a great day!

Total: 1:01:00 6.6 miles trails
easy 40:00 walk on trails pm

Still feeling the effects of the long run on Sunday. Another recovery day needed and I was willing to allow it. I ran a road loop that found my legs tired. By the end of the loop things were improving and feeling just a bit more fluid, yet tired.
I need to figure out the glute-thing. I think it is an old piriformis issue from years past. First I will spend a few days on focus stretching then start a few easy strength exercises. I don't want to add too much in regards to new exercises just three weeks out from the marathon. Bottom line though, I need to loosen the area and get it stronger or the race is going to find my weak spot. I felt it fatigue on my long run Sunday and that is way off the effort I will be attempting on June 19th.

Total: 1:02:00 8 miles

Out and back on a sunny Skyline Blvd. I had the luxury of using one of the biffies at a construction site TWICE. Once on the way out during my warm up and then on the warm down. Good thing it was there, as the rest of my surroundings were cars and buildings.
I was supposed to do a small segment of uptempo fartleks of 1 min hard, 1 min easy X 10-12. By the 6th repeat I was starting to feel the quads tighten up and scream "not ready". I managed to adjust things and make the workout last through 9 repeats. The warm down went well but I still have some overall soreness in the hips/ hip flexors and upper hamstrings. Damn, I need to get rid of these aches and pains. It sure will be nice when I get those light, frisky legs back. Hopefully next week.

Total: 1:18:00 10.8 miles