Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clean Slate

The week following Ragnar I took a big fat 0 on all days! That's right. No running at all and a lot of sleep. I slept up to 2 extra hours a night for nearly a week. Yes, it felt great. I also allowed my left achilles some needed rest and I am now in the process of rebuilding an aerobic base and doing some much needed rehab. It's funny how a person lets their body go as long as it's performing well and quickly forgets all the extra strength oriented work that goes along with keeping the body healthy. I am now back at square one and will not slack on those exercises and continue to improve my overall strength this fall and winter and 2012 will be a new Masters record year for me. I'm pissed off with all the minor setbacks and now it's time to kick ass! This year was headed in that direction and since my 1/2 marathon in June I've been stuck in a rut of destruction. NO MORE.

So far this week I have run two easy days and performed my lower leg exercises along with some overall stretching of the legs, abdomen and upper torso. I plan to obtain some kettle-bells and possibly an old Bow Flex, as I used one today at Dunhams and I think it will provide all the necessary strength exercises I need. More research on that over the next few days.

Out and back through the cemetery and exercises.
32:00 4+ miles

on treadmill for 4.2 miles at 7:40 pace

*both runs were in Mizuno Ronins. I may try to adapt to the racing flat system, aka minimal-trainers, with a some caution looking ahead. I like the look of the new Brooks coming out this fall and those may be just what I need in a trainer. No more heels!

Monday, August 22, 2011


As I mentioned in my previous post, I was very fortunate to be a member of a men's Masters team that was sponsored by Revel Sports/Marshfield Clinic that won the 2011 Ragnar/Great River Relay this past weekend. This same team, with the exception of two runners won the event in 2010 as well. Last year after we won there was talk of doing it again but those discussions really never surfaced until late this spring. Some guys were skeptical of doing it again because of the experience being so great in 2010, how could we possibly top that? With the crew we assembled we made that possible and had one hell of a time!

The picture above shows the six members of the starting van. We departed from Winona at 4:00 pm on Friday. For such a huge event, 300+ teams of 12 members, the start is very anti-climactic. The 4 pm slot had just 8 teams start. It felt like a club practice. We managed to get out and run in third place for most of the first round of running and had a decent battle already brewing. When we handed off to the second van of six runners it was getting dark and we had to put on the required reflective gear for the rest of the night and until the clock ticked past 0700!

For me going through the challenges of the race segments pays off when you hand off to the next runner and then see how the 11 other team members are putting out their 100% effort. In times of doubt all you have to do is think of the others hurting and to just keep pushing on the best you can. We all are hurting and as the night progresses EVERYONE is tired. You just have to dig a little deeper to find that extra piece that maybe the other teams are not quite able to focus on. All 11 of us did that and it resulted in another year with a super victory.

Briefly, I was runner number 5. I had segments of 8, 6.2, and 7 miles for my three legs. The 8 miler was .2 short and I appreciated every step of it! The 6.2 mile segment was in the farm lands just off the river valley's so it incorporated a lot of bluff climbing on gravel roads. I had about 1.5 miles of gradual warm up then I had 4.5 miles of uphill grind. The grade was more than the challenge I wanted at 0130 but I had to keep pressing on and get to the exchange zone to pass the hurt to my team member Mark. All in all, I finished that segment a bit disappointed but managed a 6:04 average pace for those climbs. My last segment was another hilly 7 miler that started in the corn/farm lands just outside of Woodbury and finished in the suburbia mecca of east Woodbury. Those rolling hills were enough to make scream, but I remember the look on my friend Steve's face as he ran the exact segment in 2010, and I just couldn't give up as he put in 110% that year and I didn't want to let my guys down. I still felt like I did, and part of it was injury, and the other part was not fueled up enough, but I managed to get it done and remain to average 6:03 miles for the last dirty bugger.

Once our van completed our last bit of running we handed off and grabbed a quick breakfast as Denny's and made contact with our team members in Van 2 only to find out they ate up the 9+ minutes we were behind all night long and actually were in the lead. As we made our way to the river paths of Minneapolis we found our runners in the lead and looking great. As our last runner took off for the final leg and the push to the finish he had a 5+ minute lead and gave it his all. With a lot of encouragement and a stellar running performance we managed to get the win with a 3 minute cushion.

The excitement was unbelievable. We had repeated the win and we now could celebrate. With a bit of help from some new friends we managed to make "a few" beers disappear and had eventually made our way to the motel for a little hot tub and dinner.

Thank you guys again for such a wonderful experience. I said this last year and I will say it again. I don't think we can top that performance but I am willing to try in 2012! Thanks much!!

Total for Ragnar: 195 miles 19:59:52 average pace: 6:10 per mile

44:36 7.8 miles

Saturday: 37:05 6.2 miles
42:05 7 miles

Sunday: 0 miles rest

Weeks Total: 43 miles
Years Total: 1500.9 miles

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Ragnar Week

Team Revel Sports/Marshfield Clinic, a Masters division team, won for the second year in a row, the Ragnar Relay-Great River Relay from Winona to Minneapolis MN!!

I had the pleasure of joining these gentleman on last years victory and we decided to give it a try again and damn if we didn't repeat. There is a good story to the victory and I will get to that later but first I have to share the week building up to the race and how my runs went.

I started last week by giving myself a little break and running easy on Monday after a medium distance run on Sunday. I felt good and allowed myself a nice, easy recovery-type run and enjoyed it. Because I was feeling a bit behind in training I wanted to get a feel for "steady-state" pacing and decided to run a bit of loop out on Lakeside and turn up the volume a bit and run up to 5 miles at steady-state pace. Right now that pace seems to hit right about 5:50 pace. I started off and things were feeling great. I knocked off the first mile right on pace and soon found myself running closer to Lactate pace of 5:35 and didn't like that so I slowed down back to the 5:50's that I wanted. During the second mile I felt a pull on my posterior right knee that kept getting worse with each stride. Very concerning, so I backed off after 3 1/2 miles and jogged it home. That night I got a massage and the therapist couldn't find any trigger and all things felt fine. Very weird... On Wednesday I met up with Nic and we ran an hour very easy and things felt very good and I felt very little pulling on the knee. I took Thursday off and traveled Friday to the Ragnar.

The Ragnar report deserves it's own entry and I will post that very soon.

Here is the week:

50:09 7.6 miles

59:09 8.3 miles
3.5 miles at 5:50 pace

57:55 7.4 miles easy

0 miles rest

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Decent Week

I finished the week pretty strong with some decent runs and more importantly runs that felt good from an injury standpoint.

On Friday I managed to almost oversleep and had to shorten my run. I made up for it by hammering all the hills/inclines I came up to and ended running a decent fartlek workout.

On Saturday my wife and I managed to get out for a run together. That doesn't happen very often and we loved every minute of it. I showed her the single track trails in Lester Park. We had a wonderful day for running the trails and stood in the river after soaking our legs.

This morning I made my way out for a medium distance run and really didn't know what or where I was going to get my mileage. I decided on some trails in Rock Hill and Chester (upper) before making my way down to Skyline Blvd and out West to 8th Avenue before making a dip to see my friend Krysta. A quick chat and I was off to find the SHT and make my down to the Bayfront where the Bluesfest was setting up for their final day. I managed to catch up with some other friends and hammer a Bloody Mary down before making my chug home for the last 30 minutes of the run that took me along the Lakefront on the Lakewalk and finally the push up the single track on Chester Creek and home via UMD. What a fun run! The bloody actually helped me as the salt kept me going in the heat of the early morning. I did manage to hit the creek for a quick dip on my way up.

Friday: 43:00 6.5 miles (fartleks)

Saturday: 55:00 5.5 miles single track trails with wife in Lester

Sunday: 1:33:00 12.5 miles Loop down to Bayfront.

Weeks Total: 53 miles
Years Total: 1456.6 miles

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Game On!

Things are going very good this week. I continue to 'up' my miles and intensity but remain to be far off of where I thought I would be at this point in the year. Still, I have a lot of racing season left and just have to refocus and do some new races this fall.

First on the list is the Ragnar in one week. I will once again have the opportunity to run with some real nice folks and talent. It will be fun, guaranteed!

Here is a quick recap of the week thus far.

Martin road loop and home via Vermilion road.
1:00:00 8 miles

Out and back on Skyline with 3 miles at steady-state pace just to test the achilles.
Felt slooooowwwww. Achilles decent.
55:30 8 miles

short loop through cemetery and UMD.
40:00 5.3 miles

Kenwood loop. Tried to stay slow but managed a decent pace.
53:00 7.5 miles

Monday, August 8, 2011

Moving On

When I last wrote I was discussing how I may have found the source of my left achilles discomfort. I believe I was/am right and I continue to perform some deep calf stretches and lower leg exercises. The achilles discomfort is near gone but just a bit of stiffness on some mornings. This is something I need to monitor daily and stay diligent about exercises to keep things loose.

I managed to get out and run most days last week and took a double-day off on Saturday/Sunday after a most excellent party weekend in Washburn/Bayfield/Madeline Island with my wife, brother-in-law, wife and friends. There are times when you have to go have fun and forget about running and that was the weekend for me. Looking back I am very certain it also gave me some added rest to the achilles and that may be why I am feeling well this week. I continue to progress and will attempt to keep hammering towards my focus race the first Sunday in October.

Here is the remainder of last week and the early part of this week.

31:33 Morley Park area/UMD. 4.3 miles

55:17 8 miles Skyline 6 X 1min repeats at 5K

54:38 7.5 miles Kenwood/Chester loop

38:56 5.2 miles trails and roads

0 miles

Weeks Total: 32 miles
Years Total: 1403.3 miles

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Source

I believe during the course of the weekend I found the source of my achilles tenderness. I believe it's coming from very tight, upper calf muscles pulling my achilles and thus thinking it was a tendonitis. I hope I'm right on this one. I've been stretching and things are improving. I figure it wouldn't hurt to keep at the lower leg exercises and thus will maintain all the extra work in addition to the running.

I got out under a beautiful sunrise sky and did an extended loop to Pleasant View and home via Vermillion. I had a bit of stiffness in the last two miles but stopped to stretch and most of the discomforts disappeared. Man, I'm ready to start hammering some serious miles! I just have to be patient the rest of this week, then if all is good start dialing up the intensity and volume ever so slowly.

50:47 6.6 miles