Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last Run

Until next year. Ten comfortable miles on the North St Paul Community Center track in 1:26:33, pace 8:39. That’s 1090 miles for 2007, the fewest since 2002 because of the plantar fasciitis that took away much of the running season. Normal is around 1500 - 1600. But I’m back in the saddle again, 37 miles last week and ramping up. Next week is a 30-mile “cut-back” week, then 40 miles the week after.

Splits 8:42, 8:35, 8:46, 8:38, 8:53, 8:27, 8:53, 8:35, 8:48, 8:15. Water after the even miles - I slow to a walk for a drink, especially on that track where spilling could be dangerous to the next person along. Breathing four footfalls per full breath almost the whole way. No knee pain during the run, only a little afterward. Seems to get worse if I lean back in my recliner. Hmmm - THAT I can fix!

Happy trails - see you next year!

Salmon dinner
Dinner a few days ago: Wild-caught Alaskan salmon with yogurt and spices, Sunshine's delicious gluten-free teff-banana bread with nuts and goodies, two kinds of gluten-free rice crackers.

Two Good Runs

Saturday, December 29:

St Croix Valley Runners, five miles in 46:30, pace 9:18. Slow running today because of the snow pack on the trails and road shoulders, but good company. Wayne, Gauss, Dave, Dave, Roy, and myself. Twenty degrees, tights and knee protectors, four layers up top. Nike Miler shoes. My legs felt very heavy this morning, but I suspect that has mostly to do with the things I have been doing OTHER than running. Grandson in town, parties, up late, and whatnot. In fact I could use a nap.

Friday, December 28:

North St Paul Community Center track once more, just a fairly lazy four miles at a pace of about 8:30. Slight pain in the right knee again - I hope that won’t be an ongoing and worsening problem. Not quite enough to take it to the doctor yet, but maybe soon.

Party food
Yesterday's party food: A little free-range no-antibiotic no-hormone bison, a little more organic turkey, organic carrots with onions, organic sweet potato, organic chard with pistachios and cranberries, variety long-grain rices with sage & thyme. Not shown: Beer and deserts :-)

Today's breakfast: Organic whole gluten-free oatmeal, organic lowfat milk, blueberries, Don's fruit/berry/nut mix, organic walnuts, banana, chopped cocoa beans.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nice Semi-Long Run

Wednesday, December 26: North St Paul Community Center gerbil track, 15 miles, 202.5 laps in 2:06:43, average pace 8:27. Seemed like the natural pace was about 8:15 or so, but I did slow for water after the even miles and for gel or jelly beans after every four. We bought some organic jelly beans (no kidding) some months ago and sometimes put a few in little packets and use them instead of gels. Takes a lot longer to eat them than the gels, but they are so much tastier.

Breathing was four footfalls per full breath until the last mile, then three. Splits: 8:36, 8:15, 8:22, 8:14, 8:48, 8:11, 8:35, 8:17, 8:54, 8:15, 8:35, 8:17, 9:10, 8:19, 7:55. The only pain during the run was the left lisfranc ligament (recurring minor problem), but my right knee hurts a little afterward and muscles are a bit sore. Sore muscles are a good thing, knee is not.

This morning before the run I had a blood draw for the latest myeloma tests, an important set of tests which will show whether the current regimen of “alternative” treatments is working. The answer is in the bottle now, and I will post the results January 3.

Dinner a few days ago
Dinner a few days ago: Wild-caught Alaska salmon with organic yogurt and seasonings, organic chard with dried cranberries, onion, and pistachios, avocado with organic lime.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Didn’t Mean to Do It

But it felt so good! North St Paul Community Center, four miles in 31:15, pace 7:49. This was supposed to be four easy miles. I had just finished clearing four inches of snow off our long driveway, I felt tired, and just wanted to log a few miles. So I was surprised when the first lap went by two seconds faster than usual. As the laps passed by I felt better and better, so I increased the pace to maintain the same level of perceived effort. This is not a race pace, to be sure, but by far the fastest I’ve run in the Community Center this fall. Actually, it is a PR race pace for me if it were a half marathon. Huh. Don’t know how much longer I could have kept it up though.

Breathing was four footfalls per full breath until the last few laps, then three per breath. Splits: 8:26, 7:44, 7:41, 7:23. No pains whatsoever!

I wonder if the dirt that I am eating somehow helps a little. :-)

Drifting in under the storm door
Indoor snowdrift: Yesterday's wind blew the very fine falling snow right in under the storm door, filling up the space between the storm door and the front door. Parts of the driveway were a foot deep, and parts were blown completely bare.

Nutritious salad
Last night's salad: Organic romaine, cucumber, fresh papaya, pistachio nuts, Danish blue cheese, avocado with organic lemon.

Breakfast made for speed
Today's breakfast: Organic oatmeal, organic nonfat milk, banana, chopped cocoa beans, organic walnuts, Don's fruit/berry/nut mix.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Six Miles, Three Noisy

North St Paul Community Center, six miles with the rude Jazzerciser leader shrieking into the mike at maximum amplified volume for the last half of the distance. How on earth can people exercise directly in front of the speakers and yet preserve their hearing? It’s bad enough way up above on the track where we run! We usually try to avoid running there while Jazzercise is making their noise, especially on weekends when the Community Center staff exercises no control at all, but because of today’s inclement weather we went early and overlapped some.

Anyway, six miles in 50:16, pace 8:23. I felt good today - the natural pace after the first warmup mile was about 8:20, a little faster than two days ago. Perhaps a day off is a good thing! Splits: 8:51, 8:22, 8:18, 8:21, 8:17, 8:06.

Today's breakfast: Organic oatmeal, organic nonfat milk, organic walnuts, dragon fruit, banana, Don's nut/berry/fruit mix, chopped cocoa beans.

Soups a few days ago
Soups a few days ago: Curried organic squash/carrot/sweet potato soup, chicken soup with organic carrots and other veggies, shredded organic cheddar cheese.

Supper a few days ago
Dinner a few days ago: Beans & brown rice, Sunshine's nutty dark bread with Danish dill havarti cheese, organic vegetable medley. No doubt a nice dark brew went with this ...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

177 Laps, 708 Corners

On the North St Paul Community Center indoor track, 13.11 miles in 1:55:17, pace = 8:48. Interesting run. I think the “natural” pace of this run was about 8:40, but I slowed (walked) to take water after miles 2, 4, 6, 8, & 10, and took gels twice too, which slowed down the average. Then I clocked a final mile of 8:10, which improved the average again just a little.

Some muscle soreness remained today, but happily the right knee was mostly quiet. The track went counter-clockwise today, so the 708 corners were all left turns. That might have been a good thing for the right knee.

I feel great after the run! Splits: 8:59, 8:43, 8:57, 8:39, 9:14, 8:37, 9:06, 8:42, 9:19, 8:44, 8:56, 8:35, 8:10, 0:48. This completes 33 miles on the week, shooting for 36 or 37 next week if Christmas events permit.

Today's breakfast
Today's recovery breakfast: Organic oatmeal, organic nonfat milk, banana, cantaloupe, ginger, Don's fruit/berry/nut mix, papaya, chopped cocoa beans. The ginger helps settle my stomach after a hard run.

Yesterday's salad
Yesterday's salad: Organic head lettuce, cucumbers, avocado with organic lime juice, Danish (hormone-free) blue cheese, organic grapes, nut/berry mix, raspberry vinegar.

Tonight's dinner
Tonight's dinner: Gluten-free parmesan biscuits, local honey, organic broccoli, parmesan cheese, red cabbage with pineapple.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Stillwater Bubble

5.49 miles at the Stillwater Bubble, 47:38, pace 8:41. Just my second trip to the inflated soccer dome this winter, and I misunderstood the rules, thinking that walkers and runners could use the place from 6:00 am until 3:00 pm. I had planned a half-marathon semi-long run, from about 9:15 to 11:15. But upon arrival I learned that the walkers and runners only have the facility until 10:00 am, after which the sport switches to slow-pitch softball or golf. I ran right up until the 10:00 am limit, then sat and watched slow-pitch with Sweetpea for a few minutes. No problem - next time I can plan appropriately. Maybe I can get in the half-marathon somewhere tomorrow. No muscle soreness today.

But: Slight pain in the right knee today while running. I’ve had a little pain in that knee occasionally for a few weeks, after running, but not during the run. Today I may have twisted the knee slightly as I turned around to chat with a guy walking with a 40-lb backpack (how much does it weigh, yada yada) and, of course, I was continuously turning corners, always in the same direction. We’ll see what comes of this. Not much pain now after the run.

Lunch: Wild rice, organic squash, Sunshine's special nightshade-free pasta sauce, Sunshine's gluten-free nutty chocolatey bread.

Salad: Organic romaine, pistachios, hibiscus blossoms, blue cheese, avocado in lime juice, olives, raspberry vinegar.

Dinner: No-hormone no-antibiotic chicken with onions, organic squash, organic sweet potato.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Recovery Run

After running less than three miles two days ago? Indeed, today’s six-mile run was a recovery run. I am suddenly IMPRESSED with the training benefit of speed work. I raced less than a mile Sunday, in three different races, and I still feel stiff two days later. The good type of stiff, as if my muscles learned something they didn’t know before. I feel it in the quads, of all places, which normally don’t get stiff unless I run downhill a lot.

Today’s run was just right - a little hilly but not a lot. I started out slowly, but the stiffness fell away as I ran and I finished the six miles in 50:45, for a pace of 8:27. Plenty good for winter running.

So far I haven’t tried to incorporate speed work, or fartleks, or intervals, or even much deliberate hill work into my runs. I just pick a distance and go out and run it, choosing the particular course more or less by whim, and running a pace that feels good. Races were my speed work, but nearly all of those were 5k and longer. I have never before raced distances of less than a mile, and I think I should figure out a way to train at that speed some of the time. Might even be fun.

Breakfast: Organic oatmeal, organic walnuts, banana, Don's fruit/berry/nut mix, organic grapes, organic nonfat milk.

Lunch: Organic vegetables in Sunshine's nightshade-free pasta sauce, organic red cabbage with pineapple, Sunshine's gluten-free chocolatey nutty bread. One Frango dark chocolate. Yum.

Salad: Organic salad greens, hydroponic cucumbers, avocado, macadamia nuts, organic dates, blue cheese, pecans, raspberry vinegar.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

I Had Fun Today!

Sunday, December 16:

I started running in 2002, and have raced in distances from one mile to 26.2, but until today I’ve never run any shorter “track” distances. The Challenge Courage indoor track races were held at Bethel University in St Paul today, the second in a series of five winter Charities Challenge indoor track events. And it was fun, the entire event held in a spirit of affirmation and good sportsmanship. Race distances were one mile, 200m, 800m, one-mile judged race-walk, and 400m. Several of the distances required more than one heat - we were never jammed up with too many runners on the track. I ran three distances, all of them new to me. Results are not posted yet; these times are as I recall them:

  • 200m: 0:35.5
  • 400m: 1:19
  • 800m: 3:01
Since I wandered in there rather clueless, I’m happy with all of those times. They’re not PR’s - if I beat any of those times, that will be a PR :-) I hope to beat them all.
Don in black and white, just passed one runner and trying to get around another on the last turn of the 400m
What a great morning! Two parts of running are most enjoyable for me: (1) Cruising along at a pace that feels as though I could keep it up forever; and (2) Sprinting full out for a short distance just as fast as my skinny old legs will carry me - that feels so good I almost don’t care who wins the sprint. These track races offer some of the first during the warmup on the track, and plenty of chances for the second. One stalwart actually ran all five races, and all heats of most of those. He got his speed training, and logged some miles at the same time. Going into today I thought I would finish dead last in every race I ran, but I was neither last nor dead in any of them. Today is a masterpiece!

One story: One of the runners is a twelve-year old named Casey. In the 200 meter, runners line up in a staggered start, each runner on a mark according to the lane that they are to run in. Just before the start I looked back at Casey, lined up in the first lane quite far behind me, and I thought perhaps there was one runner in this heat that I might beat. But I had picked the wrong runner! A few seconds after the start, Casey shot by me as if I were standing still. I was so surprised, I almost stopped to watch him. I don’t know his time, but I have since discovered that he ran the 200 meter race in the previous event on December 2 in a time of 25.8, the best time of the day. Casey is someone to watch!

Saturday, December 15:

St Croix Valley Runners, five miles in 44:26, not a bad time for zero degrees and all of the clothing that goes with zero temperatures. We runners agreed that it really felt colder than zero, as reported at St Paul’s Holman Field; I think it was more like ten below out in the boonies where we ran. Roy, Dave, and I all ran together for safety in the cold. Nike Miler shoes again.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Dome Running!

Thursday, December 13:

That's Don way down there in the white shirt and hat, with Sweet Pea nearer along the wallMetro Dome Running, presented by your very own MDRA! We three had never tried it before, so off we went to see how it worked.

The Dome is open from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm most Tuesdays and Thursdays from late November through mid-march. Only runners are allowed in, for a one-dollar fee. All speeds and distances are accommodated. Runners use the upper-level concrete pedestrian concourse, not the playing field (too bad). It's warm in there - 70 degrees I thought, and we were advised that it will be even warmer if snow is falling because they need the heat to melt the snow.

The concourse is divided (using trash barrels) into a fast lane, for speeds of seven minutes per mile and faster, and a slow lane for everyone else including walkers. The fast lane goes clockwise on the inside, slower runners to their right along the inner wall. The slower lane goes counter-clockwise on the outside, slowest runners to their right along the outer wall. The outer wall is 636 meters (0.395 mi) per lap, and the inner 604 meters (0.375 mi) per lap. For those who aren’t timing themselves precisely, that’s almost four tenths of a mile per lap, or five laps equals almost two miles.

Thursday night about 100 runners showed up over the three-hour time window. The place was fairly busy when we were there, between 7:00 and 8:00 - other runners were always in sight. Yet it was never so busy that I had to slow down or slow anyone else down - there was plenty of room to run.

I ran well, too. 5.83 miles in 47:53, for a pace of 8:13, a marathon PR pace for me, and the last full lap was at a pace of 7:27, so I did have a little left. Lessee - it’s open for three hours - not enough time for ME to run a marathon, but some could do it. A mere 69.9 laps along the inner wall. Make it an even 70.

On a good day I could do a 20-miler in three hours or less. Hmmm. At an intermediate distance between walls, say 625 meters per lap, that's 51.5 laps. Oh my.

Wednesday, December 12:

North St Paul Community Center dreadmill, three miles which never seemed to end, but finally did after 26 minutes and 34 seconds. Why is it so much nicer to run around an indoor track like a gerbil in a cage than on a treadmill going nowhere at all? Part of it is that I’m always a little concerned about my wobbly old legs staying on the treadmill surface, so a lot of attention is required. I have to hold onto something if I even look briefly to the side - no such problem on the track. Further, there is no cooling breeze, whereas on the track, if I’m running at 7 mph then I’m facing a 7 mph cooling wind. I’ve seen a few people bring battery-operated face fans for the treadmill or the elliptical trainer. I hope the new track surface will be available soon. Today it appeared to be finished (!) but not quite cleaned up for use.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Twenty One Miles

In three runs.

Tuesday, Dec 11:

For the first time this winter Sunshine, Sweet Pea, and I went to Stillwater’s inflated bubble-dome to run indoors around the soccer fields. Fifty cents for seniors, two dollars for others, free for all on Wednesdays. The nice soft soccer surface is easy on ancient joints, but I fear it may take away a little energy on each step without giving it all back. Oh well, all the better for training.

The run was energetic and felt good, 7.94 miles in 1:07:57, for pace of 8:34, last lap at a pace of 7:19. I’ll keep it. I’m sure about the distance, because I measured it with a calibrated wheel a few years back. Temperature was about 55 degrees, a little cooler near the edges of the bubble, perfect for running; I overdressed and found myself removing a little clothing every loop until I got down about as far as I could go. Next time I’ll wear shorts instead of tights, and a technical long-sleeve shirt, and that’ll be it. Lots of walkers came in out of the cold today, mostly senior citizens like myself it seemed, and just a few other runners.

A young man, perhaps 18 or 19, passed me on the fly one time, then stopped to rest. A lap or two later he joined me, explaining that he needed to run my pace or else he would go too fast for the condition that he was in. His Army recruiter had advised him to get in shape, he said. He ran with me for perhaps three of my 42 laps, then stopped again and soon left the building. I wonder if he accomplished much on his goal today. I think that a brand-new runner should set a modest goal, say two miles, then get there by running until s/he can’t run any farther, then walk until s/he can run again, repeating until the goal is reached. After a week or two s/he will reach that goal without walking, and then it’s time to increase the distance 10% to 20% per week.

Sunday, Dec 9:

Neighborhood roads, an 8.2-mile loop in 1:10:55, for a pace of 8:38. This was a good run - I felt strong throughout and ran a good time despite a hilly course in eleven-degree weather with four layers of clothing up top and roads with a lot of packed snow and ice. Very nice for a training run. Now I need to stretch out the miles so I can do a marathon at that pace, or just a tad faster. Then I’ll be back in condition. Nike Miler shoes today, for warmth and aggressive tread.

Saturday, Dec 8:

St Croix Valley runners, six stalwarts braved the eight-below temperature for five miles, no problems. George and I finished in 46:42, for a glacial pace of 9:20, but we were quite content with that. Luke and Tom finished well ahead, with Roy & Dave just behind us. It was actually a rare morning, clear and crisp with a beautiful sunrise as we ran. Used the Nike Miler shoes for their very grippy tread and lack of ventilation. Two pairs of socks, pajamas under running pants, five layers above, ski mask, you get the picture. I wore contacts, because glasses would ice over in seconds under the ski mask.

Eggs for breakfast
Every morning for breakfast, two organic eggs over medium in a steel pan, with pepper and salt. Love 'em.

Oatmeal for breakfast
Today's breakfast (besides the eggs): Organic oatmeal, banana, blueberries, Don's fruit/berry/nut mix, organic walnuts, chopped cocoa beans, organic lowfat milk.

Sunday's bison dinner
Today's breakfast (besides the eggs): Organic oatmeal, banana, blueberries, Don's fruit/berry/nut mix, organic walnuts, chopped cocoa beans, organic lowfat milk.

Monday's taco salad
Last night's Taco Salad supper: Organic leaf lettuce, ground bison, organic aged cheddar, organic blue corn chips, nightshade-free salsa with organic sweet potato, organic squash, organic beet, and Mexican spices.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Ten Miles

In two days. Humph.

Thursday, December 6:

Perhaps I’m becoming accustomed to the dreadmill - it didn’t seem quite so onerous today. Time passed and then the four miles were gone, with a bit of a flourish at the end. North St Paul Community Center, time 35:38, pace 8:55, with the last two-tenths mile at 10 mph = 6 min/mi. I have some concern about staying on the track at that pace, so I hung on with both hands. I wonder if that makes the running easier or harder? Next time I’ll try one hand. It’s probably just a matter of getting used to the pace. Anyway that’s 20 miles on the week. Since I’ve run three days in a row I won’t be running Friday.

Still no activity indicating that the new track surface is to be installed. I wonder when that will begin. I have this pessimistic feeling that it could be months rather than weeks. Too bad they chose to close the track in the winter instead of the summer.

Wednesday, December 5:

Woodbury Runners, on snow-packed trails, 10 degrees out but no wind to speak of. When it gets this cold I have trouble keeping my face warm and keeping my glasses clear at the same time; if I cover enough of my face, then the glasses fog over. Today was right on the edge - eventually my face warmed and I was able to remove enough face cover to see properly too. A few degrees colder and I’ll have to wear contacts.

Anyway 5.8 miles in about 51 minutes (not exact - I apparently didn’t press the STOP button on the watch properly with mitts on). Pace 8:47, plenty good enough for these trails. They were plowed, but had been packed down before the plow arrived, so there wasn’t much bare pavement. Ran with Pete and Jack, both nice enough to slow to my pace. I did feel strong the whole way, much stronger than I expected to feel. Good run!

Organic oatmeal, organic lowfat milk, banana, blueberries, organic walnuts, chocolate nibs (chopped cocoa beans).

Organic salad greens, blue cheese, dragon fruit, pitted olives, avocado, raspberry vinegar.

Dinner: Free-range no-hormone bison, organic parsnips, organic squash, organic sweet potato, organic carrots, organic rutabaga, onion.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Five Runs

Getting behind on my logging. Tsk. Here we go:

Tuesday, December 4:

North St Paul Community Center dreadmill, five miles in 44:40, pace 8:56. Uff-da. No land speed records today! Could NOT wait for the run to end. I did speed up the last tenth of a mile to 10 mph (6 min/mi) just to be sure I could still run that fast, which livened things up a little at the end. Sweat dripping from the bill of my cap.

Maybe next time I’ll try 2/10 mile at that speed, then maybe 3/10? There is a one-mile race in January called the Meet of the Miles. I’ve never trained for that distance, just run it with a prayer. Perhaps it would help to train for the distance. Duh. There are some other indoor-track races this winter, sponsored by Charities Challenge, and I’d kind of like to see how I can do in those shorter distances: 200m, 400m, 800m, & 1500m.

Monday, December 3:

Snow yesterday, five or six lovely white inches of snow. I like running the snow blower almost as much as running, and shoveling what’s left is pretty good cross-training. At the start of every winter I re-awaken a few muscles with that shoveling. Nice day yesterday, fire in the fireplace after the driveway was clear.

Today’s run was five miles in a hilly neighborhood on mixed surface: dry pavement, some snow, and some slush. 20 degreees with negligible wind as the sun set. Out, loop four times, and back. Exactly five miles, certified, 43:34, pace 8:42. Good enough. In contrast with last Friday I felt strong throughout, no walking. Excellent run.

Friday, November 30:

Snowstorms a-coming, this was the last run on my favorite trail along the railroad tracks. But something was not quite right - I had no zip at all. Even walked a few times. Eight miles in 1:13:15, pace 9:09. It was only 14 degrees and breezy, so I was well dressed, and the trail is soft sandy gravel, so I have some reasons for feeling sluggish, but I’ve done better. Oh well, there are good days and better days, and this was a good one on my favorite trail. Last day of the week, only 19 miles this week. Too much yard work - leaf vacuuming and the like. This too shall pass.

Tuesday, November 27:

I really am not fond of the dreadmill. But that’s all that was available at the N St Paul Community Center today. Three endless miles. Talk about a watched pot. Time 26:40, pace 8:53. Well, it’s three miles under the shoes.

Sunday, November 25:

The North St Paul Community Center is about to replace the surface of their overhead running track, and today was the LAST day for the old surface. Just three miles, and the first mile seemed difficult, but they got easier as I ran. Splits: 8:55, 8:32, 8:19, total 25:46, pace 8:35. Several weeks now until the new track is open.

Saturday, November 24:

I love the Duluth Lakewalk. Today I started from a downtown hotel, quickly jumped on the LakeWalk, and took it to 26th Avenue East. From there it was a nice jog along London Road to 47th, then up to Crosley Ave and my destination in Lester Park. About 6.5 miles in 57:30, for a pace of 8:51, plenty good enough for the day after Thanksgiving dinner. Very enjoyable run.

Breakfast: Organic oatmeal, organic nonfat milk, banana, blueberries, Don's breakfast fruit/berry/nut mix.

Lunch: Leftover organic root vegetables with cranberries, hibiscus blossoms, pistachios.

Salad: Orgainc romaine lettuce, gluten-free corn bread, pistachios, blue cheese, dragon fruit, raspberry vinegar.

Dinner: Organic swiss chard with cranberries and nuts, organic apple, orange.