Sunday, June 29, 2008

Hip Flexors

Sunday, June 29:

Local roads, 6.6 miles, moderately hilly, in one hour, pace 9:05. I meant to run 9:00 to 9:30 but went out way too fast as usual. In the second mile my right hip flexors started to hurt. This happened in the marathon too, though much later in the race. Furthermore the pain didn’t get any worse in the marathon, but this time it did, getting bad enough to make me walk some of the time. Huh. Walk a little and it was better, then run a little and it was painful again. It disappeared within minutes after finishing the run.

Gosh I hope this isn’t ANOTHER injury that will take a month or two out of the summer. I’ll wait until Tuesday and try another run until it hurts or ten miles, whichever comes first. Guess I'm still doing Grandma's recovery.

Saturday, June 28:

SCV Runners, 5 miles in 46 minutes. What a beautiful morning it was! Nice easy pace, no pains of any kind. Best of all we received a gift of organic veggies from friend Jim and took them home for lunch.

Saturday lunch
Saturday lunch: Jim's organic spinach, onions, beets, and beet greens, with a few dried cranberries, banana, organic peanut butter (for the banana). Yum.

Sunday dinner
Sunday dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, organic lime, Jim's organic beet greens, spinach, and onions, with a few organic raisins, plus orange and mango. I took seconds. Thanks Jim.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Post-Marathon Recovery Run

We three drove to the local park today and just ran for time, first run since Grandma’s Marathon. I ran 33 minutes at a pace that was probably about 9:00 or so, and if so that would be about 3.7 miles. It felt good except for one little pain in the left hamstring, which to my recollection has never bothered me before. I hope it’s just a matter of a few more days’ recovery to make that go away.

I feel good afterward, no sign of that pain, and I’ll skip a day or two before running again.

Big doings tomorrow.

Tonight's dinner: Organic chicken, organic carrots, mashed organic sweet potatoes, organic strawberry.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Grandma's Marathon Part 2

Again, the wonderful result for me is NO INJURY! Whoopee. In my first five year of running I almost took that for granted, but in the past year injury-free running has eluded me. Until Saturday. I’m so encouraged. But easy does it, I won’t jump right into 40-mile weeks.

Regarding injury prevention: I have been doing my stretches, especially the ITB and calf stretches, and I believe that made a difference. I also tried to run on the flattest part of the road, no sideways slope, even though that was not always the shortest path or the shadiest one.

Regarding performance: I finished my sixth Grandma’s Marathon and my 29th marathon overall in 4:42. The Boston Qualifying time for me was 4:15, but that was an unrealistic expectation, partly because of the warm running conditions. In addition: (1) I have gained about six pounds since starting the new cancer meds in March - that’s no one’s fault but mine - back on Weight Watchers; (2) I feel under-trained, although I did a marathon seven weeks before and a 30k three weeks before (neither very well); (3) The meds do take something out of me I think, though that may be mental and thus a self-fulfilling prophesy.

As a result: I was on pace at mile 14, running 9:44 per mile with the Clif Shot pace team, but couldn’t keep up any longer because my breathing was going out of control, three footfalls per full breath, which is OK for the last half of a 5k race but not for the middle of a marathon; it should have been four. Interesting how the easy 9:44 pace became harder and harder - at one time I was convinced that the pace leaders had bumped the pace up a little, but at the next milepost they were right on time. I walk/ran about 12-minute miles after mile 15.


  • We three took the train to the start. What a pleasant ride up the shore, with bathrooms on board instead of long lines and porta potties. We recommend it.
  • I actually did enjoy running much of the way with the pace team. They motor right through the water stops though, and I drop to a walk to drink the water, so I did have to catch up after each one.
  • My son and his friend live on the course and were waiting for me to go by, with a beer just in case I was doing poorly and taking it easy anyway. But at that point I was on pace and took high-fives instead of the beer. Thanks for being there!
  • Further along, at about mile 20, someone had tiny cups of beer and I did partake. Not enough to hamper running, and by then I wasn’t moving so fast.
  • Scottish bagpipes played at two places, one a solitary piper and the second a small bagpipe band with pipes and drums right in the middle of the only hill on the course. They smiled too.
  • Friend John was waiting at mile 22 to walk/run with me a little. We had a nice chat, though necessarily brief.
  • Other friends were lurking downtown, near mile 25, and cheered for me.
  • I wear DON in big letters on my shirt, so I did get a lot of encouragement from many spectators. I always feel a little guilty if they cheer when I’m walking; sometimes that gets me running again.
  • Doctor L, my Mayo hematologist and also a runner, was watching from somewhere. Though I didn’t see her, it was nice to know that she was there.
  • I did hear sirens quite a few times, and saw several runners being attended on shady spots of grass and one runner barfing. Ah, well.
  • Briefly I ran with a young woman whose walk/run pace matched mine. She was recently recovered from ovarian cancer and was worried about her heart rate, which the monitor said was 185, and decided to slow down even more. I hope she finished.
  • Ice cream at the finish.
  • Beer at the finish.
  • Best of all, my sweeties both finished!
Stats: 9:15, 8:44, 9:52, 9:28, 19:30 (2 mi), 9:49, 9:39, 19:13 (2 mi), 9:46, 9:40, 30:48 (3 mi), 12:35, 12:05, 12:05, 11:48, 12:23, 12:15, 12:05, 12:02, 12:27, 12:17, 12:17, 2:08. Temp ranged from 63 at the start to 73 at the finish according to the weather bureau, but some local thermometers topped 80 degrees. The relentless sun made it seem that hot. Water on the head and down the hatch at every water stop. Clif bar 3.5 hours before the race start. Gels at 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, and 23, mostly with caffein. I didn’t take any other caffein, though I had a couple of No-Doz along. Salt at 11 and 21. Slight pain in the right hip flexor starting at mile 9, but this has happened before and it didn’t get any worse throughout the race. I’m stiff today, two days later, but that’s perfectly normal and indicates that my muscles are doing what they must do to perform better next time. Good marathon, I’m glad I ran it.

Dex breakfast
Dex breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with NO raisins or cranberries, blueberries, macadamia nuts, organic walnuts, pistachios, filberts, nonfat organic milk. Once a week I take dexamethasone, and for the next day I'm a diabetic, so I try for that day to limit carbs with a high glycemic index and combine carbs with protein and good oils to keep insulin spikes down.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Grandma's Marathon 2008

June 21, 2008:

The third warm Grandma’s in a row. That shouldn’t matter in the competitive sense, of course - we all run in the same weather. But just once I’d love to run Grandma’s with a 50-degree tailwind instead of a 70-degree headwind and unrelenting sun. Maybe with global warming, Grandma’s will have to move the date back into May.

Enough weather - I had a good marathon. No injuries going in and no injuries coming out. YAY! I hoped for a Boston-qualifying 4:15 finish and instead wound up with 4:42:13. But I feel good afterward and there will be even better days. Maybe best of all, Sushine and Sweet Pea both finished it too! More tomorrow. Probably.

Don & Sweet Pea at the start line waiting for the gun.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Three Miles

An uneventful run, 3.3 miles in 28:16, pace 8:34. Seemed like I was running 9:30's, but that just shows how bad is my judgment of pace these days. Not that it’s ever been any better, actually. 71 degrees and moderate humidity, somehow the bright sun made it seem much warmer and sweatier. But it was a good run.

Chicken dinner
Dinner: Organic chicken, organic apple, organic carrots with onions & herbs, organic sweet potato.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Engine Goes Toot Toot

Tuesday, June 17:

What an enjoyable run! Five miles on my favorite little dirt road along the railroad tracks in Lake Woebegone. Best of all, on the return leg of the out-and-back I saw the three headlights of an engine approaching. As the train neared, the engineer whistled two short toots. I gave him the thumbs up and waved, and got two more short toots. No road crossing in sight, in fact nothing but woods in sight, he was greeting ME. As it roared past, I could feel the earth shake every time my feet touched the ground. That’s cool. I love trains.

Next best of all - I pulled a muscle in my back yesterday bending over to cut out some shrubs with a chain saw. ( The shrubs have this karmic way of retaliating.) This morning when I got up it was still sore. And this afternoon when I started this run the back hurt a bit, but within twenty paces the pain was gone and it didn’t bother at all for the rest of the five miles. I don’t think I need to worry about it interfering with the marathon. That’s a relief.

Splits: 18:35 (2 mi), 9:04, 8:38, 8:44, total 45:00, pace 9:00. As usual I was shooting for 9:30 and overshot the pace a little. I definitely will need to run with a pace team to avoid going out too fast. Today 78 degrees, no pains, no problems. It’s a masterpiece.

Anti-Oxidant Breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, banana (under there somewhere), blueberries, organic strawberries, pineapple, papaya, organic walnuts, nonfat organic milk.
Salad: Organic romaine, cucumber, kiwi, blue cheese, cashews, organic red wine vinegar.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Someone tagged me a while back and it seems like an interesting project.

  1. How would you describe your running 10 years ago?
    Ten years ago my knees would hurt after just a short run, and I thought that running was out of the question. Then six years ago I lost 40 pounds in Weight Watchers, started by walk/running, and my knees responded by toughening themselves up.

  2. What is your best and worst run/race experience?
    I have no worsts and four bests, all of them marathons:
    • Grandma's Marathon 2006. I was born and raised in Duluth, and in 2006 I came home and won my age group. A very good day.
    • Moose Mountain Marathon. I've run this twice, both times finishing the difficult trail in pitifully slow times. But the trail is so incredibly beautiful that I don't care about my time. Much. I might run it again this year.
    • Avenue of the Giants Marathon. Almost all of the 26.2 miles are on gently rolling blacktop roads which wind among the enormous and incredibly beautiful redwoods of northern California. It's the tallest shade I've ever run in :-)
    • New York City Marathon. What can you say - there is no other place like New York. Great organization, spectators, volunteers, everything. They get it right. The hills aren't bad, and they're called bridges.
  3. Why do you run?
    Because I like the feeling of scooting across the landscape; because I love how I feel afterward; because I'm a competitive old SOB and like to race even when I don't win (but winning is better); because it's something that we three do together; because I like what running does for the shape of my body; because I REALLY like what running does for my overall health and thus my ability to combat the cancer.

  4. What is the best or worst piece of advice you've been given about running?
    Coach Tony once advised me not to let more than 48 hours pass between runs, because the muscles may begin to freeze up or even atrophy after that time. I don't know the truth of this, actually, but the 48-hour limit has more than once prompted me to lace up the shoes when I otherwise might not have. It's been a guiding principle, along with at least one or two rest days per week. Thanks Tony.

  5. Tell us something surprising about yourself that not many people would know.
    I love to travel by train, especially Amtrak or ViaRail in a sleeper. If I won the lottery I'd hop the train with my sweeties, traveling every Amtrak & ViaRail route, and not get off for a month except every other day just long enough for a run. Maybe someday I should buy a lottery ticket.
Consider yourself tagged, if you like.

Sunday, June 15:

The purpose of this run, besides enjoying how it feels, was to let my legs know that they can’t afford to go soft on me. Not training so much as holding whatever conditioning they have, treading water as it were. That’s the mode I’m in right now during the taper. 3.3 miles in 28:45, pace 8:43. This was a hilly course in warm, sunny 68-degree conditions, and I had hoped to hold the pace down to 9:30, but alas no such luck.

I really will need to run with a pace team in the marathon. I tend to get bored doing that, and inevitably end up motoring down some slope out ahead of the team and losing them, sometimes to stay ahead but often to watch them pass me later when there is little I can do about it. This time I’ll try harder to hold it down and conserve energy at least until the last six miles. That’s when the real race begins.

Breakfast: Glutenfree oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, banana, blueberries, cantaloupe, organic walnuts, organic plum, lowfat organic milk, organic pomegranate juice.

Dinner: Free-range bison pot roast, organic parsnips, kiwi, organic pomegranate juice

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fun in the Forest 5k

Time 22:05. This little 5k in Forest Lake was my best 5k since September, 2006! If I were sure that it was really 5000 meters I’d be VERY pleased, but the course is not certified and I’m pretty sure that it’s short. One of the guys manning the finish said that it measured three hundredths of a mile short on his GPS, and I suspect that it’s actually at least a tenth of a mile short, just based on the times that the three of us ran. On the other hand it was flat as a pancake and straight as an arrow, out & back, thus an easy course, so maybe it’s not so short and we did better than I think.

Whatever, I’ll take it! Even if it were two tenths short, which I doubt, that would equate to an actual 5k of about 23:30, certainly the best I’ve done this year by more than a minute. It’s good, I’m happy, it’s a masterpiece! No pains, no complaints.

Temp 66 and sunny, it was plenty warm. We ran this race because one of us is associated with the organizer, and we all enjoyed it. Sometimes the little races are the most fun. This was the perfect run-up to a marathon.

Splits: 6:51, 7:05, 8:08 (pace 7:24), total 22:05, pace 7:07 overall. Now all I need to do is lose the extra five or six pounds that I’ve accumulated in the last few months and maybe I can run 22:05 on a REAL 5k course.

Today's breakfast
Today's post-race breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, banana, blueberries, organic strawberries, mango, organic walnuts, Dove dark chocolate, organic pomegranate juice, nonfat organic milk.

Recent salad: Organic romaine lettuce, cucumber, organic grapes, papaya, organic strawberries, blue cheese.

Recent dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon, organic broccoli, organic sweet pickle relish, Rose's key lime marmelade.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Thursday, June 12:

Randy and I ran a fairly easy 6 miles on the Gateway Trail. After the heavy rain in the previous 36 hours the trail was like a rain forest, so lush and green. Spring is over and summer is here! Randy was having a little trouble with a hamstring, so we stopped a couple of times for stretching, but all in all it was a very nice run. No pains of any kind.

Splits: 9:29, 8:57, 8:33, 8:38, 8:53, 9:17, total 53:47, pace 8:58 overall. I was shooting for 9:30's but we overperformed just a little even with the stretches. S’ok. This finished 24 miles for the week, down about 1/3 from the prior week.

Post-run breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, organic strawberries, blueberries, banana, organic nectarine, organic walnuts, Dove dark chocolate, organic pomegranate juice, organic nonfat milk. That'll hold ya 'til noon.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Cell-Phone Timing

Tuesday, Jun 10:

In a rush to get out of the house and up to the Gateway Trail, I forgot my watch. Seems like I’m always forgetting something. But I rarely forget my cell phone, and I had it today, so I used it to time this run. Since this 10-miler will be the longest run remaining in the taper for a marathon, I wanted to run marathon pace, about 9:30. I’d love to run faster, but at my present level of fitness and ability I’d be plenty happy to finish in 4:15:59, which is the Boston qualifying time for my age group and requires a pace of 9:45. Based on other recent long runs I’m unlikely to be able to do that, but there is a possibility so I have to try.

Anyway no problem with the pace today. It seemed rather easy, actually. I looked at the cell phone at each milepost to be sure that the time from the last milepost was either 9 minutes or 10 - my cell doesn’t show seconds. That worked well enough. In the end I finished the 10 miles in 1:34, for a pace of 9:24. I took gels two times and water every two miles, walking while drinking, but no other walking on this run. Saw my sweeties a couple of times on the trail too. Good enough, but no clue what would happen in 16 more miles.

Splits: 10, 9, 10, 9, 10, 9, 9, 10, 9, 9. Perfect weather, low humidity and 62 degrees, no pains, and after the run I feel great - It’s a masterpiece.

Monday, Jun 9:

I decided not to run on Sunday, because I felt pretty sluggish Saturday. Seems now like a good choice. Today I just wanted to work the muscles enough to retain any fitness they might have, so I shot for a pace of 9:30, approximately the pace I’d like to run in an upcoming marathon. The route was local and somewhat hilly, and I ran 3.3 miles in 30:05, for a pace of 9:07. Overshot slightly on the pace, but hey this was “dex day”!

Splits: 9:18, 9:08, 11:39 (1.3 mi). No pains, good run, it’s a masterpiece.

Breakfast & lunch
Post-run breakfast/lunch: Gluten-free oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, banana, organic strawberries, Don's nut/fruit/berry mix, blueberries, organic walnuts, nonfat organic milk. Not shown: Pomegranate juice, two fried eggs.

Dinner: Wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon (canned) with yogurt & dill, organic peas, organic strawberries (Size: HUGE), very nice beer. I love peas and had seconds and thirds.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

How Fast?

Thursday I felt good after the 8.5 mile run, but later in the day I was SO tired. I nodded off at lunch, and went to bed at 8:30. Ten hours later I woke up feeling fairly good, and I rested that day. But today, halfway into the morning’s five-mile run with the St Croix Valley group I began to feel very, very sluggish. I even walked briefly a couple of times, and thought I was slower than molasses. But then, to my surprise, I finished in 43:13 for a pace of 8:39, which is not a bad time for that run.

So was this morning's fatigue real, or was it mental? Big week last week - maybe I should just rest some more. But my runner’s instinct says go out and run tomorrow, seize the day! We’ll see how that sounds in the morning.

Lamb Dinner
Saturday night's dinner: Roast lamb with Rose's Key Lime Marmelade, organic parsnips, organic strawberries, organic squash, organic salsa, nice stout.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Dodged the Rain

Eight and a half miles on the Gateway trail with friend Randy. Very enjoyable run. Distance and time are approximate, but close enough. Time 1:13:09, overall pace 8:36. Hmmm. Same pace as Tuesday’s 6-mile run, though longer. Helps to have Randy pushing the pace. We ran in the morning and avoided the rain. Temp was 62 and humidity was enormous.

My running week starts on Saturday, and since I won’t run tomorrow I’m done for the week with a total of 36 miles. Doesn’t sound like much, but it’s my biggest week in months, as I’ve struggled with an assortment of runner’s injuries. Happily, no pains today! I did not wear the knee warmers, either. I did forget to apply nipple protectors (spot band-aids) and got some blood on the t-shirt where it rubbed up and down across the nipples, so I guess it’s not quite true to say “no pains.” But this is just a stupidity pain and easily treatable (duh!).

Nice salad: Organic romaine, cucumber, organic grapes, pistachios, cheese, organic blue corn chips, organic red wine vinegar.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Six Nice Miles

On the Gateway Trail, meeting my sweeties twice. Almost a rainy day - misting and 60 degrees with a bit of wind too. Nearly-perfect running weather :-)

Splits: 8:36, 8:40, 8:38, 8:28, 9:18, 7:57, total 51:36, pace 8:36. Plenty fast enough after a 30k just three days ago. I tried to hold my breathing rate to four footfalls per full breath, but in the last two miles I was breathing faster at three footfalls per breath. Partly because I was running on a fairly full stomach, partly because it felt good. No pains! It’s a masterpiece.

Salmon Dinner
Last night's dinner: Wild-caught Alaskn salmon, organic lime, organic pickle relish, organic broccoli, parmesan cheese.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Recovery Run

Nice short recover run on local streets, 2.5 miles in 21:26, pace 8:34. Not bad for “dex day.” No pains - not even a hint. Wonderful run, after a 30k and over two hours of mowing on Saturday. The calf that cramped up during the mowing was a little sore during the post-run stretches, but not during the run. It’s a masterpiece.

Interesting factoid: I have two pairs of running shoes, identical except for mileage, one for training and the other for racing. Last month I put more miles on the racing shoes than on the training shoes! Huh. Hafta think about that.

Today's breakfast
Post-run breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with organic flame raisins and dried cranberries, mango, blueberries, organic strawberries, organic grapes, organic walnuts, banana, organic pomegranate juice, nonfat organic milk. Takes me a long time to get around all of that.