Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Five Taper Miles

Wednesday, Apr 29:

Woodbury Runners 5.2 miles with friend Rich, who is training for Grandma’s. It fit perfectly into my own marathon taper, slow and easy. This group meets every Wednesday night at 6:00 pm (actually 6:10 it seems) and I have enjoyed running with them many times, but this is the first time since fall. The Woodbury trails are just a little too icy for me in the winter. Tonight it rained just a little as we ran, keeping us cool. Lovely run. Time 54:43, pace 10:31.

Tuesday, Apr 28:

Three loops on neighborhood streets for a total of 4.16 miles (bike measured) at a pace that felt fairly easy. No walking, no hard breathing. I could have gone faster or farther, maybe both. It’s all good. No pains of any kind, and I did my stretches afterward like a good boy.

Total time 38:26, pace 9:14. Good run.

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Lunch salad: Organic romaine lettuce, cold roast free-range beef, organic red pepper, organic fat-free cottage cheese, stuffed olives, organic cashews, organic green peas, organic red wine vinegar.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Get In Gear 10k Race

An annual event since 1978, the Get In Gear 10k is one of the largest 10k races in the country. In addition, it’s one of the Minnesota Grand Prix races, so we always run it. This year we joined 3400 other runners in the 10k, along with 1600 in the 5k and 800 in the new half marathon just added this year. Add to that the 2k, which doesn’t have posted results, and you’re well over 6000 runners. I wonder if they’ll add a marathon next.

I hope so. This is a very well-run race. Everything clicks. If there’s a problem one year it’s fixed the next. Results are up on the web when you get home, probably sooner. If you want a model for your large race, this is it.

The weather didn’t look promising the day and night before. Cold, rain, wind, and possibly lightning. But we got the best of all of those - it was cool - 43 degrees - and slightly windy, but no rain and certainly no lightning. Actually it was pretty good running weather. I wore shorts and two technical shirts, which was plenty. Also, despite my slow pace, I somehow ended up fourth of nineteen in my age group, and nothing hurts. It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 8:54, 8:25, 8:39, 8:53, 8:23, 8:43, 1:39, total 53:37, pace 8:39.

Crocuses budging their way up through the leaves. If Get In Gear isn't a clear signal of spring, the crocuses certainly are.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Eight Easy Miles

Eight miles on the Gateway Trail. Longest run remaining before the marathon. I had planned on ten miles, but worked very hard in the yard yesterday afternoon and decided to take it a little easier. I ran easy and walked now and then, especially for a minute or so right after finishing each mile. I enjoyed the run - saw wild turkeys, nesting geese, an eagle overhead, and a muskrat in a lake. Low fifties with a strong crosswind. One long-sleeved shirt was perfect. I didn’t wear gloves but that might have been good too.

For a brief moment after a short, steep downhill I felt a little twinge in the left Achilles tendon so I decided to cut the eight miles to six. But when that was finished I realized that I’d have to wait for my sweeties to to return anyway, and the Achilles pain had disappeared, so I went ahead and ran two more. That was plenty though - I was tired. Taper will be good.

Splits: 9:20, 8:51, 9:50, 11:06 (phone call), 10:03, 7:14, 3:31, 9:57, 9:38, total 1:19:31, pace 9:56.

Breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with dried cranberries, blueberries, organic walnuts, organic nonfat milk, organic strawberries. That is one HUGE strawberry, one of many from Trader Joe's. The season is upon us.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Windy Six

Tuesday, April 21:

Legs felt weak at the start, going into the 20-mph wind on the dirt trail along the railroad tracks. I didn’t push it - I walked for a minute or so after each mile and sometimes briefly in between. Nevertheless the pace was better than I expected.

Not sure why my legs felt weak. Sixteen miles last Thursday, eight-mile trail race Saturday, three fairly hard miles yesterday along with DEX, perhaps it was the sum of those things. Anyway I felt a little better as the miles clicked off. No pains.

Splits: 9:00, 8:56, 9:42, 9:02, 9:39, 9:42, total 56:01, pace 9:20. Good enough.

Monday, April 20:

Story (1): I tried to skip out for a short run between little showers today, and almost made it. But on the way home, a quarter mile away, the sneet (snow/sleet) suddenly started. Not a lot, and it was blowing from behind, so it was more amusing than threatening. Kinda fun actually, the little round balls bouncing off my head and shoulders. It ended as quickly as it started, exactly as I reached me driveway. At the house a little piled-up row of sneetlets had bounced down the roof and collected on the ground under the eves, so that’s how much sneet we got.

Story (2): This was a DEX day - I took the dexamethasone last evening. Usually I don’t run on DEX day because, the theory goes, the muscles can’t replace the glycogen. But the other theory says that the body responds to exercise in the presence of any steroid, even DEX, by building muscle. Normally DEX causes muscle to shrink, so perhaps it’s possible to prevent that wasting by exercising appropriately on DEX day. I need to learn more about this.

Anyway the run went just fine. 2.7 miles in 22:56, for a pace of 8:30. Plenty quick for me on a relatively hilly course. Maybe DEX day is better than I think.

Lunch today: Organic chicken & turkey sausage, organic chard with a few dried & sweetened cranberries, pecans, fresh blueberries. That sausage is new to us, quite peppery, and I love it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Trail Mix Team Race

This was the 18th running of the Trail Mix races in Hyland Park. The course is 12.5k, about 7.8 miles. The long race is 50k (four loops), the Grand Prix race is 25k (2 loops) and the team race is 50k, where each team has four members and each member runs one loop, with the times of all four members added together for the 50k team score.

Today I ran the team event with George, Wayne, and Dave, finishing the 12.5k in 1:20:04. That’s a pace of 10:20, not much to brag about but (1) It is a difficult course, and (2) I did run 16 miles just two days ago. It’s good enough, especially since it was about all I could do. In fact none of us was in top form today. Each of us was either recovering from an injury or insufficiently trained for the distance. So we went a little slower than usual and enjoyed the race and the wonderful Hyland Park. Roy showed up to cheer.

No pains! My sweeties came along and cheered as well, but did not race this time. They got pictures. :-)

Three of the four St Croix Valley Runners at the start line.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Caffeine works!

On the way out to a 16-mile run I grabbed a couple of packages of Clif Shot Gels, one cran-razz and one orange. I ate the cran-razz first, at miles 4 and 8. Then at mile 12, I had half of the package of orange.

By that time I was getting a bit tired - walk breaks were more frequent and maybe a little longer. But around mile 14 my energy picked up again. Walk breaks nearly disappeared. This doesn’t just happen, so I checked the package of orange Clif Shot Gels and saw that it says "with caffeine." I had completely forgotten that any of the gels contained caffeine, and wasn’t expecting the pickup, so it was definitely physical and not psychological. I’ve felt this pickup from caffeine before, especially in marathons, but never quite so dramatically. Just 50 measly milligrams of caffeine from green tea extract, according to the package. The benefit lasted for at least two miles, perhaps more but my run was over.

Today the idea was to take it easy - long, slow distance. That’s just what happened. No pains worth mentioning, just tired muscles, which feels pretty good actually. Because of recent ankle issues, I ran in my last pair of Brooks Burns rather than the Summons that I have been using for training. That might have helped.

A beautiful 64-degree day, lots of people on bikes, a few on skates, and plenty of moms & dads pushing babies in strollers. Egrets and herons, with lots of noisy frogs for them to lunch on. Precious few runners, but it was nice to cross paths with my sweeties on the way back from the northeast turnaround.

Water at the even-numbered miles, gels every four miles. So far, barring any still-quiet injury, this run was an unqualified success. It’s a masterpiece.

Splits: 9:10, 9:47, 10:41, 8:54, 9:41, 9:37, 10:14, 10:10, 10:30, 10:24, 10:28, 9:05, 11:21 (phone calls), 9:31, 9:46, 9:10, total 2:38:28, pace 9:54.

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Recent dinner: Bison garam masala with peas, spinach, onions, and tomatoes, and chopped cucumbers with yogurt.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Night Cramp - Ouch!

Yikes! In the middle of the night after Sunday’s 10-mile run I was awakened by an excruciating cramp in the right calf. Normally the best way to relieve a cramp is to go into a stretch, but I was in bed and that didn’t seem like an option. I just moaned and waited the minute or two required for the cramp to pass. Then I could get up and do the stretch, although by then the muscle had injured itself a bit and it hurt to stretch. It still hurt Monday morning and all that day.

I’ve never had a night cramp before, and hope I don’t again. Why did it happen? Two possibilities that I can think of: (1) I ran ten miles the previous day without taking any water during the run. Normally I do take water for a run longer than eight miles; and (2) This was DEX day - the day that the dexamethasone has its maximum effect, and in fact I had taken the DEX just a few hours earlier. Can it have this kind of effect? Never heard that before, but there aren’t that many runners taking DEX so it could be an unreported side effect.

Tuesday, though, I had a nice four-mile run on the Gateway trail. NO pain in that calf during the run, although I could still feel where it injured itself. I did have a slight pain in the outside of the left ankle, new and strange, that did not entirely go away. I think it will though. Doesn’t feel like a serious thing. I hope.

I was doing well enough, but stopped to help a little turtle across the trail and out of bike danger, and then I walked for a while with another runner as we chatted. So the overall pace is glacial, but the run served its purpose. Hoping for a long run Thursday if the ankle will cooperate.

Splits: 9:07, 21:02 (2 mi), 9:18, total 39:27, pace 9:52.

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This morning's breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with dried cranberries, organic strawberries, organic walnuts, frozen blueberries, kiwi, a dark chocolate wafer, and organic fat-free milk.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ten Miles on Easter Sunday

Yesterday I rode my bike, measuring a race course, and did not run. Up at 5:15 am to calibrate the bike, measuring by 7:30 am, finished with all the bike riding and race course marking by about 1:30. After that I was too tired to run. And too busy documenting the course.

So today I took a double dose of running, more or less. Ten miles on my favorite rocky dirt road along the railroad tracks. This time I went west five miles, to within 0.2 miles of the end of the road, then came back. Most of the trail is firm dirt with a few rocks packed into it, but there are short stretches of all rock and stretches of very soft dirt, almost sand. It’s all good - I’m training, not racing. Nothing unusual on this run - no trains (sigh) or deer or wild turkeys. This time. But plenty of other wildlife, including several humans grilling Easter dinner in their back yards. A couple of those yards smelled delicious.

In the first mile I did feel some pain in the right knee, which has been just a little annoying lately. This was different though - the pain was at the top inside of the kneecap rather than the bottom where it has been before, and it went away rather quickly. Not much to worry about I think. Nothing else - the black toe does not hurt, just looks black. It’ll do what black toes do, I guess. Takes a year!

Again I took a 90-second walk break after each mile. That works! The 90 seconds is derived according to this scientific formula: 1 minute seems too short, and 2 minutes seems too long.

Splits: 9:13, 8:55, 9:30, 9:30, 9:30, 10:02, 9:43, 9:17, 10:13, 10:07, total 1:36:00, pace 9:36. Hey I’ll keep it!

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Breakfast some months ago: Gluten-free oatmeal with raisins or dried cranberries, blueberries, almonds, walnuts, maybe filberts, organic pomegranate juice, and organic fat-free milk.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Wonderful Run

Thursday, April 9:

Oboy, today was to be a semi-long run, working toward marathon distances again, and it worked out very well. Fourteen miles on my favorite rocky dirt road along the railroad tracks. Out and back four miles one way, then out and back three miles the other way. I love that quiet, solitary trail, even though (partly because) it gives my ankles a workout and takes a bit more effort than does pavement. Temperature was 52, with a slight crosswind - does running get any better than that? I saw a deer, an eagle, mallards, and plenty of Canada geese. A buddy to run with would have been good too.

The overall pace was 9:40, good enough to qualify for Boston if I could run another 12 miles without slowing. Maybe someday, but not today. Recently I’ve been running for pure pleasure, walking whenever I felt like it. This time, though, I decided to walk for 90 seconds after each mile. And it worked perfectly - I did not do any other walking. I did take water every two miles and gels at miles 4 and 8. No pains. !!!

Splits: 18:20 (2 mi), 9:02, 9:38, 10:55, 9:04, 20:09 (2 mi), 8:59, 9:09, 10:11, 10:00, 9:35, 10:13, total 2:15:14, pace 9:40. Very good. I’m a happy runner.

Tuesday, April 7:

Local roads, four miles. I wanted to do eight, but life intervened and there was time for only four. In fact I started out on a five-mile course, and then cut it to four in mid-run. No problems, no pains, I walked a little but not a lot. Overall pace was 9:02, so I must have been running faster than I thought when not walking.

Splits: 18:04 (2 mi), 18:02 (2 mi), total 36:06, pace 9:02. Way better than not getting a run in at all.

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Dinner Salad: Organic chard with sweetened dried cranberries, parmesan cheese, cucumber, avocado, organic plum or nectarine - not sure which and it's gone now!

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Indoor Run on an Outdoor Day

This was a strange day. We got a couple of inches of snow overnight, and the roads looked pretty sloppy. So we took our new car to the club and ran there. As we ran, though, the snow stopped and the sun began to peek through the clouds. By the time we finished our indoor run, outdoors was looking pretty good. So good that the roads were almost dry as we drove home.

So I wasted a fairly nice outdoor day running indoors. Tsk. Nevertheless I had a good six-mile run and can’t complain about it. I wasn’t full of energy, but enough considering that I ran yesterday. I’d rather have run outdoors, but this was a keeper. No pains.

Splits: 8:46, 8:41, 8:40, 8:42, 8:43, 8:27, total 51:58, pace 8:40.

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Recent breakfast: Gluten-free oatmeal with dried cranberries, kiwi, organic strawberries, mango, walnuts, dark chocolate, organic fat-free milk.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Long, Slow Distance

Is walking allowed when running long, slow distance (SLD)? I'm not sure, but I'm finding that a little walking feels mighty good when I run outdoors. And I'm not really running that far, either.

Why is this? I don't walk when I run on the indoor track, so why do I want to walk when running outdoors? I don't have to walk, I suppose, but my breathing rate gets a little fast and I walk to calm it down again. I've been doing that even on the Gateway Trail, and so fat this year on every other outdoor run.

The good news is that I enjoy this kind of running. I like it. So for now I'll run a lot, walk a little, and have a good time.

Saturday, Apr 4:

St Croix Valley Runners, five miles. Nice group this morning, including Roy, visiting from Chicago. Nice to have him with us again. Despite the nice-sized group, I ended up running mostly by myself, behind the three fastest and ahead of the rest. I walked briefly three times, up little hills.

Time 44:12, pace 8:50. Last week, running with Paul, I finished this route almost a minute and a half faster, even though I thought I pushed pretty hard this time. This speaks to the incentive and motivation that comes with running with another person.

Thursday, Apr 2:

Thursday afternoon I ran ten miles on my favorite dirt road along the railroad tracks for the first time this year. Lovely. The dirt does take some energy away, as did the 14-mph westerly wind. But mostly my pace was slow because I didn’t FEEL like going fast. I took frequent, short walk breaks, and even stopped to gape at various goings-on in Lake Woebegone a couple of times.

I wore the new Brooks Summit shoes and they were OK, though I still like the old Burns better. I have one almost-new pair of Burns left, and will reserve those for races.

No pains, no strains during the run. Afterward the right knee hurt going down stairs, but that problem corrected itself the next morning. The first step down hurt, and from then on the knee was fine. Also I got good news at Mayo Clinic Thursday morning - the myeloma is still stable. It’s a masterpiece.

Splits: 1:19:06 (8 mi), 19:00 (2 mi), total 1:38:06, pace 9:49. Actually that's almost a Boston-qualifying pace for a runner my age. I’ll take it.

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Sunshine's homemade mostly-organic chicken chili. Organic chicken, organic beans, organic carrots, organic spinach (!), organic tomato, onions, chili spices, slivered almonds. Quite a treat. She should write a cookbook. Title: "How To Eat!"