Sunday, September 27, 2009

MMRF Race for Research

Don chats with the MMRF manager The MMRF Race for Research is my race! I started slowly, because the start is a bit congested, then ran steadily (no walking!) to the finish in 26:18, pace 8:29. Good enough. Along the way I saw the ghost of Steve Quick, smiling and leaning against a tree, but couldn’t stop to see if he was real. He probably was - he said "hello." Great of you to come Steve.

The race was particularly delightful this year, the fourth annual. Weather was perfect, sunny but cool with a little breeze. As always there was a live band, and about 1000 participants raised $150,000 for myeloma research. That’s wonderful, folks, keep me alive! It’s a masterpiece.

Splits: 9:00, 8:14, 9:06 (1.1 mi), total 26:18.

Saturday, Sep 26:

Some of the St Croix Runners, in the fog! The St Croix Valley Runners had a good-size group on Saturday, running in the early-morning fog. I ran slowly, because I had a race the next day, not pushing much at all. Nevertheless I finished in 46 minutes, just a minute over my usual 45-minute "tempo" pace. I ran with Dennis for a while, an old-time SCV runner who is coming back to running. He’s a lot faster than me, but was also taking it easy because of an upcoming race. Pace 9:12, good enough.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ankle Twister

My friend Jim doesn’t like running on my favorite trail - the road alongside the railroad tracks. I think this is because of the hazard presented by the one- and two-inch rocks that have fallen down from the raised track bed to litter the trail. And he’s right, of course. Yesterday I had a close call, stepping on one of those rocks, twisting the right ankle outward. My unthinking reaction was to drop down, to take most of the weight off that foot for the remainder of the step. Then I walked for a while, and was able to finish the run normally. Happily, there is no lasting damage.

Nice six-mile run otherwise though. No train came by, but the trail was bordered throughout with lovely late-summer flowers, and two deer watched intently as I trotted by 50 feet from them. I ran without walking for the first three miles, then changed to run two minutes, walk one minute for the remaining three.

Splits: 9:04, 9:08, 8:57, 10:00, 10:38, 10:14, total 58:01, pace overall 9:40. I’ll take it. Tapering now, fall marathons coming up ...

Breakfast with lots of juicy fruit and berries
It's so hard to beat a ripe, juicy nectarine.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Gateway Trail Bridge over Manning

Sunday, Sep 20, 2009:

We three all went to the Gateway Trail. I ran a little farther, perhaps an extra mile, and then went back to pick them up and finish their run with them. Mileage was difficult to track, but I ran about an hour and seven minutes, and think that was about six miles. In the beginning I ran two minutes and walked one, but that broke down later and I just ran whenever I could and walked the rest.

This was a low-energy day. When I go down to Mayo every month for the cancer checkup, they always ask if I felt unusually tired, and I always say "no," but once in a while there is a day when I do feel tired. This is one of those days. I’ll feel better tomorrow - I just took my weekly dose of DEX, which has an effect like three cups of coffee all the next day.

It was a great day for running, though. Cool with a slight breeze, plenty of sun but the Gateway Trail is mostly shaded. We all went northeast from the Hwy 96 bridge up to Manning, where the signs say the trail is closed but it really isn’t. LOTS of people were on the trail today, including the part that is "closed."

They’re making progress on the bridge over Manning (Washington County 15). The bypass trail is laid out, fenced off, and "paved" with a deep layer of pea-gravel sand. Skinny-tire bikes can’t navigate it, but that part is only a tenth of a mile, so people pushed their bikes through it and got back on. I didn’t see whether a fat-wheel bike could ride through. Skaters and skiiers would no doubt have to carry their wheels too. Runners, walkers, and horses - no problem. I’m hoping that they pave over that sand surface with something. Crushed limestone makes sense for a temporary bypass, but not with that sand underneath. I suppose the sand will eventually support a layer of blacktop.

Saturday, Sep 19, 2009:

St Croix Valley Runners Five Miles. Every Saturday at 7:00 am sharp you can find the St Croix Valley Runners at Northland Tennis Courts in Stillwater. There is ALWAYS someone there to run with, even in a rainstorm, even in a blizzard. Just don't be late. We three show up fairly often.

Today I started out with George and Charley, but went a little faster then they did and wound up running by myself much of the way. I ran most of the way, but walked up a few little hills. Five miles in exactly 45:00, pace 9:00. Good enough! I used the Brooks Launch shoes, which were just fine.

Thursday, Sep 17, 2009:

This was a warm evening run in the park. We three returned from Mayo Clinic, where I got some slightly disappointing news, then ran after dinner. The grass is dry in the evening - that’s nice. I finished five miles in 50:55, for a pace of 10:11, which is not bad considering that I ran two minutes and walked one, the whole way. That’s working out pretty well for me.

I used the Nike Lunarglide shoes, which felt a little clumpy but were otherwise fine. I wish they were smoother - I’m going to try a different Nike model when these are worn out.

Wonderful sunset, I love watching the geese training for their winter trek, flying into the sunset.

Construction of the Gateway Bridge over Manning

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Acorns on the Roof

Bumper crop this year: red, white, and burr oak acorns are peppering the roof, the driveway, cars, even the lawn. Friend Jim says it sounds like hail on his roof. This has little to do with running, except: after this morning’s run I hosed off my shoes and left them on the deck to dry, only to find acorns in them later.

Jim loping through the parkJim and I ran in the park this morning, slower than ever because I tried to take pictures of some of the late-summer flowers and the start of fall color. The picture-taking didn’t go too well, partly because I hadn’t properly checked the camera battery beforehand, but we enjoyed the cool morning and had a nice 6.5-mile run. Time 1:12:30, pace 11:09.

No pains, no problems. It's a masterpiece!

Monday, September 14, 2009

MMRF Race for Research 5k Run/Walk

Sunday, September 27, 2009, start time 9:00 am, come early.

Jim & Don at the raceThe Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) holds an annual 5k run/walk at Lake Phalen Park in St Paul. It is a fun event which helps raise money for myeloma research, $120 million and counting.

Click HERE and then click "Register as an Individual" or "Register as a Family" on the left-hand panel.


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Sticky Twenty Miles

This is the weekend of the Lewis & Clark Marathon in St Charles, MO. We had planned for this marathon, and I had trained for it, but for several reasons we decided not to go. Nevertheless I still wanted to do a long run this weekend, three weeks in advance of TCM. So Sunshine and Sweet Pea drove me to Stillwater to run with the St Croix Valley Runners. I ran the usual five miles with them, mostly with Charley and Gauss. Then I strapped on water and took off through the city of Stillwater and cross country toward home, adding extra miles here and there to get almost 20, with more water stashed at about mile 13. Best of all, more than eight of those miles were on my favorite dirt road alongside the railroad track.

It wasn’t the best-ever morning for running, rather humid and plenty warm, temp about 72 and dew point 63. My visor was dripping three miles into the first five miles. But the heat didn’t feel dangerous, and the haze in the sky kept the sun from toasting my skin. I did feel some pain in the right knee, toward the outside, in the area of the meniscus perhaps. Happily, that went away in the first few miles. Later, toward the end, I felt some tightness in the hip flexors, but it also diminished and was barely noticeable at the finish.

This was the first long-run test of the new Nike Lunarglide shoes. They were fine, actually. Quite comfortable, no blisters, no problems. And the sole may even have taken on a little bit of curve, no longer as flat as pee on a plate, as my dad might say. I don’t think they are really designed for a mid-foot striker like me, but they are getting the job done and making less slapping noise than they seemed to make on the indoor track. They did pick up some rocks, but fewer than I expected and fewer than the Brooks Launch that I compare them against. So far I do like the Launch a little better though, just a bit smoother and quieter, and slightly lighter, but the difference is modest - they’re both good. I may end up using the Lunarglide for training and the Launch for racing at distances of 10k and longer, we’ll see.

19.9 miles in 3:31:13, pace 10:37. As usual I ran a very-modified Galloway method, running two minutes and walking one. That works SO well!

Post-run brunch with gluten-free pancakes by Sunshine.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Victory 10k

This race is by the Minnesota Distance Running Association (MDRA). It’s been around a long time, it’s flat and mostly straight, always on Labor Day, and lots of very good runners show up. It’s a genuine Minnesota racing tradition.

I started OK, then slowed a little in the last two miles, finishing 8th of 17, smack in the middle of the M65-69 age group. That’s OK - some of the best runners in the state showed up today, and they ALL beat me :-) But no problems, no pains, just a fun run with comrades.

Truth time: Races are fun beforehand, as we all anticipate it, and afterward, as we all review the event and our individual experiences. But during the race, it isn’t really all fun for me. Some of it is, but some of the time I just wish it could be over soon, it’s such hard work. I wonder if everyone feels that way? I LOVE a 200-meter race - there is no time to wish it were over. By contrast, a one-mile race is ALL hard work, and I don’t enjoy much of it. A marathon is a nice mix, with at least the first 20 miles at a relatively easy, mostly enjoyable pace. From there on it’s a struggle, but the finish is always fun.

After the Victory 10k, I went with my sweeties in the 5k, to be company for them and for the extra miles. As I ran, I wished I had registered for that race too, because there is a double-header listing of people’s total times. I probably would have been last, but that wouldn’t matter.

Splits: 8:25, 8:08, 8:30, 8:30, 9:15, 9:10, 1:58, total 53:57, pace 8:41. Slowed at the end, running out of gas. Brooks Launch shoes were fine, soft and quiet.

Fruit bowl
Today's post-race fruit bowl. Grapes underneath, not oatmeal.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Buckshot Races

Saturday, September 5:

Every year on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, the Buckshot races are held in Eau Claire, to benefit the Special Olympics. These are fairly big races, with 602 in the five-mile race this year, and 779 in the two-mile. I ran both races this year, because I wanted to get in the miles, finishing 2nd of 7 in the 5-mile (to Dan Conway, former Olympic contender), and 2nd of 11 in the 2-mile, to my brother-in-law, who got me into running seven years ago. Pace 8:24 for the 5-mile, 8:07 for the 2-mile, with about 45 minutes of rest between the races.

These races felt very good - I didn’t really care how well I did, yet I had plenty of energy. And these finishing times are a little better than I had a right to expect, considering other recent times. The Brooks Launch shoes did very well. No pains, it’s a masterpiece.

Two funny remarks: In the 5-mile, I walked up one particularly big hill. When I started running again, I heard a woman behind say to her friend: "Look at that - he walked up the hill and he’s still going to beat me!" Later, a few hundred meters from the finish I heard a voice behind me holler "DON’T LET ME CATCH YOU!" I glanced back and couldn’t identify who might have said it. Don finishing the 5-mileI doubt it was directed at me, though it seemed to be, but I took it to heart and nobody did pass me. Heck of a motivator.

Great day with family and friends. But there is a cloud on the horizon - if you pray, please pray for BT.

Thursday, September 3:

Local roads with Sunshine & Sweet Pea. I run fast loops (so to speak) while they run slower loops. It’s a good time, as we pass each other every few minutes. Brooks Launch shoes were just fine, not as noisy as I expected. 3.5 miles or so, no time kept.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Eight Miles and One More

What a lovely, cool almost-fall morning, 49 degrees at the start. I need to bring a camera someday soon, to capture the wildflowers along the railroad track. I bothered a little clutch of goldfinches, too, as I jogged along, perhaps flushing them up from their nighttime perches in the bush.

Friend Jim taught me to count paces last time we ran. Today I timed it, and discovered that I run almost exactly 180 footfalls per minute on the flat, rock-strewn dirt/sand/gravel paths along the railroad track. That’s 90 double steps, easier for me to count than footfalls, just count the right foot. Walking was about 132 footfalls per minute, or about 66 right-foot steps. Might be different on pavement, and certainly up or down hill.

Today I started right out running two minutes and walking one, the pace I intend to use for my next marathon. For much of the way I counted 180 double steps running, then 66 double steps walking, holding very close to the target time. And I found that the counting actually made it easier, by taking my mind off the hard work of running. It’s impossible to do that and hold a conversation, of course, or even do any heavy thinking. But it’s a fine way to take one’s mind off the last few minutes of a race perhaps. I finished eight miles with plenty of energy to spare today. Felt great, no pains, no strain.

Also, no train. However, in the last half mile of today’s run there is a railroad signal light, the kind that engineers are supposed to watch, and it changed from green to red just before I passed it, suggesting that a train was coming west toward me as I ran east. But nothing in sight. So I stopped at the car and did my post-run stretches.

Then, way off in the east I saw the three headlights of the engine. I was done with my eight-mile run, and not quite done with stretches, but I took off toward that train. When it got close I waved and the engineer pulled the whistle, toot toot. I love that. This was a long train, three engines pulling, but no engines pushing from behind, all different kinds of cars, probably going about 40 mph. As soon as it passed completely, I turned around and ran back, chasing it and losing rapidly. An extra mile of running, maybe a mile and a half. Love it. Getting tooted at by the train makes my day. It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 10:32, 9:55, 10:27, 10:09, 9:56, 10:13, 9:48, 10:42, total 1:21:42 for 8 miles, pace 10:13. It’ll do.

Brunch. Oatmeal underneath.