Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Fall Color Photos

Tuesday, October 27, 2009:

What a beautiful day this was! Bright sun, fall color as good as it gets, a wonderful day to run in the park. I brought the new cell phone along and took some photos. Despite stopping frequently for photography I still ran the 6.9 miles in 1:14:00, which is a pace of 10:43, about the usual pace for this trail. No pains, no problems.

Sunday, October 25, 2009:

North St Paul Community Center. I tried a run-walk routine today, for the first time here. Run three laps, then walk one. Normally 40 seconds per lap running, 60 seconds walking rapidly, 13.5 laps per mile.

Lessee now, did I just finish three running laps or just two? Maybe it’s four! What do I do about that about that half lap at the end of the mile? E=MC squared. I give up. Just run for 63 minutes, walking every fourth lap or so, and that’s about six miles.

No pain, no problems, good run.

Moon over the trees

This one is on Minnehaha Parkway in Minneapolis

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What a Bike Rack!

I spent the whole day measuring the Team Ortho Half Marathon and 10-Mile races for certification, sunup to sundown. Despite horrendous traffic on a lovely Saturday I got it done, except the final paint marks for some of the splits. It's a beautiful course, by the way, around lakes Harriet and Calhoun, and out and back on Minnehaha Parkway (different roadways). The races are next Saturday, October 31.

When it got too dark to work any more I headed home, bike on the rack behind, traveling north on I-35, intending to turn east on I-94.

Suddenly lots of brake lights flashed ahead, and the cars in front were stopping. I kept a decent space between my car and the one ahead, but heard tires squealing behind. That noise seemed to go on forever, and then BAM, I felt my head hit the headrest.

I was in the right-most lane anyway, and pulled over on the shoulder. Cars passed by on the left, and I suddenly realized that the sombitch who hit me was in one of those cars! Worse, I didn't know which car it was. Hit and run.

I called 911 immediately, to be informed that another driver had already called in the license number of the hit-and-run driver. Yay! I waited a few minutes on the shoulder, chomping a Clif bar, and 911 called back to say that a trooper had stopped the hit-and-run car. Double yay! Since my car seemed to be drivable, I should go home, and the trooper would call me later.

I did and he did. That call felt strange, though, because he wanted me to tell my story from the beginning, as if he hadn't already stopped the other driver and as if he wasn't even sure that I had been in an accident. But I answered his questions, and hope he calls back. I'd like to know three things: (1) How do I get some documentation for insurance; (2) Who hit me; and (3) Who is the good Samaritan who helped catch him? Thank-yous are in order here. If the trooper doesn't call back, I'll have to try to rustle up that information tomorrow.

Now about the bike rack: We bought this from Nashbar years ago. It's a "hitch rack," plugging into the aftermarket hitch on our little Saturn coupe and supporting up to three bikes. It's seriously bent up, and I think that it took most of the impact. The car is damaged slightly, with a broken rear bezel and marks on the bumper. The bike has bent pedals, and it's clear that one of the pedals did the damage to the car's bezel. But I'm amazed that the damage wasn't worse, and I think the sturdy little bike rack saved both the car and the bike from more-costly damage. I wonder how the hitch is - tomorrow we'll take a good look in the daylight.

I wish I could tell you where to get that bike rack, because I want an exact replacement for this one. Unfortunately, though, it seems that Nashbar has discontinued this model. It's always been a great bike rack - doesn't interfere with the trunk at all with three bikes on it. Maybe I'll see if it can be fixed - I'm kind of attached to it!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Three More Miles

North St Paul Community Center again, indoor track. Weather was yukky outside, and this is a place where we can all three run together, each at his/her own pace. I took it easy, never breathing very hard, just three miles, still recovering from the Denver Marathon last Sunday. No pains of any kind. Brooks Launch shoes.

Splits: 8:58, 8:55, 8:51, total 26:44, pace 8:55. It’s fine.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Indoor Track

North St Paul Community Center, indoor track. Clockwise today, though the track is sloped just enough at the corners that it really doesn’t matter. Just three miles, recovering from Sunday’s marathon. Slow, but not pains at all. Just a little stiffness in muscles at the start, but that disappeared. Brooks Launch shoes were fine. Last lap at fairly high speed.

Splits: 9:09, 8:57, 8:49, total 26:55, pace 8:58. It’s a masterpiece.

I ate this
Salad as dinner. Mostly organic stuff, including the chicken.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Don’t Invite Us To Your Marathon!

We’re piling up quite a list of marathons that we ran but which did not go well for the organizers, and sometimes not for us either. More about that later. Anyway, for me The Denver Marathon was number 39, state number 23.

Team In Training: 60 TNT people ran this race, either the half or the full. Together, they raised $120,000 for blood cancer research. This benefits leukemia and lymphoma, and also myeloma, which is my particular interest.

By the way, I visited Mayo Clinic last Thursday and my "M-Spike" (key cancer marker) was 0.9 again, so my myeloma seems to be stable. Stable is good. If (when) it starts to increase, then we need to figure out a new treatment, which I probably won’t like even as much as this one. But that future will take care of itself.

The Denver Marathon:

  • 1924 souls ran the full and 4480 ran the half marathon.
  • We all started at once, so the first mile or two were a bit congested, but I did OK anyway. The half marathon splits off from the marathon at about mile 12.
  • Quality was about average for a marathon this size:
    • Registration didn’t respond to our questions in a timely fashion, though we did solve our problem another way.
    • Spectators were relatively scarce for a race of 6400 runners.
    • Aid stations were a little disorganized - I missed the second aid station because I drink water instead of sports drink and I didn't find water on my side of the road.
  • Good stuff:
    • All roads, no trails, plenty wide for the runners after a mile or two.
    • Start time was 7:00 am. VERY GOOD DENVER MARATHON! An early start paid off today for many of the runners, because the temp rose at a rate of at least six degrees per hour.
    • There was a fair amount of shade.
    • The expo included all of the usual exhibitors.
    • The finish area was very nice, with tents full of goodies set up by several vendors, available to runners and public.

Weather: Temp was 50 at the start - perfect. For the fastest runners the temperature was no problem. But for me, it was 81 and sunny at the finish, about 12:20 pm. I don’t run well at 81 degrees. Calves cramped up after mile 20 or so, especially the left, and quads were sore too. I actually had to walk most of the last three or four miles, and the splits show it. Factoid: A week ago Denver logged a record LOW for that day, and today the temperature reached 84, a record high.

My little problems:
  • This marathon took 25 minutes longer than the Twin Cities Marathon two weeks ago. Why?:
    • (1) Denver is a mile high, and the difference in oxygen supply really can’t be ignored. I also ran too long in Deadwood, another mile-high city;
    • (2) The temperature was definitely a factor; PERFECT at TCM and way too hot here; and
    • (3) I ran a marathon just two weeks ago. Duh. Much as I don’t want to believe it, I probably don’t recover as quickly as I once did, since I’m 68 and on cancer meds.
  • My legs let me down: Hip flexors started to yell at about mile 7, and that became pain in the quads toward the end. Calves, especially the left, threatened to cramp up at about mile 20 and beyond. In the last four miles this threat became reality and I was reduced to walking most of the time, occasionally stopping to stretch against a stop sign. This combo of quads and calves was quite painful after the finish; usually my aching muscles recover somewhat within minutes of the finish, but today they actually seemed to get worse. The walk to the car was torture, though it started to improve as soon as I sat down.
  • But: No knee or hip pain, no comment from the Achilles' tendons! Just muscles and maybe ligaments, which will recover better than before.
  • Hydration: I did it right! Runners ALWAYS finish a marathon dehydrated, because the stomach just won’t take fluids fast enough. But I peed within two hours of finishing, a very good sign. Yes, runners actually do talk about that stuff, and the other stuff too.
  • Nutrition: I took five Clif Shot gels along the way, each of them with 50 mg caffeine, and five electrolyte packets containing 440-mg of salt with a little potassium and calcium.
  • Sun screen: I used it before the race and was mighty glad because I got a little burn anyway.

I’m happy. Another state logged and we had a good time. Great to be home!

We seem to bring bad luck to the marathons we run, such as:
  • Today's record high in Denver;
  • Black-flag (hot) at two of the last three Grandma’s Marathons, plenty warm at the other one too;
  • Record low temperature at the Deadwood Mickelson Marathon this year;
  • Amazing rainfall (from hurricane Ike leftovers) at the 2008 Lewis & Clark Marathon, drowning part of the course and causing the race to be CANCELLED during the running;
  • A house fire on the race course in the 2008 Flying Pig Marathon, requiring the race organizers to re-route the course as the race was under way! They rose to the challenge, although the new course increased the distance a little and must have disappointed those who almost qualified for Boston;
  • Record high temperature at the 2007 Chicago Marathon which, along with race-management ineptitude, caused that race to be CANCELLED during the running;
  • There are more, but you get the idea.

Splits: 11:06, 10:55, 44:39 (4 mi), 11:21, 22:43 (2 mi), 11:52, 14:58 (potty stop), 11:11, 11:25, 12:28, 10:22, 23:05 (2 mi), 35:58 (3 mi), 12:22, 11:31, 13:24, 29:17 (2 mi), 14:11, 2:36 (0.22 mi), total 5:15:24, pace 12:02. I fell behind the 5:00 pace team, but stayed ahead of the 5:30 pace team. It’ll have to do. Next marathon will be at sea level!

My sweetie all ready for the start. Behind her is the capitol building, and behind that the sun about to rise. She and Sweet Pea ran and finished the half.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Two Miles Too Far

Sometimes the St Croix Valley Runners meet on Sunday for an ad-hoc run that is longer than Saturday’s customary five-mile run. Today I joined this group for an 8-miler which I knew would be slow - perfect for recovering from TCM and preparing for the next marathon.

I felt a slight pain in the left achilles’ tendon toward the end, after about the sixth mile, so I walked part of the last two miles. Something new. Could that be from different shoes? I doubt it, but it is possible. Anyway it didn’t hurt after the run, and there will be no more running until Tuesday at least, perhaps even Wednesday.

Because I’ve had some trouble with my right knee recently after a run in the Nike Lunarglide shoes, I wore the Brooks Launch shoes today. The knee does feel better today than yesterday, so maybe that helped. Or maybe the foam knee covers under the tights made the difference.

7.8 miles in 1:23:00, pace 10:38. Beautiful day for running, 34 degrees and cloudy. It’s a masterpiece.

Breakfast with kefir
We recently discovered kefir, an alternative to yogurt at 3/4 the price. It's full of probiotics, like yogurt, tastes about the same (to me), but is runnier, which goes fine on a bowl of oatmeal with fruit & berries.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's Not Winter Yet

But you couldn’t prove it this morning. 28 degrees with snow on the grass, ice on the roads, and a stiff wind. Running was iffy. But the St Croix Runners ran nevertheless, the normal five-mile course, moving more slowly and picking our footing more carefully than usual. Of the seven of us who showed up, five had run last weekend’s Twin Cities Marathon, so this was a recovery run anyway. Two shirts, jacket, tights, mitts, ear cover, Nike Lunarglide shoes (for their aggressive tread).

Five miles in 48:11, pace 9:39, good enough for the slippery roads. Two minor knee problems: (1) After the run they ached a bit from the cold - this is a familiar feeling which will go away. In a few days or weeks when the knees are accustomed to the cold, this problem will not appear; but (2) The right knee has bothered a little since the day after TCM, especially going down stairs. At the bottom of the kneecap, right in the middle of the meniscus. I hope that’s not a sign of things to come. Fortunately, it doesn’t hurt (yet) DURING a run. Time will tell. I’ll use the foam knee protectors for a while.

Post-run lunch by Sunshine. Gluten-free pancakes, apple/honey topping with home-grown never-sprayed apples, Applegate organic chicken bratwurst, kiwi.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

New Toys

A little more than a week ago I got hearing aids - my first. Bernafon Verite models, from Costco. They are quite high-tech, with Bluetooth so that they can be used as a headset for my cell phone or any other device that can use a Bluetooth headset. So it was time to upgrade the cell phone also, of course, to one with Bluetooth. Every phone with Bluetooth has a camera too, so now I have a camera in my cell. Since I always carry my cell when I run, this means I also always carry a camera now when I run.

I meant to run yesterday, but life intervened, so today’s six-mile recovery run was the first run since Sunday’s marathon. I took a few pix with the new cell phone. The camera isn’t great, but I think it’s about as good as a phone cam gets these days.

Nice easy run at marathon pace. No pains during the run, though the right knee complained a bit after the run was over. Stretches in the shower again - that is SO the way to stretch.

Splits: 10:08, 20:52 (2 mi), 10:43, 10:49, 10:19, total 1:02:50, pace 10:28. Lovely run.

My favorite trail
Phone-cam photo. You can barely see the railroad track on the right. Who wouldn't love to run on this road?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Twin Cities Marathon

Could there be better weather for a marathon? Temperature was 46 at the start and partly sunny, 50 at the finish and cloudy. For a mile or two I wondered if I should have worn a short-sleeved shirt instead of a long-sleeve technical shirt. Then the sun disappeared, the wind showed up, and I was happy with my garb. TCM has a very rigid 6-hour cutoff, no grace, and some of my favorite people would never make it, which is a bad point about TCM. But it has three good points: Excellent spectator support, even better volunteers, and a truly beautiful course. Today the fourth good point was the weather, perfect for a marathon.

Pace: I tried to run two minutes, then walk one minute. Hills made it difficult to do that with precision, because I see no sense in running up a hill when I’m walking some of the time anyway. But mostly it worked.

Finish: 4:50, better than the 5 hours that I had considered an outside acceptable time, but 12 minutes slower than last year. Ah well. I did enjoy this one though - only running really hard in the last two miles or so. The second half marathon took four minutes longer than the first half. Lots and lots of high-fives, especially little kids. They love it, and I wore gloves so everyone was safe. For several miles I ran with a new friend, Dave, who was going about my speed and seemed happy enough whenever I suggested walking for a minute. He sent me on ahead at about mile 18, but finished soon after I did.

Highlights: Supreme Court Justice Alan Page playing his tuba. Nuns in habits holding up a sign saying "Kick ass," except "ass" had been crossed out and the word "sin" written beneath. Three bagpipers. Spectators yelling "Go Don" hundreds of times - I wore my name on my shirt. Getting dropped off at the race by my sweeties, then seeing them after the finish to get picked up to go home. Expressing gratitude to several Team in Training runners, who are raising money for research that may help cure myeloma. YAY TNT! Seeing friends among the spectators. Running downhill, any hill, but especially the downhill finish. Seeing Steve Kalina run in full marine garb, with a backpack, to raise money for Toys for Tots.

Gear: Visor, long-sleeve tech shirt, gloves, watch, shorts, undershorts (w Vaseline), foam rubber knee covers (for warmth, also w Vaseline), Wrightsox 2-layer sox (no blisters), Brooks Burn shoes. Five gels (4 w caffeine), five 440-mg salt packets. Up to mile 20: at every aid station, take either a gel or a salt packet. Drink more water than thirst suggests. After mile 20, scratch and crawl to the finish any which way, take whatever salt and gels may be left over, with lots of water. I did need two potty stops, one taking five minutes and the other much shorter. I started with a short-sleeved cotton overshirt, but ditched that at about mile three or four. Ugly shirt anyway - no loss.

Injury: None. At all. Yay! Slight pain in the right knee fairly early on, resolved by itself when I moved to the center of the road. Slight pain in both hips from dancing to band music - lesson learned - resolved itself. Some pain in the right hip flexors, but not enough to slow progress. That seems to be chronic, but never a big problem. A little pain in the right Achilles or the calf just above it - gone now. That’s it! Quads are a little sore, but that’s to be expected - I ran down every hill. NO CRAMPS! Cool weather, salt, and good hydration may have prevented the cramps, which effectively torpedoed my Grandma’s Marathon (finish temp 93).

Discovery: I can do my post-race stretches IN our new extra-wide shower, which contains a grab bar. Why have I never figured this out before? It’s not very green - takes more hot water - but it sure did feel good today. That’s definitely going to happen again. Oh yeah. Almost as good as beer.

Splits: 10:21, 10:18, 42:01 (4 mi), 21:26 (2 mi), 11:05, 10:52, 10:27, 15:27 (potty stop with a line at M'haha & Cedar), 10:47, 0:32 (0.11 mile to ½ marathon mark), 10:59 (0.89 mi), 10:54, 11:19, 10:49, 11:41, 23:20 (2 mi), 11:29, 12:05, 11:01, 10:46, 10:28, 12:14 (1.22 mi), total 4:50:20, pace 11:04. It’s a masterpiece!

Post-race brunch
Post-race afternoon "brunch." The pancakes are blueberry, gluten-free. Syrup is maple, organic. Also organic egg & nectarine.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Taper Time

Wednesday, Sep 30, 2009:

The Woodbury Runners meet at about 6:00 pm or a few minutes after, every single Wednesday night of the year, in Edgewater Park at Lake Rd and Edgewater Drive. Tonight Rich and I took the short 5.2-mile route while the faster people ran the regular 6.2-mile route. They finished ahead of us anyway. Jim has a new dog, an enthusiastic but untrained pup from a rescue shelter who turned out to be the only hazard on the run. She jumps up on people, and her toenails left me with a little cut on my ankle. I think it will heal OK though. The dog has lost an eye, and her name is Sophe, which is Sophie with a missing "I." Cute. And so is she.

Otherwise the run was uneventful, except for the cheery and enjoyable conversation with Rich. Neither of us had a watch, mine being still out of commission, but we queried the others and probably finished the 5.2 miles in about 55 minutes. If so, the pace was about 10:35. Could be. Easier for me than for Rich, who doesn’t get as much time to run as I do. Last run before the weekend events. Four nights of sleep before the marathon.

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2009:

My favorite trail, the rocky path alongside the railroad track, pretty level but a mix of dirt, sand gravel, and rocks. I started out running for the first mile, then slowed to my 2-minute run / 1-minute walk pace. Nice cool run, no problems except my knees did get a little cold. They’ll get accustomed to that this fall - I hope they’ll be OK by this weekend.

My watch reset itself during this run. Insert your favorite expletives here: (..........). Anyway I don’t have a time for the run, but I suppose it’s about 10:30 pace, or a total of about 42 minutes for four miles. Works for me. Taper run. And a new battery in my cranky old watch will fix it. Needs that every year or so.

Dinner Salmon cakes a la Sunshine, peas, beet pickles, cooked radishes. Mostly organic.