Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Two Runs

Tuesday, December 29, 2009:

Stillwater Bubble this morning, just trying to get in some quality miles. No sprinting, no walking, just running. I measured the pace twice, and both times it was about 104 seconds for a full loop, which calculates to a pace of about 9:11. So I say the overall pace was probably about 9:20, and I ran for 73 minutes, for a distance of about 7.8 miles. I was shooting for 8 miles, but time ran out. This was close enough! No pains, no soreness. It’s a masterpiece.

Then it was 10:00 am and the softball guys’ turn to have the bubble. I watched a little as I cooled off and did my stretches, and was surprised to see that it took more than three outs to get a side out. Turns out that they play two innings per side, just to save the time required to change teams on the field. If a batted ball hits the ceiling of the bubble or one of the wires that go across the middle, the ball is playable nonetheless, but very difficult to catch and therefore good luck for the batter. "Just a bunch of old guys having fun," said one of the players. They sure were enjoying themselves, and not all of them were old. What a great use of that facility. I’ll just have to get there early enough to finish my run before 10:00 am.

The outdoor temperature Tuesday morning was about zero, but the bubble is partially heated and I suppose it was between 40 and 45 degrees in there. Someday I’ll bring a thermometer. I was comfortable in shorts and two technical shirts, one of them long-sleeved, plus gloves. Most of the runners wore tights, and the walkers were mostly dressed in their winter coats. The temperature got boosted a bit for the softball games, to maybe 55-60 degrees.

Saturday, December 26, 2009:

St Croix Valley Runners after the snowfall. We got about a foot of snow, mostly Christmas eve and Christmas Day. So we ran the normal "old" route, which is mostly on plowed roads. No problem. I picked up Jim and we ended up running together, with Gauss and Dave following behind at a much slower pace. Five miles in 47:25 for us, which comes to a pace of 9:29. I thought it would be a little faster, actually, because it seemed like a lot of work, but it’s hard to make good time in winter clothing and on ice and packed snow. It will do.

These days we get to watch the sunrise as we run, and this was a pretty good one. It’s a masterpiece.

Would you believe mac n' cheese?  Gluten-free and mostly organic.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I’ve been thinking about doing some speed work, and I can't really do much at the "club" where the track is pretty short, so I asked my friend Don Dornfeld where he did his. He uses an enclosed soccer field in his town, open for walking and running some of the time. That sounded like a good idea, so Thursday we three shoveled snow for an hour or so and then went to the St. Croix Valley Recreation Center in Stillwater.

Part of the complex of buildings is an inflated dome enclosing two side-by-side soccer fields. We three call it the “Bubble.” It’s open to the public on weekdays for walking or running, from 6:00 am to 10:00 am, free on Wednesdays, $2.00 other days, $0.50 for seniors. It’s heated, but not much, perhaps 40-45 degrees or so. I was comfortable in shorts and two technical shirts, one of them long-sleeved. Gloves felt nice. There is no wind, of course  :-)

The bubble has plenty of room to walk or run around the outside lines of the fields, almost exactly 1000 feet per loop, about 300 meters, 5.3 loops per mile. The diagonal is about 358 feet, or 109 meters, and the long sides are 285 feet, or 86 meters. Those are the longest straight-line sprints available, and the diagonal is not always available because of dividing nets between the soccer fields.

But the diagonals were available Thursday, and I ran them a half dozen times at full sprint, or nearly so, plus a few sprints on ta long side. Quads were still a little sore from Sunday’s races. In between I jogged at a pace of about 9:15 minutes/mile or so, for a total of 47 minutes, so probably about 5 miles. I need to read up on speed training, because I have no idea what I’m doing.

During the run we were amused by patches of snow sliding off the bubble. The roof was translucent enough that the previous night's 7-inch snowfall was visible as a dark area above us, and every now and then we would hear a swoosh sound, rising in pitch, and we would look up to see a dark patch accelerating off to the side and then toward the ground. Pity the person standing there. :-)

I was unusually tired Thursday after all that. Christmas eve, and we went to bed at the normal time but slept in Christmas morning. Nice. Feeling much better. Merry Christmas to all.

Christmassy breakfast. Oatmeal underneath.  The red is pomegranate seeds:

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Sore Muscles

My quads are sore from Sunday. That’s a good thing, because it means that those muscles are learning a lesson about speed. But it also meant that today’s run should be a recovery run. Now I don’t really know what “recovery run” means except that I probably shouldn’t push those muscles very hard or run too far. So the rule for today was to run six miles at a pace SLOWER than nine-minute miles. I almost made it - the last mile was one second too fast. Tsk.

Splits: 9:42, 9:02, 9:01, 9:04, 9:03, 8:59, total 54:50, pace 9:08. I’ll take it. Muscles feel better than they did before the run.

This morning's post-run brunch. Pears are a Christmas gift from our West Coast son, delivered through Harry & David. We found two different brands of organic kefir at Fresh & Natural on north Lexington. That's the white stuff. The Christmas cookie is gluten-free, of couse.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Indoor Track Racing

Indoor Track Races by Charities Challenge at Bethel University, Snelling at I-694. We enjoy these events and wish there were more than five per year. Two have gone by now, including this one, with three left in January and February 2010. We missed the first one because we were in New Orleans, but glad we made this one. The deal is that you pay a single fee for running the first step, and then you can run to your hearts content (being careful not to be in the way of racers) and you can enter any number of the events.

Today there were races for 60 m, 200 m, 400 m, 800 m, one mile, and 1-mile race-walk. Most of those races had more than one heat, and if so, you can enter multiple heats if you’re a glutton for punishment. One guy who did that says "train by racing!" Indeed.

There is a good spirit in that place. People are very, very supportive and there are plenty of spectators. Todays racers ranged in age from 5 to 71, including some of the best runners in Minnesota. I mostly just ran around the track today, both directions to reduce the annoyance on my adductors, but I did run the 200 m in 39 seconds, four or five seconds longer than my best time in 2007. I also ran an untimed 60 m dash by myself, just to see how it felt. Felt good!

Otherwise, 8 miles of running, not all at once but also not including any walking or racing. Most of that was at a pace of 9:15 or so I think. It’s a masterpiece!

Breakfast with a Christmas theme.  Indeed there is oatmeal under there.  The milk is actually organic kefir.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Feel-Good Run

Is it real, or is it psychological? I’m off the DEX and today’s run felt very good. Five runners today, I hung with the back two for the first four miles and then found myself out ahead by several paces so I moved ahead to the first two runners, George and Kent, catching them with less than a half mile to go. At that point George wanted to drop back, so Kent and I ran for the finish. He’s much faster, but I went as fast as I could and he just kept pace, for a lovely sprint to the finish line. That is so invigorating! What a treat. I know it’s risky, but it sure felt good, and I got away with it.

My overall time today wasn’t impressive, really, 47:28 for five miles, pace of about 9:30. I ran a lot faster than that on the indoor track this week, but then I wasn’t slipping around on packed snow or wearing several pounds of winter clothing. This felt good, and it IS a masterpiece!

Wild-caught Alaskan salmon with yogurt & a little cheese, organic plum, organic greens, organic peas.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

We Moved Indoors

Sunday we renewed our membership at the North St Paul Community Center (NSPCC). It has a very nice upper-level indoor track, 13.5 laps per mile, clockwise on odd days and counter-clockwise on even days. It's not as nice as running outdoors, but better than a treadmill. Plus there is a treadmill if necessary, and lots of other training equipment.

Thursday, December 17:

NSPCC indoor track once more. Good run today, six miles at a pace faster than 9-minute miles, today the place was cool upstairs, as it should be. No red face, no lightheadedness. I wore the Burn shoes.

Splits: 9:22, 8:47, 8:38, 8:42, 8:54, 8:56, total 53:18, pace 8:53.

Tuesday, December 15:

North St Paul Community Center indoor track again. This time I forgot my watch, and the second hand on both clock is broken, so there was really no way to time the laps accurately. Golly, I had to just run and wonder how I was doing :-)

That should be easier, I suppose, relieved of the yoke of the 40-second lap, 9-minute mile. And it felt that way at first. I set the pace according to breathing, keeping it at four footfalls per breath most of the way. The outdoor temperature was minus two, so the heating system in that place was working overtime, apparently not yet adjusted correctly for winter. The track was 80 degrees or more at one end and 65 at the other, my estimate. I ran 55 minutes, which should be at least 6 miles. No walking.

A little light-headed and red-faced (sez Sunshine) afterward, I suppose that was due to the fluctuating temperature. I hope it wasn’t in some way due to the Brooks Launch shoes - I wore my old Burns on Sunday, without those symptoms afterward. Unlikely.

Sunday, December 13:

North St Paul Community Center indoor track, 13.5 laps per mile. This was a tempo run, just under a race pace. Breathing was easy for the first mile or two, then settled down to four footfalls per breath for most of the rest, going to three footfalls in the last mile or so. A hard run for me, but good training.

Splits: 9:18, 8:46, 8:34, 8:38, 8:31, 8:49, total 52:35, pace 8:46.

Saturday, December 12:

St Croix Valley Runners, about five degrees above zero. We ran Wayne’s Route, a figure-8 course that goes around Lake McKusick. Six of us this morning. I ended up running by myself between three faster and two slower guys. I didn’t start my watch at the beginning of the run, apparently, so I don’t have the exact time for the five miles, but it was about 40 minutes. Not good, but OK for winter running.

My feet got really cold, though, not quite numb but almost. I don’t recall that from previous years. Same shoes & sox that I wear in the summer, as I’ve always done in the winter before. I wonder if my feet will get used to the cold, or will I have to come up with cold-weather footwear?

Taco salad, mostly organic.  I had seconds.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Love To Run In New Orleans

Tuesday, Dec 8, 2009:

New Orleans once more, the last day before boarding the train back to St Paul. I started toward the Convention center on the Riverwalk, turned around at the fence (what a shame that fence is there) and back toward the other end of the Riverwalk. About then I hooked up with another runner, Vasquez, who turned out to be from Ecuador on business. He asked me how far I was going, so I told him about 30 minutes more, and he asked if we could run together. Cool. We ran through the French Market, then further into the French Quarter, and finally, after getting lost once, back through Bourbon Street again. I love doing that. It’s the best way to cruise Bourbon Street.

He left me at Canal Street, and I ran another mile or so in the Neutral Ground (median) in Canal Street, then stopped at the beer store for a six-pack of local brew and walked to the hotel. About four miles in about 39 minutes. I gave Mr Vasquez my email address, but never heard from him.

Sunday, Dec 6, 2009:

The IMF, or someone with whom they work, wanted some photos of me running, so I spent most of an hour running little jogs toward the professional cameraman. From there I took off downriver on the Riverwalk, cruising around the eastern end of the very commercial end of the French Quarter, and finally back to the Windsor Court Hotel by way of Bourbon Street.

The Saints game was in full swing during this stretch, and I could hear either a cheer or a groan as I passed each bar on Bourbon Street. There are a lot of bars. I had thought that Bourbon Street was mainly populated by tourists, but clearly the bars were attended by New Orleans partisans on this Sunday afternoon.

About four miles in about 39 minutes. And hundreds of photos. I wonder if I’ll ever get to see some ...

Saturday, Dec 5, 2009:

Breakfast with the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) advocacy exhibit group, then off to run in New Orleans. The concierge advised me to run to St Charles Ave and run in the “neutral ground” between the outgoing and incoming trolley cars. I knew that was good advice, because I had run there on previous trips to New Orleans. I ran with A from the IMF, a young woman who could no doubt go much faster if she had trained as much as I had, but she hadn’t run at all in a couple of weeks and today we seemed pretty well matched. She stopped at 40 minutes, which I think was probably about 4 miles, and I continued for another 20 minutes, cruising through the RiverWalk and up Canal Street for another couple of miles. Nice run, I felt good.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Thanksgiving And Beyond

Wednesday, December 2, 2009:

This was a cool 28-degree afternoon run. Weather is changing, getting colder, more like it should be in Minnesota in early December. We three ran on the blacktop trails in the park, my sweeties running 3.6 miles while I did an extra loop to get in 5.8.

I wore tights, knee protectors, and three layers above including a wind jacket. The wind was so stiff, though, cutting right through the clothing, that I wondered for a while if I should shorten the run to avoid getting too cold. But after turning the corner to put the wind at my back I was warm enough, and ran the full two loops.

Brooks Burn shoes this time. I’m happy with the Brooks Launch replacements, so I don’t need to save my last pair of Burns. Use ’em up. 5.8 miles in 56:00, ten seconds slower than the last time I ran this route. Pace 9:39. It’s a masterpiece!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009:

What a nice afternoon run in the park, sun setting as we ran. Still, though the grass was dry, the earth underneath was a bit soggy. I wore the Nike LunarGlide shoes and brought them back with mud abd gravel in all of the tiny grooves in the tread. They don’t have to make shoe treads like that.

Enjoyable run anyway, though. 6.9 miles in 1:13:07, for a pace of 10:36, which will have to do. I felt good throughout, walking only occasionally on hills. No pains.

Sunday, November 29, 2009:

St Croix Valley Runners “long” Sunday run, eight miles which include the stairs from Main Street up to First Street. Gauss and I ran the whole way, and Luke joined us for five of the miles at the end of his much longer run. Cool morning, about freezing, I wore tights and knee protectors with three layers above.

We ran very slowly but didn’t walk much, though we did stop a couple of times. We also ran a slightly longer route than the usual measured eight-mile route, I think. We ran the route in 1:34:36. If it was eight miles, that’s a pace of 11:50. I hope it was longer :-) No pain, no problems. I’m liking the Brooks Launch shoes more every time I run in them.

Saturday, November 28, 2009:

St Croix Valley Runners again, this time the regular 5-mile route which takes us up and down Manning Avenue. I’m not a big fan of Manning, because it’s 55 mph and cars really go faster. The shoulders are wide, though, and the company is good.

I ran with Charlie this time, who would probably otherwise have taken a shorter route. We had a good conversation. 48 minutes again, or close, my watch rebooted itself again so I can’t be exact, durn it. Guess I need a new one. No pains, no strain.

Thursday, November 26, 2009:

Thanksgiving morning, the St Croix Valley Runners had a nice group out to do the standard 5-mile run. We tried Wayne’s route this time, and in fact we found a new trail, apparently just built this year, which shortens the route slightly, perhaps making it a little closer to 5 miles. I ran near the back with Mary, Candy, and Gauss. A head start toward Thanksgiving dinner!

No pains, no problems. About 48 minutes - pace of 9:36.