Thursday, December 23, 2010


Wednesday, Dec 22, 2010:

18 Miles in the Stillwater Bubble, 3 hours and 5 minutes. I did the walk/run, walking one short edge of the rectangle, which amounts to about 21% of the distance around it. I timed a lap at about mile 8, mile 13, and mile 17, and each time the pace was very nearly 10 minutes/mile. And just to be sure, I ran an extra 5 minutes, adding about a half mile or so.

10 minutes per mile is a Boston-qualifying pace for me. I could have kept going, but maybe not for 8 more miles.

Quads were already a little sore from the indoor running on Sunday, and they complained a bit, but hopefully they’ll just take a lesson and get a little stronger. The injured hamstring was pretty quiet, a little sore the next day, but I think it’s healing. The only pain was in my left foot, at the lisfranc ligaments, which I have previously injured while snowshoe running. 380 corners were too much for them. But the foot will get better - it always does.

When we got home, though, I had to tackle the ice dam on the roof, two places, one of which was causing a minor leak into the house, so I spent much of the rest of the day whacking at ice with a hammer-chipper, pulling down snow with a roof rake, and shoveling all of that out of the way. A very full day.

Thursday's breakfast: Organic pear, walnuts, strawberries (frozen), yogurt. Conventional banana, kiwi, oatmeal (on top this time).

Monday, December 20, 2010

More Indoor Racing

Sunday, Dec 19, 2010:

Charities Challenge held another indoor track event at Bethel University on Sunday, and I warmed up for three miles and then ran most of the races, just for training. First the mile, then the 200 m, then 800 m, and finally 400 m. I skipped the 60 m, afraid I’d hurt myself, and the mile race/walk, which feels very unnatural for me.

I ran just slightly better than two weeks ago, except for the 800 m. the pace for the mile was 7:29, whereas it was 7:31 for the 1500 m two weeks ago - not enough difference to matter. I expect that I could do better at any of the distances, of course, if I weren’t running them all. Time will tell. The 400 improved by six seconds because I was chasing my friend Harvey, who is a little faster than me.

The hamstring didn’t hurt at all during the warmups or the races, but it did a little bit later in the day. Now, a day later, it’s fine and muscles feel as though they did some work yesterday. It’s good.

  Dec 5    Dec 19
200 m 0:410:40
400 m 1:351:29
800 m 3:263:31
1500 m   7:01
Mile 7:29

Today's breakfast. Organic pear, frozen berries, date, yogurt. Gluten-free oatmeal (beneath). Conventional kiwi & banana:
Today's breakfast

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Running In The Snow

Saturday, Dec 18, 2010:

Four stalwart souls showed up to run with the St Croix Valley Runners before dawn in 10 degree weather. I intended to run some races the next day, so I shortened the usual 5-mile route and ran fairly slowly. Two others ran out ahead of me, and one stayed back and walked.

I had planned to run a particular 3.5-mile route, but after a mile and a half I thought "Why am I slip/sliding this 70-year-old chassis all alone over the ice and snow on the shoulder of a major road with cars and trucks roaring by in semi-darkness at 60 mph?" I just turned around and came back to my car.

3.0 miles in about 30 minutes. Back safely, no problem with the hamstring today, good enough.

Friday, Dec 17:

We arrived at the Stillwater Bubble at about 11:00 am, to find ourselves alone there. The crowd shows up early in the morning, and by eleven they’re all gone. Most of the people are walkers, but usually there is at least one other runner. Today I just ran four easy miles, trying to stay loose and not annoy the sore hamstring.

Wednesday, Dec 15:

Stillwater Bubble again. This time I added some strides to the usual run/walk, taking one long side much faster than the other three sides. The hamstring felt a little better again, but I still didn’t push the strides to a full-out sprint. Nevertheless it felt great to change the pace a bit. About 48 minutes, probably about 4.8 miles.

Breakfast. I don't use these photos twice - I do eat a lot of good breakfasts:

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Sixteen Bubble Miles

Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010:

Jim and I ran for a little over two hours in the Stillwater Bubble again today, Jim running his pace much of the time. I did my walk/run again, because it seems to allow me to log miles at a modest speed without hurting the hamstring much. I timed a few laps, and the pace is just slower than 10-minute miles, even with the walking, so I’m sure I ran 12 miles in the two hours and a few more minutes.

My legs felt tired at first, but recovered and I felt strong at the end f the two hours. Afterward, the sore hamstring muscle didn’t seem to be any worse than it was before the run. It’s a masterpiece!

Monday, Dec 13, 2010:

Forty minutes in the Stillwater Bubble this morning. They were having some problems with the facility, and it was unheated. With an outdoor temperature of minus 10 or so, the indoor temperature was only 20 above. I usually remove several layers of clothes to run there, but today most of them stayed on. Still, much better than running outside with 18 inches of new snow and thirty degrees colder. I took it easy, walking 20% of the distance.

Sunrise after a big snow

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Intervals, Strides, Fartleks, Pyramids, Repeats

After a visit to the doctor, we three headed over to the Stillwater Bubble once more, this time for a modest 40-minute walk/run, walking about 210 feet of every 1000. The left semitendinosus muscle was better today, not hurting much at all, and I was tempted to do some interval training, but one short sprint told me to reign it in. I had a nice, easy, 4-mile walk/run, finishing 24 miles for the week.

What do the different terms “intervals,” “strides,” “fartleks,” “pyramids,” and “repeats,” mean? I did a little internet research and here is my opinion:

  • Intervals: Any type of training which includes intentional, repeated changes in intensity, including all of the terms below.
  • Strides: Short bursts of speed, at race pace or greater, incorporated into a longer training run.
  • Fartleks: Like strides, but much less structured. Sprint to feel good, perhaps including backward and sideways running, uphill sprints, lunges, or even a pushup or three. Have fun.
  • Pyramids: Workouts in which the intensity is gradually increased and then reduced again.
  • Repeats: A training program containing simple or complex elements which are repeated.
Agree? Disagree?

It's SNOWING here! Probably eight inches so far, not letting up, and the wind is getting stronger. Pre-showblowing breakfast:

Two More Bubble Runs

Thursday, December 9, 2010:

Stillwater Bubble again. I went to a meeting of networking professionals, after which we three ran for an hour, covering about 6 miles. I started right out with a walk/run, because the semitendinosus muscle still hurt, walking about 210 feet of each 1000-foot loop around the soccer field. It felt fairly good, actually.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010:

Stillwater Bubble, I couldn’t run today because of the left hamstring semitendinosus muscle, which hurt quite a bit when running, hardly at all when walking. Fortunately, the left knee was no problem. I walked for 45 minutes, covering perhaps three miles.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Ten Miles Indoors

My sweeties and I picked up Jim for another run in the Stillwater Dome. Did I mention it’s $2.00 per day for adults and only $0.50 for seniors? WAY less expensive than a club membership, though running and walking are the only exercises available.

Jim and I ran for 40 minutes, and then switched to a run/walk for another hour. Run about 80% of the way around the soccer field, walk the remainder. Pace was somewhat faster than 9-minute miles for the first 40 minutes, and slightly slower than 10-minute miles for the next hour, so probably about 10 miles. My left semitendinosus muscle (one of the hamstrings) was a little sore right from the beginning, and I didn’t want to push it.

Both sets of quads got sore too, toward the end of the run, but it’s the good kind of soreness that means those muscles have been worked pretty hard. I like that, and I’m sure that the indoor-track racing on Sunday was an important part of that work - maybe I need to race more.

I don’t like the new pain in my left knee, though. On the far outside, right about where the ITB might be if I knew anatomy a little better, except that I can’t poke it anywhere and make it hurt. It hurts only when I put weight on it, which sounds a lot more like the knee joint than the ITB. I hope not - so far my knees have been pretty reliable. We’ll test that knee a bit more tomorrow.

Breakfast after the run: Mango, organic honeycrist apple, kiwi, organic strawberries (frozen by Sunshine during the season), organic lowfat yogurt, walnuts, 72% dark chocolate, with oatmeal underneath. I enjoyed this for more than a half hour.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Indoor Racing

Charities Challenge Indoor Races at Bethel College. This was the first of five of these events. We pay one price for the day and run as many of the scheduled races as we like. I decided to run all but two, the 60 m sprint and the 1500 m race walk. Times:

200 m 0:41
400 m 1:35
800 m 3:26
1500 m 7:01
I had intended to jog most of the races, except perhaps the 1500, to take it easy on my sore semitendinosus muscle (one of the hamstrings), but it didn’t bother much and the race was on, so I pushed pretty hard in each of the races. Maybe not so smart - that hamstring does ache a little now, after getting home.

I had a wonderful time, though. There is nothing quite so exhilarating as running full-out for 200 meters, twice the length of a football field. Maybe a 100-meter race would be great too, but it’s only half as long, so only half as much fun. Races longer than 200 m are fine too, but they feel a little more like work. I skipped the 60-m race this time out of respect for that weak semitendinosus muscle. Great day - it’s a masterpiece!

She did not race today:

Friday, December 03, 2010

Double Dome Runs

Thursday, Dec 02, 2010:

We picked up Jim today and again ran in the Stillwater Bubble. Six miles, with the last one or two at a run/walk, like yesterday. That really does make the left semitendinosus muscle hurt less. Time goes faster, too, when I run with Jim. Nice run - I felt good afterward, and the muscle again seemed a bit better than the day before.

Wednesday, Dec 01, 2010:

Six miles today in the Stillwater Bubble. I was able to run most of that distance, switching to a walk for one of the short legs of the rectangle.

In the Bubble I run by time, not mileage, but I did confirm that I was running just a little slower than 9-minute miles for the first four miles, and almost 10-minute miles for the last two, even with the run/walk.

The left semitendinosus muscle started to hurt a little right away, but never became a limiting pain. It’s a little better when I do the run/walk - it seems to recover somewhat during the walk. I think it was a little better than yesterday.

After the run I did discover that one of my stretches, a standing cross-legged stretch of the ITB, pulls on the semitendinosus muscle and hurts quite a bit. It’s the only activity I’ve found, besides running. that makes it hurt.

Roasted vegetables (and one fruit): Parsnips, beets (2 kinds), purple cabbage, mango, radish, & rutabaga, topped with spicy olive muffalata (yum) and a few dabs of hot pepper sauce:
Roasted vegetables

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


My sweeties and I met Jim in the Stillwater Dome today (the Bubble), where Jim and I and ran for 50 minutes at a pace just slightly slower than 9 minutes/mile. That’s a little over 5 miles. I wanted to work my left hip/buttock before going to see the sports doctor in the afternoon. The pain was there, soon after the beginning, but never became a limiting factor. I quit at 50 minutes, though, because it felt like I had done enough damage. Jim is such a good sport - he ran with me the whole way even though he could run three loops of that dome in the time it takes me to do two.

After a shower and lunch, Sunshine and I went to the doctor.

I have had this pain in my left buttock since the Tulsa Marathon ten days ago, and possibly before that. Dr Ronald Yee, new sports doctor at SMG, examined my left hip/buttock and determined that the pain is in the medial hamstrings, likely the semitendinosus muscle. Really, that is a word and it is spelled correctly! The pain is near the top where the muscle attaches to the "sitz bone." He thought it most likely that it would heal without intervention, even if I continue to run, because it has improved over the last few days. His recommendations:

  • Avoid painful running.
  • Use ice for pain control, and Tylenol if necessary in a race.
  • Avoid ibuprofen or naproxen because:
    • It may inhibit the healing process,
    • It can mask the true nature of the injury, increasing the risk of a more-severe injury,
    • It may injure the stomach, which is especially vulnerable in a long race, and
    • It may harm the kidneys, also under stress in a long race.
  • Come back soon if it gets worse.
  • Come back eventually if it doesn't heal.
If I come back, he may take pictures of it and possibly prescribe some kind of therapy.

I asked whether it could be piriformis syndrome. It was a reasonable thought, he said, but there is actually some debate in the medical community about whether piriformis syndrome (irritation of the sciatic nerve by the piriformis muscle) actually exists or if it is a symptom of something else. I think that's what he said; anyway, he was content with the semitendinosus diagnosis.

There is oatmeal under there somewhere

Monday, November 29, 2010

Pain In The Butt

Monday, Nov 29, 2010:

Yesterday I really couldn’t run well, because of the pain in my left hip/cheek. Today was better, butt it still hurt.

I have an appointment with Dr Ronald Yee at Stillwater tomorrow, and wanted to be able to tell him which activities would hurt, so we went to the North St Paul Community Center to try various exercises. You guessed it: Only running and walking hurt.

Thinking about the symptoms, though, I'm leaning toward piriformis syndrome, which is when the sciatic nerve is irritated by the piriformis muscle. All of the symptoms fit. If true, that means it is NOT: (1) The hip joint failing, or (2) A muscle, tendon, or ligament in distress. I sort of hope it is piriformis syndrome, because maybe I can keep running while it's treated. I hope. Runners do not like to stop running, even if there are alternatives.

I did get in some nice aerobic exercise at the club:

  • Running: 3 miles, finishing the last mile in 8:26. I count that as 125 calories per mile, total 375.
  • Elliptical: 150 calories.
  • Bicycle: 120 calories.
  • Walking: 50 calories.
Total 695 calories, divide by 50 for Weight Watchers points = 13.9 points, round up to 14. I need to lose 10 or 12 pounds to get back to proper running trim, so I’m back to WW. These are points that I can eat and still be on track in the program.

Sunday, Nov 28:

I tried to run in the park, on the paved trails, but had to walk much of the time because of the pain. Am I hurting something when I run? I don’t know, but it certainly does get worse when I run. About 3.2 miles in about 38 minutes. Huh. Sunshine thinks I should make an appointment with a sports doctor, and she may be right.

Saturday, Nov 27:

Regular run with the St Croix Valley runners, except my left hip (butt) hurt so I ran the shorter 3.6-mile route while the others did their usual five. About 10-minute miles, a little walking but mostly running.

Thursday, Nov 25 (Thanksgiving Day):

Thanksgiving morning "run" with the St Croix Valley runners. Dave and I were both injured, so we walked about 2.5 miles while the others ran their usual five. Left hip joint hurts, even while walking, but more when I run.

Real food:

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Where the Wind Comes Sweeping Down the Plain

And up the river valley! Tulsa Route 66 Marathon review. This one is as good as they get.

I recommend it to anyone:

  • Plenty of time to finish, for either the full or the half marathon.
  • Well-organized expo with lots of vendors.
  • Enough spectators to make it interesting.
  • Not a single car to be seen on either route - the roads were totally closed to vehicle traffic. Yay!
  • Fall color was at its peak, and there really are trees in Tulsa, especially in the neighborhoods. Very pretty.
  • Aid stations were well-managed, porta-potties were actually plentiful after the first few miles.
  • The race was organized into three corrals, started about seven minutes apart. That worked fine, even though my sweeties and I started in the last corral.
  • It was warm and VERY windy, but you get whatever weather happens on marathon day.
  • Music of one kind or another at MANY places along the course, mostly NOT obnoxious. You could dance to some of it.
  • I have no suggestions for the race management except more food at the finish - they ran out of the best stuff.
My race: Not so hot. I finished in 5:19:02, eighth of 12 in my age group. I hadn’t trained very much since my last marathon five weeks ago because of a cold and fever. Also some joints hurt, the course was hilly and windy, and the weather was pretty warm, going from 63 at the start to 73 at the finish. But mostly it was my lack of trim. How much can you lose in five weeks? A lot, I guess; this one took more than a half hour longer and that one was hilly too. Nevertheless, I FINISHED my 48th marathon in my 31st state.

My left hip hurt quite a bit after mile four or five, enough to slow me down, but got somewhat better after I took a naproxen (Aleve) around mile 10 or so. That hip problem is new, and I hope it’s not a harbinger of oncoming arthritis. Others in my family have had hip replacements and I’m not interested! Several other parts hurt as well - left lisfranc ligaments, both hip flexors, right toes, yada yada, it’s a marathon, duh. Happily, though, the calves both complained a bit but neither cramped up, not even after the race. I did take six gels and six salt packets along the way, with at least 5 oz water at every aid station. That helps a LOT.

This race did offer a rare treat: Just after mile 16 the marathon course converged briefly with the half-marathon course, and the timing was perfect: I caught up to my two sweeties and was able to run with them for more than a mile. We never get to do that in a real race, only in training, so we stayed together and made the most of it. Then they turned around with about a mile left to go, and I jogged on ahead for my remaining eight miles or so. Needless to say they finished first, but they always do.

Along the course:
  • Young woman wearing a T-shirt: “Balls are my business.” I might have asked, but she was going faster.
  • Signs “Up With Trees” all along Riverfront Drive. Tulsa plants trees. Indeed, the maples were in technicolor.
  • Sign propped in front of a boy in a stroller: “This is a really boring parade!”
  • Shirt: I’m older than you, more devious, and I train while you sleep!”
  • ”Banana Man,” a sharp young Texan who had run another marathon the DAY before, taught me about organic bananas.
  • Bumper sticker on a rusty pickup: “A dead Yankee don’t tell no lies.” Same with a dead redneck, you neanderthal.
  • Otherwise, Tulsa was warm and welcoming.
Splits: 11:55, 10:42, 10:49, 10:47, 11:08, 22:01 (2 mi), 22:09 (2 mi), 23:14, 24:52 (2 mi), 24:40 (2 mi), 13:25, 16:44, 14:02, 13:15, 14:22, 12:12, 13:25, 23:58 (2 mi), 11:38, 12:10, 1:40 (0.22 mi), total 5:19:02. Uffda. I can do better and I will.

Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010:

Jim and I ran together in the Stillwater Bubble, 1000-foot loops, at a pace that I’m sure was 9-minute miles or so, for 50 minutes. It was my first run in almost a week, and Jim’s first in even longer, so we took it easy. After three miles I was actually having trouble keeping that pace, so we walked one of the short sides of the rectangle and ran the rest. No problems, no pains.

One of Tulsa's many parks:

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Romps in the Park

Wednesday, Nov 10, 2010:

Yet another run in the park today, hilly grass trails, temperature 63 degrees. I took it easy, partly because I had just eaten lunch, and really enjoyed the run. My cold is getting better, though by no means gone. It doesn’t bother when I run, though, and running 5 or 6 miles doesn’t seem to make it worse. Time 52:00, 4.9 miles, pace 10:49.

Monday, Nov 8, 2010:

Lovely run in the park again, is this the last of the season? This time I explored a little and ended up running 5.8 miles in 1:01:00, for a pace of 10:30. Great day, good run, nothing hurts, it’s a masterpiece.

Poplar trees shimmer in the November sun. It's beautiful here any time of year:

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Ten Days Since The Last Run

I’ve had such a miserable cold that I haven’t even felt like running. Today, though, temperatures reached 60 degrees, with a warm sun, and we couldn’t resist going to the park, where I had one very nice 4.8-mile run on the grass trails, perhaps the last run there of the season. Time 50:00, pace 10:27, can’t expect better after 10 days off.

I do hope to get in a few more runs here before the snow covers the trails, though. The park doesn’t allow snowshoes on those trails - they are reserved and groomed for skiers who pay nice fees.

I’ve tried everything to kick this cold, now going on 20 days. Extra sleep (lots), chicken soup, menthol chest rub, extra warmth day and night, freshly washed pillows & cases, new toothbrush, some exercise, no exercise, intense exercise; so far it hasn’t changed much. Head and chest, slight fever in the evening. I’m open to ideas, thinking it might be time to call the doctor.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Better Runs

Thursday, Oct 28, 2010:

Last Monday I had a bad run at the N St Paul Community Center, but today’s run was just the opposite. I started more slowly, ran a mile less, and my cold is getting better. I had lots of energy at the end of the three miles. No problems, no pains.

I’m not enjoying the squirrel-cage track yet this year, though. Maybe I’ll try a treadmill next time so the track will seem wonderful by comparison.

Splits: 9:37, 9:11, 8:32, total 27:19, pace 9:11 average.

Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010:

Today we ran for the first time this fall in the Stillwater Bubble (St Croix Valley Recreation center). It’s a double (at least?) indoor soccer field, and every morning the doors open for walkers and runners at 6:00 am. The distance around the entire rectangle is very close to 1000 feet as a runner runs, with somewhat-rounded corners. The old surface had long since passed its design life, so a new surface was installed October 1 or so. The new one stinks.

We ran for an hour anyway, despite the smell of ground up rubber tires. In the Bubble I don’t try to run an exact distance because there are other people and it’s not always possible to clip the corners exactly. I time myself instead, and once in a while I may try to time one lap. 102 seconds equals 9-minute miles, and 114 means 10-minute miles. I ran closer to 9 than 10-minute miles for most of the time, I think, but ran out of gas in the last mile or so. That soft surface takes a little energy from every step. I ended up walking one of the short sides of the rectangle, then running the other three, and that routine still came out to 10-minute miles.

Good run, no problems. Even the right ankle.


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Not A Recovery Run

Monday, Oct 25, 2010:

I hadn’t run since the KC Marathon 9 days ago, mostly because I have a miserable cold and hadn’t wanted to expose my lungs to a lot of cold air. But we went to the club, where I can run on the squirrel track at 70 degrees, 13.5 laps per mile. For some reason I started out strong, running the first laps in less than 40 seconds each, unusual for me even when I’m well.

But I wasn’t well, hadn’t run in nine days, plus my stomach was full from a too-recent meal, and yet for some reason I kept up that pace. Several times I tried to slow down, and maybe I did for a lap, but as soon as my mind went somewhere else I was back up to that pace, a race pace, too fast for me on that day. I ended up with a good time for four miles, but was quite worn out at the end, even a little woozy.

Splits: 8:48, 8:17, 8:18, 8:26, total 33:48, pace 8:27. I can run faster for four miles, but not that day.

Those cherries were from the tree of friend and fellow runner Rich. Man were they good. This photo was shot last summer.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Kansas City Marathon Review

Kansas City Marathon, my 30th state and 47th marathon. We really liked this marathon! They got lucky with the weather today, too, maybe a little warm for the slow runners (like me) but 50 at the start and perhaps 73 or so at my finish.

My Race: The course is hilly, and I walked most of the way up most of the hills. I started with an extra (very ugly) cotton shirt and temporary mittens made from holey old sox, discarding all early in the race. I took six Clif Shot gels and at least six salt packets along the way. I took water at every aid station, but ended up thirsty anyway.

I met lots of Team In Training (TNT) runners, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and thanked every one of them. They support myeloma research too, so they just might be saving my life. Thank you again!

No problems along the course except I really got tired of running uphill (duh!) and I did cramp up a little, though that was mostly after finishing. Otherwise I had fun and nothing hurts. Some of the time I ran beside a wheeler on a conventional chair, who was doing VERY well I thought. He described only one problem with the chair - it limited his downhill speed, because the front wheels would start to shimmy like the wheels on a grocery cart. He was a very competitive guy, too. I hope he can steal, borrow, or rent a racing chair sometime. He’ll do very well.

As I was truckin’ along, maybe mile 7 or so, Jay, husband of Amazing Cancer Girl, scooted up beside me and re-introduced himself. We had met at a conference last December. It took me a moment to connect the dots, but it was wonderful to see Jay again, and especially as a race volunteer. They live in KC.

The Marathon: It’s a great one, I’d recommend it to anyone. Be prepared for hills, is all. One WONDERFUL thing: Some of the race was on main thoroughfares, and those roads were CLOSED to motor traffic. No coned-off lanes, no cars at all. I felt safe. Love that! The police who managed the street crossings were wonderful, as were the volunteers who did that. There were enough spectators that I heard my name yelled in encouragement dozens of times (I wear “Don” on my shirt), and I high-fived a lot of little kids. The expo was good. Parking in a downtown ramp was free and easily reached from freeways (US 71 to 22nd St, W to McGee, S straight into the free ramp. Don’t be distracted by the $5 ramp on the left just before the free one).

The only problem I had was in the finish area. Sunshine tells me that there were finishers’ shirts for marathoners (though not half marathoners) but somehow I missed mine. Now I admit that I’m not the sharpest tack in the box when I’ve JUST finished a marathon, but I actually did make it a point to look around and TRY not to miss anything. I didn’t even know there WAS a finisher’s shirt, since we had all received a cotton shirt at the expo. They might have directed me to the shirts after putting on my medal, or whatever. Oh well, maybe half my fault and half theirs.

Also, they ran out of half-marathon finishers medals, and when my two girls asked for theirs, they were directed to a tent to sign up for medals to be mailed in a month. Nevertheless, it’s a good race, despite my bellyaching.

My Myeloma: I'm taking a novel drug called pomalidomide, made by Celgene, in a trial at Mayo Clinic. It's keeping the myeloma stable, so far, and I'm very happy that I'm not only above ground but able to run and enjoy life like any normal person. Yay to modern science! More about my myeloma here.

Splits: 11:16, 21:05 (2 mi), 21:36 (2 mi), 39:56 (4 mi), 9:44, 10:48, 10:58, 10:25, 20:41 (2 mi), 10:35, 23:30 (2 mi), 9:41, 22:32 (2 mi), 12:36, 13:50, 11:21, 11:44, 14:20 (1.2 mi), total 4:46:32, average pace 10:56, finished third of six in my age group.

A TNT runner, raising money for Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma, and other blood cancers. Photo taken by Sunshine or Sweetpea. I don't know this runner, but I love her anyway.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Warm Fall Run

Monday, October 11, 2010:

Another delightful but warm run on the grass & dirt trails in the park. Just 3.7 miles this time, finishing in 39 minutes, for a pace of about 10:30. Good enough - I took several pictures of the fall color and didn’t stop the watch. Nothing hurts - it’s a masterpiece.

Saturday, October 9, 2010:

The St Croix Valley Runners meet at Stillwater’s Northland Tennis Courts every Saturday, 7:00 am SHARP, rain or shine. Today was shine; we watched a beautiful sunrise as we ran through the fall color in perfect running temperatures, about 55 degrees.

The speedsters ran out ahead and Dave, Candy, and I ran the Lake McKusick route. It’s very nearly the same distance, though much hillier, but none of the course is on 55-mph highways. In fact, it’s entirely on trails or 30 mph streets, and takes us all the way around Stillwater’s Lake McCusick. We finished in about 44 minutes, the fastest I’ve run that route. It may be a little shorter than 5 miles, as is the regular route, but it’s close enough for me and I claim a pace of about 9-minute miles. No pains, no problems. It’s a masterpiece.

Most of the trails are like this. Mowed grass with two ruts, usually dirt or sand, started by park vehicles and enhanced by people and horses. The grass is often fairly tall, so I prefer to run in the ruts most of the time, except when they get too muddy, too sandy, too narrow, or too deep:
More fall color

Friday, October 08, 2010

Warm Running in October

The temperature was actually a bit warm for running Thursday afternoon, but I’m not complaining. A beautiful, sunny day with plenty of fall color. I ran 6.1 miles on the park’s grass trails in 1:07, which is about 11 minutes per mile. Not fast but what the heck, it was warm, I stopped to take pictures several times, and I’m tapering. It'll do.

I did twist my ankle on a tree root in the last quarter mile, but it didn’t hurt the morning afterward so it can’t be too bad. That run finishes the week, with a total of just 18 miles.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

The Weather Is Good For Running

Tuesday, Oct 5:

A wonderful romp in the park. 70 degrees, setting sun, slightly breezy, low humidity, and the beginning of fall color. What more could a runner ask? I didn’t push too hard, walking up many of the hills. 6.8 miles in 1:14, pace about 10:43, not too speedy but I did stop to take pictures a few times.

Saturday, Oct 2:

St Croix Valley Runners. Many of the runners were preparing to run the Twin Cities Marathon the next day, Sunday, so they walked three miles together, our traditional way to prepare for TCM.

Three of us ran the five miles, but the other two zipped out ahead of me, so as long as I was alone I took the McKusick route instead of the usual one, looping around Lake McKusick and through some neighborhoods. I do NOT like running along Manning Avenue with its 55 mph (plus) traffic. Five miles in 47:30. Not fast, but good enough. A beautiful day to run.

Thursday, Sept 30:

Evening run with Rich. What a lovely night for a nice, easy run, 5.1 miles in 54 minutes, then a beer afterward. Life is good

There are miles and miles of trails in Washington County's parks. This is one short piece.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Long Slow Distance

21.7 miles in 4:03 this morning, pace 11:12. That’s good enough for a 4:54 marathon if I could keep it up for another four and a half miles. Maybe. I’d like to run a 4:30 marathon, because that’s Boston qualifying time at my age, but it will be a push. Right now I’d need to find a downhill course.

I did have a couple of problems today though.

First: The skunk - smack in the middle of my favorite little two-rut dirt road alongside the railroad track. It was contentedly chewing away on vegetation between the ruts, more or less oblivious to the world. I stepped up on the track itself, walking slowly along the ends of the ties on the far side of the track, toward the skunk but as far as I could get from it without tumbling down the other bank. The skunk was facing the track, and spotted me just as I came opposite. The tail went up, but it was still facing me, maybe 10 feet away. I jogged away, bouncing from one tie to the next, and when I looked back, the skunk was running in the other direction. Mutual respect.

Second: The route that I had chosen for today is about 22 miles and goes through seven different municipalities including Oakdale, Pine Springs, Grant, Stillwater, and more. The railroad track would have taken me into Oakdale, where I would have switched to some paved trails. But the track goes under I-694 just before that point, and the passage under 694 was blocked. A hard-hatted worker came toward me and asked me not to proceed, explaining that they were doing "lead paint remediation" on the bridge. I could see a path through but he was blocking my way. I considered an end run around him, but gave in when he explained that his boss was watching so he really had to stop me.

There was no way around - only back the way I had come, costing quite a bit of distance. I figured out a detour which made the course about equal in distance to the original, but it bypassed two opportunities to refill my water bottle. Happily for me, Sunshine was available to bring a bottle just when I needed it. Totals: four Clif Shot gels, five packets of salt, and 40 ounces of water. That's not enough water - I should take about 2.5 ounces per mile, which would have been 54 ounces.

Perfect weather, the beginning of fall color, nothing hurts much. It’s a good run.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

MMRF Race for Research

Sunday, Sept 26, 2010:

Once a year, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) holds a fund-raising event at Phalen Park in St Paul, focused on a 5k race/walk. This year the event drew about 1000 people and raised about $150,000. Final figures are not in yet.

The course was a surprise though. Part of the usual course, a bridge, was totally blocked and the detour added about ½ mile to the total distance. We all ran about 3.6 miles. I finished in 29:59, so IF the distance was 3.6 then my pace was 8:20. That’s believable. It would correspond to an actual 5k time of 25:50. I’ll take it.

No pains or problems.

Saturday, Sept 25, 2010:

St Croix Valley Runners, 7:00 am Saturday, as always, at Stillwater’s Northland Tennis Courts. I ran with George, Mary, and Candy, until we spotted a pileated woodpecker attacking a telephone pole, when George and Mary stopped briefly for pictures. Candy and I finished the 5 miles in 44:12, which is under 9-minute miles and a good pace for me. No pains or problems.

Thursday, Sept 23, 2010:

Woodbury runners, who meet at Carver Lake Park at 6:00 pm every Thursday evening. We ran in the warm rain tonight. Rich and I took the short 5.1-mile route, finishing in about 56 minutes I think - I pushed the button in the watch, but apparently it didn’t start. Nice, easy run, no pains or problems.

Tuesday, Sept 21, 2010:

The grass trails in the park are soft now, because we have had a lot of rain lately. But today they were dry enough for running. I did 8 miles, running most of the way but, as usual, walking up most of the hills. Time 1:25:30, pace 10:41. No problems.

Pretty blue mushrooms in our lawn. Don't worry - we aren't going to eat them.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Recovery Run

Recovery run: Woodbury Runners, 5.1 miles. I ran with Rich, a strong pace for him and fairly easy for me, most of the time. Two other guys, faster than us, ran the “usual” 6.2-mile route and we met up again about 1/4 mile from the finish. I left Rich at that point and ran with those two, enjoying a sprint (for me) to the finish.

This was a very good run! I enjoyed it a lot, both the 5-mile distance with Rich and the sprint at the end. Temperature was 55 with cloudy skies and no wind - perfect running weather. I love this time of year. Time 53:40, pace 10:31.

Dinner. That's canned salmon a la Sweet Pea:

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Little Grand Canyon Marathon

The Little Grand Canyon Marathon is a small treasure. Several hundred runners in the full marathon and in the half, all headed mostly downhill to the finish in one of the most spectacular canyons I have ever seen.

My marathon:

  • I finished in 5:03:28, according to my own watch (official results are not up as I write.). That’s OK for a mile-high marathon on gravel roads.
  • Nothing hurts! Well, maybe the right ankle hurts a little. I’ll have to take that to a doctor someday, but s/he will just say “let’s immobilize that for six weeks” or some such. I’m not in the mood for that yet.
  • The temperature was about 35 at the start (!) but quickly rose to about 70 at my finish. The sun was brilliant throughout, and felt very good at the beginning.
  • I discarded a garbage bag after three miles, and a long-sleeved shirt and gloves after seven.
  • At one point I was seven minutes behind a 5-hour pace (according to my wristband), but picked up a few minutes later.
  • I took six Clif Shot “mocha” gels, each delivering caffeine (the remaining legal performance-enhancing drug), at miles 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, 21, and 25.
  • At the alternate water stops I took salt tablets.
  • NO CRAMPS! This is because I took enough water, and especially because of the salt.
  • The race is almost entirely on gravel roads, so I wore gaiters and didn’t get even a grain of sand in my shoes. The girls had the same delightful experience. See Dirty Girl Gaiters.
  • Hip flexors started to bother around mile 10, but quieted down and weren’t a problem during the remaining race.
  • I was unimpressed by the scenery in the first half of the marathon, but very impressed by the last 10 miles. The half marathon starts at the midway point of the marathon, and only runs that impressive part.
  • Finished: marathon number 46, state number 29.

The Little Grand Canyon Marathon Itself

The good:
  • It’s well organized. For example, the water stops are EXACTLY at miles 3, 5, 7, etc., and so are the porta-potties.
  • Registration was simple, and packet pickup was very quick.
  • The venue is exceptionally beautiful. We ran on a road surrounded by high cliffs, above ancient cuts made by prehistoric rivers, with a full spectrum of colors.
  • The cliffs and were so close that we could literally touch them, and in at least one case we ran UNDER a slanted cliff face.
  • Post-race food was great: Water melon and snow cones at the finish (and lots more), taco/bean salads at the post-race feast back at the start.
  • Although there are hills, most of them are DOWN, especially in the last 10 miles. It’s a point-to-point race, and runners get bused back up to the start.
  • There is no time limit - in fact, prospective runners are invited to walk! I think this is wonderful, especially with such enjoyable scenery.
  • Mile markers counted DOWN the miles, rather than up. E.g. 10 miles to the finish. I enjoyed this, even though it meant that the mile markers were off 0.2 miles from what they would have been.
  • Discarded race clothing, left at an aid station, was automatically brought back up to the start area where it could be reclaimed. I took advantage of that, recovering a long-sleeved shirt and gloves after the race.

The not-so good:
  • I can’t remember when I have eaten so much dust. Runners share the road with motor vehicles, and there were many, dozens, car after car, especially in my last 13 miles, each raising its own cloud of dust (cough, cough). To be honest, this detracted substantially from my enjoyment of the beautiful canyons. The problem is the runners themselves: many of them apparently had friends drive down the dusty road to the finish, pick them up, and drive them back up to the start, presumably so that they wouldn’t have to wait for a bus to take them back. In so doing, they blew TWO clouds of dust at each of the runners still on the course.
  • In a few places, the heavy automobile traffic itself was an issue because of the narrow roads. I did stop a couple of times, off of the road, to let cars pass.
  • We stood around at the START line for about 30 minutes, freezing, waiting for the race to start. I’ve never been so happy for a race to start.
  • As of Sunday morning, the day after the race, results were still not posted. Compare this with many modern marathons which post results as they happen. It’s a simple matter of uploading to, which is free.

Bottom line:It’s a good marathon, and the organizers work hard to make it good. I recommend it. I had hoped that it would be one of my top favorites, but because of the traffic and dust it wasn’t.

Found in a local grocery store. The beer is actually pretty good:

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cool Run

We jogged in the park again today, on the paved trails. Nice, cool afternoon run, windy with some sun, very fresh, about 60 degrees.

I tried to take it easy and did walk briefly several times, especially up hills. Nevertheless I ran the 3.6 miles in 34:15, for a pace of 9:31, plenty fast for a taper run. I feel good. Slight pain in the right ankle, but I will nurse that for the next several days.

Those cherries are from Rich's own tree, home-grown without the benefit of any pesticide sprays. Tangy and delicious. The blueberries are frozen "wild" blueberries, very tasty and hopefully nutritious.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Great Day of Racing

Saturday, September 4, 2010:

The Buckshot Races in Eau Claire support the Special Olympics. There are two races for adults, a 5-miler first, and then a 2-miler starting 90 minutes after the 2-mile start. A runner can run the doubleheader for a special price, actually only $25, getting both races but only one shirt (one is enough!). I ran the doubleheader, as I’ve done in most prior years.

5-Mile Race:

This was my fourth time running this race, finishing twice before in 37+ minutes, then last year (on cancer meds) in 41:59, and this time in 40:23 (one less cancer med). Better than a minute and a half faster than last year. I’m not back to speed yet, but there is some improvement. I like that!

I finished second of ten in my age group, number 161 of 589 runners overall. Even at my best I was rarely able to finish ahead of Doug, who was several minutes ahead of me here, and no chance now unless I can get my speed back.

What a beautiful morning - about 52 degrees at the start and it didn’t warm up a lot all day. That probably helped improve my time too.

Splits: 7:49, 8:15, 7:57, 16:24 (2 mi), overall pace 8:05 minutes per mile. Sounds good, except unfortunately this very popular race is not certified and may be almost a tenth of a mile short. If it is 4.9 miles, then the pace was 8:14. But that’s still not bad. Using the Running Times Race Equivalent Calculator, that 8:14 pace predicts a 5k time just under 25 minutes, and I’m hoping for that. I need to find a nice, flat, certified 5k race and go for it.

2-Mile Race:

Doug finished the 2-miler ahead of me again, probably always will. I was second of seven in 15:35, 91 of 839 overall, actually the fastest I’ve run this two miles since 2006. I can do better, but I’m happy with this race. Perfect weather, a feel-good race and I feel great.

Splits by my watch: 7:54, 7:44, total 15:38. They say 15:35 - I’ll take it, pace 7:48. Two good runs today.

Thursday, September 2, 2010:

Rich and I started with the Woodbury Runners, then took the 5.1-mile route rather than their normal 6.2-mile route. We ran rather slowly, which was fine with me because I was looking ahead to two races on Saturday, just two days ahead.

5.1 miles in 54 minutes, pace about 10:35 or so - I didn’t record the time exactly. No pains, no problems.

Pancake for breakfast. Gluten-free pancakes are just as scrumptious as "regular" ones. Here's a pancake with fruit:
Pancake for breakfast

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Milk Run 5k

Tuesday, Aug 31, 2010:

Tuesday morning was warm and humid - what else is new? But we needed to get in a run so we went to the park and ran on the paved trails. 3.9 miles in 34:48, pace 8:51. I felt pretty good, actually, and this is a good pace for me, about the same as the Milk Run 5k a couple of days ago, and that was a race. No pains or problems.

Sunday, Aug 29, 2010, MILK RUN 5k:

The Milk Run 5k is a Minnesota classic race, held at the State Fair every year, always sold out long before race date. This year 1420 runners and walkers finished, slightly more women than men. I finished in 27:08, pace 8:45, number 197 of 628 men and number 10 of 29 men in the 65-69 age group. I had hoped to place better, but there are some pretty good runners in my age group. I’m impressed that there are 29 men that age who want to run a 5k, though. I did finish a minute faster than my last 5k, but the pace was slower than an 8k in March and the same as a 10k in April, so my hopes for increasing speed are not realized yet.

It is a hilly race, though, with a difference of 100 feet between the highest and lowest points, and I did walk quite a bit. I can do better and I will. The best news is: Nothing hurts, including the iffy right ankle.

The race fee also includes a pass to the fair and a “free” milkshake. We enjoyed the fair.

Saturday, Aug 28, 2010:

St Croix Valley Runners. I took a shortened route this morning, just 3.5 miles, because of the ankle injury and because of the Milk Run 5k race tomorrow. No problem with the ankle today - lets hope it stays that way.

Time 33:23, pace 9:32. Hmmm. I wonder if that route is longer than I thought, because it felt like I was going faster than 9:32. Oh well.

Milk Run Shirt:
Milk Run Race Shirt

Friday, August 27, 2010

Five Miles Didn't Happen

I started out with the Woodbury Runners (6:05 pm Thursdays in Colby Lake Park), but my right ankle hurt and seemed to get worse as I ran. Sometimes it hurts a little at the start of a run and gradually gets better - not this time. So I stopped and limped back to the car. I rarely quit a run, but with a marathon on the horizon I didn’t want to risk a disabling injury. I’m hoping that it will be better by Saturday with the SCV Runners.

28 miles for this week, not the planned 33. New week starts Saturday.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Delightful 20 Miles

Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010:

What a difference the weather makes. A breezy 55 degrees this morning as Luke and I started the 20-mile run, 64 when I finished. We took the dewy grass trails in the park, and I walked up many of the hills (it's MOSTLY hills), trying not to get injured or to beat myself up too much. Luke, bless his heart, is very good at matching my pace even though he would normally be a couple of minutes per mile faster.

Luke bailed at 11 miles, because he is doing another 12-miler tomorrow, at his pace. Up to that point the average was 11:14, though I forgot to stop my watch for a porta-potty break so it was probably just under 11. I slowed down somewhat after Luke left, finishing the 19.86 miles in 3:49, for an overall average pace of 11:32. That pace and time are fine for a wet, grassy, hilly trail run, and I feel great!

The right knee gave me a couple of scares - almost locking up twice. But it smoothed out right away - no problem. That has happened before. The right ankle, my only real worry, was silent throughout. Yay! I twisted the left foot on a rock in the first mile, but it didn't complain during the run. I hope it doesn't tomorrow. Calves pretended to threaten to cramp at about mile 16, but they responded to the salt (five or six packets during the run) and settled down. I took four Clif Shot Gels along the way too - they do give me an energy boost. Lots of water - I had stashed bottles of water along the trails and drank about 55 ounces enroute.

The park is beautiful. Much of it is native grassland, and it is a goldenrod garden right now, acres and acres. Not great for hayfever sufferers, but spectacular in the sunshine.

I followed the railroad tracks for a mile going to the park, and another mile returning. On both legs a train went by. I love trains, especially as they thunder by up close, and one of the engineers tooted for me. Another highlight of a beautiful run.

Hints of fall today - makes you want to go out and lube up the snow blower :-)

Monday, Aug 23, 2010:

We needed to run today, and for various reasons couldn't run in the morning, so we went to the park for a shady run in the evening. Shade helped, but not enough - 88 degrees with a dewpoint in the mid 60's - ugh. The grass trails were dry, of course, because it was evening, but I ran on specific paved trails where there is actually more shade. Fifteen minutes out and fifteen back, probably about three miles total. No pains or problems, except the chronic right ankle, which doesn't hurt until after the run is over. It's not bad right now, but I do have a lot of lawn that needs mowing.

I'm looking forward to Wednesday, when the weather is supposed to be a LOT better for running.

Saturday, Aug 21, 2010:

The St Croix Valley Runners meet every Saturday, 7:00 am, at Northland Tennis Courts in Stillwater. Today's fog cut visibility a lot, and I proposed that we run "Wayne's Route" in place of the normal route, so that we could avoid running on busy highways. The runners agreed, though one runner is reported to have said "sacrilege!" I ended up running alone much of the way, between slower and faster groups, and finished the almost-5 miles in 44:44, OK for such a sweaty morning. This route is hillier than the usual one too. It's good.

Wednesday, Aug 18, 2010:

The Tartan Terrible 4-Mile Race is actually a bit over four miles, probably 4.3. This is a fun little 2-loop steeplechase race over hill and dale, on pavement, grass and weeds, and, some years, even through water. This year the water hazard was dry, but everything else was there. I had a good, enjoyable race but not a great one, walking up hills and running the rest. I did have a strong finish, so no doubt I could have kept it up. No pains or strains. The right ankle still bothers a little, but didn’t get any worse.

Loop splits: 21:29, 21:08, total 42:37, pace 9:55.

Tuesday, Aug 17, 2010:

We three found ourselves in Woodbury this morning, and just decided to run here and there on that city’s wonderful paved trails. I ran around a couple of lakes, Markgrafs and Powers, then into a new neighborhood where I got lost, and then found again. I don’t really know how far I ran, but it took a total of 60 minutes and I’m saying it was six miles. Nice run, no pains other than the right ankle.

Vegetarian bean & corn dish under the fruit, veggies, & blue corn chips. Mostly organic, of course.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Raise Myeloma Awareness

Myeloma patient Keith May and the IMF have entered a racecar design called "The Survivor" in a contest called Sponsafier. The winning entry will be built as a full sized car, showcased at a NASCAR race, and your votes can help push us across the finish line.

This will raise awareness of myeloma, the International Myeloma Foundation, the great work being done to change the course of myeloma, and the work that still needs to be done. Here's what you can do:

Just take 30 seconds every day until August 28, click, wait for the screen to develop, and simply click the “vote” button. You don't have to log on or enter ANY information. For extra credit, you can do this with every computer that you have available, every day.

“The Survivor” is one of several hundred entries in the Sponsafier contest. Some are just artistic designs and some like Keith’s support a cause. Now we all have the opportunity to support Keith, myeloma awareness, and the IMF by voting every day for the next 11 days, and by asking your friends, families, and colleagues to vote too.

The messages on the car are simple: “Beat myeloma to the finish line,” and simply “Beat Cancer.” What better way to get there than by racing? Click

The Survivor

A Hero Is Gone

Lloyd Young died, age 87. Here is his obituary.

I remember, as a new runner, chasing after Lloyd when I was in my early 60's and Lloyd was in his late 70's. He was a world-class runner, holding many Minnesota and national age-group records. He was also a poet and a real gentleman. We will miss him.

See also Down the Backstretch.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Clif Shot Gels Really Work

Sunday, August 15, 2010:

These are the days that just make you feel like running. 65-70 degrees, low humidity, and a brisk crosswind on the Gateway Trail this morning. What a delightful change from recent weather.

I ran "long" today, 16 miles on the sand/gravel/mud horse trails along the Gateway. They are slightly more hilly than the paved trail, you have to watch your step, and the surface probably takes a little extra energy from every step, but I’m training for a gravel-road marathon. It went very well, mostly running with some walking. I wore my Dirty Girl Gaiters and got only a little sand in my shoes, no pebbles.

One running phenomenon came through very clearly today: Clif Shot Gels do what they are supposed to do. I took three of them along the route, roughly at miles 4, 8, & 12, and each time I noticed an obvious increase in energy ten to fifteen minutes later. I use the Mocha flavor, with 100 calories of carbohydrates and 50 mg caffeine, and I have no idea which is more important - the carbs or the caffeine. No doubt other flavors and other brands would do as well - but Clif Shots are mostly organic, and, according to the list of ingredients, appear to be free of gluten.

At the finish of the run, I had energy left. Sometimes I feel beat after a long run, but not today. Better yet, no pains of any kind during the run, though I do have a little pain in the right ankle afterward. That ankle has been bothering just a little for months now - perhaps I should bring it to a sports doctor. It seems to get worse when I mow the lawn or run on trails; I mowed yesterday and ran trails today. Tsk.

Happy news - the bridge over Manning Avenue is showing progress again. Pilings are being driven, eventually to support the historic iron-frame bridge that will go there. A new sign says that the bridge itself is being repaired and refurbished, and construction should be completed by December. That will take one big risk out of the Gateway Trail.

Splits: 10:11, 9:05, 10:45, 9:11, 10:22, 10:22, 10:31, 11:12, 9:44, 10:52, 10:53, 9:48, 11:06, 10:03, 10:16, 10:23, total 2:44:48, pace 10:18. Of course this was only 16 miles, but if I could continue that pace for a full marathon, it would be a Boston-qualifying time. I don’t want to run Boston again, but I’d like to qualify again. It’s a runner thing.

Saturday, August 14, 2010:

St Croix Valley Runners, so it must be Saturday. 7:00 am, Northland Tennis Courts. I ran with Gauss and Candy, at the front of the pack actually, even though we really weren’t in a hurry. Gauss must have been in a little bit of a hurry, though, because he eventually eased out ahead. Five miles in 46:30, pace 9:18. No pains, no problems. Very humid day, the last one for a while I hope.

Thursday Evening, August 12, 2010:

Woodbury Runners, 88 degrees with a dewpoint of 70. Ouch. Rich and I took the short 5.2-mile route, and ran slowly besides, walking now and then. But four or five others ran the regular 6.2-mile route and finished well ahead of us ("what happened to you guys?"). We finished without risking any heat injury, is what happened. Now 28 miles this week. New week starts Saturday.

Signs along the Gateway Trail:

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dog Days of Running

Thursday, Aug 12, 2010:

Not a cloud in the sky this morning. Unfortunately. We ran on the park trails again, with the temperature already 81, dewpoint 70 at 8:00 am, bright (read HOT) sun making the shade most welcome wherever we encountered it. I ran on the paved trails again, because of heavy dew on the grass trails, and felt sluggish at the start, but managed to chug along until I felt a little better. We saw several other runners, walkers, skaters, and bikers.

I did notice new pains in the left knee and, briefly, in the left ankle. Both of these disappeared as I ran, and the right side was quiet today. I’ve also had a pain in the left butt, indicating a potential problem in that hip joint. I’ve been slacking off on my glucosamine and chondroitin - I’d better get back to it.

A VERY sweaty 5.8 miles in 56:30, pace 9:44. I should have done a long run today, or last Tuesday, with a marathon coming up soon, but I didn’t have the heart for it in this weather. Maybe next week. Only 23 miles total this week, sigh. Maybe I can get in another five tonight.

Tuesday, Aug 10, 2010:

Humidity was high this morning, as was the temperature, 78 degrees with a dewpoint of 72. Needless to say, the grass trails were quite wet, so I used the paved trails and ran 6.1 miles in 59:00, for a pace of 9:40. No problems except I was totally soaked with sweat at the end. I should have run long today, but it wasn’t a good day for it. I did carry water, though, and was glad to have it along.

Sunday, Aug 8, 2010:

Another warm run on the paved trails in the park. I wrote down the time and distance, but don’t actually remember much else about the run. 5.8 miles in 55:50, pace 9:37.

Saturday, Aug 7, 2010:

St Croix Valley Runners, mostly with Charley today, nice & easy, not quite as humid as it has been, though a little more so than Thursday, which was a pretty nice summer morning. Five miles in 49 minutes.

Dinner: Roasted vegetables topped with bison chili. Yum!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Lovely Day

What a change from Tuesday! This may not have been the very best day to run, but it sure was a lot better than Tuesday. The temperature was 10 degrees lower, the dew point a full 15 degrees lower, and the breeze entirely refreshing. A nice day indeed. We ran in the park again, but it had rained ovenight, so I ran on the paved trails rather than the grass.

I wanted to run about five miles, so I would finish in 50 minutes or so, but I ended up running 5.4 miles instead. I did finish in 50:43, for a pace of 9:22. I thought I was running faster than that, actually, but I’ll take it.

30 miles this week.

Love those cherries.

Hot Sticky Run

Even the morning runs are uncomfortably warm and humid these days. Nephew Luke came by Tuesday morning and we ran 8.7 miles on the blacktopped Gateway Trail, from the parking area at Hwy 96 up to Pine Point Park and back. The girls ran the same route but turned around short of Pine Point. The temperature wasn't outlandish, going from 73 to 81, but the dew point in the 70's made it seem much worse.

I felt good at the start and we chugged right along at about a 9:00 pace on the way up to the park. But I fell apart on the way back, walked quite a bit, and the overall pace for the run was 9:56. I think I was dehydrated - next time I'll carry water when it's that uncomfortable. Luke seemed almost unfazed by the weather and, as always, had no trouble matching my pace.

He wore his Garmin again, and I learned something about the Gateway Trail. I had always assumed that Pine Point Park was the high point on this run, or maybe the little plateau at Co Rd 61 just a mile SW of the park. But it is actually just a half mile or so NE of the Hwy 96 parking area, the "Horse Bridge." The little chart shows a rather symmetrical elevation profile, as it should with an out-and-back run, with the small bump in the middle representing Pine Point Park. The highest point is near the start and finish. Not a big deal, of course, because the total excursion in elevation is only about 75 feet, but it's nice to know.

Luke's exact one-mile splits: 9:41, 8:47, 9:08, 8:55, 9:08, 9:46, 11:54, 12:04, 10:06, total 1:26:05 for 8.66 miles, pace 9:56.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Woofed Again!

Sunday, August 1, 2010:

Eleven hilly grass-trail miles at 79 degrees and a dew point of 70. My sweeties and I ran in the park again this morning, with the purpose of running at least two hours. Even longer in my case: 11.2 miles in 2:08:20, for a pace of 11:27. Not very swift, but I just couldn’t run very fast today. Maybe yesterday’s fairly-fast five miles took its toll, because my legs were tired. I walked often, especially up hills.

No other problems though - no pains or cramps. I did take 20 oz of water along the way, and one Clif Shot gel.

Saturday, July 31:

St Croix Valley Runners. We had a great group this morning, at least 15 runners. I started out running with Dennis, then fell back and ran much of the way by myself, with about an equal number of runners ahead of me and behind me.

Temperature 70, dewpoint 66, this was a sweaty run. Nevertheless I did OK, for me, finishing the five miles in 44:00, for a pace of 8:48. No pains, no strain.

Thursday, July 29:

This was another run in the park, hilly grass trails again, but I don’t recall much about it, even the time of day. Evening for sure, though, because we were at Mayo most of the day, then Weight Watchers. So I suppose this run started about 7:00 pm.

Notes say 4.8 miles in 48:53, for a pace of 10:11, unusually fast for the hot, hilly grass trails, but this run was a bit shorter than some. No pains or problems.

Tuesday, July 27:

Friend Jim and I ran in the park, a 6.3-mile route this time. Though it was a morning run, the temperature and humidity were both high and I had to take it fairly easy. 6.3 miles in 1:10:30, pace 11:11. But no pains or cramps.

Monday, July 26:

Hot, hilly, but enjoyable run with nephew Luke, on the grass trails in the park again. This was an evening run, very warm and humid, and neither of us did very well. Nevertheless we ran 7.1 miles in 1:17:42, for a pace of 10:57.

I walked frequently, and Luke was kind enough to match my walks as well as my pace. After the run he sent me a link to his Garmin results for that run. I’m amazed by the amount of information on that page. Distance, speed, highest and lowest speed, altitude at the start and finish, highest point, lowest, total elevation gain, and more, even a map of the route we ran. It’s really cool.

The cherries are a gift from a running friend. Tangy-sweet, perfect for just eating.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Recovery Runs

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Stillwater Lumberjack Days Races were today, a very popular annual event. I usually run the 10-mile race, but today I didn’t feel like working that hard, one week after a tough marathon. The girls agreed, and we didn’t run the races.

But we did run with the St Croix Valley Runners, 7:00 am at the tennis courts. This time we took “Wayne’s Route,” which crosses County Road 12 twice but otherwise stays away from high-speed highways. I like it much better than the usual route, which has us on 55-mph highways for a couple of miles.

I felt some pain in the right knee, which got better as I ran, and came back later at home. Stairs are the worst, down only, not up.

Thursday, July 22, 2010:

Woodbury Runners, the usual 6:00 pm run at Colby Lake Park. Actually 6:10 pm - I showed up at 6 the first time and didn’t wait long enough for the others. 6:10 will do it.

Rich and I ran 5.1 miles while the others ran 6.2, but this time in 51:42, eight minutes faster than the last time I ran with Rich. He’s getting strong enough to make me work. I enjoyed this run, still just the right speed for a recovery run.


Some assholes have been persistent at leaving spam comments on this blog, which I have to remove, so for a while I will be moderating comments, which is actually easier. If you leave a comment (please do) it will be delayed but WILL show up, probably within minutes, unless it contains a link to an unknown site.

Thanks for your patience.

The bowl is big, so imagine the strawberries! Apple sized. The bananas are regular size, not small.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Make it by Midnight Marathon 2010

Who wants to run a marathon in Georgia on the hottest day of the year? We did! Make it by Midnight is a fun little half or full marathon in a nice gated neighborhood in Macon Ga. You decide for yourself how long it will take, then start at whatever time will get you in by midnight, considering the temperature (hot) and the hills (plenty). I started at 5:30 pm and finished at 11:24:12, for a time of 5:54:12. It’s two or four quarter-marathon loops on blacktop roads, which means that you get back to the start/finish and the goodies table twice for a half marathon and four times for a full marathon. It’s a fun marathon. We loved it.

My Marathon:

  • I really didn’t know how long a hilly marathon would take me at 87 degrees and a heat index over 100. I usually finish in five hours in a “normal” marathon, but since there is no penalty for finishinbg early, except running more in the sun and less after dark (cooler), I decided to give myself 6 ½ hours and started at 5:30.
  • The trick at first was to pace myself, run slower than normal, to avoid overheating. That caught on pretty quick though, and I just walked up the hills and jogged down the other side. Each of the four laps was a little longer than the previous one, but the longest was quicker than 90 minutes, so the total was well under 6 hours.
  • I have taken water with me on just two previous marathons, both of them trail marathons. I took water this time, though, and drank almost 40 ounces on each of the first three loops, and another 20 on the last loop. That is about twice as much water as I normally drink during a marathon.
  • To avoid hyponatremia, I also took eight salt packets, two per loop, and seven Clif Shot gels.
  • I have NEVER been so WET during a marathon, and that was before the thunderstorm. You tend to sweat a lot at a temperature of 87 with a dewpoint ot 74. I had a map of the course in my pocket, but it was paper pulp after one loop.
  • The thunderstorm brought a downpour, soaking everything, though I was already entirely wet except for my shoes.
  • I was worried about running in wet sox, but no problems, no blisters.
  • The right shin bone (tibia?) just below the knee squawked a little on the downhills of the first loop, but it settled down for the rest of the race. No other pains.
  • In loops three and four the left calf threatened to cramp up, but I stretched it out a few times and it never did cramp.
  • In the end, the heat did not cause any unusual problems for me. I guess there was just one guy who needed medical attention, out of about 60 runners, so other people were paying attention to the heat too, slowing down and taking more fluid.
  • Nevertheless, when I was finished I had the same tired, sore muscles that I normally have after a marathon. Despite the slow pace, the heat and the hills made this the real thing.

The Race:
  • Started as early as 3:00 pm, if you like, and the finish line closed at 1:00 am.
  • You win a tiara (!?!) if you finish by midnight, else a pumpkin. I'm man enough to wear a tiara, so I chose a pink one.
  • You can park very near the start/finish, so you can use your car for resupply.
  • There are NO porta-potties. You can use regular rest rooms at the start/finish and at a home at the half-loop aid station.
  • You are required to have a flashlight after 9:00 pm, and you need one. I had one during loops three and four. I saw some heroes running without their lights, and it seems to me that’s a great way to step in a hole and twist an ankle.
  • The roads do have a little traffic, and there are no shoulders. Cars may or may not see runners, and may or may not give them space even if they do see them. Some drivers were quite polite and some were jerks. Few of them expected pedestrians. Wear reflective clothing!
  • The water at the aid stations, even the unmanned ones, was COLD! That helped a lot in the heat.
  • This is not a marathon for making a PR or even a fast time. It’s for having fun, and we did.
Marathon number 45, state nunmber 28.

87 at the start, 78 at the finish, dew point over 70 all the way through. Laps: 1:19:33, 1:21:48, 1:26:09, 1:29:22, total 5:36:52 running time, plus 17:20 bathroom and to/from the car for water and gels, total 5:54:12.

Just before startingJust after finishing

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Four Days Off.

I try not to let more than 48 hours go by without a run, but I skipped Thursday’s run because I did plenty of hard work in the yard and I was pooped. I felt good today though, running with the St Croix Valley Runners, and somewhat to my own surprise I finished the usual 5-mile route in 43:20, which is almost a race pace for me. No pains, no problems, pace 8:40.

Mark was there. Nice to see you again Mark. Nice job in the Afton Trail Run.

Salad as dinner:

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Hot Run

We three wanted to get in some warm-weather training, so we ran in the park for an hour in the evening. I had run the same 5.2-mile route a week or so before in 54 minutes plus change, and this time it took 59:33. The difference? Last time the temperature was 72 and this time it was 84. I found myself paying more attention to the flush of my face, and the sense of overheating, than to breathing or muscle fatigue. As a result, though, I enjoyed the run (with more walking than usual) and I know a little more about what I might expect of myself if I run a marathon in 80+ or 90+ temperatures this summer.

I didn’t take any water or food during this short run, but of course in a hot marathon I would have taken water at least twice by the five-mile point, salt at least once, and probably a gel too.

No pains, no problems. Sunday's little pain in the right upper shin bone did not reappear. That’s a relief. The right ankle mumbles a little now and then, but it’s no worse when running than when walking and doing normal yard work.

5.23 miles in 59:33 is 11:23 per mile, almost a minute per mile slower than the June 29 run.

Somebody mowed my lawn! The worst part of it, actually, the part that slopes enough that you have to mow across the hill rather than up or down. I don't even know when they did that, sometime over the weekend, but I think I know WHO did it - I owe them a sincere thanks!

Breakfast. This is a huge bowl, MAN-sized, so imagine how big those straberries are! Organic, of course.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Marine on St Croix July 4 Race

Every year the town of Marine on St Croix holds a fun little four-mile race as part of its Fourth of July celebration. It’s a one-way race with every runner having to arrange her/his own transportation to the start. The course is about half on gravel roads, somewhat up and down, it does drop at least 200 feet from start to finish. Usually it’s a warm race, but this year it was wet and warm. 135 souls braved the rain, about the same number of runners as last year.

I decided to run both ways to get in a few extra miles, leaving my car at the finish well before race time and running up to the start line, then racing back with the pack. My race time was 35:22, only four seconds better than last year. On the other hand I was second of seven in my 60-69 age group this year, compared with seventh of 13 last year, and I did run up the hill before the race this year. It’s fine.

There is a new pain, though, in the top of the right shin just below the knee I think. It feels different from the pain I’ve been feeling in that knee. I have felt hints of this before, but I don’t recall if it ever reached the point where I logged it. Now it’s in the log - and I sure hope that’s the end of it! Shin splints I don’t need, if that's what it is, with a marathon coming up (there is always a marathon coming up). I suppose it could have been caused by the pounding that the legs take on the steep downhill parts of the course. I'll try to run mostly on grass and walk down hills for a while.

Don't you love summer, with all of the fresh fruit and berries? Nectarines are a favorite of mine.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Six Runs

Catching up on logging:

Saturday, July 3, 2010:

Only seven of us showed up to run with the St Croix Valley Runners today, with the Fourth of July race in Marine on St Croix scheduled for tomorrow. I ran with Gauss and Dave, all of us rather slow today, chatting easily some of the time and quiet at other times. After the fourth mile I went ahead and finished the last mile at a somewhat faster pace. Total time 49:49, overall pace 9:58.

The right ankle, which has been hurting a bit for several weeks now, did not hurt during the run. I did feel it afterward, just a bit, and I’m wondering if it’s mostly aggravated by lawn mowing across hills, and by leaving my foot in an awkward position while driving. If so, it will get better because: (1) I do have to mow the lawn but the grass will not grow so fast for the rest of the year; and (2) I can watch how I use that foot. Running surely can’t help, but it doesn’t seem to hurt much either. Also, I have some industrial-quality steel-toe boots that may offer some ankle support while mowing. We’ll see.

The right knee still lets me know it’s around once in a while, but mostly it’s quiet these last few days.

Thursday, July 1, 2010:

I ran with Rich again, this time taking a slightly shorter route, about 5.1 miles. Two other guys showed up for the Woodbury Runners tonight, but they left us early, and completed their regular 6.2-mile route before we finished our shorter run. Our pace: 11:28.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010:

We are planning to run a warm marathon, so we have been running in the evening, and did so today. But it was a lovely day, only about 72 degrees or so, and though it was a beautiful 5.2 mile run in the park, it wasn't much help training for heat. I did enjoy running on grass again, and I took it fairly easy, walking up most of the hills. Time 54:46, pace 10:32.

Sunday, June 27, 2010:

We three drove up to the Gateway Trail this evening, to escape the sun. I ran only four miles but in the heat that seemed enough. Splits: 9:18, 10:49, 9:59, 9:44, total 39:50, pace 9:58.

Saturday, June 26, 2010:

St Croix Runners again, Gauss and I finished the five miles in 49:00.

Thursday, June 24, 2010:

Rich and I ran the 5.2-mile Woodbury Runners’ route, the only runners to show up today. Nice recovery run, my first run since Grandma’s. Time about 59:00, pace 11:21.

Summer in the park:

Monday, June 21, 2010

Grandma's Marathon

Grandma’s Marathon finally caught a break on the weather! It wasn’t wonderful, but it was OK and certainly better than any of the previous three years. The temperature was 65 at the 7:30 am start and 68 at my 12:20 finish, mostly cloudy (thank you!), low humidity, with a gusty wind in our faces. The wind made the running a little more difficult, but it did help keep us cool.

My Marathon:

I had a good run, gaining about seven minutes on my goal 5:00 hour pace in the first half, and able to maintain those seven minutes in the second half, for a finish of 4:53:19. Nothing hurt enough to slow me down. I started leaning to the left at about mile 17, but that problem went away. Huh. The right ankle had been a little sore going in, and it squawked a little but didn’t get worse. Then toward the end the left foot got sore too, one of the bones connecting to the fourth toe I think, back inside the foot. It’s even more sore today, two days after the race - I’m a little concerned about it, hope it doesn’t amount to anything. Nothing seems broken - probably just a ligament that got overused a little with the 21,000 operations demanded by a marathon. And I might have stepped on it crooked - I did step off the edge of the pavement once.

I took gels with caffeine at miles 3, 7, 11, 15, 19, & 23; salt at 5, 9, 13, 17, 21, & 25. No cramps! Not even afterward. I took at least 5 ounces of water at every water stop, often dumping another cupful on my head. I used good Mayo Clinic sunscreen and had no sunburn, though my face was hot hours later at bedtime, which we think was probably windburn. Or the beer?

Between miles 21 and 22, I caught up to a woman who was running with a Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training (TNT) shirt. After thanking her for raising money for myeloma research, I left her behind. A few minutes later though, she caught up and we chatted some more. This happened several times, until we finally crossed the finish together, strangers sharing a common interest in a cure for blood cancers. And I’m still impressed by the guts it took for her to keep catching up.

Grandma’s Marathon:

This was the 34th running of Grandma’s, my eighth. They have it pretty well figured out now. I was especially impressed this time by the aid stations. They went on and on, giving even the least-attentive runner (me) every chance at the fluid of his/her choice, with tall signs clearly indicating which fluid was which. Ice and sponges too. I wish every race did it that well.

Porta-potties were in short supply right after the race start, though. I saw a line of eight runners (standers) waiting for two porta potties even at mile 8, and that was typical. I think two is pretty stingy for a race the size and caliber of Grandma’s, and if the problem is a shortage of porta-potties in the Twin Ports area, I have a suggestion: There must be a hundred of them at the start of the half marathon. So, the minute that the last half-marathoner crosses the start line, load a couple dozen porta potties from that area onto a couple of trucks and move them further up the road. There is more than an hour to get that done, and your runners will be happier, with far fewer diving for the woods.

Splits: 10:06, 9:51, 10:04, 10:21. 21:16 (2 mi), 33:38 (3 mi), 10:12, 11:15, 11:33, 12:47 (potty stop, 13-mile split 2:21:05, half mar 2:23:05), 11:53 (Hi David), 11:21, 11:10, 11:57, 11:36, 11:21, 12:03, 11:39, 10:59, 11:43, 11:27, 23:14 (2 mi), 1:53 (0.22 mi), total 4:53:24. Their clock shows me finishing in five seconds less - I’ll take it. Pace for first half 10:55, second half 11:27, overall 11:11.

Deer have taken over the yards and gardens in suburban Duluth:
Deer in the Suburbs

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bad Run, Good Run

Saturday, June 12, 2010:

After Tuesday’s poor run (below) I expected to run a few miles on Thursday and then the usual five miles with the St Croix Valley Runners on Saturday. But Thursday’s weather was poor, and we never got to the club to run. So Saturday’s run was the first in four days - an unusually long respite. I was actually a little apprehensive about how well this old body would do the job, considering Tuesday’s struggle.

But it was a good run. I started out with Steve, who is much faster than me but was content with my pace after running a marathon two weeks before. Lisa caught up to us after about a mile, a fast runner, winning her age group in the recent Stillwater Half Marathon. We three bounced along at my pace for most of the rest of the way, and I probably ran a little faster than I would have run alone - I was breathing pretty hard. They went ahead with about a half mile to go, but I finished not far behind in 43:58, which is a pace of 8:48 and a pretty good time for me on this route.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010:

Raining today, so we three ran at the club. It was my worst run in a long time. I can normally cruise around the elevated track at nine-minute miles, at least for six miles or so, but today was different. I felt fine for the first three, and then the fourth mile seemed to be more work, the fifth was difficult and I missed the 9-minute goal, and finally in the sixth mile I even got a little lightheaded - it was a struggle to finish it at any running pace.

What happened? I ran a marathon ten days ago - OK I should be back to form by now, in fact I should be stronger than before the marathon. I did eat a full lunch four hours before this run, and I felt that heaviness in my stomach, but that doesn’t usually make me lightheaded. Also, I started out a bit fast, but I’ve done that before recently too. Is the myeloma catching up to me? I’m hoping it’s just a bad day, and not a sign of anything to come. I could never have finished a marathon, at least not with that "fast" start.

Splits: 8:52, 8:45, 8:48, 8:52, 9:11, 9:38, total 54:06. Pace 9:01, but I didn’t click the watch after the last lap and may not be remembering the time correctly.

Friday June 4 and Sunday June 6, 2010:

Nice jogs along the Lakewalk and Riverwalk trails in Chicago. No time, but distance was probably about eight miles total for the two runs. Those trails are VERY popular with runners - lots of others running.

Organic strawberries are in season :-)
Breakfast today, June 13

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Coeur d'Alene Idaho Marathon

Coeur d’Alene Idaho has a marathon with a 33-year tradition. It’s a good marathon - I recommend it. My own race could have been better, but only six minutes slower than Abilene in April and I’m not unhappy with it. 43rd marathon, 27th state, second of two in my age group. I don’t like finishing last, but the other guy beat me fair and square.

The weather in Coeur d’Alene was almost perfect for a race, with cloudy skies and temperatures rising slowly from 50 to 57. A little less wind would have made it even better, and in fact I wore a singlet under a throwaway shirt which I never threw away because it felt good in that wind.

My right foot hurt. The outside of the foot seems slightly injured at the ankle, probably from running trails so much. I guess I can no longer brag that the Brooks Launch shoes have kept me injury-free, though I probably should use shoes with more ankle support for trail running. The middle toe on the right foot really raised a ruckus too - not uncommon but more painful than usual - made me yelp a couple of times. I had no other pains during the run. Afterward both calves cramped severely, each just once, one at a time, and I could do little but wait for the pain to subside. I had taken five salt packets during the race - maybe I needed more? For sure I should have done more stretching immediately after the race to try to prevent that post-race cramping.

The Coeur d’Alene Marathon route seems rather helter-skelter - we never did find a map good enough to guide us through it before the race, though the volunteers made navigation easy on race morning. A good part of the course is on roads and trails right along the shore of Lake Coeur d’Alene, affording a spectacular view, with mountains looming behind the enormous blue lake. It’s a bit hilly, not the best for a PR or a Boston qualifier, but certainly not the hilliest course I’ve run, not even as hilly as the trails that I run regularly near home. It was 100% paved, the road shared with cars (coned off) in a few places, but that was never a problem.

It seemed that the marathon was a little short on aid stations. I took either a Clif Shot gel or a salt packet at every aid station except the first one, and ended up using only five of each. The busses for the race course tour, the day before the race, were hopelessly oversubscribed. And the web site was out of date, displaying last year’s location for the packet pickup. Otherwise the race seemed to be organized well. The course is open for 7 1/2 hours, enough for all but the slowest runners. 403 souls ran the full marathon, 1228 the half, and 52 the early-start marathon (5:30 start versus 7:00 am).

My splits: 9:41, 9:43, 9:23, 9:49, 9:06, 10:18, 21:07 (2 mi), 10:03, 10:10, 10:46, 12:49 (uphill), 9:28 (back down), 25:03 (2 mi & potty stop), 13:02, 10:28, 24:16 (2 mi), 11:26, 11:15, 11:21, 12:16, 11:59, 11:54, 13:39 (1.22 mi), total 4:50:02, pace 11:04.

We drove to this marathon, from Minnesota to Idaho and back, especially enjoying the drive back. In a single day on I-90 and I-94 we saw:

  • Antelope, bison, mule deer, magpies, and many other creatures that we don’t see in Minnesota;
  • Snow-capped Montana mountains on one side of the highway, or both sides, for hundreds of miles, hour after hour, constantly changing and always fresh;
  • A full rainbow directly ahead of us, though we never drove in much rain that day;
  • The North Dakota badlands in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park (Medora, ND), including
    • Scenery more colorful than the South Dakota badlands,
    • A prairie-dog village right at the edge of the road, and
    • The North Dakota Painted Canyon;
  • A spectacular, unforgettable after-dark light show which we watched for 100 miles, as a thunderstorm crossed our path ahead of us in Minnesota; and finally
  • The three-quarter moon rising like a huge, orange, lopsided welcome sign right in front of us as we approached the Twin Cities at midnight.
It was a magical day. And to our surprise, traffic on I-90 and I-94 was light this Memorial Day weekend. I’m so glad we didn’t fly this time.