Thursday, April 29, 2010

Grass Trails

Tuesday, April 27:

Nephew Luke stopped by today, and we ran the 6.9-mile loop in the park together. He is much faster than I, but was entirely patient with my frequent little walks. I enjoyed that run and the conversation - hope we do it again.

And despite those walks we finished the loop in just over 1:08, which may be my best time for that loop this year. Pace just about 10:00, okay for a hilly dirt & grass trail. 60 degrees with mostly sun - a beautiful day and a beautiful run. No pains, no strain. It’s a masterpiece.

Sunday, April 25:

The day after the Get In Gear 10k I was determined to run an easy, short run. We three went to the park and the paved trails, where I ran 3.6 miles in 33:40, pace 9:21, short enough but faster than I intended. Oh well. No problems.

Breakfast isn't always oatmeal. This time it was Trader Joe's gluten-free granola, underneath an organic pear, strawberries, banana, kiwi, frozen blueberries, walnuts, and kefir.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Get in Gear 10k Race

Get in Gear 10k Race. They bill the Get in Gear 10k as an "annual rite of spring," and today we saw one of the less-agreeable faces of spring. Moderate rain fell before, during, and after the race, with a temperature of about 50 degrees. Some people wore just their shorts and singlets, while others had tights and rain jackets. I was comfortable in shorts and a long-sleeved shirt, just what I might wear on any other day at 50 degrees.

The rain was the topic at the tip of everyone’s tongue, but I actually don’t mind running in the rain. I think it slows me up a little, somehow, but there was no risk of getting overheated or, today, overcooled. We got home and threw all of our shoes in the washer, so they are cleaned up and drying out for the next run.

The really good news, of course, is that April showers DO bring May flowers. We needed the rain, and need more yet.

Sunshine has some good photos of the event on her blog. It looks like a dreary day, but people were smiling and in good cheer.

I ran an OK race, not one of my best. Time for the 10k was 54:13, pace 8:45, 10th of 26 in the 65-69 age group, and in the 69th percentile of all 3658 runners. I ran an 8:21 pace in the recent Human Race 8k, so this is just so-so, but I have plenty of excuses (recent marathon, rain, low motivation...) and it will do. No pains, no problems. I can do better and I will.

Next year I’m 70, and if I’m still running, the motivation will be a little higher. I never ran faster than when chased by (or chasing) an age group leader. Come back again, Lee, I’m not making PR’s any more.

Interesting to be in the 69th percentile overall, but only the 61st percentile in my own age group, old farts aged 65-69. That’s because the "big guns" really do show up for this race, and so do many younger but less-addicted runners for whom 10k is a long run.

Splits: 8:26, 8:14, 9:02, 8:53, 8:47, 9:06, 1:45 (0.2 mi), total 54:13, pace 8:45.

News flash: ChampionChip Minnesota used a new disposable-chip technology for this race, one that I had not seen before (and we run a lot of races). The chip is glued solidly to the back of the bib, which can be worn at chest height. No fussing with shoe laces, no need to turn the chip back in. It seemed to work just fine, even at the start, with dozens of runners crossing every second. I think the mats were wider, too, which would allow more runners to cross at once.

Back of bib. The white plastic-foam frame around and behind the shiny tag is also glued firmly - it stands up almost 1/4 inch. I suppose its purpose is to protect the tag and also to separate it from radio-signal-sucking wet clothing and the human body behind that. Just a guess.
RF Tag
I'm a radio guy - I love this stuff. Wish I worked for them :-)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tired Run

Tuesday, April 21, 2010:

Four miles with my sweeties, and five by myself. We ran in the park today. We all love the grass trails. We hustled along at their pace for one loop, then went separate ways and I ran another, longer loop.

I did fine during the first four miles with them, and for the first miles of the solo run. But I got tired before the end, tired legs, as if I had run much farther. Let’s see now - I ran a marathon 11 days ago, and 32 miles since then - maybe I’m overdoing it a bit. I’ll do a short run Thursday and call it a week.

Left hip got a little clunky, too, though not really painful. I think that will pass. 5.2 miles in 55:49, pace 10:40. I can do better.

Brunch after the run: There is a little cereal under there, but mostly it's a tropical fruit salad with yogurt. Sunshine cooked us some eggs, too.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Minnesotadon Is Now on Twitter

Minnesotadon Is Now On Twitter (opens in a new window)

Big deal. I'm not yet sure why, actually. I used Twitter for the first time on Monday, April 19, to keep track of the Boston Marathon. I liked that. Then I found out how to have the TITLE of each new blog post sent to Twitter, as if I had "tweeted" it.

We'll see what comes of this. Twitter seems to be a good way to keep track of people if both are on-line and on Twitter, or if one is on Twitter and the other posts to a blog. Otherwise, email might be better.

Twitter (opens in a new window)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Two Good Runs

Sunday, April 18:

We three went for a Sunday morning run on the Gateway Trail. I ran ten miles while the girls ran a little less. We all visited the Manning Avenue bridge project, which seems to be making progress.

I felt good and ran fairly well until the last mile, when I walked a bit more. After my run I walked with my sweeties for a while, and we saw friends Norm, Scott, Steve, and Tom all cruise by on the Gateway. What a wonderful trail.

Splits: 9:28, 9:21, 9:19, 8:32, 9:55, 8:15, 8:56, 9:50, 9:13, 10:54, Total 1:33:41, pace 9:22.

Saturday, April 17:

Most of the St Croix Valley Runners were at the Trail Mix races Saturday, but I didn’t want to run that so I went to the Northland Tennis Courts in Stillwater to see if anyone else would show up.

Doug did! I haven’t seen Doug in half a year or more, I think. We took “Wayne’s Route,” an alternative 5-mile route, and had a nice time chatting while we ran. 45:35 for the 5 miles, pace 9:07, good enough.

I wore a brand new pair of Brooks Launch shoes. They were fine, this is my third pair. I've had NO INJURIES of any kind with the Launch in more than 500 miles, and it is now my shoe for almost all types of running from 5k to a marathon.


Thursday, April 15, 2010

Run In The Park

Thursday, April 15 (tax day):

Grass trails in the park. Not much energy this afternoon, I’m not sure why. I walked up all of the hills, even a few times on the flat. It got a little better as the run went on, but I never felt strong and light on my feet.

I was surprised, along the trail, to have a dead bird about the size and color of a grossbeak dropped almost at my feet. A flurry of wings, probably a hawk startled by my presence, dropped its prey. I ran past and turned around, starting the cell phone video cam, hoping the bird of prey would return to pick up its dinner. But if it did come back, it had more patience than I.

5.2 miles in 57:12, pace 11:00. I’ll do better. This was the last run of the week (my weeks start on Saturday), and total mileage for the week is 34. That’s a lot for me - I think I should cut back some next week, and then build up again, maybe eventually up to 40 miles/week if everything hangs together. We’ll see.

Tuesday, April 13:

Recovery Run. Two and a half easy miles in the neighborhood, first run since Saturday’s marathon. The left ankle squawked a bit at first, and something was tight in the crotch area, but those things smoothed out and I ran fairly easily, if slowly. The pace turned out to be just under 10:00. Good enough.

Salad as tonight's dinner. Organic romaine, cucumber, and fennel underneath. Organic pear, avocado, organic strawberries, kiwi, organic pecans. Not shown: Organic roasted chicken.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Eisenhower Marathon, Abilene KS, 2010

This was a great marathon, for me and I hope for the organizers. Lots of things can go wrong with Kansas weather, but nothing did. I ran the best time of my last nine marathons, finishing in 4:44, third in my age group and 25 minutes faster than my next-most-recent marathon, Fort Lauderdale last February. I'm getting faster, now that I'm off dexamethasone.

My Race:

Nothing went wrong for me. I seem to need two bathroom stops these days, and today was no exception, but the bathrooms were quickly available. I had recently felt echoes of an old hamstring injury, mostly when NOT running, but nothing today. I ran about as hard as I could, my legs got tired, and I slowed a little in the last few miles, but that’s pretty normal. Afterward, I feel as good as I ever feel after a marathon. Muscles ache, but nothing hurts. State number 26, marathon number 41. My sweeties ran the half and did well too. Life is great!

The Eisenhower Marathon:

This is a lovely little marathon. I haven’t seen full results yet, but last year there were 175 in the full marathon, 225 in the half. There is no time limit, and they advertise that fact. They do say that vehicle traffic will resume at 6 hours, and the aid stations will close, but if you get to mile 20 by that time, and carry water, there really wouldn’t be much of a problem - the rest is all in a park or on a road with a beautiful shoulder. They were incredibly well organized, considering that size of race, with aid stations almost every mile and roads COMPLETELY FREE of vehicle traffic.

With one exception: a motorcade of rude motorcycle morons who apparently sneaked onto the roadway somewhere. Noisy, childish, manure-brained assholes. If you ride a noisy motorcycle, please stop reading this blog until you have grown up.

The marathon is apparently too small to support an expo, but the packet pickup was convenient, right at the start/finish line, and there was plenty of parking space on race morning. In fact there are two parking lots to the Eisenhower Visitors Center, and the south one was entirely undiscovered by all but us and a car with Texas plates.

There is a pasta dinner (for a small fee) Friday night, and a post-race brunch (free to runners) Saturday. Nice. We didn’t partake of either, really, because we follow a wheat-free diet. But it looked good. The post-race meal had sausage, pancakes, fruit, and more. Two of us had the sausage, but we had our own food back at the hotel. Chili anyone?

Volunteers were numerous and uniformly helpful. We love ‘em all. Spectators were few, but quality was good, and I did manage to high-five a couple of kids.

One extra feature that we have not seen (or not noticed) at any other marathon: A runner could drop unneeded clothing (as the temperature rose) at most any aid station, and that would be brought back to the start/finish where it could be PICKED UP again. I took advantage of that, recovering a nice technical shirt that I would have had to discard in any other marathon.

The course is out and back, with low, rolling hills. Not very hilly, but not quite flat. Maybe 6 miles of It are in a lovely park, with quaint wooden bridges and lots of shade, but the rest is on highways offering no escape from the sun. We lucked out with the weather though. The forecast said clear skies and temperatures near 70 by noon. Happily, the clouds remained until I was well past mile 20, and half of the rest was in the park. The wind was fairly strong, but this is Kansas after all. Happily again, we bucked the wind on the way out, but it gave us a free ride on the way back. Much better than the reverse. And if it had been too strong, I couldn’t have made such a good (for me) finish time. It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 29:44 (3 mi), 9:14, 22:57 (2 mi), 10:08, 9:52, 10:51, 10:35, 32:03 (3 mi), 15:02 (potty stop), 10:50, 11:13, 10:14, 10:03, 10:22, 10:38, 11:18, 11:31, 10:54, 11:38, 11:47, 13:12 (1.22 mi), total 4:44:07, pace 10:50.

I love Abilene. If I wanted to retire to a nice, quiet town in the middle of the country, Abilene would be a great place. People leave stuff out unprotected; we saw bikes parked in front of stores, unchained. Stacks of fertilizer and other products outside the hardware store, no way to bring all of that inside at night. It was once a crossroads for three different railroads, and there are MANY beautiful old mansions on the Federal Register. The railroads are still there, but the depots have been put to other uses. I visited the hospital - a nice one for a small town. Abilene still embodies the values that made America great, and we saw bumper stickers from both sides of the aisle. But you do need a home with a basement, because this is tornado country.

Let us not forget the Eisenhower Museum, where we three spent maybe an hour and a half just skimming the surface of the displays. I liked Ike, still do like Ike. He was a civil, courteous person, unlike the screaming, ill-mannered, vituperative banshees who currently “represent” us in Washington (Obama excepted). Here is a quote by Ike from wall of the Meditation Center (where Ike is buried): “Every gun made, every battleship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed . . . This is not a way of life at all . . . Under the threatening cloud of war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.” He was a man of peace, in a time of war and threatening nuclear conflagration.


Saturday, April 03, 2010

Catching Up On Posting

Saturday, April 3, 2010:

St Croix Valley Runners, five miles as always. I wanted to run about as fast as I could and ended up running with Kent and Dave, both much faster than me. But Kent was happy to run my pace, even slower perhaps, because he was part way through a 19-mile run, and Dave stuck with us most of the way. Nice group today - nine people in all, if I remember right.

I finished in 43:24, about a half minute slower than two weeks ago. That’s a pace of 8:41, plenty good enough.

Thursday, April Fools Day, 2010:

April fool weather. 8.2 miles in the park today, 77 degrees at the start and 80 at the finish. The sun was out, and the only cooling grace came from a south wind. The run started well, but within two or three miles the heat was in control and I was walking up all hills and even sometimes on the flat. Toward the end my face felt flushed and I deliberately slowed a bit more.

Nevertheless, the finish time was 1:24:31, which comes out to an average pace of 10:18. That’s good enough for a hot day, actually, the first hot run of the season, and good training for a hot marathon. The next marathon may very well be hot - it seems likely, given the weather we’ve seen so far this spring.

I did have a slightly upset stomach afterward. Maybe I was a little dehydrated - I didn’t take any water until the run was over. Or maybe I ran too soon after eating lunch.

Before the run I was at Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Some of the results are a little confusing, but the most important cancer marker (called M-spike) was the same as last month, and another marker suggests the tumor burden may actually be down a trifle. It’s good, I’m happy. I’ve posted about it on Myeloma Hope.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010:

Jim & I ran 7.1 miles in the park. At the start we remarked on the gloomy, windy day, and when it was over 71 minutes later the sun was out and it was a beautiful spring day. We had a very enjoyable run.

I love running with Jim. We have similar interests and always have a lot to talk about. He is much faster, though, probably a minute and a half per mile faster, so our runs tend to be an easy, healing jog for him and nearly a race for me. I could slow down, of course, but something makes me want to go as fast as I can.

That happened today. We ran mostly the same route as last Thursday, and it took about a minute longer, finishing in 1:11:38. This route was actually a quarter mile longer, though, so the pace was about 10:05, even a few seconds per mile faster than Thursday’s. It’s good - I’m getting a little faster. Slowly. :-)

Sunday, March 28, 2010:

The Human Race 8k, an annual event that we three all enjoy. Start near St Thomas University, run along Summit Blvd, around William Mitchell College of Law, and Back to St Thomas. I think this was the fastest 8k I’ve run in at least a year, maybe longer. 41:28, seventh of 14 in my age group, more than a minute faster than last year. It’s a masterpiece. And I can do better. I will.

What a beautiful day for a race. Temp was about 50 degrees, bright sun, 10-mph crosswind that felt good. As always, the race was well organized and came off without a hitch, except that mile marker 3 was about a tenth of a mile east of where it should have been :-)

Splits: 8:23, 8:06, 16:43 (2 mi), 8:21, total 41:34. Official results actually show 41:28 chip time, pace 8:21.

Thursday, March 25, 2010:

Recovery run in the park today, on the grass trails for the first time this year. Surprise - they were FINE, just as firm as they ever are in the summer. Because I had run 20 miles just a few days ago, I ran fairly easily and finished the 6.9 miles in 1:10:30, not actually a bad time for this hilly route. That’s a pace of 10:13. I walked up some hills, but mostly ran.

Lovely run. Everything is still brown, actually getting a little too dry perhaps. The rivers are flooding, but the wilderness needs rain.

Organic chicken a la Sunshine, organic red cabbage & onion, jicama, & papaya.