Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stacy Needs Your Stem Cells

Stacy is a young Minnesota mother who needs an allogeneic transplant, and the doctors have not yet found a match for her.

For more information, please visit Minnesota Myeloma

Warm Summer Mornings

Saturday, July 30, 2011:

St Croix Valley Runners, meeting every Saturday morning at 7:00 am (prompt) at Northland Tennis Courts in Stillwater. That’s not a sentence, actually, but we ran this morning anyway, the usual five miles but an UNusual route which took us around Lake McKusick. It’s a route that I much prefer. Time 46:47, pace 9:21. I’ll take it.

Friday, July 29, 2011:

Jim and I ran on the grass trails in the park, early in the morning. A lovely day it was, and a very nice run. 4.8 miles in 54:15, for a pace of 11:22 minutes per mile. Not too good, really, but we have plenty of excuses if we need any.

One of those was NOT the right knee with PFS, which was quiet the whole way. I do like running on grass. It’s a masterpiece.

Breakfast after today's run. Two berries, three fruits, oatmeal with a few raisins and cranberries, plus yogurt (not shown):

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tough Run

Sand, gravel, stones, puddles, thistles clutching at bare legs, herbicides, and deer ticks. My run this morning. One of my favorite trails is a little maintenance road alongside the railroad tracks, just two dirt wheel-paths, really. I have hardly used it this year, running in the park instead, but decided to do six miles out and back today.

In prior years, the railroad maintained the road a little better than I found it today. In many places, weeds and thistles crowded the road from both sides, grabbing at legs. Even the center, between the paths, was overgrown. In some places, though, the weeds on the track side of the road were brown and dying, making it easier to run there, until it dawned on me that they had obviously been sprayed with herbicide. Duh.

To top it off, when I got back I found deer ticks on my legs and shoes. Everything went into the washing machine when I got home, especially the shoes and socks. I guess the RR trail isn’t my favorite any more, not now anyway. Maybe next spring.

Six miles, about half running and half walking, I forgot my watch, so no time. It was a learning experience.

Oatmeal (underneath), strawberries, kiwi, blueberries, walnuts, pineapple, yogurt, and dark chocolate. Mostly organic food.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Wonderful Run

All good. 13.7 miles on the Gateway Trail. What a wonderful morning - 63 degrees, cloudy, with just a little wind. I never felt overheated, perfect for July. Jim ran with me for the first five miles, on the dirt trails, and I ran most of that way, walking only a couple of times to take water. But he had run very hard the day before (winning his race), and anticipated another hard run the next day, so he left after five miles.

I switched to the paved trails, to train for running on hard surfaces, and also switched to a run/walk, walking for 30 seconds of every two minutes. The right kneecap behaved almost perfectly, muttering only once or twice on the paved trails. The left hamstrings hurt a little, right at the hip bone, more than usual, but were far from a limiting factor. I took that problem to the doctor months ago and was advised to live with it. OK.

13.7 miles in 2:19:24, pace 10:11. Hey, I’ll take it! It’s a masterpiece.

Bison chili, jicama, guacamole, romaine, butternut squash, mostly organic:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beautiful Morning

Thursday, July 21, 2011:

After a week of heat index temperatures over 100, today was downright pleasant. In fact, for the first mile or two I actually felt cool. We ran in the park again, this time on the grass trails, which have mostly recovered from last weekend’s cloudburst. The temperature was 75 most of the way, with a reasonable dew point, so I should have been fine, but I did get a little warm in the bright sun and walked now and then, more than I wanted to. No knee pain.

11.2 miles in 2:09:30, for a pace of 11:34, and I worked pretty hard to get that. The grass/dirt trails are always slower than paved trails, of course, but today they were slower yet because the grass was wet and needed mowing.

Nevertheless it was a delightful run in the wild, hardly a soul to be seen along the way. One guy with three dogs, and I ran past my sweeties once. 23 miles this week, hopefully more next week.

Monday, July 18, 2011:

We three went with Jim to the park, 7:00 am, already 80 degrees with a dew point almost that high. No sense waiting for the temperature to go up some more. Jim and I ran 5.8 miles on the paved trails (grass trails still too soggy from 4" of rain) and the girls did their normal loop of 3.6 mi. Engaged in conversation, I forgot to click my watch at the finish, but I think it was about 57 minutes. If so, the pace was just under 10 min/mi. The sun was shining this morning, no rain, but when we finished we were all soaking wet, every bit of clothing.

We walked a few times when I felt my face getting flushed, which I always take as a warning of overheating. But we made a good time, for me anyway, and I enjoyed the run. No knee problems! Huh.

Oatmeal on top this time:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Four Inches of Rain

We got some local flooding last night. Our place is fine, but some of the paved trails in the park were flooded and we had to take short detours. I never considered the grass trails - I’m sure they were very wet and muddy. The girls ran their usual 3.6 miles while I ran 5.8.

The right knee only yelled once, when I briefly slowed to a walk. I walked several times too, governed by breathing. When it rose from one breath per four footfalls to one per three, that meant I was working harder than a tempo run, and I slowed. Finish time 59:40, pace 10:17. Good enough - it was another recovery run.

Breakfast. That's organic kefir, not milk:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Run in the Park

We three ran in the park today, after the rain let up. The girls ran their usual loop on paved trails, while I ran mostly grass & dirt trails, with the last mile or so on paved trails. 4.8 miles, 55 minutes, pace 11:28.

It’s OK. That last mile was with my sweeties, who don’t go quite as fast. Also, I walked several times, still feeling a bit drained from the marathon and from last night’s 6-mile run.

I love running in the park. It’s a masterpiece!

Yours truly nearing the finish of last Sunday's Missoula Marathon:

More Than a Recovery Run

Woodbury Runners, six miles with Rich and Corey. We all had our reasons to run slowly, and we even walked a little. Nonetheless, I found myself breathing pretty hard, just to keep up. I got hot at one point too, even though the temperature was only about 70. We finished in 1:02:30, for a pace of 10:25. I can do much better, but not today, the first run after the Missoula Marathon.

The right knee with PFS hurt a little most of the way, but not enough to hinder. I tried my old Brooks Glycerine 5 shoes, which I bought in 2007 but have rarely used. They have more cushioning than the Brooks Launch, my current training/racing shoe, but they didn’t seem to help the knee and I thought (imagined?) that they felt heavier. They actually ARE heavier, by more than three ounces per shoe, but I’m not sure I can really tell the difference between 11 and 14 ounces.

Is the cushioning still good, four years after purchase? I don’t know, so I’m probably not done experimenting with more cushioning. The knee does seem to bother less if I run on dirt instead of pavement, suggesting that cushioning can make a difference.

Roast bison, organic heritage tomatoes, asparagus, organic squash, organic strawberries:

Sunday, July 10, 2011

That's More Like It!

I finished the Missoula Marathon in less than five hours, the fastest I've been able to run a marathon this year. And Missoula is a good marathon - if you're thinking of running one in Montana, I recommend it highly.

My Race:

The right kneecap hurt off and on the whole way. I stopped to wiggle the kneecap a few times, with uncertain results - it was always better afterward but might have been anyway, just because I stopped. Several times the knee produced a sharp pain, as if hit with a projectile, but those pains resolved quickly and I could usually start running again within half a minute. I tried to run on the most-level part of the road and to take corners very carefully, both of which may have helped. Anyway I just ran through that pain and the knee was not a limiting factor.

Otherwise, no problems. In recent marathons the calves have threatened to cramp, but not today. I did take a salt tablet or two every four miles, clif shot with caffeine every other four, and water at every aid station but the last. I didn't carry water and didn't need it.

I did run out of gas though. For once my pace wasn't limited by the knee or the calves, just by sheer muscle exhaustion. That's fine! Except for the knee, no pains unless you consider the effort of running to be painful. I don't - to me it just seems like working very hard, to the limit. Breathing was normal until mile 24 or so, and then it became more urgent, as it should at the end of any race. I feel so good afterward - quads, calves, and hamstrings are uniformly sore but uninjured.

Time 4:57:03, second of five in my age group. Average pace 11:20. I followed the 5:00 pace team for quite a while, catching up to them after each of three bathroom stops, then finally chugged out ahead. I used the walk/run method, most of the time running 30 seconds and walking 30. State number 36, marathon 54, completed.

The Missoula Marathon:

  • The expo was outdoors, in a park under a huge tent. Well done.
  • Women could choose a finisher's shirt in a woman's style.
  • One exhibit at the expo had shirts & sweatshirts for $3.00! Some of them were quite nice. Pants were $1.00. They were used, of course, collected from a high school lost-and-found or from discards at other races, then washed. The idea was to use them at the chilly start and eventually throw them alongside the road, where they would be collected and used again. I started with a very nice $3.00 Columbia polar fleece vest, and later tossed it near an aid station. This is a WONDERFUL idea - I hope it catches on. Race directors take note!
  • Fireworks at the start! Very inspiring.
  • 6:00 am start. This is a big plus for me, because it means running in the cool of the morning.
  • The sun illuminated the snow of the opposite mountains just as we started.
  • Not much shade at the beginning, but a delightful view of mountains, and there was shade in the last 10k when temperatures had risen.
  • On a roadside sign: "Don't mess with someone who runs 26 miles for FUN!"
  • One woman was running for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). We had a chat and I'm sure she knows how much one guy appreciates her effort. She could be saving my life.
  • It's a one-way marathon, with ALL runners bussed to the start. Almost all of the race was on roads not closed to traffic, but there really wasn't much traffic. No problem.
  • According to the elevation chart it's an uphill marathon, gaining a couple hundred feet, but I swear it felt like a downhill marathon. There is really only one significant hill, which took us up and then down again.
  • As in most marathons, the volunteers were superb! They really wanted to be there and were having fun.
  • The 5:00 pace team leader knew what we needed and did it right. To my own surprise, I finished a couple of minutes ahead of the team.
  • Weather could hardly be better, about 46 at the start and 66 at my finish, clear, no wind. Imagine NO WIND in Montana!
  • The dew point was in the 30's the whole way - VERY low humidity, which helps keep runners cool.
  • The mile markers were wonderful, easily seen, inspiring to a tired runner.
  • Literally dozens of homeowners left sprinklers running on half of the road for runners to run through if we wished. Chicago Marathon take note!
  • Clearly, Johnny Mapleseed came through Missoula years ago, because lovely, mature maples arch over many of the residential streets.
  • Someone had put up several signs with quotations from the movie "Top Gun," like "Just stay on my wing, I'll take you all the way in."
  • Spectators were magnificent, especially after mile 18 or so when we got into town. Lots of little kids - I high-fived as many as I could.
  • Both the full and half marathons are walker-friendly, with an early start for the full and a six-hour limit for the half.
  • Finish line food was superb! The Good Food Store did it right. There was watermelon! Gosh I love that at the end of a race.
  • The exception was fluid, provided by Coca Cola, who had chilled bottles of their "products" but no chilled bottles of plain water for people who didn't want to ingest that stuff. You could get water in small paper cups if you wanted to stand and get your feet wet filling a cup from a spraying nozzle fed by a water hose, but a bottle is a lot nicer. Coca Cola sells water too - they can do better. Or maybe Pepsi could.
  • The finisher medals are quite artistic. They look like fired enamel on plated brass, but could be epoxy I suppose. Nice!
  • Internet results were a little slow, still unavailable several hours after the race ended. In the modern day of chip timing, it's possible to have partial, unofficial results up even DURING the race, and many races do that.
  • Finishers: Marathon 1057, half 2394.

About 68,000 people, mostly living on a plain which was the bottom of a glacial lake millenia ago. It is surrounded by nearby hills and more-distant mountains.

Missoula is a destination for hikers and bikers (bikes with pedals, of course), who enjoy the several trails that go up into the hills and probably beyond.

There is a university, and the town is a mix of cowboy and cosmopolitan. Lots of pickup trucks with dirt all over them, and we also saw lots of dads who brought their little ones to see the runners go by.

The Clark Fork River is high right now, running fast. We saw kayakers braving the rapids right through downtown. Missoula is a cool town.

Splits: 12:17, 22:18 (2 mi), 11:25, 11:27, 10:57, 14:21 (major potty stop), 10:42, 10:39, 11:14, 10:23, 11:58, 11:15, 11:43, 10:29, 10:17, 10:43, 11:52, 11:24, 11:44, 11:14, 11:36, 11:40, 11:29, 10:47, 10:51, 2:23 (0.22 mi), total 4:57:03.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Easy Taper Run

We ran just 2.3 miles this morning, to loosen up more than anything. I ran 30 seconds and walked 30, which is the pace I’d like to maintain most of the next marathon. It comes out to about a 5-hour marathon, depending on how fast I run and how fast I walk. The right knee with PFS hurt a little at the start, but then didn’t bother much.

Time 25:12, pace 10:57, probably a bit faster than I need to go, a 4:47 marathon pace. I’ll actually start with the 5:00 hour pace team and hang with them as long as possible, though I may not be able to finish that fast. That marathon starts very early, and I figure I’ll make hay while the sun isn’t high. It’s a masterpiece.

Grass trails at the park a couple of days ago - an egret taking off just ahead.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Short Run in the Park

We three ran in the park again this morning. We drove there, a short distance from home, and when we parked I found the grass trails beckoning to me - they looked so good. I had my best shoes on, however, and the grass trails are a bit muddy, so I took the paved trails instead.

The right knee with PFS (runner’s knee) hurt a little bit right from the start, in the center of the kneecap, so after a half mile I switched from running 100% to walking for 30 seconds every now and then. It helped a lot, and the pain gradually disappeared. It came back later, so I stopped to massage/manipulate the kneecap. That seemed to lessen the pain and move it to the top of the kneecap. 3.6 miles in 37:12, pace 10:20. Tapering, it’ll do.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Marine on St Croix 4.1-Mile Race

This is a tradition for us - we run it every year. It’s small, low-key, only four miles, downhill, and many of our running friends are there. Perfect for the Fourth of July. Today there wasn’t a cloud in the sky or a puff of wind, and with the temperature about 80 it was a bit warm. But we ran, and everyone seemed to enjoy it.

My right knee hurt a little, especially on the downhill (there were lots of downhills), so I slowed to a walk fairly often, but probably couldn’t have gone too much faster. Maybe a minute or two.

I felt fine after the race, and I won my age group! First of one - no one else in the 70+ age group. Time about 37:00 - the results aren’t up yet on for some reason. Pace 9:01. Good enough I guess.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Summer Runs

July 2, 2011:

66 degrees and a warm sun at 7:00 am ths morning, as the St Croix Valley Runners took off on their run. Jim and I ran the Lake McCusick route in Stillwater, while the rest ran the Manning route, both routes five miles. This morning the temperature was 66 and the dew point was reasonable. Nice running.

Running with Jim is always inspiring, and I ran most of the way, walking only a few times. Time was about 45:20, pace 9:04. It’s a masterpiece.

July 1, 2011:

The temperature reached 100 degrees today at our house, but we went out to run while it was still only 81. Humid, too Phew. I only ran 3.6 miles, yet I don’t recall my T-shirt ever getting so wet on a run. No rain - just heavy, hot air.

The right knee hurt a bit again, of course. I ran pretty much all of the time, walking only briefly a couple of times. Time 35:15, pace 9:48. Good enough for 81 degrees.

Tuna with organic peas & cashews, organic cherry tomatoes with a little pepper sauce, avocado & lime juice.