Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Christmas Eve

Wanting to get a head start against the heavy eating that would surely come this week, we set out for the Stillwater Bubble in the morning, only to find it closed on Christmas Eve day.  So we went shopping instead!  I was surprised to find that the stores were not mobbed on this last day, not at all.  We had a good time - groceries, gifts, and more.

Later in the day we went to the North St Paul Community Center to run on their indoor track.  Thirteen and a half laps per mile, and I've run a lot of miles in there over the years.  Today, though, I had a hard time keeping track of the laps.  I suspect that I missed counting a lap or two here or there, because I was working fairly hard and still didn't quite get under a ten-minute pace for the four miles.  Good run though, I felt great afterward.

Whining: None.  All is well, recharging for 2013.

Splits: 10:38, 9:52, 10:09, 10:11, total 40:50, pace 10:13.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Day after the End of the World

Sunday, December 23, 2012:

The Mayan Calendar ended yesterday, but of course the end of the world was greatly exaggerated, as always.

I run, therefore I exist.  Today we ran on the 200-meter indoor track at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls.  Five dollars gets you in for the day, with access to the track and lots of exercise equipment.  I ran four miles, walking through one of the two 180-degree end-curves on each of the eight laps of the first three miles, then running all the way in the fourth for an eight-minute mile.  It felt good, really good.

Whining: The right knee with PFS did hurt just a bit.  It does that when I run on the right side of a road with a crown, and I suspect that the end-curves of a counter-clockwise track have a similar effect on the joints.  It wasn't a problem, just a warning.

Splits: 9:12, 1:15, 9:44, 9:32, 8:03, total 37:48, pace 9:27 average.

Friday, December 21:

I went to the Stillwater Bubble again this morning, and found Mary and Candy in the middle of a long run.  We chatted as I ran my measly five miles, and they kept going when I left.  I’m good company for myself, but it’s nice to run with friends some of the time.

I thought our pace was slightly slower than 10 minutes per mile, so I ran for 55 minutes to be sure that I got in the five miles.  All good, no pains.

Wednesday, December 19:

Five miles in the Stillwater Bubble again.  Some walking, but mostly running, trying to hit a ten-minute pace.  Nice run, no problems.

Splits:  10:15, 9:52, 9:47, 9:38, 9:00,  total 48:32

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Week and a Day

Monday, December 17, 2012:

Since the Honolulu Marathon.  That one was harder on us than most because (a) the marathon itself was too warm, (b) we ran from the marathon to the airport for an overnight red-eye flight back, and (c) the three of us were all sick at the time.  For me, today was the first day that I felt almost normal since the marathon, neither sick nor weary.  I ran a nice, easy five miles in the Stillwater Bubble, though the girls were still too sick to go.  It felt good, although I felt more tired after the run than I would if I hadn't run a marathon a week before.  It’s OK, just as expected.

Pretty much all organic.  There's
squash AND sweet potato there.  

Whining:  None.  I felt fine in the run.  I ran all of the time in the first mile, most of the time in the last, and about 70% of the time in the middle three.

Splits: 9:25, 10:23, 9:51, 10:21, 9:57, total 49:58, pace 10:00 minutes/mile.

Friday, December 14, 2012:

Three miles in the Stillwater Bubble, the first recovery run after last Sunday’s marathon.  I bumped into Candy about halfway through the three miles, and we chatted for a few minutes until I was done.  I ran for almost exactly 30 minutes, at a pace that was probably about ten minutes per mile, maybe a bit faster than I intended.

Good run.  Weary, but no other complaints.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Honolulu Marathon

Whooee!  70 marathons in 50 states!  It’s done.  It’s at once a relief and a cause for celebration.  I get a little choked up thinking about it.  I’m writing this the afternoon of the marathon, on a plane to Atlanta, where a major hematology conference is in full swing, and some people there will make a small deal of it because 69 of those marathons came after my cancer diagnosis.  As I write, though, I’m tired and exhilarated.  Hoist a pint for me.

My Girls:

They both finished the full marathon.  This was their first full marathon in two or three years, and I am so impressed.  I went back to get them for their last two miles or so, and was quite surprised at how well they were charging up Diamond Head Road after already running 24 miles.

My Race:

A little over a week ago I caught some kind of respiratory bug, with a slight fever and plenty of coughing.  “Productive.”  I’ve been to the doctor for a Z-Pak, to help reduce the chance of a secondary infection.  The fever is gone, and I feel well enough, but the cough is still there.  As a result I hadn’t trained in any form, no runs, since 8 days prior to the race.  That’s probably not a good way to head into a marathon.

Beyond that, the Honolulu Marathon is very warm.  At this time of year the forecast seems to be a low of 71, high of 82, with a chance of showers, every day.  Today was no exception, although the wind can vary and we did have a nice stiff, cooling, wind that fought us going out but gave us a boost heading back.

According to my watch I finished in about 6:06:42, which is 37 minutes longer than I had hoped to need.  Of course it doesn't matter - this race is open for as long as the slowest runner is out there, and I finished ahead of thousands, 96th of 283 in my age group.  I should be happy with that time, and I am.  My speed today was limited by my body temp, which I estimated by how flushed my cheeks felt.  After Mile 15, I only ran when there was shade or when the blistering sun slipped behind a cloud.

Near the end I saw a little old Japanese man going by and made a comment to him.  He responded in Japanese, so nothing was communicated.  However, he then drew the figure 8 and then the figure 6 in the palm of his hand.  He was 86 years old and was passing me!  Big smiles all around and off he went, uphill besides.  He’s my hero.

I saw quite a few Team in Training (TNT) runners and thanked them all for running to save my life.

Whining: None, really.  Nothing hurt.  I did have a rightward lean as I ran, a failure of some sort in core strength, I suppose, but it actually got better toward the end.  No cramps this time - I wore my water belt and was very well hydrated.  I took five gels and maybe seven or eight salt tablets.

Honolulu Marathon:

It’s BIG, 24,295 runners.  Someone announced that it’s the second biggest marathon in the country, although I think both NYC and Chicago are bigger, and maybe Boston.  In my opinion, this race was at its limit, too, because I did have some difficulty maintaining my pace at times in the first ten or eleven miles.  Marathoning was a contact sport today, with some inadvertent light bumping, by me and others, just to get past groups of people.

I liked the marathon.  If I lived in Honolulu I’d probably run it every year.  However, the weather there is better for sunbathing and surfing than for an intense endurance sport - I heard several sirens and saw the ambulances racing by.  Because of the heat, the race started with fireworks at 5:00 am, well before any glimmer of sun, but visibility was no problem as the city is well lighted at night. All in all they did things right, and what a LOT of volunteers!

Water was ice cold, and in fact you could get water with ice in it.  Cups were large enough for the extra water that everyone needed.  Sponges were plentiful.  The finish area was well organized, with food still available after almost nine hours.

Splits: 12:33, 13:17, 24:22 (2 mi), 25:52 (2 mi), 12:16, 16:15, 13:56,, 25:27 (2 mi), 26:34 (2 mi), 10:47, 13:39, 15:40, 14:04, 32:45 (2 mi), 15:22, 16:18, 30:41 (2 mi), 15:26, 28:49 (2 mi), 2:44, total 6:06:48.

Dedication: I dedicated this race to my friend Margaret, who is currently in recovery from  her autologous stem cell transplant, just a few days after receiving her stem cells back.  These are the down days - please offer a prayer for Margaret at Mayo Clinic.

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Dreary Morning, Good Run

I ran with the St Croix Valley Runners again, as we usually do Saturday mornings at 7:00 am.  There are two different five-mile routes to choose from, and I prefer the one that goes around Lake McKusick over the one that takes 55-mph Manning Avenue.  The Lake McKusick route is quite a bit more hilly, but much safer and rather more interesting.  Today we ran in a 37-degree haze, calling for pants and a running shell.

Oatmeal.

I ran the Lake McKusick route with Wayne, Candy, and Doug, while Tom, Steve, and Dave took the Manning route.  Mostly I ran with Wayne, and we had a great discussion.

No one in our four used his watch, but I think we took about 48 minutes.  If so, the pace was about 9:36.  All running, no walking, no pains.  Great run.  As Wayne pointed out we kept on talking, even running uphill!

Whining: The run went fine.  Today, though, the next day, I have a doozy of a sore throat, self-diagnosed as viral bronchitis, with all the hacking and coughing that goes with it.  I sure hope this is gone seven days from now, when we run the Honolulu Marathon.  Meantime lots of chicken soup, liniment, hot tea, vitamin C, zinc lozenges, sleep (sitting up), and no running in cold air. Easy does it.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Good Run in the Park

Forty degrees today, so we had a nice short run in the park.  I went 3.53 miles in 34:43, for a pace of 9:50, run/walking in a 2 to 1 (40 to 20) ratio, same as in the Stillwater Bubble yesterday.  I might have pushed a little harder today, though, especially near the end, and the pace was just slightly better despite the hills.

Whining:  None.  Great taper run, plenty of energy left at the end.

Canned Alaskan sockeye salmon with some crushed organic
blue corn chips and organic yogurt. The rest is organic too.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Five More in the Bubble

We ran in the Stillwater Dome again, five miles again, but this time I did a run/walk, about 40 to 20.  The resulting pace was 9:58, hardly slower than two days ago when I ran the same distance without walking, although I did run the last two laps (of 25) without walking.

Whining: None, and no sign of the tight calves.  Good run.

Splits: 20:07 (2 mi), 20:19 (2 mi), 9:24, total 49:48, pace 9:58.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Five Miles in the Bubble

With outdoor temperatures in single digits, we three decided to run in the Stillwater Dome, an indoor soccer field.  We run around the outside of the lines defining the soccer field bounds, where five full laps plus one short side are a mile.  I ran five such miles, 25 laps plus five short sides, dodging walkers the whole way.  The going was easy at first, but became harder as I ran, and in the last two miles I was wishing I was done.  Running in circles is boring.

I did well enough, though, running without walking at a pace of about 9:30 minutes/mile, and I had energy left when I finished.

Whining:  Calves were tight toward the end, threatening to cramp up after only five miles, especially the left calf.  Maybe I’ll add in some walking the next time, for a pace more like the pace I’ll use in the Honolulu Marathon, see what happens.

Splits: 19:15 (2 mi), 9:01, 9:39, 9:36, total 47:30, pace 9:30.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Half Chickened Out

We went to the park this afternoon, to run on the paved trails. I had intended to run five miles, same as I would have run with the St Croix Valley Runners this morning if I hadn't chickened out of that too.  Seven degrees indeed.

Bison sausage, squash & wild rice,
salsa, mixed veggies, cranberry
sauce.  Pretty much all organic.

This afternoon the temperature was better, 26 degrees, but the wind was sharp, and I had eaten rather recently, and I just didn't feel much like running.  I finished one loop of 2.51 miles, stopped at a portable toilet near the car, and decided to skip the second loop. Usually running is fun, and I wasn't having fun.  I could have kept going - just didn't want to.

I did OK anyway though, time 22:43, for a pace of 9:03.  That’s good enough, considering that I slowed to a walk over a few patches of snow that might have had ice beneath.  We’ll probably go a little longer and maybe slower on Monday, indoors.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Morning Run

From a precious daughter-in-law:
Gluten-free, organic pumpkin pie.
As good as any pie we've ever eaten.
The St Croix Runners meet every Saturday at 7:00 am, and also on Thanksgiving morning, maybe Christmas too.  This morning we had three walkers and seven runners.  I ran with Doug, Jim, Wayne, and Dave, finishing the five miles in about 47:30, for a pace of 9:30.  It felt good, and I had some energy left over at the end.

Whining: My left foot has felt a little creaky on occasion recently, not while running but after resting it for a while.  The pain is on the top outside, near the lisfranc ligaments.  I limped a little for the first few steps of today’s run, but the pain went away quickly.  No problem.  Jim tells me that if running causes the pain to decline, rather than increase, that’s a good sign.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Identical Runs

Wednesday, November 21, 2012:

Monday’s run (below) felt so good that I just did it again.  Same pace, same finish time.  All the same except I went the other way around the 3-mile loop.  No pain, no problems.  Sixty degrees, dry, and sunny on November 21 - very nice running.

Monday, November 19:

After 20 miles on Saturday, I felt like doing a nice, easy run on the grass trails in the park.  I ran a nice, fairly-hilly 3-mile loop in about 32 minutes for a pace just under 11 minutes per mile.  I walked and ran, in about a 1 to 2 ratio.  No problems, no pains, beautiful day, nice run.  I could do this every day.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

23 Miles

Saturday afternoon, Nov 17, 2012:

With a marathon coming up in three weeks, it was time to do a long run today.  We ran five miles with the SCV Runners this morning, so I did another 15 this afternoon on the Gateway Trail, finishing the 15 in 2:35:22, for a pace of 10:22.  This time I ran 40 triplets and walked 20, where a triplet is three footfalls (I count triplets because, while running, one triplet takes me almost exactly one second.)  The pace, if I could have continued, would finish a marathon in 4:32.  I can’t do that yet, but I do feel like I’m very slowly getting back some of the speed that the dexamethasone took away.

I did feel a little pain in the left knee from time to time, the knee with PFS, and in the last two miles I felt a little pain in the upper left hamstrings.  Neither of these was a limiting factor.  Cramps appeared in the last two miles or so, though, and would have been a limiting factor if I had run any farther.  When I finished I was really worn out, with sore and cramping leg muscles everywhere.  But this is why we run a long run, isn't it!

I carried water on this run, and took three gels along the way.  I forgot to bring salt, though, and I did not properly rehydrate after the morning's five-mile run.  Both of those could have contributed to the cramping.

Breakfast between today's runs.
There is oatmeal under there.
Splits: 3:51, 10:35, 9:50, 10:34, 9:26, 20:00 (2 mi), 10:38, 10:48, 3:15, 7:05, 10:49, 11:28, 10:10, 10:36, 10:00, 6:28, total 2:35:32, overall pace 10:22.

Saturday morning, Nov 17:


The St. Croix Valley Runners meet every Saturday at Stillwater’s Northland Tennis Courts, 7:00 am sharp.  This morning we had seven runners and four walkers.  I ended up running with Doug and Wayne, very nice because they ran about my pace.

We finished the five-mile run in about 49 minutes - the time is imprecise because none of the three of us remembered to start our watches!  The pace, then, was just under 10 minutes per mile, all running, no walking.  We ran the McKusick route, which is fairly hilly.  Lovely run.

Wednesday, Nov 14:

Three miles in the Stillwater Dome.  This was our first run since last Saturday’s half marathon.  With sub-freezing weather outside we decided to run indoors.  It actually seemed just as cold in the dome, though, but we did escape the wind.

I ran just three miles, at a pace of about 9:30 I think - I later cleared my stopwatch without writing down the splits.  This was a nice run, though, a little faster than a recovery run would normally be, perhaps, but I enjoyed it, with plenty left at the end.  I do recall that the last mile was faster than 9 minutes.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Nashville Half Marathon

It’s a winner.  We three all loved this half marathon. It’s a bit hilly, make no mistake, but we’d run it every year if we lived in Nashville.  I recommend it.

My Race:

Hoping to be able to run the whole way and do 10-minute miles, I started with the 2:15 pace group.  I fell behind up the first hill, a big one, but caught up later on the downhill and even passed them.  That first hill apparently took some wind out of my sails, though, because they caught me again at about mile 6 or 7, and I never reeled them back in.

Nevertheless, I finished in 2:17:55 (2:18:00 by my own watch), fifth of eight in my age group of men 65-98.  The four who finished ahead of me were all younger by several years, so I’m happy with the results.  I can do better, I’m sure, but I hadn't run a half marathon in years, and this was a good benchmark on a hilly course.

Race night dinner.  My Sunshine whipped
this up after running a half marathon!  All
organic, of course.  The yellow veggie is
sweet potato.  Not shown: The ice cream.
Whining: NONE!  Nada.  Not even cramps.  I had energy to almost-sprint the last tenth of a mile, and could have kept right on running.  In fact, I think I might have done a little better if I had known how to pace myself.  It’s good.  After the race I walk/ran back to bring in my girls, and that added at least four more miles.

Next stop Honolulu.  I have run 69 marathons in 49 states, with only Hawaii remaining, and the girls have run 54 marathons or half marathons in 47 states, with Hawaii, Massachusetts, and Virginia remaining.  We'll run Hawaii this year, and their other two states next year.  We're already registered for Virginia in 2013.

The Nashville Half:
  • We ran on roads, not trails, and the roads were free of vehicle traffic the whole way.  I love that.  Just us runners.
  • We ran downtown, past the Capitol, up and down Music Square, through a lovely park along the Cumberland River, and more.  The course does justice to Nashville.
  • Police on almost every corner.  Must have cost a fortune!  But the course was safe.
  • You should see the medal - easily worthy of a full marathon.  Take that, Albuquerque (no half-marathon medal at all).
  • There were enough water stops, though I got a little thirsty at Mile 12, halfway up the last hills.  An extra one might have been nice there.
  • Pizza and beer at the finish!  They did check ID.  I was driving, so I did not partake.
  • Instant race results.  I walked up to the results desk, where she looked at my race number and handed me a printed sticker with all my results, including age-group place.  Just like that.  
  • The race actively supports Team in Training, a fundraising arm of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and we saw lots of TNT runners.  I always wear my Team Continuum shirt in marathons, but today I wore a TNT shirt in solidarity.  Like the International Myeloma Society, TNT and LLS are raising money to save my life, which I greatly appreciate.
Splits: 40:39 (4 mi), 10:39, 10:51, 10:30, 10:22, 10:43, 10:31, 10:47, 22:01 (2.1 mi), total 2:18:00 (my watch), pace 10:32.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Stillwater Dome

Tuesday, November 6, 2012:

Gobble Gobble
"Wild" turkeys at Hertz Car Rental.
Don't they know
Thanksgiving is coming up?
We’re back in the dome from time to time now, when weather is bad, running around an indoor soccer field, five loops and one short side to each mile.  We picked up friend Jim, with whom I chatted and ran until I faded.  I felt OK at the start, but was done by the fourth mile.  No sense pushing it today, with a race coming up Saturday.  It’s fine.

Splits: 9:44, 7:31 (evidently missed a loop), 9:16, 9:25, total 35:56, about 3.8 miles, pace about 9:30.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Tempo Run

All organic but the gluten-free bread
and the 100% grass-fed hamburger
I like to run fairly hard with one week to go before a long race, and I have a half marathon coming up next weekend, so today I ran pretty hard, or so I thought. The route was two loops, each 2.51 miles, somewhat hilly, and the temperature was in the low 40's.  I ran with no walking and thought I was running nine-minute miles or better, it felt like that, but the pace was actually 9:40.  I’m a little disappointed.

No pains of any kind, though.  That’s good.  But I’m thinking that a ten-minute pace is the best I can hope for in that half, and maybe not even that fast.

First loop 24:56, second loop 23:34, total 48:30, pace 9:40.

My Trail Is Gone!

Alongside the railroad track is a dirt & rock road, barely two tire tracks, on which the railroad sends its trucks to service the tracks.  I've enjoyed that road many times over the years - it was a favorite run.  It takes the runner or biker behind the neighborhoods and over the railroad bridges, to places no one sees otherwise.  It also requires a sharp eye, to avoid the occasional large stone and twisted ankle.

However, the railroad recently rebuilt the track, replacing the ties and the stone bed in which the ties nestle.  Unfortunately, they were quite generous with the stones for the bed, and in many places those stones spilled down the bed and onto the little dirt road beside it.  The stones are crushed granite, with dimensions up to 3 inches or so, easily capable of twisting an ankle.  I didn't get hurt today, but came close, and I probably won’t be running on that favorite trail again.  Too bad.

I did have a decent four-mile run, though, despite having to walk a few times through the worst of the obstacles.

Splits:  9:57, 9:41, 9:53, 9:23, total 38:56, pace 9:44.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

More Grass Trails

Wednesday, Oct 31, 2012:

I love this time, when I can run in the park’s amazingly satisfying grass/dirt/sand trails and not worry too much about twisting something, because there is no marathon looming.  The Honolulu Marathon is still four weeks away, and anyway they have a very long time limit, so I could walk the whole way if necessary.

Albuquerque runners
Today I ran 5.16 rather hilly miles in 53:12, for a pace of 10:19.  Almost all running, walking only up or down the steepest hills.  That’s a little faster than Monday, on a similar route, but maybe not, because I stopped a couple of times Monday to water the grass and didn't stop my watch for those short breaks.  Anyway it’s plenty good for this rough, hilly trail.

Whining: Both knees squawked a little going down hills.  In the right knee with PFS I’m sure it’s just the PFS acting up, but pain in the left knee is new.  I think it’s probably PFS also, but time will tell.  Anyway these little pains were not limiting in any way, and I had a delightful and very energetic run.  Life is good.  Very good.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cool Grass Trails

View from the train.
At last I had a chance to run on my favorite grass/dirt/gravel trails in the park.  I avoid these trails when a marathon is looming, because of the risk of twisting something, but the next marathon is six weeks away so I took the chance.  6.1 miles in 1:04:00, for a pace of about 10:30.

The temperature was 45, no sun, not enough wind to bother - mighty good weather for running.  I loved every minute of it and ran almost the whole way, walking only a few of the steepest hills, up and down.  Whining: none.  Joyful run.

Luggage Injury

Saturday, October 27, 2012:

As we boarded the train back home from Albuquerque, I pulled a muscle in my back lifting a suitcase up onto the luggage racks.  At first it hurt a lot, to do almost anything actually, but the injury was Monday and now it’s Saturday, and the pain is much less.  We went to Stillwater to run with the St. Croix Valley Runners, as we usually do on Saturdays, and there wasn't much pain at all.

Friends in Albuquerque

Paul, Dave, and I ran the five-mile Lake McKusick route in 48 minutes, for a pace of 9:36.  No walking.  I felt pretty strong, actually, six days after the marathon.  Life is good - it’s a masterpiece.  Temperatures are in the high 40's and low 50's these days, no snow yet, I’m anxious to get out and run on the grass trails in the park this week.

Thursday, October 25:

I pulled a muscle in my back lifting a suitcase up onto the luggage racks in the Amtrak coach.  That made today’s run/walk a little painful, especially at first.  So I took it easy and the pain gradually got better, allowing me to run at a normal speed toward the end.  It’s just a muscle pull, so it will get well soon enough.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Duke City marathon, Albuquerque, NM

It's done. Marathon number 69, state number 49. The Duke City Marathon is a nice one - I liked the course, the organization, the volunteers, and the spectators. I recommend it.

My Race:

I ran the whole way with friend Jackie, who is faster than me but who ran my awkward run/walk pace anyway, and waited for me at the too-frequent bathroom stops, bless her heart. That was fun, running with her. She took some video, too, for use in the eRace Cancer campaign.

We were also delighted to run into friend Shannon, from Minnesota, not aware that she would be in the race.  Shannon slowed to chat with my sweeties along the way and still finished first in her age group with time to spare!

A beautiful start to the race
The temperature was about 45 at the start, and I think close to 75 at my finish, with a clear sky and unrelenting sun, apparently normal for Albuquerque. I took five gels along the way, and at least that many salt tablets. Time was 5:20:34 - first in my age group. That sounds good, except there was only one other guy in my age group and he was just ten minutes back.

I enjoyed the race, though, especially in the first half when the temperature and the sun were both low. Albuquerque is, after all, a mile high, which makes any endurance sport more difficult for us lowlanders. In the second half I was pouring water on my head at every water stop, struggling to maintain the pace, and finally cramping up (calves) in the final two miles. Oh well, that happens and I finished it!

Duke City Marathon:

Good Stuff:

The start was on time and low-key, just before sunrise I think. Roads were closed to vehicle traffic the whole way. After a couple of miles in Albuquerque's downtown area and close-in neighborhoods, we left the roads for a very nice, wide, new, bike trail, clear out to the 13.1 mile turnaround, then back on the reverse route. Outbound we saw wonderful fall color, the Rio Grande River, and even hot-air balloons rising gracefully from the ground into the slight breeze above us. The route was not hilly - I know hilly, and this was not it. It's not quite flat, but close enough. We enjoyed aid stations every mile - that's lovely.

Downsides:

There were no medals for half-marathoners. That's chintzy - we've only encountered it once before in four dozen half marathons. The wonderful, colorful, but shade-free trail seemed very long indeed on the way back, in warmer temperatures and blazing sun. I do like out-and-back runs, but this one may be an exception.

Splits:

30:02 (3 mi), 11:01, 11:39, 12:41, 10:51, 38:49 (3 mi & bathroom), 51:45 (3 mi, slow), 10:28, 13:09, 12:04, 12:32, 11:22, 11:02, 14:09, 11:42, 15:05 (bathroom), 13:09, 30:03 (5:04:42),15:53(1.2 mi), total 5:20:35. There were other bathroom breaks, but I'm not sure where. According to the results, time on the return was 2:56:31, thus the outbound must have been 2:24:04, for a difference of 32:27.  A difference was to be expected, as we knew that the temperature and sun would be much more favorable for running on the outbound, but I'm surprised at the size of that difference.

Hawaii is next, in December.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

That’s More Like It

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2012:

Sunday’s five-mile run felt like all that I could do, but today’s five miler was easy and energizing.  I’m not sure what caused that difference.  I ran all the way on Sunday, and only about 2/3 of the time today, but that’s not the only difference because I felt much better right from the first step today.  That’s a good omen for the upcoming marathon, I hope.

Homemade oatmeal pancake
with organic fruit & yogurt.
4.95 miles in 50:30, for a pace of 10:12, about 30 seconds per mile slower than Sunday, but nevertheless a good pace for me.  I still want to get back some of the speed that the dexamethasone (chemo) took away, but this is fine for now.

Whining: In the last three runs I have felt some pain in the left knee during the run and especially afterward, most especially today.  It’s transient - doesn’t last until the next day, so I haven’t logged it until now.  This is not the knee with the diagnosed patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) problem.  I haven’t figured out yet whether this is also PFS, but I almost hope so, because that would probably mean that I can resolve it with physical therapy.  Better yet, maybe it will just go away.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Woofed

What a difference from Friday’s run.  Then I felt strong and could easily have kept going, but today I felt sluggish at the start, and toward the end I could barely keep running.  I did run though, no walking, for 5.02 miles, two trips around the “big loop” of paved trails. In the park  It was a bit windy, but it was windy Friday too.  Time 48:35, pace 9:40, a full minute per mile slower than Friday.

Oh well, there are some bad days, but mostly good days.  It could be poor hydration today, or low blood sugar, or maybe I’m still tired from the hard run Friday, who knows.  It’ll be better on Tuesday, though I probably won’t try to run as far or as fast.  Still tapering.

Splits: 24:08, 24:27, total 48:35.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Short Hard Run

Vegetable curry in front, mostly carrots and
onions.  Turkey in back.  All organic.
The marathon is nine days away, and I like to run fairly hard about a week before it.  Today I wanted to run five miles, but started out on the wrong route and ended up running only 3.93.  I ran the whole way, though, no walking, and finished the distance in something less than 34 minutes (watch didn’t click when I pushed the button at the end - it’s 9 years old - time for new technology).  If so, though, the pace was about 8:40, and in any case it was about as fast as I could run.

No pains, no problems.  Very energizing - it’s a masterpiece.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Three Taper Runs

Wednesday, October 10, 2012:

Today we went to the park, where I ran 5 miles on the paved trails.  I ran somewhat faster than marathon pace, run 60 seconds, then walk about 25.  I went even a little faster than that, toward the end, finishing the five miles in 49:24,m for a pace of 9:50.  I’m happy with that, and there was a lot more left in the tank.  No pains.

Monday, Oct 8:

Medium-length taper run.  How do you train for a marathon two weeks away when you ran one just a week ago?  I consider that the recent marathon was the long run for the upcoming marathon, so everything after that recent marathon is a taper run.  Hoping to avoid injury, I normally run just ten miles two weeks before the upcoming marathon, and that is what we did today.  We went to the Gateway Trail, which shielded us from a cold wind.  I ran marathon pace: run 30 seconds, then walk about 25.  Time was 1:50:42, pace 11:04.  No pains.

Splits: 11:19, 10:48, 11:13, 11:27, 10:38, 11:17, 10:51, 11:00, 10:52, total 1:50:42.

Saturday, Oct 6:

St Croix Valley Runners, 7:00 am, Northland Park tennis courts.  This morning was the day before the Twin Cities Marathon, and in our tradition, those who are running that marathon gather to walk about three miles together.  I wasn't running TCM, though, so I ran the usual five-mile route, with Lisa and Jim.  Both are much faster than I am, but Jim intended to run the TC Ten-Mile the next day and wanted to go slow, and Lisa is thoughtfully and carefully recovering from an injury, so they were kind to me and ran my pace.

I did slow to a walk several times, and was not able to do as well as I have recently on that same route, but I ran a marathon only 6 days before, and it’s just fine.  Time for the five miles was 46:24, pace 9:17. No pains.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Breezy Recovery Run

We were gone for a week and came home to find that most of the leaves have fallen from the trees already.  Wind does that, and we certainly had wind today as well.

We just got home last evening, so we didn't really get a chance to do a recovery run until today.  I went 3.19 miles in 33:15, for a pace of 10:25.  I ran 40 seconds and walked about 25, and could have gone faster, but this wasn't the time to go faster.

No pains.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Smuttynose Marathon, Hampton, New Hampshire

I love saying Smuttynose.  Sort of dribbles off the tongue.  That’s the name of a local brewery, the major sponsor of this race.  I’m sure their beer is very good too, although I didn't try it.  Yet.  I’m partial to darker beers, so maybe I’ll look in a store for Smuttynose Stout or whatever.

We ran six miles along the shore
I finished my 68th marathon and 48th state since myeloma diagnosis, in 5:01:39, just three minutes slower than the Sioux Falls marathon three weeks ago.  I was third of four in my age group of 70-74.  Best of all, NO PROBLEMS. This one was a total success.  I love it.  Preliminary results are here:   coolrunning.com

My Race: 

I would have finished sooner than I did in Sioux Falls, but had to take four (4) porta-potty breaks. I’ll have to do something about that, though I don’t yet know what. On two of those breaks I had to wait a short time for the facility to be available. It rained almost the whole way, easing up only a little at my finish. Because of the rain and threat of wind, I carried a jacket, tied around my waist. I never used it, but it got soaked along with everything else and added to the weight I carried. Similarly, I wore a long-sleeved tech shirt under my short-sleeved Team Continuum shirt, and removed the long-sleeved one somewhere around mile 8, also tying that around my waist. I suppose those slowed me a little.

The temperature varied only a little, from 54 to 58. I took six Clif Shot Mocha gels, 50 mg caffeine each, at roughly 4-mile intervals, and perhaps eight or ten salt tablets. I ran 30 “triplets” and then walked 20, which results in 30 seconds of run and about 25 of walk. I suppose I ran about 2/3 of the distance. Aside from ordinary muscle fatigue, the only limiting factor in my race was my calves, which threatened to cramp in the last four miles, especially the last two. Both calves acted up equally - that’s good, I like to be balanced. :-)

Smuttynose Marathon:

It’s OK.  But because of the course, it's not great.  I liked the half better than the full, because there was less vehicle traffic.  We full marathoners ran the half first, 11 miles of it, and then took a second loop which included much of the same route plus some additional roads.  For the half, the course was closed to vehicle traffic for the first seven miles, at least it was for people going my speed.  It was not closed all that way for people going slower.

Full marathoners, on the second loop, ran on roads that were not closed to traffic, some of them quite busy.  We were almost always required to run on the right side of the road, which presented two problems: (1) I have a PFS injury that is apt to appear when I run too much on roads tilted to the right.  Happily, no problem today; and (2) Vehicle traffic was always coming from behind.  That’s very uncomfortable, especially on these roads, most of which had no paved shoulder at all - just a white line at or very near the edge of the pavement, which then usually dropped two to four inches to the grass shoulder, if there was any shoulder at all.  Sometimes there were cones, but usually not.  Some busy roads had neither a shoulder nor a white line.  Runners ran in single file, as close to the edge as they dared, and put themselves at extra risk if they wanted to move left to get around the runner in front of them.  Most New Hampshire drivers were courteous and careful, but of course some were not, roaring past us as if we were simply an annoyance.  To them, of course, we were, though that's no excuse.

I really can’t believe that the race organizers can imagine that this race is safe.  It may be the least-safe of my 68 marathons.

Now I have that off my chest, here are some good things:
  • Registration and race number pickup were easy peasy.  No problems.
  • They had women’s race shirts.  My women like that.
  • The “chips” were strips attached to the back of the bib.  That’s a pretty simple way to do things.
  • After the finish, a runner could literally walk up to a screen and it would automatically detect the bib and display the time, age group place, and every other interesting statistic.  In 68 marathons, I've never seen this before - it’s cool!
  • Parking was free in the municipal lots, but you should get there two hours before race start.  90 minutes might not do it.
  • It’s a fairly big race, as marathons go.  The marathon and the half started together, and it took me seven minutes to get to the start line after the gun went off.
  • At the finish we were treated to a lobster roll.  I’d never tried one before, and was delighted.  Didn't eat the white-flour bun, of course, just the lobster.
  • There was other good food at the finish, including hot soup.  That went over very well with chilled runners.Volunteers and spectators were terrific, despite the dreary day.  All of the marathon staff was.
  • For the full marathon, there are six miles of ocean view.  Half marathoners get four.  This is right along the beach, by far the best part of the race, and the safest.
  • We were able to understand the public address system before the race started.  That’s unusual.
  • Finishing the race
  • According to the race organizers, it’s the least-hilly marathon in New England.  Might be - it wasn't bad.
Whining:

Only one small thing - after the race was over, in the shower, I noticed a bruise on the top of my left foot, an inch or so back from the little toe, about an inch long (along that tendon) and a half inch wide.  Quite black and blue.  There is also a small skin tab near the worst part of the bruise - slightly scraped, but no blood.  Either: (1) Something or someone stomped on my foot (I don’t recall it); or (2) my rain-soaked sock bunched up there.  I suspect the sock.  Odd that I felt nothing at all, and still don’t unless I press on it.  I have photos, but will spare you.  The toe still works - I checked.  It will heal in time for the next marathon.  This is good  - no real issues like PFS or hernia.  Yay!

Splits: 11:42, 13:25 (natural break), 21:17 (2 mi), 10:35, 21:57 (2 mi), 10:21, 10:46, 16:33 (major natural break), 21:50 (2 mi), 10:50, 11:17, 11:00, 12:42 (natural break), 11:12, 11:08, 11:26, 11:33, 11:11, 11:44, 11:20, 23:18 (2 mi & natural break), 12:01, 2:35, total 5:01:39, pace 11:30.  Good enough for a rainy day.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Fall Color in the Park

Fall color is very well along in the park.  Sumac especially, but other shrubs as well, and maples too.  Some oaks have begun to turn, but most of them are still providing a lush green background for the more advanced trees and shrubs.

I ran 3.19 miles in 33:15, for a pace of 10:25.  I ran 40 seconds of each 65 (don’t ask how that gets calculated).  I wonder if I could use this pace in the upcoming SmuttyNose Marathon.  Hmmm.  That will depend on how hard it is raining, I think.

No pains.  All is well - ready for the marathon.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Fall Color is Coming

I love this time of year, with the cool mornings and wonderful color.  In our yard most of the color comes from oak trees, just beginning to turn.  Some of the maples in the park are farther along, and of course the sumac is brilliant already. I should have taken a phone-cam shot during our run this morning.  Oh well, the color will only get better for a while.

This morning I ran 60 seconds of each 90, finishing 5.07 miles in 50:15, for a pace of 9:55.  That’s about the same pace that I ran in the Victory 10k a few weeks ago, but this time I could easily have kept going at that pace.  I wonder if I could do that for a half marathon.  We have one coming up in November.

Whining: None.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

First Day of Fall

Saturday, September 22, 2012, first day of fall:

I like to run rather hard for a modest distance about a week before a marathon, maybe a 5k, 8k, or 10k race. No race today, but eight of us showed up for the Saint Croix Valley Runners this morning, four runners and four walkers.  Dave and Roy chose the Manning Avenue route, while Lisa and I decided to take the less windy and more peaceful Lake Mckusick route.  Lisa is much faster than me, so she “pulled” me at a faster pace than I might have run otherwise.  That’s good for me.

Leftovers, mostly organic and all yummy, plus
one local, organic, enormous, honeycrisp apple.
I started my watch a little late, but I’m sure that I ran the five miles in less than 44 minutes, hence a pace easily less than nine minutes per mile.  That’s great, because I actually did four 30-second walks during the run.  No pains.  I’m happy.

Friday, September 21, 2012:

We ran between raindrops, just a short 40-minute jog.  I went 2.9 miles, with a run/walk ratio of one to one, 30 seconds each, but didn’t bring my watch so I’m guessing a pace of about 11 minutes per mile.  I did hump a little bit up one long hill for about two and a half minutes, but that was the only exception to the ratio.  No pains, good run.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Shorter Taper Run

Rain was threatening this morning, so we three went to the park and parked in the middle of the paved trails, where we could scoot back to the car fairly quickly if we heard thunder.  We don’t run in lightning, but anyway we finished before the rain arrived.

I ran 3.93 miles in 36:06, for a pace of 9:11.  I ran the whole way, no walking.  I’m a little disappointed that the pace wasn't under nine minutes/mile, because it felt like I was running that hard, but it’s good enough for now.

Whining: Zero.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Semi-long Taper Run

With two weeks to go before the marathon in New Hampshire, we went to the Gateway Trail to run a medium-distance taper run, just ten little miles. I decided not to try to run the whole way, but to stick to the run/walk method, running about 40 seconds of each 65 (I use a counting system, not a watch).

Berry season is almost over,
but we found these organic
strawberries at Costco.
This time we explored another part of the Gateway, between miles 4 and 9, taking us through North St. Paul and Maplewood, including wonderful pedestrian bridges over Century, McKnight, and White Bear Avenues.  The Century bridge is brand-new and quite attractive.  This part of the trail scoots along Hwy 36 for a mile or two, rather noisy, but then hops into a corridor of trees which itself disappears into the neighborhoods, popping out only for a cross street or one of those bridges.  It’s a very nice trail, but I also like the trail from miles 9 to 18, which we often use and which is even more wooded and secluded.

Other comments on the trail: (1) Water is available at two locations at least, but will be shut off when the first hard frost is predicted; and (2) mile markers are missing at miles 6 & 7.

Whining:  None during the run.  Afterward my left knee hurt, quite a lot actually, but that only lasted a few hours and is gone.

Splits: 41:04 (4 miles), 10:20, 31:19 (3 miles), 10:26, 10:16, total 1:43:24, pace 10:20, plenty good.  I could probably run three more miles for a half marathon now at this pace, resulting in a time of about 2:15.  I can do better, but that time would be OK today.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Under Nine Minutes per Mile

Saturday, September 15, 2012:


Only five of us showed up for the St. Croix Valley Runners this morning, probably because the rest of the group was running a 20-mile race as their long run prior to the upcoming Twin Cities Marathon.  Lisa, Jim, and I ran the five-mile Lake McKusick route, except that I made a mistake in the route that caused us to short it by two tenths of a mile.  So we ran 4.8 miles in 42:30, for a pace of 8:51, an easy jog for Jim and Lisa, but maybe the fastest five(ish) miles I’ve run in a year or more.  One week after my fastest marathon in a year, this is very good.  Maybe I’m starting to get some speed back.  No pains.
I’ve lost about five pounds since I announced my intention to lose some weight last April.  See the Weight Record. I’ve read (can’t recall where) the rule of thumb that we gain about one percent in speed for each one percent of weight loss.  For me, five pounds would be approximately three percent, so I should have gained about three percent in speed.  It seems like I’ve gained more, though, so something else good is happening.

Friday, September 14, 2012:

With rain last night, or much dew, the grass trails in the park were very inviting this morning.  I ran 30 seconds of each minute and finished 4.8 miles in 54 minutes, for a pace of 11:14.  Fast enough - I have another five-mile tomorrow with friends, probably much faster. No pains, lovely morning.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy Recovery Run

The Sioux Falls Marathon course took
us right through Falls Park and
past the falls.
Today was the third day after the marathon, so it was time to head out for a short recovery run.  We went to the park, sticking to the paved trails because the grass was wet from an overnight rain.  The temperature was 58, skies were cloudy, perfect for running. I intended to run three miles, and was really happy with my finish time, until I realized that the route I had run was only 2.51 miles.  Oh well, that was plenty good enough, and I felt just great.  Time was 28:13, pace 11:15.

Whining:  For the first mile, I felt a pain in the left tibia (bone), toward the inside and maybe six inches below the knee.  This has happened at least once before, though I didn’t log it because it disappeared after a mile or so, as it did today.  It’s probably nothing, but this time I’m logging it.  The other usual "whines," hernia repair and right knee, were silent.  Yay.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Sioux Falls Marathon

Sunday, September 9, 2012:

We added this marathon to our itinerary on a last-minute whim, one week ahead of the event.  The girls didn’t have a marathon or a half in South Dakota, and I was feeling fine and plenty happy to run a spare marathon as my “long run” for the upcoming marathon in Hampton, NH.  Now that it’s over, I’m very glad I ran it.  My totals now stand at 67 marathons in 47 states since the myeloma diagnosis.

My Race:

I finished under five hours for the first time since Missoula in July 2011, 13 races ago, and that occasion was the first since Kansas City in October 2010.  Time was 4:58:53, third of four in my age group.  One of those old guys finished under four hours, which is pretty fast.  But I finished eleven minutes faster than I did two weeks ago, despite the relatively short recovery time.  Two weeks ago I had to walk the last two miles because of cramps, and that probably accounts for at least half of the eleven minute difference.

Sioux Falls’ weather turned out to be quite nice, with a temperature of 45 for the start and 66 at my finish.  Runners were not blessed with much shade for the first half of the race, but  the sun compensated for the early low temperature and my Team Continuum t-shirt was enough.  Later, as the temperature rose, we ran on mostly-shaded city streets and bike trails.  It worked out fine.

Partial view of the Big Sioux River Falls

I took six Clif Shot mocha gels (50 mg caffeine each) along the way, at roughly four-mile intervals, and at least one Thermotab salt tablet at each of the other aid stations.  I ran about half of the time (hence more than half the distance), 30 seconds running and 30 walking, but walked more when going uphill and sometimes not at all going downhill.  I didn’t use my watch to pace those intervals, counting steps instead.  That becomes rather automatic, so the counting happens in the background of the mind, so to speak, leaving the foreground free to ponder the woes of the world and the vagaries of the race itself.

Whining:

The hernia repair was totally quiet!  The right knee with PFS gave a few warnings early, but quieted down.  The left hip flexors started to hurt at about the midpoint of the race, but didn’t get worse.  Two weeks ago it was the right hip flexors, but they were fine this time.  Maybe they’ll all be fine in the next marathon.  The left calf gave a little warning at mile four, but settled down until mile 25, where it started to cramp, slowing me a little.

The Sioux Falls Marathon:

We loved it.  I’ve never seen so many volunteers at a marathon, more volunteers than spectators it seemed, and the volunteers did a good job of encouraging runners.  Vehicle traffic was never an issue.  Much of the race was on bicycle trails.

We ran past the airport, Main Street downtown, the actual Sioux Falls on the Big Sioux River (amazing and beautiful), old historic residences, the wooded bike trails along the Big Sioux, and finally into Sertoma Park - sertoma means service to humankind.  I recommend this marathon to anyone who can finish within the required 6 hour 15 minute time limit.

Sioux falls News Stories about yours truly:

Argus Leader: Print story by Harriman
KSFY ABC:   TV news broadcast

Splits: 11:04, 10:49, 11:27, 10:09, 15:05 (natural break), 10:53, 13:01, (natural break), 11:27, 11:14, 11:06, 11:10, 10:47, 11:43, 10:44, 11:32, 10:25, 11:09, 10:21, 11:53, 11:19, 11:39, 10:53, 11:27, 11:28, 11:29, 12:12, 2:28, total 4:58:53, pace 11:24.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Last Taper Run

Two days from the Sioux Falls Marathon, we ran on the paved trails in the park again.  I went 2.5 miles at a pace slightly above the planned marathon pace, finishing in 27:12, for an average of 10:50.  No pains, no whining.  Ready for the marathon.

All organic but the fork
Wednesday’s pace is out of whack.  It’s the same as the pace for the 10k race on Monday, and I’m sure that I ran harder on Monday.  Further, it’s way faster than today’s pace, and I ran just about as hard today as I did Wednesday.  I suspect that the time on my watch on Wednesday was 34:02 rather than 32:02, and I wrote it down wrong.  34:02 would calculate to a pace of 10:37, which is closer to what I would expect it to be.  Anyway, who cares?  I guess I do, but I probably shouldn’t and we’ll never know.

This morning was cool, 59 degrees, with no wind and only occasional sun.  Perfect!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Easy Taper Run

With four days to go, this was the next-to-last run before the marathon.  I ran on the paved trails, fairly easily, running 30 seconds and walking about 25.  I did run a little more at one place, up a long hill for about 2 ½ minutes straight, and a bit more at the end.  Time 32:02 for 3.19 miles, pace 10:03.  Plenty fast enough for today, and I feel great.

Whining: Absolutely none.

Monday, September 03, 2012

MDRA Victory 10k

This wonderful late-summer race is a long tradition in Minnesota.  The best runners come from all over the state, even out of state, 500+ strong, to compete on flat, smooth, wide, straight Minneapolis streets entirely closed to traffic.

Yours truly in the last mile
I had three goals: (1) Meet up with my running buddies, the men and women I’ve competed with for ten years.  I haven’t run any other local races this year, so it was fun to reconnect; (2) Run a fairly intense six miles, but without risking injury; and (3) Get a final test of the hernia surgery that was almost six months ago.

The race was fine - I enjoyed it a lot. Mostly I ran 60 seconds and walked 20, resulting in a pace that increased slightly in the last three miles and averaged out to exactly 10 minutes/mile.  The results have me 11th of 14 in my 70-74 age group, and I think it’s amazing and wonderful that there are 14 "young" men and two women in that age group who still enjoy racing each other.  Seven more finishers were age 75 and over, including two women, and including two men in their 80's.  These people love life.

Whining: None!  I hereby pronounce the hernia surgery a success.  Victory over the hernia at the Victory 10K. YAY!

I ran a marathon a week ago, and a fairly intense (for me) 10K today.  Before the surgery that combo would have hurt a lot, but not today.  That’s a very good signal.  There is still some paresthesia (skin pain) around the incision, but that may continue for months or years and it’s barely a minor annoyance.  Bottom line: the hernia appears to be cured.

Nothing else hurt today either.  I’m ready for the Sioux Falls Marathon six days from now.  Can’t wait!

Splits: 10:06, 10:14, 10:07, 9:51, 10:00, 11:51 (1.21371 mi), total 1:02:08, pace 10:00.  Huh.  It’ll do just fine for now.  Life is good.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

St Croix Valley Runners

You can see the oatmeal this time,
with raisins in it.  All organic.
We three took a grandchild and his dog to run with the St Croix Valley Runners today.  I especially wanted to hear Mary’s stories about running a marathon in Mongolia, and was able to run at her speed for much of the five miles, though I did have to drop back in the last mile or so.  I finished in 47 or 48 minutes, I think - I forgot to click my watch at the end.

The run felt good - legs were a little tired, but that’s no surprise just a week after a marathon.  Nothing hurt.  It’s a masterpiece.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Recovery Run

Salad, all organic
Three days after a marathon I like a short run to get the muscles moving again.  This morning I ran on the grass trails in the park, almost completely free of dew because of the warm overnight temperatures.

I had planned to run three miles slowly, without walking, but my legs told me right away that it would be more fun to walk a bit.  So I walked about 20 seconds of each minute, finishing the three miles in 32:34, for a pace of 10:39.  Plenty good enough for a recovery run.

Whining: None!  That’s wonderful, three days after a marathon.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Timmy’s Challenge, Parker’s Marathon

This completes my 66th marathon in the 47th state since the myeloma diagnosis.  West Virginia probably shouldn’t host a marathon in August, but it worked out OK today.  The predicted high was near ninety, but the marathon started at 6:30 and by the time I was done at 11:40 the temperature had just reached 80.

My Marathon:

This was the fastest marathon of my last twelve, 5:09:51, and I finished fourth of 13 in my age group of 65 - 72.  I’m a happy runner!  I had gone out fairly fast in the beginning, to take advantage of the cool start, thinking that I’d slow toward the end if necessary.  Sure enough, my calves started to cramp in the last two miles and I had to walk in, but I’m fine with the total time.  Only one person passed me in the last half of the marathon and I passed several.  The warm weather got to everyone.  I took six Clif Shot gels and plenty of Thermotab salt tablets during the run.

Trail, aid station, and tunnel entrance
North Bend Rail Trail:

All but about a mile and a half of the marathon is on the North Bend Rail Trail.  It is wide, straight (mostly), and the hills are long and gradual.  Best of all, it is just scrumptious, mostly wooded and shaded, cut through the hills of West Virginia as a railroad right-of-way would be, with 15 or 20 bridges, and through one 1300-foot tunnel (flashlights required).  It's an out-and-back, so we did all of that twice.   I would run on this trail again in a heartbeat.  It’s not a place for a personal best, though.  The surface is rough gravel, with some stones large enough to be worth dodging.  Every step crunched on the gravel. Combined with the miles-long upward (and downward) slopes and the warm temperatures, it was more tiring than a nice, level, cool marathon course.  But I’m very happy with it!

Whining:

The right hip flexors (hernia-repair side) started to hurt at about mile six and kept right on to the end, though it wasn’t a limiting factor.  I suspect that they wouldn’t have been any problem if only I had done my hip-flexor stretches regularly.  Tsk.  The hernia repair itself hurt just a little, especially if I poked it.  So don’t poke it.  Duh.  Otherwise no problems at all, and none afterward, not even a cramp during our six-hour drive after the marathon was over.

Parker’s Marathon:

All in all, Parker’s Marathon was well enough organized and I had a good time.  At the finish we all enjoyed a marvelous repast with every kind of picnic food one can imagine, all still available for late-finishers like myself.  Enroute, aid stations were almost sufficient in number, but the distance between them varied widely, from a mile and a half to four and a half.  The web site did not suggest that runners should carry water to fill in the longer intervals, but anyone who wasn’t carrying water could have been pretty dry at times.  I carried water.  Next year this race will be three weeks later, in a different city, and on a different rail trail, so this and other similar suggestions are probably irrelevant.

We were disappointed that the half marathon did not give out finishers’ medals.  Every one of the 36 half marathons that my gals have run before have provided medals for the finishers.  It’s true that the web site did not promise finishers’ medals among the “What’s Included” list, but neither did the marathon, and the marathoners did get finishers’ medals.  Happily, the post-race volunteers found a way to make it good for my gals, because my gals asked about it, but most half-marathon finishers went home empty.  That’s not good.

Splits: 22:22 (2 mi), 10:43, 23:09 (2 mi), 11:44, 13:18, 10:30, 10:11, 10:43, 14:03 (nature break), 10:42, 24:23 (2 mi), 12:00, 23:08 (2 mi), 12:03, 12:07, 33:57 (3 mi), 23:34 (2 mi), 14:03, 17:19 (1.2 mi), total 5:09:57, overall pace 11:49.  Great. I know I can do better, but it’s a masterpiece!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Recovered

This morning’s run was as energetic as Saturday’s was lethargic.  I ran marathon pace, only 30 seconds of each minute, but felt good the whole way and finished with a little extra.  5 miles in 54:00 minutes for a pace of 10:48, admittedly much slower than Saturday, but I’m confident now that I can run a marathon this weekend.

Don't you love fresh-fruit season?

My current theory is that I was dehydrated Saturday.  The loratadine dried me out Friday night, I didn’t know that, and I failed to rehydrate before the Saturday run -  I’m convinced that was the problem.  I felt good at the beginning of Saturday’s run, but totally exhausted at the end.  I’m very impressed that a little dehydration could have such an effect, but that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.  The lesson:  I can't trust my thirst impulse, and have to hydrate even when I'm not thirsty.

Whining: Quads felt strained today, as they might if I had abused them a few days before.  I think this goes back to Saturday’s Run.

Splits (loops of 5.01 mi each): 27:35, 26:23, total 53:58.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Plumb Out of Gas

Saturday, August 18, 2012:

What an unusual run with the St Croix Valley Runners.  Like last week I ran the whole five miles with no walking, but this time I was almost completely out of energy at the finish.  The run took me three and a half minutes longer than it did last week, 49:26 for the five miles, and when I stopped I could barely stand or walk a straight line, as if I'd run a marathon.  I don’t know what’s going on - I do have a cold plus a sinus infection,and had taken loratadine and bactrim the night before, but research on those doesn’t suggest this kind of side effect. Oh well, I have a Mayo visit coming up, with plenty of blood tests to tell me if anything is really wrong.

Another five miles on Monday.  I will run marathon pace, not continuously, and we’ll see.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Three Miles

Wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon, cheese,
organic broccolini, organic beets.
Monday I felt strong right from the start of the run, and today was the opposite. For whatever reasons, my legs felt heavy today and I had trouble running continuously, without walking, which I had intended to do because the run was short, just three miles or so.  After six minutes of running, however, I went into my marathon pace, running just half of each minute.  I ran (and walked) for 34:30, and I’m sure I was doing at least 11 minutes per mile, so I certainly ran at least three miles.  It’ll do for today.  Another day will be better.

Whining: Nothing hurt.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Llamas, goats, horses, & cows

Oh my.  We live quite near the Twin Cities, just 25 minutes from the Humphrey Dome, but far enough out that our short drive to the Gateway Trail takes us past quite a few farms.  I’m glad to say that the crops are looking pretty good too, far better than those pictures of drought areas that we’ve seen on the news lately.  From the trail itself we also see farms with horses and cattle plus, of course, abundant wild birds and animals, not to mention people on regular bikes, recumbent bikes, skis (roller skis?), roller blades, and any other non-motorized conveyance you can imagine.  It’s fun to just sit and watch, actually, and there are park benches for people to do just that.  We don’t - we run.

This is taper time, for a marathon in West Virginia a couple of weeks from now.  I went 10 miles, running 30 seconds of each minute, took two gels along the way (you do have to train your innards to accept those gels, else you may need a porta-potty rather badly right when there isn’t one), and plenty of water.  I carried water, as I will in the upcoming marathon.  No salt, though, and I did feel the beginning of a cramp at about mile six, so maybe I should have brought some salt along.  Happily, the cramp went away.

For whatever reason, I felt strong this morning, right off the bat, and could have gone faster.  In fact I did ramp up the speed a bit in the last mile or so, running without any walking.  I can’t do that in a marathon, but the traditional wisdom about taper time is "reduce the distance, but don’t let up on the intensity."  Today's run met those criteria.

Whining:  The right knee with PFS mumbled off and on, but never spoke loudly.  The hernia repair was totally silent!

Splits:  10:37, 10:05, 10:28, 9:54, 10:00, 10:24, 10:27, 11:02, 9:42, 9:19, total 1:41:58 for 10 miles, pace 10:12.

Baby rabbit - sort of ugly, actually,
but probably not to its mother.
After the run I went out to mow the lawn and accidentally uncovered a little nest of four baby rabbits, still without their eyes open and with very little power to move, let alone run away.  They could squirm, and squirm they did, but they were otherwise entirely defenseless.  I don’t like rabbits, they eat our flowers and serve no purpose except as food for the eagles, coyotes, and other predators, but I left them there on the edge of the woods to live or die according to the rules of the wilderness.  I suppose their mom will come back for them, but if not, perhaps they will provide sustenance for one of the predators.

Saturday, August 11, 2012:

Six of us met for the St Croix Valley Runners Saturday morning, our numbers reduced by the Gopher to Badger half marathon that starts in Stillwater and which several of our members like to run.  We took the Lake McKusick route, the faster runners slowing for those others of us, until they thought they knew the rest of the route home (they didn't).  I ran with Jim after the first two miles or so, and of course he pushed me without really knowing it.  He wanted to run an easy fat-burning 8:30 pace, easy for him, but I couldn't go quite that fast.  I like to be pushed like that though.

No walking this time, but we finished the 5 miles in 46 minutes, for a pace of 9:12, not so bad actually.  I wonder how long it would take me to do a 5k these days, with no injuries to worry about.  I’ll find out one of these days - at this time of year there is a 5k within 20 miles of us every weekend, probably several.

Friday, August 10, 2012:

Paved trails in the park today, 2.2 miles in 22:36, pace  10:16.  This completed 30.5 miles for the week.  My goal is 30, except when tapering or recovering, so this is fine.  Most of the time I’m tapering or recovering though!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Tartan Terrible 2012

Tartan Terrible is a fun little race that I run every year, sort of a steeplechase, with trails that include mowed grass, long grass, longer grass, sand, gravel, pavement, and even knee-high water.  Runners are well-advised to use old shoes.

This year we racers were also treated with rain, which started just when the race did, and ended when the race did.  Nobody seemed to mind - the evening was warm enough, and the rain actually helped us keep cool.  Besides, we ran through water anyway.

My race wasn’t great, although I did enjoy it a lot. Nephew Luke was there and ran it, doing rather well I think.  Nice to run a race with him again.  But my own time, 45:38 for about 4.3 miles, was about two and a half minutes slower than last year, and last year I had run 18 miles in the morning!  I had hoped to run as fast as last year, or faster.

Last year the sports hernia appeared right after this race.  That injury bothered for most of a year, so this year I was careful to walk up and down the steepest hills, to avoid that sort of abdominal stress.  Those hills are short, though, and I doubt they could account for most of the difference in time.  I’m just a bit slower, still working to recover from the hernia and its repair.  If the distance was 4.3 miles, the pace was 10:37.  It’ll have to do, and I had fun.

Whining:  The right knee with PFS grumbled a bit but didn’t cause any trouble.  The hernia repair was silent, and remains silent the day after the race.  Excellent news.

Memorial to an iron worker in a park in Anchorage, Alaska

Sunday, August 05, 2012

20 Miles , Great Morning

Sunday, August 5, 2012:
On my 20-mile run today I was surprised to meet my nephew Luke, also training for his next marathon!  What a treat.  He jogged along with me for a few minutes, and we agreed to meet for a run in the park one day soon.  To make the run even better, this was the best morning for running in months.  At the middle of our run the temperature was 59 degrees, and the dewpoint was low as well.  Delightful running on the mostly-shady Gateway Trail.

Grass-fed beef, all the rest organic.
My run was pretty good.  At about mile six I noticed that I was turning to the left a little, and having to correct to the right.  This got worse, until near the end of the run I was leaning left (Sunshine noticed it when I ran past her and Sweet Pea), and having to correct a lot.  This is a known issue - comes from inadequate core strength - means I should get back to doing my core-strength exercises.  Duh.  I think it showed up this time, and not in other recent longish runs, because this was my third day of running in a row, plus quite a bit of yard work.  Hard work.  Those core muscles were tired.  But that's good for them, eh?

For some reason, all of that didn’t slow me down much.  I ran 30 seconds of each minute and finished the 20 miles in 3:37:17, not including bathroom and water stops, for a pace of 10:52.  Furthermore, I had something left at the end and was able to increase the pace in the last two miles.  This suggests a possible marathon finish below five hours, which would be the first time in a year if it happens.

Five gels and several salt tablets helped with the run.  I carried water, and drank a lot.  Until last month I’d never carried water on marathons that have frequent aid stations, but I did in the Vermont marathon and appreciated the opportunity to drink whenever I felt like it.  Maybe I will carry water in the West Virginia marathon as well.

Whining: The right knee with PFS mumbled a little, most of the way, but not enough to worry about.  No other pains.

Splits:  11:20, 10:30, 11:00, 10:07, 10:22, 10:43, 11:04, 11:47, 11:26, 11:04, 11:33, 10:12, 11:31, 11:03, 10:48, 11:30, 10:45, 11:00, 9:41, 9:49, total 3:37:17, distance 20 miles, pace 10:52.

Saturday, August 4:

I intended to run five miles with the SCV runners, but decided instead to run with the new guy Steve, who is just getting started in running.  We walked a couple of times, but otherwise he kept up a pretty good pace considering.  At about two and a half miles we went different directions, and I finished another mile and a half.  Four miles in 38:20, for a pace of 9:35, despite two walks with Steve.  Good run, no pains.

Friday, August 3:

Easy three-mile run on the grass trails in the park.  No pains.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Easier 5-Mile Run

This morning's post-run breakfast.  Oatmeal beneath
Five miles on the grass trails in the park this morning.  The temperature was about 65 with a dewpoint of about 60, somewhat cooler than we’ve experienced recently, although I still got completely soaked from sweat.

I did my run/walk, running 30 seconds of each minute, but I didn’t extend the runs up the hills as I had done last Friday on the same route, because  I felt a bit tired today from Monday’s longish run and yesterday’s yard work.  Finish time was 55:40, about 75 seconds longer than last Friday, pace 11:08.  Nice run.

Whining:  None.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Fifteen Mile Run

We like to do our longest runs on the Gateway Trail, because there are porta-potties here and there, and even water in a few places.  I ran 15 miles this morning, while my sweeties ran almost nine.  This was not a nice day to run - the temperature averaged about 75 and the dewpoint about 70.  I did OK, though, running 30 seconds of each minute, finishing in 2:43:51 for an overall pace of 10:55.  This is not quite as good as the 10:31 pace of a week ago, but that day I ran only 10 miles.

Today I was able to increase the pace a little in the last mile or two, which is good, but I doubt I could have maintained the overall 10:55 pace for the remainder of a marathon.  Not in this weather.  I did carry water, drinking at least 40 ounces, and took three Clif Shot gels as well.

Chicken thighs, chard with cranberries, cherries,
tomatoes, all organic except the chili pepper sauce.
Whining:  For while I felt a very local pain on the outside of the right hip, probably a bursa.  It went away.  Later, right after standing up to leave a porta-potty, I felt a sharp pain at the very top of the right shin bone, just below the knee.  The pain got bad enough to limit my pace, forcing me to walk for a couple of minutes.  It gradually got better, though, and was gone entirely within a couple of miles.

Splits:  11:18, 10:25, 10:55, 10:06, 10:34, 11:09, 11:04, 11:33, 10:43, 11:05, 11:29, 12:07, 11:09, 10:06, 10:07, total 2:43:51, pace 10:55.