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!


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


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.