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:

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.

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.


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.