Saturday, December 07, 2013

Memphis St Jude Marathon 2013

Cancelled because of ice that fell all day Friday as freezing rain.  Friday night the race director gave his reasons: First, although the roads are ice-free, the course is not safe for runners in the start and finish areas; Second, the sidewalks are icy and dangerous for volunteers and spectators; Third, the course goes through a park where the roads are icy, at least one tree is already down, and more trees are hovering over the roads, threatening to break; Fourth, as of Friday night 30% of volunteers had already cancelled because they have their own ice problems; and Fifth, the entire area around Memphis is in a state of emergency, with power lines down and people out of power everywhere, so the police and rescue services needed by the marathon are required elsewhere.  I find it hard to disagree with that reasoning.

Plants coated with ice

He didn't even mention the unseasonable cold.  This morning, race morning, the low was about 20 with a stiff wind and a resulting wind chill temperature less than 5 degrees.  If the race had gone forward, it would easily have been the coldest of our 78 marathons, by at least 20 degrees, not considering the wind chill. Coming from Minnesota, I was ready for the cold, but we would have heard reports of frostbite or worse, so it's good that the race was cancelled for that reason as well.

This is the third time that we three have gone to a race that was cancelled after we arrived.  Chicago in 2007 was cancelled during the running because of heat (they ran short of ambulances), but I was far enough along that I was allowed to finish.  Then St. Charles MO, in 2008, was cancelled during the running because it got flooded by the remnants of Hurricane Ike, and part of the course went under water.  No one finished that one; we all ran 10.5 miles and got half-marathon medals.  Today's race was cancelled the night before the race, so today we're all carbed up with nowhere to run.
We rode this

I do like to blog about a race as soon as I can afterward, while the memories are still fresh.  However, as Sunshine points out, I've never before been able to blog during the time of the race.  Oh well, we took Amtrak to get here and that was fun.  Also we enjoyed a day in Chicago making the connection, and downtown Memphis isn't a bad place to be either.  We even rode the trolley from our hotel to the expo during the ice storm.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

Be Careful What You Ask For

Saturday, November 30, 2013:

After the very hot San Antonio marathon I wrote "where’s a little sleet when you need it!"  Today, the long-range forecast for our next marathon, in Memphis, includes the words: "... chance of freezing rain and sleet."  Hoo ha.  Not the best of weather, but better than 89 degrees with a blowtorch sun.  Long-range forecasts never really come to pass anyway.  Usually.

Splits: 10:12, 9:54, 9:48, 9:25, total 39:18, pace 9:50.

Friday, November 29:

YMCA.  Today is the day for burning off the excess that I consumed yesterday (Thanksgiving).  I lost the splits (accidentally cleared my watch) but I know that I ran five miles, each one a little faster then the previous, and the last mile took about 9:10.

Wednesday, November 27:

Stillwater Bubble.  No pains or problems.  Running just four miles, I had a little fun in the last mile, doing several short sprints along one side of the soccer field.

Splits:  10:30, 9:57, 9:35, 9:29, total 39:32, pace 9:53.

Monday, November 25:

Stillwater Bubble.  We ran there for the first time this fall, just to enjoy the unheated air and the

Taco Salad, one of my favorite meals
rubber smell of the soccer field.  Well, there were other reasons too.  Actually I do like it a little better than the YMCA track, because it’s 5 laps per mile instead of 13.  And I had a very nice run, finishing very the 4.8 miles very strong.  I stopped one lap short of 5 miles (I goofed), but it was enough.
No pains, no problems.  It’s a masterpiece!

Splits: 10:07. 9:50, 9:30, 9:46, 7:29 (about 0.8 mi), total 46:42, overall pace 9:44.

Saturday, November 23:

Three more miles in the YMCA.  This time I ran (run/walk) a mile on the track, then another on the treadmill at a 10:00 pace, and finally another mile on the track, somewhat faster.

For most of the day I had been experiencing a significant pain in the upper left tibia or fibula, not sure which, on the lateral front, just an inch or two below the kneecap.  The pain appeared when I put weight on the joint, and also when I lifted the leg in a sitting position.  It hurt a bit when I started running, but then quickly settled down and has not been heard from since.

Splits: 10:14 (run/walk 56/30), 10:00 (run), 8:58 (run/walk 60/20), total 29:12, pace 9:44.

Friday, November 22:

This was the second run since Sunday's marathon, and I tried running  continuously, in place of the run/walk that I usually do.  I'm not sure that I understand or believe the results, though.  The mile that I ran continuously seemed to be much slower than the next mile, where I used a run/walk ratio of about 60/25.  So much slower that I wonder if I slipped an extra lap in there - the track is 13 laps per mile and it would be easy to miss one.  I'll probably try this again the next time we go to the YMCA.

 Meanwhile, I felt very good today, full of energy, and the last mile zipped by quickly.  A tightness in the right calf appeared and then resolved itself during the first mile.

Someday I’m going to measure this track, to see if it really is 13 laps per mile.

Splits: 10:44, 9:40, 9:18, total 29:44, pace 9:55.  Great for five days after the marathon.  I'll do longer runs next week.

Thursday, November 21:

Normally I would run on Wednesday after a marathon, but the yard was calling me Wednesday with tons of leaves that needed mulching.  I spent 5 or 6 hours walking behind a mower, and that was quite enough for the day.  Today was the first real run, and I took it very easy on the YMCA track.  I didn't bring my watch, but ran and walked for 33 minutes, according to the clock on the wall, at a pace that may have been 11 minutes per mile or so.  No problems.

Friday, November 22, 2013

San Antonio Rock n Roll Marathon

The Alamo
Welcome to Texas.   If marathons were all like this one, I would switch to half-marathons.  It was torture.  Until today, we held the Hyannis, MA Marathon to be the most miserable one we've done, because of temperatures in the 30's there, with rain and sleet.  On Sunday Hyannis lost that distinction, replaced by San Antonio, with temperatures of 89 or more, high humidity, no wind, sun like a blowtorch, and zero shade in the last 13 miles.  Where’s a little sleet when you need it!

Riverwalk from above
I did finish my 77th marathon, in 6:08:10, fifth of seven in my age group, but it was no fun - I was never so glad to be done.  That is mostly not the fault of the race organizers, of course, they can't control the weather.  Today was a freak - the forecast was for one degree below the record high for the date, and the actual temperature went even higher and set a new record.  The race started at 7:30 am, and they could start it a half hour earlier, but that wouldn't have made much difference.  We needed shade ...

My Race:

"On the plains of hesitation bleach the bones of countless millions, who, at the dawn of victory, sat down to rest, and resting, died!"  - George W. Cecil.  That quotation rattled through my head many times in the later miles, as I was sorely tempted to sit for a moment in a shady place.  I was also thinking of a T-shirt I saw two weeks ago in the NYC Marathon: "I don't stop when I am tired, I stop when I am done!"  I really did want to stop, rare for me, but I didn't.  A sign along the way said "Own every mile, celebrate every moment."  Sorry to say, I didn't celebrate much in the second half of the marathon, but I sure did own the damn miles!

Concrete trail
For the first half marathon I ran pretty well.  The temperature was in the 70's and climbing out, but the sun was behind clouds.  I followed the 5:30 pace team leader with no trouble.  I fact, as the sun began to peek around the clouds, the pace team started to lag a bit (I think by agreement among them) and I moved out ahead, staying on pace, trying to milk whatever I could out of those first relatively cooler hours.  I knew that I would have to slow down later, because the temperature would climb and the sun would appear full time.  By Mile 13 the sun was shining more than not, and by Mile 15, I was done running.  My face was hot, and in the later miles I began to feel slightly nauseous.  Both of these are possible symptoms of heat exhaustion, so I even slowed my walking pace at times.  By Mile 17 or 18 the 5:30 pace team passed me, though they weren't running much faster than I was walking, so I doubt they finished ten minutes ahead of me.

Most of the last miles were on a beautiful, wide, new all-concrete trail along the San Antonio River.  Unfortunately, however, there are no trees whatsoever.  I fear that I didn't enjoy that lovely trail as much as I might have.  I did see lots of other runners (walkers?) stopped by the side of the trail, under a bridge or wherever else they could get a spot of shade.  They weren't enjoying it either.  In those last miles I didn't run a step, but I did walk fairly fast, and I passed a lot of people.  Few passed me, and if they did, I usually caught them again.  No one was doing well.
Early miles

I took a Clif Shot Mocha gel at mile 2 and four more during the race.  I skipped the last one because of the mild nausea, thinking that the race people would try to take me out of the race if they saw me throw up.  I took six or seven salt tablets, and I’m sure that I've never taken more water in a race.  I had no trouble with cramps (yay!), except in my hands (?)!

Whining.  See above!  However, nothing hurts except the expected muscles and ligaments, and those will recover nicely in time for the next marathon in three weeks.  I got away with this one.

RnR San Antonio Marathon:

I usually avoid the Rock 'n' Roll Marathons because I’m not drawn to over-amplified music, especially when it's not of my own choosing.  But this one fit our schedule nicely, so we took a chance.  Happily, there was no music at the start, so we didn't have to stand it for a long time, only for a few seconds at a time as we would pass a band on the road.

Other stuff:

Streets really were CLOSED!
  • These guys have done this before.  Everything was well organized.
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll marathons are big business and seem so, apparently not engendering too much allegiance.  I thanked one person at the Expo for volunteering, and she replied "If I were volunteering I wouldn’t be here."
  • We were required to sign a negligence waiver at the expo.  A waiver signed at the time of payment may be valid, but this one, signed later, is a total waste of everyone's time and suggests an arrogant disdain for the runners.
  • Porta-potties at the start were organized into little C-shaped groups of four units, so runners naturally formed a line for each group - no question which units belonged to which line.  Nice.  Why doesn’t everyone do that?
  • The whole course was closed to automotive traffic, period.  That is wonderful!
  • The marathon starts and ends in the same place, the Alamodome, as does the half.  Makes things easier - no bussing.
  • The Expo was at the Alamodome too, and it was a nice, large expo.
  • Packet pickup was smooth and easy, except for the bullcrap about turning in the signed negligence waiver.
  • The full and the half started together, which meant that my "corral" (24th of at least 32 corrals) got to the start line 38 minutes after the first corral started.
  • For the most part the organizers were prepared for the weather, with plenty of water, even spray hoses at the aid stations. 
  • They say that there was ice at every aid station, but I didn’t see ice at most of them when I got there.  Water was almost always warm. 
  • Next year’s event is December 7 - weather should be cooler.  Good decision.
  • I saw lots of battery-powered carts running up and down the course checking on and assisting runners.  That’s good.
  • But when I asked them for a bottle of water, they didn’t have any.
  • I saw several dropped runners, either on carts or waiting for one, but I have seen no news about this.
  • Results were up immediately - I love that!  Results are easy to navigate, too.
  • The time limit was 7 hours, and the last-listed runner finished in 6:59:02.  Since runners were still finishing in droves, the organizers obviously just cut off the rest despite the extenuating circumstance of the record heat.  I think that’s disrespectful, and of course the effect will be both sexist and ageist.
    Sunset from hotel room
  • The time limit for the half was 4 hours, but the results do show people finishing well after that.
  • 2013 finishers:  Half 14,430 and full 2,678.  Note that this is basically a big half marathon with a full added on.
  • For some reason I missed many of the mile marker signs - didn’t see them.  Probably my fault, but I usually see them.
  • There was no marker at Mile 25 at all - I did see the paint marking on the pavement, but no sign.
  • No aid station at Mile 25 either, or at Mile 12 for the half.  The last two miles were devoid of aid, spectators, even music, until the last tenth or so.

  • The half and the full ran together for the first 11 miles.  At about Mile 12, I told the pace team leader that I had almost expected the full to be redirected to finish with the half, because of the heat.  She replied: "Nope, this is Texas!".
  • I heard a rumor that the slowest marathon runners were turned around a few miles short of the measured turnaround, so they ran a shorter race.  I don’t know the truth of this, and I could find no news about it.
  • Update:  It's true.  Hundreds of runners were directed through the shortcut.  I have no idea if those people had their times adjusted in some fashion.  Probably not.
  • In my age group (70-74) no one qualified for Boston.  This was not a good day for qualifying!
  • We stayed at the Staybridge, which is about as close as you can get to the start and finish, but still an easy walk to the Alamo and the Riverwalk.
    After the race
  • We even got in a little Friday morning run on the Riverwalk.  Nice.  We liked San Antonio.
  • Some women raced in tights or pants despite the heat.  Modesty?  Some of those tights really didn't help much with modesty.
  • One of the amplified "bands" was a man playing a recording of organ music, possibly E Power Biggs.  It was not too loud and I enjoyed it for half a minute as I passed by. 
  • A live band, near mile 19 or 20, had temporarily abandoned their instruments and devolved into goofy acappella singing of old tunes.  They were horrible singers, but having fun in the shade of a tree, and I was almost tempted to join them.
  • I saw a lot of my favorite Team In Training runners in this race, especially in the half.  I like to encourage them. 
  • I wore my Team Continuum singlet of course.  Go Team Continuum! 
  • I ran this race in honor of my friend Sharon.  We love you, hang in there.  Both of you.
Splits: 35:16 (3 mi),, 11:44, 38:26 (3 mi), 12:53, 25:24 (2 mi), 12:43, 13:16, 1:10:26 (5 mi), 16:11, 15:19, 16:06, 15:57, 33:11 (2 mi), 15:46, 38:15 (2.2 mi), total 6:08:10, pace unmentionable.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Two Recovery Runs

Thursday, November 7, 2013:

The weather outside was frightful, making the indoor track delightful, so we drove to the YMCA and ran for 30 minutes or so.  My watch was still full of splits from the NYC marathon and wouldn't take any more, so it stopped working as a stopwatch.  Nevertheless it still worked as a watch, and I ran about 10-minute miles, maybe a little slower.  Good enough for today.  No whining.

Wednesday, November 6:

We ran outdoors on the park’s paved trails, just three miles for a recovery run.  I felt great and ran faster than I probably should have, using a 20/40 run/walk, and finishing 2.91 miles in 30:37 for a pace of 10:31.  Plenty good.  No whining.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

New York City Marathon

New York City Marathon 2013.  I ran my 76th marathon and my 3rd NYC marathon, finishing in 5:48:53, good for 85th place out of 151 in my 70-74 age group and three minutes faster than I ran it in 2011.  Not quite up to average, but I have my excuses.  Actually, I had a great race and a lot of fun.  Moreover, the NYC Marathon itself exceeded my expectations this time.  I'm glad that I ran it.

My Race:

The weather was colder than expected in NYC at this time of year.  In fact, the temperature was about 47 degrees and the wind 15-20 mph the whole of the race, the only variable being the sun, which was absent for the first half and then played peek-a-boo for the rest of the race.  I wore shorts, with a long-sleeved technical shirt under a short-sleeved one, and with a heavier polar-fleece jacket over both, when necessary.  I had that jacket on and off a half dozen or more times during the race, as the sun played its games and we changed direction in the wind.  I would have preferred a genuine running jacket during the race itself, but certainly appreciated the warmer polar fleece while waiting for the start.  The bus unloaded us in the start area at about 7:30 am, but my wave of runners didn't start for another three and a half hours.


During the race I took six Clif Shot mocha gels, each with 50 mg caffeine (the only legal performance-enhancing drug), and I also took six Thermotab salt tablets (the only other legal performance enhancing drug).  I picked up a spare gel packet at mile 18, but never needed it.  I did a 20/20 run/walk, which seemed to work out to a 12:30 pace or so.  That figures out to a 5:30 marathon, more or less, but I also made several porta-potty stops and a few stops for photos, and I suppose those accounted for most of the time lost between 5:30 and my actual 5:49 finish.  My personal results show a rather consistent pace, even at the end.
At mile 26

Whining: In the first mile or two I felt a little pain in the lower right abdomen, where the hernia was repaired almost two years ago. That went away.  Otherwise I just have the normal muscle aches from running a marathon.  No cramps!  I'll do a recovery run Wednesday.

The New York City Marathon:

Byword: Security.  I arrived at the start by the Team Continuum bus, and our possessions were checked as we entered "runners village," the area where we all waited for our starts (four different "waves" of starts).  There were NYPD helicopters circling overhead almost constantly at the start and the finish, and they came to check on the 26 miles of runners frequently too.  Every inch of the 26 miles was "fenced" on both sides of the road with blue police tape advising people not to cross.  People did cross, but I once saw an officer turn a man back.  I believe that I was always, except perhaps on bridges, in view of a uniformed police officer or two for all 26 miles.  I was quite impressed by the sheer number of security people.  Huzza NYPD!

Safe and warm
back at the hotel
One beef about security: At the entrance to runners village, the security people (not police officers) demanded that I give up my disposable garbage-bag windbreaker, intended to keep me warmer as I waited for the start.  No reason was given.  I feel certain that they were actually instructed to check for dangerous paraphernalia underneath such garments, but were not instructed to confiscate them.  After entering the compound, I found that many runners still had their garbage-bag windbreakers, so apparently the ban was not implemented at all points of entry to the village.  I also spoke to another runner who had spent $10 for a disposable Tyvek jacket at the Expo the day before, and had that taken away by security.  That makes no sense.  Why allow any kind of jacket except a disposable one, purchased specifically for the weather conditions?   Shoulda been a dress code!  Anyway I found a garbage bag that another runner had discarded and got by OK with that.

I had a bad experience in this race in 2011, after the finish, waiting in line, barely inching forward for more than a half hour, to pick up my race bag.  I got very cold then, chilled through and shivering uncontrollably.  That experience was easily the most memorable part of that race, has thoroughly colored my memory of it since, and I wanted to avoid a similar experience.

First, I decided not to check a race bag at the start at all.  The race bag has to be checked almost an hour before the start anyway, so an extra garment doesn't do a lot of good at the start.  Second, I decided to carry a jacket, which I might use during the race and definitely would use at the finish, so I would basically carry my race bag with me, tied around my waist when not in use.  Third, I would make every effort to take an "early exit" after the finish, available to people with no race bag, even though I had missed the cutoff date for electing that "no bag" option (said cutoff being three months before the race!).

Nevertheless, I was prepared to be sorely disappointed at the finish, as in 2011, but the NYC Marathon people solved my problem in two ways:  First, they provided a hooded, insulated orange poncho for every runner who went down the long lane to pick up a race bag (or who were unlucky enough to miss the cutoff for the no-bag election).  We saw a long parade of people in orange ponchos, mostly carrying race bags, walking down Central Park West toward the family-meeting area.  They didn't actually look very happy, but they looked warm.  I didn't get a poncho, because:

Second, and much more important to me, NYRR apparently relaxed the rules a bit.  As I walked from the finish toward the dreaded race-bag area, I saw an exit that said "VIP and elite runners," guarded by four uniformed officers.  I put on a good humor and asked one officer if I could be an elite, since this was my 76th marathon in 10 years while running with terminal cancer.  He responded that it might work if he believed me!  Cops are so cynical.  Anyway we had a grin about it, but they weren't budging and I kept going.   Maybe if I had shown them my Team Continuum wrist band ...

Then I saw another exit, unlabeled but clearly headed directly to the street, guarded by two officers.  I asked one what it would take for me to go out that way.  He smiled and said "I guess it would take you!"  He opened the gate and I thanked him and left, free and clear, to reach the street within two minutes.  Yay!  Apparently, judgment was permitted. No drama, no sweat, I love the New York Road Runners again.  I'm easily pleased.

This is a very competent marathon - everything works.  The expo was fine - no lines.  Results were up as soon as I finished.

Bottom line: The NYC Marathon is an experience like no other.  26 miles and a million or two cheering spectators.  I would probably do it every year, if I could, except that there are so many other marathons that we haven't run yet.

  • The north wind was worst right at the start, on the Verrazano Bridge.  After that it was mostly manageable.
  • For a while I ran along with a juggler.  I don't know who finished first.
  • Shirt: "I don't stop when I'm tired, I stop when I'm done."  Indeed.
  • While I waited nine minutes for a porta-potty near mile seven, I saw women ducking behind a nearby McDonald's to pee.  "Nobody back there," proclaimed one woman, as she bounded back out past me to rejoin the race.
  • Here is a link to race results.
  • Finisher demographics are not out as I write, but I saw a news report of 50,700+ finishers.
  • I saw dozens of Team in Training (TNT) runners, all raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which also funds myeloma research.  One by one I told them that I have myeloma and they might be saving my life, and thanked them.  They like that.  Many of them are running their first marathon and need all the encouragement they can get.
  • I thanked one woman who nearly cried when I told her about the myeloma, because her dad had died of myeloma.  And she nearly broke up again when she found out my name, because her dad was Don too.  That woman has run 65 marathons in support of TNT over the last 20 years.  She's my hero of this race.
  • Early in the race I thanked two TNT women who were running together, and we ended up leap-frogging each other many times until, a half mile from the end, they left me in the dust.  After the finish they wanted a picture with me, saying I was their inspiration.  Well good, they inspired me too, and I hope they send me a copy.
  • My sweeties and a good friend were waiting for me at Mile 26, see the photo of me above.  I got a couple of hugs just before the finish.
  • A couple of women ran the marathon together in long pants and just their bras above that.  Not sports bras, but their regular lacy ones. They got comments and actually seemed to be having a lot of fun.  View from the back attached.  It seemed like it would have been creepy of me to get a shot from the front, though I assume that many folks did.
  • I ran this race in honor of Caroline, the bravest woman on the planet.
Splits: Oops, I'm on the train and my Timex is in checked luggage.  Maybe later.  Anyway I ran pretty steadily except for bathroom breaks and such.  Maybe I'll update the splits when I get my watch back.

2013 11 08: Home now.  Splits: 13:40, 24:39 (2 mi), 12:13, 12:19, 13:02, 11:37, 9:23 (porta-potty line), 25:41 (2 mi), 12:33, 14:29, 12:17, 13:39, 12:46, 12:41, 25:31 (2 mi), 25:21 (2 mi), 12:53, 16:06, 40:41 (3 mi), 24:45 (2 mi), 2:45 (0.22 mi), total 5:48:59 (5:48:53 per official timing).

Three Miles in NYC

Friday, November 1, 2013:

We're in New York City today, preparing for the marathon on Sunday.  I like to do a moderately energetic run of two or three miles, two days before.  The girls had other plans, also quite energetic but involving grocery bags, so I laced 'em up and took off for the trail that runs north and south along the Hudson River, passing ferries, a "VIP" helicopter pad, and a lot more along the way.  A lovely run.  Some of that trail is really a long, skinny garden, with the pedestrian trail separated from the bike trail.  Very nice.  Bravo NYC.

I'm not sure of either the distance or my time, but it was a fine run until the very end, when I twisted my right foot just slightly on a mislaid cobblestone brick.  Will that be a problem on Sunday?  I hope not.

Three Miles in Portland

Monday, October 28, 2013:

We three visited Portland, OR for a few days, and were advised of running / biking trails on both sides of the Willamette River right in downtown Portland.  We partook.  We parked on the east side, and I ran a loop which included the east side trail, the Morrison Bridge, the west side trail, and the Hawthorne Bridge.  That turned out to be just a mile and a quarter, so I did it twice for a total of about 2.5 miles in about 30 minutes.  Not fast, but I did get photos and waited for a couple of lights.  I wasn't in a hurry, with a marathon coming up in six days.

The Hawthorne Bridge was an education in Portland culture.  We ran in the morning, and as I ran east on the bridge I faced a swarm of bicyclists, all apparently heading into work, like bees going into the hive.  Some guys wore white shirts and ties under their coats, and many women were all made up for work, with lipstick, eye shade, the works..  All cyclists wore helmets, of course, but some women wore an especially large helmet, bringing to mind a World War One infantry helmet, presumably to protect their hairdos as well as their heads.  Or maybe it's just a safer helmet.

No whining.  That's a good thing, heading into another marathon.  Last run of October, it's a masterpiece.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Faster Indoors

Friday, October 25, 2013:

I run faster on the indoor YMCA track, for some reason.  Outdoors on the blacktop trails I like to run/walk a ratio of 30/20, or even 20/20, but in the gym I prefer to run/walk a ratio of 65/20 or maybe 60/30.  Either of those is higher than the outdoor ratio, and my times show it.

Rebuilding a burned-out home
from scratch (that's another story)
Today I felt very good right at the start of the run, unlike two days ago, and though I didn't push it I ran a ten-minute first mile.  Because I felt so good, I increased the ratio for each the next two miles and actually ran a little faster and a little farther than I had intended.

Whining: None at all.

Mile splits: 10:03, 9:54, 9:32, total 29:30, pace 9:50.

Wednesday, October 23:

We three went to the YMCA today, to run on the indoor track.  This was my recovery run, for the Mankato Marathon.  I felt a bit sluggish at first, but pushed a little and the clock on the wall suggested that I ran about 10-minute miles, three of them.  It was enough for today.
The good news is that nothing hurt, at all.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Mankato Marathon

We three live less than two hours from Mankato, so this one was easier than most.  We drove to Mankato, attended the expo, drove the course, stayed overnight, ran the marathon, and drove home.  This was my marathon number 75, going for 100 or more, having already finished one in each of the 50 states.  It was my 21st marathon in Minnesota.  I finished it in 5:17:39, good for first place in my age group.  I was the only runner in the age group, however, and in fact at age 72, I was the oldest runner in the marathon.

My Marathon:

Fall color and corn
The morning was cold, 34 degrees to start, with an over-brisk wind in our faces and a little spritz of rain now and then.  I wore a running jacket, then my short-sleeved Team Continuum shirt, and a long-sleeved technical shirt under that.  I wore my running pants from the Annapolis Trail Marathon (a very nice premium), a visor, an ear-cover band, and gloves.  I was never cold, and in fact removed the short-sleeved shirt after six miles, and the jacket after about 21 when the sun appeared for a few miles.  I wore a light belt to carry the short-sleeved shirt, rather than toss it.

I never felt any serious pain.  Hip flexors on both sides hurt a little, starting about halfway along, but they didn't slow me down.  The second half of the race took me only four minutes longer than the first half, which sounds like my pace was steady, but actually I had a rather long nature break in the first half, so I did slow down some in the second.  I tried to run/walk 20/20 (triplets), which is actually 60 paces running and 60 walking.  I couldn't do that uphill toward the end, and chose not to try it downhill in some places where it was too steep for ancient knees and other parts - I do have another marathon in two weeks.  I took six gels along the way, five with caffeine, and must have taken about eight salt tablets, with lots of water.

NO CRAMPS!  I always get cramps in the last two miles, but not this time.  Wahoo!  I’m taking 250 mg magnesium in taurate form every day now, and the salt no doubt helped too, as did the water and cool weather.

I ran behind the 5:00 hour pace team for a while, at least keeping them in view, but lost sight of them at about mile six when I stopped to change shirts.  For a while I ran with Don Soule, whom I had previously met at local St. Paul indoor running events.  We were both doing a run/walk, but not the same run/walk, and overall he was running faster.  I lost track of him when I lost the pace team, and he finished eleven minutes ahead of me.  For a little while I ran with a young woman wearing just shorts and a short-sleeved shirt, running her first marathon.  She said she wasn't cold - I would have been!  She planned to slow down after the first half, and sure enough I never saw her after about that point.  I don’t know her name, but in the results I see a likely suspect who finished in just under six hours.

Before the race the Mankato Free Press  ran an article in the paper, and the local TV station KEYC   ran a story on the news.  Because of those stories, lots of people recognized me at the start and throughout the race.  "Are you the guy ...?"   "Yep, I’m the one."  Or just "Go Don."  I never felt more encouraged.

My cousin Diane, an accomplished runner herself, met me with about a tenth of a mile to go, holding a "victory" sign that she had made.  She watched after me in the cold mist until I located my sweeties. Thank you Diane.

The Mankato Marathon:

1582 runners finished the half, and 486 finished the full, and there was also a 10k.  Not a big race, not a small one.  It was quite well organized.  There were enough porta-potties along the course.  I don’t recall thinking that about any race before.  The route is a combination of little-used streets, trails, and 55-mph highways.  I enjoyed all of it except the highways, where we ran on the right side and I was always looking over my shoulder.  In some places the highways were closed to vehicle traffic - that’s great.  Several of the last five or six miles were on delightful wooded trails, which were so welcome just at that toughest part of the race.  We zig-zagged through a children’s park somewhere in the last miles - that was kind of fun.

The expo was surprisingly robust.  We enjoyed it.  A major sponsor of the marathon was the Mayo Clinic, and of course I’m a big fan of "the Mayo" and said so to a few Mayo employees who were staffing booths.

  • Sign on the way up a hill:  Yes, it's a hill.  Get over it.
  • Sign at the expo:  Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right.  - Henry Ford.
  • Sign near some spectators:  This is a really boring parade.
  • At the awards ceremony, I apparently arrived just a few seconds too late to collect my age-group award.  I hope they mail them.
  • Lots of little kids cheered along the way, and hundreds of volunteers.
  • I enjoyed meeting Kathrine Switzer at the Expo.  First woman to officially run Boston.

Splits: 11:26, 11:03, 11:56, 11:23, 12:12, 29:28 (2 miles and nature break), 11:28, 11:17, 10:49, 11:53, 11:24, 11:23, 13:21, 11:32, 13:04, 11:11, 11:31, 11:24, 25:09 (2 miles), 12:06, 12:37, 12:52, 11:58, 15:10, total 5:17:39, pace 12:07.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Five Days, Five Short Runs

Each run 2.51 miles long.  This is a strange way to taper, but it's what happened this week.  Run/walks ranged from 30/20 down to 20/20, and pace 10:33 up to 10:57.  Today's 20/20 pace seemed quite sustainable.  If it were sustained for a marathon, I could finish in 4:49.  Somehow that doesn't compute.  I thought I had to do at least 30/20 to finish below 5 hours, which requires a pace of 11:27.  Maybe these short runs aren't predictive, because my head knows it's short and I subconsciously run faster than I really will in the marathon.  Anyway, I'll try 20/20 and see how it goes in Mankato.

Thursday I received a brand new pair of Brooks Launch running shoes, my tenth pair of this Brooks model.  So I ran in them, to check them out, and they'll be fine in the marathon.

Whining: Today and yesterday I felt a pain in the lower left abdomen, reminiscent of the pain that I felt on the right side when I had the sports hernia.  The pain lasted only two or three minutes though, at the start of the run, and I did have a big lunch a couple of hours beforehand on both days, so maybe it's nothing to worry about.  I'll go with that.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Half a Month of Running

Monday, Oct 14, 2013:

Cool, breezy run in the park.  Today we just wanted to stretch our muscles a bit, so they wouldn't forget how to run.  I went one loop on the paved trails, including the "Klondike bulge," for 2.51 miles in total.  Time 27:00, pace 10:45.  Plenty of energy.

Whining:  Ligaments at the top front of my left thigh complained a little - maybe they were hip flexor ligaments, maybe adductors, I can’t always tell.  But they settled down.

Sunday, Oct 13:

The scenery that we are forced
to live with these days.  Tsk

Sunday afternoon in the park, a sunny and lovely 55 degrees, shirt-sleeve running.  I wish it were always so perfect.  First I ran a few tenths of a mile in the park for a Channel 9 news crew, who are doing a story on me and myeloma and 50 states tonight.  Then I went home and got the girls and we all ran in the park.  I did 3.53 miles in 37:30 for a pace of 10:37, using a run/walk of 30/20.  No problems, lots of energy.

Saturday, Oct 12:

St Croix Valley Runners.  We still meet at 7:00 am at Brown's Creek Park on Neal in Stillwater.  This morning I picked up Jim and we had a nice chat in the car each way.  I ran with Dave and Candy, at a pace that was probably about 10 minutes/mile, for about five miles, though I didn't time it.  I didn't walk much.  I like to run an 8k or a 10k fairly hard about a week before an upcoming marathon, and I guess this was that run.

Nice cool run at daybreak, nothing hurts.  On the contrary I felt strong, especially toward the end.

Thursday, Oct 10:

Five Miles, With Photos.  This is the time of year that Minnesota is so beautiful, with every kind of tree trying to outdo the color of the others.

I ran five miles at a fairly easy pace, run/walk ratio of 25/20.  No pains, no problems.  I'm ready for another marathon a week from now.  I probably won't do a run much longer than this during the next week.  No pains.

5.02 miles in 57:31, pace 11:27.

Wednesday, Oct 9:

Walked the grass trails with my sweeties, 3 miles.

Tuesday, Oct 8:

2.5 miles in 28:07, pace 11:12.

Monday, Oct 7:

First real run after the marathon.  I ran 7.9 miles in 1:28:48, for a pace of 11:17 overall.  That’ll do for today!

Loops:  40:13, 3.53 mi, pace 11:24; 23:37, 2.17 mi, pace 10:53; 24:59, 2.17 mi, pace 11:31; total 1:28:48

Wednesday, October 2:

Short recovery run at the Woodbury YMCA.  We brought an 8-year-old to the indoor track, and he was ready to leave in about five minutes, so this run was a bit shorter than planned.  About 2.5 miles in maybe 30 minutes or so.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Half Moon Bay International Marathon

Marathon number 74 is in the bag.  I'm not delighted with my race, but it will do - I got under the race time limit of six hours, with a time of about 5:44:19, but had hoped to do at least 15 minutes better, maybe 30.  I was second of two in my age group, nine minutes behind the other guy.  Happily, I finished without injury and should be ready for the Mankato Marathon in three weeks.

This marathon is easily one of the most beautiful I have ever run.  For that reason alone I would recommend it.  I stopped to take pictures several times, accounting in part for my tardy finish.  Fortunately, the fog which is usual for this area was absent, except for a few low spots along the shore where it accented the beauty of the sand, the cliffs, and the ocean.  I could get poetic about this, if I were poetic.

My race:

I had been interviewed live on a local bay area TV station, KRON, and as we waited for the start a woman came from the sidelines to tell me that she had seen me on TV.  That got the day off to a good start.

The weather forecast was for 50 degrees at the start, with temps rising rapidly toward 70 (The car's thermometer actually said 79 at my finish), and no escape from the sun, so I started off a little faster than the pace I wanted to use.  I knew that I might pay for it toward the end of the race, but I took the risk and sure enough the last seven miles were very difficult, though the course contributed greatly to that difficulty.

I felt chilly at the start, always a good thing, but quickly warmed and soon felt hot enough to pour water over my head at the aid stations.  There was very little wind, and every breath of breeze was a blessing.  I also carried water, as the race committee had asked, to reduce the amount of cup litter.

I was on time, in fact eight minutes ahead of schedule for a 5:30 finish, up to maybe the 17 or 18-mile point, but then I ended up walking more.  At about 19 miles the course turned up a steep hill, shown as only 250 feet high on the elevation profile, but it seemed like 500.  That hill was far too steep for me to run up at that point in the race, and on the return it was also too steep to run down in ancient knees.  My eight-minute advantage evaporated.  Worse, beginning at mile 20 or so, my calves started to cramp badly and for several miles I couldn't run at all.

I had recently discovered that the addition of magnesium to my supplements had put an end to night cramps, and I was counting on that to manage the cramps that usually show up in the last two or three miles of a marathon.  But this time I had neglected salt, and maybe got behind on water too, and the cramps actually came much sooner.  Apparently the magnesium by itself doesn't give me a free pass.  Evidence: The cramps got a little better in miles 25 & 26 after I wised up and started taking salt and more water.

As I was coming back to the finish the race director, Erik Vaughn, dispatched a runner to go fetch me and bring me in, which is an experience I've never had before!  He met me when I had about a mile to go, and the runner seemed relieved because, he said, the six-hour time limit is a hard cutoff - one second over and I wouldn't get a time.  Actually, though, the on-line results now include times for 12 runners who went over 6 hours, including one who finished in 7:13.

At the finish I was treated as a celebrity, with Bart Yasso of Runner's World giving me the shout-out at the finish line, the 72-year-old guy with cancer and 50 states and 70 plus marathons and whatnot.  The race director himself greeted me and hung the finisher's medal around my neck at the finish.  I've never had that sort of experience before - other people are the celebrities - but it felt good, if just a bit embarrassing.  Oh well, I guess I could get used to it!  And maybe it pays to finish late, when fewer people are crossing the line and there is more time for hoopla.

The Half Moon Bay Marathon:

To repeat, this is a lovely marathon, worthy of the cities of Half Moon Bay and El Granada, where it takes place.  I've never run in a venue more beautiful.  It was superbly well organized.  The course itself was very well marked, with hundreds of cute little signs and lots of chalk lines, so there was little risk of going off the course even for those who, like me, might not always have a view of the runner ahead.  The race is small, just 361 marathon finishers and 768 in the half.  It's a certified green event.

The route is mostly paved bike/pedestrian trails and low-traffic streets, with maybe seven miles of dirt trails.  Those dirt trails are unlike the grass/sand/dirt trails on which I train in Minnesota.  They are hard dirt with no grass or sand, often heavily rutted.  In a few places, where they are washed by rain, ruts go all directions and footing is a challenge, requiring careful hop-scotching.  I enjoy that, of course, but I couldn't run at normal speed there.  The course was certified, but in my opinion this is not a race for a PR or a BQ, it's a destination race along an incredibly beautiful seacoast.  Right along the ocean!  I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

The only unpleasant part of the route was a stretch of less than a mile on the shoulder of Route 1, which has lots of traffic.  There is an alternative, parallel trail for most of that distance, however, and I hope the race committee can get permission to take advantage of it.


11:27, 22:51 (2 mi), 39:23 (3 mi w nature break), 10:52, 11:27, 11:36, 25:10 (2 mi w nature break), 11:38, 24:17 (2 mi), 23:35 (2 mi), 23:13 (2 mi), 30:53 (2 mi), 12:58, 14:10, 17:25, 19:02, 17:02, 14:42, 2:37, total 5:44:19, overall pace 13:08.  Humph.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Three Miles at Marathon Pace

As usual we ran in the park, on the paved trails.  The trails that we like best have sort of a figure-8 shape, and the distance around the entire figure-8 is 3.19 miles.  That’s what I ran today, and I held as closely as I could to a run/walk ratio of 25/20, which is the ratio that I have thought I might run in the marathon next weekend.

The time for 3.19 miles was 35:48, for a pace of 11:13.  In 26.2 miles that would work out to about 4:54 hours, a little better than a 5-hour marathon.  There are delays, of course, for the porta-potty and for filling the water bottle at aid stations (they invite us to carry water so that they can cut the amount of cup litter, and we’ll do that).  I’m sure that those delays would put my time over 5 hours.

Perhaps I’ll run some of the race at a run/walk ratio of 30/20 and try to finish under 5.  We’ll see.  Do I really care?  Yes, but I have no good reason to care - my finish time only matters to me, no one else.  I have four more marathons coming up in the next two and a half months, so I don’t want to push these old bones too hard.  Today’s short run felt pretty easy - not even breathing hard.

Whining:  Zip.  I never even though about it.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Four-Mile Taper Run

I believe in running a short distance of four to six miles fairly hard about a week before a marathon. Yesterday I ran five miles, and today another 4.33. The time was 45:24, which is a pace of 10:29, not as fast as yesterday but it’ll do just fine.

 Fifty degrees with a nice breeze - a long-sleeved shirt felt good.

 Whining: Zip.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Geese Think It's Fall

The trees are only hinting at fall color, but the geese are training for their long trip to wherever it is they go, a honking, squawking, cacophonous, overhead celebration.  They know, and they sound excited.  They live in the park at night, and fly back and forth to nearby harvested fields by day to scour the ground for free meals of beans and corn.

I'd rather be running here, but
really don't want to twist an
ankle right before the marathon

We did a very nice 5.2-mile morning run on the paved trails in a cloudy 50 degrees, with just enough breeze to make the run feel chilly upwind and warm downwind.   Long-sleeved shirts were in order, and I wore ear cover and thin gloves as well.  Delightful.

I ran/walked a ratio of at least 40/20 most of the way, sometimes 50/20 or 60/20, a bit faster than the usual marathon training, but I like to push the pace a little a week before the marathon.  Actually, I messed up my watch somehow and didn't get some of the splits, or a final time either, but I think the pace was about 9:30 or maybe 10:00, not slower.  That’s fine.  I felt strong throughout.

Whining:  On Thursday I experienced pace-limiting pain near the right hip flexors.  Happily, I only felt it for a minute or so today, and then only barely.  I think it really was bursitis, because it’s getting better fast.  No whining at all!

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Grass trails, too wet today
After returning from Mayo Clinic today, where the news was good, we three went for an afternoon run on the park's paved trails.  Almost right away I felt a severe pain in the right hip flexors that brought me up short, hopping on the other foot.  After a bit of walking, I was able to run again, and this cycle repeated over and over during the run.   It slowed me somewhat, but since I do a run/walk anyway, it didn't slow me too much.

The pain acted like an inflamed bursa, coming on suddenly with the slightest change in direction or angle of footfall, and then fading.  I have had bursas act up before, but usually on the side of the hip, and never in the location of the hip flexors.  I'm not even sure there is a bursa there, but if there is one,  I may have irritated it this morning when I did stretches while waiting at Mayo.  Time will tell.  If it's just a bursa, it will heal within a day or two.

3.53 miles in 39:30 for a pace of 11:11, a bit faster than I thought I was going.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Running the Duluth Lakewalk

We traveled to Duluth today for an interview, and stopped in Leif Erickson Park to see the Rose Garden and go for a run on the Lakewalk, a paved trail which runs along or near the shore of Lake Superior for almost 7 miles from Canal Park by the Aerial Bridge to Brighton Beach, out beyond Lester River.

The last time we were in Duluth the weather was just awful, cold  heavy rain driven by strong winds.  Today was the opposite - 56 degrees, bright sun, and a lovely breeze off the lake.  We had a very enjoyable run for about 35 minutes.  We agreed that we would come to Duluth to run more often if it weren't a five-hour round trip!

I did a run/walk of 25/20 out and 30/20 back, walking down a few short, steep hills and running up them.  We all stopped to take a few photos, too.  Just a great day and a wonderful run.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Twelve-Mile Taper Run

I had a tooth extracted and two implants inserted on Friday, and I wasn't sure if running would feel good today. Therefore I started quite modestly with a run/walk ratio of 20/20, and was prepared to drop to all walking for 2.5 hours if necessary. (Each count is a triplet, three footfalls, a convenient measure because it comes out to about one second, so a ratio of 20/20 is really 60 footfalls running and then 60 walking.) That ratio resulted in a pace of 11:37, though, better than I expected.

Grass trails on a
brighter, drier summer day

I felt good, too, no pain in the jaw and plenty of leg strength, so after the first 3.5-mile loop I increased the run/walk ratio to 25/20 in the second loop, and then to 30/20 in the third. I still felt very good, and increased the pace a bit more in the last little 1.5-mile loop. The required average pace for a five-hour marathon is 11:27 and this was 11:23. I carried water and took two gels along the way.

Whining: The right hip flexors hurt a little for most of the way. That is a problem which seems to appear randomly, out of nowhere, and it goes back to nowhere in the next run. It didn't show up in last week's 20-mile run, and there is no way to predict whether it will show up in the marathon two weeks from now. In any case it's never been a pace-limiting problem, so I won't worry about it.

We got about 3/4 inch of very welcome rain last night, but it stopped before dawn and we were going to run the paved trails anyway, so no problem. With the temperature at 59 and a fresh breeze, the run was quite enjoyable. It's an unexpected masterpiece.

Miles Time    Pace   Loop Ratio
3.53 41:00   11:37 120/20
3.53 40:03   11:21 225/20
3.53 39:29   11:11 330/20
1.46 16:03   11:00 435/20
------- ----------   --------
12.05   2:17:14   11:23  Totals

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Seven and a Half Miles

I'd rather be on these grass trails
I had intended to a shorter run today, working toward a 12-mile run on Sunday or Monday.  But then I signed up for some significant dental surgery Friday (tomorrow), which may take the joy out of running for a few days, so we three decided on a 90-minute run today and who knows about Sunday or Monday.  I'm on the paved trails for a while now, avoiding the rutted grass paths to avoid injury, and I ran a 2.51-mile loop three times.

Whining: None to speak of.  What a wonderful morning - 60 degrees, sunny, breezy, and dry.  I mostly did a run/walk of 30/20, but increased to 40/20 in the last loop.

Loops:  28.17 for a pace of 11:16,  27:44 for 11:03, 26:20 for 10:29, total 1:22:21 for a pace of 10:56.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Three-Mile Recovery

We ran for four hours a couple of days ago, so today’s run was a recovery run.  I took the paved trails this time, as I will from now until the marathon, to avoid a twisted ankle or other injury from the rutted grass trails.  I started out clunky, for sure, but felt better as I ran along and mostly did a run/walk ratio of 30/20, plenty fast enough for this run.

Whining:  Just a little warning once or twice from the right knee with PFS, especially as I turned corners.  Oh well.

Loops:  1.73 mi in 19:36 for 11:20, 1.46 mi in 15:59 for 10:58, total 3.19 in 35:36 for 11:09.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Twenty Miles

Sunday, September 8, 2013:

This was the last long training run before the marathon three weeks from now.  We'll do some medium-length runs, and shorter ones, but this is the last one that helps much toward building the marathon muscles.  Now it's taper time.

If I could order the perfect weather for this run it wouldn't be much different from today.  Temperature low 60's, dewpoint in the mid 50's, cloudy, no dew on the grass trails, a nice 8 mph breeze, lovely!  I'd make the temp and dewpoint 5 or 10 degrees lower, I suppose, but hey - this was pretty close, considering that the forecast high for tomorrow is 100!  We started the four-hour event at sunrise and finished by about 10:50 am. 

You see why I like running here
I took five Clif Shot gels, but no salt this time - an experiment.  I didn’t get cramps, probably because of the magnesium that I’m taking, but the calves did tighten up a bit, so I’ll take a little salt in the next marathon.  The overall pace was 11:44, which corresponds to a finish of 5:07 if I could keep it going for another six miles.  Maybe I could - every loop today was slightly faster than the previous one, and I believe that I’m a bit faster when running on pavement than on today’s rough trails.

Whining:  The right knee with PFS acted up early and then settled down.  I seemed to lean to the left a bit toward the end, but not badly.  Otherwise nothing but sore muscles, which are sort of the objective of the run!  I’ll take it.  It’s a masterpiece. 

Miles Time    Pace   Loop
5.94 1:11:19   12:00 1
5.94 1:10:24   11:51 2
5.16 1:00:08   11:39 3
3.01 33:15   11:03 4
------- ----------   --------
20.05   3:55:06   11:44  Totals

Saturday, September 7:

St Croix Valley Runners.  We three walked the short loop across the Lake McKusick boardwalk.  I wore the Nike Wildhorse shoes, and felt a little pain in the left outside forefoot, as if it was bruised on the bottom from the five-miler the day before.  Hmmm.

Friday, September 06, 2013

More Nike Zoom Terra Wildhorse

I took the new shoes for a slightly longer ride today, five miles on the hilly, grassy,  dirty, rutty, sandy trails in our nearby park.  I commented in some detail on these shoes yesterday and found no reason to amend those comments today.  Some additional comments:

  • Unlike the Brooks Launch, my only other shoes, the Wildhorse shoes do not pick up sand.  I ran right through the sandy spots today, making no effort to bypass them or slow to a walk, and got home with no sand in my shoes.  To be fair, the Launch shoes are designed for road running, not trails, but their tread does pick up and drop sand and pebbles.
  • These are neutral shoes - they don’t correct any foot issues, and neutral is just what I happen to need.

I have tried Nike road shoes before, and never found any that worked for me.  I wonder if Nike has an equivalent model with a road-running tread.  Anyway I’ll do more runs and longer runs in these shoes, but so far I’m liking them.

Today’s run was very nice indeed.  The temperature was 70 or so, and with the dewpoint at 64 that felt a bit warm in the sun, but I still ran 5.16 miles in 57:18, for a pace of 11:06, pretty good for me.  I ran/walked a ratio or 30/20, and ran up most hills, especially the toughest ones, walking down the other side to save wear and tear on bones and joints.

Whining:  None at all.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Nike Zoom Terra Wildhorse Trail Shoes

Wednesday, September 4, 2013:

For years I have used the Brooks Launch, a lightweight "training" shoe, for everything from the 200 meter sprint to marathons.  In fact I have run all 73 of my marathons in those shoes or their Brooks predecessors.  For trail running I've simply used old ones.  But I've been doing so much trail running this summer that I thought I should try some shoes that are actually designed for trail running.

Nike Zoom Terra Wildhorse
Today I tried the Nike Zoom Terra Wildhorse (can you believe that pretentious name?) for the first time, running three miles on a favorite somewhat-hilly trail that includes grass, dirt, ruts, gravel, and sand surfaces.  I can really only compare them with the Brooks Launch, because I have no other shoes that I currently use, but here are some things that I noticed:

  • My size 12 shoes weigh 20 ounces per pair, actually two ounces less than the lightweight Launch.  Huh.  That's good.
  • The toe box is wider than the box on the Launch, and in fact I prefer the wider box.
  • The length appears to be a little shorter than the length of the size 12 Launch, though I had no problem with toes touching.
  • Tread width actually seems to be slightly narrower than the Launch, especially on the back.
  • As expected the tread is very aggressive, much more so than on the Launch.
  • The toe is curved up a bit more than on the Launch.
  • The shoe offered no more ankle support than does the Launch, which is almost nil.
  • The shoe is available in three rather wild color combinations, none of them appropriate for a dignified adult.  My choice, shown above, is perhaps the least objectionable.

I had no problems with the Nike Zoom Terra Wildhorse on this short run.  Indeed, they felt very good.  The jury is still out, though, until I've done some longer runs in them.

Three miles in 34:12, pace 11:22.  Nice morning recovery run.

Another post about these shoes here:

Monday, September 3:

Sweetpea and I ran the Victory 10k, a race of long tradition that attracts the full spectrum of regular Minnesota runners, including 14 of us in the age group of 70 - 74, and 6 more older than that!  We mostly walked, at a pretty fast pace, but that was fine with me after running 18 miles the day before.  No pains, no problems.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Toot Toot Goes the Engine

Sunday, September 1, 2013:

Why is that a delight to a 72-year-old "grownup?"  Running on a trail near the railroad track, I waved as the engine thundered by and the engineer responded with two short toots, the universal greeting.  I waved some more, of course, no doubt grinning ear to ear.  The train rumbled on, eight engines strong, and I was able to run near it, perhaps 50 feet away, for a half mile or so.  I do like trains.  I assume that some of those eight engines were actually being towed to where they were needed, because the train wasn't long enough to require more than two or three on that flat track.

Seven more engines behind
this, plus a nice train

The train was a good start to a great run on the grass trails.  18 miles, heading toward 20 next week.  I did a 17-mile run last week, but this week the weather was better and I felt better and ran better.  I'm a little surprised, because I ran yesterday and did a couple of hours of serious yard work too (hard, sweaty work), but I felt strong today anyway.  I carried water and took five Clif Shot gels along the way, and three salt tablets.  Most of the time I did a run/walk of 20/20, going a little faster toward the end.


(1) The right knee with PFS hurt a little most of the way, but was not a limiting factor;

(2) On both feet, the second toe is in trouble, the toe next to the big toe.  On the left foot the nail is bleeding and bloody underneath, and the right would have bled but I had a band-aid on it because it had already bled from earlier runs.  Huh.  I've previously lost one of my big-toe nails, since grown back, but now I'm sure I'll lose the nail on each of these toes.  I don't recall having trouble with either of these toes before, so why now?  I suppose it's related to all of the trail running that I've been doing, preparing for a marathon that is partly on trails, but why would trail running cause problems specifically with the second toe?  My shoes are plenty big - I wear size 10 ½ dress shoes, and I wear size 12 running shoes, so shoe size should be adequate.  Furthermore, although the trails are hilly, I've been mostly walking down the hills to avoid pounding on joints and bones. This should also avoid jamming my toes into the front of the shoes.

Toes are not a limiting problem - runners can run with toes in terrible shape.  Indeed, one of the blogs that I used to read was titled "Ugly Toes."  I'll deal with the problem, but I wish it wasn't happening because of the possibility of infection.

Despite all my whining, I really did enjoy the run.  I did four loops of different lengths, each starting and ending at the car, where I could refuel with water and gels, and each a little faster than the previous loop:

Miles Time    Pace   Loop
6.05 1:12:33   12:00 1
5.16 1:01:39   11:57 2
4.03 47:51   11:52 3
3.01 33:57   11:17 4
------- ----------   --------
18.3  3:36:00   11:50  Totals

Saturday, August 31:

I had no one to run with this morning with the St Croix Valley runners - everyone was faster than me.  So I ran rather slowly, doing 3.9 miles while the group was doing 5, finishing behind some and ahead of others.  I didn't have my watch, but it felt like I was probably going about 11 minutes per mile.

For the month: 127 miles.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Soggy Morning

We had a brief thunderstorm overnight, very bright and noisy but with only a little rain after all that.  Nevertheless the rain was just sufficient to make the grass trails wet and slippery, so I ran on the paved trails today.  Though the storm was over, the weather was still a factor: hazy, heavy air, with the dew point and the temperature equal at 72.

Oatmeal beneath.
I started out easy, with a run/walk ratio of 20/20, but found myself pushing harder as I ran the 5.6 miles.  I adjusted to avoid running downhill, and to run continuously when going uphill - this is good training and helps avoid injury from the downhill pounding.  Except for the heavy air and the resulting overly-sweaty running clothes, this run felt great.  No pains.

Loops: 3.53 mi in 39:05, pace 11:05; and 2.07 mi in 21:34, pace 10:25, overall 1:00:39 for 5.60 mi, pace 10:50.  I'm happy with that for today.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hot Recovery Run

We went out at seven again, to run four miles in the cool of the morning, but the temperature was already 80 degrees with a dewpoint of 72.  Yuk.  I'd rather it were 32 and snowing.  Really.

I had a very nice, easy run though, a recovery run after Sunday's 17 miles.  No pains to mention.  The time for 4.03 miles was 47:54, for a pace barely faster than 12 minutes per mile.  Good enough for today - it's a masterpiece.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Seventeen Miles

Sunday, August 25, 2013:

I’ve never been so glad to get back to air conditioning in my life!  We ran in the park as usual, but with a forecast in the high 90's we started early enough to be at the park before the gates opened at 6:00 am, and were running by 6:05.  The temperature was already 79 with a dewpoint of 70.  My visor cap was dripping from sweat within three miles.

I ran 3.5 miles on the paved trails first, while the sun came up, to avoid running on the rutty, irregular grass/dirt trails in near-dark.  Then I ran a loop of 6.3 miles and another of 7.1 on the grass trails, each time returning to the car to refill my water bottle.  The last loop was difficult for me, very hot, and the 20-ounce bottle that I was carrying ran out before I finished.  The sun melted my stamina away, and the only saving grace was a nice 10-mph breeze, without which I might have quit early.  Though I was trying to do a 20/20 run/walk, I walked more than that in the last mile or two, and felt like I was finishing a marathon. Uff-da.

Sunny Morning in the Park
Photo by Sunshine
Whining:  I found myself leaning to the left today, starting around mile four or five.  I don’t know why this happens, except it’s probably related to a lack of "core strength."  I should work on that - I wonder if I will.  It happens only once in a while, usually on a long run or a marathon (happened in Honolulu), but once it starts, it’s hard to fight it.  Further, my body wants to turn in the direction that I'm leaning, and toward the end of this run I had trouble landing my feet where I meant to put them, not exactly what you want on a rutty trail.

More whining: Both knees hurt a little bit in the middle of the run, seemingly in the knee joints themselves.  This was not a familiar feeling; at least I don't remember it in the 11 years since I started running. Caused by the heat?  Happily, though, the pain went away.

Loops: 41:25 (3.53 mi, pace 11:44), 1:18:34 (6.33 mi, pace 12:25), 1:30:19 (7.09 mi, pace 12:44), total 3:30:18 for 16.95 mi, average pace 12:24.  It'll do for today!

Saturday, August 24:

The St Croix Valley Runners now meet at Browns Creek Park on Neal in Stillwater, 7:00 am.  We had a big group this morning, at least a dozen runners.  I ran with Charley, who wanted to go short and slow, as I did.  We finished 2.4 hilly miles in 25:14 for a pace of 10:31, better than I needed to do, actually, with a long run scheduled for the next day.

Thursday, August 22:

Afternoon In The Sun.  After returning from Mayo Clinic we three went for a short run in the park in 84-degree temps.  I ran 3.3 miles in 36:49, for a pace of 11:09.  That's faster than I intended to go, with the temperature so high, but for only three miles it wasn't a problem.  I did have to stop for a "natural break," for which I was punished by the thorns of a buckthorn shrub.  I was eight minutes away from a porta-potty but I wasn't going to make it.

As usual, I ran the uphills and walked the downhills, to minimize the pounding on bones and joints.  No pains today at all.

Tuesday, August 20:

Short recovery run.  I ran 3.01 miles in 34:17 for a pace of 11:43, plenty good for today.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Fifteen Miles

We got an early start this morning, which was a good thing because the sun was full strength and the day warmed quickly.  I did three loops totaling fifteen miles, stopping at the car for water after each, and got a little slower with each loop.  The temperature was about 60 when we started and 77 when we finished three hours later.  There is some shade on these trails, but not a lot.

I really do love running here,
all the more when fall comes.
I felt good but not great today, a little more tired than I expected to feel.  Maybe I shouldn’t have run yesterday.  On the other hand it’s probably good to train on tired legs, though I wouldn’t race like that.  The warm air and hot sun were factors too.  The resulting 12-minute pace is OK for me these days, considering the difficulty of the trails.

I took four gels along the way, and carried water, drinking more of it than I had expected.  I actually ran out, but got a refill from a handy spigot in the parking lot.  I’ll have to remember where that spigot is.

Whining:  Zero!  That’s very nice.

Loops: 1:33:41 for 7.97 mi (pace 11:45), 47:43 for 4.03 (pace 11:50), 37:19 for 3.01 (pace 12:24), total 2:58:42 for 15.01, overall pace 11:54.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Three Easy Miles

Prairie restoration in process on the right of the trail
We're preparing for a 15-mile run very soon, so a three-mile jog was all that was on the menu.  To guarantee that I would run slowly enough, I stopped to take a dozen or more photos of the trail as I jogged along.  Time 35:30, pace 11:48.

Whining: Zip.  I felt great today.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

False Alarm

Yesterday’s shin-splint pain was nonexistent today, a very encouraging result of course.  Four miles on the park’s grass/dirt/sand trails, dodging horse droppings and gopher holes.  I ran/walked 30/20 on the flat, but ran continuously up hills and walked down them, for a time of 45:45 and a pace of 11:21.  Plenty good.

Whining: Absolutely zero.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Shin Splints Again

Wednesday, August 14, 2013:

Or not - I’m not sure. Last night something happened in my sleep, and I woke with a pain in the right tibia, maybe three inches below the top of the bone and at least an inch toward the medial side. Location is approximate, because the pain is internal to the bone and cannot be located by palpation. The pain is significant, even causing me to limp a little at first, though it got better.

Oddly, though, it doesn’t hurt to run, leading me to suspect that this injury is not the same as the one which I first noticed on July 10, though it does seem to be in the same place. Anyway I ran 3 miles in 34:48 for a pace of 11:34. I’m a little surprised that the pace wasn’t better, because I did run up most of the hills, but of course I also walked down the other side of them.

Whining: None during the run - only the shin splints before and after.

Tuesday, August 13:

Five-mile Recovery Run. I determined to take it easy and almost did so, but I felt great so I did run up a lot of the hills. 5.2 miles in one hour and six seconds, for a pace of 11:33.

Sunday, August 11:

Half Marathon Run. This is officially a "long run" for me. Our next marathon race is eight weeks away, so it’s time to build up to a 20 mile long run. 13 miles today, 15 next week, you get the picture. Running in the morning is just wonderful these days, usually about 60 degrees, and today was no exception. I ran one loop of 6.88 miles and another of 6.33. I carried water, and took two Clif Shot gels along the way.

I am SO impressed by the boost that the gels gave me. I use the mocha flavor with 50 mg of caffeine, and that combination really helped today. 13.2 miles in 2:30:52, pace 11:26, a bit faster than last week’s 11-mile run. I doubt I could have kept the same pace going for another half marathon, but if I could it would be very close to a 5-hour marathon, on a rather difficult, hilly, grass/dirt/sand trail.

Whining: The left-foot sprain, right-leg shin splints, and right-knee PFS all showed up, but only briefly. Most of the time the run was pain-free and very enjoyable.

Friday, August 9:
Thirty-mile Week. We were in the park again today, where I ran four miles in about 45 minutes. I didn’t record the time, so it’s a guess. No problems. I ran into Mike the park director and we had a short chat. He convinced me that the sand the is on the trails in spots is natural, a result of erosion. The soil is very sandy, and I suppose the dirt part just washes away, leaving the sand, or vice-versa.

Thursday, August 8:

Five Miles in the Sun, 58:51, pace 11:19.

Wednesday, August 7:

Tartan Terrible 2013. I run this funny little 4.3-mile race every year. It’s sort of a steeplechase-ish race, over hill and dale, mostly trails, some smooth and some rough, even through a water hazard. I don’t know why I like it, but I do. About sixty runners this year, raising a little money for the 3M Club Running Club. This year I ran/walked a 60/20 ratio and finished in 46:25 or so, about 40 seconds slower than last year. The race was almost that much longer, though, with the finish line moved a couple of hundred feet, and I was particularly careful to avoid injury this year, so maybe I wasn’t really any slower. But I wasn’t any faster, either.

Whining: Zip. Pace was 10:48.

Tuesday, August 6:

Two days after the 11-mile run we went back to the park, where I ran 5.05 miles in 1:11:37, for a pace of 11:50. Good enough. No whining to speak of.