Sunday, May 26, 2013

Med City Marathon 2013

Don't invite us to your marathon!  We sometimes encounter bad luck when we go to a marathon.  It could be so hot that they have to cancel the marathon (Chicago), or rain so hard that the course gets flooded out (St. Charles, MO), or a fire on the course requires a last-minute diversion of the race (Cincinnati).

Today it rained.  That's not new, we've run in rain lots of times, but today it cooled off when it rained, and the wind increased, so instead of the warmish rain that was forecast, we got a cold rain with strong winds.  I had three garments up top, including a wind jacket, and was glad for all of them, but got a little cold anyway.  My bare legs, in particular, got cold and they cramped up and wouldn't work as well as they should have.  Oh boo hoo, that's the way the marathon ball bounces.  No fault of the Med City Marathon.

My race:

I enjoyed myself.  I finished in 5:07:41, for a pace of 11:44, second of three in my age 70-74 age group, my 73rd marathon since the cancer diagnosis ten years ago.  In better weather I might have broken 5 hours, which would be an accomplishment for me these days.  Anyway I'm happy enough with the finish time, considering everything.

I did cramp up in the last two miles or so, which is nothing new.  In fact I was cramping up at the finish, limping and hopping over the finish mats, with reporters taking video!  So I'm surprised to see that my second half marathon took only a minute and a half more than the first half marathon.  I suppose I took more or longer porta-potty stops in the first half.

Billboard near Rochester, MN

Whining: None!  Except for the cramps, just a temporary muscle thing, nothing hurt during the entire 26.2 miles.  Yay!

I took six gels along the way, and three or four salt tablets, plus a lot of water, doing a run/walk of 30 to 20 triplets most of the distance.  I took off my wind jacket after maybe mile six, but had to put it on again at about the half marathon point when the rain started.  The rain was unusually cold and the air temperature dropped a few degrees too, with high winds, so the wind chill dropped into the high 30's for most of the last half.  That wind chill calls for more than just shorts on the legs.

Med City Marathon:

It's a good one.  I would happily do it again, probably will.  Last year the weather was too hot, this year too wet and cold, perhaps next year it will be just right.  Much of the race was on trails, with lots of ornamental shrubs, fruit trees, and lilacs in bloom.  Beautiful.  Some of the run was on roads with a coned-off shoulder or lane, with traffic sailing by, but I never really felt at risk.  The expo was moderate in size, but at least appropriate to the size of the marathon.  I found lots and lots of volunteers on the course, and police where needed, though my girls did not think that the half-marathon route was marked well enough.  I was surprised by the number of spectators, even in the rain.  Results were available on line very quickly after the race.


  • One runner is running all of Minnesota's marathons.  I believe that he said there are 13.  That's more than I thought.
  • Another runner, doing a run/walk at about my speed, was clasping her hands on top of her head during the walk.  When I asked her about it, she said that it helped expand her lungs.  I might try that.
  • For a while I ran with a guy from Stillwater.  We had never met each other - actually still haven't.
  • One woman in the half had shaved her head and said something to the effect that she was reinventing herself.  She didn't wear a hat, and I bet her head got pretty cold when it started to rain.
  • We three stayed at the Doubletree, for a very reasonable rate.  We were treated well and the hotel is perfectly situated for the start (busses) and the finish.
  • The race starts in Byron, MN, which looks like a very nice small town, located close to Rochester.
Splits: 11:02, 11:54, 10:19, 11:26, 12:50, 11:09, 10:48, 23:19 (2 mi), 11:52, 23:07 (2 mi), 25:24 (2 MI), 11:40, 10:55, 23:21 (2 MI), 11:08, 10:35, 23:07 (2 MI), 11:04, 26:47 (2 MI), 14:04, 1:49, total 5:07:41, pace 11:44.

Friday, May 24, 2013


Friday, May 24, 2013:

Today’s run was just 2.51 miles, suitable for the last taper run before a marathon.  Time was 26:21, with a run/walk ratio of 30/20, and the runs were unhurried, as they might be in a marathon.  The resulting pace was 10:30, which may be a bit fast for the marathon but I may try it anyway.  If sustained, that pace would bring me home in 4:35, well ahead of any recent finishes, so it seems unlikely that I could sustain it.  Actually, there is a 5-hour pace team in this marathon, so maybe I'll try to hang with them, using whatever run/walk ratio seems to keep me even with them.  We'll see.

Dinner, all organic

Whining:  None.  The knee was fine today, no pains.  I’m as ready as I can get.  Tomorrow we drive the course and get to the expo to pick up our race numbers and chips.  Looks like race day might be a bit rainy, with temperatures comfortably in the 50's.

Wednesday, May 22:

Again 3.6 miles on the park’s paved trails, in a time of 35:10.  I used my recent run/walk ratio of 40/20 (triplets), resulting in a pace of 9:46.   I did feel some pain in the right knee (PFS) near the very end of the run.  I hope that goes away.

Monday, May 20:

3.6 miles on the paved trails in the park.  No problems.  I didn't wear my watch, but I suppose the time was about 36 minutes.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Reasons to Lose Weight

Saturday, May 18, 2013:

I keep messing around with the weight loss, and I know what to do, but then I go off the program whenever I get sick (which sometimes happens right after starting to lose weight) or for any of several other reasons including an upcoming marathon.  My arms, legs, and butt are fine, but I have extra weight on the front of my body, useless fat of the medically-worst kind.  Here are some reasons why I should take off that fat:
My blood pressure is marginally high sometimes (e.g. 143/70); weight loss may help that.
This type of fat can set me up for heart disease, which runs in the family anyway.
I can run faster - "they" say 1% faster for every 1% weight loss, and I believe it.
Vanity - I don't like man-boobs or a belly.
More energy.  Well hey, who knows?
I'm sure there are more reasons, maybe even better ones.

It's not especially obvious that I need to lose weight, but I'm the one who sees me in the bathroom mirror and I know.  I use Weight Watchers to lose weight, writing down my points every day.  When I actually DO write them down, I actually DO lose the weight.  It's that simple.  So I've started again, and so far so good - I haven't gotten sick yet and I've lost a couple of pounds.

Because of recent rain, I ran on the park's paved trails today instead of my preferred grass trails, 5.8 miles in 56:54, for a pace of 9:49.  That's not a bad pace, about a minute per mile faster than I can do on the hillier, softer, grass trails.  I did work pretty hard, though, almost as if it were a race.  I like to do a hard run a week before a marathon.  Also, this was a hot run, with a temperature of 77 and fairly high humidity, good training in case the upcoming Med City marathon is hot.  Our next marathon after Med City is Grandma's, and it often is hot, sorry to say, but some hot running now will help me train for that too.

I'd love to get a cool off-the-lake tailwind at Grandma's someday - some year.

Whining: None.

Thursday, May 16, 2013:

My legs felt weary today, I think because I'm on a calorie-limited diet.  I ran a minute faster than Tuesday, though, on the same 6.3-mile route, even though I took a brief natural break without stopping the watch.  No pains.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Forget Spring

A high of 94 is forecast for today, a genuine summer day - we never really had much spring.  It was already 64 at 8:15 am, when we started our run, and 72 when I finished, bright sun all the way.  A nice little breeze was actually quite welcome.  The trail was perfect - soft earth with very few wet spots.  The route that I took today includes one small stream that has to be crossed by

You can see the oatmeal in this one
jumping from rock to rock, but I've done it before, and I take my time and so far haven't slipped or splashed.  I love these trails.  What a day!

6.33 miles in 1:07:34, for a pace of 10:40.  I’m plenty happy with that on this soft, hilly trail.

Whining: The right knee with PFS complained on a couple of downhill stretches, but not badly, and it eventually stopped yelling.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Eight Great Miles

Sunday, May 12, 2013:

Running on the "grass" (rutty mud & grass) trails again, I had a wonderful time.  People were out this Sunday afternoon, with kids, dogs, and horses, lots of horses.  I slow to a walk when I pass a horse, trying not to spook it.  Some riders pull off the trail and wait for me to pass, while others try to ignore me.  I suppose it depends on the personality of the horse; some are more easily spooked than others.

The temperature was about 55 degrees with a bright sun and a nice breeze.  One long-sleeved shirt worked fine.  I ran/walked 8.29 miles in 1:29:26, for a total pace of 10:50, doing 40 running triplets to 20 walking.  That pace is better than Friday’s, and I went twice as far.

Whining:  None at all.

Loop 1: 4.1 miles in 44:30.  Loop 2: 4.19 miles in 44:57.  These loops are nearly identical - only one part of the loop changed

Friday, May 10:

I forgot my watch and had to use my cell phone instead, so the time of 46 minutes could be off by a bit.  4.1 very hilly miles in that time, on the grass trails in the park.  I like that though.  I walked some of the time today, especially up hills.  The pace was apparently about 11 minutes/mile, maybe a bit slower.

Whining:  The right knee complained just a bit today - I think it’s the patellofemoral (PFS) acting up.  Not bad though.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Dew On the Grass

Dew really messes up the shoes, because they get wet and pick up all sorts of dirt and dust, which becomes mud.  Further, the dew gets into the very-ventilated running shoes and gets the socks wet and dirty.  Oh my, oh my.  It sparkles in the morning sun though, and it’s cool on the feet, so I look forward to the dew anyway.  Shoes and socks are washable.

We had a dewy morning today, and I had a very lovely run.  The creatures are all out now; I saw egrets and red-winged blackbirds, four deer, a rabbit, a hawk out cruising for that rabbit, several crows,

Leftovers with turkey bacon
canada geese nesting (they make a racket), lots of other birds, and I heard the frogs singing their spring symphony of fertility at every little water hole.

I ran 6.05 miles on the grass/dirt trails in 1:04:52, for a pace of 10:43.  I thought I was doing a little better than that, actually, but apparently my legs were a little tired.  The total running mileage for the last three days adds up to 25.4, plus I also walked a 5k on Sunday.

Whining:  I did feel a little signal from the right knee, probably the patellofemoral syndrome (PFS) letting me know that the distance and the variable footing might become an issue.  No problem - I’ll take it easy tomorrow and Thursday.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Running Shoes Are Washable

And it’s a good thing, too.  I took a different trail today, and was a bit sorry that I did, because the trail was under water in several places, and since it’s a dirt trail, under water means under mud.  That’s a peril of using dirt ("grass") trails too soon after the snow has melted.  The other trails are pretty good, but this one isn't ready yet.  In fact, after the run I noticed that the trails are still closed for horses and mountain bikes.

I had a good run though.  Two loops of hilly, dirt & grass trails totaling 13.1 miles (by coincidence a half marathon) in 2:32:00, for a pace of 11:37.  I'm not excited about that pace, certainly, but it includes the time for a bathroom stop, a stop at the car to change shirts and pick up water, lots of hills, and several other delays including the mud problem.  The pace will have to do.

Apparently this was my long run before the next marathon, which I just yesterday realized is only three weeks away.  I would prefer to do a longer run three weeks ahead of a marathon, but I'll add this 13 miles to the 6 from yesterday and call it 19.  Also, hopefully, my legs will remember the last marathon about 7 weeks ago.  Maybe.
I've never done a triathlon yet

The temperature went from 54 to 64 during the run, full sun and a slight breeze, hard to beat that weather.  I carried water, and took two GU packets.

Whining: Zip.  You would think that the twists of 20,000 steps on rutty dirt trails would take a toll on ankles and knees, but I had no problems today and I suspect that my joints are the better for the workout.

Splits:  1:19:20 first loop, 6.85 mi, pace 11:35.  1:12:40 second loop, 6.24 mi, pace 11:39, total 2:32:00 for 13:09 mi, overall pace 11:37.

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Too Hot Outdoors

Sunday, May 5, 2013:

NOT!  We had a beautiful Sunday afternoon today, about 68 degrees and mostly sunny.  With a little breeze, that was dandy weather for running.  We three went to the park, where I ran on the grass trails for just the second time this spring, going 6.25 miles in 1:04:10, for a pace of 10:16.

Whining:  That doesn't seem very fast, but it was a hard push today, and I’m unusually beat afterward.  Nothing hurts, though, so let’s do it again tomorrow!  The weather looks pretty good for a late morning run, perhaps a bit farther but a bit slower.

Earlier today my sweeties and I also enjoyed a 5k walk/run in the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, called the Bud Break.  We have shirts from that race going back ten years, and the race has become a tradition for us.  We do it whenever we aren't out of town running a marathon somewhere.  The buds were behind schedule this year, as is everything outdoors, but the walk was certainly enjoyable nonetheless.

Thursday, May 2:

We three ran in the Woodbury YMCA again today, hopefully the last time for a while, as the weather HAS to get better.  Four miles in 37:10, no pains or problems.

Splits: 9:36, 9:18, 9:18, 8:57, total 37:10, pace 9:18.

Tuesday, April 30:

This was a scrumptious day in the park, running on the grass trails for the first time this spring.  They were only slightly soggy, mostly perfect for running.  I went 6.05 miles doing my 40/20 run/walk, finishing in 1:05:00.  I did need two or three extra minutes to get around a place where a little river covers the trail in the spring, so the pace comes pretty close to 10 minutes per mile, plenty good enough for hilly trail running.

Whining:  Zero.  I love this kind of running.  Nothing hurts.

Only 76 miles this month though, we have to jack that up a bit.  Another marathon is approaching.