Sunday, June 30, 2013

Stunning Grass Trails

Wet, muddy, sloppy, and frequently blocked by fallen trees, the trails had not been repaired since the thunderstorms of last weekend and the rainstorms this week.  I spent a lot of time, several minutes, just climbing past the deadfalls and tiptoeing around the sloppy places.  It was worth it though: what a wonderfully cool morning, with a perfect breeze and the low humidity that will improve the trails a little every day if the weather holds.  The old shoes that I use for trails have already been through the wash and will be dry in a few hours.

Two fawns.  Mom must be close by.

5.5 miles in 1:07:44, for a pace of 12:19.  I'm surprised it was that good, considering the obstacles.  I did a 30/20 run/walk where I could.  The right knee with PFS mumbled out a couple of little warnings, but those went away.

I asked at the park office if I could be of help with my lil' ol' chainsaw, but there are liability issues and I have to talk to "Mike" on a weekday.  I could do a lot to open those trails in just a few hours of my time.  I'll call Mike tomorrow.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

St. Croix Valley Runners

Our favorite running friends meet at 7:00 am  every Saturday at the Northland Tennis Courts in Stillwater.  We three joined them for the first time this year, having had too many other things to do on Saturday mornings up to now.  With many of the other runners I ended up taking "Wayne's Route," a 5-mile combination that takes us on suburban roads and trails, circling around Lake McKusick and back to the cars.  It's far preferable to the more traditional but unnerving 5-mile route that takes us on the shoulder of 55-mph Manning Avenue for about a mile and a half.

Poison ivy along the Gateway
Trail (yesterday's run)

I ran without walking for the first two miles or so, but was breathing too hard, so I dropped behind the others and went to a 60/20 run/walk, running with Dave some of the time and finishing the five miles in 45:42, for a respectable 9:08 pace.

 I can do better, too - I've been training at marathon pace or a little faster for a long time now, and it's about time I did some training at a faster pace, maybe some short races, or intervals, hill training, cross training, resistance training, whatever.  When we know what other marathons we will do this year, I will need to establish a training plan and just do it.  I'll have more speed at shorter distances like this, and hopefully will build muscle for more endurance in marathons too.

Meantime, no whining today.  Nothing hurts, I feel great.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Browns Creek State Trail

Thursday, Jun 27, 2013:

The Browns Creek State Trail is the rail right-of-way for the former Zephyr Railroad, a dinner and entertainment train which operated out of Stillwater, MN.  We three enjoyed that dinner train several times, and when it closed in 2008 the owner sold the right of way to the State of Minnesota and Washington County.  The new Browns Creek Trail will connect the city of Stillwater to the existing Gateway Trail about a quarter mile southwest of the Gateway's bridge over Highway 95.

Sunrise driving to Mayo Clinic
We parked at that bridge and I had to take a look.  The sign says Trail Closed, so of course we three were obliged to run on it.  The rails and ties have been removed, but that's about the only improvement so far at the Gateway end of the Browns Creek Trail.  The surface is small gravel, the remains of the old rail bed, and it's not bad running actually, but after about a mile the trail ahead disappeared under water and I turned around rather than go for a swim.  Total distance about 2.5 miles, and it took me about 30 minutes because I was stepping rather carefully.

Whining: None at all.

Tuesday, Jun 25:

After four days off, we three are back at it again.  5.8 miles in the park, on the paved trails because the grass & dirt trails are mighty soggy.  Since we last ran here three major thunderstorms have rumbled through the Twin Cities, causing a lot of damage.  In one place a crew had sliced up a huge oak that had obviously fallen right across the trail, making our passage through the piles of wood quite uneventful.  This was a lovely run, actually, a little humid but with temperatures at about 70.

I felt a little draggy today, maybe because of the lovely but humid weather or because of four days off from running.  Probably that second thing.  My time showed the weariness, doing a 40/20 run/walk of 5.76 miles in 58:54 for a pace of 10:14.  No pains, no problems.  I’m back.  Where’s the next marathon?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Very Bad Luck

Saturn Ion.  Their newer
car looks just the same.
Our son and his sweet wife are enduring more than their share of tribulations lately, starting with her diagnosis of advanced ovarian cancer, then a house burglary on Easter Sunday, then the death of his grandfather (my Dad), and finally, on the very day of Dad's funeral, a lightning fire resulting in the total loss of their brand-new home.
Living Room

The local NBC station here, KARE 11, ran this story the day of the fire.

Friends asked if they could help, so the beleaguered couple established a 'Fire Recovery Fund'. Please feel free to pass it on if you know of someone else who might be interested in the story.

Grandma's Marathon Skipped

Saturday, June 22, 2013:

I didn't run Grandma's after all. Our son's house was struck by lightning Friday morning and burst into flames, a total loss. We attended my Dad's funeral Friday and then went home to help our son and his wife.

The house looks like this too.

Thursday, June 20:

2 miles or so in the park, running with grandson, more or less.

Tuesday, June 18:

2.5 miles in the park, tapering.

Sunday, June 16:

3.6 miles in the park again, in 37:46. I ran/walked 20/20 this time, probably something like what I will do in the upcoming marathon. Maybe 30/30. Pace was 10:30, about a minute faster than I actually expect to run, though I did run a little more than 20/20 on some downhills. Again no pains, no problems except the cold that I thought had left me is back in the form of a sinus infection, mild fever and all. Oh well, this too shall pass.

Saturday, June 15:

3.6 miles doing a run/walk of 30/20, time about 37 or 38 minutes. It's fine, tapering now. No pains.

Thursday, June 13:

5.8 humid miles again, this time taking 58:08, slightly slower than the last two identical runs. I was a bit tired I guess. No pains.

Wednesday, June 12:

Warm Afternoon. We ran six more miles in the 73-degree sun this afternoon. That's not too hot for running at a modest pace, and I never felt the flushed face that is my signal to slow down in heat. Not quite. I ran/walked 5.76 miles in a time of 57:41, for a pace of 10:01. This was 20 seconds faster than Monday, running exactly the same course except backward, and with the same 30/20 run/walk. 20 seconds is nothing - it's a tie. Whining: Zip. Good run.

Monday, June 10:

Humidity 110%. Not technically, of course, but the car windshield was covered with mist when we got back from the run. I got back with t-shirt and shorts soaked, mostly from sweat that wouldn't dry off. I did a 30/20 run/walk, finishing 5.8 miles in 58:02, for a pace very near 10:00 minutes/mile. No pains, no problems. Splits: 29:31, 28:31. Faster on the second lap - that's good.

Saturday, June 8:

Good Short Run. We've been busy lately, actually too busy to run, which is saying something because running is a very high priority in our house. But we did get out to the park for forty very humid minutes today, where I ran/walked 3.6 miles in 35:24, for a pace just under 10:00 minutes per mile. No pains, especially none in the lower right abdomen. Yay!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

New Era

Thursday, June 6, 2013:

Dad died last Tuesday.  I'll sure miss him - he was one of my very best cheerleaders, following us on our trips and always wanting to know how the marathon went.  He loved what we do.  I'll miss calling or emailing him with our results, chatting with him on visits, even doing his taxes.  He was a wonderful Dad and a wonderful person, as sharp as anyone, with lots and lots of friends even at his age.  He leaves quite an empty place.  Go with God, Dad.

Today's run was appropriately dreary, 5.8 miles in 56-degree mist on the paved trails in the park.  I did a walk/run of 30 to 20 triplets, and finished in 59:30, for a pace of 10:20.  It's OK, I felt strong, as I should after taking three days off from running. Good to be back at it.

Whining: The lower right abdomen hurt a little, in the area of last year's hernia surgery.  I sure hope that doesn't get worse.

Monday, June 03, 2013

Seven Miles in the Park

Sunday, June 2, 2013:

Seven Miles in the Park.  We're three weeks away from the next marathon, Grandma's, and I should have done a long run today.  I have cold right now, though, and ran a marathon a week ago, so I just did 7 miles on the grass trails in the park.  Call it a recovery run I guess.  The grass is growing fast, six to eight inches high now, trying to stay ahead of the dandelions.   Running takes just a little more energy than it did a couple of weeks ago.  Two exchanges with other people:

A moron let his unleashed dog take a run directly at me as I approached.  The dog collided with me but turned out to be friendly, though of course I didn't know that until the last second.  The moron and I exchanged words about controlling the dog.  I don't usually like conflict, but I was happy to stop this time and face him down.  Almost fun.  I doubt he learned anything though - he was a lot angrier than I was, for some reason.  I sometimes carry a knife when I run, for protection against dogs, but didn't have it along this time.  Good thing - that dog might have been hurt badly.

A young woman, running toward me on the trail, asked me "How wet is the trail ahead?".  I pointed to my almost-clean shoes and said "No problem, you can get through."  She grinned, "Yay!  Sounds great!" and off she went. No doubt she flew through those marshy spots at twice my pace.

All organic

Whining: The right knee with PFS actually did hurt a bit, going down one hill especially.  I walked for a minute or two and the hill was in the past, along with the knee pain.  I should probably start up the PFS therapy exercises again though.

I lost track of the time toward the end, but at about five miles the pace was 10:40.  Good enough for tall grass.   What a wonderful, energy-giving run in perfect weather.

Friday, May 30:

This was the second run after the Med City Marathon.  2.51 miles on the park's paved trails, time 25:50, pace 10:18.  No problems.

Wednesday, May 28:

This was the first recovery run after the Med City Marathon last Sunday.  2.51 miles in about 27 minutes on the paved trails in the park.  No problems.