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.