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.