Monday, August 31, 2015

Easy Run

Or so I intended, because I worked pretty hard the last two days.  But going slow is hard - I tend to push because I don't want to be disappointed in the result.  Maybe I should just not even wear my watch.

I did wear it today, though, and went 3.94 miles in 55:29, for  pace of 14:05, a little slower.  S'ok.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Park Rocks

For the first time this year we ran in the huge Lake Elmo Park Reserve, where we have spent so many hours in recent years.  We took the grass trails and I did a walk / run, walking as fast as I could and running a bit whenever I felt like it, which was fairly often.  What a precious and high-energy event.  I love that park - why is this the first time we're run there this year?

I love trail running - (selfie)

Along the way I remembered why I haven't usually run on the grass trails in the few weeks before a marathon - there is a risk of twisting an ankle on the edge of a rut in the grass trails.  And sure enough, I did twist my right ankle a little when I took my eyes off the trail to consult a map.  It didn't bother in the rest of the run, but I feel it now as I write this in front of the TV.  I'll take tomorrow off and it will be fine.

Distance 6.05 mi, time 1:22:00, pace 13:33.  That is real, but the number would be even better on pavement because: (1) These trails are hilly; (2) The ground is soft, especially in the rut that is the best path; and (3) the long grass and weeds grab at a runners shoes a little. It's all good, enjoyable running, but not quite like pavement.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Getting Closer

To a sub-13 walking pace.  Steve and I pushed each other for two miles out and two miles back on the Zephyr Trail this morning, going about as fast as I have ever walked.  It felt good!

More tomorrow on a grass trail.

Two-mile splits: 26:27, 26:03, total 52:30, pace 13:08

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Walking Faster?

This afternoon I got in the second walk/run since the Edmonton Marathon, and tried to go a little faster, but with little success.

Splits 27:35 (2.01mi), 27:02 (2.01 mi), total 54:36, 4.02 miles, pace 13:35.  If I could sustain that pace for a marathon, the finish time would be 5:56.  Not much faster than the marathon I just ran (walked) in 6:03.  Maybe it's too soon after the marathon.

I still want to figure out how to walk faster.  Goal is sub-13, sustained.

Wednesday, August 26:

Photo Shoot.  My sweet girls took photos and videos of me as I ran.  This was the first run since the Edmonton Marathon and I took it fairly easy.

Four miles plus a little back and forth for the photo shoot.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Edmonton Marathon Review

They don't get much better than this.  I loved this race, number 88 since my myeloma diagnosis.  Edmonton does a great job.

My race:

I entered the Marathon Walk, a walk-only division in the marathon which allowed a one-hour earlier start, and finished in 6:03:16, way ahead of my expectation of 6:30 to 7:00.  That's actually a pace of 13:51, and I am quite happy with it.  Truth be told I did run a little bit, but maybe just a dozen times or so for about 15 seconds (45 footfalls) each.  I doubt that my running could have advanced me by more than a minute or so.  I finished 4th of 14 in the Marathon Walk and first (of one) in my age group in the Marathon Walk.

Pre-dawn start
This finish was a solid 20 minutes faster than my last marathon, Columbia SC, in which I tried to run as much as I could, and 11 minutes faster than the Lost Dutchman Marathon in Arizona the month before.  Perhaps there is a message here.

By golly I really did enjoy this marathon.  People were wonderful, the course was very flat, weather was excellent, and I felt great throughout.  Now my muscles are tired, as they should be, but nothing hurts except, just a little, the bottoms of my feet and a bursa on the outside of my right hip.  Something new but temporary I'm sure.  Better in the morning.

What doesn't hurt:
  • My calves.  No cramping this time, always such an issue when I run a marathon; and
  • My hamstrings, which have raised such a fuss in recent months.
My girls did well too, in my opinion, finishing in good time.

The Edmonton Marathon:

John Stanton is the founder and CEO of the Running Room stores (and magazine), and godfather of this marathon.  I met John in Woodbury, MN, when he was opening a store there, and yesterday he introduced me to a crowd of runners in Edmonton's Shaw Conference Center, the epicenter of the marathon.

It all happens at the Shaw.  Expo, start, and finish of not only the marathon but the half, the 10k, and the 5k, maybe more.  That's quite convenient.  On the advice of friends who live in Edmonton (thanks Nelson) we parked at the bottom of the Shaw and only had to walk a hundred meters to get into the Shaw, then the escalators, and up to the start.  People staying at any of several nearby hotels would have it just as good.

The marathon course itself is two out-and-back 10.5k routes, mostly on little-used residential streets, often along the bank of the Saskatchewan River.  With today's clear air the view was very impressive - at several points we could see  Edmonton's downtown skyline in sharp relief over the river.

Police were everywhere, always polite and often smiling.  One laughed out loud when I told him he looked like he should be a Mountie!  (He had that square jaw and strong face I remember in paintings of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.) Wherever there were no police, there were volunteers instead.  I thanked a hundred of them, and there was never any question of which way to turn.  They really did the job.

Despite the river with its impressively high banks, the race is up on the plain and quite flat.  That might account in part for my good time, who knows.  I spoke with people after the race who had just run their personal best.

I would run this race any time.

  • The overall men's winner was Tom McGrath of Edmonton, finishing five minutes ahead of Thomas Omwenga of Kenya.  
  • The women's winner was Emily Potter of Alexandria, VA, fully 18 minutes ahead of the next woman.  Indeed, Ms Potter was sixth overall, besting all but five of the 365 men.  I saw her three times, and she was hauling! 
  • Sign: "Blisters are part of the game."  Indeed.  But none for me today.
  • Sign: "Toenails are unnecessary." 
  • I wish I could remember more of the signs ...
Canada is metric, so my splits are in kM:  25:10 (3k), 8:34, 8:28, 8:32, 8:45, 7:39, 9:20, 10:09, 8:14, 18:09 (2k), 15:53 (2k), 8:13, 8:01, 16:54 (2k), 8:18, 8:59, 9:35, 7:56, 8:23, 8:25, 8:41, 17:37 (2k), 16:60 (2k), 17:16 (2k), 17:23 (2k), 8:26, 9:05, 8:56, 8:39, 8:43, 8:34, 8:59, 10:20 (1.2k), total 6:03:33, pace 13:51.  The finish clock says 6:03:16, I'll take either one!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Too Far to Swim

Saturday, August 15, 2015:

My sweeties & I are on the right
So said my friend Tom this morning.  The air was so warm and humid that he and another runner decided to cut short their usual six-mile run, turning around early and running about four instead.

Steve and I walked four miles and, because we were just walking, we weren't bothered quite as much by the sticky weather.  We finished at a pace just under 14 minutes / mile.

Splits 27:18, 27:24, total 54:42, 4.0 miles, pace 13:41.

Friday, Aug 14:

12-mile bike ride.  In Minnesota, these are the dog days of August.  I had things to do in the morning, so had to delay the bike ride until afternoon, when the temperature was in the low 90's and the dew point in the low 70's.  Barely livable!  Running would have been out of the question, but bike riding is possible because the rate of energy output is elective, and there is a self-created cooling breeze.

I rode from home to Zephyr park, then the Zephyr Trail to Gateway, then back, for 12.2 miles in 1:01:19 and a speed of 11.9 mph, actually faster than I intended to go.  My legs were a little sore the next morning, which tells me that I need to do this more often, at least once a week.

Wednesday, Aug 12:

Hurried 5K.  Lots to do today, so I just did a 5K this morning.  Splits: 21:51 out, 22:28 back, total 44:20, pace 14:18.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Twelve-Mile Taper Run

Actually mostly a walk, but it felt like a run.  In accordance with recent custom I did 4-mile loops, three different ones,

Starting the third 4-mile loop
each beginning and ending at our house, so the problems of nature breaks and water refills are entirely solved.  I love that our new house is just 60 yards from a trail!  (One of the several reasons why we chose it.)

I did very little running, except for a 20-second jaunt at the beginning and end of each 4-mile loop, and a few more short jaunts in the last quarter mile of the last loop.  I feel like I could keep up that pace all day.

As you can see it is a lovely day, about 70 degrees, bright and sunny, breezy toward the end when I needed cooling the most.  I started at 6:05 am, because I have a lot to do today, and finished at about 9:00 am.  I stopped my watch when I took nature breaks and fetched water - the split times and pace are shown below.

Whining:  none!

2-mile splits: 26:40, 28:24, 28:36, 29:01, 27:25, 28:12, total 2:48:18, pace 14:02.

Sunday, August 09, 2015

Walk with Steve

Saturday, August 8, 2015:

We went east instead of west on the new Zephyr trail this morning - haven't done that before.  We turned around at the Mile One marker, about 1.8 miles from the park where we start, making the round trip about 3.6 miles.  I clicked my watch at 50:59, so the pace was about 14:10.

Steve & I sort of pushed each other I think, walking just as fast as we could.  Great walk, good company, no running, no pains!

Splits: 25:04 (down hill), 25:55 (up hill), total 50:59, pace 14:10

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Tartan Terrible 2015

This is a fun 4.3-mile evening race, advertised as "A non-certified, non-boring, non-conforming, non-exact 4 mile run over grass, sand and asphalt...and through water, weeds and mud."  I just love this race!  It's two loops, mostly on grass or dirt, mostly along the edges of a non-flat golf course.  Definitely non-boring.  Indeed there is a water hazard as well, a bit of a swamp in fact, and this year the water was calf-high if you stayed to the right on the "path" through the weeds, otherwise if you slid to the left, anything in your shorts pockets was at risk!

With a marathon coming up I mostly walked, but ran some of it, probably more than I should have,

At the Start
considering the risk of injury.  Nevertheless I got away with it, nothing hurts, I had a great time.  I do this race every year and this was certainly my slowest, but I was careful and finished in about 57 minutes I think.  (I forgot to click my watch at the finish and results aren't up yet.)  The first loop took 30:31, but I ran a lot more of the time in the second.  If 57 is close, then I did the 4.3 miles at a pace of about 13:15, faster than I have been training for the upcoming marathon.

I had decided NOT to run, just walk, but that's very hard to do when there are runners just ahead.  Inevitably, in the last half of the race, I start to catch up to some runners who went out too fast.  That's fun - I just have to pass them!.  This year I was concerned about finishing last, but other people took care of that for me.

Shoes, sox, shorts, & shirt went right in the wash, Don went in the shower, now all cleaned up.

Monday, August 03, 2015

20 Miles & Plenty Left

Monday, August 3, 2015:

Pace 14:21 - not bad.  If I never needed to stop, and could go just another 6 miles at that pace, I would finish a marathon in 6:17, a little faster than my last one!  
Of course I do need to stop for a nature break now and then, and the last 6 miles are the toughest, but I felt good at the end of this walk/run.  It was a perfect 20-mile training run - even the weather was perfect, 55 and calm at the start, 72 and breezy at the finish, mostly sunny.

The course consisted of five different 4-mile routes, each starting and ending at our house, making nature breaks and water refills easy.  I ran very little of it - just 15 or 20 seconds at the beginning and end of each route, and slightly more than that in the last quarter mile.  The pace was consistent - every mile was slightly faster than 15 minutes.  I stopped my watch during nature breaks, and can't do that in a real race, but still finished the 20 miles in just five hours elapsed time, 6:00 am to 11:00 am.

I took five Clif Shot gels along the way, several salt tablets, and 16 ounces of water every four miles except the first four.

Whining:  My right hamstring hurt a little after mile 3, a feeling which reminded me of a time in 2004 when a part of that hamstring actually did break during the Twin Cities Marathon, requiring me to walk to the finish.  Today it got better as I went along, though, and by the end I didn't feel it at all.  I think if I actually DO the stretches that I know how to do, every day for the next three weeks, that hamstring will be fine in the walking marathon.

2-mile splits:  26:23, 28:51, 28:57, 29:20, 29:28, 27:36, 28:50, 28:48, 29:59, 28:47, 4:46:57, pace 14:21 

Saturday, August 1:

Today we policed one mile of the new Zephyr trail, walking at a modest pace and picking up trash along the way.  We found very little trash!  We went a little beyond our scheduled turnaround, probably walking 2.5 miles total.  Easy.

Thursday, July 30:

Four miles, no problems.  Pace 14:01.  Two-mile splits: 28:10, 27:53, 56:02

Monday, July 27:

Twelve miles.  No problems.  Two-mile splits:  27:08, 29:27, 29:36, 31:07, 29:19, 29:32, total 2:56:10, pace 14:41.

Saturday, July 25:

Best four miles.  Two-mile splits: 27:34, 27:58, total 55:33, pace 13:53, sub-14!  I walked with Charley on the Zephyr Trail this morning, and we pushed it.  Thanks Charley.

Wednesday, July 22:

Better than last week.  This is DEX day, the day after I take my dexamethasone.  Last week on DEX day I did a longish run (walk) of 14 miles and experienced a lot of pep, a known DEX feature, but tired muscles.  Today I had the pep but muscles were fine, despite the 16-miler two days ago.  Go figger.

No problems.  Time 56:27, distance 4.00 miles, pace 14:07.  Not bad at all, since I'm shooting for sub-14.  Might get there!

What was different?
  • Shorter run of course, but last week even the first two miles were slower than they should have been.
  • I did start out from the house with a short run this time - maybe that stretches ligaments & things.
  • I took my DEX later in the evening last night - maybe that makes some kind of a difference.