Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Just a Little Faster

Yesterday we visited our favorite indoor track, where I walked three miles as fast as I could, no running. I forgot to bring my watch, so I don't know how fast that was. No significant pain in my left knee.

Today I did bring my watch, and logged the best times for three miles in recent history, 14:33, 14:17, 14:09, total 42:59. I'm plenty happy with the times, especially with the increase in speed as the miles went by. Again no significant knee pain. It's a good head start on 2020.

Don't you like that year - 2020?   2019 always seemed awkward, but twenty twenty just sort of trips off the tongue, or the keyboard.

Have a wonderful Christmas season and a safe and happy 2020.


Friday, December 20, 2019

Mostly Walking

I have a new item on my bucket list - I'd like to run/walk the Moose Mountain Marathon near Lutsen, MN, for my 101st marathon. When people ask about my favorite marathon I say there are three: (1) The New York City Marathon (millions of cheering spectators); (2) the Avenue of the Giants Marathon (no spectators but the silent and stunning redwoods); and (3) the Moose Mountain Marathon, with its incredible array of north woods forests, hills, and vistas. I grew up near there and the Superior Hiking Trail engages my heart.

I've done the Moose Mountain Marathon twice, but others have discovered it now and it's so popular that registration has become a lottery. According to the web site, "the number of applications for the [marathon] has grown exponentially each year," so I'm not at all certain of being selected. One can only hope. I don't have a fallback plan.

After finishing 100 marathons in 2016 I switched to sprints, running in the State and National Senior Games at distances from 200m to 1500m. That was fun, I love to let it all out on the track, but it may have been a mistake because I injured the meniscus in my left knee during training. Now I believe that I will need some sort of surgery to be able to run very far again, and I'm not anxious for surgery. But I can still walk, pretty fast too, and I think that I can walk 26 miles. I'll find that out as I build the training for a marathon.

Mall of America Indoor Theme Park
For right now we three are running and walking at indoor tracks and walking at local stores and malls. We do something almost every day. Yesterday we visited the Mall of America for a couple of hours, exploring the complete loop on each of the three levels. We did a little shopping, too, it being Christmas  season and all, but we certainly traversed enough distance to make the walking worthwhile.

The day before that we went to our favorite indoor track, where I go just as fast as I can walk. 9 laps make a mile, according to the signs, and I think that's pretty close, so the miles are easy to measure. My times for 3 miles were 14:56, 14:42, and 14:12. I got faster as the miles rolled by, and I like that. This was the fastest three miles I've done on that track so far this winter - next I'll probably extend the distance while trying to maintain the speed.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

St Croix Crossing 5K

We three all ran in the St Croix Crossing 5k in Stillwater, MN, last Saturday.  No big hurry - I'm still nursing a bum left knee, so I just kept up with Ardis and Sarah, mostly walking. I did coast out ahead in the last mile, finishing in 50:12, nothing to brag about but the knee felt good all the way. I'm still running and still happy.

On the St Croix Crossing Bridge at Bayport, MN

Monday, April 16, 2018

Running Again

Another run at the local high school indoor track.  We have been running there all winter, not using either of the YMCA tracks that are 15 miles away, since this one is just a mile.  I like the air in here, and I like everything else about it, including the atmosphere, students and teachers mixing with us ordinary citizens.  Best of all, it’s free with Silver Sneakers.

I caught a nasty cold about six weeks ago and didn’t run much for several weeks, but we’ve gone to this track almost very day this month and I’m coming back from that time off.  Today I went three miles, running three laps of the first mile, all of the second mile, and three laps of the third.  The middle mile took 9:25 and I was speeding up in the last laps, so I could have gone faster.  Best finish since the USATF race on March 4.  I might be getting back to the running strength that I had before that last cold.

The goal remains the National Senior Games in Albuquerque, in 2019.  My preference is to run the 200m dash, but I was injured doing that, and the injured right hamstring tendon just doesn’t seem to heal.  Now I have another appointment with the sports doctor, after 9 months, to find out if there is any remedy available besides physical therapy, which just hasn’t worked.

Springtime in Minnesota
The Ides of April Blizzard
In the meantime, or if there is no remedy, I can still run the mile.  It’s only about 2/3 as fast (8 times as far) and because of that it doesn’t seem to re-injure me.  I run at least a mile every other day, mostly walking on the alternate days, and that doesn’t hurt.   I don’t actually LIKE the 1-mile race - it seems very intense.  But it’s over in 9 minutes, hopefully less.  I can qualify for the Senior Games 1500 meter distance if I can run a mile in 8:20, and I came pretty close at the USATF race.

When we are able to run outdoors, I will increase the distance on some days.  In fact there is a popular 10k next weekend, no better way to train than to race.  If the streets are open.

Splits: 13:16, 9:25, 12:53, total 35:33 plus a couple of extra laps that I didn’t time.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Faster Mile

A couple of weeks ago I had a good one-mile run at the track, felt fine,  but the next day had a serious case of bursitis in the right hip.  I couldn’t do much more than walk for most of the next week, but it’s fully recovered now.  That mile was 10:27, and I ran another four laps before  walking.  54 right turns, maybe the cause of the bursitis.

Last Wednesday, Feb 14 (Valentines Day), I decided to run a bit faster.  The track is 9 laps per mile (or so they say), rectangular, around and above four basketball courts. The long sides are maybe twice as long as the short sides, and the corners are pretty sharp and not at all banked.  The best way for me to run faster but limit the risk of injury is to speed up on the long sides and maybe a little on the short sides, but slow down for the corners.  I did finish in 9:20, which was just fine for Valentines Day, the fastest mile I’ve done on this track.  (The track opened last October).

Today I didn’t feel especially strong, but I followed that same procedure, though not pushing too hard, and was a little surprised to finish the first lap in about 61 seconds.  Note: 60 seconds per lap is a 9-minute mile.  As usual, during the first few laps I tried to think of some excuse to stop and walk, but nothing hurt and I didn’t need to go to the bathroom, so I had to keep going.  It gets easier when I’m more than half done and can start counting the laps down instead of up.  When there are only three left I look forward to the last two.  In the next-to-last lap I see if I can pick up the pace just a little, and that lap seems to go by fairly quickly, and then I feel that I can push to the limit in the last lap, because there is nothing to conserve any more.  That’s actually kind of fun.

I must have moved faster in those last two laps because I know that I was slightly behind the 60-second pace somewhere in the middle, but finished the whole mile in 8:57.  That’s another new record for me on this track.  I really want to run the 200m event, not the 1500, but that is how I got injured.  Since I don’t know how to heal the injury, I might as well train for longer instead of faster.  A mile is actually 1609 meters, so it’s a good distance for training to run the 1500m track event.

Just a very slight complaint from my right hamstring injury after today’s run.  Bend over once to stretch it a little, and it goes away.  I’m not sure how to deal with that, actually, but my instinct is to go ahead and bend over, stretch it just that little, so that it will heal correctly.

Mile splits: 13:10, 8:57, ... I failed to record the time of the third mile.  Oh well.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Mile and a Half

The first lap running on the rectangular track feels very nice, but then somewhere around two laps I’m asking myself “Do I really have to run all nine laps of this mile?"  At three it’s getting better, and I’m thinking “good, I’m one third done." At 4 ½ laps it’s “hey, half done.”  Then the laps click off more easily and I’m counting them down rather than up, just over a minute apiece.  Four laps left, three, two, and I’m wondering if I can just keep going after the ninth lap.

Golly gee, I feel OK at nine laps and keep right on going.  Now looking for excuses to stop short of two miles.  Do I need to go to the bathroom?  Nope - no excuse there.  How about pains - does anything hurt?  No such luck, still no excuse.  Am I at risk of hurting myself?  Probably not, but maybe I should only do a mile and a half today just to be safe, and try two miles in a few days.  

So I stopped running at a mile and four laps, walking the remaining five laps to finish off the mile.  Good run, no pains.

These days I’m walking and running most days that I can.  Sunshine and I have been busy with eye surgeries, which are incompatible with running for at least a week afterward, and we have had our share of colds, so I’ve only gotten to the track 14 days so far this month.  On the advice of my therapist I don’t run two days in a row, but walking is OK and I walk pretty fast.

I’m still nursing the hamstring tendon injury that first appeared last May, but running the mile doesn’t hurt, at least not at the speed I’m doing now.  The plan is to increase distance and speed very gradually, paying close attention to that injury, and travel to several states’ Senior Games track meets over this year, hoping to qualify for the National Senior Games in Albuquerque in 2019.  I can already run the 1500m (just short of a mile), and will get faster at that distance.  I hope also to be able to run shorter (thus faster) distances, starting with the 800m, and maybe (hopefully) even the 200m, my favorite distance.  We’ll see - the key is to avoid re-injury. 

Meanwhile, the myeloma is under control right now and life is very sweet.

Mile splits: 11:57 (walk/run), 10:27 (run), 12:57 (walk/run), 35:21 total.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

One Last Run Before WInter

Well, technically it's already winter season in Minnesota I guess, but you wouldn't have thought so last Saturday.  45 degrees, no wind, brilliant sun.

Looks greener in the summer :-)

On December 2 in the Twin Cities the average high temperature is 30 degrees, and in some years there is a foot of snow on the ground.  Not last Saturday!  The girls and I went to our beloved county park to run on the hilly grass and dirt trails, through meadows and deep woods.

I had a wonderful run, 6.24 miles in an hour and 22 minutes, for an average pace of about 13:28, running and walking.  This weekend may have been the last chance to run in the park until spring, and plenty of other people were out there enjoying it too.  I did aggravate the hamstring injury, sorry to say, but I had such a great time.

I took the selfie on a ridge that overlooks a huge native-plant meadow in the park, a favorite place to take a breather and enjoy the view for a moment.  Sweet Pea took the second photo as I ran through the woods.

Today, Tuesday, the temperature is 17 degrees and the roads are icy.  The drive from home to Mayo Clinic, usually about 100 minutes, took an extra hour.  Alas, winter did get here.