Sunday, December 6, 2009

Oh so close.....

Mary and I finished CIM marathon just a couple hours ago.
I am sad to report that Mary finished in 4:06:18 chip time (give or take a second or two) which is 19 seconds too slow to be a Boston qualifier.
She did so well up to mile 23, but just could not hang on for the final miles.
Yet, on the bright side, this was a marathon PR by over 12 minutes for her.
Also, there is plenty of time to get that BQ for April of 2011.
We are going to rest up a bit and then go out for some pizza and watch the Vikes dominate the Cardinals tonight.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Getting ready for CIM

That's right, Mary and I are in Sacramento, CA right now. The California International Marathon starts at 7:00 AM tomorrow, and there is a nervous energy buzzing about.
Yes, I have not written anything on this blog for a really long time.
No, I have not stopped running.
Yes, I have been running less.

Since September, things have been quite busy for me, which leads to less running.
Mary, on the other hand has put in a really good training cycle this year. We are running CIM tomorrow for one sole purpose.

Mary will attempt to a run a 4:05:59 or better tomorrow in order to get a Boston Qualifier.
It kind of sucked that Boston Marathon 2010 registration filled up mid-November, but if all goes well tomorrow, we will be in Beantown in April of 2011.

It appears that CIM has a lot of really good, well qualified pacers tomorrow. I see that Tim Twietmeyer (5 time winner at Western States) is leading the 3:35 group.
I will be running with Mary, and we will tuck in behind the 4:05 group.

We've already gotten our race packets and numbers.
Mary is #3954
John is #3953
If you want, log in to tomorrow, click on the runner tracking and cheer us on!

I will try to be a good blogger and post something here after the race!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Superior Trail 50 in pictures

Here are some pictures that Mary took during the Superior Trail 50 on September 12, 2009.
Just before the start (David Wakefield, Val Shuster, myself and Brian Peterson)
Coming into Crosby Manitou Aid Station

Leaving Sugarloaf Aid Station (I fell again about 2 minutes after this was taken)

Leaving Cramer Road Aid Station

Heading down to Temperance River after the Aid Station.

Checking out the goodies at Sawbill (SteveQ to my right)

Leaving Sawbill with a "Thumbs-up"

Coming into Oberg with Helen cheering the incoming runners.

Finally, the FINISH at Caribou Highlands Resort

Talking with Brian Peterson right after the finish.

Visiting with Matt Patten after the finish

Receiving 2nd place Masters from Larry Pederson

Posing with Brian Peterson (2nd Overall and 1st Men's Open)

I've also compiled a rough summary of my splits for the race:
Leg Time Miles AvgPace
Sonju 1:17 7.5 10:16
Manitou 0:41 4.2 9:45
Sugarloaf 1:54 9.4 12:08
Cramer Rd 1:18 5.6 13:56
Temperance 1:35 6.0 15:50
Sawbill 1:11 6.8 10:26
Oberg 1:12 5.5 13:05
Lutsen 1:40 7.1 14:05
OVERALL 10:48 52.1 12:26

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Superior Trail 50 Race Report

Superior Trail 50 Race Report - September 12, 2009
What a ride..
This is a great event, one that any ultra or trail runner should consider. The experience of running on the Superior Hiking Trail is one that I will cherish for a long time. I will try to recap some of the highlights (and low points) of my run there in the next few paragraphs.
Pre Race:
Mary and I drove into the area mid afternoon on Friday and decided to check out some of the 100 mile aid stations on the way up. Since they had started at 8:00 AM Friday morning, I figured the leaders would have about 36 miles in. We decided to stop at Tettegouche (mile 34.2) to see if we could see some of the 100 milers on the trail. We parked in the lot and walked a ways up the hill and got to the aid station. Saw some familiar faces. John Storkamp, Helen Lavin, and Alicia Gordon. It was here that Helen introduced me to Brian Peterson - last year's winner of the 50 mile run. Everyone was just hanging out, 4 runners had come through already. It wasn't long before we saw Matt Patten and Adam Harmer come into the station. They looked good, but both were complaining about the heat and about how many S-caps they were needing to take. Matt also had a problem with his running shorts and chaffing.
He found a solution - that's all I will say about it. After Matt and Adam left Tettegouche, I think it was Jason Boon who came in next.
We left Tettegouche and continued on toward Lutsen. We located the Temperance aid station and saw that they were just setting the tent up. Finally, we made it to Caribou Highlands Resort in Lutsen. The first thing I saw was Moose Mountain. Wow. That thing is big! And the sheer cliffs on the northeast face of it....quite impressive. All I could think about was that tomorrow I need to get to the top of that thing after running 48 miles. This is going to be tough.
Mary and I had a nice meal at the restaurant, and visited a bit with Matt from Iowa who was going to be running the 50 also. After that, it was time for pre-race briefing with race director Larry Pederson.
I got to visit some more with Brian Peterson there also and we talked about the course and how he ran it last year. Brian is a very talented and smart runner. Keep looking for him to perform well in races like this!
Race Start:
We followed the bus with our Trailblazer, as Mary was going to crew me at the aid stations that had crew access. The bus left Lutsen at 5:05 AM and got to Finland about 5:45 AM. A quick restroom stop and I was ready to go. We lined up on the road, and Larry sent us off. I ran a bit with Brian right behind the leaders (Duke Rembleski and I think Matt Howard). The road was just a couple hundred yards and then we ducked into the trail. These guys just attacked it. I hung behind them for a while, but it was just too fast.
Mile 1 (Initiation):
In over 4 years of distance running, there was a fact that I didn't talk about much. The fact is that with over 10,000 miles of running - I have never fallen. Going into this race, I expected the terrain to be tough and my streak would end.
Before Mile 1 even passed, my right foot did not lift up enough and a root grabbed it. I went stumbling, hopping, yet stayed upright. Two of my water bottles flew and had to pick them up in the leaves. I didn't fall, but that was really close. Somebody hollered "Great save". At that point, I slowed down. I need to run my own race.
On to Sonju (mile 7.5):
The most surprising thing about this trail is that there are NO flat sections. It is always going up then down. A lot of the trail is runnable in this section, but I wasn't pulling back enough on the uphills. I could feel it in my quads already. Coming into Sonju area, yes there are a lot of roots.
My toes are still telling me about them. Arrived into the aid station and downed some Heed and refilled water bottles.
The way to Manitou (mile 11.7):
It was a short time on this section where Val Shuster and another runner passed me. They looked so strong and made their way through the roots with ease. I tried to stay right behind them. It was getting warmer, and I had already taken 3 E-caps along with the water. My holder on my belt can hold 5 of them. There were some places where the running was easier, but still - this trail is tough as nails.
We hit a section of road before Crosby-Manitou Park, and I needed to stretch out the legs. Passed Val and the other guy and got to the aid station where Mary was waiting. Refilled water, got some Pop Tarts and headed out.
Long haul to Sugarloaf (mile 21.1):
After just a few minutes, I realized I did not restock my E-caps. I had one left and took it. Brian had told me that this section was the toughest. I started to go to pieces. Up and down hills, more roots - and as we got closer to the Manitou gorge - rocks. Not just little ones, but now we've got boulders. I remember crawling down some of them toward the Manitou river. This is pretty technical stuff that I have never seen before. After the Manitou gorge there's a lot of uphill going up what they call Beaver Valley (just further up a branch of the Manitou river). Lots of hills. Then another tough stretch going towards the Caribou River. Again, just plain tough. After Caribou River, I think the trail gets a little easier, but I was turning to mush. My water was just about gone and my legs felt totally trashed. Somewhere in this stretch a root grabbed my toe a little harder and I took a digger.
Everthing flew. Just rolled over on my back and looked up. That hurt. Got up slowly, picked up water bottles, and got some sharp cramps in my quads. Walked those out and started to run slowly. Not much later another digger. I just can't lift my feet up high enough now, my legs are too tired. Continued on at a slower pace, but I was feeling like quitting. One more digger at the slow pace. This really sucks. Slowly, I made my way into Sugarloaf. My feet started to hurt real bad, especially in my left arch.
I told Mary I needed salt - bad. She looked at me and saw the dirt. "Did you fall?", she asked. I felt like a five-year old boy who fell off his bike where nobody saw eyes welled up with tears immediately. "A few times" I told her. I felt beaten. I told her I wanted to quit but won't. My plan was to walk most of the next section to Cramer Road. The guy at Sugarloaf got me some watermelon and salted it down real good. I had two slices. Thank you watermelon guy!
Then I took 3 E-caps and stocked up with more.
Slowly towards Cramer Road (mile 26.7):
Walked for a bit leaving here. Decided to try and run again and FELL. I wasn't even going very fast. My legs just were not working right. I looked at my Garmin and it had just shut down for good. It was here where Val passed me and asked how I was doing. I just told her I needed to slow down and get myself together. She took off ahead of me like I was standing still. I think this is also where 50-year old Joe Jameson passed me. He looked really strong and was gone. I think he got ahead of Val here also. On the way to Alfred's Pond, I started to feel a little better. Kept drinking water and taking E-caps. On an uphill section I saw Val, but didn't catch up to her. Just knowing she was ahead of me kept me going. I decided to keep her within reach. Just keep moving. Got into Cramer Road and restocked.
Cramer to Temperance to Sawbill (mile 39.5):
Honestly, this part of the race is really blurry for me. All I know is that Val and I played a lot of cat and mouse. Sometimes we ran together. She inspired me. There were places where maybe I inspired her. I remember someplace where there were some construction workers next to a river. We had to climb over the orange mesh fencing and go right past the house/cabin..whatever they were building. The workers told me that it was the finish line and I wanted to believe them. I still can't remember if I was seeing things or where the heck on the course this was?..?..? (maybe it was much further back on the course - honestly I don't remember. It's like a wierd dream). The other thing I remember was approaching Carlton Peak. Wow. Now it is rock climbing. Seemed like straight up the boulders. And then I remember the cave to the left in the side of the mountain, I remember that.
Coming into Sawbill, I was feeling much better. I do remember seeing Steve Quick. He didn't say much, but I made some dumb comment like "Steve, am I ever glad to see your pretty face!" I still don't know what that was supposed to mean. Ultra brain makes you say dumb stuff.
Mary had some Red Bull for me, more water and E-caps. I left Sawbill with the attitude that I only needed to climb 4 more mountains (Leveaux, Oberg, Moose, and Mystery). But then, if they were all as tough as Carlton Peak, I'm in big trouble.
Revival to Oberg (mile 45.0):
I started to run a lot better here. My whole body hurt, the left arch still hurt a lot, but I was able to run quite well in this section. The climb up towards Leveaux wasn't really that bad. I think this is where I caught Joe Jameson again. Never thought I would see him again. Got into Oberg and knew that this was the last aid station.
Let's just get to the Finish (mile 52.1):
More Red Bull, Water, Heed, E-caps and some food at Oberg seemed to help. Oberg mountain wasn't that bad, and it was slightly downhill to Rollins Creek. And then the climb up Moose Mountain. Really, this one is not nearly as steep as Carlton - but it goes on forever and ever. There was a place where a 100 mile runner and her pacer were shaking the smaller trees to get the rain water to sprinkle down from the leaves on themselves. I giggled to myself at the sight of it. I just kept a good power walk going and did not stop. Keep at it, keep moving. Pretty soon I realized that it had leveled off a bit. I started to run. It was slightly uphill yet, but I ran. I was already on top of Moose Mountain! And was able to run!
Now I knew it was about 4 miles left, with another serious downhill and then up Mystery and then mostly downhill to Lutsen Resort. Now I start to see signs that had an arrow pointing to Lutsen Resort - I'm getting closer. And then, crossing the Poplar River. On the bridge, a ground hornet buzzed right by my head and landed on my lower lip. I quickly brushed him off before he stung. It would suck to run all this distance and get stung at mile 51. Some more trail, and then finally I'm on the road. It felt good to run faster again. Saw some people around the gondola area, but they looked at me kind of funny. On towards Caribou Highlands, made the turn behind the resort and alongside the pool and heard the people. Crossed the finish and gave Schmoopie a big hug!
It was over.
Brian Peterson was there and shook my hand immediately. He had taken 2nd place with a 9:48:36. Duke Rembleski won the race in 9:32:35.
Post Race:
We sat around and visited a bit. Matt Patten was there. Helen showed up - and then we found out that besides everything else - she had run the marathon. And smoked it like a Rockstar! 4:11 for 1st female and 3rd place overall!
Talked to Brian quite a while after the race. He was feeling pretty ill, so I hope he got better!
At awards, I ended up in 7th place overall and got 2nd place in Mens Master's. Val was close behind me to win Women's overall in 10:52:43.
The Longest Night:
Over all this time, my left arch began to hurt more and more. It had turned into a hard lump, and it was painful to walk on it. I took more ibuprofen to see if that would help.
Throughout the night, I had very sharp, shooting pains coming from my foot and travelling up my leg. It just kept on and on like someone was jabbing a sharp knife into me nonstop. I did not sleep one minute that night. It hurt like hell.
By morning, the whole foot was swollen from the big toe to the heel, and over my ankle. It was red and warm to the touch. When you would press on it, it would leave temporary white marks. Just like a big infection now. Mary and I left early that morning. On the way home, I couldn't take the pain and lack of rest any more. We stopped at the emergency room in Edina. The doctor X-rayed the foot (nothing on the x-ray) and diagnosed it as plantar fasciitis and prescribed me some Vicodin. At least the Vicodin took the extreme pain away. Had to take two more doses of Vicodin (it lasts exactly 6 hours) to get some sleep on Sunday night.
The miracle:
Went to work on Monday morning high on Vicodin. I was due for another dose later that morning, but the shooting pain did not come back. By the end of the day my foot hurt, but I didn't need the Vicodin any more. By Tuesday, the foot was feeling much better. Wednesday, I went for a run.
I do not have plantar fasciitis.
John's Diagnosis:
This pain was a cramp. The mother of all cramps.
The lack of electrolytes was when it started. Add the excessive pronation/supination that the roots and rocks of Superior provide. The cramp took hold and "grew" on itself, causing the swelling and sharp pains.
I survived Superior Trail 50. It was the toughest race I have ever done. These trails are beautiful.
What a ride!
I will return.....

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Finish at Superior

Just finished the Superior 50!
10:47:49 for 7th place overall and 2nd place Masters division.
Duke Rembleski won the 50 with a time of 9:32 and Brian Peterson was 2nd in 9:48, David Wakefield was 3rd in 10:02.
Val Shuster won the womens in 10:52.
100 mile results:
Angus Repper 26:31
Chris Hanson 27:05
Kevin Grabowski 28:19

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Last post before Superior

Tomorrow morning Mary and I will leave for Lutsen. It will take us about 6 hours to get there.
Maybe we will stop at some of the 100 mile Aid stations (Silver Bay or Tettegouche) and watch some of the action!
We would like to get to Caribou Highlands Lodge by late afternoon for packet pickup and pre-race briefing.
At 6:00AM on Saturday, I will start my quest to get to Lutsen via the Superior Hiking Trail (52.1 miles) in the shortest time possible.
Depending upon internet capabilities, I will try to post some sort of preliminary results here on my blog as soon as possible after I finish.
Best of luck to all of the participants in the Superior Marathon, 50 mile, and 100 mile Trail runs!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Superior 50 thoughts

Yes, the Superior Trail 50 Mile Run has been on my mind a lot lately. I'm very anxious for Sept. 12 - in a good way. Right now, I just feel that my level of fitness is the best it has ever my entire lifetime. My weight is up about 5 lbs. since Grandma's, but that's a good thing. I was in girl-weight territory then. I'll need a little bit of stored fat to keep moving on the trail.
But, this is going to be one TOUGH battle. I know well enough that no matter what level of fitness I bring to Finland, MN next Saturday morning - it will mean nothing at all several hours later.
I'm prepared to dig down deeper than I ever have before.
I hope to see a lot of the other MN runners on the trail, especially SteveQ who will be at Sawbill. I will probably order a whiskey-coke (hold the whiskey).
Matt Patten and Adam Harmer are running the 100. I hope they wait for me at the finish line.
I think Helen is pacing/crewing also.
I plan on forcing myself to take it very easy up to mile 35 (somewhere around Carlton Peak). After that - I won't be able to push myself hard enough. Man, I want to run this thing NOW!!
I'll be the first to admit that I haven't trained enough on hills. Especially the ones like I will be running walking next weekend. But I have run some nice trails and worked out on a little more than my usual prairie flatland routes.Here are a couple pictures I took while on my run tonight at Flandrau State Park:
This is a deer that wasn't very worried when I approached her.

This is an uphill section with stairs going up into the woods - lots of fun!

This is a part of the trail that follows up a ravine.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I qualified for Boston!

Well, maybe not really.
Problem is, I did not run my marathon on a "certified" course. And, I wasn't actually running a marathon at the time. I'm just trying to prepare myself for the upcoming Superior Trail Run 50 (52.1 miles Larry - you are a sick man) on September 12.
The plan was to do back-to-back long runs. Preferably a 20 miler in the morning at about 9:00/mile pace. Then for my evening run, I would run another 15 miles, a bit slower with walk breaks. The back-to-back long runs are to help acclimate my body to the rigors of running while tired (the majority of the time in an ultramarathon).
I started out the morning run at a nice 8:40 pace. It was warm and humid - kind of like the start of Grandma's marathon. Soon my miles were getting faster. By the time I got to mile 12, I was averaging 8:00/mile. Stuck with this for a while, sometimes going sub-8:00. After about 15 miles, I started calculating numbers. I was having memories of the first time I qualified for Boston.
Now, it seems I take that for granted.
I don't. I am thankful for the talents and skills God has given me.
At that time, I decided to extend my run to the marathon distance (according to my Garmin) which would be 26.22 miles (26.21875 miles to be exact, but Garmins only read to the 0.01 mile).
A few more good miles around 7:50 had me thinking that if I pushed it a bit, I could could run a Boston qualifier effort. At age 48, I need to run 3:30 or faster to qualify for Boston. (Actually it is 3:30:59).
So, I needed to start running faster to hit my new goal. I was watching my overall average pace
at 8:14 - I needed to bring it down to 8:00. Kept pushing a little faster every mile as I got closer to 26.22 miles. Finally got there.
A Boston qualifer effort, but who cares?
Actually, I do.
Because I set up a way to challenge myself and had to work to get it.

Part 2:
Early evening, it was time for Part 2 of my training day.
I took off running, hoping to coax my weary legs into moving again.
Kind of the same thing as the morning run, start out slow and ease into it.
After about 5 miles, I was close to 8:00/mile pace again.
Here we go - another challenge of myself. Let's see if I can average 8:00/mile for another long run today. I kept it going, but was feeling pretty fatigued. (That's how it's supposed to be, dummy!)
Hit the watch when I reached 15.00 miles.
That's just under 8:00/mile pace.
Now, I'm a bit tired. Ice bath and time to take it easy.
Oh yea - the 4 chocolate chip cookies and cold glass of milk after the run really hit the spot.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I'm a Terrible Blogger

It's been over a month since I've updated my blog.
I'm a terrible blogger.
But, running has been going very well. This summer the focus has been on shorter races and to get a little more speed along with my endurance base.
Coming up:
Aug 22: Rochester Half Marathon
Sept 7: Victory 5K in Minneapolis
AND THEN......
Sept 12: Superior 50+ mile (Finland to Lutsen).

I've always wanted to run on the Superior Hiking Trail, but have never made it. So, I'll be running the 50 mile race there. With the start at 6:00AM, I should be able to see all the fall colors during daylight hours.
I'm really starting to get pumped up for this one.....
I'm still a terrible blogger, though.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Afton Trail Run 50K

July 4, 2009

Just two weeks after Grandma's marathon, and I am lined up with some of the best, most talented trail runners in the upper midwest. John Storkamp gives us the final instructions. All I remember him saying was "just run as hard as you can for as long as you can". And we were off.....
Earlier in the morning, Mary and I arrived at Afton about 5:15AM. On the way there, several of the largest bug splats I have ever seen hit our windshield. These things looked like someone egged our Trailblazer. Rolled into the park and picked up the race packet. As we started with preparations, I noticed that we were parked next to Steve Q. Visited with him for a bit. Steve commented how the last half hour was the slowest. I remember seeing 6:00AM on my watch, visiting with Steve for 20 minutes, and then noticing it was 6:02AM......very strange.
Back to the race. Found myself running very comfortably down the hill, with the stud runners in a big pack just ahead of me. One guy was just flying ahead of them. Found out later it was Matt Howard, who not only is one of the best trail runners around, but now is also in the master's division. Time to start settling in. Ended up running next to Rob, a good friend of mine from MN RED.
You see, Rob is one of these guys that questions the sanity of ultra runners. He is one really fast guy and my times have never been is his ballpark. He ran a 2:44 marathon this year. But, he made a stupid bet with his son during track season. The bet was if his son made it to the state track meet, he would run Afton 50K. His kid made him pay up big time!
Going down the hill out of Africa to the back 40, an older guy passed us, bombing the hill. I think it was Dan Kasper, but I'm not sure. We got back ahead of him on the next uphill and never saw him again.The next miles and hills went by nice. Rob and I caught up on a lot of things. I kept telling him if he was felt the pace was too slow to just go ahead. He wouldn't. Every aid station we came in side by side. I was developing trust in Rob. But then, was he just setting me up for the kill? Finally we were running the Rail trail. I thought this is where Rob would pour it on. But no, we ran together at a 7:15/mile clip which felt OK. We continued on, and got into the Showshoe loop. Rob said he wasn't very fast on the single track last year. I just stayed behind him and found it to be refreshing. There is one hill in here that I don't think has a name. Not long, but steep, with a couple of sapling trees on the right side. We named it, but cannot publish the name here.
At the end of the first loop our time was 2:09. We arrived together. I stocked up on a few things from my cooler. Rob spent very little time at the start area and soon was flying down the first hill. I was quite a ways back and was wondering if this was the time of betrayal?? I just kept stready and caught glimpses of him as we passed below the ski area. Ended up catching him at the top of the hill going into Africa. These uphills were getting a lot tougher now. I go into a power walk on them, with a long stride, long arm swing and leaning into the hill. It works for me, but I probably look like a sasquatch loping along. Maybe should name it the "Primal Shuffle"??
When we got back into Africa again, Rob mentions something about this being really tough. I was hurting too, but we were at mile 20 and had another 11 to go. We don't talk much any more, just slug it out.
On the way down to the river, I pulled ahead of Rob and got to the aid station first. After a very quick drink, started up Nigel's. This really made the quads burn. I started to slow down, but still passed a 50K runner here. Rob caught back up to me, but worked very hard for it. It was mile 22.5. Talked to him a bit more, and the last I heard from him was "Go get it" at the top of Nigel's.
I ran hard, all the way down to the bridge. Looked back and saw no one. Worked my way up to the campgrounds, and started passing some 25K people. Coming down Campground Hill was good. This one seems not as steep and dangerous as the other downhills. The aid station was great. Downed some Heed and started down the Rail Trail. It was good to run on the flat, but my legs were sick of running. But I remembered Storkamp's words at the start. I was able to hang onto a 7:36/mile pace here. After a while, I was actually looking forward to the Meat Grinder, where I could justify going into my Primal Shuffle again.
All along here, the 25K runners were great. It was good to swap words of encouragement with them.
Finally, the last aid station. I was charged up. Enter the Snowshoe Loop. I felt I was running it faster this time, especially the downhills. But the uphills were really tough. Got through the expletive hill slowly. And every uphill after that was a struggle. Just need to get done with this.
As I was just about exiting the prairie hill before the last stretch, I saw a guy ahead of me. Not sure if he was 50K, but he glanced back and saw me. He took off running - fast. I just couldn't muster up enough energy to try and catch him. He looked younger than me anyway. But, I did manage to get into a good stride to the finish.
Mary was there, taking some pics of me finishing. I was really glad to see my Schmoopie!
Mary had run a nice 25K race, coming in at 2:46:52, beating her last year's time by 5 minutes. But yet, I think she placed 5th in her age group compared to 2nd last year. Tougher competition this time.
My official time and results are 4:29:33 for 11th place overall and 3rd place in Men's Master's. There was exceptional competition in the Master's division with Matt Howard winning the race in 4:04:18 and Todd Nott running a 4:18:48.

Finally done!

Me and my Schmoopie.

Receiving 3rd place Master's award from John Storkamp.

Here are my splits from the Garmin 305. I would consider them quite accurate on the mile splits, as my Garmin measured the course at 31.33 miles.
Mile Cumul MilePace HRAvg HRMax
1 Mi 7:45 7:46 140 157
2 Mi 15:51 8:07 154 164
3 Mi 24:22 8:32 147 162
4 Mi 32:47 8:25 155 164
5 Mi 41:03 8:17 157 165
6 Mi 48:54 7:51 151 158
7 Mi 57:36 8:43 159 170
8 Mi 1:04:58 7:22 155 165
9 Mi 1:14:06 9:08 161 168
10 Mi 1:21:31 7:25 154 165
11 Mi 1:28:48 7:18 152 155
12 Mi 1:37:20 8:32 158 165
13 Mi 1:45:05 7:46 152 158
14 Mi 1:54:51 9:46 151 163
15 Mi 2:04:06 9:15 147 160
16 Mi 2:12:56 8:51 152 162
17 Mi 2:22:01 9:05 156 163
18 Mi 2:29:32 7:31 155 163
19 Mi 2:38:46 9:14 152 161
20 Mi 2:47:30 8:45 153 159
21 Mi 2:55:41 8:11 151 157
22 Mi 3:04:12 8:31 148 156
23 Mi 3:13:54 9:42 153 159
24 Mi 3:22:17 8:24 150 155
25 Mi 3:32:17 10:00 154 160
26 Mi 3:39:54 7:37 150 156
27 Mi 3:49:17 9:24 155 156
28 Mi 3:57:41 8:25 151 156
29 Mi 4:06:14 8:33 151 157
30 Mi 4:17:11 10:58 152 158
31 Mi 4:27:10 10:00 151 160
31.33 Mi 4:29:33 7:13 156 159

Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Grandma's Marathon RR

Timeline of The Goal:

June 17, 2006:

I line up and run Grandma's Marathon with the 3:10 pace group. It is sticky and warm. Mid 60's at the start with over 90% humidity. Temps climb through the 70's during the race. The course is black-flagged before we hit the half. Somehow, I hang with the pace group up to mile 22, and then take off with a few other runners. Cross the finish in 3:07:43.
Wow, maybe without the heat, a sub 3 hour marathon might be possible......this was the day I first started thinking about "the goal". But, for the next 11 months I'm plagued with plantar fasciitis. It just does not go away. My runs are getting slower. I still manage to run a few marathons and races, but nothing very fast.

Summer, 2007:
The running is going better. My running takes a slightly different direction. Ultras.
An excuse to run slower, but now for longer. Thoughts about a sub-3 marathon go away for a while.

In 2008:
I've got a different goal - run 100 miles. By the end of August, goal accomplished.
After the 100 (or maybe during), a tibial stress fracture hits me. Takes until January of 2009 to heal properly.

February, 2009:
I'm trying to figure out goals for the year. I still think a lot about sub-3. I'm getting older. My 3:07 PR has stood for nearly 3 years. Time to give up on that dream.
Unless.....If I have a plan. Let's see.

  1. Train smart - I'm not injured now.
  2. Lose some weight - never have paid attention to diet at all.
  3. Run some benchmark races to see if I can run equivalent times at shorter distances.
Around March 1, the diet starts. Just limit calories. Include more lean meats, fruits and vegetables. Take away soda, french fries, pizza, cookies - all the fun stuff.
I'm hungry all the time, but the weight starts coming off quickly. Running becomes easier, I'm running faster paces with less effort.
On March 10, I announce my goal here.

June 20, 2009:
Three years after my PR of 3:07, I'm at the start line of Grandma's again. It feels EXACTLY the same as 2006. Same temperature, same humidity. Only this time, I'm lined up way ahead of the 3:10 pace group.
I can see the Kenyans. Do I belong here? I'm just a 48 year old guy with a 3:07 PR three years ago. Part of me says it's just a pipe dream. But the other part of me knows that I'm fully prepared for the race of my life.
The gun goes off. I ease into my pace and more runners are passing me. I lined up with about 200 runners ahead of me, but now it's more like 350.
I hit the first few splits about perfectly. My goal is to stay steady, with about 30 seconds banked at the half.
But, it's getting warm - uncomfortably warm. My HR is climbing into the 165 range already. About 10-15BPM higher than it would be on a nice cool morning. As long as I do not let it peak over 170, I should be OK.
Around mile 4, I sense a pack of runners approaching. Adam was with them. They looked so strong. I visited with Adam a bit here. A couple of times we caught a breeze from the lake. It was brief, and then followed again by a blast of hot wind. The temperature difference in the air was incredible.
I looked at my watch.., we just ran a 7:00 mile. Gotta get back on pace. It feels uncomfortable, but I push to get back on pace.
Somewhere around mile 7, Spinach (David) passes by me. We visit a little, but he's moving really well at the time. I'm pretty well running alone now, except I notice a runner ahead of me with a real energy-conserving stride. We play cat and mouse for the next couple miles. He passes me on the downhills - I pass him on the uphills. We visit a bit, and continue through the half together (1:29:45). I find out that Richard is 40, an Ironman triathlete, and has a marathon PR of 3:22. But that PR was during an Ironman. He is running very strong.
The wind is picking up now. Pretty much in the face - but it has a cooling effect on me. Temperature is still rising, but I'm doing OK. Sometimes I tuck in and draft Richard. Sometimes he drafts me.
Around mile 20, I start thinking about the final miles. Richard drops back a little bit. A young runner is beside me. (Found out later his name is Dan). We don't talk much, but attack Lemon Drop hill together. He is strong on the uphill..we stay right on pace. After we crested the hill, my calves began to cramp. This always seems to happen on a downhill stretch after an uphill push. I slow down for about 300 meters and eventually get them to back off. Dan stays close by. We arrive in Duluth running together.
I look at my watch at mile 24. 30 seconds in the bank. Just hang on!!
The cobblestone street on Superior Ave starts. I love this part. Nice, slightly downhill. And the people!! Spectator support is tremendous here in downtown Duluth. We keep going, and make the turn towards the DECC. Little uphill followed by a downhill. Running well now, but the calf muscles are on the verge of cramping again. Right before the William A. Irwin ore ship, the calf cramps set in big time. Ouch. The pain. Can't extend my toes. I'm forced to run on my
heels, as the ore-ship cramps continue. As I clear the ship (my guess is that thing is nearly 400 meters long) the cramps subside a bit. Edit(The ship is only 200 meters long-Thanks, Chad!)
Time to take it home.
Cross the finish line and I see 2:59:21 on the clock.
The pipe dream is now reality!
I walked for a bit and then knelt down and give thanks to God. Then I cried like a baby.
Tears of joy.
The medics came over. "Can we help you?" they asked. "Nope - never been better" I told them. I continued through the runners area. I congratulated Dan who was just 2 seconds behind, but had a better chip time. Heard the announcer counting down the 3 hour mark. There was some drama as a runner missed the 3 hour mark, crossing the line in 3:00:03. It was Richard - but I knew he had the sub-3 chip time also! Talked to him a bit and congratulated him.

After the Finish:
Now it was time to go back and watch the marathon. I hung out with some friends, rested and stretched for a bit by the ore ship. After a while, I started running the course backward, looking for Schmoopie. After about 1.5 miles, I find her. We run together all the way back to the ship. Se didn't have her best day, but I am still proud of the strong effort she put together.
4:21:28 which placed her 17th in AG and got her name in the paper!
I hang out more by the ship to see our friend Deb come by. She just completed her first marathon and she did it in 4:28:28. Way to go, Deb!
My sister, Joja Jogger was still on the course. She's had a tough time in the heat, as the text updates indicate. I head out running again. Found her at the 25th mile. We walk together a bit,
visit, and run together for the photographer there. This might not be a PR for her, but completing this marathon gives her Marathon Maniac status.
Congratulations, Sis!

Data and Statistics:
Clock time: 2:59:21
Chip time: 2:59:14
Overall: 87/5899
Gender: 74/3702
M45-49 AG: 9/428

10K: 42:45 (6:53/mi)
Half: 1:29:45 (6:51/mi)
20 mile: 2:16:57 (6:51/mi)
25 mile: 2:51:01 (6:51/mi)
Last 10 K: 42:18 (6:48/mi)

Stats I look at:
Overall HR average: 167 (second highest avg in a marathon)
Two men older than me beat me (one was Paul Brown, the guy who beat me 2 weeks ago)
13 women beat me.
But - No women older than me beat me (Whew...)
Here is the HR chart, which shows '06 Grandma's (dark blue) vs. '09 Grandma's (lavender).

In my opinion, weather conditions were carbon copy. Looks like I worked quite a bit harder in miles 10-20 this year.
Thanks for reading,

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Success at Grandma's

Got to be a hot one.
Bank thermometer shows 90F right now.
Full race report later.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Five Year Flashback

June 17, 2004:
Not to the day, but sometime around this date.
This is what it was like.
Two years ago in 2002 I ran my first 10K. It was the Heritagefest run in New Ulm, MN. My very first road race of any sort. I don't know what my time was, but I remember other parts of it well. I hurt for days afterward. But there was a flicker, a spark of something within me that made me want to try it again.
You see, now I'm a seasonal runner. My goal is to do the Heritagefest 10K again. Every June, I get out and run for a bit. Run a mile, walk a bit, run a little more. Mary got me going on this. I can't run the full 3.5 mile route up to County Road 29 and back without stopping, but in the next couple of weeks...I should be able to work up to it.
The 10K is coming up next month, but it seems like the training gets tougher every time. I'm 2 years older than my first 10K. I'm 43 years old now, weighing a bit heavier than the year before. Somewhere around 180 lbs. I'm not fat, but I've got love handles and size 31 jeans are a bit snug.
The training runs are slower than last year. But I'm older. My best days are long behind me.
I get 2-3 runs in per week and end up being able to run the entire 3.5 mile route PLUS an additional mile without stopping on my final training runs.
On July 17, 2004, I ran the Heritagefest 10K.
I thought I did pretty good. Got through the entire distance. Official time was 52:51.94
It was in the paper. I still have that race result pinned on my bulletin board.

I stuck around for awards, thinking that I might have a chance for an age-group award. Nope, there were guys in their 40's kicking my butt.
But, Mary ran the two mile and placed in her division.
I felt beaten, I got down on myself and didn't run any more that year.

June 17, 2009:
Here I sit - 5 years later, with tears in my eyes reminiscing about my early running days.
Grandma's marathon is in 3 days.
I am not down on myself anymore.
I've run nearly 10,000 miles in the last 4 years.
I have a goal and I am prepared.
Sub 3:00:00
I am not beaten......I am going to do it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A FANS-tastic weekend

Saturday, June 6, 2009 (6:30 AM)Legends 5K:
Mary and I went to Deephaven to take in the Legends 5K on Saturday morning. We got there around 6:30AM, and there was enough time to take a warmup jog. Didn't recognize any people that I knew, but visited with a runner named Jim before the race. As we were lining up, I saw Rob on his bike. He had come over to watch the race, biking to several points on the course.
The 10K and 5K run the same course up to 1.55K, where the 5K turns around. We got started, and there were 7 runners that shot out ahead of me right away. Got into a steady pace around 5:50/mi. A couple of the runners came back to me after a half mile, but there was one really fast guy that disappeared out of sight. Got to the turnaround, was in 4th place, and saw that only 1 guy ahead of me turned around.
I was in 2nd place?!? Rob showed up and hollered that I was reeling him in. I told him it sucks to run fast. This is why I don't run many 5K's.
Got to the final 400 meters and the leader (found out it was Paul Brown) continued on the Minnetonka trail. I followed him for 100 meters and finally realized that we were off course. I back-tracked and got onto the street. At that point, Mac (a 19 y.o. X-country runner from Valpo) caught me. I pushed real hard to the finish and crossed the finish line 3 seconds ahead of Mac. I explained the situation to the race director and told him that I would not have been able to catch Paul.
There was a pancake breakfast and Legends ceremony after the race. Left there with a 2nd place trophy and a time of 18:52 for a Garmin-measured 3.26 miles.
The fast guy ran a 31:40 10K - wow!
FANS 12/24 hour (noon):
After visiting with Jessica, Matt, Noah and Travis in Edina for a while that morning, it was time to move on. Mary was going to travel back home with Noah, and I was going to spend some time at FANS.
Got there about noon, and saw Adam on the course. It was raining, but not too hard yet. Didn't even change shoes or take off my jacket - just started running with Adam. We visited quite a bit and he was doing very well. His mood was great and he was running smoothly. Adam told me that John Storkamp was attempting the 12 hour record and that he was really going fast.
Next lap I ran with Dave, Rolf and Greg from WI. I got to know these guys at Lean Horse last year. Good to see them again.
After that lap, I went to my truck. On the way, I met Helen and visited a bit. I saw her running with Storkamp just earlier and asked how he was doing. She said he was starting to slow down a bit. but hey, this was now 5 hours into the run - of course he's going to slow up a bit. I got to the truck and put some running gear on. Plus, warmed up a bit. Soon I found out that getting rained on combined with the cool temps and wind would be pretty tough conditions.
Put on the water belt, and started running the course opposite direction. Met up with John and ran with him a bit. I told him I could stay out here a while, just tell me to get lost if you don't need anyone around. He said it was good.
We didn't talk much. John was so focused. He was already in pain. 7 hours to go. You really can't say anything. We ran. At times we stayed under 8:00 miles, but the going got real tough. We'd get to the lap counter table and people would cheer him on. Let's go do it again. Mid afternoon the rain came down harder. The wind blew stronger. Going across the bridge was the worst, with the wind coming from the east across Nokomis.
Paul, Helen and Alicia were crewing for John. They restocked him and kept pouring fuel into him. And then we'd run again. John's stomach got real tight after the crew area. His extreme effort was tying up his stomach. But he always came back fighting. I have never witnessed a person that can dig so deep within to push that hard.
That's John Storkamp.
I ran 6 1/2 laps with John. We had slowed down to 9:00+/mile pace now. Eric was now going to run with him (Later I found out that John ran over 80 miles).
I went back to my truck. I was shivering and soaked. Changed into some dry clothes and warmed up with the heater on high.
FANS 12/24 hour (7:30 PM):
It was time to get to Aid Station #2, where I was going to work until 2:00AM. Learned where everything was and what to do. Worked the shift with Amber, who is a past recipient of the FANS program - how cool is that? While at the aid station, got to know a lot of the runners. So many really great people.
And then there was Mike Henze. What can you say? This guy just keeps going and going and going. Absolutely incredible. We got a call at 11:25PM. Mike has just left the lap counter and is on his way to hit 100 miles.
The 100 mile sign is outside our tent. We need to write down and sign the official time. Take the Coleman lantern out and here he comes. Official time of 15:40:31 for 100 miles!
That alone would make an extremely fast 100 mile time, but this guy was just getting going - more than 8 hours to go.
Worked the aid station until 2:00AM and needed some sleep. Made a cozy spot in my truck and slept until 6:30 AM.
FANS 12/24 hour (7:00 AM):
This is when the place starts buzzing again. The final hour. Runners making their decision to run another long lap or start with the short laps. Logan from Edmonton came through at 7:10 AM and didn't know what to do. By looking at the leader board, it looked like he was in 5th place. He was asking questions about his placement and a bit confused about the long/short laps. I ordered him to start a long lap - I'll catch up and explain. The two guys ahead of him had hit the medical tent a while back.
Logan was in 3rd. I caught up to him, introduced myself, and explained the situation to him. He had plenty of time for a long lap. Short laps suck, and he'll get to do plenty of them yet. Logan was able to run yet. In fact we ran the whole way around the lake - he probably didn't realize that. It was slow, but probably his fastest lap in the last 6 hours. Nice guy - he had lots of stories to tell.
After we got back, I just hung by the lap area and cheered on runners in the last 20 minutes.
Absolutely amazing.
In the final 10 minutes, Fast Eddie finished off a long lap that was his 2,000th FANS mile in 20 years. I got tears in my eyes. He's 69 years old now and ran 99 miles.
Eddie inspires.
John Miles Olsen and his friends. 13 years old. Visited with him a bit at night. Great young man who is talented, polite and humble. Got the endurance gene from his mother Sue. She started him out a bit early - like before he was born.
John Miles inspires.
Mike Henze - what can you way. 147.2 miles in 24 hours. Game plan was perfect.
Mike Henze inspires.
So many other runners/stories at FANS, I can't do it any justice writing here.
All in all - a FANS-tastic weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Another successful benchmark effort

The last few weeks of training have gone well for me. The legs were feeling pretty fresh, only two days after a pretty good fast-finish long run on Saturday.
I've been itching to get out and race a little bit, so Mary and I went to Mankato today for the 10 Kato run, which is held every Memorial Day in Mankato, MN.
I've run this course twice before, and it is not an easy 10K. It features a 190 ft. drop in elevation(miles 3.7 to 4.2) and then back up the 190ft. in the next 1.8 miles. That makes it a 3.6% grade which isn't too bad, but it is taxing on the legs at that stage of the race.
I started out near the front, and a lot of runners zipped out very fast. I was probably in 20th place at the half mile mark (which I hit in 2:51 - waaay too fast).
Soon I settled into a nice 6:00 pace and started picking off runners.
Hit the 4 mile (cruising down the hill yet) in 23:50 - yowsers!?!?!
Shortly after that came the long climb up the hill (Glenwood Ave).
It was tough, but didn't go any slower than 6:25 going up the long hill.
And, I was still able to see the leaders, but really couldn't gain any ground on them.
Finished in 4th place overall in 37:23 - only 1:11 behind the winner.
My prior PR at the 10K distance was 39:59 - so crushed it by 2:35
Here's a HR and elevation chart of the race.

Mary also ran a PR today (52:56), so her training is coming together very well.
Got to visit with some old and new running friends today.
Grandma's Marathon is less than 4 weeks away now.
Time to focus on maintaining quality training and diet. After that, a slow taper into goal race day.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Success at New Prague Half!

Yesterday, Mary and I went to New Prague, MN to run the half marathon there.
This will be a short and sweet race report.
First of all, Schmoopie had a great day, setting a new PR!
She ran 1:55:06, wiping out her previous PR of 1:58:03 set 2 years ago!
It was a late decision for me to run this, but thought it would work as a "benchmark" race. My goal was to run around 1:26, as this is the time that most of the race predictor calculators will equate to a 3 hour marathon.
I ran the first 4 miles alongside Sonya Decker, she ended up winning the women's overall.
The pace felt good, and I drafted/used a couple runners ("Jake" and "Butch") when the wind got strong from miles 7-12.
Just before mile 12, I dropped the proverbial hammer.
My lap split from mile 12 to 13 showed a 5:46 and the Garmin showed a bit faster.
Came in at 1:24:06 for 9th/663 overall and 1st place AG in M45-49.
Smashed my prior PR of 1:27:00!
This was a real confidence booster for me.
It was a fantastic day!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Good luck Sis!

This weekend, my sister Joja Jogger is running her very first ultramarathon. Turns out she wanted to do something "special" for her 50th birthday.

She'll be running the Lake Waramaug Ultra Marathon 50K in New Preston, CT.

I think she has what it takes to do this.

Good luck Sis!

I'm going to post a picture here, as I've accomplished one of my goals in preparing for Grandma's. I really like how it feels to have less body weight (except when running into the wind).

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Just a Training Run??

Today, Mary and I ran the Earth Day races in St. Cloud, MN.
Mary chose the Half marathon and I ran the 20 miler.
I went into this planning to run as a fast finish long run.
The goal simply was to run the first 10 miles at 7:20 pace and then at mile 10 I would try to stay under goal marathon pace (6:52/mile) and then finish strong.
The weather was great. About 52F and a good breeze out of the ENE.
I started out and had a little trouble finding my pace, but soon settled in. I ran alongside a steady runner named Rod and he was running a similar pace. I visited with him quite a bit and we drafted each other when the breeze got a little too strong. The miles went by in a hurry.
Here are the splits:
7:26, 7:13, 7:07, 7:12, 7:15, 7:05, 7:15, 7:19, 7:12, and 7:17.
So, the 10 mile split was an average of 7:14/mile - not too far off the original plan.
I said goodbye to Rod and wished him a strong finish as we parted ways at mile 10.
I found it quite easy to get onto marathon pace and it was uplifting to start to pass runners as I really enjoyed the faster pace.
I found myself moving a little too fast, but was still feeling very comfortable, so I stayed with it.
Passing other runners was kind of a game now, as I would always look for a strong runner way ahead of me and just try to close the gap.
Soon it was mile 18 and time to see if there was anything left in the tank. I pushed a little harder and worked really hard the last mile.
Finished in 2:18:34 for 12th place overall and 2nd place in the M45-49 age group.
The last splits were:
6:44, 6:44, 6:38, 6:45, 6:45, 6:36, 6:44, 6:38, 6:29, and 6:10.
That comes out to be an average of 6:37 for the final 10 miles.
This run was a great confidence booster - maybe the sub-3 marathon really is possible!?!?
Mary finished in 1:58:26, just missing her PR by 22 seconds!!
Yea, it was a good day!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Thinking of Zumbro

I was just thinking about the runners that are at Zumbro right now. Matt P is running the 100K and maybe he has finished already. I think he will do great - can't wait to hear from him.
Steve Q is running the 100M option. I really worry about Steve and how many times he falls while running. I saw him last year at Afton after falling. He's one tough competitor! Please stay upright, Steve!
I just finished my FFLR and it was a success. 12 miles at 7:55 and then 7 more miles.
6:51, 6:46, 6:50, 6:43, 6:43, 6:44 and 6:31.
It went well.
Next Saturday, Mary and I go to St. Cloud for the Earth Day runs. Mary will run the 1/2 and I will run the 20 miler as a fast finish training run.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Weight Update

Here's a current view of my Tanita scale this morning.

Diet and fitness plan is right on schedule.

But, I never realized there were so many pizza commercials on television....the Papa John's one with all of the pepperoni on it really gets me drooling.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Success with the FFLR

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the two types of long runs that I will be doing in preparation for Grandma's Marathon on June 20.
This weekend, it was time for the Fast Finish Long Run (FFLR). My goal was to go out for 12 miles @ 8:00 miles and then hit marathon pace for the final 6, finishing as strong as possible.
The run went well, averaging 7:54 for the first 12 miles, keeping the HR right around 140.
The final miles were 6:55, 6:46, 6:48, 6;43, 6:42 and 6:32.
It was tough to dig down for more speed at the end, but this is the type of training that develops both physical and mental toughness.
I write this as I sit in the ice bath, blogging keeps the mind away from the shivering.
Congrats to the Michigan State Spartans who will be representing the Big 10 in the NCAA Final 4!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring has sprung long run

It was a beautiful day today in MN. Went for a nice, easy long run. Temps were in the 40s-50's.
Shorts and short sleeve weather!
21.72 miles in 3:00:37 - about 8:20 pace. Took a nice ice bath and now it's time for some yard work with Schmoopie.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Half way to Goal weight

Weighed in this morning.

This is what I saw.

16 days ago, I weighed 155 lbs.

It was at that time, I promised to stick to my diet and fitness plan to reach my goal race weight of 145 lbs. for Grandma's Marathon on June 20.

Looks like I'm a little over half way there.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Long run training for the marathon

For the next three months, I will be focusing my long training runs on two different types. They are called the long steady distance run and the fast finish long run. I've bought into this a bit from Greg McMillan's site. I'm not going to run these exactly as he describes, but I feel that alternating these two types of runs will be beneficial to my marathon training.
With so much of my training focused on ultras last year, most of my miles logged were quite slow and low heart rate. Then, with a stress fracture last fall, running was very slow, just so that the healing of my tibia could complete.
I've got a great aerobic base right now, but don't have the top end speed or the fast efficient stride need to be a better racer at the marathon distance or less.
Long steady distance run:
I ran this type last Saturday. 18.4 miles on rolling hills. I went into it with very low glycogen levels, as I had restricted calories to under 1,500 per day for the prior 3 days.
Ended up averaging 8:38/mile and was totally drained by the end. Total glycogen depletion!
Fast finish long run:
Today was FFLR day. The plan was to go out at 8:00/mile for 12 miles, and then step up to 6:52/mile for the final 5.
Execution of this plan was almost perfect:
12 miles: 7:58/mi.
5 miles: 6:40/mi.
I took a gel at mile 11.5, and that was plenty of fuel to finish the run.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

HADD Test Version 4.0

It's been a while since I've posted here. Also, another month has passed since my last HADD test.
Training has gone quite well, and I feel that I am in very good running condition right now.
Here are the results from last night's HADD test. I tried to keep every thing consistent from the start of these to see if this measure of fitness will detect any changes in my fitness level.
Int# HR_Avg Pace
1 130 8:43
2 139 7:56
3 148 7:26
4 158 6:59
5 169 6:34
It appears that I might be able to run slightly faster at the lower HR's, but the top end appears to be the same. I felt pretty good at interval #5, and could have gone much longer.
Here are the comparison results from February 9, 2009:
Int# HR_Avg Pace
1 126 9:07
2 138 8:05
3 149 7:29
4 159 7:04
5 170 6:34
New Goal:
I haven't talked much about my running schedule for 2009, as I have spent a lot of time considering my goals for this year. Three years ago, my goals were clear.
1. Break 40 minutes in 10K
2. Break 3 hours in the marathon
3. Run an ultra
4. Run a 100 mile ultra
I've accomplished 3 of these, but the 3 hour marathon goal remains. My PR is 2006 Grandma's (yep, one of those hot and humid years) of 3:07:43.
I've run a lot of races since then, but have never seriously trained for the sub-3 race.
Mary and I are registered for the 2009 version of Grandma's, and I am really thinking that if I focus on my training and lose the appropriate weight - it could be possible.
Here it is: My goal is to break 3 hours at Grandma's marathon on June 20, 2009.
I wrote it down.
Weight Loss:
Last week I started with a serious change in diet.
Now, I am very conscious about the calories that I am consuming. Mary is helping me a lot with this. I have been averaging 1,500-2,000 calories per day.
So far 2 lbs. lost and feeling good.
The toughest part is avoiding the bad sugars. My favorites are Cap'n Crunch, Heath bars, ice cream, Oreo cookies, any cookies, and maple glazed doughnuts. Pizza, broasted chicken, cheeseburgers, french fries also were a large part of my diet.
I've manage to avoid a lot of these, and am eating more fruits, vegetables, lean meat, etc.
My weight is 152 right now, and am hoping to toe the line at Grandma's weighing 145.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Freeze Your Buns 4 mile

Race Report February 14,2009

This is the third year that Mary and I have run the "Freeze Your Buns" 4 mile run in St. Peter, MN.
Mary was feeling healthy enough to run, so this was going to be a nice start to Valentine's Day - going to a road race with my Schmoopie.
On arrival, I saw some speedsters from MN RED there. Rob, his son Cameron, Brian, and their coach Ron were there. I also met up with Ryan from New Ulm, whom I have gotten to know while accumulating dreadmill miles at Snap Fitness this winter.
Mary, Ryan and myself went for a warmup run about 45 minutes before the race. Mary was planning to run a nice, easy run. Ryan was planning to run with me at the start, as I was planning on starting out at 6:30/mile for the first couple of miles and see what happens. My goal was to break 26:00 (6:30/mile pace).
Soon, we were at the start line and we were off!
As expected, Rob and Brian shot out in front, and there was another runner with them whom I did not know. Then there were about another 6 runners in front of me. Included in that bunch was coach Ron and 13 year old Cameron. Ryan was running beside me. Ryan and I hit the split at 1 mile about perfect, and the next mile is what I consider the toughest. It gains about 120 feet with the steepest part right before the 2 mile mark. As we got into the climb, Ryan backed off a bit, and I was gaining on Ron and Cameron. I pulled up beside Cameron and encouraged him to stick with me and draft as we were climbing the steepest hill and going into the wind. He took up my offer. Soon, we crested and took a left turn to go downhill and with the wind. Cameron didn't stick with me on the downhill. In the next mile, I was able to get back on pace and pass a couple runners. The lead pack of three was out of sight now, but I could see the #4 runner about 250 yards ahead of me. I pushed pretty hard the last mile but came up about 50 yards behind him at the finish. I'm quite satisfied with my performance, as I had a finish time of 25:27, finished in 5th place (? not official), broke my goal time by 33 seconds and bettered last year's time by 55 seconds.
Here are the mile splits:
Mile 1: 6:31
Mile 2: 6:51
Mile 3: 6:15
Mile 4: 5:50
Here is a chart of my HR, speed and elevation. I think Mr. Garmin put an extra 100 feet of climb on the hill at mile 2.

I walked back a bit from the finish to cheer Mary on. I thought she would finish somewhere around 36 minutes, but saw her coming down the final stretch as the timekeeper was still calling out times in the 34 minute range.
She finished with a 34:42, a fantastic result for such a modest approach to the race.
Another fun day of running.
Thanks for reading,

Monday, February 9, 2009

HADD Test Version 3.0

Another month has passed, and I have continued with most of my training runs slower than 8:00/mile pace. This usually is an average of 125-140BPM.
Tonight it was time to do Version 3.0 of the HADD test and see if I could get a better grade this time.
Here are the results:
Int# HR_Avg Pace
1 126 9:07
2 138 8:05
3 149 7:29
4 159 7:04
5 170 6:34

I felt pretty good about the test this time. I would give myself a solid "B" on it.
The lower HR targets showed quite a bit of improvement, but the 170 target was only slightly better. Maybe this is telling me that now is the time to start incorporating a few tempo runs and possibly some interval work?

Rocky Raccoon, Carl and Jamie:
This past weekend, Carl G went down to Huntsville, TX and ran the Rocky Raccoon 100 mile event. Carl is a veteran of many ultras, but still was working to complete his first 100.
HE DID IT! (28:15)
Congratulations Carl!
Jamie Donaldson also was there, winning the women's division easily and coming in 3rd place overall! Looks like she is going after the Ultrarunner of the year for 2009.
Someday I would like to run Rocky, the pictures of the trails on the web site look beautiful.

Freeze Your Buns 4 mile:
On Saturday, I will be running the "Freeze your Buns" 4 mile run in St. Peter, MN. I've run this one for the past two years, and it is always a fun time.
In 2007, I averaged 6:38/mile and in 2008 it was 6:33/mile. A good goal would be to break the 6:30/mile barrier.
I'm also hoping that Schmoopie will be feeling healthy enough (plantar fasciitis in her right foot) to join me and run it also.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

P.F. Chang's Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon

3:40 Pacer report January 18,2009
Temperature change:
We arrived in Arizona on Thursday, realizing a 104 degree change in actual temperature. It was -24F in Minnesota when we left and 80F when we arrived in Phoenix. What a change!
Mary, Taylor, Chelsey and myself arrived at my parent's place in Mesa early Thursday afternoon. We had some time to relax and take in some of the abundant sunshine.
My sister, Joja Jogger arrived on Friday and she brought with her a lot of nervous energy. Read her race report here to get another point of view on the weekend's activities.
Mom's birthday was on Friday (she turned 83), and we went out for supper/carbs that evening.
Saturday was Expo, and I wanted to get to the pacer booth and talk to some runners. We had a pacer clinic at 10:00AM and also at 2:30PM. I visited with a lot of runners and many of them were intending to run with me on Sunday. Exciting stuff!
Start Village:
Mary, Joja and myself got to the finish line area just before 6:00AM and rode the bus to the start. We had plenty of time to get food, fluids, bathroom lines, sunscreen, etc done before the start.
Here is a picture of the three of us before the race.

Joja, John and Mary
The Race:
Got into corral 3 about 20 minutes before the start. Both the 3:40 and 3:45 pace groups were in the same corral, so I worked my way up to the front. The 3:45 pacer was there, right at the rope with quite a few runners around him. Oh well, he'll let us move ahead when they drop the ropes.....not.
He and his group dashed right up there, leaving us behind them.
The gun went off, and we crossed the start line with an offset of about 1 minute. After a slow start, we had to try and work our way through the 3:45 group. At about the 1 mile mark we had finally cleared them. It was a beautiful morning for a run.
At mile 3? we heard a huge CRUNCH!!! to our left. Some guy driving an RV must have been watching the runners and forgot that his vehicle was taller than the canopy clearance at the gas station. His AC unit was now in a new place.
The miles continued to click off nicely and at 10K we had 19 seconds in the bank. By the half, we had 45 seconds to work with. As it happens every year, quite a few of my group surge ahead of me from miles 11 to 14. I try to keep them in as much as I can.
At mile 14.5, we get a beautiful view of Camelback mountain. This is a sight I look forward to every year as the sun really accents the exposed rock at this time of the morning. But after this point is where I start to lose runners from my group. As we work our way north and then get up to Indian School Road, we are on a very slight incline, and a breeze was picking up from the east. The breeze had a good cooling effect, as we were now running in a lot of direct sunlight. But, it takes a little more effort to maintain pace into the wind also.
By mile 20, we had about 1:30 in the bank. It was time to slowly withdraw from the bank - but not too much. My goal was to run 8:25 to 8:30 miles for the next few.
I told my group that it was my mother's birthday on Friday, and that I planned to pull over just before mile 22 to give her a hug and kiss. I told them to shout "Happy Birthday Lois!!" when I pulled over to the side of the road. I was visiting quite a bit with some runners, and was oblivious to the fact that mile 22 was coming up soon.
There they were - Mom, Dad, son Taylor and his girlfriend Chelsey. Mom got her hug and salty kiss. The group started singing "Happy Birthday" as they ran by. Nice touch. Thank you, 3:40 group!
Mom felt really special.
I caught back up with the group and there was a group of 5-7 who were running very well. When we got to mile 23, I told them "There's only a 5K left, if you feel fine - keep going at this pace. You will then finish somewhere around 3:38:30. I will slow down a little more and see if we can pull in a few more runners for the finish."
I intentionally slowed down to about a 8:40 pace, but not many runners were catching up to me. I really started to wave my pace sign really high, back and forth, trying to lure a few more BQ's up to me.
Soon, the final mile was here. I take it in nice and easy, waving the sign some more, encouraging the crowd to cheer for all of these fantastic runners that are coming in.
I crossed the finish in 3:39:46 chip time.
Extra Thoughts:
It's kind of lonely in a way, as you'd think a pacer would have dozens of runners right with him across the finish. I crossed the finish line alone. The fact is, I WANT my group to beat me. And congratulations to all of them that did!
A few more came in right behind me. I'm not sure if they used me during the race or just happened to be there. If I helped in any way - my goal was met.
My heart goes out to those that fell off my group. Whether it was mile 10, mile 16, mile 18, mile 23... not everyone that runs with me will get their goal. The marathon is not easy.
But if you did not reach your goal, make sure that you learn something from the experience.
And try again...don't let that goal slip away or let your inner demons convince you that it is not possible.
Mary and Joja Jogger(my sister):
After I finished, I got my drop bag and then went back to mile 26.1 to cheer the runners on!
Mary finished in 4:26:37, and had a lot of trouble with quads cramping and persistent plantar fasciitis pain in her right foot. She was a real trooper and gutted it out to the finish!
Joja finished in 4:58:23 for her first marathon ever! She had a goal of breaking 5 hours and executed her plan perfectly. Congratulations, Sis!
We sat down for a bit in the Family reunion area. Drank some beer and talked running. It was fun.
Evening concert:
Taylor, Chelsey and I went to the evening concert in Tempe. Smash Mouth was the feature band. It was the first year that I had enough energy after the marathon to take in the concert. I'm glad we went.
Temperatures started to drop, but that didn't seem to have any effect on LeRoy the lead guitar player who prefers to go shirtless.
Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mary is First Place – John is Last Place

Mary got 1st place AG and yes, I was last place in my AG.
For more, read on.
On Saturday, Mary and I participated in the Heart of Winter 12K in Redwood Falls, MN. This race starts at Jackpot Junction Casino, circles around some service roads there, then travels west on a county road for 5 miles, goes through some streets in Redwood Falls, and ends up at the Community Center with the last 200 meters being on an indoor track.
Temperature was 5F with only a 6mph west wind to run into. It was a bit chilly, but tolerable.
There were only 38 runners in the 12K and 65 runners in the 6K event.
I recognized a few people, including my speedy neighbor Ashley and age group rival Jay from Windom. Both Ashley and Jay run pretty much the same speed as myself when racing. I figured at least there would be some company.
The gun went off and there were at least 12 people that shot out ahead of me. I settled into a 7:00/mile pace and stuck to my plan – run steady and don’t do anything stupid.
I saw that Jay had shot ahead, but Ashley was running real close to my pace. I visited with her a bit, and told her that she could draft me once we got out on the open road going into the wind.
After the 2 mile mark, she took me up on the offer.
After 6 miles, and heading into the streets of Redwood Falls, I had a decision to make. Do I kick it down and try to catch some people in front of me? Logical John won out and decided to hold a steady pace to the finish. The streets were quite slippery and at times there was quite a bit of street snush building up on the shoes. Ashley fell off my pace when the footing got bad.
Got to the final stretch on the indoor track and it felt good to stretch out the legs and get a few strides done in warmer temps.
I visited with some other runners, and then went by the door to cheer on Mary on when she arrived at the track. She finished nice and strong!
Awards presentation was next. Ashley won 2nd overall women’s and $100. Mary won her age group (1st out of 2). Upon checking the results, I was officially 3rd out of 3 in the men’s 40-49 age group. Jay beat me by a good 1:30…he’s really running well lately.
Web site says my time was 52:12.7, but my watch showed 51:47. I think one of the people with the stop watches at the finish line missed me as I was running in stealth mode. It doesn’t take away my last place finish, but pointing out that fact makes me feel better….
PF Chang’s RNR Arizona Marathon:
We are getting ready to leave for this one. Flights leave tomorrow morning.
I’m feeling very ready for the marathon and anxious to run in some warmer temps!!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

HADD test Version 2.0

HADD Test Results:
On Tuesday night, I ran myself through another HADD test.
It had been about one month of good training since the last HADD. I've been focusing on increasing mileage, but logging most of them in my aerobic HR range which would be 130-145 BPM.
I think I flunked the test.
First of all, my goal HR averages for each segment were 130 to 170 in increments of 10. Segments 3,4 and 5 were pushed too far over the average.
I ran very close to the same paces, but had to work harder to do it.
Here are the results:
Int#: HR_Avg Pace
1 128 9:11
2 141 8:19
3 153 7:45
4 164 7:17
5 175 6:41

These results seem to indicate that now I am in poorer running condition than I was one month ago. I'm a bit reluctant to believe that right now, as I have seen good/bad running days change as fast as the weather here in Minnesota.

Heart of Winter 12K:
Speaking of Minnesota winter weather, this Saturday Mary and I will be running the Heart of Winter 12K in Redwood Falls, MN. Forecast is for 15F and 20mph headwind.
I'm hoping to run well, but I don't want to push myself beyond my limits for speed right now. Gotta save the legs for Phoenix.

PF Chang's Rock 'N' Roll Arizona Marathon:
Yea, I'm getting pumped for this one. Only 10 days to go. Running conditions are almost guaranteed to be great.
I used to get taper madness really bad before marathons. Now it doesn't seem to affect me as much. I just get fired up rather than drive myself crazy.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Arizona here we come!

In just 2 weeks, I'll be running the Rock 'N' Roll Arizona marathon (January 18, 2009). It will be a special day not only for myself, but also for others in my family.
My Mom and Dad live in Mesa during the winter months, and it is always good to see them. My mother will be celebrating her 83rd birthday on January 16. I am so thankful that Mom and Dad are in good health and still able to enjoy a very active lifestyle.
My sister is also traveling to Phoenix that weekend to run her FIRST marathon. She has done an excellent job of getting through her training for this and she will do great.
My dear Schmoopie, Mary will be running her THIRD marathon there. Just one year ago, Mary was convinced that she would never be able to tackle a full marathon, and look at her now!
My youngest son and his girlfriend are also making the trip with us, and they will be there to cheer everyone on!
The RNR Arizona marathon holds a special place in my heart. It was the location of my 3rd ever marathon and most of all it is where I was first able to qualify for Boston. It was the most emotional marathon finish I have ever experienced.
Now, I'll be running the course for the 4th time, and pacing the 3:40 group for the 3rd year in a row. I really look forward to pacing at this marathon, because it is one simple way that I can give back to the sport. Nothing makes me feel better than to see the emotion a runner who has finally achieved a BQ for the first time. Two years ago, a guy got his BQ running with me on his 84th marathon. That is outright incredible.
I'm in great shape now, except I'm maybe carrying a few extra winter pounds.
The stress fracture is totally healed and I have been slowly increasing the miles.
2009 should be a great year.
I'm still trying to figure out what events to run in 2009.
Here are some ideas, but I hope no one holds me to them.
Chippewa Moraine and Trail Mix 50K's in April look like they would be fun. I am not going to run Boston this year, but may return there again in the future. It is just too expensive to travel to these big city marathons.
Med City or the new Stillwater marathons in May would be fun, maybe I could use them as a warmup to run FANS again this year.
I will certainly want to travel to the Afton 50K again this year, that is an awesome place to run!
One thing I would really like to do is travel to Badwater in July and crew for the Badwater 135.
Something about that race is really appealing to me, and I definitely want to crew there before I would consider anything as crazy as applying to run it. If anyone reading this gets accepted into Badwater, and needs crew members, please consider me for the task!
But for this year, I think I would like to attempt the Superior Sawtooth 100. I've only completed a fairly easy 100 (Lean Horse), so I view this as the next logical challenge.
Oh well, I'll come up with a more concrete schedule in the near future.