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Showing posts from December, 2011

Welcome, 2012!

Thank you, 2011, it was a very good year of running! I was blessed with great friends to train with, minimal injuries, and good weather. The highlight was all the time my wife Jeanette and I spent training together for the Medtronic Twin Cities marathon we ran this past October. Jeanette was really motivated this year, and ran another Boston Qualifier, finishing over five minutes under the new 2013 standards. I missed by just over two minutes, but after a confidence building ( read; steady pace with a very solid finish...unlike my last two marathons ) 1:44 half marathon this past November I'm ready to go for 3:39 at Grandma's in June.      And that's my goal for 2012, but it's my love for the sport, running with friends and sharing our passion that keeps me heading out day after day. We really are lucky to be able to do so much running, and the park where we run provides up to a 9 mile loop course, and it's hardly used by others. The park setting makes you feel …

Wish we could run together more often!

It's the final holiday season of the year, and with the rush of activity it can be tough to fit a run in, much less sneaking out for a long run. On the plus side, during the holidays, we do have more chances to run with family and friends we don't normally have time to fit into a regular schedule, or those visiting from out of town, which in my case is our son Spencer who is home from college on winter break. And thanks to texting and Facebook, it's pretty easy to schedule a group outing. 
     Family and friends runs are always enjoyable. Running at a pace everyone can manage, with topics of conversation that are upbeat and not too much about training or racing, these runs remind us how energizing it is to make time for true social runs at a time of year when we are trying to both repair our bodies and recharge our spirits.
     This year I had the good fortune of being able to have a Thanksgiving vacation with my family. We flew out to California and I was able to have …

Your pace or mine?

It's nice to have training partners. More than someone to run with once a week, a training partner keeps you honest all week long, and is usually headed for the same goal as you are. The trick is finding how to balance training efforts that fit into everyones pace calculator. It's tough!
         My wife and I run together quite a bit, this year especially, and it was really enjoyable. We made it through most of the Minnesota winter outdoors ( only 83" of snow this past winter, ugh! ), and set our goal on the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in October. We trained with two other regulars during the winter that were also training for MTCM, and picked up another about mid July. Our goal times were all over the place. From three hours ( Bryan ) to 3:39 ( me ) to 3:50 ( Jeanette ) to "under four" ( Dave and Ben ) and finally, for Stan, "to finish". It was going to be the first for Dave, Ben and Stan.
     Running as a group is such a fantastic way to train,…

How does it happen?

It sneaks up on us, little bits of progress that we are hard pressed to notice day to day. Increments that hide as we are distracted by things like how tough it is to breath, how our shoes are feeling like cardboard, the slight hill we are running at the time. We consume ourselves with the present, which is a great thing, yet the added benefits of a few weeks of solid training sessions are not something that is able to jump up and wave at us like a fan on the sidelines.
     But we know it's out there, like a deer in nearby woods, hunkered down and surrounded by tall prairie grass. And one day, we show up on the route a little early and surprise the doe that again has patiently waited for us to pass by at our normal hour. This day, we've started early and our course is run with a bit more enthusiasm. Faster early pace, steady longer in the middle and then a wonderful finish that we are able to maintain to the mailbox that marks the end of our runs. We flourish on this da…

Best flu vaccine.

I function so much better when I'm training...life, work, relationships all seem to ebb and flow in a much more manageable manner. Not to say everything is perfect, but running enables me to handle challenges better. I just feel more in touch and on top of things.
    I know it's a blessing to be able to run and train and I try not to take it for granted. I've had a variety of injuries over the years, as have my running friends, and my current stretch of about two years of fairly consistent running is bearing some fresh fruit. Well, aged fruit I should say. But it is nice to have a couple of years of training in the bank as the new year approaches, and a bit of weight loss to boot.
     Now that winter is here it is tougher to get out the door and run. Darkness, cold temps and having to be more careful on the running paths. But keeping up the training has another benefit, and for me it's always been staying 'flu free'. Nothing scientific, but something a…

Fresh air

Sunday last, it was from the south. The wind, that is. Clear skies, and if it were early summer I'd know humidity was on the way. But it's December, deep into the month and while our southern breeze was friendly, it was still a cool 28'. End of this week, a different story. Brisk is such a great word, and so easily understood. A run in brisk weather (tonight was 25' and a northern wind at about 15mph) means extra layers, watery eyes, lips slow to form words that fellow runners will understand and a bit of Warm Skin rubbed onto cheeks, over the nose and around the neck and chin. The cold and clear air keeps you awake and is a motivator for a bit faster pace out of the gate. Looking upwards you discover the wind has cleared the sky of debris and helps heighten the clarity of the stars, the big dipper was in full view just above the eastern horizon on this moonless early evening.
     Talk is about last year at this time, when we had 17" of snow on the ground. N…

Light up the night

Florence and the Machine have a song out called Dark Days are Over. You most likely have heard it, and if you've seen the group perform, it's an '80's throwback performance, for me at least. Marathons should rock this tune from mile 23 to 24. A mile of speakers pushing the vibe out over and over, letting you know that you are nearly at the finish line...Light at the end of the tunnel. I won't be able to celebrate this song for a few more months, as winter solstice has yet to arrive and in the northern state of Minnesota it will be late February before we have extended daylight hours for evening running. But I do enjoy winter evening runs. Tonight, in fact, was such a run. Clear trails with just a splash of leftover slush in a couple of places from last weeks snow. My training partner for the night, Bryan, and I did a nice 6 miler in 38' temp. The dark days of winter running have just begun, but with a decent headlamp, an extra layer of tech apparel and a good f…

Day 1

It really is a beautiful time to run here in Minnesota. Yes, winter running can sometimes be a challenge, we'll I'll be honest, it is nearly always a challenge during winter, but I always keep in mind it is the off-season. Time to recover, maintain and rebuild over the short days of December through February and be ready to go come March. I like this time of year, and with the help of my fellow training partners if I can get outside four or five days a week for training I'll be in good shape this coming spring. Throw in a few days of Nordic skate skiing and I'm a happy camper. So, goals for the winter; stay healthy, run with my wife and our training friends, and get out and ski. It's a long time until Grandma's Marathon in June and another go at a BQ time for '13 ( have you checked the new standards? ). Until then, Let's Train!