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Showing posts from 2012

Turn, turn, turn

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PMB...Post Marathon Blues. 

I'm sure it's a pretty common affliction, and for sure it's not limited to the marathon. It's caused by a training and racing season full of the very real psyco and phsio combinations that naturally occur due to the physical, mental and emotional elixir running delivers to the body, mind and soul. Whether the concoction is mixed for 5k speed or marathon endurance, it's an addictive potion that's hard to replace once the season is done. 

You can't stay "in season" too long either. You need the dry spells, the recovery gaps that clean out the system and let the anguish of hill workouts, intervals and multiple-hour runs drain from your muscle memory, one easy run day after another. This slow leakage of the seasons workouts drips with scar tissue, mad sprints and long drives to the finish line. Natural blood doping at it's finest.

It's not by chance our running seasons coincide with those provided by Mother Nature. Spr…

Faith along the way.

Three weeks from this Saturday will by my third marathon in one year. Last October was the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis/St. Paul, this past June was Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, and now my wife Jeanette and I will be running the Whistle Stop Marathon in Ashland, Wisconsin. For me, that's more marathon's than I've run in the previous ten years, combined! I've always run, just not geared up for the long runs and races. In fact, I hardly race at all.
     I finished a training run with my main running partner, Dave, on Tuesday and we talked about how we've both been re-energized to run over the past month or so. After a tough day at Grandma's ( hot and humid and we missed our goal by just over four minutes ) there was a post-race let down. But after six weeks or so our bodies and minds were repaired, and after a few good runs that showed we were getting in even better shape the drive to run faster came around.
     Runner's don't get …

RAIN DELAY

Weird...two rain outs in the last four days and I don't feel guilty about missing runs. Guess that's another reason I'm so amazed at Mark Covert's continuous days running streak. Mark is now in his 45th year of running each and every day...yes, each and every day for 44+ years. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Covert )
     My oldest brother Al and Mark have been friends since their college days, running together and then coaching against each other for many years after. There are so many long runs in life; jobs, friendships, hobbies, annual 'things' we do/visit/ enjoy...it really wasn't that long ago in the grand scheme of things that life ended pretty early for most folks. Short and hard with a brutal ending. 
     I feel lucky to be living in these times. So many things we can do, so many choices we can make. Could I have run on the rain out days? Sure, but I'm not a daily runner. Six days a week max is about all my body can handle on a regular …

My the time has flown by!

Dang, it's nearly the end of July and I have not posted in almost two months! Got busy training for Grandma's Marathon, ran ( well, ran most of it...did fade and walked a few times - ugh! ) took an easy week of training and am back at it again. Ran 3:44 in Duluth, just over 4 minutes off pace but I'm pleading humidity. It was a fantastic training season running with my wife Jeanette and our friends Bryan, Stan, Dave and Mike. Nobody hit their time at the event, but the journey there was awesome and we are all pumped to run a fall marathon. Cooooooler days!
     Also spent a couple of nights a week the past two months watching my youngest play Junior Legion baseball, it's been very enjoyable seeing him have a good season with nice kids on the team, good coaches and solid parents. The team has done well and Harrison had his best pitching outing as a player this summer, going 7 innings in a three hit shut-out. Really fun to see him do well and watch his teammates step up …

3 weeks until Grandma's Marathon!

It's been an awesome training season, one that I know will be tough to beat. As our training group recovered from last fall's Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon during October and November, it was clear that Grandma's 2012 was becoming our focus. Dave, after completing his first ever marathon at MTC, was the first to sign up. I think it took him a whole two days to decide. Jeanette and I held off a bit longer, completing our official registration in early January for the June 16 race. Bryan added his name to the entry log as a back-up to his Ft. Collins, Colorado marathon sometime in March. Mike, the newest member of our long run training group, signed up in April. We have one more member of our group that has yet to register. He had not thought about running Grandma's until about four weeks ago when I made the suggestion, based upon his training over the past six months.
     He finished his first marathon last fall at MTC, our five person training group piled on the…

Transition time is tricky

Planning, doing, experimenting, tweaking. We make an outline and do our best to keep on track, but we need to remember things change along the way. Our group is now just 8 weeks out from the Grandma's Marathon race, and as we whittle down our training days it has become apparent that each week we'll need to look behind and ahead to make sure we maximize our workouts.
     We are in a transition phase, moving form mileage focus to performance focus. Easy days need to be easy, days off kept in the schedule, and hard days are becoming increasingly more fun ( when you are in shape, it's nice to be able to let loose during a workout ). The next six weeks we will be making sure we are improving, but watching signs that we are not overtraining. 
     Two points to keep in mind as we dial in the last two months. 1- Just because we can doesn't mean we should! ( sure, we can run faster some days, but if we over train ugly things happen ). 2 - Let's make sure to make race …

TRAIL MIX Races!

It's been seven years since I've run one of the Trail Mix races, it was the 25k in 2005.  Before that it was the 50k in 1995, wow, that was a while ago! This weekend I'll get to enjoy the event without running, as TEIL will be one of the sponsors of this years events. We look forward to introducing our product line to the Trail Mix participants and getting feedback from them.
     Part of our goal at TEIL, as we begin to establish our brand as a line of running gear, is to provide a way to show the positive impact running has on a persons well being. TEIL is an acronym for To Excel In Life, and as runners we can all relate to how being in a training program helps our running, and our overall life. It doesn't matter if you are a 3:58 marathoner, or a 3:58 miler, running is such a fantastic life enhancement we want to do our part in sharing it with runners through our apparel, socks, accessories and running team. Yes, we are working on putting together a running tea…

Measure carefully

In our garage, we have a 2x4 that supports some shelving that is always packed with too much garage stuff. Should we ever move, I'll have to replace it, even though it's irreplaceable. Huh? Over the years we have been marking this big 'ol yardstick with height checks of our kids, some neighbor kids, a couple friends and a relative or two. It currently holds stuff up, but it holds many more memories.
     Measuring is done all day long in our lives. Costing of things, him versus her, this show over that show, music comparisons, movie comparisons and on and on. I'm thinking that very soon America will get fed up with all the complaining and helicopter radio and tv hosts that hover over any trend, news item or person, just waiting for the right fail-ment to pounce upon them and keep their listeners or viewers up to date on the latest tidbit of info. It's a pretty lousy diet of airwave ( oh wait, cablewave ) overload. It's a big Newsami drowning us ever so sl…

Feeling naked!

First run of the year in just a tee shirt and shorts! Might be a record! It did feel like I was missing some clothing today. I kept thinking I was under dressed for being out in public, must have been my new lightweight, ultra-comfortable TEIL running shirt! It felt goooooooood!
     After months of bundling up, even in a mild winter, it was really nice to get ready so easily today; socks-check...shoes-check...shorts-check...shirt-check...running hat-check...sunglasses-check and then out the door! No watch, either, today, just a nice easy run with Jeanette riding along keeping me company. Beautiful day running six miles through Bunker. The trails are bone dry versus a few weeks of ice-out in the shady areas, which is a great help not having to slow down and negotiate icy patches that can cause all sorts of running ailments; pulled hamstring, twisted ankle, sore butt-bone. You know, the usual suspects due to a slip, trip or fall. 
     It's good to be able to appreciate this rea…

Freshness dated!

Tomorrow night I will need to put in three fresh batteries for my headlamp, it's the third time I've had to reload it. While not great for the environment, it's a funny benchmark of winter running. It's been a blessing to have a group to train with this winter, and a big plus for being able to get out so often was the mild weather. Next year is going to be tough, kind of like getting out of the beach water during the summer, warming up and having lunch, then heading back out...it always seems colder the second time. 
     It's also the beauty of it, never being able to predict what will happen, even if you have already 'been there, done that'. Groundhog Day, the movie, is a favorite of mine. Bill Murry aka "Phil Conners" takes advantage of what appears to be repetition and turns it on its own re-run self. He becomes expert at a variety of disciplines, but ever lasting love still eludes him, no matter how many times he thinks he's got it fi…

The metamorphosis is happening!

The metamorphosis is happening, and I'm not sure what to think! It's something I see in others; the training they put in, be it miles, pitches or free-throws, and how one day it all starts to come together. I saw it on my son's basketball team that I help coach. Saturday the entire team played well, and they crushed a team that had beaten them three times straight over the past two seasons.
     Now, I'm starting to see it in me.
     Last week I put in 51 miles on six days of training, the most since last year when a month before the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon I had a 20 mile Sunday that put me over 50. The difference this year is the training foundation is so much more consistent. Sneaking up, week by week, to hit 51 miles was very manageable. The pace was easy ( finally got snow this week so our pace was hampered by dodging snow piles and ice overs ), the temps not bad and Sunday we bumped up to 16 for the day. 
     Being patient, starting our base early, it&…

Championship season

It's Championship Season for Indoor Track and Field. So many young runners are racing their butts off trying to get to the next level of competition, while are others are setting PR's, finishing strong and otherwise helping their teams in what may be the final indoor race of their careers. It's a mixed bag as the season wraps up, so many emotions, so many opportunities. It happens every season, time and effort come down to a single race or event throw or jump and it can be a heart breaker or a dream maker.
     For most of the distance athletes, they will have outdoor track, then summer training, then fall cross country to plan for and stretch themselves to new goals. And of course it's only natural for these young athletes to always be thinking of how to train better, to get faster, to be their best. They are amazing performers, balancing so much with school, work, training, being away from home, I'm inspired by how hard they work and how much they attain in…

Training partners...the best thing going!

First week of marathon training in the log book, 43 miles. Goal for the next four weeks is 40 to 45 a week, just getting in the miles and upping some of the long Sunday runs. Our group is excited about Grandma's Marathon, but as we begin to dial in our specific plans, it looks like we'll be breaking up a bit for some or our key runs. We enjoy running together, it's been a major reason we have all been able to keep up our winter training, however with each of us knowing that our time goals are a bit different, it will be a bit of juggling to keep meeting on a regular basis, but we will do it!
     Bryan, our speedster, has his marathon in May, and has the need for speed the rest of can't support him with. Today he was able to train with a 2:32 marathoner and they ran 16 miles at 7:00 minute pace, hitting some 6:33's along the way. It was a great confidence booster for him, and a good benchmark of what all his training has been doing for him. Three months out an…

Balance

18 weeks out until Grandma's Marathon. Those famous words, "In Training" officially begins tomorrow, although with the mild winter we have had, our training group, and most likely many other Minnesota runners, are well ahead of their start-of-the-year base training goals. Old man winter has been very kind this season, and we are all in better shape because of it.
     Don't think it's been a cake walk, it is still cold outside, today in fact our run began with the temperature reading 7'. Thank goodness it was sunny and there was very little wind. Once we got a couple of miles into the run it was actually rather nice and since we've had only a trace of snowfall the paths are very clear, making for excellent footing. No major falls at all this winter in our group.
     Last year our group decided it was time to train outdoors more often during winter. Ugh! 86+ inches of snowfall, from October through April! We made it to the end of January ok, but then s…

Super Bowl Sunday 2012

Superbowl Sunday! Feels like a holiday, so a long run was in order to start the day. Our group   ( me, Jeanette, Bryan and Dave ) met just before 8am, weather was great at 26 degrees and no wind. With a fair amount of moisture in the air and low clouds hanging overhead, it seemed a bit more like fall, not February, in Minnesota.
     This evening, two teams will battle for the NFL championship, and many runners will be kickin' back in front of the TV, watching what they eat a bit, but knowing they put in a long run in the morning and not be too worried about a few extra calories. Might even get a nap in during part of the game if the commercials are boring or the game is one sided. Football fans will be going crazy, and come tomorrow they will be talking about the coming season.
     Most runners are sports fans, we do cheer for our favorite athletes, teams, and countries...especially during this Olympic year...but we are able to enjoy our sport with the elite in a way other …

Miles in the bank!

Friday night, party night...not! In-training for Grandma's Marathon and tomorrow morning it's a 5:30am wake up call. Running with Dave at 6:30am so after a very busy week it's an early dinner and plenty of sleep.
     Tomorrow is 19 weeks out from race day, so this coming week is the last week of 'casual' training. Then the 18 week program begins. I'm really looking forward to the training season, in part because with this mild winter we've been able to maintain a decent fitness level without having to battle the weather too much. Even though we have Feb and Mar to go, all indicators point to a very early spring.
     Most seasoned marathoners know the toughest part is the training. We know what we are in for over the next three to four months and look forward to performing on race day. Newbies seem to focus more on the anxiety of race day, and don't really understand the essence of what the training season is all about.
     I term training as "…

Take 5!

We've been spoiled this winter due to mild temps and a shortage of snowfall. Trails have been quite clear and we can get by with 3 layers of clothing on most days. My wife Jeanette and I had a run a few nights ago that was very mild. No wind and clear skies gave us a great view of the stars. On our way back through Bunker Park we stopped about a mile and a half out and took a stargazing break.
     Laying on our backs, across the trail, and staring up to the skies it only took a few minutes to adjust our eyes and get a good look at all the stars. We know a few of the constellations, but mostly it was just fun to be out in the park, no one around and just looking up at natures twinkling stars and planets. 
     After a bit, and just before we got cold, we got up and headed back. Funny how just a small change in routine can really add to a run. Saturday morning I ran with Dave, finally back outside after a two week battle with a cold...( he still got his mileage in during the las…

Save the hammies!

Doesn't take much to pull a hamstring in the winter. Cold temps and icy paths make a lethal combo for tight muscles at the start of a training run. I start slow, warm up a bit and see what the trial conditions have in store for me.
     Especially at night, coming up on an icy patch happens quickly and suddenly I begin a slide forward. Stay loose, keep calm and ride it out, hoping not to end up smacking my hip into the only non-snowy spot on the asphalt path. Later, I find my foot slipping away from me as I push off, and that's when the fun really starts. The leg extends and my hamstring says "Hello! How are you! Wanna stretch too far?" 
     Even with all the poor footing, night running in the winter is great, especially when the temps are above 20', and the wind is light. The quiet and solitude are a welcome relief from work and the constant buzz of radio and tv. I always run unplugged from electronics, and totally plugged into my surroundings. 
     If I had…

What's up with my toes?

They look like blisters, but they don't hurt. Kinda looks like frostbite, or poison ivy. Not too bad, but had to check the internet about my toes. Since I live in Minnesota, gotta deal with some cold winter runs so onto the web I went. 
     Chilblains, a pretty well known ailment due mainly to a lack of circulation and or warming up the toes too quickly after being in the cold. The docs suggest exercise...is running in the cold oxy-moronic when you have Chilblains? Most people may think it's plain moronic, and maybe it is, a little. But, so far it is getting better with me paying more attention to keeping all the little piggies warm and rubbing on some Warm Skin lotion a couple times a day.       It's funny how things can sneak up on you. A little lack of focus, or maybe just paying lots of attention to something else, and suddenly a new ailment, or work situation, or relationship has a 'blister'. Most of time we can resolve the issue fairly quickly…

Grind it out...it's worth it!

Pair of shoes, pair of socks...shorts, tights, pants...long sleeve shirt, short sleeve shirt, long sleeve shirt...jacket, face mask, ski hat, liner gloves, gloves...Garmin 305, headlamp.
     Left work late, half hour to change and be ready to run. The above items total 19 items to put on. Could have worn a reflective vest for an even 20, but Bryan and I were running in Bunker Park. Toss in a couple of pit stops while dressing, chap stick on the lips and Warm Skin on the face and I was ready by 6:20.
    It's nights like these that keep us on track. We won't remember them because the pace was average and I felt like a slug. Thankfully Bryan was patient and didn't mind the slower pace, especially since the trail was fairly icy due to a short rain-snow mix this afternoon. 
     But, a run is a run and it's 8 miles I needed for the week, can't do a long Sunday run on 5 milers alone. So what if it's 18', 20mph gusts and a bit of sleet dropping down...it's…

Winter sunrise run

After an easy run last night, with wife Jeanette, along some sloshy snow and ice paths, I figured the trails would be tricky as Dave and I started our 7am run. Dave has relatives in town and an early start was needed. Thankfully our mild winter brought us 25', clear skies and no wind. Amazing. Last year at this time we were trudging through plenty of snow, and battling low teen's temps on what seemed like every weekend run. Blessings for the new year, for sure.
     Headlamps were on, and as we made our way through the park I found the footing was pretty clear in most parts, just a few icy corners and areas where the sun doesn't quite hit during the day. Bunker Hills park gives us a sense of running through a forested park, as we are surrounded by oaks and pines, with a couple of areas of prairie restoration mixed in. There is a 27 hole golf course on the west end, providing an awesome buffer zone. On the northeast side you will find a stable with horses for riding a…

Winter reflection

Winter has finally arrived, at least for a few days, here in Minnesota. After one of the dryest Decembers on record, we received a few inches of snow new years eve, after a few inches of rain, of course. Oh, and the wind has picked up, brisk gusts of 20mph on a 14' day make for a bit of a battle on the way back home. It was good to be with others on todays run, especially good to see my wife, Jeanette, get a five mile run in, her first at this distance since taking time off for a post-marathon injury. Bryan and Dave and I got in 9 miles, it felt like 11 in the hills.
     With all it's seasonal extras, winter is a great time to force the training into moderate pace mode. On our workouts we can talk more easily, and we add topics that are less about training, and more about life. But we do get to dream about spring running; the warmer weather, the clear trails and if we stay healthy our faster workouts and finally our racing goals.
     But we love the winter. The beauty …