Sunday, February 9, 2014

Securian Winter Run Recap/Review - better late than never!

On January 25, I ran the Securian Winter Run 5k. I signed up the week before, and the weather forecast had race day's high at 20 degrees. Totally doable! Unfortunately, the high temperature was reached at about 1 am Saturday and by race start (9:10 am) the temp had plummeted to about 4 above with a chilly wind from the west. Oh Minnesota, you never cease to amaze.

Let me start out by going over the things I did wrong for this race.

1. I did not wear a neck/face warmer.
2. I did not warm up (okay, I jogged maybe one minute from my car to the warming building, and jogged in place at the start for about two minutes).
3. I did not really review the course at all before the race.
4. I left the house later than intended so I was rushed at the start.
5. I went straight to the front of the race and had no one to draft off. 

Things I did right:

1. I did a good treadmill workout on Tuesday prior to the race: 10 min WU, 2 min hard (6:22-6:18) 3 min moderate (7:00) x 5
2. I wore a warm jacket, giant mittens, and windproof pants.
3. I ran negative splits. 

I lined up right at the front of the crowd to start so I could get off to a good start and just the race over with. The guy at the start yelled "go" and off we went. Within about a quarter mile I was in a little pack of guys running what felt to be a comfortably hard pace. After about a half mile I was in second place and after three quarters a mile the lead guy seemed to be slowing so I took the lead. I hit mile 1 in 6:20, and that felt just fine. I could still hear the guy behind me so I just focused on maintaining a strong but comfortable pace. I hit mile 2 at 6:17 and still felt good. My feet were just starting to thaw out and didn't feel like tingly bricks attached to my legs, so that was nice. I tried to push the pace a little on the last mile and ended up with a 6:14 mile three. So only .1 until the end, right?


I was following the lead biker and when I heard my watch beep at mile 3, I got excited because soon I'd be toasty and warm. But when I looked around, I did not see any sign of the finish. The biker kept going and I kept following but with each step I was getting more frustrated as there was still no finish in sight. I checked my watch and saw 3.2 miles...then 3.3....we finally took a right onto Jackson street and there was the finish. I crossed the line in 22:05 and noted the distance on my watch: 3.48 miles.

The second place runner came in shortly after and noted his watch also read long- 3.46 miles. We both were telling the race management team about this and the third place runner also confirmed a long reading.

Here is copy of the route according to my garmin:

Note the turnaround past the Wabasha bridge.

Here is the route from the race management site:
This turnaround is just halfway between the robert and wabasha bridges.

Let me point out that I'm not someone who frets over a course that is a little long based on watch GPS readings, and I'm the first to admit the the watch measurements are not as accurate as the measuring methods used by course officials. But an extra .38 miles is kind of a lot. I sent a message to the race team and got a response stating that the courses were marked and measured correctly for all distances after slight changes were made to the course to allow for construction interruptions; some personal measurement technology may be affected by the interruption tall buildings may cause. 

I also emailed the race director who basically said the same thing. I'm not super satisfied with the responses since it still seems like a lot for the distances to be mismatched. But whatever. I won a gift certificate to Run N Fun so I'm over it. 

Oh- I mentioned that you get a mug for running this race. The website says "Registered participants will receive a complimentary Securian Winter Run mug, a Saint Paul Winter Carnival commemorative button and coupon book." Well, either the person handling the registration was forgetting to give this stuff out or I completely missed where you are supposed to get the mug, because I did not get one :( . However, I did get some socks since I was one of the first 1000 entrants.

I guess the race was fine, and a good training run, but I am on the fence if I would do this again. I really want the mug maybe I'll give it one more chance next year.

What would you do if you ran a race that measured significantly long/short? Has this ever happened to you?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Training for a one mile, plus a race recap

It seems like there are countless 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon, & marathon training programs out there, but my extensive Google search did not  yield many results for1 mile race training. This is not surprising as there aren't nearly as many 1 mile races. But! The 1 mile is a really fun race and if you haven't done one, you should!

Now I am not a coach, physician, exercise physiologist, or any sort of professional related to running/fitness. But, I have run a mile (and 1500) many times and have a pretty solid idea of what training should look like. So, here are my favorite workouts for preparing for a 1 mile!
  •  Hills. There is a very famous quote from Frank Shorter (I think) :"Hills are speedwork in disguise". Hills are great for any type of race but really get you ready to run the shorter, faster workouts needed to train for a mile.
  • Fartleks- like, 2 min on 1 min off or 1 on 1 off. The "on" portion should be a pretty solid effort, and the "off" portion should be more of a relaxed jog.
  •  Intervals. I love these. I looked back through my college logs to see what I did back then- it was a combination of repeats ranging from 200-1000 m, run between 4:55 and 5:30 pace (I was in shape to run a 5:15 mile). So adjust accordingly. These should be hard workouts! But also they have great payoff by getting used to running a fast effort.
  • Run consistently. Just because you are "only" training for a mile doesn't mean two miles every other day is going to cut it. I mean, yeah, you'll still probably finish if you only run two miles every other day...but running consistently is key for any race.
So onto my Meet of the Miles race recap! This is a very, very low key race held at the U of M fieldhouse and run by the Minnesota Distance Running Association. You show up, pay $5, and sign up according to your goal pace. Some people signed up for a couple of heats to get a workout in. No thanks! Meg & I signed up for the 5:30-5:45 pace group. Here we are before the race, all happy and bright:

Our friend Larissa was with us too but signed up for the 5:15-5:30 heat and was running while we were posing for photos. Before our race we went out for a 3.25 mile warm up jog around campus and over the stone arch bridge. It was a very scenic run! 

We got back to the field house just in time to see Mr. B finish his race. He was in the first heat, and had the lead up to the last 50 meters or so until being caught by a high school kid who ran 4:17 last spring. He finished second in 4:24! Not bad :)

I did a few short strides and these weird knee/hip loosening exercises and then it was time to go! The race was a true mile (1609 meters) and there were a lot of people in our heat! There was a little bit of crowding right away and I found myself running just on the inside of lane 2 for the first 400 meters or so. During this time my legs felt like lead. I was seriously worried that I was going to run 6:00 or something. I just could not get the turnover going! I finally loosened up at about 500 meters in and started to feel strong. 

It's blurry, but there we are.
 As I mentioned our heat was pretty crowded so I started to work my way around a couple people. I still felt pretty good and don't remember a lot from 500 m-1400 m. The laps are 200 m each and they just went by so quickly. I definitely was feeling tired with one to go, but at that point you just have to remind yourself its only 200 meters and just go for it. I finished in 5:38.4 and Meg was right behind me at 5:39.6. Not terrible, especially for an indoor race. Larissa ran really well in her heat and ran 5:18. 

So fast.
Overall I'm happy with how the race went. I'm not used to running that fast a pace so it was definitely a system shock.Also, running on an indoor track (especially in an old facility like the U of M) causes some major coughing and dryness in the chest. I was coughing so hard after the race I felt like I might throw up. Not cool. However, the race was really fun and I will definitely do it again next year!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Race Planning

It is time to make a rough schedule of races for 2014! Here is what I am thinking so far:
  • Meet of Miles (1 Mile), January 13: This is an indoor meet held at the University of MN. It is only $5 to run! I've never done it before but my understanding is that you sign up in heats according to your estimated finish time. 
  • Securian Winter Run 5k, January 25: You get a mug! Perfect for filling with coffee and Bailey's after a cold run. 
  • Irish Run St. Paul 8k, March 24: I don't think I've run this one before- the 8k distance is kind of unique and this is in my neighborhood.
  • Get in Gear 10k, April 26: I've done it before, it is a fast race, and I love 10k races.
  • TC 1 Mile, May 8: Fun stuff.
  • Gary Bjorkland Half Marathon, June 21: Hopefully I get in. My sister wants to run it again and shoot for a 1:30 finish time
  • TC 10 Mile, October 5: Love this race.
Of course, this is preliminary. But I like having an idea of upcoming events to train for. 


39:30 for 10k
5:25 or faster for 1 mile
1:30 or faster for half marathon
1:05 for 10 mile

Do you schedule races out far in advance or are they last minute decisions? Do you have a favorite race distance?

Monday, December 30, 2013

December Lull, Running gifts, and dogs, of course

I'm honestly a little embarrassed by my running so far in December...up until this last week, it has not been a good month! We've been hit with some really cold weather and snow. I know, weather should not be an excuse, especially since I still have a gym membership.

Beautiful morning run from early December.

The runs that I have done have all been just okay.  Besides the standard 4-6 mile runs, I have done a couple of workouts on the treadmill-two miles warm up and then .7 miles hard (about 6:22 pace) and .3 easy x 4, and a mile CD. Running a workout on the treadmill is so much easier than going for a distance run.  Those people that can do that (a long run on the treadmill) must have a special sense for ignoring the time/distance slowly ticking by, or have a really amazing playlist to listen to. Mr. B ran ten on the treadmill the other night like it was no big least he admitted to me later that he wasn't a fan. After that he has done his runs outside- even the long 17 milers in close to 0 degrees!
That is why I got him a running jacket for Christmas- the Nike Element Shield full zip:

Nike Element Shield Full-Zip Men's Running Jacket
I went to Run N Fun, of course, and they had so many options! It took me a long time to pick out a jacket for him. Running clothes can be tough to buy for others since there are so many options and everyone likes different features. But I knew I wanted to get him one with the cuffs that extend over the hand with thumb holes, wind and water resistance, reflective strips, and a longer back than front. This one met all those requirements, plus it wasn't as flashy as some of the others. So far I think he really likes it!

Mr. B provided me with some of my own running goodies for my birthday and Christmas! My birthday present was a Garmin Forerunner 10. I love it. It is the most simple option they have, and that is perfect for me. All I want is the time, pace, and distance, and that is exactly what I get. I think you can download the runs onto the Garmin site too so that you can see splits and other stats. I always used my watch and online mapping site to figure out my runs, and then I started using the map my run app when I got my new phone. But the Garmin is a lot less bulky than my phone so no more running with the phone!
He also gave me the Nike Element Shield pants:

Nike Element Shield Women's Running Pants
Photo from mine do not fit this snugly; I like my pants to have a little room.
And the Nike element half zip:

Nike Element Half-Zip Women's Running Top
pic also from I can't get enough shirts with thumb holes!!
Plus, some Smartwool socks! Very nice and warm. I think there's a saying that goes something like "there's no bad weather, just bad clothing" (or did I make that up? Did my college coach make it up to trick the team into running outside?). In any case, the new gear definitely makes outdoor running more tolerable when it's frigid and windy. 

Rodgy did not get any running stuff for Christmas; he got a new rope toy and he loves it. 

Here are some more pictures of dogs, since one dog picture is clearly not enough:

I found this black dog wandering the streets of St. Paul on my way to run some errands. He had a collar on so he clearly belonged to someone but there were no tags or anything. He was a sweetie, and jumped right into my car when I called him. I took him to the Animal Humane Society where they scanned him for a microchip, and luckily the information was current, so dog and owner were reunited.

Ari, my old running buddy. His mileage these days is even lower than mine so he's put on a few pounds. Still a lover though!!!

Thumb holes in running tops: Yay or Nay?
Did you get any running gear for a holiday gift? What kind?

Friday, November 29, 2013

Turkey Trot 10k recap

Like so many others, I ran a 10k yesterday to celebrate Thanksgiving. Just kidding, I didn't do it to celebrate Thanksgiving, I did it because the race was cheap and in my area. There are a couple of big local races- one is a 5k in downtown Minneapolis sponsored by Lifetime Fitness, another is a 10k around Lake Harriet, and the one I ran was an inaugural 5k/10k in St. Paul. I will never do the Lifetime Fitness one- it is pricey, crowded, and they don't keep results. Sorry, but what the heck is the point of racing if there are no results? No thanks. I've done the Lake Harriet one before and actually really liked that race but since another one was offered in St. Paul and is closer to home, of course I'm going to pick that one!

Anyway. I ran the Turkey Trot Saint Paul. As I mentioned, the race was really reasonably priced ($35 since I signed up a couple months ago). So that was a plus.  However, packet pick up was the night before at the Crown Plaza in St. Paul- terrible idea. First of all, downtown St. Paul has a lot of one way streets and limited parking. I probably drove around for 15 minutes before finding a place to park. There wasn't much to pick up- just the bib and t-shirt, and socks, for the first 2000 registrants. You were supposed to look up your number ahead of time but they did have all the numbers printed off in case you forgot or didn't do that.

So race day was clear and cold. It started at 7:30 am and I think it was about 24 degrees. I didn't do much of a warm up for the race- I misjudged how long it would take me to get moving and get to the start, so I only had about 15 minutes to spare. One major positive about the race was the number of porta-potties. There were a lot. No complaints there!

The race was held on Shepard Road, from the Science Museum to a spot 3.1 miles down the road, and back. Not necessarily the most exciting or scenic course, despite the river being right there. Shepard road is two lanes each way so it was kind of like running on a highway. There are also some long, gradual hills, which weren't too terrible. There were pacers for this race, including a pacer for 40:00. I started close to the front of the race and figured I'd take it easy for the first couple miles and try to push the last two.

At about mile 1 I found myself in a good rhythm and running with some guy (we'll call him B because I think I heard someone cheer for him and I think the name they yelled started with "B"). B and I ended up running pretty much the entire race together, which was really nice! I love finding running buddies during races. It is way easier to run with someone.  At about mile 2 we got caught by another girl and guy but stayed with them as a nice little four-some until about mile 4. There was a pretty good hill at that point and the two that had been with me and B dropped off. After one more little hill at mile 4.75 the race was pretty flat or slightly downhill, which worked well for my plan of pushing a bit. B out kicked me at the end but I still ran 40:29, which I think is a PR. 


Mile 1 6:36
Mile 2 6:32
Mile 3 6:30
Mile 4 6:31
Mile 5 6:31
Mile 6 6:22
Mile .2 1:26

No photos of this race but here are some other cool pictures:

Tailgating before the Gopher Game- Bloody Marys. We had to stay warm somehow!

Luther fans at the DIII Central Region Cross Country Championships.  Please note it was about 30 degrees out.

I believe these are St. Olaf fans, giving Luther a run for their money in regards to "crazy accessories".

A pack of men.
The men's winner. Now that is a finishing sprint. 

I have found that some people do not like Bloody Marys. Do you? What fixings do you add? For our tailgating we had beef sticks, pepper jack cheese, pickles, celery, lemon wedges, and worchestershire sauce. I have to admit, they were phenomenal.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013


Recently Mr. B and I celebrated our two year wedding anniversary. Our initial plan for celebrating was a road trip to watch the Packers at Lambeau. However, one morning about a month ago, I learned that Mr. B had booked us a weekend trip to New York City instead- over the weekend of the New York Marathon no less! Of course, the Packers would be fun...but a trip to watch the New York Marathon would be incredible!
Oh hey New York!
On Saturday morning I had hoped to catch the Dash to the Finish 5k, which included some of my favorite professional runners: Chris Solinsky, Shalane Flanagan, Molly Huddle, Ben True, Sally Kipyego, and Lopez Lomong (just to name a few). Unfortunately we got a little behind and missed the elite race (but Nick Willis won the men's competition in 13:47 and Molly Huddle won for women in 15:27 - interviews, more results, etc., are here ). I did get a picture of the masses running:
One thing you can't see in this picture is the ridiculous number of people running and taking photos of themselves! Some even had those things that you stick your camera/phone to the end of so it doesn't look like a selfie (like this thing)

Okay- I am all about documenting memories, etc, (even though somehow there are no pics of Mr. B & me together from our weekend) but seriously, why would you run 3.1 miles holding that thing?! Do you need that many photos, or worse, a video of just your face, bobbing in and out of the frame?!

Sorry. Rant over. 

Mr. B and I were staying in midtown, about 1.2 miles south of Central Park, so on Sunday we ran over the park. One thing we noticed on our way was how windy it was- just a stiff headwind until we turned for home. I have a feeling that contributed to the somewhat "slow" times. Anyway, we were at the park pretty early and if we had wanted to could have snagged a front row seat to the finish. Security was understandably tight- even with just our running clothes we got wanded by police before entering the park, and all bags were searched before people were allowed near the course. We finished our run down 5th avenue (I was staring so hard at the amazing displays in those high end shops that I was afraid I'd run into the glass like a little bird).

We went back to the park after changing into warmer clothes, and positioned ourselves near what I believe was about mile 25.5 (just an estimate). We arrived just in time to see Kim Smith, a runner from New Zealand, pass by en route to a 6th place finish. Here are some of the elite runners I was able to get photos of, including links to some articles about them:

Julia Stamps Mallon: Bad Ass.
Ryan Vail, top American man.

Never giving up: Meb Keflezighi- great post- race interview is here
Yuki Kawauchi- finishing marathon #9 of 2013, also works a full time job and is not a "professional" runnner
Wesley Korir- 2012 Boston Champion and maybe future president of Kenya
The environment around the race was really great- though some people were oblivious to the fact that a race was happening (I saw a girl try to just walk through the crowd of, bad idea), most people were super excited! I know it sounds very naive of me, but I just didn't realize how big this race is! I think I read that over 50,000 people started the race- almost 5x the number that start the Twin Cities marathon (12k in 2013). I can't even imagine dealing with the logistics of something so big. Personally, I'm not sure I'd enjoy a race that huge, though I'm sure it would be an amazing experience!
Running last week:
Monday: off
Thursday: off
Friday: 7.5
Saturday: off

I clearly didn't follow my plan for running, so this week I'm not making a plan and am just focusing on getting 5+ miles in on at least 5 days (including a long run on Saturday).

Do you prefer larger races, or small ones?
Who is your favorite or inspirational elite runner? Do you follow elite racing at all?
-I love Kara Goucher of course, but I also really admire the runners who aren't "big names" or maybe don't have shoe contracts, but keep running and competing at a high level- Jason Hartmann comes to mind.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

A nice fall run.

A scene from my run this morning:

Such a perfect fall morning! I've said it before and I'll say it again: fall running is the best.

Since the 10 mile, I haven't been running much more than I was before (not like that was a lot to begin with...). But I signed up to run a 10k on Thanksgiving and I'd like to have a good race, so I am going to try to get a long run in on the weekend. You know, like most runners do. Today I planned a route of about 8.5 miles, but during my run I needed to take a .5 mile detour to use the restroom, so the run ended up being 9 miles even in 1 hour 4 minutes (7:05 pace).

I made a rookie mistake and overdressed for my run. It was about 35 when I left, and I knew the day was only going to get warmer, but I still was a wuss and wore two long sleeves plus a fleece headband. About 4 miles in, I was really regretting that second layer. 

My hip felt pretty good the whole run, but afterwards it tightened up. I have an evening of icing & stretching planned...along with watching the Packers game!

Cutest Packers fan ever. 
Running plans for this week:

Monday: 5 miles
Tuesday: 5 miles
Wednesday: Workout (6x800 m @ 2:50-3:00)
Thursday: 4 miles
Friday: 6 miles

Plus hip stretching/strengthening exercises each day (AM & PM).

The mileage seems low,  but since I haven't been the queen of consistency I think it's better than nothing.We'll see!