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!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

TC 10 Mile Recap

So today I ran the TC 10 mile for the 5th year in a row. The race is billed as the "shortcut to the capitol"and is held in conjunction with the Twin Cities Marathon. The course is truly beautiful- it starts in downtown Minneapolis and runs along the Mississippi into St. Paul, and then on Summit Avenue before finishing by the state capitol.

The crowd support for this race is absolutely incredible. There are very few places along the course without people cheering runners along, and there is a great feeling of support the whole way. 

Earlier this week, the weather forecast did not look promising. I think I saw rain, wind, and cold (35 degrees) on tap for Sunday. Fortunately, that was not the case, and it was perfect running weather. Cool (45 degrees at the start), no wind, no rain, in fact, there was hardly a cloud in the sky!

Like most major races with a point to point course, there are shuttles to take runners to the start line. Last year I took the shuttle and remember that it was a pretty quick and painless ordeal. This year my company offered a shuttle for employees, plus free parking near the finish line. I signed up for the 5:15 shuttle and pretty much had the whole bus to myself!
The loneliness of the long distance runner....not sure what that spot is!
The bus dropped me off at the metrodome, which is open for runners to hang out in before the race. There weren't many people there at 5:30 so I found a nice spot near a women's bathroom. And then, the most backwards thing ever happened. Race officials TURNED IT INTO A MEN'S ROOM. They covered up the "wo" and put up big "men" signs. So that meant there were three mens restrooms in a row. I lost track of how many poor women headed towards the bathroom only to realize it was not what they expected.  Of course the women's rooms on the main level had insanely long lines, but something to keep in mind is that there are bathrooms on the second level! So that is my tip of the day- go upstairs. There might be a little line but nothing compared to the ones on the main level.

Wow that was a long paragraph about bathrooms. But, as you might have noticed, the bathroom situation at races is an important factor to me (and probably to most runners).

Anyway. I headed towards the start with about twenty minutes to go. I had a long sleeve on over my tshirt, and I had planned to take it off and give it to Meg to hang onto for me at about mile three. I also had a cheap pair of gloves on, and my white "Dave Wottle" hat. I have to admit, my outfit choice was pretty spot on for the temperature. I saw some people in sport bras and shorts and others in spandex pants and winter hats! Only in MN, right?

So. The race. Here is a link to the course map:

Miles 1-5 (7:22, 7:03, 7:13, 6:40, 6:57)
As I mentioned in my last post I have not been doing great training this summer so I wanted to go out a little modestly. The first mile is always pretty crowded and there are a couple sharp-ish turns. But it is also downhill! So that is nice and makes it easy to run easy. The second mile continues on the river road, and isn't too exciting. Mile three is kind of annoying, including up a pretty long climb up to Franklin Street, where you cross the river. There is always a huge crowd of spectators on the top of the hill and on the other side of the river. Once you cross the river you hit mile four, which is pretty uneventful. I honestly can't remember much of this part of the race. While mile four is uneventful, mile five is kind of a pain in the ass. There are two pretty long steady hills during this mile, one right after the other. Once you are at the top of the second hill you are at St. Thomas.

Miles 6-10 (6:52, 6:49, 6:37, 6:33, 6:11)

Mile six starts pretty close to St. Thomas, and at this time the course turns right and then left onto Summit. Again, such great crowd support here to the end of the race, which is great. Summit does not seem to be a hill when you are driving it or doing an easy run, but at this point in the race you can definitely feel the incline, especially as you approach Snelling Avenue. If you look at the course elevation chart, you are basically running uphill from miles 5-7. Mile 8 starts right around Hamline Avenue (Mr. B was out cheering here! Yay!) and is another slight uphill to Lexington.There is a little hill by Dale but it is worth it because the last mile is the best- Summit turns left and starts going downhill to the finish. Once you pass the St. Paul Cathedral you can see the finish line and all the crowds lining the streets. That sight, plus the downhill, plus the adrenaline of being almost done, is enough to get you to the finish!

Total: 1:08:21, 6:51 pace (my mile splits only add up to 1:08:17 so I must have hit the start button too late or the stop button too early).

I am actually really surprised by my time. I felt pretty relaxed the whole time until miles 9 & 10. There was a guy running exactly my pace the whole race, and I always find it is easier to run with someone. We briefly chatted after the race and he had run the 5k and 10k the day a pretty lazy weekend for that guy. When I got to mile 9 I could not believe how quickly the race had gone by! It was so much fun- I really think this is a great event and would highly recommend it. From the volunteers to the spectators to the challenging yet fun course, it is just wonderful.

Organized Chaos- heading to the bag check & shirts. Shiny space blankets galore!
This picture is included to prove that the weather was perfect, and because PUPPY!! Races should randomly award puppies to runners.

 My leg/butt/hip didn't bother me at all while running, and I came home & stretched/iced/rolled like crazy.  Despite this, it is still aching pretty bad right now, to the point where I am leaning towards a little pain medicine just to ease it a bit. Then of course tonight I'll stretch/ice/roll/drink beer/watch football, and be cured, right?!

2011 vs 2013
The race medal for the Twin Cities 10 mile has always been nice & simple. I usually throw the ribbon part away and glue a magnet to the medal so I can actually use it. This year's is nice and light, compared the behemoth medal from 2011 (it needs two magnets to stay on the fridge and can maybe hold up a small receipt).

Have you ever run any of the Twin Cities weekend events? 
Would you rather....get a race medal or a beer after a race? I like race medals but have a lot. They should hand out beer in commemorative mugs.
Do you take those shiny heat blankets after races? I don't...they freak me out. I think it is the crinkly texture.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Smells like cross country....and poor preparation

Do you ever associate smells with a specific season? To me, fall smells crisp, cool, and fresh (if that is even possible....). The summer humidity is *finally* gone, the mornings are slightly chilly, and running feels so GOOD!! I love love love running in the fall.

Hello St. Paul Fall Scenery..
 I loved running cross country, and still get nervous flutters in my stomach if I go running on certain routes in the fall. The smell of the season plus being on a route where I used to do workouts just brings me back to my more competitive days. Weird? Probably..but also pretty motivating!

Too bad the fall motivation didn't kick in earlier this summer for me- maybe then I would feel more ready for the TC 10 Mile this weekend! About six weeks ago I thought, oh six weeks left, no big deal I'll kick it into high gear and be fine...and then last weekend I thought, SHIT. Next weekend is the race. My preliminary goal was 70:00 but at this point...I'm not sure that is going to happen.

Running since September 10:

13 miles the week of the 8th
14.6 miles the week of the 15th
10 (!wtf) miles the week of the 22nd
10 miles so far this week.

Is that a recipe for disaster? Yes, probably, yes. Most of my runs are at around 6:55 pace so at least I have that going for me? I guess?! Yikes. I think this is my lowest mileage...ever. Or at least since 7th grade. Oh, and did I mention that a good friend's birthday party is Saturday night? Yeah this might not be my best race.

At least I have fancy new shoes to get me going! I went to Run N Fun to see if they had any of my beloved Ravenna 3s in stock...of course not, but I found a new shoe!
Conveniently advertising for Run N Fun on my socks.

These are the New Balance 870s (last year's model, I believe). I have worn them twice and really like them! They aren't as light as the Mizuno Inspires and are definitely more "shoe" than the Ravennas. But I think they'll do just fine, though I think I might still wear my Nike racing shoes for the 10 mile (I need every advantage I can get).

Non running related:

Rodgy and I went to a local self-serve dog "spa" (Bubbly Paws on Grand Avenue) and clearly he loved it:

Look at that face. So betrayed.

I actually did love it- I got a clean dog and my bathroom didn't look like a disaster. And since I'm clearly obsessed with dogs, this past Saturday I volunteered at the Great Minnesota Pet Together, which is an annual adoption bonanza with the Animal Humane Society and a ton of other shelter and rescue groups, at the State Fairgrounds. And I was thisclose to adopting this lover:
Gah those eyes...that tail....that scruffy little guy

Fortunately, I didn't get a chance to adopt him, because the sweetest little boy took him home as a gift from his grandma. So, it was still a happy ending! The event was a huge success despite the weather, and I was glad to be a part of it!

* If you are ill-prepared for a race, what do you do? Drop out? Suck it up and run?
* What is your favorite season & why?

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Alumni 5k recap and puppies

Yesterday was the 2nd Annual St. Thomas Alumni 5k, held at Pike Island in St. Paul. The race is  used as a time trial for the St. Thomas women's team. I use the race to make sure that I can still beat at least a few college runners.

So, Pike Island is part of Fort Snelling State Park. There are two trails (at least two that I am familiar with): an inner loop which is about one mile, and an outer loop, which is about three miles. My college coaches took our team down there to run workouts, and it's actually a pretty popular place for a lot of local runners. The trails are wide, unpaved, and scenic.

In case you are curious:

Anyway. Last year I ran 21:02. So my goal on Saturday was just to beat that time. Even though I had been doing track work earlier in the summer, my butt/hip pain, combined with my general hatred of summer running, meant my recent training has been lackluster. But I thought I could beat at least a couple of the girls on the team!!!

The race is three laps of the one mile loop. I started towards the back of the pack and felt pretty comfortable for the first mile (6:27). I focused on maintaining my pace over the second lap and still passed two groups (mile split: mystery). When I started the third loop I was definitely getting tired but still managed to hang onto my pace, and to two current runners. Try as I might, I could not catch them, but ran 20:22- 40 seconds faster than last year! So that is a good sign

One thing that I really enjoyed about the alumni race this year was meeting some of the older alumni. About four graduates from the late 80s/early 90s showed up, and it was so cool meeting them. They ran the same routes, completed many of the same workouts, and had the same experiences from road trips with Coach (in general- he is a terrible driver).

Accidental artsy photo from after the race- me & Meg

Today Meg and I met for a workout. We had wanted to do a track workout but the football team was on the field and spilling into lane 1, and I have heard stories about the coach yelling at runners using the track if his team was practicing (even if the runners were college athletes at the school...really nice, right). So, we did a fartlek on the river road. We warmed up for about 15 minutes and then did 10 x 1 min hard, 1 min easy, followed by a one mile cool down. It was a nice, quick, workout, and my legs felt great. Tomorrow I'm planning on going 7 miles, Thursday I'm planning on 5, Friday 6, and Saturday- maybe a 10k, maybe a long run. I haven't decided.

Not running related:

I see you! My whole body fits in this bubble!!
Meg and her husband got a puppy!! That's him in the pet peek on Saturday. He and Rodgy are great pals and he is so cute!!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chiropractors & Creepers

Do you know what helps running? Getting professional help for an injury. Since May 18, I have been dealing with this sore hip/butt leg thing, and since I was cheap/stubborn/in denial, I figured I could just run through it or treat it using advice from the always accurate Google and web md. Now in some cases, that might actually work. But this pain wasn't going away (but, thank goodness, not getting any worse). So I finally bit the bullet and made an appointment with a chiropractor.

I chose a chiropractor for a couple of reasons. 1. I had never been to one before and like trying new things 2. This one was really close by and in my network for insurance 3. She was also an athlete so would *hopefully* understand that I wanted to keep training 4. Chiropractors typically cost less than a PT and I have a small deductible on my insurance plan.

So. The chiropractor was much different than I thought. I was expecting a 20 visit treatment plan and getting cracked and adjusted all down my back. Not quite the case... I had to do some lunges, walk on my toes, get my legs moved around, etc. The verdict? I have a crazy tight hip flexor and weak glutes. She gave me a bunch of stretches and strengthening exercises to do, and also adjusted my low back/hips. I've been there three times, and have one last appointment this Friday. So, fingers crossed that with some consistency with the stretching/strengthening, the pain will go away.

My favorite of the exercises:
Single leg squat
Hip flexor stretch

pigeon stretch

Because of the leg/hip/butt thing my running has been sporadic at best. I've been doing about 5 miles a day, 3-5 days per week. The Tuesday Track workouts have all but stopped since my workout buddies have been busy and I've been dealing with this pain. I'm really optimistic that my leg will feel good enough to get some good quality running in by the ten mile in October.

Non running related:

Mr. B and I put in a Pet Peek for Rodgy! He loves staring at the other dogs on their walks. What a little creeper.

Also, our new house is just two blocks away from a delicious, family owned and (best of all) cheap bakery. Mr. B surprised me one morning with some goodies:

I was too excited by the treats to care about taking a good picture. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

So many things...

So, this post will contain 2 race recaps, 1 track workout, 1 wedding, 1 vacation, and 1 new house.

Track workout: The Tuesday after Grandma's half marathon Meg, Larissa and I did 6 x 400m. We were shooting for 85s, but our first one was 83 and we felt good, so we just cut down a second or so on each repeat, with my last rep being 74. I don't know how my legs felt so good after a half marathon, especially since my training had been lackluster, but I'll take it.

New House: Mr. B & I bought a house! I never understood why people said that home buying was stressful until I did it myself...I will be fine if I never buy another house, and just add on to this one; that is how stressed the process made me. Long story short: after a roller coaster of paperwork/red tape, we got a house in one of our favorite St. Paul neighborhoods, in a great running area, and there are *no* major fixes needed! I won't lie, part of me was thinking it would be fun to get a house that needed some work...but I wasn't going to pass on a move-in ready place for one that had to get fixed right away!

Vacation: This happened right after we closed on our house and was partially to go to my cousin's wedding! It was held on the shores of Burntside lake and the weather was absolutely perfect-plus it is always fun to see family!!!

View from our cabin deck.
Chatting with our lovely Grandma after the wedding. 

As much as I wanted to come back right away to move into our new place, Mr. B. and I needed a nice long break so we stayed up north until after the 4th. And this brings me to race recap #1: The Janet Gensler Memorial Ely 4 on the 4th. This is a local race benefiting my high school track team, and it is a small town race at its finest. Last year Mr. B won in a course record (21:04) and the local paper featured him with a front page article and color photo. He did not race this year, but I needed to redeem myself from my 2nd place finish last year. I think my first mile was 6:40ish, and early into the second mile I took the lead for women. Mile 2 was 6:30ish, mile 3 was 6:51 (damn hills) and then mile 4 was whatever is left to result in a 26:41 final time. I finished first for women even though a local HS runner was coming on strong. I used to babysit for her I felt old.
1.25 miles into the race. My foot looks giant.
Race recap #2 is from a 1 mile race this past Wednesday, the Richard Hoska Midsummer Mile. I was feeling a little apprehensive about this race- I really hadn't been running too much with my butt/hip pain, plus after the 6x400s one of my toes seriously felt broken....but I love running road miles, so I signed up on Tuesday. This was another really low key event, and I think there were less than 50 women competing. This race is much different from the TC 1 mile on Nicollet avenue. Obviously it is a much smaller race, and there isn't a prize purse or anything. But another major difference is that all women run together, and then all the men run. So you aren't split up by time. I wasn't sure I'd like this but it was great to see where the competition was the whole time.

The course was two laps in the State Fairgrounds. I lined up just behind the front crowd but was quickly up near the front after about 200 meters. It felt crazy fast- almost too fast. Larissa was about 10 meters ahead, and Meg was about 1 meter ahead, and we went through the clock at 2:30 (this cannot have been the halfway point, because I know I am not in 5:00 mile shape). I felt pretty strong on the second lap and ended up placing 4th, in 5:29.1, which is 15 seconds faster than my TC 1 mile! Larissa ran 5:17 and Meg ran 5:30.

Sprinting down the homestretch!
So awesome!!! Except.... something didn't seem right. While I think I am in decent shape, I don't think I am in 5:30 shape. A few other folks at the finish line were saying the same thing, and today we got the official confirmation from the race- the course was short! And not by just a little, but by over 50 meters! I guess the folks who set up the course didn't know which building the race was supposed to start by. So even though the course was USATF certified by a very experienced race certifier, the times don't count. To get a more realistic time, finishers are supposed to multiply their time by 1.036- meaning I actually ran 5:40. Oh well- it's still faster than the TC 1 mile!

Tomorrow instead of a track workout Meg, Larissa, and some other running friends are doing a hill workout! Who doesn't love running hills in 90 degree, 90% humidity??

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Gary Bjorklund 1/2 Marathon- review & recap

Yay the 1/2 marathon is in the books! It was a great day for running- about 55 degrees, misty, and foggy. I really appreciated the fog- usually you can see the finish line about 9 miles out, so it was nice not to have that taunting me the whole run.

So this year was my fourth time running this race. Every year I complain about the same things. Here are my major complaints:
  • Porta-Potties: These are only available at the start after you drop of your sweats bag. The bathrooms are arranged in two rows, doors facing in at each other. It's not that there is a shortage of bathrooms- but the area is SO disorganized! People can funnel in from either end and end up clumping in the middle- no rhyme or reason or anything. It is stressful, people get cranky, and also, people get trapped in the bathroom! Since the doors open into the crowd, it is tough to escape if you have actually made it into a bathroom. 
  • The sweat drop is another issue. The race folks want you to drop your bag into a u-haul, men in one, women in another, on opposite sides of the road. Well that is nice, but please, please, please mark the men's & women's clearly...and maybe figure out a way to reduce the incredible bottleneck that inevitably happens since the trucks aren't clearly marked as M/F. 
  • The last two miles are frustrating. Zig-zags, back and forth, and also, seeing the finish line but not actually being close? Ugh. 
Things I love:
  • Besides the finish, this course is pretty great. Nice, gradual down hills, only one "hill" which I think is exaggerated, and pretty awesome crowd support, especially over the last 5 miles. 
  • The expo is good- not too packed but they have good vendors. 
  • Duluth is awesome- the whole town seems to get involved with the race and although the crowd support is especially awesome over the last 5 miles, there are people all along the half marathon course out cheering. Did anyone see the bros offering a beer bong at mile 8ish? So friendly! I wonder how many people took them up on that offer.....                                              

Mr. B and I left at about 1 on Friday and made it up to Duluth by 3:30. We picked up my sister and headed to the expo for packet pick up. We stayed just long enough for Sarah to find a cute tank top, and then we headed to Grandma's (of course) for dinner.

Some sort of porter...I can't remember the name! It was good.
We got up the next day at 4:30, and Mr. B drove us (Sarah, my friends Leslie & John, and myself) to UMD for the buses to the start. We had to wait about 10 minutes but got onto a bus after running into my track workout buddy and friend Meg and her husband Ben. While on the bus, Meg discovered she left her bib back at the place she stayed- I don't know what happened but she was still able to run!

Anyway. My goal for the race was to pace Sarah to sub 1:40, which is 7:38 min/mile. Here are our approximate splits (which are wacky):

1: 7:47
2: 7:16
3: 7:10
4: 7:13
5-7: 22:24
8: 7:46
9: 7:30
11: 7:37
12: 7:30

Total time: 1:37:23 (me) 1:38 (Sarah)

A little bit before the 5 mile I needed to take a potty break so I gave Sarah the watch. I knew I could catch up with her but damn that was a hard mile (?not sure if that was how long it took). 

At about mile 9 I started trying to really get Sarah going since I could tell she was hurting (those pesky miles 2-4 were probably starting to catch up with her) and I honestly thought she was going to punch me. I guess I coach too much during races. Sorry, Sarah. But also, not sorry, since she finished well clear of her goal. I went with about 1200 to go (too competitive to not finish hard) and felt great finishing. I think I need to get my leg issues worked out and then work on running a 10 mile PR this fall. 

Here are some photos, courtesy of Mr. B:

  Meb Keflezighi (2nd overall, 1:01:22) and Mo Trafeh (1:01:16. winner)

Abdi Abdirahman (6th, 1:02:56)

Our friend Brian (in white) who got 2nd in the non-championship race.

Me, in the white hat (Dave Wottle style). Nice ambiance with the fog.

Sarah right behind me in the purple tank top.

Being tough after the race.
 I'm so happy that Sarah ran under her goal - she is better than she gives herself credit for! I think next year we should just shoot for sub 1:30. Go big or go home, right??

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Well this one has snuck up on me...

So, the Gary Bjorkland 1/2 marathon is this Saturday. Whaaaaaat???? How did it sneak up on me so quickly? I feel like just yesterday I got my confirmation email and now...there is no going back.

I would say I'm about 80% prepared for this race. Sure, I've been doing long runs and track workouts (my 400 meter repeats will totally help me sprint the last mile). But mentally? I'm so not there. I think it is because I don't have a serious time goal in mind. My plan is to run with my sister to pace her to sub 1:40 and just enjoy the day- I think it is supposed to be nice out. So we'll run the race, relax, and then enjoy the evening festivities!

My hip/butt pain has not gone away. I have been stretching and everything but it is still bothersome. I'm thinking of seeing a chiropractor. I have never gone to a chiropractor before- my only experience with them is through my job (I'm in health insurance) and all the ones I deal with seem a little shady (maybe that is why they are out of network?). But I've been researching some local options and think I have found one that might work.

Oh- one last running related note. Last week Meg, Larissa & I ran 11 x 400 (plus meg and I did a bonus 200 at the end while Larissa engaged beast mode and did the full last lap). It was SO MUCH FUN. There is something about running 400 repeats...they are long enough so you aren't sprinting but short enough that you don't struggle mentally/feel annoyed that you are running so many laps on a track. We started at 90 seconds and worked down to 78. I just can't get enough!

 We finally got some sunshine in Minneapolis this weekend! My friends & I took advantage and enjoyed some rooftop/patio bar hopping.
@ Lyndale Tap House
 At our last stop....we saw a guy dressed like a tomato!! He and the other guys with him (tomato wranglers I guess) were promoting the Midwest Tomato Fest. I have never been but it looks disgusting yet fun.

Tomato man dancing.
Tomato man scrunched up in the tomato, preparing to jump.

So yeah. That is about it. I'm taking a half day on Friday to drive up to Duluth and *hopefully* avoid the mad rush getting up there at 5. We'll see how it goes!!

Have you ever been to a chiropractor? Thoughts on this type of treatment?
Favorite patio/rooftop bar in your area?
- I really like moto-i and amore victoria. They are nice and low key compared to some others around here.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Oh hey there

I'd like to say that my now random posts are because I'm out running all the time...but mostly the lack of posting is caused by a bunch of other, non-running but equally awesome things!

Running life:

Still low key due to left hip/butt pain. Many days of stretching/strength without running. Of course, I am still doing track workouts. Last week we did 2x1000, 2x800, 2x400 at 5:55 pace. This one did not feel good. In fact, we had planning on running 5x1000 but after the first two Meg, Larissa, and I agreed that we needed to cut down. It was a good idea, and we still got a good workout in. Are the 400s really going to help for a 1/2 marathon? No, but they are so much FUN to do (seriously, I love them; that statement is not intended to be sarcastic!).

This past Saturday I ran with Meg and her husband Ben. We did 12.5 miles, part of it through Hidden Falls, a beautiful wooded trail. For the first time ever, I tried using fuel during the run!

When I worked at the Running Room, I was always amazed by those people who would come in and buy a case (!) of their favorite gels/chews/powders. I mean, you have to have a serious allegiance to that crap to spend $40 on the same flavor. I have no such allegiance since I had never used anything but water (or whatever sport drink is on the course) during a run. I knew I didn't want a gel so I figured something that was fruit-snack like would be my best bet.

My two options.

I settled on the cranberry apple chomps (with 1x caffeine, whatever that means) and the mountain berry chomps. We only tried the chomps during our long run. I think I had one at 6 miles and 9 miles. The didn't make me feel sick, but they didn't make me feel awesome either. So...I think the jury is still out for me.

Non Running Related (NRR):

Mr. B and I rented some Nice Ride MN bikes to get ourselves up to Grand Old Day in St. Paul.
Figuring out the system.
This was fun and it was nice to avoid dealing with the parking, but DAMN those bikes are heavy and I was a huge wimp and had to walk my bike part way up the Kellogg Street hill (I didn't want to be all sweaty walking around the festival!).

Dairy Queen sells smores blizzards! They are pretty delicious. In my opinion, the mini size is plenty...
The graham cracker chunks are the best.
Do you use fuel during your runs? What distance is long enough for you to use it? Does it help for real, or is it a placebo effect?

Have you tried the s'mores blizzard? Thoughts?