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?