Friday, September 30, 2011

The Biggest, Little Update

So, I am married now.  My beautiful fiance has now officially become my beautiful bride.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Minneapolis Du - To Du or Du Not. Question Answered

My last post involved me musing about the possibility of attempting a Du and then running off to work a full day's shift.  For those that still follow my mostly sporadic blog, here is the race report.

The day started early, and I mean early.  I was up by 4 AM running around the house waking up roommates making sure that I had all of the things that I was going to need.  Race number, bike jersey, sweats, towel, 3 liters of water, and my newly acquired tri shorts. (I broke one of the primary rules of racing several times over during this event.)  I slung on my race attire before heading out: bike jersey (a stylish team jersey purchased the previous day at the expo that was pro Team Ortho), Tri-shorts (Pearl Izumi purchased the previous day as well when I was attempting to find size 12.5 wide running shoes.) with a pair of shorts over the top (not quite brave enough to go straight spandex yet) and my standard running shoes.  Also in tow was some Gu roctane, not in tow was my water bottle.

The morning was nice and cool.  I wore a sweatshirt over my bike jersey while setting up my transition area and stretching.  It was about 6 AM when I arrived at the race site and the place was already a buzz of activity.  Setting up the transition area was a breeze.  I had ridden my bike over from where I had parked and remembered to set the gears into a more favorable starting position than that of its highest gear.  I popped my helmet over the handle bars and went to set my water bottle into its holder....  only problem was my water bottle was waiting patiently for me back home on the kitchen table.  I knew that was going to bite me in the ass somewhere.

7:20 AM:  Race Wave 3 Start time.  After watching a Jeep that had been parked along the side of the road, dead center of the start corral, get towed off by one of the local tow companies, my wave began.  5k start distance.  The cooler morning temp hid one thing that was really going to suck.  It was humid.  Water wasn't until mile 2.4 or so of the 5k, so my body had plenty of time to regulate its temperature (a.k.a : Sweat!).  I am not a small man, nor do I freeze to death.  The combination of those two facts means I heat up quick and sweat a lot.  I took Powerade and water at the first stop.  I knew that my bike wasn't going to be the refueling station that I had planned.  I was already mentally kicking myself for my own stupidity.

7:50 ish T1 in sight.  I ran up a ramp that they had leading to T1 and high fived one of the volunteers that I knew.  5k down and only 35k left to go.  I grabbed and downed a water before taking my first Gu Roctane.  Mixed berry or something of the like.  It was tasty and didn't give me much for difficulties.  I knew the bike was going to be hard without water, so I grabbed a 2nd and 3rd cup of water after downing a 2nd Gu.  I drank on cup on the way to the bike and threw on my helmet and riding gloves.  I am still new to the whole multi sport thing, and I knew that the bike was going to be a mixed bag.  I knew that I had a decent enough bike to easily pass the commuter and mountain bikes, but the serious bikes were on a whole different planet.  I downed the third cup before running my bike to the bike out area.

Open road ahead of me I jumped on my bike and slid my feet into their cages.  There was a woman ahead of me on a commuter bike that was starting out and was already a block or more ahead of me.  My first goal of the bike portion pass her BEFORE the massive down hill at the end of mile 1.  I hammered down and over took her quickly.  My legs protested a bit but settled into biking quickly.  And quick it was. 20 mph leading up to the hill, and I wasn't used to the type of speed that was in store for me down that first hill.  Between timid glances down at the computer perched between my hands and shouting "On your left" at the bikers that had no intention of following the "ride right" portion of race etiquette, I managed to top out somewhere around 35mph.  Unfortunately on this course what goes down, must also go back up.

The bike portion followed West River Parkway along the Mississippi River in Minneapolis.  It is a route that is know for a few things.  Gradual hills, beautiful scenery and tire swallowing pot holes.  I was cautious not to hit any and my average speed showed my caution.  After my rocket start down relatively new pavement, began my slower (avg of about 15 mph during the bike) trod through the pot holes.  Everything fell into a rhythm and the miles markers slid past.   Around mile 8 there was a slower u-turn along Minnehaha Parkway that was on solid tar.  Nice and easy, one could still take it at a relatively decent speed and not think much of it.  However, around mile 10, there was the U-turn in a cul de sac. This beauty is where my heart rate spiked.  Not do to the exertion that I was putting my body through, but because there was a bit of loose material on the top of the road way that my rear tire happened to find.  I don't know how, but I managed to pop my left foot out of its cage and kick it down to execute (had it been planned) a pretty amazing u-turn. I fumbled with getting my foot back into its cage and needed to look down to see what was going on.  A small adjustment to the cage while still in the saddle, and I was on the home stretch.

8 miles worth of home stretch.  While on the ride out after the first major hill, it had been a net elevation gain, and on the home trip was where I could make up for some of that speed that I lost getting my massive frame up that gain.  The last 8 miles of the bike were great.  I did more passing than getting passed and everything was going my way.  I made it back to that initial hill that I was able to fly down; this is where me and gravity got into a bit of a disagreement.  Gravity thought that it would be fun to keep pulling constantly.  Gravity has been know to do that in the area and seems to have the stamina to keep it up.  I am not one that shifts into those lightest gears easily, but I needed every single one of them.  After cresting the beast that was so exciting to bomb down and rounding a corner, the bike in was visible off in the distance.  Less than a mile before running again.  I finished off the bike where I was greeted by a volunteer shouting, "Dismount and run."

T2: The revenge of the T's
I never thought about how my legs felt after any one of my brick work outs BEFORE I listened to that volunteer's order, but I remembered quickly the second shoes hit pavement.  I have never jumped into a pool of Jello before, but I can now imagine that feeling even now while typing this.  My legs weren't just feeling like bricks; they just weren't feeling.  I shuffled my way towards where my transition supplies awaited.  I grabbed my final Gu and went towards the water table.  Downing the Gu along with 3 cups of water I walked out of the transition area.

The final 5k:
Hardest 5k in my life.  I know now what not to do for a Du.  Fill and stuff that water bottle into your race shoes if you have to, but DO. NOT. LEAVE. IT. AT. HOME!  My prediction of less water that I should have was about to bite me, but it bit me in the left quad instead of the ass.  I got about 1/4 mile in, I thought that some light jogging might help to wake up the needed leg muscles, but my left quad decided to cramp up.  Not in a small way either.  I stopped my jog and started to stretch it out.  I was finishing this thing.  I wasn't going to back down.  I managed light jogs here and there while pausing every 1/2 mile or so to stretch out the quad.  At the mile 2 marker of the run, I felt the effects of the Gu and water take full effect.  I was able to run more and made it to the final water stop.  I took in more water and dumped some over my head so I could cool myself down a bit.

The final portion of the run was filled with small challenges.  I had taken in what little water I had at the final stop poorly, and my body was telling me.  I got a small side stitch and walked.  My calves felt like they were on fire, but as I saw the finish line after a small turn I sprinted.  Pain be damned; I wanted to be done.  Personal congrats from the announcer on completing my first Du (that was a nice little bonus for knowing a lot of volunteers) and my spirits were lifted.  I walked through the area for post race goodies and grabbed my bag and an extra banana.  Muscle milk was there too and handed out a sample. 

I got my bike out of the transition area and started walking it to my car.  Now some of you readers might remember the 3 liter bottle of water at the beginning and realize I have yet to really mention that specifically.  That was how I showered.  I am not too proud of it, but I smelled respectable and felt much better after first sponging off using a wash cloth and then dumping the rest over myself to provide the final rinse.  A quick towel off, I was off to the nearest gas station to change into my work attire after loading my bike.  I made it to work in time and also had no complaints about smell or odor.  Most of them just looked at me like I was crazy for doing the event before work and still arriving early.

Reader participation:
What is the weirdest thing you have done after completing an event?

I am out of here before my battery dies on my laptop.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Best Laid Plans

In my life I have made many mistakes, normally, an eraser was all it took to correct them, but this time it looks like stupidity might be the solution.  Well, maybe not stupidity, but sheer grit and determination.  I signed up for a Du on Sunday, but I requested Saturday off because I had looked at the date from last year instead of this year.  Now, since the race starts at 7 and my shift starts at 10.  There is a possibility that if I destroy the course; I might be able to do both.  The other part is begging my boss to allow me to show up late, so I can squeeze in a shower as well.  My goal time would me anywhere from 2-2 1/2 hours, so it is possible, but getting from race to work while maintaining professional grooming standards might be difficult.  Well. Packet pick-up is later today, so I will have to check out what type of course and parking I will be able to use and also call around to see if any of my co-workers near the area would allow a quick shower if I decide to attempt this.

Quick edit:
I have decided to do the Du...  I start at 7:10 and will hopefully be showered and dress for work at 11.

Friday, July 22, 2011

A quick note on being away

I have been absent from the bloggy world for a little while now and would like to offer some small explanation.  I am getting married in less than 2 months (it has flown up from 6 months to 4 to less than 2) and generally busy with work and trying to train for all of my events squeezed between now and the wedding.  Seriously, I don't think that there is a week end where there isn't at least one day taken with a race or wedding related stuff (one with both.)

The other is to announce a quick plug for Leah @ Chasing Atalanta and her amazing give-a-way of an Allied Medal display!!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Go Commando! - Post Race Debriefing.

The lead up to my running the course was pretty long since I had arrived at the course around 6 AM and actually ran the course closer to 4 PM.  This does not mean that I hadn't been to almost every corner and nook (or pond or mud pit) of the course at least twice if not three times.  It did mean however that when the Volunteer and Staff Wave started that I probably had 10+ miles in that day not to mention plenty of crawling, crouching and standing to get the near 800 photos that were trimmed to 330 or so for the Team Ortho FB page HERE and HERE.  (Remember it is important to bracket your shots.) 

I started near the front (next to one of the guys from MarathonFoto) since there wasn't that many actually in the wave (40 or so).  The horn sounded and we took off, and I mean took off.  One of the staffers set out with a sub 7 minute mile which really pushed the pack.  Most of us were blissfully unaware of this accelerated pace until the first obstacle "Hay Fever Ridge".  My legs protested as I bounded up the small bale to get to the top of the larger round bales, but the jump down to the smaller bale section in the middle is the first time where I saw gravity over power my leg strength as I tried for some style points while in the air.  Recovery was easy with a quick roll and then climb to the next round bale section.  I did take more caution with stepping down at the end of the bales since there was fewer bales to land on. 

The path soon went through a shallow pond.  This is where the devilish side of me came out and an impromptu belly flop was performed near a pack of cautious wading commandos to be.  This seemed like a good idea until I realized that the cargo pockets in my shorts didn't have any means to drain out the water let alone the sand from the bottom that found its way in.  The hill that let  out of the pond had been turned to mud by the 3000+ runners that had traversed it before me while dripping wet. 

More running brought me to the 1st mile marker and then another obstacle.  It was some larger wooden spindles that had once contained some type of industrial wire stood up on end so runners would need to go under or over.  Due to my height the "over" option was the easiest and most logical.

More running to get to the hardest obstacle in my opinion, the cargo net climb.  The net was only secured around its edges and not to any other of the support structures in the center, so the entirety of the net would shift when the other participants went into another section of the net.  While challenging, it also allowed for more rolling and general flailing as I used the support structure to fling myself into the next sections.

The path the zigzagged its way up a hill and led us across some logs to the next major obstacle, hurdles.  That is correct, immediately before the 2 mile flag, they had set up hurdles of varying height.  I am not sure about you but my legs don't like jumping when they are used to pumping blood for running. (kinda like that feeling you get when you get off of a bike and try to start running.)  The lower ones were easy due to my size, but the taller ones did require gravity to yield to my leg muscles for a brief moment.

The "Mile 2" marker greeted us soon after as well as the only water stop.  Luckily the water stop volunteers hadn't gotten the memo about the staff wave and were still diligently on duty.  Although, I know that I had gotten photos of at least half of them on course earlier in the day.  A short run later there was a nasty steep down hill that I chose to walk down so I wouldn't loose my footing (it was muddy from people skidding down it earlier in the day).  Three built up dirt ramps awaited runners after the down hill.  (This is where most of the stylish jumping happened earlier in the day as well as a rumored front hand spring.)  I chose to run them with only a small jump before the crest to take them with the greatest efficiency (photographing here earlier allowed me to scout various techniques).

A sharp right then led to the next challenge.  Switch backs up and down a stand of pine trees on a hill.  This seemed like torture.  2 1/2 miles in your going to have us do sprints up and down a hill?!  It wasn't that bad because it spread the little pack I was in out enough for the slide that followed.
 Earlier in the day the bottom of this adult slip and slide had been grassy and green.  6 hrs worth of racers later it looked more like something you would expect to find a pig wallowing around in.  I decide to go for distance and laid down fully after grabbing the top of the tube to fling myself down.  Distance however I didn't get, but a hefty splash down and some "ooh's" from the crowd at the bottom were definitely in store.  I recovered quickly and ambled away now thoroughly caked in mud.

The next portion was a naturally sandy portion of hill.  Perfect for those who had just doused themselves in mud and were nice and receptive for sand to cling too.  I left this section looking like I had laid down on the beach sans a towel after swimming.   After rounding a corner a section of tires were waiting to be ran through. I mean what type of obstacle course would be complete with out car tires to run though.  They posed little challenge and were completed without any stumbling.

My legs were burning at this point as I was pushing myself the entire way wanting to beat my previous time of 34 minutes from the year before (not to mention carrying the added weight of water and mud that had collected on my shoes).  As well as possibly break 30 minutes for the first time in any time of 5k event.  They weren't the only thing burning as around the next corner was the fire jump.  A new standard in 5k adventure races.  It was only a single line of log and was burning only 6 or so inches off of ground level so the challenge wasn't that great, and I barely could feel the heat though the layers of sand and mud on my legs.

The final obstacle was a water pit with rope strung over the top.  It was meant to make people actually dip and crawl through the water, but most people just lifted it up and waded through the last little pit.  Not me though, upon entry I immediately dove in and started to crawl.  I wanted to use the opportunity to get the uncomfortable sand off of my legs, and I wanted to stay true to the intent.  A quick few steps after the water pit the finish line greeted the now Commandos. Dog tag finisher medals, a free cup of beer and some chow also greeted the finishers.  I also opted for the quickest way to get clean, the fire hose.  That is right.  They had the local firefighters come out with one of their hose trucks to hose down finishers to wash off the mud.  The water was freezing cold, but it did the trick.   The best part though was a new personal best of 31 minutes for the course.  I lounged around the finish area watching others finish their slogs and grab their finisher swag.  I gave away some of the extra beer and chow tickets that I had collected throughout the day from people trying to bribe the course photographer to make their photos look better.

It was a long operation, but it was well worth it.  Both participants and volunteers had great times, and I, for one, cannot wait to do it again next year!  Who knows.  If I am still blogging at that point,  I might have to have a Give-away for a comp entry so one of my bloggy pack can experience it as well.

Reader Participation:
Have you done any type of race like this?  What did you like or dislike about it?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Long March Home - Volunteer report

The Go Commando Adventure 5k that I was looking Forward to ALL. FREAKING. WEEK (Might steal this every once and a while from EMZ) was today.  It did not disappoint.  The early morning sucked.  Seriously, who knew that they also made 4 in the AM variety and not just the PM.  BUT I was soon reminded that I was not the only one that sacrificed cozy bed for the sake of a sport that I love.

The dedicated volunteers at 6 AM.
We went to the race site on buses since there was little parking available at the site.
The morning was cool and the dew on the grass soaked through my shoes early on and that was the last time my feet would be dry the rest of the day.  This gave me free reign though to go ANYWHERE my little shutter bug heart desired though. (I mean my feet were already wet, so what would standing in that pond hurt?)
Volunteers work in the background to get the participant swag bags set up.

The morning went on, and I started to chat with various volunteers that I knew from previous races.  Most asked about my missing better half, but were understanding when they found out she was in her home town.  (Later found out to be taking 2nd in her age group at a 5k in her home town. Congrats babe!) She is also the one that suggested that I post a few of my favorite photos here.  So, I will follow that advice and let the photos tell the story (with the help of captions).
Teams were encouraged and could garner a discount if large enough.
Individuals were also welcomed though (as well as creative costume)
Two participants navigate the Hayfever Ridge (The first of many obstacle, especially for those with asthma or allergies)
This pond was the 2nd obstacle (2 1/2 mile left in soaked shoes.) Style points for good entry though.
The next obstacle I didn't get a photo of (mainly because I forgot about it), but it involve climbing over large spools that once held heavy cabling.
This obstacle proved hard than it looked, but also allowed for some artistic flair if you were trusting of the participants footing.
After a winding run up a tubing hill (the race site was a local cross country skiing area and tubing hill), they came to the next obstacle.
They weren't terribly high, but after nearly two miles they seemed like they were!
Sand dunes came shortly after as the final mile was packed with obstacles.  Style points can shave of time right?
Pine trees and rope formed a hilly switchback.
This next obstacle deserves multiple photos.
This obstacle increased everyone's pace!

Yep there is a person causing that.

This one too!
A sandy ascent.
No adventure course is complete without running through tires.
Or the jumping of fire.
Then the final challenge.

 Remember time doesn't matter when you run.  It is most important that you are out there!

Let your imagination run wild with what this one made people look like.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Final prep before Going Commando.

Just shaved, picked up some protection and something for a little refreshment.  I want to have some 5 o'clock shadow tomorrow when photographing Team Ortho's Go Commando! Adventure 5K tomorrow.  Also, judging from my friends that were out there setting things up today sunscreen is a must.  And we all know that proper hydration is the key to good performance, so I am the proud owner of a  2 liter camel back now. (that will need to be filled a couple of times tomorrow)  My camera batteries are charging and soon I will be off to bed so the 4AM revelry tomorrow will seem more "normal".

I will probably have a race report and photos (none of myself since I am the photographer for most of the day) coming in the following days.  Also be sure to check out the Go Commando FB page HERE as photos are sure to be posted there as well.

Lights Out!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Go Commando! - Pre-race pomp

Not often do I get this excited about a week before a race, but this race is different.  This year I will be volunteering as a photographer and then running.  (made possible by a volunteer wave at the end to let those who sacrificed prime running time to do the dirty work)  This race is Team Ortho's Go Commando (note the links are separate sites).  At the ass crack of dawn, I will be loaded onto a volunteer bus and shipped off to the race site where packets, gear (hat and t-shirt) and goodies (face paint) will be doled out to this years participants before a 5k jaunt through obstacles ensues.  My challenge is to photograph for 12 hrs and then run.

Now, you might be saying, "how hard could it be?"  To which my response is, "how many good race photos have you had take of you?"  Then again, I am not your average photographer.  Most race photogs that I have passed are silent sentinel poised with camera at the ready to collect a pay check.  I will be doing this as a volunteer, why, because I love this sport.  This is a race where the kid in you gets to hijack your adult hobby.  Climb over that wall, sure it was put there for that purpose.  Those cones lead me through that pond; yep, you bet.  Wait are things burning in the path; um yeah, might want to run quickly through that because singed leg hair smells.  Hell one of the obstacles is even reminiscent of a slip and slide.  If you find a way to run this race and not get caked in mud, you should be made to do it over again, so you can get it right.

To those who might actually be reading this and running this event: smile at the big goon with the camera!

Otherwise, what could a photographer do to make you smile while on the course?  Suggestions are welcome and would be mandatory if I could figure out how to do that.

Happy trails!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Catching the running bug.

I have heard this phrase a few times now and would like to list its effects.

  • Possible rapid weight loss
  • Often accompanied by blogging
  • Likely contagious to close friends and family
  • Increased sales of ice packs and spandex
  • Redefining of what one will or won't do (I remember telling a friend once that they would never see me run 5 miles for "fun".  My 25k last year was a blast.)
  • Desire to travel to see more places on foot.
This is not a completed list but just a random morning musing.  If you can think of more, post them in the comments.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The brick

So, in my life I have experienced many bricks, I have lifted brick to help with masonry (well block technically, but in practice just large bricks).  I have shit a brick (cafeteria food in high school can be brutal).  I have dove for a brick in lifeguard training.  Shot a brick (free throws are hard). I have used a brick as a mascot (high school track). I have even had a brick smashed on my chest while laying on a bed of nails (physics demonstration).  But, today, I experienced a new type of brick.  A nice little bike followed by a nice little run... well depending on what you consider little.  Tonight I did a nice little 10 mile ride followed by a 3 mile run.

My ten mile ride went smoothly.  I grabbed my bike after getting home from work and rolled down the road at a moderate pace.  I was able to maintain a moderate pace of 16 mph, so the bike went quickly (about 40 minutes).  Then with a quick change of shorts (needed a different pair of compression shorts since my bike shorts don't quite agree with running),  I was back out the door before my roommates even realized that I had left. 

I quickly realized why these workouts are called bricks.  My legs still wanted to use the cycling muscles even when I wanted to be using the running muscles that I have been abusing training.  My feet felt sluggish and my legs were heavy.  I did notice that I was not over striding and was getting a nice mid-foot strike (didn't realize that this might help my form).  One of my roommates said he saw me on the way to get his dinner and said it looked like I was able to maintain a steady clip, but my legs still felt like rubber for the first mile.  I got back in about half and hour.

All in all, I think that my first Du is going to be interesting.  I still need to about double the bike distance and throw in another run before hand of 5k.  I am still looking for pointers on how to train and etiquette during a Du.  I know runners have their code and I am assuming that it still holds during the run part, but the biking etiquette (other than the basics) is still a mystery.  Any suggestions on where to look aside from the good ol' Google?

Congrats to my fiance (hint: she is the most frequent commenter) who placed second in her age group at the ALARC Legends 10k this last Saturday in Deephaven, MN. 

Also Congrats to Steve in a Speedo for being a new father of a new little boy.  For full report go HERE

Well that is all for now folks.  Happy Monday!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Cooling off

Well after an impromptu 15 mile bike ride Tuesday evening combing the neighborhood for my roommate's dog in 80+ degree heat (better than the 103 it reached earlier though), I never did post like I wanted to.  BUT luckily today after checking in on some blogs that I follow mentioning pets, I was inspired to make a quick post.  It took me a little less than an hour, so I must have been keeping a decent pace.

Random thing:
Monday - I went to Chateau St. Croix Winery with the future Wifey for engagement photos.  You can read all about that HERE.

Well, I said it would be short, so good night everybody (or morning/afternoon/evening whenever you are reading this)

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How do you Du?

Well, I have went off the deep end in endurance athletics.  I have run 1 mile, 4k, 5k, an adventure 5k, 4 miles, 10k, 12k, 1/2 marathons, a Ragnar Relay and a 25k.  This evening I signed up for my first full Du, the Minneapolis Duathlon.

That being said. HELP.  I have ridden a bike.  Hell, I own a very nice bike (as well as proper safety gear).

My Trek 1000 SL

I need effective training programs or advice to make sure my first Du is a good experience.  Luckily, I used incentives give out by Team Ortho to their volunteers to register. 

Looking to keep this one short:

Have you ever signed up for a race on a whim?

How did it turn out for you?

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spectator Sunday

Today was not my day to run.  It was my day to be the support, yell like crazy and take awesome photos.  Here are a selection of photos I took for Future Wifey at the Stillwater 5k,10k, 1/2, 20 Mile and Full Marathon. (5 races one, finish line, and beer next to the finish line.)
I saw her as I was making my way to the guard rail that would be my perch for the start of the race.

The start of the 20 mile, 1/2 and full marathon ( Future Wifey was dropped off at the 5 and 10 k start area.)

Sometimes signs should be covered for race day. This one is for you SUAR!

The beginning of the end.

The end of the end.  Her new PR for the 10 k now stands at 50 minutes 7 seconds.
It isn't a finisher's medal, but it will still make you smile.

Future Wifey posing in front of the historic Stillwater lift bridge and the flooded river walk.

Well that is it.  This is what I spent my morning doing, and I wouldn't change it for any reason.  Hope you all enjoyed the photos.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Sights We See.

It came to my attention on my run this evening that runners often get to see many sights that others might miss (including other runners that are focused entirely on their run).  Last year I had the privilege of running many races.  I saw sun rises, eagles soaring, heads bobbing amidst their own personal clouds of breath.  I saw people accomplish things they may have thought were not possible.  I saw the looks of disappointments in performances as well as the fire of determination burning to do better next time.  I saw parents dragging their children along encouraging them to do better.  I saw children dragging their parents promising that the finish line isn't that much farther (it is all a matter of opinion).

These are all things that are only seen by runners and the friends that they drag out of bed in the morning to drop them at the start, possibly cheer somewhere in the middle and pick them up at the finish.

Also, I have seen new cities.  I have traveled to different locals to see races that my fabulous fiance was participating in.  Las Vegas for a Mardi Gras themed race, Portland for a half marathon, and come this November Savanah, GA to complete my first destination race the Rock'n;Roll Savanah Half Marathon with my then new wifey.

Unrelated, I finished my own little 30 day challenge today.  I successfully ran at least one mile each day for 30 days straight.  Today, knowing that tomorrow holds a possible rest day, I decided to go for broke.  10 kilometers later, my legs hate me.  My quads quit around 4 miles in.  My feet were aware of the extra distance being pounded out. My calves are probably the only muscle group that is happy, but only because I didn't do the run in my Bikilas.

I had mentioned to my future wifey that I was wondering what my next challenge should be, and with out missing a beat she said I should run 2 miles minimum.  I don't think that will be quite it, but I will more than likely keep running more often as it seems to give me time to think and pray without all of the electronic distractions that I like.

For some reader participation:

What is something memorable that you have seen while on a race course?

Do you often do destination races? If so, do you you have one that stands out? (Boston counts but please have a second one too)

Note: first question has been edited to improve clarity of thought.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Not just doing the minimum

The wait for my return is over.  Or at least my random drop off the internet world is over.  Back from a run and some thinking.

One thing that I have noticed over the past 29 days of running is that I often only did the minimum of 1 mile.  Granted some of those days were weather related, but today I thought I would do something a bit different and did 3.5 miles.  My Nike+ system is still wonky (read foot pod battery failure likely culprit) so I did things the old fashioned way and ran a route that I had previously driven after a reset of the trip meter.

I enjoyed seeing many people out enjoying the nice evening temps.  A few were on bikes, but most were out for a casual stroll.  I used them as miniature goals.  Pass the group of old ladies walking by the end of this hill (they were already 3/4 of the way up). Don't step in what that dog just did on the sidewalk and the owners ignored. Don't get hit by the biker that is weaving toward me on that down hill (bikes and sidewalks should not be used together on low traffic roads).  Nod knowingly to the other runner as they pass by.

I ran with a single head phone in just to give myself some rhythm and something to give me energy.  Playlist included artists like Flyleaf, Atmosphere, and J. Alan (my brother so it is OK if you don't recognize him, but if you want to check him out free download here).

Do you set mini goals while out on runs?

Do you listen to music? Use distance tracking equipment?

Friday, May 13, 2011

TC 1 Mile Race Report

It was a dark and stormy night... no, not believing it... OK, how about it was a misty mid-evening... more believable?  OK, I'll stick with that.  Yep, the evening had its share of little droplets of water.  The breeze swirled around through the buildings and the Hennepin County Library, located right next to the start, hasn't seen that many people in ages.  (It is actually a nicely designed building.)

Candid photo of my Bikila's while playing footsy with Future Wifey
The night was planned with multiple waves culminating in the USA 1 Mile Road Race Championships.  Myself and my lovely Future Wifey were in the Friends and Family wave that kicked off the night.  Participation was slightly dropped due to the weather,but the corral still filled up and got packed together rather cozily.  I started towards the back half of the pack to begin with since I was running in my newly acquired Vibram Bikilas this year and didn't really know if I could keep an above average pace throughout the entire mile.  They drew a bit of attention from the racers near me, and we started talking about minimalist running and some of the possible advantages and disadvantages.  We heard a faint beep and wondered if it was the start signal.  We decided it must have been since when we looked forward there was a line of bobbing heads.  The shuffle towards the start began.

Nothing too horrible only about half a minute of lag between gun time and chip time.  Then I became one of the bobbing heads.  My legs felt great the misty mid-evening was a nice temp for running and the mist that had been falling earlier had stopped, or at least I didn't notice it anymore.  The art of weaving through aspiring runners (read: new to organized events) and miniature munchkins (Family wave remember) is a bit difficult in such tight quarters, but I managed: 1) Not to squish any wee one or 2) shoulder tackle the woman pushing a stroller towards the front of the pack.

Side rant: I am fine with women and men that want to push their kids into the street  in strollers. BUT, please be mindful of other runners.  Ask the other runners around you what their expected pace is going to be.  If you can't match it, make the beeping noise for comedic effect and back until the response is near what you expect to run.

Back to sanity now.  The organizers were nice enough to set up clocks at 1/4 mile interval to help pace out the pack.  The first one for me read a litte over 3 minutes, and I figured that it would likely be around that as my lateral movement was almost equal to my forward at that point.  It was about that time when I came across a little runner dressed all in pink holding the hand of a bent over mommy.   I couldn't resist also stooping over and offering a high (for her) five.  She swung and missed (seriously you gotta look at the elbow you will never miss).  She managed to hit my wrist though and I figured it was close enough and continued on.

The wee one's energy must have been contagious because I picked up my own pace.  1/2 mile marker read only about 5:00.  The crowds weren't nearly as thick as they were in years past when the weather was nicer, but the ones that did brave the elements were loud enough.  The 3/4 marker read 6:55 or something near that, and I decided that my pace was about right since I was starting to get a nice burning sensation building in my calf muscles due to my adjusted stride (still not quite fully adapted to the Vibrams).

I passed by the always lively Brits Pub Cheer Zone and knew that the finish was near.  I buckled down and started to hit a decent stride (great wish I could have found that earlier).  My foot strikes felt light as a feather and the final clock came into view.  The crowd of stalled earlier finishers also came into view.  I wanted to be able to run through the mats not just too them, but that would have required a plow in front of me.  I managed to hit the first mat still in stride but had to pull back quickly other wise I was going to find out what people felt like under foot in the Vibrams.

The finish line fare wasn't much.  People shelling out water and massages that would have taken 10 times longer to get when compared to how long they lasted.  Free movie pass to a screening of the new Pirates movie was a nice treat though.

Future Wifey had already finished (new PR for her 7:08) while I set a nice little mark of my own at 8:28.  No where near my old glory days, but respectable for 240lbs rumbling down the street near barefoot.  We started to walk back and started planning how to get warmer clothes in time to see the main event of the evening.  We also expressed hopes of seeing one of the other Minneapolis area bloggers Steve the lucky man who got to meet Ryan Hall at the press event (photographic proof HERE).  No sooner had we mentioned that; I noticed a Tyr transitions bag not unlike the one my fiance won in a give away done by Steve.  We poke and prodded at each other trying to figure out if it was actually him or someone else who just had a really sweet transition bag.  Finally, I called out "Steve"; he turned, and we introduced ourselves while professing our jealousy at his ability to meet Ryan.

Mini Minneapolis blogger meet up accomplished; we headed towards the Brits Pub Cheer Zone where we planned to act like civilized rabid fans.  We found an empty space at a table near the edge of the patio next to the street and claimed it as ours.  I ran off to grab our sweat shirts out of the car while Richelle procured the traditional cowbells from the people handing them out.  I found Uncle Sam on the way back and told him I too heard some thing about the Boom (a half marathon on the 4th of July) and received a water bottle for my effort at remembering the phrase to garner a prize if he was spotted.  Since we were waiting at a busy corner, he was quickly mobbed.  I scooted away to finish my mission.  Warm clothing and wallet procured from my nearby vehicle; I went to find Richelle and show off my new found swag.  On the way I ran into a few cowbell dispensing Target employees and grabbed as many as they would dole out (turns out 3).  At the corner near Brits, I saw a cowbell lacking wee one and handed my surplus one to her much to the delight of her and the "what have you done" glares of her parents.

I found that my timing couldn't have been better.  The table spot mentioned earlier had become the entire table and the Women's Championship Wave was only minutes away from starting.  Multiple cowbells in hand and wonderful Get Lucky! 7k sweatshirt on I set about being a human noisemaker as the elite women flew past (congrats to Sara Hall and her 4:30.8 win).  The Men's Championship followed shortly after with David Torrence claiming his 3rd straight in 3:58.4.  That's right, by the time I would have been barely over 1/4 of the way through my race, he would have been finishing his had they began at the same time.  Puts their speed into perspective.  After the Men's raced by we retired to the interior of Brit's Pub for a post race beer and some amazing food.
Future Wifey enjoying a well deserved beer after setting a new PR
The aforementioned amazing food

Race gear and swag

Previously mentioned calf muscles

Pictures will likely fill in later to make this an even longer post. made it an even longer post.  The shorter version of the evening: "I ran a mile; it was kind of misting.",  just didn't seem as entertaining.

Question:  What should my sign off be or should '/end' continue its reign?


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

TC 1 Mile Tomorrow

I am looking forward to double dipping tomorrow during the TC 1 mile (hey it is a mile run, I paid for it, and it fits my criteria for running at least 1 mile a day).  The TC 1 mile is a road race down the streets of Minneapolis and also contains the "USA 1 Mile road Championship" for the elites.

Which brings me to my second point Ryan Hall, yes US Olympian Ryan Hall, and his wife Sara will be there.  As one of you may know, Ryan Hall is one of my favorite distance athletes.  One of the other local bloggers that I follow , Steve in a Speedo?! Gross! seen HERE (nasty first sunburn by the way), has the opportunity to go  to the press luncheon prior to the event.  Will he meet Mr. and or Mrs. Hall who knows.  All I know is the Brits Pub cheer zone during the elite wave will likely have more than a few local enthusiasts cheering as the Halls blaze past.  Here is hoping that it isn't raining like it was this for this morning's run.

So I kind of liked the idea of picking your brains, so today's question is:  Who is your favorite distance athlete? 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Hitting the wall.

OK, so I am 14 days into this whole run at least one mile a day for 30 days straight thing I challenged myself with.  Exciting, yes. Challenging, yes. Tiring, oh hell yeah.  Recently, I have noticed that what at the beginning was challenging and energizing has become sapping and repetitive.  I have hit a wall.  Not quite like a marathoners wall.  I know that physically I am more than capable of running more mileage.  But mentally I am finding it more difficult to actually go and do it.  Running used to be my escape and now it seems more like a chore.  It has slipped out of the realm of routine and in that space that is occupied by tasks that we know are necessary but often tedious.  The last couple of days have been tough to get out and run.  Partly do to weather today (morning showers). So my small bloggy pack friends, I have a question for you. 

How do you motivate yourself to get out and run? 

I still have a mantra I stole off of a Nike shirt that I purchased when Future Wifey ran Nike Women's Marathon and Half marathon in  San Francisco "Every. Damn. Day. Just Do It."  It has gotten me through two weeks, but the next 16 days are looking like a not so sweet 16. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The streak goes on.

The streak that I have restarted since the day after Easter continues.  I have run at least one mile/day.  This might not sound like much but one of those miles was to test out Vibram Five Finger Bikilas.  While they performed well and I am very happy with them, I have had calf muscles that have been threatening mutiny since Tuesday afternoon.  Wednesday my legs just felt a little dead.  Today however DOMS was in full effect and made most of my workout attempts quite interesting.  Since my job schedule is anything but normal (40/week but never really having set days off with consistency), I had the opportunity to do yoga again today followed by weight training. 

Yoga with calf muscles in protest is much more difficult than yoga normally.  Luckily, we did a lot of seated poses and only a few that were really standing and balancing on a single leg.   The real challenge is weight training after yoga.  You spent the last hour or so gently moving and stretching, lengthening and relaxing, only to start pounding and tensing, shortening and straining them for the next hour.  Do my trainers think I am nuts? No, they have pretty much concluded that I am.  No more thought needed.

But like my ADD demands I must also share a completely separate idea. Happy Cinco de Mayo. Or should I say Feliz Cinco de Mayo.  And since it is also a three things Thursday I will share three things.
1) I am continually blessed by having good friends and a wonderful fiance.
2) I am more that excited about being able to cook a wonderful meal for my fiance tonight (chicken fajitas)
3) Good Luck to EMZ who will be doing a 24 hr run to benefit the Sojourner Center. If you wish to donate, click HERE

Thanks for reading my ramblings. /end

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wait.. You run barefoot?!

I have joined in on the minimalist kick and will be back in a few hours to tell your how my new Vibram Five Finger Bikilas perform during all sorts of cross training/yoga/running goodness.

OK... so that took longer than expected.  Yoga was first on the list since I didn't arrive in time to squeeze in a mile run in the Vibrams.  Yoga I took traditionally and just did it barefoot to not confuse or distract anyone from their practice.  After about an hour of twisting and contorting and using muscles in ways that they don't normally get used the practice was over, I told the instructor that she would love my new shoes.  Not letting down on my promise I produced my Vibrams from my bag, and I think she instantly fell in love.  After getting quizzed a bit about them while making sure all of my toes wiggled into their respective spots, I stood up and immediately my calf muscles activated to the delight of all.  I don't have much definition in much of my muscles yet but my calf muscles apparently look freakish.

Enough of the lead up though.  You are all probably asking what they felt like or how they performed.  Well, they felt like slippers.  Seriously, these things feel like hugs for your feet.  The odd feeling of having cloth between my toes was a first while running, but it wasn't long before other feelings were pushed to the forefront.  If you wear these shoes, you will not heel strike.  I had to try to get a midfoot strike because instinctively I started plodding along on the ball of my foot.  I can hear all of the questions now, "If you strike on the ball of your foot doesn't that give your calves a huge work out?"  The answer is yes.  I have run many races and countless (or at least I didn't count) training runs since starting running more than a year ago, and, holy calves (get it), my calf muscles did not like me afterward.  I ran ONLY a mile, and even then I only did intervals of 2:30 min. running: 1 min walking. 

After the short run with them on I decided to do a little cross training in them.  Now, I am lucky enough to have access to a trainer.  He was full of questions, and he too is now thinking of picking up a pair to test this whole bare foot thing out.  It was fairly simple to cross train in them.  I was nice when using the Bosu or when planting to do any of the cable workouts that today had in store.  Throughout the entire work out I felt very grounded and very in tune to exactly how my feet were planted.  The balance work on the Bosu was strange however since I could feel the air shifting inside of the little half dome through the sole of the shoes.

All in all, I think I found a nice tool to add to the variety of training that I do.  I think I will do my weight training and some short interval work with them so my form improves but my calves will not want to kill my constantly.  I really should also mention that I got them at Gear Running Store in Edina. (just in case anyone in the Minneapolis area is thinking, but where would I find such a shoe?)  The staff was friendly and knew their stuff.  They also carry a lot of minimalist shoes as well if the one of the Vibram styles don't work out for you. Otherwise, your local REI or other sports stores may have them.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Favorite things.

As I am newer to this whole blogging thing, I just became aware of the favorite things Thursday trend.  So with out further ado.  Here are a few of my favorite things. 
1.  Peanut butter and honey on whole grain bread or tortillas after a run (or just for breakfast... if it works to fuel you after a run, it will work to fuel you for your day)

2.  Puppies.  Really, do you need any explanation?  Google image search "beagle puppies"..... go ahead, I'll wait..... (waiting)  Did you finish awing yet?

3.  A nice.... sorry went back to looking at the puppies for a second... warm chai latte.  So relaxing and it is the perfect mix of sweet and spice.

4.  New followers... no... not many new ones recently, but I do appreciate the current two that I have.  I will try to continue my particular brand of insanity just for you guys.

5.  How many are you really supposed to post... I mean, am I going to need to come up with another list of these next week??  Oh, sorry...  Finally, at least for this week, I really like my fiance.  She encourages me to keep pressing on in running.  She really is my best friend, and I am truly blessed to have her in my life.

Look ma... no wall of text /end

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

30 days reset.

So Easter kind of blew away my 3 day streak, and, now, I have another three day streak going.  Forecast for tonight is snow.  I mean really!?  It is hard to string together runs like this while battling fatigue and general laziness, but snow in near May?  Otherwise this thing is going smoothly.  The other day I cheated and used a treadmill, but I paid the cost of admission by doing an hour worth of yoga before and then an hour worth of strength training after.  Talk about an energy depleting circuit.  This morning I dutifully chugged out for my run even though muscles were still desiring to stay warm under the comfort of pulled up covers.  I am hoping that this helps me get back into the groove of running.  I know that a mile isn't too far and that often times I end up running farther due to legs finally getting warmed up and that desire to see what they can still do kicking in.  I hope that tomorrow the snow is at least on hold for when I plod out the door.  No wind would be nice too.  But, if nature decides otherwise, hopefully my roommates won't use up all of the hot water while I am out for a run.  Oh, and for the moment, I currently have to do the whole morning ritual by candle light in the bathroom do to a wiring issue.  Showers by candle light are too relaxing.  Shaving by candle light often results in missed spots. And the scented candles are often appreciated after other activities. On that note /end wall of text.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

3rd times a charm

My body is starting to get used to this daily running thing.  Only a mile and a half today, but everything in moderation to begin with as it was still a bit cooler, and I still wanted to be able to move around while at work today and tomorrow at the future in-laws' place.  I think the massage from the pretty lady that is my fiance also helped.  Some of the intensely sore spots that she hit are greatly improved and general fatigue is less too.  Going to keep this one short as tomorrow is going to be busy with Easter and all that brings.  Hope your families are able to gather and share good memories while creating more tomorrow.  Hopefully I am able to continue this blogging blitzkrieg and rampant running.  One of these days I will discover paragraphs. /end wall of text.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Day 2

Day two started similar to day one.  Weather was threatening rain, but this time it was slightly warmer.  No music again this time as I found my iPod had run out of battery charge.  My leg muscles were already protesting as I stepped out the front door.  (this better not become the norm otherwise I am going to be even less of a morning person.)  My legs were not even started and they wanted to quit, but I set this goal, and I didn't want to admit defeat after only one day.  I trudge diligently along realizing that my slightly later than intended start would mean I had to push my pace in order to get home to get the normal morning routine done before work.  Up one hill down the other side to a stop light and back.  An easy enough course, if you don't mind being on a hill the entire time.  I made it back home with an average pace of about 8-8:30 miles.  Then. after a quickened morning routine, it was off to work an 11 hour shift at the shop.  After work I was treated to a wonderful leg massage by the most beautiful woman I know.  Well that is the short of what turned to be a long day. /end wall of text.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 1 done... just in time for regular day to start.

Not sure about you, but nothing says April 21st to me like stepping out the front door and seeing thick layers of frost covering the ground and vehicles in the parking lot.  My run for day 1 consisted of a short little out and back course that totaled 2 miles or there about.  Decided today should be a throw back to when I started running and only took along the absolute essentials: a pair of running shoes and a pair of shorts (and multiple top layers.)  Yep, I am crazy a balmy 32 degrees in my neighbor hood this morning and that is after I got back.  Nothing increases desire to run like seeing the snow ball survival rate at 50/50.  This first run made me realize a few things.  Morning prayers while running only made those prayers revolve around running. (Please Lord, say that SUV is actually going straight and didn't just forget their turn signal.)  Running without music kinda sucks when the only other sound is vehicles slowing down slightly to look at the crazy person huffing away on the sidewalk.  And finally, you start wondering if spring and summer eloped and left us with fall when you see two Canadian geese flying south at top speed. Seriously they have Canadian in their name... they should be used to the cold.  /end wall of text.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Streak.

Here is an opportunity to test my own resolve.  Running World had an interesting article called "The Streaker".  It posed the simple questions, "Could I run EVERY day for a whole year? Well, could you?"  This got my mediocre competitive spirit up.  Could I run a minimum of a mile daily for say a month?  I think I found myself a suitable challenge for the next 30 days.  I will log at least a mile of running daily for the next 30 days.  Starting tomorrow April 21st.  This isn't one of those virtual races or anything that has the potential for reward.  It is just me challenging myself to do something that I don't think I have ever done before.  The dude in the article kept it up for a full year.  I am not so inclined currently, but who knows.  These will likely be all road miles too as I do not own a treadmill, nor do I have an active gym membership.  Game on.  Tomorrow morning at the crack of early be it: rain, sleet, snow (I live in MN remember any one of the 3 are an option in any month except July) or a beautiful day.  I will be out the door for a run.  Want to follow suit? Go for it.  Blog it. Sky write it. Keep it as your own secret.  I for one will probably keep my sporadic postings about it, but hey you are not me and I am not you.  Who knows what my small but maybe devoted few followers will do.  (Seriously though... If you have it written in the sky send me the pic or something.) /end wall of text

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Happy Second Day of Spring!

Somebody forgot to tell nature that "spring showers" did not include the fluffy white stuff.  After being spoiled with some good ol' fashioned above freezing temps, I experienced the joy of chipping away at an ice cube, so it would once again resemble a car.  This resulted in an added 20 minutes of morning commute.  Next in line was the gas pump, not really much for added time, but it did contribute to the frustration levels. Add 10 minutes cause I picked up a "coffee" as well.  Then the true crawl began.  A drive that on good days takes about 25 minutes wound up tipping the charts at a little over an hour.  All this reinforced in me the fact that snowy commutes suck.  I know that "Global Warming" is a misnomer.  There is nothing warm when your door locks freeze.

Weather rant over. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The things I do for free stuff (or at least the potential for free stuff)

I like most people like free stuff and, lets face it, this economy still is limping a bit.  So the good lady over at I have run is offering a giveaway of some good old American made running gear.  Go check out her blog (   It might be worth the trip especially if you are the lucky one.