Win a Free Garmin Forerunner 405

November 20, 2011 § Leave a comment

That’s right, I’m giving away a Garmin Forerunner 405. Just go to TundraRunning.com and leave a comment!!!

I’ve moved!!!

November 9, 2011 § Leave a comment

More details to come, but I’ve moved this blog to its own domain, http://www.muddycalves.com/. I’m already feeling regrets about the new name, I’m wishing I had just gone with “Muddy Calf” but oh, well. Anyhow, just posted about what may be the greatest race report ever.

CPR Class (In-Pulse CPR)

November 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

This is another long-overdue post.

This summer, I took a CPR class that I surprisingly enjoyed.

Although at first, I thought I was going to have a panic attack in the middle of class & need medical attention myself.  I was taking the class largely because I was going to be working with kids and the initial discussion started to freak me out a bit because I kept imagining have to give CPR to my own kids that was overwhelming.

Eventually, I relaxed a bit, largely due to the instructors, Tiffany & Katie of In-Pulse CPR.  They combined a serious topic with a touch of humor that created a comfortable atmosphere.  I’m one that never asks questions in a group setting but they made the class comfortable enough that I actually asked two questions.

But where they really excelled, I thought, was bringing their real-life experience–they both have worked as EMTs–to the class and telling us what to really expect if we need to do CPR.  For example, Katie told about the first time she had to do CPR and was totally freaked out when she broke ribs on the patient.  Her instructor(s) had never told her to expect that and that it is actually a required first step to give effective CPR.  The ribs are there to protect the heart and until you break them (in adults) you’re not going to be compressing the heart.

They told us that a coroner (not sure if just in one specific jurisdiction or universally) is required to indicate that “ineffective CPR” was administered whenever a corpse’s ribs are not broken.  And they told us about seeing nurses give WWF-type elbow blows to patients’ chests to break their ribs before starting CPR.

They obviously got the point across that breaking ribs (in adults) is to be expected.   Coincidentally, my wife, a teacher, took CPR training the same day with the school nurse and this wasn’t mentioned.  I feel taking the course from instructors who have actually done CPR and are willing to prepare us for the gruesome-ness of it helped better prepare me if I ever need to use the training.

If ever asked, I will always recommend that someone–especially first-timers–take the classes from instructor(s) that have actually done it in the field.

A Great Idea: parkrun

November 4, 2011 § Leave a comment

Sometimes a simple idea is so obviously great, it makes you wonder why no one  thought of it before.  One of those ideas flickered across my Twitter feed today.

Enter parkrun.

parkrun is a British organization that organizes free, weekly, 5k runs.

I love this idea on a few different levels.

First, earlier this week, I whined about the whole process of getting into some races now-a-days.  You can almost hear me cuing-up my old, crotchety voice, “back in my day, you could just decide on a whim to show up at any race on race day and just sign right up”.   From what I skimmed, these are much smaller, informal races that discard the hype.

Second, from a training perspective, the best way to get into racing shape is to race.  I know I’m able to race much faster than I can train.  For whatever reason–the excitement, the competition, the feeling of being judged, I can just race faster than I can run.  Having a consistent, affordable, regular series of races/runs provides awesome workouts and measuring tool.  Reminds me of the awesome Salomon Autumn Trail Series that I’ve run the last three years.  The series consists of 4 races, two weeks apart, at a local park.  I’ve said it before but the Salomon Trail Series give me a chance to re-create a mini-Cross Country season.

Which leads me into the final, and perhaps most important, reason I love the idea–it gives runners an excuse to get together on a regular basis.  A few different events over the last three months have emphasized how much more personal an in-person bond can be, experiencing things together.   Getting together with friends, comparing notes, having a bit to eat, and going for a run together is a great benefit.

I’ve been toying with a similar, less grand version of this for a little while but maybe I should raise my goals although taking time to organize things takes a lot longer than I knew.

Would you participate, at least occasionally, in a weekly run/race?  For either training, psychological or social reasons?

Non-Race Report: 13.1 Minneapolis.

November 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

This is long overdue, but I wanted to finally follow-up on the 13.1 Minneapolis from August.  You might remember that I received two complimentary registrations for this race that I gave away to readers.
I did hear back from one of the readers who had nothing but positive things to say about the race:
  • “nice race”
  • “well organized”
  • “lots of water stops for a half”
  • “decent fan support”
  • “enjoyed the course along the river”
  • “it looked like they had plenty of buses available”
  •  ” finisher’s medals were on par with major marathons”
I also wanted to see what some others had said about the race, the handy-dandy Google machine found these race reports:
  • Beth who used it as a training run.
  • Kkinnea who also used it as a marathon training run.
  • Cindi had a victory!
  • Caitlin who owned the race.
The only complaint I could find in these race reports was port-a-pottie related but that was even minor.
Overall, seems like a good race–the timing, mid August, is a little awkward to make it a Priority Race but as a couple of bloggers mentioned above did, it might work great as a training run for a Fall full or half.
Have you ever ran a big race that had ENOUGH port-a-potties?
Does August, in Minnesota, seem like the ideal time to run your Goal Race?
Did you run Minneapolis 13.1?

Racing to Register

November 1, 2011 § 1 Comment

Registration opens today for the 2012 Cellcom Green Bay Marathon & Half Marathon, which I am not running for a  record 11th straight year.

Not that I have anything against this race, in fact I would have signed up for the half today if it weren’t for the fact that the route will not go through Lambeau Field this year.  Last year, I considered running the half primarily for that reason but by the time I wanted to (Mid February), the race was closed.  And while Green Bay is one marathon that allows numbers to be transferred, I wanted to set my schedule in stone and not hope I could find a second-hand number.

But this raises an increasingly common issue–races that fill up to capacity.

I understand races need to limit the field of races because of logistical, planning, and safety reasons–overbooking a race is worse than limiting the field.  But, for the runner, it’s a pain in the gluteus maximus.

It seems that to get into some of the more popular races, you first have to win the registration race just to get into it–and as a race becomes known for filling up, the registration race gets more competitive.  Which really sucks for a marathon or even half-marathon because they can fill up months before the actual race and if life gets in the way of your training, you end up donating your registration fee to the race unless they let you transfer or roll-over your registration although that isn’t the standard.

Some races–Garry Bjorklund 13.1, my Goal Race for the first half of 2011–require you enter a lottery for registration.  And while I got in, going through the lottery process isn’t fun either as it makes planning difficult.  In most cases, I think you find out fairly quickly but there still is usually a period where you end up training without knowing whether or not you’re actually going to get into the race.

Generally, it is a good thing that more runners are out there doing more races but it has added a dynamic to some races that takes away a bit of the fun.  As I’m thinking about my 2012 racing plans, the ability to actually get into the race is another factor to take into consideration.

Running smaller, less likely to fill up races is an option with a different set of pro’s and con’s and I enjoy doing that for training races but would be a little bummed if that decision gets forced onto me because of race capacity restrictions.

I do have an idea of what I want to do next spring & there haven’t been registration problems the last couple years so, if my training goes well this winter, I might not have to worry about getting in but if things fall through, my backup plan could definitely be effected by registration caps.

Has anyone been burnt by training for a race they couldn’t get into?

Have you “discovered” a great  race that you ended up running because you couldn’t get into a different race?

November, NaNoWriMo

November 1, 2011 § Leave a comment

Obviously, I’ve neglected the blog for a while.

I’ve had reasons.

They’ll become apparent soon. Unless you already know about them & if you’re one of the few reading this, you probably already know the main reason. I’ve been busy. But that will have to wait for another day.

Today, I’m launching a new challenge for myself. To blog every day for the month of November.

I’ve had an urge to be a writer that I haven’t really gotten started on ever. My blogs have been my mild attempt at actually making sentences. For the most part, I’ve successfully avoided writing.

So now that my unnamed reason has mostly ended, I’m taking up the challenge to actually blog. November happens to be National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). The basic goal of NaNoWriMo is for the author to get the words on the paper, to generate the mud. The NaNoWriMo novel is not a finished novel, it is in need of editing. One the hurdles I face in starting to write is that I always feel the need to get everything right before moving on. I get bogged down before I get going.

So my goal for November is to type for 10-20 minutes, let it sit for awhile, do a quick edit and post. Generate some mud.

Incidentally, you may notice I renamed the blog from “fartleks” to “Muddy Calf Running”. Why? For one of my projects, I’ve been thinking about names & Muddy Calf was something I liked but didn’t think suited my other needs. Besides, fartleks was a bit too generic.

Well, my time is up for tonight but first some questions:

Have you ever thought about being a writer?

Have you ever cam up with a plot for a novel?

Does the name of a blog matter?

Some Healing Pain.

August 23, 2011 § 1 Comment

Despite what my blog might reveal, I don’t just run to race.

Today’s run was supposed to short & slow, an easy day.  But sometimes I need a run more for emotional reasons than physiological reasons.  Today was one of those day.

I found out last night that someone very important to me is going through a rough patch.  A real rough patch.  And I can not help her right now.

So I’m a bundle of empathy, pain, fear, anxiety, hurt, anger, guilt, and love that I needed to release.  And, as fun as it may sound, going to a CPR class and talking about life-threatening situations touched too close to the heart today.  I spent most of my lunch hour on the phone with family sharing an odd mixture of tears & laughs.

After class, I had some time to get in a run.  I was “suppose” to do two easy miles.   But I needed to hammer some of the emotions out so I did 3 miles HARD.  It was hot today and I hadn’t eaten lunch so it was pretty tough.  I needed to feel some physical pain today to mask the emotional pain, hopefully washing some of it away.

In the process, I discovered that not only can you use the “talk test” to determine if you’re running aerobically or anaerobically but you can also use the “cry test”.  You can not run anaerobically and cry.  Trust me, I tried.

One thing that made this run even more poignant is that this person is one of my running heroes.  She is the one that motivated to start running again after I had given it up in college.  She is the person that has encouraged my running more than anyone.  She is the one that had the courage to run in college. She is the person that understands my passion for running better than anyone. She is the person that came to see me finish the Bjorklund half marathon this year.   So using running to cope in this situation was both extremely appropriate but also a painful reminder of what she is going through.

I don’t often use a run to burn off emotions like this–more typically I use them to refocus myself, to clear my mind, or just to escape.  But there have been a handful of times where I’ve run just to burn off pure emotion.

And now, I hope to return to my boring old blog about my training…

Oulu Rock Run Race Report

August 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

This race was two weeks ago and my memory isn’t that good so I’ll give the briefest summary: Went out too fast (6:43 first mile, 7:30, 7:36), mud, down-pour, and lightening.

I especially wanted to do this race because it is in the Town, Oulu, Wisconsin, that I grew up in.  It was at the baseball park 2.5 miles from my home–I spent many hours there playing, and later coaching, baseball.

The 5k  (closer to 3 miles to Mr. Garmin) which I ran started at 8:00 and about 8:05 it started to rain, which was fine, and around 8:08 it started to rain real hard.  All of that would have been great if there wasn’t some high-in-the-sky lightening that was a bit unnerving but I never actually heard thunder.

If you look closely at this picture, you’ll see the reflective strip is, well, reflecting.  My father took this picture and because of the rain clouds it was dark so he needed to use his flash.  The flash freaked me out at first because I wasn’t paying attention and out of the corner of my eye it seemed liked lightening.

It also looks like my left shoe lace is flopping around again.

The one thing that the rain effected was the 1 mile run got moved from 8:45 Saturday to Sunday afternoon.  That was a bit of a bummer because my girls ran the 1 mile but because of my schedule, I had to leave before they walk/ran.

My 11 year old.

And the six year old in jeans.

The best illustration of what a home-town race this was for me, there were five race officials at the finish area.  My aunt and uncle were the clock reader and race director.  I spent a lot of time during the summers growing up with them and my 3 cousins.  My uncle was running at that time so they brought me to a lot of the races I did in the 80s.

After passing the finish line, I ripped off the tag at the bottom of race number and handed it to another aunt and gave her a hug.

I didn’t notice it at the time but my  mother was writing down numbers along with the only non-relative at the finish.  However, this “outsider” was a girl from my high school class–we went to school together from Kindergarten to 12th grade.  So while not related, she is a good friend.

RRCA Coaching Certification Class

August 7, 2011 § 3 Comments

I just spent the last two days taking the Road Runners Club of America’s Coach Certification Class.

It was awesome.

First, Patti & Warren Finke, the instructors, are long-time runners, marathons, ultra-runners, and coaches.  Patti is an exercise physiologist, and has been the American age-group record-holder for 50km and 50mi.  She has been an Oregon Road Runners Club Age group runner of the year three times.  Warren has raced in over 170 marathons and ultramarathons–winning more than 20.  Twice he has been the U.S. track record hold for 100km.

Obviously, both are well qualified.

But their presentation is what really made the classes enjoyable.  The first day included a lot of lecture on topics like nutrition and physiology. The material was somewhat dull but they kept the class entertaining with antidotes from their 60+ combined years in the sport.

One of my favorite stories was about a competitor in the Race Across America bike race who started hallucinating in St Louis that his crew was a bunch of aliens trying to abduct him.  This racer later confessed that even after his crew caught him and got him to sleep a couple hours, that he thought all the way to Atlantic City that his crew was a bunch of aliens.

The second day was a bit more interactive as we broke into small groups and worked on developing training plans for Josefina, as interestingly played by Patti.

One of the side benefits I had not expected–and wish I had been able to take better advantage of–was meeting several other (better) bloggers.

Rebecca, me, Adam, and Ann

Rebecca from Michigan sat next to me the first day and works with Girls On the Run.  If I remember right, she works with over 80 different clubs in a 3 county area in the Detroit area.  I’m hoping to pry some more information from her as I try to get my program going.

Adam’s blog, The Boring Runner is tragically mis-named.  I wish my blog was half as entertaining as his.   Dude can run, too.

Unfortunately, I had less time to talk with Sporty Girl of Sporty Girl Jewelry Fame but she was extremely nice & she makes really cool sports-themed jewelry.

The long lectures on Saturday, coupled with the fact I hustled home to my family right after class instead of going to the restaurant, limited how much I got a chance to hang out with anyone.  I wish there had been a casual get together Friday night or a group run one of the mornings.  But I guess there’s always Twitter.

Again, the class was really amazing, I think I learned a lot–we’ll see when I take the test.  If I pass (and I complete my CPR & First Aid class later this month), I’ll be  a certified Running Coach.  I have a few goals in mind of what I want to do with that but even if I go no further than the experience I had this weekend, it was worth it and something I would recommend for any runner.  If you live in the Portland area (or Kona) , you might want to check out Team Oregon‘s training groups.