February 28, 2011 § Leave a comment
February 18, 2011 § Leave a comment
The big news in the running world the last couple days has been the Boston Athletic Association’s (BAA) announcement that they are toughening the qualifying times for the 2013 race. All qualifying times will be reduced by 5 minutes.
What I actually found more interesting, however, is the rolling registration they are implementing for next year’s race. Faster runners can register before “slower” runners. Runners who beat their qualifying time by 20 minutes can register September 12, those that beat their qualifying time by 10 minutes can register September 14, those that beat their qualifying time by 5 minutes can register September 16, and on September 19, registration opens to everyone else who has qualified.
I’m not sure how many runners fall into each category but it should be interesting–last year the race filled up in just over 8 hours.
I’m struggling to determine what by target race for the spring is going to be–I’m debating between the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon on June 18th and the Minneapolis Half Marathon on June 5th, with the Sour Grapes Half Marathon on June 11th as my fall-back race. I would prefer to run Bjorklund–two extra weeks to train and it is a bit of a home-coming race for me although more of a logistical hassle.
But Bjorklund requires a lottery, which ends on February 28th, means I can not count on getting into it. I’m already bummed about not getting into the Green Bay Half Marathon–wanted to run through Lambeau Field with a Packer jersey on to celebrate the Packer’s Super Bowl victory–which closed after a week and have some desire just to book a race I know I will get into. I’ll probably apply for Bjorklund and run Minneapolis if I don’t get in.
I would hate, though, to be someone who worked their butt off to qualify for Boston and then not be able to run it because it fills up to fast. Maybe first-timers should be able to register a day (September 18) before it opens to everyone who beat the qualifying standard by less than 5 minutes. The technical side of managing/policing that may be too difficult to implement.
Good luck to everyone trying to get into their target race!
February 6, 2011 § Leave a comment
How about this for a marathon: 100-115 laps in an indoor motor-cross arena?
To me, this beats the heck out running a marathon on a normal indoor track.
The course is not your typical oval but one straight-a-way followed by a series of switch-backs so you get to make left and right hand turns. There will be a small hill on the straight-a-way.
While it sounds gimmicky, Russ Korpela, race director for the respected Whistle Stop Marathon in Ashland, Wisconsin is directing it so it has some instant respectability.
February 6, 2011 § 1 Comment
This was my first time running the Waconia Winterfest 5k and my first healthy race since September.
This long, snowy winter has been rough on my training paces. While I ran more miles in January–101.25–than I have in at least 18 months, they were slow miles. We’ve only had two days of above-freezing temperatures since December 1st so we have not had the normal melt-off of snow that we typically have.
Snow banks are high, side roads are covered, and any time we get an inch or two of snow, we end up with a thin, slippery layer of snow that slows me down by a minute to two per mile.
I’m not in racing condition.
I was not sure if I was going to run this race–It probably was not the prudent thing to do. But I checked the forecast at the beginning of the week and the forecast was for a warm day (32°) on Saturday so I figured I would probably race. Which, to my mind at least, meant that I had act like I was going to race.
One of the reasons I wanted to specifically race this weekend is because of the upcoming Super Bowl. I’m a Packer fan and I moved into enemy territory, Minnesota, in the last year and I just wanted to do something “bold” to show my loyalty. Something like run this race in my Packer jersey. Silly thing for a 40-year-old “man” to do but it was a real motivating factor for me.
The temperature was in the 20s by the time I arrived to register for the race so I was excited to have some decent weather. While I was standing in the race-day registration line, I notice that the runners ahead of me were getting numbers in the high 250s–my guesstimate told me I had a good chance of getting 262 (the significiance being that those are the same digits as the marathon distance of 26.2 miles). Again, a silly little thing but I felt like it was a good luck omen.
My warm-up with Packer sweatpants and Packer hat went by rather quietly. But as soon as I made the switch into my race outfit–running tights and my number 80, Donald Driver, Packer jersey, I started to get comments. Mostly good-natured.
“Aren’t you suppose to be in Dallas (the site of tomorrow’s Super Bowl)”.
“The Packers winning depends on you winning today”. (I hope not)
“Good Luck, Donald”
I did my warm-up along the course route which mostly went through residential streets. The warm temperatures the day before had caused some melting, which, trapped between big snowbanks on both side of the sidewalks, had re-frozen overnight causing significant ice. So I stuck to running on the residential streets which barely had any traffic.
So I was rather surprised when, in the first quarter-mile, we were all guided onto the sidewalks. It was rather narrow, icy and crowded.
I had paid close attention to the course map–it was basically a lollipop set-up. The beginning and end were basically the same stretch with a loop in between.
I had gotten into my head that the loop was going to be run clock-wise. I probably assumed that since we were starting off due north (we actually started off headed east on a segment not shown on the official map), that we would head due north at the beginning of the loop.
But, as you can probably guess from the fact I brought it up, we ended up running the loop counter-clockwise. This turned out to be a good thing because while the streets were still icy at the beginning of the loop, the sidewalk was wider and was in better condition which made it easier to run while we were still somewhat packed together.
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I actually really enjoyed the treacherous beginning–I’ve always considered myself a bit of a mudder, able to pick my way through bad footing relatively well. So I found this first bit exciting. Plus, grouped together on a bad surface, I was boxed in and did not go out way too fast.
My last race, a cross-country race in September was a 5.6 miler that I ran at 7:02 pace. I had run a 5k in August in better conditions in 21:08. I was hoping to run today in under 22:00 or about 7:05 pace.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I hit the first mile in 6:53. By then, we had separation so I was cruising. The second mile I did in 7:14 but that included the only uphill–albeit a mild little climb. I did pass a few runners on that hill, the last runners I would pass. I was also passed by one runner in this mile, also the last runner that would pass me.
I enjoyed a bit of downhill in mile 3, which I ran in 6:51. I felt strong and even though the finishing stretch was in a parking lot with a thin glazing of ice, I ran the final 0.1 at a 6:41 pace for a finishing time of 21:38.
During the run, I did get one Packer-related cheer from a spectator but at the finish, I got a mixture of cheers and heckles from the couple dozen spectators. As a classic ectomorph, I tend to disappear in social situations–blending into the scenery. But wearing a Packer jersey in Minnesota could only be a cry for (negative) attention. Minnesota Nice does not normally apply to Packer fans.
So I knew what I was getting into, even looking forward to it so I played it up with the crowd a bit–asking for more noise. If I would thought of it, I should have imitated Driver’s “First Down” signal as I crossed the finish line.
Overall, I am pleased with my performance. Obviously a bit slower than the 5k I ran back in August but considering the footing both today and the last couple months, not too bad. Once we can re-claim the sidewalks and roads from the snow and get more quality miles in, I can work on getting faster.
I do think there are a couple benefits from the enforced slow runs we’ve had to do lately. First, the easy miles help prevent over-training. Second, with the poor footing, there is a certain amount of variability with each stride–working the legs muscles in a slightly different way, therefore providing a more balanced workout instead of the same repetitive foot-strike over and over and over again.
One nice thing about this race, instead of another T-shirt, they gave away nice black & gray winter hats. So that was a nice bonus.
It will be interesting to see how the legs feel tomorrow morning.
February 5, 2011 § Leave a comment
Belgian runner, Stefaan Engels, ran 365 marathons in 365 day.
I ran 1+ miles in 456 days & it almost wrecked me. To run 365 marathons in 365 is phenominal. That’s over 9,500 miles for the year. His fastest was sub-3:00.
My favorite quote in the story: “I recovery quickly”.