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?

Kickstarter Project: Simple Hydration Water Bottle

July 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Kickerstarter has popped up a couple of times in the last couple months in different podcasts I listen to.  Mighty Mur Lafferty of I Should Be Writing Fame used it to raise money to get her Afterlive Series printed and Carl the Mailman from The 3 Non-Joggers Podcast used it to raise funds for his documentary film, One Fall.

Both mentioned it enough to piqué my interest in what else is going on there.  I did some standard searches–Lego, Mego, Running,  and Runner and saw some interesting stuff.  But one project stuck out to me, the Simple Hydration Water Bottle.

Odd shape?

The clever thing is it is designed to slip into your waistband so you don’t have to carry it but don’t need any special belts or straps or anything.

Cool.

Kickstarter is designed for crowd-funding of projects.  Individuals chip in $ so a project can be funded and completed.  The thing is, the project is only funded if it raises 100% of the money requested.   The water bottle has raised $10,610 of $20,000so far with 24 days left. I was informed that 95% of projects that get over the half-way point endd up getting fully funded.

One of the important things about kickstarter projects is designing a sensible reward system for contributors.  While every contribution helps, contributing $20 gets one of the bottles.  Additional pledges get you other swag like hats and shirts.

I intended to pledge and recommend you look the information over and consider it too.

Shutdown

July 2, 2011 § Leave a comment

I got about a week head-start from the rest of the State of Minnesota and shutdown my running a week before July 1st.

 

Following Bjorklund, my calf was still hurting.  I eased my way through a 2-miler two days after the race and then a 3-miler after that.  Six days after the race, I went for a four-miler on the horse trails at  Carver Park Reserve and things didn’t go so well.  I think my legs were still vulnerable and the uneven footing ate up my legs.  Later that night while dealing with our dog, I ended up twisting my sore right knee and Ouch!

Since then, I haven’t run.  I’ve rested it, I’ve iced it. It actually feels a lot better so far today (although I’ve spent most of today composing this post).  I have an appointment in 5 days at an orthopediatrician and hopefully it will be mostly heeled by then.

For now, I rest.  Kind of–still have a ton of yard work I’ll hobble through (not smart).

So far, I have not gotten too nutty from not running–I had planned to take two easy weeks after Bjorklund anyhow. so I’m not feeling like I’m losing training. 

 We’ve had some end-of-fiscal-year projects due (I do work for the state of Minnesota but am not laid off due to the shutdown) that needed some extra attention this past week so I’ve thrown some extra energy into those and that has helped my sanity.

I had a passing thought about running another half on the 4th to  redeem myself a bit but I threw that idea out when I tweaked my knee.  There is a 5k in my small town a week from today that I haven’t completely ruled out.

But for now, I’m just hoping to heal.  Not going to run until I can at least walk without worrying about hurting myself.

Things I Think: Post-ALARC Legends 10k

June 16, 2011 § Leave a comment

Only two items in this post-race thinkpad.

First, I have found only one race report so far for the ALARC Legends 10k, Richelle has a great race report and also has a Minnesota Runner’s Giveaway of some SWAG she has collected and a cool necklace (your choice of three) that she made.

Second, I’ve been putzing around figuring what I should try to run at Bjorklund.  Originally, I was hoping to PR by running faster than 93:39 (7:09 pace).  Then, I thought maybe I would just be happy by beating my course record of 95:47 (7:19).  Then I started to think that might be too aggressive.

But then I saw the forecast, perfect conditions: cool, around 50 degrees. Maybe some rain. Wind (10-15 mph) at our backs.

And the added confidence of running 6 easy miles at 6:58 pace without feeling like I was pushing.  Plus I’m feeling strong during my taper.

So my plan is to attack.  Go out and run the first 10 miles at 7:00 pace and assess then whether I want to coast in, whether I’m going to crash, or whether I want to race the final 5k.  I figure if I hit 10 at 70:00, I could slow to 8:00 pace and still run a respectable 94-something.  But even if I totally crash, so what? If I crash and burn, so what? I’m doing this for fun, nothing really depends on me running a certain pace. I’ve got no pressure on me to do anything so just go for it and see what I can do.

It’s nice to have a plan.

It’s also nice to have incentive.  I decided that if I PR, I’m going to treat myself to this:

It’s not expensive–in fact, cheaper than most singlets I’ve found but not something I really need.

Race Report: ALARC Legends 10k

June 11, 2011 § 1 Comment

Serendipity:  making fortunate discoveries by accident. (Dictionary.Com)

Considering that next weekend is Race Weekend, I probably should not have raced today.  Especially with my aging body already unhappy about spending Thursday and Friday “on vacation” at home abusing it with such methods like installing the ceiling and a window in our bedroom, and re-locating our washer & dryer. My runner’s body isn’t use to lifting plywood above my head, hauling carpeting or getting gently electrocuted–late Friday, my left hip and knee decided enough was enough and bit back and I was slightly hobbled.

But I had a free entry to the ALARC Legends 10k today so I figured I would give it a try–I’m a sucker for “Free”.

I am glad I did.

The race went extremely smooth for me.  Got there in time, weather was ideal–low 50s, found a wonderful, private warm-up area with my own port-a-potty, worked out my hip pain, and nailed my goal splits–I was hoping to run even 7:00 pace.  My actual splits were: 6:52, 6:57, 6:58, 6:58, 7:07, 7:00, (6:31 pace for last segment) for a total time of 42:44.  For the 6 miles, I only had a total deviation of 22 seconds from my target pace. I am very pleased with the race I ran, combined with a 7 mile tempo run at 7:30 pace last weekend, I’m confidant that I’ll run well next weekend.

But more important than how my race went, I found a gem of a race.

ALARC (American Lung Association Running Club) was started in 1981 by Bill Wenmark to help first-time marathoners train for a marathon. I had seen ALARC singlets at Grandma’s Marathon but never really knew what the origination was about. It appears that their mission has grown over the years and now serves a greater purpose of promoting fitness and friendships.

Course: Good.  The 10k course was a meandering route along the streets and bike trail of Deephaven. Deephaven is along the shores of Lake Minnetonka and, from appearances, lacks any straight streets. The couple chunks of bike trail were knee-friendly crushed limestone.  The residential streets we ran on lacked sidewalks but also had minimal traffic.  There was a small downhill at the start and a small climb at the end.  Otherwise, the course was flat.  Out of necessity the 10k course layout was confusing–but looking at maps before the race, I knew that I would be depending on a well-marked course to navigate.

Organization:  Excellent. There was a minor snafu in my registration–apparently my information got lost between the contest I won and the race directors but they ironed it out without too much effort. As I said already, the course could have been a nightmare to follow except it was well-marked and there was someone posted everywhere they were needed so I never once wondered which way to turn. The race results were posted very quickly and accurately.

I also have to note that the race had new directors this year and I spoke with Mark for a bit and he seemed like a nice guy.

SWAG: Excellent.   Start with a Headsweats Visor (anything but a T is awesome) AND a pair of FitSok and you’ve already got Top-Notch Swag. Throw in some SportBeans (from Scheels), a toiletry bag, and some coupons and you have Great Swag for a small race.  But add in a pancake breakfast, especially one after the health department shut down the kitchen, and you’ve got Totally Awesome Swag.

Headsweat.Com Visor

Intangibles: Off-The-Charts.  The “Legends” part of the name, ALARC Legends 10k come from the fact that ALARC uses this race to recognize local running legends.  As Bill Wenmark said (and hopefully I am accurately para-phrasing him here), there are ordinary people all around us that do extra-ordinary things and we could walk right pass them in the grocery store without ever knowing it.  The Legends program hopes to give some of these extra-ordinary people some of the recognition they deserve.

The first runner recognized this year is Carrie Tollefson, who I am learning, is basically a rock-star in the Minnesota running community.   Tollefson is an Olympian and 3-time national champion.  She was unable to attend but did deliver a video message.

But the second Legend left a greater impression.

Let me preface this by saying that before introducing the Legends, Mr. Wenmark  introduced the other Legends in attendance and also his father-in-law, who is a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The second Legend was Bob Powers earned the Navy Cross and two Purple Hearts in WW II during his service in Okinawa, Japan.  The White Bear Press wrote:

According to Powers’ Navy Cross citation: On May 20, 1945, the corporal assumed the duties of platoon sergeant after all other senior non-commissioned officers were killed. He “continually exposed himself to intense hostile fire to encourage his men” and fire on enemy forces. During the peak of fighting, Powers “courageously leaped from his foxhole and moved up and down the line, annihilating the enemy soldiers and reorganizing his own men.”

I honestly started to cry as Wenmark, who broke down himself at one point, read Bob’s citation.

And what did Bob have to say about that, “I was doing what I was suppose to do”.   Wenmark alsolisted the many volunteer efforts Bob has been involved with over the years.

Oh yeah, and Bob is an All-American Triathlete.

Overall:  The race itself was solid but given the Legends aspect, I think it is a race worth making an effort to take part in. The timing, at least this year, is a little iffy for those running Grandma’s–but if you felt uncomfortable doing a 10k the week before a marathon, you could always volunteer.

What I Ate, Monday, May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011 § 2 Comments

In what I plan on being a 1-week experiment, I’ve decided to track my food intake for a week. For many years, I have been stuck around 160 pounds. I’m not fat but I do have some extra weight around my waist that I would like to get rid of. I should be doing more core work but I think the biggest problem is that I like to pig out.  Too often I eat more than I should because I like to eat.

Out of curiosity, I want to see how much (especially with calories) I actually eat so I’m going to track & post it here. I’ll preface this with two comments. First, I’m pretty boring with what I eat–the same things most mornings & lunch.  Second, and I already know this has happened, the fact that I’m tracking what I eat will affect what and how much I actually eat.

Time Ate Calories
5:30 1 cup Raisin Bran (190)  w/1 cup 1% milk (118) 310
6:30 40oz Water 0
8:30 Blueberry Bagel 230
12:30 Ham Sandwich on Onion Bun (210) w/Mustard (15)

Banana (105)

330
3:30 Large Apple (100) 100
5:30 Peanut Butter Sandwich (350)

1 oz LAY’S® Tangy Carolina BBQ Chips (160)

510
7:30 2 Turkey Legs (350 each)

1 1/2 Cups Potatoes (430)

1 Strawberry (10)

790
Total 2,270

A pretty good day, methinks. I did not run but did spend nearly an hour mowing the lawn so that burned some extra calories. The item that surprised me was the 230 calories for a plain blueberry bagel.

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