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.

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Happiness is…

June 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

…muddy calves

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.

When railings attack…

May 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

During the tempo part of my run yesterday, this railing leaped out with stunning quickness and struck me in the hip.

It hurt.

Not so bad I had to stop or cut the tempo part of my run.

But I do have a bruise today and think it is prudent to take today off.

I am vulnerable to the Public Works’ booby traps because I tend to run on the dirt next to sidewalks as much as possible–usually I escape damage by playing chicken with the obstacle and veer off only after it flinches–this time it failed to flinch.  Like my mother allegedly said about me, “If he had a brain, he would be dangerous”.

The Public Works in some cities want to cull the herd so much that they have resorted to desperate measures–an obstacle like the hydrant  in this picture should not get many runners.

But if you–especially if you share a good portion of my genes–are running in a pack, it would be easy to run into it.

Everyone be safe out there–it is not  just cars that want to get you.

My New Achilles Support System

May 12, 2011 § 4 Comments

Notice anything different?

Yep, that’s right, I got new shoes.

Not only a new pair of shoes, but a new brand (New Balance), a new model (860s)  and a new type (stability).

When I saw Dr. Paul Langer, the Running Podiatrist, several weeks ago for chronically tender Achilles tendons, he prescribed three things to try first:

    • Heel Drops.  I was already doing a variation of these–stand on a stair, hang your heels off the edge, and lift up onto the toes.  Then slowly lower your heels down below the top of the stair you are standing on.  Dr. Langer, however, recommended a variation where you still lift with both legs but then lower yourself back down with just one leg.  The problem I’m having with these is that I’m not coordinated enough to switch from having two feet on the stair to only one with any sense of rhythm.  So not only am I failing to do them the way he recommended, I have also stopped doing them the way I was originally doing them.  Shame!
    • Using a pair of Orange Superfeet Insoles.  Took some searching to find a dealer with the orange ones but I found a pair within a week and have worn them on every run since then.  Not sure that I’ve seen a change but seems like they should do something.  Might not be able to tell from the picture but the insoles that came with my shoes (the top two) are an 1/8th inch  of light-weight foam.  Not good for much.  The orange insoles have a hard plastic piece that runs through the back two-thirds.

  • Switch to Stability Shoes.  I’ve run in Nike Pegasus for over 15 years–there were a couple pairs of Nike Icarus, a pair of Nike Zoom Extras (Cross Country spikes), a pair of Nike Zoom II racing flats, and a brand-forgotten pair that lasted a week.  But for the most part, I’ve worn Pegasus.  And for the most part, when I start a new pair I feel good but after some miles my Achilles get sore again.  I figured that it wasn’t the shoes’ fault since the pain subsides when I start wearing a new pair.  Dr. Langer decided that I slightly over-pronate and shoes try shoes that provide more stability than the Pegasus–gulp!  It was a bit traumatic to buy something totally new but I’m giving them a try.  I tried on the Asics 2160 which also felt good but the New Balance 860s that I bought had a bit more room in the toe-box and has a less aggressive heel counter.

I waited until after running Lake Minnetonka before trying out the new shoes in case I have trouble in them.   But I’ve had them out of the box and been running in them for the last two weeks.  I won’t know for a while what I really think but I have not noticed any dramatic change.  The first thing I noticed is that the heel seems loose–my heel feels like is going to come out at times, especially at the beginning of a run.  Perhaps a different lacing pattern will help.

I’m still in the feeling-out stage with my new companions–there is a lot of excitement and anticipation that maybe these will “solve all my problems” as the shoe dude said although I remain skeptical.  But at least I’m slowly working my way through Dr. Langer’s recommendations and things aren’t getting worse.

Things I Think: Post-Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon

May 3, 2011 § 3 Comments

Well, other than being wiped out later in the day I don’t seem to have done any permanent damage.  I have the normal aches and realized I got dehydrated–didn’t have to make any trips Monday morning after drinking a liter of water on my way into work.  Yikes!  That normally that leads to 3 or 4 trips.

I did take the Monday off from running to give my various body parts–Achilles, quads, and left thumb some time to heal.

To, borrow from CNN-Sports Illustrated Writer, Peter King, here are some things I think I think after running the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon.

     1) Reading others’ stories about the same race is a lot of fun.  Gives you a different perspective.   So far, I’ve read:

  • Julie’s Race Report–she almost didn’t bring any cold-weather gear.  Yowzer!
  • Chemo-man’s Report–Someone I noticed in the crowd.  I need to read more of his story.
  • Mark also didn’t like the way the starting mats were positioned and ran with the 1:40 pace group and he passed me somewhere between 8.5 and the finish.
  • Alyssa ran a great race in nasty conditions to come within 1 minute of her PR.
  • A Vegan Runner and her fiance both run PRs!
  • Jen and Willa rejoiced in victory.
  • Tenacious (didn’t find her official handle) had a Pyrrhic Victory.
  • The winner, Seth Brickley, and I have something in common–our shoes come untied during races except he takes the time to stop & tie them.
  • minnetonkafelix’s photos–Some great pictures of the race, a talented photographer with some good photos of the Lake Minnetonka area.
  • Official photos of the race.  I didn’t see myself in the 400+ pictures but recognized a lot of other runners.

2)  This winter needs to end.

3)  Whatever fruit punch trauma I suffered in my childhood made a deep and permanent scar on my taste buds & stomach.  Red Gatorade, Yuck!

4)  I am getting older and slower but maybe not as fast I thought I was.

5)  Cross-training and stretching are good ideas.

6)  Despite sometimes recognizing good ideas, I can completely pretend like they don’t exist.

7)  Opposable thumbs are a nice feature–they make things like tying your shoes, pinning a bib, opening a Gu, and grabbing a cup of water a lot easier.  Thanks, Ugg and Eev for evolving them for us.

8)  A cold, blustery wind has a way of  distracting me from hills.

9)  Runners might be crazy.

10)  Our supporters and spectators might be crazier–standing around in that cold for a few hours to get a quick glimpse of their loved ones does not sound like fun.

11)  Happiness is a pair of warm sweatpants.

12)  I probably could use a more closely fitted running jacket.

13)  Sometimes my mp3 player is smarter than I am.

.1)  I wonder if the person who figures out the proper formula for the number of port-a-potties required for a race will earn a Nobel Prize for physics, medicine, economics, peace, or all of the above?

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