Friday, December 6, 2013

Another year almost gone

So, I have continued to run, train, generally live my life, everything I've done for the last several years, except post here (or the other blog). Life gets in the way more than I'd like, but in some way, the lack of posting indicates that I'm active and healthy.

So much has happened this year that summing it all up would be really hard and kinda dull for anyone else but myself. A couple of quick highlights from the year: my son joined Cub Scouts and I'm an Assistant Den Leader, so we have a lot of fun with that. We took a trip to Walt Disney World right after Thanksgiving that was a great break from work and a nice way to get into the holiday spirit. 

I ran a few races this year and enjoyed running them. Training was sometimes a struggle, but right around the time I ran the Twin Cities Marathon I realized that I needed to relax about how I trained and ran races. I'm still happy with my paces and race times, but I had to accept that I may not get much faster or be able to continually set PRs in every race. Now, I'm not saying I'll just slow down and accept a longer race time or a pace that would be much slower than the past couple of years, but I'm getting smarter about how to train for the race and the course.

For example, training for the Dopey Challenge in January (5K, 10K, Half Marathon, Full Marathon on consecutive days) is going much better once I realized that trying to train for a specific goal time in the full makes little sense. I have three races in three days to run before I line up for the full and I needed to adjust my thinking about what kind of race I want to run. I don't plan on going too slowly, but I'm not trying to run a fast time (for me). Instead, I'm trying to focus on keeping a comfortable pace so that Sunday morning, when I line up to start the marathon, I won't feel drained and dreading the next 4-5 hours I'll be running.

It is very liberating to have realized that training doesn't have to be driven by a goal time. That only makes sense if you're running a couple races a year and can devote time to proper recovery. But since I tend to run a race every 6-8 weeks, I need to learn better strategies to be race ready without burning out or getting injured. Time will tell if I learn that lesson or not, but I'd like to think I have.

Friday, April 12, 2013

When will spring appear?

We were teased with spring last week, the snow had melted, the roads and sidewalks were clear and dry. I thought I'd be getting back outside regularly now. This week a dentist appointment kept me inside on Monday, then the weather became not-spring. Wednesday and today, I was inside. Tomorrow I want to get outside even if only for a part of the run. I'm feeling frustrated but I know that the snow will melt, the temps will rise and I'll be out regularly.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Busy, busy

The race schedule I posted in March may indeed have been too ambitious, but only by one race. I ended up not doing Twin Cities this year, as I just didn't have enough time after the duathlon to get my long runs in. I'd been averaging about 10 miles for the long runs for du training (plus 16-20 miles on the bike). I wasn't able to shift from that distance to marathon distance in time. Instead, I focused on WDW Goofy training.

Training for Goofy is going fine, although I have found that I have had a nagging soreness in my psoas muscle in my left leg which sometimes makes it tougher to maintain the paces I'd been doing earlier in the year. Must be getting old ;-)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Been a while

Since my last post, I've run the Walt Disney World Marathon, setting a PR and had a much more active recovery period than I planned. I've also pretty well set my race schedule for the year and it seems ambitious to me although I know several people who are planning on running more races than I am, so it may just be that I haven't planned this many races.

This year I have the following races planned:
January - WDW Marathon
March - Get Lucky Half Marathon
April - Get in Gear Half Marathon
May - Fargo Half Marathon
June - Minneapolis Marathon
August - Minneapolis Duathlon
October - Twin Cities Marathon & Monster Dash Half Marathon

I may do a half on July 4th, depending on family plans.

And in January 2013, I'm planning on the Goofy Challenge at WDW. Seems like a full schedule to me when you consider that I'm also starting swim lessons in a week (never learned to swim and now's the time).

So a busy schedule should keep me busy for the year. As long as I avoid injuries and the weather doesn't get cataclysmic, I should have a great year.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taper time/Year End Running Review

Taper time for the Walt Disney World Marathon. On January 8, I'll be at the start line for my 8th marathon since 2007, the 6th WDW race. My training has been very good, mainly because, unlike the last four years, I have not had to deal with snow. Like, at all. As in, a brown Christmas this weekend. I've had some snowfall, to be sure, but nothing at all like last year, when by mid-December we had about 20 inches of snow and most seemed to fall on weekends, which meant not being cleared in time for long runs. This year, I had one long run with snow on the ground, and a few other runs that had either snow or somewhat icy conditions. I have had to run in cold weather, but even that has been manageable. 

Combine the great running weather with a generally better training regimen and I have the makings of a great race. Now, I know that almost anything can happen between now and the start of the race, but realistically, I should be set for a shot at yet another PR. This year, I had experienced the following PR changes:

Half Marathon as of 1/1/11 2:09 (2010 Get in Gear)
Half Marathon as of 12/31/11 1:46 (2011 Monster Dash)

Marathon as of 1/1/11 5:17 (2007 WDW Marathon)
Marathon as of 12/31/11 3:56 (2011 Twin Cities Marathon)

My 2011 WDW Marathon time was my first sub 5:00 at 4:46 and I dropped that PR by 50 minutes in October at Twin Cities. 

For the 2012 WDW Marathon, I'm looking for about 3:50, but sub 4:00 is important and anything below 4 hours is fine with me. 

I surprisingly and thankfully spent the year injury-free, unlike last year, but I think a lot of the problems I had last year were related to my weight loss, which occurred mainly in 2010. This year I did lose a bit more weight and I seem to have found a maintenance weight, around 160 lbs. I'd look to lose just a bit more, but I'm happy with where I am now. 

I've also learned to relax more with many of my runs, which keeps me from being too critical when one doesn't go as planned. To me, this is a key concept for me to continue to work on. Overall, I'm very pleased with my running this year and I hope to start 2012 off with a great race at Disney. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Short update-training for 2012 Walt Disney World Marathon continues. I'm feeling good about the training cycle and my progress. I have a goal in mind and a dream goal. I hope to better my Twin Cities Marathon PR from October (3:56). I'm aiming for 3:45 at Disney, with the dream goal being faster than that (no specific time). The weather has been good this year, although mainly because we've had very little precipitation since August. I've felt more relaxed on most of my runs and look forward to getting outside each morning I run. It's nice to feel more comfortable with my training, progress, and overall place in life as I prepare for the race.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, October 3, 2011

Twin Cities Marathon: I ran how fast?

Yesterday, I ran my first Twin Cities Marathon (although it was the 30th year of the race). My goal was to run a sub-4:00 race, with the dream goal being 3:50. I finished in 3:56:34, taking 50 minutes off my PR, which I set this January at the Walt Disney World Marathon. It was a good race, with a few rough miles at the end. Basically the last 3-4 miles are a gradual incline with a nice little decent in the last 1/2 to 3/4 mile. It's a great course and I will run it again sometime. I'm setting my sights on the Chicago Marathon next year, so I may have to wait another year before I tackle the race.

 I felt good most of the race, although I did walk more than I'd have liked that last few miles. After thinking about it, I realized that the weather was warm (not hot, but warm - it was about 50 degrees at the start of the race and 70 degrees when I finished) and sunny. This probably sapped a little energy out of me, because I had some arm warmers on through most of the race, finally shedding them at about mile 19 or so. I also thought my Garmin 405 Forerunner had died, so I used a Timex watch for the race. This meant I didn't have my lap paces available to me. I ran the race by how my body felt and how the pace felt. I must have done all right, although I'd love to see what my splits were for the race. I am certainly not complaining (and last night, I tried charging my watch again and seems to be working again-weird).

When this year started, my marathon PR was 5:17. Now my PR is 3:56. I plan on getting it down even further. I have ideas for Walt Disney World in January and the marathons after that next year, but for today, I'm going to enjoy this race.

Saturday, August 13, 2011


I may be overtraining right now, which is really not optimal, as I have a half marathon in three weeks, the Twin Cities Marathon in seven weeks and the WDW Marathon in January. I've never run so many races in one year as this year and I'm wondering if I was too ambitious with this race schedule.

Counting from January 2011 to January 2012, I have run or plan to run:

January 2011 - Goofy Challenge + Disney 5k
April 2011 - Get in Gear Half-Marathon
June 2011 - Minneapolis Half-Marathon
September 2011 - Disneyland Half-Marathon
October 2011- Twin Cities Marathon
January 2012 - WDW Marathon

Now, for some runners, that's not a busy race schedule, but for me, that's about double the number of races I normally run. Don't get me wrong, I'm excited that I can run that many races, but having not trained for that many races before, I'm not sure if my training plan is appropriate.

I don't have the aches and pains I had last year as I lost weight, but I've noticed that a few of my long runs the last several weeks have not felt as strong or as good as earlier this summer. I don't think it's the heat and humidity (although those are contributing factors), but general wear and tear that I am not used to. I do think that my better consistency in doing core work has helped, as has keeping the weight off. I'm open to suggestions and thoughts about training more heavily than normal. I'd like to end this race cycle with some PRs and a good feeling going into next year's races.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Busted Run

Yesterday I was planning on an 18 mile run. Although I intended to get up and get out on the road early (for a weekend), I slept in a little longer than I planned. I was trying a new water bottle belt that didn't work so well and I had to go back home to get one of our older belts. Then I started out relatively fine, but a little fast. I tried to slow down several times to be at the pace I wanted (around 8:40), but found myself going faster more often than I'd like. I ran the first 5-6 miles on a familiar route, but was trying a new addition to my route to get a 9 mile out to do an out-and-back run. It was hillier than I realized and I had run hills yesterday. About 8.5 miles in, something started to not feel right about the run. I kept at it for a while longer and then stopped my run.

This is only the second time I've stopped a run early in about 8 years of running. I have ended runs outside due to weather, but finished them on my elliptical. This one I didn't finish. Something just didn't feel right. I was disappointed, but didn't feel down. Until about an hour or so later. Since then, I've felt off, wondering if I should have toughed it out or somehow tried to finish. I suspect i could have finished, but maybe I needed to not complete this run to remember how much planning to run is an important as doing the run.

Sorry for the rambling, but I'm still processing the run and the lessons I learned.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Belated Race Report

Last Sunday, I ran the Minneapolis Half Marathon. Last year I ran the full marathon here and swore to never run it again. How time changes things. Since I've felt better and faster recently, I decided to give the half a try again. I'm glad I did. In April, I ran a half and set a new PR of 1:55:48. That course was not nearly as hilly as the course I ran on Sunday. I planned on treating the run as a supported training run (and then didn't use the water stops at all), so I figured finishing under 2:10 would be fine with me.

As I started the race, I was able to find a good pace and kept it mile after mile. While I didn't use the water stops, I did take my gels and Endurolyte drink regularly. I felt good, even on the hills, and actually set another PR, finishing in 1:55:18. True this is a PR by .3 seconds, but considering I had figured a slower race, I was very happy. The weather really cooperated, too, cool temps at the beginning of the race, clear skies, no wind, basically a perfect day to run.

So now I'm beginning my training for the Twin Cities Marathon in early October. Part of that training will be running the Disneyland Half on Labor Day weekend. I'll get my Coast-to-Coast medal when I finish (for doing races at WDW and DL in the same year) and I'm excited to be going to Disneyland for the first time. After Twin Cities, I'll start training for the WDW Marathon, where it's my plan to PR again. I'm trying to get to where I can BQ (Boston qualify) and I know that a lot of hard work is ahead of me. I'm ready to go, bring it on!