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October 30, 2007

The Gray Ghost Run



An event that will be remembered forever occurred on Saturday October 27th. My grandson and I completed the Gray Ghost 5K event in Anoka, MN.

We were dressed in costume. My grandson was dressed in a monkey costume and was Curious George because I was dressed as The Man In The Yellow Hat. Several people commented ďYou guys look awesome or Great CostumeĒ as we waited for the race to start. During the run we heard shouts of here comes Curious George and the man in the yellow hat. It was quite a neat sight to see little kids pointing at us and seeing the big smiles on their faces. We didnít win the costume contest but we sure give it our best.

I pushed my grandson in a running stroller for the entire run. I believe he enjoyed the ride quite a bit. I was quite surprised that it wasnít really that difficult and I donít think my pace was that far from my normal pace.

Our finishing time was right in line with a 10:00 minute pace. That is the pace I have been running pretty consistently over the last few months. I was very happy with that time.

I am now looking forward to next yearís running of the Gray Ghost 5K. I am thinking and hoping that there will be three in the event next year. It shall be me, grandson # 1 and my granddaughter. Over the next many months I will be thinking about what we will be in 2008.

All in all it was a great day and for sure it will be remembered forever.



A run through the park



A while back I ran the Big Woods Half Marathon. I was up before the sun on that Saturday morning and it really wasnít all that early, 6:15, itís just that the sun doesnít come up so early these days. Itís amazing how easy it was to get up. Itís never that easy on a workday. Go figure.

On tap for the morning was a half marathon trail run near a little town south of the Twin Cities, Nerstrand Minnesota. A small country church, St. Johns, sponsors a half marathon as a fund raiser. I ran this one back in 2005 and it was a treat to run basically in the middle of nowhere USA. It was also my first trail run.

As I approached the entrance to the church there was a sign that stated the event would not be on the trails this year. Instead it had to be a road run. Over the past few weeks it has rained more often than not. It was something that I thought might happen. The sign stated ďDue to torrential rains the trails in Big Woods State Park are closedĒ. I was disappointed but I was prepared just for that possibility.

The day was just about perfect for running. Temp was in the mid 40ís. The sun was shining over the fields and lit up the leaves that remained on some trees. I thought the wind was perfect but I would soon learn it wouldnít be. As far as fall days go in MN most would have given the day a 10+.

The start was a little different than usual and you needed to be listening. If not one might have ended up running a bit farther. You see the 5K, 10K and Ĺ marathon all started from the same area. The difference was that the 5 K went east and the others went west. As the gun sounded I headed west with a bit more enthusiasm than usual.

I ran a very comfortable pace from the beginning. My split at mile 1 was at 9:45. A bit quicker than I thought I was going but not overly fast to be worried about getting out too quick. My goal for the day was to be right around a 10 minute pace knowing that the pace could waiver either up or down a ten or 20 seconds. I managed to pace a bit faster over the next five miles and ran close to 9:30 splits. I was feeling very good and relaxed all the way.

After reaching mile 6 the run turned into more of challenge. A good sized hill greeted me at the 6 mile marker. I climbed that without much trouble. Up ahead was a small downhill then another uphill going up at mile 7. At the top of the hill there was a left turn. Upon turning left I could see the road going up at a steady incline for as far as I cloud see. My thoughts were okay this is no longer going to be a walk in the park. When I reached mile 8 there to was a small dip in the road followed by another incline that went all the way to mile 10. Finally after mile 10 it was pretty much flat for a ways. A slight down hill from 11 Ĺ to 12. Since we had a u-turn at 12 that meant an incline to 12.5 and then flat to the finish. A small and short drive for the finish got me there at 2:10:50 per my Garmin.

I mentioned the wind was a bit more than I would like. For my runs I like to have a slight wind and I generally donít mind if itís a head wind. Todayís wind was just a bit strong enough to feel it. That and the fact it was a head wind while on the long incline from just past mile 7 to 10 mile made things a bit tough.

I had a lot of help along the way. My runs tend to become a bit spiritual some where along the run. Although we didnít run the trails, we did run on a road that cut through the Big Woods State Park. So I was amongst the tall trees in their fall splendor. Couldnít help but think about the days my brother and I would spend grouse and squirrel hunting in woods just like that. Another thought that I had was how the sight of the fall colors on the sides of the road to the horizon reminded me so much about a picture that my grandmother had hanging above her old sofa. There were there with me to give me a big boost. A friend of mine was going out to run at 9:30 so she could come along in spirit and I felt the push. Along one point of the tough stretch I knew that all my RCC friends would be pulling and cheering for me. And then of course knowing Deb at home was waiting for my call to let her know I finished another run. A congrats and an I am proud of you was waiting for me. Itís awesome to have so many to carry me while I run.

I ran my kind of a run. I drank every twenty minutes. I enjoyed the scenery. I was relaxed. And yes I was in my own little world for just about the entire event. I can look back and honestly say I gave it everything I could for those 2 hours. I finished smiling and dang proud.

Canít wait to do it again. A 5K next weekend and then looks like Jan 26th will be the next big run. Iíll be counting the days.

October 17, 2007

Not your average run

On Saturday I will be running a half marathon near a small town named Nerstrand MN. The starting point and sponsor of this race is a quaint little country church. Basically it is the middle of nowhere.

This half marathon is not the typical road run. It is a trail run. The title of the race is the ďBig Woods RunĒ. We are talking trees higher than one would expect to see unless you were in the Big Reds of California. A very beautiful course.

I ran this event back in 2005 and managed to run it in personal record time. It is still my personal record. I am not expecting to beat this time around.

What makes this run special is the fact that you leave a county road and enter into the trails through the park. Itís like in the cartoons where you step into a whole different world. The whole thing is kind of serene for about 10 miles. I really didnít feel the effects of running for the 10 miles that I was on the trials. I was too much in awe of this world that was so peaceful. It was a bit anticlimactic when I came out and was back on a county road. I so wanted to go back.

So on Saturday I will be checking out of the hectic and busy world that I live. It will only be for about an hour and a half. I will certainly enjoy that time to its fullest.

You can count on a full report.

October 15, 2007

A Room With A View

Most of you know that I deer hunt. Thought I would share a few photos with you.

First is an aerial view taken by my son in law on Friday October 12.



Below are two views from the platform that I will be using to hopefully spot a deer.



Nothing like a room with a view

October 09, 2007

A running I will go

Those that know me know that I have run a few marathons. They also know that I am not your prototypical marathon runner. News of a tragedy the likes of what happened at Chicagoís marathon does get my attention.

First of all I do not jump to conclusions like the local media. Read past posts to see how I feel about the media. I wait to see what the facts are and let those facts weigh in on my feelings towards running. I have not seen a case yet that would indicate that any person who has passed away during or shortly after running a marathon would not have done so if he ran or not. The facts are a person needs to make sure they are healthy enough to run a marathon.

Second, I do check with my Doctor regarding my physical well being and even my mental well being for that matter. Over the past several years I have probably averaged a full physical every 14 months. My next one in this Thursday and my running will be a part of the discussion. Should he say I shouldnít run. Well than maybe and itís just a maybe, Iíll stop seeing a doctor and continue to run. Just kidding Mary (my sister) I would get a second opinion though.

One item that I do believe is a problem with marathons these days, many of them are way too big. Problems are inevitable and soon a tragedy is going to happen because of it. It is my understanding fro a volunteer involved in the Chicago marathon the Hospitals requested that the race director stop the marathon. He did so because of their request. The hospitals were overwhelmed by the people who did have heat related problems. 30,000 plus runners having a small percentage of problems creates a substantial number of people seeking medical attention in a short period of time. How many cases can an emergency room handle in an hour? On top of that add in the normal workload in the emergency rooms a catastrophic loss will occur. For the record 1 loss is catastrophic.

Also, a runner needs to pay attention to all the signals the body puts out. There a signals during a run and well after a run. I am not sure if this Chicago guy had any and I hope he didnít but if he did then we need to learn. The theory of ďno pain no gainĒ is nothing but hogwash. The phrase needs to be ďno pain well thatís just greatĒ.

My thoughts. Please feel free to add your thoughts to this post or any other posts. There is no pain in doing so and I gain the knowledge that others are reading my gibberish. I wonder sometimes if I am póing against the wind here.

October 02, 2007

Where's Daffy?

A recent article in a local paper caused a little stir in me. The article stated that the duck population looked a bit better than earlier forecasts. That was good news because the earlier forecast was pretty bleak.

The duck hunting opener was this past Saturday. Duck hunting has been an annual event for my son and me going back about a dozen years or so now. The opener is an event that we look forward too every fall.

This past Saturday morning we head out to a local pond that we never hunted before. Both of us were excited about the possibilities that this pothole could have. As we paddled to a spot that we felt would work a few ducks passed us by. A ray of hope you could say.

It took us a little time to get things set up and we were ready to shoot ducks. Here in MN you canít begin to shoot until 9:00 on opening day. So 9:00 comes and goes with no ducks in sight. After a bit a small flock of geese can be seen off in the distance. They stay off in the distance. At about noon we decide to call it a day. No ducks to shoot today. Possibly tomorrow will be better and we just might get to shoot.

The next day did bring us some shooting. Andy shot 3 times, I shot 4 shots. On the lake we were on I fired the first shot of the day at 6:50 and Andy shot the last shot of the day at 7:20. We each bagged one duck. On the bright side we did get to shoot and that was 2 more ducks than we shot last year on opening weekend. We went away the second day with smiles.

Regarding the article in the paper, I should have known better. An article giving hope to hunters 2 weeks prior to the season starting should have been given more thought. Was it being truthful or more a ruse to get us ever so eager hunting people to buy licenses? I think the latter might be more likely.

On the bright side, spending that much quality time with my son is much more satisfying than shooting a duck. Duck hunting sucks but life is great.