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January 30, 2008

Tough to say good bye

A friend of mine is going to go away in a short period of time. That is what the doctors told him and his family just other day. He has battled cancer for about 4 years now.

As was expected the battle will soon be over. Although I am not happy about that, I will be glad that his ordeal will be done. Of course there is sadness however there is also going to be relief. My dear friend will soon go on to live in eternity.

In looking ahead I know I will have a new running partner. You see when I run, I often run with people who have given me so many good memories. I look to those who have gone before me for inspiration. I have no doubt that this friend will give me inspiration. I look forward to having him on my shoulder as I run.

My hope at this point is that the good Lord comforts him and his family. He is a good man who loved life to its fullest. He is a proud man who gave everything he had to have a happy family. Dan is a good friend and I will miss him.

January 28, 2008

Good Day For A Run

Good Day For A Run


Today was the Frozen Half Marathon in St. Paul, MN. It was a bit warm (20 degrees) but I managed to sweat it out to the end. Deb came along for this one. That of course makes it a bit more special. Always fun to have that hug at the end of the race.

We arrived about 45 minutes prior to gun time. I did not pre-register for this event. Mistake 1 of 2 that I will mention. Line was a bit long and it was chaotic. Took about 20 minutes. Now only 25 minutes to gun time.

Next I needed to get a few things ready prior to the run. Those were my camel bak and my I-pod. Went outside to do that because it was too hot inside. I stood inside a bus kiosk. Had taken off fleece pullover and was getting things ready. A guy was walking by and said here Iíll push this button for you. Heat lamps came on. We are getting to wimpy in MN when we have to put heat lamps in bus kiosks. What Next! I finished getting ready. Now down to 15 minutes to gun time. Oh geez the line to the porta doodads is long. I got in line and stretched as I inched closer to the little hut. Finally I was on my way to the start line 2 minutes prior to gun time. All is fine I did my stretching while waitng and I was good to go.

Gun goes off and after a 2 minute shuffle I was on the way. Oh, no music. I forgot to hit the I-pod ply button. Still no music what the heck? Oh I forgot to move the switch to the on position. Still no music and irritation setting in. Dang I forgot to put the earphones in. These senior moments are a pain. I fish the earphones out from under my pullover and get them into positions and low and behold queen sounds good. I did all that while I was running and still managed a sub 10 minute mile.

My plan was to run two miles and than break for a drink and get back at it. I wanted to be at a 10 minute pace for 8 miles including the breaks and from that point I would run comfortably without trying to push at all. I had 40 oz of Gatorade, two granola bars and some cliff shot doodads that they handed out in the building that we registered (black cherry chewy things). I drank at mile 2 and than at 4 and every two after that I consumed a black cherry chewy thing, a chunk of granola bar and drank a bit of Gatorade. I was glad I was prepared because there were only two water stops. That I knew about ahead of time.

As I went along I periodically checked to see how I was doing pace wise. Mile 6 I was a bit under a 10 minute pace. Mile 8 had me right at a 10 minute pace. I was really enjoying the run. There were more ups and downs that I had remembered. Mistake #2 did not scout the course prior. I was very pleased with my progress and looked forward to getting to the end.

At mile 10 I could feel that I had not been to this distance in quite sometime. The legs were crying out WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? My response was never mind just get me to the end. From mile 10 I walked after each mile just for a quick little break. My pace was significantly slower but not worry that was what I expected. I was still quite enthusiastic about how things were going. As we turn for the lat .3 miles there is a huge hill to climb (about .1 mile) I had just rested and figured I would run up it. WRONG. Heck it was all I could do to walk up it. I than ran to the dw, a Kodak moment, a high five and to the finish line. Official time 2:22:30.

It was really a fun day on the streets. The temp was not a problem at all. In fact I took off my neck band and lifted the ear flaps off my ears. Not as many spectators as other races but I really only needed my lovely dear wife with her stunning new boots at the end and a complete stranger to make it a bit more fun. This one guy was at four different spots on the course including the finish line. A high five at every spot for me and a congrats at the finish line. Itís amazing how much joy a stranger can make someone feel so good.

Long report but hey it was a great time. Feel free to join me on the next one. Iíll be happy to run with any and all.

January 20, 2008

There was no way getting around it

Sometimes in life one must do some things that just arenít so pleasant. Today I reluctantly did just that. Some here in MN would say I was a wimp. Maybe I was but heck Iím 50 now so I can if I want too. I had to swallow my pride and just do it.

I ran indoors for the first time in many years. Not just a measly 30 minutes or so but for 90 minutes I ran on a treadmill. Actually I refer to at as dreadmill. I gave into the cold temperatures and that ever so popular weather term called wind chill.

For me running on a dreadmill is more boring than watching extreme makeover or a movie such as ďYou got mailĒ. For Peteís sake you donít go anywhere. Itís like being a gerbil on one of those wheel things. Come to think of it Gerbils look a lot like they are bored. Now I understand. You run youíre a$$ off and you are right where you started and nothing changed along the way.

As I was doing this excruciating task I did take a look around once in awhile. There was a guy a number of rows up from me working out on a step machine. At first there was a tiny spot on the back of his cotton grey T-Shirt. I watched it slowly get bigger and bigger until the whole back of his shirt was entirely wet. That took up about 45 minutes or so. I looked over and saw another guy running on a dreadmill at a pace of 9:00 mph. Letís see I was doing close to that. Oh okay maybe not close but 6:00 mph isnít bad for a 50 year old bean counter. But you know what he may have thought he was going faster than me but he never got any further away. One good thing about dreadmills the guy in front never gets too far ahead. Wait there's more. For quite awhile the machines next to me whre not being used. But then a person did get on one of them. So much for a little bit of the some solitude. I thought it was a moose or something by the amount of noise he was making. I refer to those runners as ploppers. That was pretty much about it as far as scenery and stuff. Do you think you could of handle all that excitment? I certainly would rather not try it again for awhile that's for sure..

For the most part I feel good that I got in a nine mile run. I needed to get the miles in and had I tried to run outside I am not sure I could have done 9. So in that regard yes it was something that had to be done. Next week I will be outdoors and I will feel much more like a leopard than a gerbil.

January 18, 2008

Not always routine

I had a non-typical run the other evening. Most of my runs are pretty much routine. For the most part I have set routes that I have developed over the years. Generally I just run along listening to my I-pod and just enjoying the sights. That was not the case on Wednesday.

I started out as normal just trying to get into a nice steady pace. It generally takes me about a ľ mile to get into a good rhythm. That was pretty much the case on Wednesday and than I saw a minivan sitting at the 4-way stop intersection just ahead. My boy scout instincts kicked into gear. The run would continue but doing a good turn had to come first.

When I got close to the van I saw it was a couple of young girls in the car. I told the driver that I would try and push her ahead a bit and then she could turn and go down a small descent in the roadway. She was quite appreciative.

It would have been nice if anyone of the dozen or so drivers around the intersection would have lent a hand but I guess they were 4H rís or jocks maybe. I managed to get them safely out of the way. As I left they shouted out their appreciation and as always my response no problem.

It took awhile to get my back into a good rhythm. I had a hard time getting my breath back but everything did get back to what I would call mediation mode. All was well for about the next 2 miles or so.

Coming up to an intersection I saw a vehicle approaching quickly to make a right turn. I was expecting a rolling right turn so I slowed down. The vehicle stopped a bit further back from the intersection so I figured the driver saw me. I proceeded only to hear the roar of the engine and the car lunge towards me. A quick dodge by me and a quick stop by the driver just in the nick of time kept me from being a hood ornament. It was clear she never looked to the right. After all itís winter in MN there certainly should be anyone out running or walking on the streets. Why bother looking! I glared at the driver and I saw she was just as scared as I was. Could definitely see the whites of her eyes. Disaster was avoided but way to close for me.

The next half mile home after that was peaceful. My thoughts were on feeling good that I helped a person in need and lucky to be running on two good legs. Makes you think that ďno you should never take things for granted.Ē

Why not do it again?

Shortly after midnight on Wednesday I registered to run Grandmas Marathon. Provided I finish this will be my 6th running of that event. I say provided due to the fact that I was unable to run in two of the 7 that I previously registered. A stress fracture and some toe surgery stopped me on those occasions. You will be reading about my training highs and lows in the coming weeks.

Many people say ďI could never run a marathon!Ē. Guess what? Many people are wrong.

Running a marathon is not all that difficult if you have the time to train for it. The training programs that I have found are from 16 to 18 weeks long. Most programs have a person run 5 times a week and a few will have 4 runs a week. On the other days it is recommended that you do some type of cross training such as biking, swimming or aerobics. I kind of like look at the actual marathon being similar to Thanksgiving. The cook spends hours preparing a very good meal and it only takes minutes to eat it. To run a marathon a runner takes weeks to prepare for it and in a morning its over (for some a couple of hours).

I am looking forward to this years run just as much as my first and everyone after that. Sure I will be exhausted maybe even a bit sore from running a marathon but the thrill of it all trumps all. Itís going to be fun.

January 13, 2008

Me hibernate? No way

Running in the winter has its little challenges. Of course you have the tempature factor. Then you have the road surface to deal with it. In addition to that itís dark so early in the day.

The temperature factor is something that one can easily overcome. As long as I dress in layers there isnít a problem. I basically add a layer of clothing for about every 10 degrees it gets below freezing. I figure I can get down to 10 below 0 and still be able to run. I have quite a variety of clothing to choose from that will meet the needs to run comfortably.

Up until yesterday I have never had a problem with the temps and the wind chills that can accompany the temps. Basically I screwed up and didnít wear a wind break layer. Fleece does not stop wind from getting through to the under layers. Lessons in life never stop.

Dealing with the surface conditions is by far the trickiest part of running in the winter. You never know whatís around the corner sort of speak. Some streets get plowed very nicely while others donít seem to get plowed very well at all. I need to occasionally go out and do a little inspecting before I run. I need to concentrate on my stride a lot more during my winter runs.

The other factor is the darkness which gets better over time. The worst is from December to January. After that there is generally enough daylight to get the runs done by dusk or right after sunrise. I counter this by making sure I wear a highly visible outer layer so people can see me.

Winter running is an enjoyable time. Thereís a little more solitude than spring, fall or especially summer. Not so many people out there running. The best thing is that there is no goose sh!t to have to run around on the trails.

Please feel free to come an join me sometime.

January 04, 2008

Mistaken Indentity

I recall in my youth we all tried to look and act as young adults to try and get into bars or get into R rated movies. Some even went to the extreme to change IDís. That I did not do but I did try to pass for an 18 year old in Wisconsin a few times. Sorry Mom a few transgressions but Iím still the angel you always knew.

Now as I approach the senior years myself and others my age try to look younger than we are. Amazing how life catches up to us isnít it? I would have jumped at a chance for someone to give me a card that would have allowed me to get into movies or bars. Now I avoid that card with those dreaded letters AARP on it. Times are changing thatís for sure.

The other day a waitress at IHOP asked me if I wanted to order off the senior menu. I was shocked and due to that shock I had no smart comeback. All I could muster was a polite no thank you. I believe my wife and kids had a bit of a smirk on their faces. I really donít blame her. I am a bit gray around the ages and the grandkids were with. So it was an easy mistake being that I am under the average of most Grandpas. I am giving her the benefit of the doubt that had it not been for the grandkids she wouldnít have even asked.

The day will come and probably sooner than I want that I will if not asked order off the senior menu. I hope when that happened the server will ask for ID.

IF you want to comment on this, remember this buckos, ďrespect your eldersĒ