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April 27, 2008

Week 10: Looking for Mr. Goodbar

In my case Mr. Goodbar is Spring. It seems Mother Nature is confused as to whether winter is over or not. We have had two snow events, the term used by our weather people now, this month. From what I recall in the month of April I believe the number of average spring days can be counted on one hand.

This week was a planned step back week. However the step back was a bit more than planned. Due to freezing rain, sleet and blizzard conditions my running was limited to three days. That pretty much added up to only 21.4 miles. Thatís about 15 miles less than I would like to have done. Big step back that is for sure.

On the positive side I believe my natural pace has picked up from prior years. I have been able to maintain a pace in the 9:40ís for my medium distance runs now. When I ran my LSD the week before, I had a good number of the mile splits that were under 10:00 minutes. The two eight mile + runs that I completed this week averaged 9:41 and 9:45. Today my last mile of the nine mile run was at a pace of 9:09. I feel quite comfortable with the pace too.

I am pretty sure despite the lack of miles this week I will be just fine. However my down weeks cannot continue. I am pretty much going to have to be at my planned mileage or even above slightly from here on it. I cannot afford any more weather days. I guess Iíll have to be like the postman and run no matter sleet, snow ice or whatever. Also, if the weather doesnít turn around I might just go postal if you know what I mean. Iíll keep at it I can guarantee you that.

Side Note: I did make two snowmen this weekend.

Have a great week.

April 24, 2008

Nothing but grand

Thought maybe I should post another grandpa update. I continue to think being a grandpa is just wonderful. In fact being a grandpa is the next best thing to being a dad.

Iíll start with my wonderful granddaughter this time who I am afraid is heading down the path of her grandpa. That path is to test her parents, grandparents and others to the breaking point. Than just before the break you will see that little devilish smile and the mischievousness stops. Yes I think Mira has inherited the mischief gene from her grandpa Tim just as he inherited it from his grandpa Niehaus. I promise Iíll try to encourage it too much. Sure is going to be fun I can tell you that.

Grandson number two I think might be the strongest willed of the grandkids at this point. Despite his size he will stand up to either one of his cousins. He will even instigate a confrontation now and then. Should some other daycare kid or cousin take something of his you can bet he will try to get it back. Just like a badger would defend its turf. I think he will do just fine even if he ends up being on the small size.

Grandson number one is growing up way to fast. It wasnít so long ago that his eyes were well below the kitchen counter. As he moves up I canít help but dream of all the things that will be coming. There will be the sports stuff and something that I really look forward to the outdoor stuff. He has already shown the ability to spot wildlife quickly and with great excitement. Another thing that excites me is that he explains to his grandma as he runs around the yard that he is just like grandpa. It will be awhile but the day he and I might run a marathon together is getting closer.

Stay tuned because number 4 is on the way. It doesnít matter whether it will be a boy or a girl. It will be grand.

Nothing but smiles on this Gípaís face.

April 20, 2008

Week 9: Nice Recovery

I was a bit concerned that last weeks mileage was too low even for a recvovery week. My biggest worry was what effects the lack of getting runs in would do to my LSD (long slow distance) this week. I was pleasantly surprised and all my anxiety was for not.

Todayís LSD was far and beyond better than any LSD I have run before. That includes all the LSD's while training for the five marathons that I have completed. At no time during the 20.2 miles that I ran today did I feel an urge to abandon the run. It doesnít get any better than it did today.

A lot of things helped me have such a great day. The weather was cool and very little wind. The course was relatively flat. I ran with a person that I know from a chat room that I regularly participate. And I think the time off last week gave my body the chance to recover from all the little aches and pains that I had experienced. All of those things added up to a very comfortable run today.

I think I could have run a full marathon today. The first 10 I completed in 1:46 and the last 10 1:42. I ran a 9:42 for my 18th mile. Than 19 & 20 were just over 10:00 minutes and both of those included drink breaks. I feel very good that I will be more than ready when the gun goes off for this yearís Grandmas Marathon. No doubt todayís run boosted my confidence level.

I went of over the 40 mile marker this week. My total mileage this week 43.4.

Halfway through the training at this point. Next week I throttle back just a bit. Than I ratchet it back up the following week. Many miles to go and I am looking forward to it.

Keep smiling and please be sure to look to the right prior to making a right turn. You never know when a runner might just pop up in front of you.

April 13, 2008

Week 8: The week that wasn't

There wasnít much running this week. After the issues I had during my 25K I decided to take it easy this week. Wanting to take it easy and coupled with some bad weather Thursday into Friday limited me to two short runs this week.

My thought for the week was to run a short run on Tuesday followed by a bike ride and do the same on Thursday. Tuesday worked out fine. I ran 4.2 miles with no trouble and then biked 12. Thursday however was a whole different story There was no run and no bike ride.

It seems like every winter Mother Nature has to throw in that last snowstorm just to irritate many of us. This year she decide to procrastinate and wait until darn near the middle of April. It was darn near a blizzard here in the twin cities and it was a blizzard to the north. Living in Minnesota for the most part is wonderful although it can be frustrating which was the case this past week.

The week did end on a great note. Awhile ago the wife of my good friend who passed away in February informed us that there was a 5K event that was a charity deal for colon cancer. Today was the day for that event. With the help of her daughters quite a crew of people got together to run with Dan in our thoughts. The name of our team was Danís Camo Crew. They had camo T-Shirts for us to wear. It was an emotional and wonderful event. I ran with great pride knowing big ol Dan was pushing me to the finish. Ran better than 9:00 mile splits. Great run.

My legs felt light and fresh today. I believe taking it easy will be quite beneficial in the weeks to came. I really felt like I was just floating along while I ran hard today.

So onto week 9. This week I will up my mileage. The plan is to get somewhere between 36 to 40 miles. Sundayís run should be in the 20 mile ballpark.

Thanks for checking in. Till next week, enjoy each and every day.

April 05, 2008

Week 7: Ended on a High.

Week 7 ended up with a total of 33.1 miles.

Quite happy with the runs but I need to step back a bit next week. This old body is feeling the effects of hard training over time.

The plan for the week is to do a bit more biking than running. Iíll get a few short runs in somewhere. The longest run will be no more than 8 along with a 6 and 4. On the bike side I hope to get in about 60 miles. Hopefully that will give my tired old legs a chance to recover.

Below is my race report from my event today. 25K (15.5 miles)

It wasnít pretty but I finished. I wasnít last however I was in the final 5.

First before my report I really need to thank all of you out there that compliment me and support my efforts in running. Sure you may think I am crazy but Iíll tell you your words are quite supportive. Thanks

The first six miles of my event went as smooth as could be. Everything was right on with how I wanted to be. My pace was just a bit over 10 minutes per mile. Nice and steady. I was quite relaxed through 6 miles.

Just a bit after six I was disabled by a cramp in the back calf muscle (gastrocnemius). It was a nasty cramp. I pulled up quickly. Pulled my foot towards me to get it to release. Tried to lightly stretch and work it out. Walked a bit to see if that would help. Sat down and pulled my foot towards me. That seemed to help a little bit. Walked a bit more or I should say limped a bit more. Than I took the shin wrap that I had on my left leg and moved to my right. Hoping that maybe if I warmed up the muscle a bit I could at least hobble through the loop at get to 10 miles which would put me back at the start point. That seemed to help so I walked/ran to see what I could do.

I called my wife and told here it didnít look good for me finishing the event. I kind of needed someone to share in my misery. She was very sympathetic and made sure that I would be able to walk the 3 miles to get back to my truck. I shut my Garmin timer off and started walking. I ran a few spurts here and there. I had pretty much decided I was going to have my first dnf.

While I was walking a few feet and running a few more I caught up with another runner, his name was Joe. We talked while we walked together than ran together a bit. Told him what I had going on and he said itís a tough course and not surprised that a person would cramp up. We stayed together for a few more minutes and he needed to walk again so he told me to go on. As I moved on I restarted my Garmin.

After leaving Joe thoughts of my fellow RCC members (runners I chat with online) started coming into my head. Along with that thoughts of everyone who encourages me in my efforts to run also came to mind. Knowing that this event was limited to so few runners was another thing that was on mind. Doggone it I just had to find a way to finish it.

When I hit the 9 mile mark I was pretty confident that I felt I could get it done. I could still the knot in my leg but the discomfort was a bit better than it was at mile 7 or 8. I made it to 10 and the start finish line. At that time I decided that I need to do this and kept on going. As runners were coming to the finish line and I was heading out for the last five mile loop I wasnít discouraged at all. I welcomed the compliments by the runners coming in that were telling me keep going you will make it. And I did just that.

The course was brutal thatís for sure. Heck it has a hill named Pukes Peak. I donít think there was ever a stretch of the course that was flat for more than 10 yards. According to my Garmin in one mile the total ascent was 435 ft and the descent was 397ft. I assume that was Pukes Peak. Looking at the graph for elevation from my Garmin results it looks like the printout of an electro cardiogram.

Without a doubt finishing this race was just about as exhilarating as finishing anyone of my marathons. When I went past the 14 mile mark I knew I was going to get it done. A bit of emotion did well up in the eyes. I rounded a corner just after that and I saw another runner ahead of me and I used him for the rabbit. Rather than a greyhound chasing the rabbit it was probably closer to a St. Bernard chasing a rabbit. I did manage to catch him about a ľ mile before the finish. He didnít have much interest in talking so I just pushed ahead. I finished at 2:53 and change.

The distance that I was traveled without the use of my Garmin was bout ĺ of a mile. Enough of a distance to contemplate lifeís up and downs. Enough of a distance to gather thoughts together and make a decision on quitting or going on. A distance traveled that I will remember for a long time.

Take care my friends.
Tim