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July 31, 2008

Just not the same

Will the day ever come when people say enough is enough and stop paying attention to sports? Will there ever be loyalty to a team or fan base ever again? Will a family ever be able to go to a sporting event that costs (4 tickets, hot dog, coke, cotton candy and parking) less than a weeks a pay?

Brett Favre and Manny Ramierz are the latest individuals to further erode the opinion that loyalty to teams, fans and the game matter. When I was a youth 90% of the players on the local teams (Vikings, Twins, North Stars) were on the team from when I was 6 until I was 16. There were no such things as free agents in those days. Players and fans gave their hearts and souls to each other. Now itís pretty much just individuals playing for them and the fan is pretty much just as it says in the dictionary, a spectator.

I am not that naive to say the problem is just the players. The owners have certainly shown there greed is insatiable as well. Owners hold cities hostage in order to get nice new stadiums. Some owners in order to satisfy their ego pay asinine salaries to individuals to win championships. The owners have certainly played a major role in destroying the integrity of sports being abut team spirit and loyalty.

Itís too bad that things cannot be as there once were. That can be said pretty much about everything these days. So I guess I should accept that sports have deteriorated. I just wish I didnít have too.

July 27, 2008

The day the music died

For those who are old you will remember those lyrics. You young whipper snappers oh well the title just doesn't mean as much.

Well the music might not have died but my Ipod did. While running on Thursday there was this sharp crackle sound in my ear piece. That was followed by a couple of soft static crackles. I reached back to make sure the Ipod wasnít on fire. It wasn't but the little thing was caput.

My thoughts on the culprit for taking it out were water dripping down from hat. You see due to the heat when I come upon a sprinkler I soak my hat and put it on my head and the water cools me down. I think some water might have got to the Ipod which I clip to the neck band of my shirt. I have the Ipod that is no bigger than a postage stamp. This Ipod had survived being put through the wash twice before so I thought maybe it might come back. I waited a day and plugged into the computer hoping for the best. Unfortunately itís the worst, silent. The music has died.

Overall this week of training went every well. My runs were comfortable and well within a pace that I feel is consistent with my past history. I hope to pick up the pace just a bit and with 9 weeks to go I think that is completely possible. I am very happy with my condition at this time.

I had running partners for a few of my runs this week. I did a 4 miler with the manager of the local ďRunning Room StoreĒ on Wednesday. They have group runs every Wednesday but I was the only one to show this week. On Saturday I pushed my #2 grandson for 4 miles. Both runs were quite enjoyable.

Today my LSD was exactly that. It was Long, Slow and a considerable Distance. I completed my scheduled goal of 18 miles. The first 14 I will say went as well as I had hoped for. The last four was pretty much an exercise in survival. In fact the last 3 was a run/walk program to enable me to get to the 18. When it was all done my tank was pretty much on fumes.

If you want sunshine and warm temperatures for an event give me a call. I will come and do my LSD in your area. The last couple of my LSDís started out cloudy only to quite quickly clear and heat up. I have noticed though that I am getting more used to the temps and humidity.

Next week I will be stepping back just a bit. My weekday runs will be pretty much. The LSD at the end of the week will decrease. Looking at running between 13 to 14 next weekend. That should give this old body a bit of recovery time and be better prepared for a 20 miler the next week.

As far as the Ipod goes, my birthday is coming up in a week. You can bet it is known the family is aware the music has died. I am pretty sure the music will be back before too long.

Till next week do you best to give runners a brake when you see them.

July 20, 2008

First and Ten

The first long, slow, distance run (LSD) leading up to my next marathon is completed. I have 10 weeks of training to go.

This morning I was awake before the alarm woke me. Wish I could say it was because I was so excited to get up and go on a training run. It was due to a robin who chose to nest on the support beam under our deck and the cool evening. The cool evening allowed us to shut the A/C off and open the windows. Our bedroom is not too far from our deck. Mother robin must be that early bird who gets the worm because they were a chirpin this morning. Donít worry I didnít evict them but I did think about it. Since I was up I figured I might as will stay up and go for a run.

I am not a camel so I always have to have a plan on how and where I am going to put my Gatorade so I can hydrate periodically during my LSD runs. I have placed bags in ditches, left coolers in ditches, placed Gatorade in mailboxes and have left Gatorade in the back of my pick up. I figure where the best locations might be and than plan my route. There is a web site called mapmyrun.com that works well for this. For todayís run I had the luxury of using my mailbox. My daughterís mailbox and my sonís mailbox. With the help of mapmyrun.com I was able to plan out 3.5 mile loops that took me to the mailboxes. At about every 3.5 miles I was able to get a drink and carry on.

The LSD run went extremely well. I cruised pretty much through the entire 16.2 miles I ran today. My pace was a good pace for my level, that being weight and age. I managed a 10:05 pace over the entire 16 miles. All miles except one that did not include a stop for a drink was at least 10 seconds better than a 10:00 pace. My best mile was mile 15 to 16. Today was a big confidence boost.

I did make a change this week to try and help pick me up a little bit. My pace seemed to have slowed in my shorter runs despite the feeling that I was moving at a good pace. So I decided to change things up by using my Ipod again. I had stopped using the Ipod because at Grandmas Marathon you are not allowed to run with Ipods. I had stopped wearing my Ipod 2 weeks prior to the marathon. I found my runs without the Ipod were enjoyable and kind of spiritual so I continued running without the Ipod as I began my training for my second marathon. As I said my run pace seemed to have slowed and I thought a change would help. My last three runs have all shown improvement in my pace. Change is good.

Moving forward into next week I will increase my short runs just a bit and add a longer midweek run in there somewhere. I will end the week with another LSD of somewhere around 18 miles. Following next week a little step back week that will see the LSD go down to about 14. That will be followed by week that should end with a 20+ mile LSD. Itís just getting good at this point.

Thanks again for checking up on me. Feel free to join me next time youíre in the Twin Cities area.

July 14, 2008

What was I thinking?

It all stated I think sometime in back in February of this year. I was scanning the recent edition of Runners World. I came across an article about the 10 best new marathons. One in particular caught my attention. It was called the Hamptons which is run out on Long Island in New York.

In looking at the marathon I was thinking hey I have relatives on Long Island. I was thinking hey they only allow 1500 runners thatís a nice small number. I was thinking hey itís on a Saturday so I can be back to work on Monday after resting on Sunday. I was thinking hey I know someone who might want to run it with me. I was thinking hey what the heck why not. I think too much.

Obviously I wasnít thinking about Minnesota summers. By February we have pretty much forgotten about warm temps of yesteryear. We are just looking forward to a couple of days in a row with wind chills above 0. When I go out to run in February I have about 5 layers of clothes on for Peteís sake. Oh what have I got myself into?

One thing you need to know if itís above 72 degrees I want to crank up the air conditioning. Pretty much now itís just about 72 degrees when I get up. Ugh! Right now itís midnight and itís 68 degrees. Thatís about 18 degrees above good sleeping weather. I still have two weeks of July and 4 weeks of August to go yet. I should buy some stock in Coppertone.

Despite the heat I managed to get in 25 miles this week. Next week should get a bit closer to 30 I think. After that I will get up past 35 and try for 40 in mid August. O I think I am going to dreaming for a white Labor Day.

Till next week please send cool air my way.


July 06, 2008

Another one bites the dust

Starting tomorrow I am back in marathon training mode. Hamptons Marathon is the next event on the docket. I will be running that on September 27th for those of you that have not read my past entries. Time to get it on.

Event Report

My third running of the Duluth Duathlon is now in my past. It wasnít my best and it wasnít my slowest either. Although it was closer to the slowest. I managed to beat my 2006 results by 4 seconds. I finished 5 minutes slower than last year. The key is that I finished smiling and stayed upright.

I thought for sure Saturday night there was going to be some relief from the humidity and heat. Sure felt like a storm was going to come through and cool things down. I was wrong. At the start of the race the temp was in the mid seventies. I suspect that the humidity was in the low 80ís. All things combined it was hot and sticky. It was far from optimum weather conditions.

The event has a two wave start. The elite competitors start 20 minutes after what I will call the recreational runners/bikers. This is to allow all the slower folks like me to get past the first turn before the elites are coming back from going around the square course and creating bikers on both sides of the roads. I guess the first year it created traffic problems.

The first wave gets into the start area which is about 20 yards wide. The gun starts and this 20 yard wide and about 20 yards deep group of runners head for the 5 yard trail opening that is the beginning of the 3.3 mile run. Have you ever tried to pour a gallon of water into a small funnel? Get the picture. Makes for some up close and personal running. Fortunately no one crashed and got trampled. We were off and running.

For the first mile and a half the trail is hilly and a number of the hills are steep up and down. Not terribly long but a bit more than short. I knew this ahead of time and did my best to pace myself knowing that the last mile and a half was much more gentle. I could definitely feel the heat and knew that my thoughts of really pushing this first run would not bode well for getting going on the bike. The beginning of the bike ride is very tough. I basically ran at a pace that I felt was comfortable and felt pretty good. It was a good feeling to come out of the trail and into the clearing just prior to the bike transition area.

I had everything set up at my bike. I had my fanny pack with my Gatorade inside to put on and than the helmet. I had a Gatorade bottle to drink as I walked out of the transition area. It was off to tackle the start of the bike portion.

The bike route goes from excruciating to gosh this is a nice ride just about 45 minutes into it. The first 3.6 miles is basically uphill. The elevation at the starts is 710 ft and ti goes up to 1,160 ft. That is followed by a nice downhill for the most part to about 5 miles. Than itís what I call monster hill. The climb for the next mile is up to 1340 ft From there itís more gentle rolling and not much change in elevation. Finally at mile 13 the captain comes on the speaker and says we have begun our descent. The course drops form the 1340 ft to the start over the last 7 miles. If you split the ride into two 10 milers I beat my first 10 miles by 24 minutes in the second 10. I did not exceed 15 mph until mile 10. I did not drop below 15 mph on any mile after mile 9. Going down towards the end I was cruising at a pretty good clip, hit 30+ in some spots. Despite the heat I felt pretty good about the ride.
The toughest part of this whole event was left. That second 3.3 mile trail run lied there waiting to swallow me up. Prior to getting started I drank another bottle of Gatorade and trotted out of the transition area. The run starts out with a nice steep uphill. I managed to get about half way up prior to slowing down to a walk. A woman participant that traded places with me during the bike event went back ahead of me. My thought was okay thereís my rabbit I need to keep her in my sights. For the next two miles she pretty much stayed ahead of me. I would get glimpses of her when I rounded a bend and than she would disappear around the next bend. Just after two miles I noticed I was gaining and finally I think the heat took its toll on her. I was able to go by. Once again that first mile and half was tough and I kept plugging away knowing that it would get easier once I got half way. So chasing the rabbit and knowing things would get easier kept me focused on running the best I could. Just prior to getting to the clearing where the finish is you can hear the announcer on the loud speaker. That gets the adrenaline going just enough to finish strong.

It was a tough event that I am quite pleased with my finish. AS I have said before when I run an event I might not get my best time but it will be the best that I could do that day. Today was exactly that.

The review of the results show that my runs were 2 & 3 minutes slower than I did in 2007 but my bike ride I improved upon by just over a minute. Itís kind of funny I thought my runs went better and my bike ride was slower while I was doing the event. Canít wait until next year.

Till next week, Happy Trails