Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Mile and Other Stuff

Last week I tried to break one of the goals I set for the year by breaking 4:50 for the mile. I failed--miserably.

There was a summer league track meet up at St. Louis Park High School, so I thought I might have a chance to run a fast mile on the track. You know, get behind some speedy runners, let them pull me around 800m in around 2:21, and cruise to a 4:48 or something like that. It. Didn't. Happen.

When I showed up to the track meet, I noticed a general lack of distance/middle distance-type athletes. There were about 138 people running in the 29 heats of the 100m dash, but as far as the mile went, it looked like I was on my own.

The meet was running pretty late (around a 1/2 hour) and it was also hot and humid. These factors also did not contribute to ideal conditions for a fast mile. By the time I got to the start I was already somewhat doubtful of my ability to run this thing very well, and apparently it was for good reason. I passed what I assume to by a 10-year-old girl in the first 20m, and from then on I was running solo.

Short story even shorter, I ran the first lap right about where I wanted to (~70s) and was all over the place (slower than I wanted to by various degrees) the next three. I did win the race by over a minute, but with the second place time being around 6 minutes flat, it was nothing to get too excited about and not very close to breaking 4:50.

I might try again to hit this mile goal time--maybe in July.

In other news, Last week I got to hang out with Michelle from The Runner's Plate. She just crushed her marathon PR and is headed to the Boston Marathon in the spring.

Laura's on the shelf right now with a knee injury. She's doing some physical therapy and she should be back in time to run the Twin Cities Marathon in October. She was signed up to run a race on the 4th of July. I won't say which one since I'm going to be running with her Bib number.

I just finished my first official month of marathon training for the Whistlestop Marathon. It was a pretty good month considering I fit a triathlon in there, started grad school, and got a little part-time job for the summer. I ran 290 miles in June, capping it off with an 80 mile week.

Last weekend I had to run from an angry dog off a gravel road outside Lake Bemidji State Park. Besides that adrenaline rush and running at my 800 pace for close to a minute, Lake Bemidji was lovely and offered some nice scenery for running and spending time with my lovely wife.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Rochesterfest Triathlon: Race Report

getting my game face on before the race
I accomplished my most important goal in this race--I didn't drown. Without achieving that goal, the rest would have been impossible.

giving Laura final instructions for what to do in the event that I drowned
 It was a nice day for my first triathlon: sunny and warm, but not too hot. The water was cool, but not cold. After a nice warmup, I headed down to the water to wait my turn for the swim. All the long course athletes were going first, so I got to stand on the beach and wait to face the dangers of Foster Arend Lake. There were some noodles and lifeguards on kayaks to save us if we needed a rest, but I said, "death before facing the humiliation of taking a rest on a quarter-mile swim."

Laura was watching me from the safety of a lawn chair. She was going to do this race to, but a knee injury has knocked her out of commission for the time being. When it was our turn to swim, I hung towards the back of the group, knowing I was going to be in the "trying not to sink to the bottom of the lake and have my carcass feasted upon by the stocked rainbow trout" division.

My swim was hard. I was next to this same guy the whole time, in between him and the buoys. It was nice because when I started swimming off course I would either run into him or the buoys. I'm proud to say I made it the whole way without taking a rest and exited the water safely (albeit slowly).

Then it was time for the bike. I'd biked about as much as I'd swam (hardly at all) and so I didn't have too high of aspirations for my bike time. I'd told Laura I was hoping for about 40 minutes. I felt like I was going at a pretty good clip, and though I got passed a fair amount (especially at the end), I also managed to pass a couple riders myself, and managed to finish the 10 mile bike in less than 35 minutes.

After the bike the fun began. I think I was a little woozy because on my way out of the transition area, Laura yelled at me that my helmet was still on. Oops. Good thing she was there, otherwise I may have ended up being the first and only runner in the 5k helmet division. After I threw my helmet in Laura's general direction, I headed out on the 5k course. At first my legs felt really goofy from biking and I was afraid I was going to run much slower than I was planning. My legs, however, loosened up and I was able to run at a pretty good clip. I think I passed about 70 runners over the 5k, and didn't get passed at all, so that made me feel kind of good.

My final time was 1:04:13. I was 32nd out of 238 athletes and 3 out of 8 in my age group. My swim time wasn't quite as bad as I thought, or, it was a slow group of swimmers in general. My 8:38 placed me 92nd. My bike time, 34:45, which I actually thought wasn't too bad, ranked me at a whopping 109. It was only my run time that made my first triathlon fairly respectable. My time of 17:26 was the fastest time, unless the girl who's listed as having run a 5k in 58 seconds actually did run that fast.

Laura was awesome for coming out, cheering, taking pictures, and stopping me from wearing a helmet while running a 5k.

Tomorrow I'm running a track meet in St. Louis Park. I'm going to try and hit my yearly goal of breaking 4:50 in the mile. Then I might run the 800m just for the heck of it. My legs actually felt decent this morning, so I think I might actually have a chance of hitting my goal.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Tri-ing it out

I'm racing my first triathlon tomorrow, the Rochesterfest Triathlon--it should be interesting. I was pretty committed to swimming earlier this year and worked myself up to a mile, but since then I've swam probably less than once-a-week. Biking hasn't been a heck-of-a-lot better. I've got one thing going though. I have been running quite a bit.

As I said earlier, I started my marathon training, and the running has been going pretty well. Last week was my last few days of teaching for the school year, and next week it's time to start summer. I got a few things going on in addition to running--I'm starting some graduate classes, leading a marathon clinic at the Eagan Running Room, and trying to find some sort of part-time job that fits in with my strange class schedule.

But before I dive into all that, tomorrow I get my feet wet in my first triathlon. I don't really know what to expect as far as the race goes. At least I know I can cover the distance in the water and on the bike. It'll be interesting to see how fast I can run a 5k after avoiding drowning and trying not to humiliate myself too much on the bike.

After the triathlon, I'll be completely focused on running. I'm hoping to be able to put in some serious mileage this summer--we'll see how that goes. In the meantime, I'll keep looking for some part-time work. Unfortunately, this blog doesn't seem to be bringing in any lucrative sponsorships or product review opportunities.

So, if anyone wants to throw some lucrative, preferably easy and entertaining money-making opportunities at me, that'd be great. In the meantime, send anyone anywhere near Eagan to sign up for the Marathon Clinic next week.

Happy running!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Med City Marathon Pace Report

The forecast was calling for hot weather and it was hot. The day started out pretty decent--it was overcast and breezy. I was actually a little chilly in my pacer singlet while I stood around before the race chatting with other pacers. Laura was also there to run the 1/2 marathon and she got to run with our pals Adam and Nate. As we stood around and talked I wished it could stay in the low 60s, cloudy, and windy the whole time.

But alas, it was not to be. The clouds left and the temperatures rose. Thankfully the wind kept blowing and that was pretty much the only respite. For the first 10ish miles I was running with a pretty good pace group. Around that time it started to get really warm. By mile 17 I'd say it was low to mid 80s and it was getting really miserable. At that point I lost the last person in my pace group--a nice lady who'd completed several ironmans and was racing her first marathon in 10 years (not counting the ironmans). From then on I had one guy who would occasionally catch up to me and then lose me at the water stops.

The Med City Marathon was a nice little race. With the heat they had added extra water stops and people were also passing out ice. It was nice to have water and Gatorade handy every mile or so. If nothing else I could at least dump water on my head to cool off for a moment.

I finished the race all by my lonesome--my pace group totally disappeared after mile 17. My final time was 3:24:48--pretty good for the 3:25 pace leader.

This past week I wrote my training plan for the Whistlestop Marathon. It's a pretty ambitious plan, so we'll see if I can actually make the time to put in the kind of miles I'm planning--and if my body can handle a volume and quality I've never reached before. Only 20 weeks to go!