Thursday, June 25, 2015

Race Report: Wood Duck Days 5k

There's nothing more Minnesotan than a weekend at the "cabin." As a Minnesota transplant, I've learned that a "cabin" simply refers to any structure on or near a body of water in which a person can sleep. A cabin could be anything from an A-frame log cabin, to a 14 bedroom, 8 bathroom structure equipped with an indoor swimming pool and furnished with Armani-leather, jewel-encrusted sofas and recliners.

The cabin in which we resided over the weekend fell somewhere in between the A-frame and luxury residence. The stately structure overlooked Lake Shetek. Laura and I made the roughly 2.5 hour car ride with DJ, the husband of Laura's co-worker, Gayle. It's become an annual Children's Country Day tradition to spend a couple nights there to boat, play games, fish, and relax. We've also managed to squeeze in some running.

Upon arrival to the "cabin," we sat down at the kitchen table to talk about the weekend's plans. When I found out there was going to be a 5k at the Fulda "Wood Duck Days," I suggested that the "boys" go drive over to Fulda the next morning to compete in the 5k and the 1k "fun" run for kids.

Although I was enthusiastic, I knew that not everyone was as excited about getting up early and running as I was. The beer I poured on top of a Casey's General Store Charbroil Deluxe and Hostess cupcake didn't sit well, and after a night of tossing a turning, I wasn't sure I wanted to make the trip to Fulda to run a 5k.

A couple hours after sunrise (which happens around 5 AM this time of year), I was pleasantly surprised to see DJ, Seth (another Country Day employee), and their sons, Alec and Magnus, ready to go to Wood Duck Days to bring home some hardware.

The Wood Duck Day races were exactly the kind I like. Its events included a 5k run, 5k walk, and the grand finale--a children's 1k fun run.

Seth, Alec, and I competed in the 5k, and each of us brought home some sweet hardware. Seth won second in his age group, Alec finished his first 5k (and puked at least three times over the last hundred yards), and Magnus finished the 1k. Besides ribbons, we also brought home a Wood Duck Days 1st place trophy (won by me), shirts, and a $10 Scheels gift card.

The next morning, Seth, DJ, Alec, and I also completed a running-specific core workout.

Besides all the running-related activities, we also caught a couple catfish. Seth and I divided the spoils of two of channel cats, and one was released back into Lake Shetek.

Up next is the Afton 50k on July 4th. I injured my right foot twice at the cabin--once by stubbing/cutting my toe on an angle-iron, and once by using my barefoot to find the stump of a small tree.

Luckily, the cuts aren't serious, and keeping them cleaned and bandaged should have my feet ready for the 50k. Until then, I'll be doing a little more biking, hiking, and core work and a little less running.

Happy Running!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Med City 5k: Race Report

First the good news: I finished third overall, and first in my age group. When I returned to running back in 2009, I would have been happy with my time of 17:34, and thrilled to have finished in the top three.

This year, however, I was less than thrilled. After running a personal best in the road mile, I still had my sights set on a fast time at the Med City 5k.

Unfortunately, I did not run a smart race. My secret goal of breaking the course record and running under 16:15 had me pretty hyped up. Before the start of the race, I talked to several runners, and none of them was planning on running faster than 17 minutes.

The tallest of these supposedly seventeen minute 5k runners, a tall, college-aged looking runner with a white singlet, looked suitable for drafting behind, so I decided I'd run behind him.

When the air horn blew to start the race, I quickly moved behind the tall, white-singlet guy. In a matter of seconds, I misjudged his speed, and clipped his back foot. "Sorry," I said, though I wasn't really sorry. If you're going to run in the front, you'd better be running fast right away.

That clip made me think there was no reason to run behind him, so I took off. The first mile was down hill, and as I ran by the mile marker I looked down at my watch... 4:55, 4:56, 4:57. Uh oh. The white singlet dude soon came up behind me. "Run with me for a while," I said. "You can draft, but not too long."

At mile 1.5, the taste of copper came into the back of my throat--a possible sign of acidosis (read the article about metallic tastes from Outside Online). With half the race left, a chance at 16:15 was over for me.

By the time I reached the final straightaway to the finish, two runners had already passed me; my legs where heavy and my lungs on fire. I walked the last five feet to the finish line, secure in third and angry at myself for running such an unintelligent race. My father-in-law and mother-in-law had come out to watch me. "Nice job," said Jeff. "Third place overall."

2012 Med City 5k with Jeff and Sherry
 I was thankful that Jeff and Sherry had come out to watch me, despite the fact that Sherry wasn't feeling well. I thanked them, and then walked over to my buddy, Nate. I let him know the idiocy of my first mile and asked him to tell me how stupid I'd run.

"Well," he said, laughing. "You know you ran a dumb race. You don't need me to tell you."

I lied down on the grass several times, leaned over the bridge above the Zumbro River, hoping my food wouldn't make an appearance (it did not), and finally managed to feel well enough to stagger to the awards. 

Trying to be gracious
 Later, Nate and I went to a bar and grill in downtown Rochester to share some flatbread pizzas, watch the Royals play the Cardinals, and talk running, careers, and life.

2012 Securian Half Marathon with Nate
Upon arriving back at the in-laws, I coughed up phlegm and my nose began gushing blood. The humidity and poor air quality in downtown Rochester made for some sore lungs. The next Monday I would visit urgent care. The doctor said the infection was mostly high in my lungs, and that I should be able to clear it after a couple days (I did).

They'll be other races, other runs, and better days. I can be happy with a 17:34 and a third place finish.

Happy Running!