Wednesday, March 31, 2010

What Time Is It?

Hammer time? No.

Peanut butter jelly time? Maybe.

Tank top time? YES!

After 7 days in the breezy/misty/foggy/off-and-on rainy San Francisco (more on my running escapades there later), it's good to be welcomed back to the homeland with a lovely 76 degrees of unusual perfection!
Ladies and gentlemen, it's singlet season here in Minneapolis! And everyone out there today knew it. Yikes! Sorry about your tribal tattoo.
Sorry you don't know to not swim quite yet, considering the lake just iced out this weekend.
Sorry about your sweaty blue diaper shorts and your towel tail.
Kayaking in March!? Why not!
After some lethargic runs out west (my times were reminiscent of running through snowbanks and on glare ice), I'm relieved to see that it must have been a fluke because today proved to be completely normal by my standards.

5mi splits (43m 38s): 8:33, 8:33, 8:51, 8:51, 8:48
Air Temp: 76F

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Race Recap: Get Lucky 7k

The more Team Ortho races I run, the more I love everything about them. This was my third Team Ortho race and by far my favorite. Perhaps it's because I'm getting to know a few people who work for the non-profit from the training group runs, but I really think it's because Team Ortho is comprised of master marketers who all voluntarily work at least 7 days a week, and they are genuinely huge-hearted people who hold their jobs because helping others means more to them than a fat paycheck.

I wish everyone in their life could and would run a Team Ortho race. From the pre-packet pickup (which I ran to on Wednesday during my 7-mile marathon training run) to the post-race after party (which made me a little tipsy on a Saturday morning), everything about Team Ortho's races is immaculately planned and perfectly executed. And it's all for a good cause: Team Ortho's latest ventures have included doing orthopedic research and assistance directly in Haiti, helping people who've lost limbs in the earthquake get new ones.

This morning ended up being the perfect morning for a race. The snow and rain stayed away, the wind was nowhere to be found, and not even a cloud floated in the sky. Someone turned the sun all the way up, but, unfortunately, also the air conditioning. It was cool this morning -- but nothing none of us weren't expecting or weren't prepared for.

I headed over to my friend Gramps' house this morning because I convinced him to volunteer at the race. He was the bike marshal (suiting, for someone who only bikes), so he rode in the front of the pack and gave the top runners someone to chase. He may or may not have been surprisingly passed by six runners at the very end, too. :)

Talk about one of those little details that makes the race fun... even the chip on our shoes matched the theme of the race!
They gave everyone temporary tattoos. Gramps and I sported them proudly, even though we had to wear gloves this morning. Let our powers combine!
Gramps looking a little not ready to ride a bike this morning.He's all official now.
I don't know my way around downtown very well. I've spent more time biking down there as of late, but I still don't really get it. Gramps lives nearer to downtown and knows it very well, and we parked what seemed like an eternity away from the starting line. I trust he knew where he was going (turns out he parked in a ramp near the post-race after party), and we had to walk approximately 7 blocks to the starting line. On every single street corner in downtown was a volunteer wearing a gooney leprechaun hat, with signs pointing the direction to the start line.

I made it to the start with about 9 minutes to spare and pushed my way into the front of the pack. Gramps made his way up to the start to lead the front runners. I couldn't see anything but tons of people around me. Looks like no less than the 3,000 who signed up actually made it!I did find that I was practically standing on a penny, though -- and it was even face-side up. I pocketed my lucky charm.
The gun went off at 10a.m. on the nose after a few announcements and acknowledgments, and I eased my way into an 8-minute/mile pace. There were no pacers, but I set Mr. Anastos to alert me when I was going faster than 7:45 and slower than 8:15. Normally I'm not that naturally fast, but something about races makes me pick up my pace a lot. I wanted to run hard, but I didn't want to burn out and/or get sick at the finish line. Again.

Mile 1 (7:52): "This isn't so bad!"

The first mile was actually pretty easy. I thought I was going to have a hard time pushing my way through all of the costumed freaks who got there way too early and didn't know how to line up according to paces, but it really wasn't an issue at all. There were a few people I passed and moved around, but most of my time was spent watching for potholes in the road since we were running on a partially closed course instead of the running path.

At the end of the first mile, I liked my pace but wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it for 3.4 more miles. I mentally noted that I wanted to slow down a smidge.

Mile 2 (7:53): "There are kids up here?"

One second slower wasn't the smidge I had in mind. However, I noticed two little boys running the race. Sorry, I know it's weird to take pictures of kids without permission, but at least I didn't get their faces?! I couldn't slow down now. I couldn't let these two little guys stay ahead of me so I had to pass them. (The little guy's little friend is in blue in front of him.)
There were Irish dancers as a portion of the on-course entertainment. More pictures of kids, I know, but these guys were AWESOME and deserved to get their picture taken, no matter how crappy my picture is. They were dancing to what sounded like Riverdance, and they were so good! I wish I could have stopped to watch.Mile 3 (7:58): "Look at all those pennies!"

Too bad I was shooting for a finish time, otherwise I would have made four stops for four pennies I found on the street. I have a weird knack for finding loose change and dollar bills -- one of the perks of always hanging your head, I guess -- and this stretch of the race was a goldmine. I thought, at one point, they did this intentionally to make us feeling like we were getting lucky. I sure felt lucky finding four pennies, but, again, didn't want to trip anyone by stopping to pick them up. There were people pretty close to me the entire time and I had to watch where I blew snot rockets, let alone stop to pick up worthless money.

Mile 4 (7:47): "Ahhhh, downhills are nice."

By mile 4 I could get an idea of the finish line since I've run this part of the course with my marathon training group, and I knew that we were in for some fun, somewhat steep downhills. Downhills aren't easy to run effectively, but I'm pretty decent at it. I picked up my knees, leaned forward, and let gravity pull me down the hill. The near 10-second shave-off from my previous miles shows me that I did this part of the course alright.

Mile .37 (2:52) "Don't puke, don't puke, don't puke."

Some runners have a mantra or a phrase they repeat in their heads during hard runs. Josh Cox repeats "Power" in his head, while Kara Goucher repeats "Dig deep" to herself. I've heard of other runners repeating positive and re-affirming thoughts to themselves, but my motto at this point of a race is "Don't puke." After running out of my pace for so long, my mind starts to play games with me. Granted, I have puked after races and hard runs, but it's never a goal of mine and I think most of that pukage is mental.

Crossing over the Stone Arch Bridge, seeing the 4 mile sign, and knowing the finish line was straight ahead, I instinctively wanted to start sprinting. However, we still had almost a half a mile ahead of us, and that's a long way to sprint. I did my best to not look up at the finish line, I zoned into my music, and I repeated my mantra: "Don't puke, don't puke, don't puke" to keep myself at a decent pace.
I was rewarded for not sprinting too hard and for not puking. I found a penny at the finish line!
After replenishing with a banana and some PowerAde, I found Gramps, congratulated him on finishing his first 7k even though he didn't have to work very hard, and headed over to the brand new Kieran's Irish Pub in Block E for the race's after-party. On our bibs were free drink tickets, and, again, I have a hard time passing up free stuff. :) Kieran's moved from Uptown to Downtown, re-opened on St. Patrick's Day, and has been celebrating a very successful first week back in business.
Temporary tattoos, a commemorative timing chip, a medal, free beer tickets, and an awesome sweatshirt, all for a $35 tax-deductible registration fee?! You can't beat that. They even gave Gramps a sweatshirt after all the runners got one in their size.Good thing we finished "early": the line for Kieran's ended up stretching across two city blocks. I don't think they were expecting everyone from the race to actually show up. Gramps and I got a table, and we were being stalked whenever we made any movement. People apparently really want to sit after running 4.4 miles. :P
The entire inside of the bar was hopping with stinky runners. They had a fun bagpipe band playing on a small stage, and the decor inside was very pleasant. I haven't been to their previous location, but this pub was upscale and spacious. Amazing that they were able to fit so many of us inside.Sticking with the theme of the day ... I found another penny while walking to the parking ramp. This one was face-side down, but I still grabbed it.
And for the nitty gritty deets...

The overall group's stats.

My stats. If only I could average a 5:33 mile! I can't even imagine. I think the fastest I ever ran a mile was 6:21 back in grade school, and that wasn't even fun. My average for today was actually 7:51, or 7.6mph. I was the 305th finisher out of 2,591, was the 25th person in my age group to complete the race, and the 75th woman finisher overall.
Ah, two pieces of the pie now! See how this is working...?
Overall, the Get Lucky 7k was a perfectly executed race, and I have absolutely no complaints or suggestions to make this race better. Team Ortho keeps setting the bar for themselves higher and higher with each race, and I know the Minneapolis Marathon is going to blow everyone out of the water.

7k chip time: 34:24 (an automatic PR, and I made my goal of 35 minutes)
Mr. Anastos' 4.37mi splits: 7:52, 7:53,7:58, 7:47, 2:52
Air Temp: 33F

A post-race run

Earlier this week I talked with Mr. Kona Ironman Finisher about how I could do a 14-mile run integrating the 7k with a significant pause between the two. (Hello! Post-race party was more important than heading back on the course!) He told me that running a hard 4.5 miles is about equivalent to running an easy 7, and he advised I head out for an easy 7 after downing that free beer and a banana to equal 14 and keep my base strong.

This afternoon seriously could not have been any nicer. It was still chilly, but was perfect for running. It was another busy day out on the Chain of Lakes; I saw lots of bikers, walkers, people playing fetch with their dogs, kiteboarders (though it seems way dangerous to be on the ice at this time -- the water is already taking over the shore), and even a bald eagle circling overhead.
7.15mi splits (1h 3m 31s): 8:43, 8:42, 8:40, 8:55, 8:49, 9:05, 9:10, 1:23
Air Temp: 37F

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Strip Tease

The forecast this weekend is calling for a massive cool-down accompanied by potential freezing rain and -- gasp! -- snow. Thankfully it's been so warm that there's no way the freezing drizzle will last for more than a few hours and it definitely won't stay. But it's still enough to put a damper on Team Ortho's St. Patrick's Day 7k.
So, while I had the chance, I stripped down to my booty shorts, a light t-shirt, and I enjoyed the warm air while it's here.

It feels good to run without all that extra weight -- and I ended up running a pretty speedy 4 miler. (I've also switched back from my trail shoes back into road shoes on Tuesday, which is taking more getting used to than I thought.) This solid training run makes me want to set a goal for this weekend. Normally I don't really set goals for races other than to do my best and run faster than my previous race, and I usually don't put my goals out in the wind, but since I've never run a 7k, I am a virgin to this distance and will automatically set a PR. So what am I going for?

After running 4 miles in 32 minutes today, I'm going to shoot for 35 minutes this weekend. Of course that sounds doable, but once I start factoring in rain, heavy clothing, a route I've never run, and 3,000 costumed and/or drunk people getting in my way, things will definitely change for the worse on Saturday morning.

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day!

4mi splits (31m 54s): 7:57, 8:04, 7:56, 7:58
Air Temp: 64F

Monday, March 15, 2010

Product Review: Spinning @ LA Fitness

Alright, alright. So this really isn't a "product" I'm reviewing, but in some ways it really is.

I was recently invited to take a guest tour of a new LA Fitness in my side of Minneapolis, and was given a day pass into the club as well as an appointment with a fitness instructor. I don't have the energy to hear someone tell me my core is weak and my shoulders aren't sculpted, so I opted to go during one of my cross-training Mondays to experiment on my own. My plan was to swim a few laps, check out the free weights and cardio machines, and spy on some of the group classes -- until I realized I didn't have a gym-appropriate swimsuit. Without hopping into a pool, everything else on my agenda would make me look like a creeper if I were solely there to only snoop around.

So, what better way to follow up my first bike ride of 2010 with a Spinning class! (Hey, it was either that or Latin Impact "dance.")
A fine lady named Carolyn (the GM) took me to the Spinning room, fitted me on a bike, and fed me a bunch of drivel on membership deals that are "ending today!!!" I went into this fully knowing that they were going to try to talk me into some deals that are probably ongoing, so I countered their speeches by being fully prepared: I went wearing workout clothes and holding only a water bottle and the key to my bike lock. I didn't bring any money, cards, or a checkbook.

By the end of the class and the full tour of the gym, Carolyn had me signing a paper contract saying I can take the deal (that really did end today) as long as I come back with the initiation fee as soon as I can. She was going to lend me the down payment in the meantime. I would never in a million years accept that, so I ended up biking home, grabbing my wallet, and biking straight back to the gym. You heard me right, my friends: this anti-gym fitness freak just became a full-out gymrat thanks to one over-marketed class. Yupsville.

First off: Spinning.

Immediate addiction. I haven't had that much fun since ... well, since I ran yesterday.

The workout was insanely intense, but I loved that we had the option to set our own bicycle resistance, unlike when I set the computer on my stationary bike in my fitness center. Here, the computer picks my hills and resistance; there, I was in complete control of the seat settings, handlebar settings, and how difficult I wanted to make the invisible hills I was riding. I loved that I really could pick my own pace and difficulty levels.

The instructor was awesome. Her microphone died and she did a wonderful job of screaming at us on the top of her lungs over the music. She kept us active and moving for a full hour with different exercises on the bike. We began with some simple cycling at a low resistance with upper body stretching, worked our way up some huge imaginary hills, did some isolating core and jumping exercises while only moving our legs, went up and down a few more hills, and then did full-out sprints as fast as our little legs would go to the finish line.

Plus, who doesn't like pounding music and working out in the dark?

It was I can't wait to go back! I think I found my new form of cross training. Screw my hipster bike -- I want a Spinning bike!
Apparently I jumped the bandwagon a day or two too late: Minneapolis just set a Guinness World Record for holding the largest-ever Spinning class last week. Now I understand why so many showed up!

Second: LA Fitness

The club in and of itself was only minorly impressive. If it weren't for the awesome membership deal I got, I most definitely would not have joined. Everyone there was very friendly and nice -- I heard more than a few comments that I was cute or that my bright Brooks NightLife sweatshirt that I biked there in was fun. They weren't very successful at buttering up the skeptic in me, but it did help a little.

Other than Spinning, they do have offer a variety of classes, which is what I'll be doing when I go there. I noticed they have dance classes, core classes, yoga, pilates, bootcamp/conditioning, step aerobics, kickboxing, and aquatic classes. My background in dance piques my interest in their hip hop classes ... I would love to see how these white girls dance hip hop in this part of town. Otherwise, I know I need a little ass kicking when it comes to doing more conditioning. I'm terrible at motivating myself to do it.

I also saw three racquetball courts, a basketball court, a three-lane lap pool, sauna, hot tub, tons of cardio machines, and oodles upon oodles of weight machines and free weights. Oh, and oodles upon oodles of really nasty, sweaty gym people kissing their pipes in the mirror.
The gym was very young. Other than the general manager, everyone had to have been under 30. I'm sure that's just because I live in "that" part of town, so it's fitting that the clientele match the dynamics of my neighborhood. I can very clearly see this club as being one of those places where people go to meet other people.

I, however, am on a different agenda.

Must. Have. More. Spinning.

Spinning: 5 out of 5 stars
LA Fitness: 3 out of 5 stars

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Spring Forward, Indeed.

I guess I shouldn't mock my friend Gramps for having a hipster bike because, well ... I have one, too. I would be mad if anyone kicked my bike because I have invested a lot of time in restoring an old bike to my precise liking, similar to what he has done with his main mode of transportation. Mine is a single speed and I have a front break (unlike his fixie bike with no breaks or gears), and everything on it is practically perfect in every way.

The junky "before" bike:
My beautiful "after" bike:
Last summer I painted my entire bike white with refrigerator paint, bought white rims and white tires, put on new white grip tape, and found some fancy schmancy white pedals. I searched high and low to find pink parts for the rest. I spray painted the fork fluorescent pink, have a pink chain, pink crank, pink frog lights, and even a super comfy old pink seat.

It really is a work of art.

My bike, however, isn't a winter bike. I also am not an experienced rider and I use it solely for transportation during cooperating months. It's been sitting up against one of my apartment walls for the greater portion of the winter, and the tires lost all of their air. The nearest free air pump is more than a mile from me, and I'm way too lazy to walk my bike that far.

Gramps, being the super hipster that he is, basically carries his life with him in his stupid Timbuk2 body bag. Since he only bikes, he has to have spare parts and tools with him at all times. He had exactly what I needed to re-Spring-itize my bike, and I finally was able to convince him to bring over those tools despite living pretty far out of his way.

And while we were fixing my bike, enjoying 64-degree weather (we set a new weather record today!), and basking in an extra hour of sunlight, we went out on my first bike ride of the year.

Gramps carries his entire world with in his stupid hipster bag. I wore my Brooks Nightlife sweatshirt as a joke.
That crazy hipster practicing his track stands.
Close up of my skinny white road tires and all other things pink.
It's not a true bike ride if you don't stop for some beers while sitting out on a patio.
Little did we figure, it still gets dark ... and fast. I had on my reflective sweatshirt as a joke, but ended up being really glad I was wearing it. I was straining my eyes to avoid potholes and sidewalk cracks in nearly complete darkness, and was easily forgetting to keep scanning for cars. I had some comfort knowing they could see me pretty well.
I don't ever want to ride at night again unless I look into getting a pretty substantial headlamp or some kind of bright light for the front of my bike. I seriously couldn't see anything in front of me! But, it definitely was a fun first ride of 2010. I'm happy to be back in the saddle and look forward to cross training outside of the gym.

Can I count mile splits for bike rides?
6.7mi: 4:47, 4:55, 4:53, 5:50, 7:40, 7:43, 4:00
Air Temp: 64F

Hello, Glorious!

Hello, 55-degree sunshine! It's been a while since we've last seen each other! You are looking miiiighty fine today.
And my walk back from the coffee shop this afternoon ... Is this a sick joke?
This morning I headed out on a 7-mile recovery run while it was "cool" out. Ha! For those of you who don't know what a "recovery run" is, it's an easy run the day following a long workout where there are no speed requirements, no hills to run, no fartleks to sprint, no tempos to pace, and no intervals to track. It's simply an easy run to keep your muscles and tendons flexible and to help heal muscle tears from the previous day's run. My recovery runs tend to be a bit longer, but anywhere from a few blocks to double-digit miles is probably considered acceptable, as long as you're not pushing yourself too hard.

Last night my neighbors let me borrow their redbox rental for free under the condition that I return it to the store. I watched the movie last night and set out on my recovery run this morning, adding the path to the store into my route.

Let me just say that this recovery run hurt. I didn't feel sore from yesterday's 15-miler, but instead from being punched in the leg.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I was punched in the leg.

Now before anyone goes off on any diatribes about women being punched (don't worry, I'm with you), I will wholeheartedly say I 150% deserved it.

Allow me to rewind to yesterday.

As you may remember from a recent post, I have a pretty strict eating schedule on the days of my long runs. I generally follow up a long run with a salty soup so I can retain water and let my muscles hold onto that during recovery. Instead of making my own delicious ramen yesterday, I called up my restaurant-going friend (hereafter known under his nickname, Gramps), to get a bowl of vegetable phở at one of Minneapolis' best mom & pop Vietnamese noodle shops, Quang.

Gramps is one of those freakish people who rides everywhere on a hipster fixed-gear bike, and he does this year-round despite the conditions or the distance. He's also a full-time ceramics student, he never works unless it's in his pottery studio late at night, and he can never make it to anything on time. Thus, whenever we get together to try new vegan restaurants, I intentionally leave exactly when I tell him to meet me there, and usually will still beat him to the table.

Much to my chagrin, I left late for Quang, found street parking along Eat Street, walked to the shop, and saw Gramps standing outside locking up his bike. Utterly amazed that he beat me to the restaurant, I kicked him in the back of the knee (you know, in the manner that you can make someone stumble), him unaware of my presence.

"Gramps!" *kick to back of knee #1* "What the eff are you doing here so early???"
"I was waiting for your slow ass."
"Gramps!" *kick to shin #1* "Guess what I did this morning!"
"I ran 15 miles!" *kick to shin #2* "And I still have energy to kick you!" *kick to shin #3* "And your ugly bike!" *kick to his front bike tire #1*
"That's real great, but don't kick my bike."
"Ohhhh oooookay" *roundhouse kick to front bike tire #2*
*The hardest punch any girl has ever received, midair, administered to right quad.*

I seriously doubled over on the sidewalk, firing a barrage of obscenities at him for being stupid. Any bystanders saw that Gramps was probably fully justified in punching my leg. However, if they had known that I just ran 15 miles on that leg and if they understood what my muscle was doing to rebuild itself, they would know that a punch was probably not going to help in the recoup process.

So I spent most of my night last night watching Precious and icing my leg. I have a huge welt and a very shiny bruise appearing. My muscle feels incredibly tight and it's hard to put a lot of weight on my right leg, making my recovery run a bit of hobbling humbling experience. At least it was so friggin' glorious out that no one was paying attention to my gimp leg.

I did learn one valuable lesson from this trip: If you ever need to take a runner out, a punch to the quad should do the trick.

7.3mi splits (1h 6m 41s):
1: 8:58
2: 9:00
3: 9:06
4: 9:08
5: 9:07
6: 9:09
7: 9:22
.3: 2:47
Air Temp: 55! BAAAA-what what!!!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Training Run No. 4

My marathon training plan has me ramping up my long runs every two weeks, and then taking a step back for a week by cutting out a few miles. This week was supposed to be my step-back week, but I've got a mini-vacation of sorts coming up that coincides with one of my intense weeks. So I've taken it upon myself to be the brilliant, inexperienced marathoner I am and alter my training. I'll do my best to run my daily runs while in San Francisco, but I can't imagine myself wanting to go for a 15-mile jog when I have other things to do and people to see.

Instead I ran the 15-mile run this morning (which was scheduled for two weeks from now), I'll do my race and my scheduled 14-mile run next weekend (yikes), and then after 4 straight weeks of ramping up, I'll relax for a weekend by doing this week's scheduled 9-miler while I'm in the Bay. Let's hope it works out as well in real life as it is working out in my head.

The Minneapolis Marathon training group met this morning for a 5, 8, or 10 miler. We met along the south part of the course to experience a different part of the marathon route. During the actual marathon, this will be miles 7.5 to 12.5 and, because it's an out and back course, 19.5 to 24.5.
Like what I've seen along the course so far, this part was relatively flat with just a few slight rolling hills along the river bluffs. Nothing seemed too strenuous or demanding and I'm actually pretty shocked at how quickly I did it, especially since I can say I haven't run more than 15 miles in almost exactly 6 months.

I have run a few races in this part of town and remembered that Minnehaha Falls is close to the area. Minnehaha Falls is the coolest middle-of-the-city waterfall ever, and it's also the birthplace of Minneapolis. I headed out a bit early to run to the falls as to get in a few additional miles, and check to see if the water was still frozen. I've only seen the falls when it's rapidly flowing, but it is known to freeze over.

I followed the pedestrian path up to the falls, and loved seeing all the snow gone! It's a big change from last weekend, when we still had close to 9 inches of snow pack. I think we are down to less than 1 inch, and that's only in random areas. It was still foggy this morning, but nothing like it's been all week.
Along my way to the falls, I stopped by the relocated John Harrington Stevens house, which is located in the park. He built the first house in Minneapolis, is pretty much the father of Minneapolis, and apparently was quite a strapping young lad.
A few extra miles and a history lesson this morning! I was feeling pretty productive.

From the house I could hear the falls, which obviously meant it wasn't frozen. I ran over there and saw that a lot of it still was, though -- pretty awesome site.

Frozen falls from the west.
Falls from the top looking down; I'm on the bridge above it.
Frozen falls from the east.
Many of the staircases that head down to the bottom of the falls were blocked off for winter safety reasons, so I wasn't able to go down. Perhaps during the actual marathon I'll take a little detour. :)

After that, I ran back to my car to drop off my camera, meet up with the other runners, hear some announcements, and head off on the organized 10-miler. Not even two steps into my 10-miler I hear, "Hey, I recognized your hat! How are you!?"

I look to my left and see none other than "Benny."

I said hi, told him I was good, and cranked up my headphones. I wouldn't be surprised if he could hear my music. He tried to make a little small talk, and I ignored him as much as I could. I did tell him our mile splits from last week and how I was right on track with how I would like to do the marathon. With that in mind, he kept telling me to pick it up because "[I] don't want to have to settle for any certain time during the race" but instead should blow it out of the water. (I'm sorry, I didn't realize I was running for anyone other than me. I also didn't realize I asked him to set my goals for me either.) Right around mile 6, he tried offering me some advice on how I should hold my arms to conserve energy, and at that point I'm nearly positive I swore at him. By mile 8 he went ahead of me, leaving me to run alone -- which was much preferred.

Back at the starting tent, he asked me what his pace was!? I gave him a rough estimate based on how many strides he was ahead of me and what Mr. Anastos was telling me. He verbalized some sort of "No way, I was going so much faster than you toward then end" and then I know I swore at him as I told him to get over himself.

I grabbed a cup of water and headed back toward the falls to fit in a few more miles before he could follow me around anymore. I'm pretty sure I won't be running with Benny again. Thank god.

I'm pretty amazed that many of my miles were right around 9 minutes; maybe Benny did inspire me to pick it up a little. I have been shooting for a 9:15 pace, but this training run actually gave me hope that perhaps I could do it a little quicker ... until I really started hurting toward the end. :)

84 days left to tack on 11.1 more miles!

15.1mi splits (2h 17m 30s):
1: 8:49
2: 9:27
3: 8:50
4: 9:03
5: 9:09
6: 9:04
7: 8:58
8: 8:58
9: 8:56
10: 9:05
11: 8:55
12: 9:04
13: 9:01
14: 9:19
15: 9:23
.1: 1:22
Air Temp: 43F

Oh, I was asked yesterday if I wanted to start a running club for residents in my apartment complex. I enthusiastically said yes -- I'm geeked and I want to spread the running love!

Then I found out they want to start in April, right as my marathon training really buckles down. Shall we start a countdown to burnout?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


The good thing about rain in March is that it melts our snow faster than a 60-degree day. The bad thing about rain in March is that the snow it melts creates thick blankets of fog that last for days.

I was not feeling 100% happy about heading out in another dreary, wet run, but I was challenged to do it by a friend who apparently doesn't care about my safety nor my health. And I can never pass up a good challenge. :)

I put on my blinky light hat and zoomed off into the abyss.

Remember this fun sunset across Lake Calhoun?
This is what it looked like today.

This view of downtown Minneapolis from across the lake?
Here it is today.

Another sunset from one of Calhoun's beaches?
Today's sunset from the same beach.

And that cute owl on the Calhoun/Isles overpass?
Looks like the owl is perched on Lake Superior tonight.

Parts of the path were so dense with fog, I felt like I was running straight into a horror movie. Fun times.
5mi splits: 8:41, 8:37, 8:32, 8:52, 9:15
Air Temp: 41F