Saturday, May 1, 2010

Training Run No. 8

It's really no secret that I love airplanes. I enjoy reading about the aerodynamics of planes, I have subscribed to podcasts about flights and flight patterns, I have plenty of books about the history and mechanics of flying, and it's no coincidence that I live on the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's flight path. Every day I get to watch and listen to hundreds of airplanes flying overhead during take-off or landing. I can more or less tell what kind of airplane it is (freight, passenger, commercial, military) based on the engine noises, and my ears perk up when I hear anything new. I have figured out which runways the airport uses on which days -- and I'm slowly figuring out at which times -- because of the air traffic above my apartment. I have even gone to one of the dog parks (note: I don't have a dog) near the end of one of the runways just to stand under planes when they take off. I may or may not have reenacted the "Free Willy" cover art, except I was Jesse and Willy was probably some random Delta flight.Airplanes are seriously so cool.

The one thing I can't stand about airplanes is being in them. In fact, the feelings I have about being in an airplane involve the complete absence of love. I hate flying, I panic during the entire flight, and I can't be a normal human being when I'm not on the ground. Even when I drug myself, I can't get over how unnatural and scary the act of flying is. During my last flight, some 5-year old showed me up by having to tell me the plane was okay during turbulence. Yikes.

Regardless of my in-flight fears, I was beyond geeked to find out that the Minneapolis Marathon training group run today was going to be right next to the MSP airport! What better way to distract myself during my first 20-miler than to be around landing/taking off airplanes! When I got the map of the route, I immediately hoped that flights would be coming in from the east so I could be close enough to throw rocks at them.
(Forgive me for using the term "mile repeats" loosely since I know a mile repeat is technically a type of training run. This is basically where I looped Snelling Lake twice as part of me adding on additional miles to the predetermined 15.3-mile route.)

To my luck, the planes did in fact come in from the east this morning, and while the lake had a lot of tree cover, I did have a number of deafening airplanes fly straight above my head! It was unreal! The two guys I was running near would laugh at me everytime I would scream with excitement and yell at the planes. "AHHHH! COME ON! HOW COOL IS THIS?!" They remained silent. One guy uttered, "It just doesn't get old for you, does it?" No, sir. No it does not! One airplane was coming in somewhat sideways due to the heavy winds today ... it was so crazy and I almost peed my pants watching that thing skid around in the sky. I really hope I get to be a pilot in my next life. I'm waaaay too terrified of flying to try it in this one. :)
Regardless of today's airplane excitement highlight, we had a huge turnout at Team Ortho's Minneapolis Marathon training group. We had a record number of participants, so they took our picture beforehand to document this monumental feat.
I covered miles 9-22 of the actual marathon route, and I have officially run the entire course now. The section we ran today was much hillier and dirt path-ier, but it wasn't impossible ... except for one HUGE hill I had to crawl up. I'm excited that I know more or less what to expect in terms of the terrain.

It was unbelievably windy today, but the course was lush, green, a good mix of pavement and dirt, and it wasn't too hot. The sun came and went with the visiting clouds but it remained right around 55 degrees all morning, which I find to be perfect for running.

We started at Historic Fort Snelling, which I've never actually been to. I had a bit of trouble getting to the start because of all the wacky roads and lack of exits off the highway, but I made it with about 10 minutes to spare. Fort Snelling is huge -- it's like a mini city within the city -- with Air Force and military buildings, a golf course, a tennis club, a chapel, baseball fields, a Metro transit station, and their huge cemetery. Both my grandmother and grandfather on my dad's side are laid there, and while I wasn't actually near the cemetery, I still said a little hello to both of them.

During the marathon, we will essentially be running from downtown Minneapolis to Snelling Lake in Historic Fort Snelling, then loop all the way back along the Mississippi. While we were waiting for announcements, I peeked over a handrail to the Mississippi and saw downtown. It suddenly hit me (really hit me) how far I will be running on June 6.
Here was some of the welcomed dirt trails around Snelling Lake. It was so peaceful back there (even with the crazy loud planes overhead!). I would head back there just to run this for fun.
I ended up having a really great first attempt at the 20-mile distance. I took a peanut butter tortilla wrap around mile 11 when I first realized that I should refuel before it was too late, and between miles 15 and 18 I popped Sports Beans. Both of my arches gave me some trouble between miles 18 and 20, but it wasn't anything I couldn't bear without slowing down a little and telling myself to HTFU.

While I did my 20-miler decently slowly (and I took two water stops, which I was sure to enjoy), this was a huge achievement for me: Today I actually feel like I may be able do this marathon. It's a looooong way to run and I still have a looooong way to go, but I'm learning my limits and what I need to do to get there. It's a good feeling.

I would like to thank the Brooks Defyance 4 and my golden shoelaces for helping make today's run possible. :)
After my run, I decided to try something new. Normally I rely on food, water, and rest for my recovery, but today I attempted my very first ice bath. And, to make it even more BA, I drank one of my soy yogurt/vegan protein smoothies while in the ice bath! Now that's some hardcore cold-on-cold action.

Minnesota Northwoods Pure ice?! Nothing like going all out when it comes to ... freezing water. (Hey, I needed a lot of it for my bath, and my little ice cube tray wasn't going to cut it!)
Yes, this really is perfect for every use. :)
I have to admit, the ice bath was not pleasant ... at all. Sitting waist-deep for 15 minutes in frozen water got progressively suckier and suckier as the minutes ticked by, but I got out of the tub feeling like I hadn't even run!? My muscles felt terrific! I'm not sure I'd say I would like to go do another 20 miles since my feet are still achy, but my muscles feel fantastic considering what I put them through. I'm having a bit of discomfort in my hips and knees, but that's not new (and it could also because I ran my longest run to date in shoes that really aren't broken in). Normally I'm relatively out of commission the day of a long run, but I feel great. Perhaps I could go fit in a swim today and make my peak week even peakier! (??!)

Today was a good day, and I rocked my first of two peak weeks.

Also, I just wanted to share this funny scene. While biking to my vegan grill-out last weekend, I saw this:
I'm really hoping it's for the parade tomorrow, as I'm guessing hunting anything that size -- an eagle, no less -- is way beyond illegal. :)

Happy May Day!


  1. Great job on the long run. Too funny about the ice bath - our tap is usually 52-54 degrees, which is plenty cold for rejuvenation without adding ice. Be getting out on numb feet, though!!! Have a great week.

  2. In regard to my skirts - I mostly wear older models of Skirt Sports Marathon Girl, which have built in 'undies' underneath. My 'cooler weather' skirt choice is Atalanta's Commitment skirt. It is a little heavier fabric with shorts underneath. Atalanta's skirts are the only skirts whose shorts don't 'ride up'. It also has two big pockets to carry 'stuff'. I also have a skirt (my new floral print) from Running Skirts. I like their skirts lots - very nice - but I am in between sizes so the fit isn't totally optimal.
    Undies attached under those, as well. As you have probably noticed, I love my skirts.

    And hey, I am with you on the flying thing - avoid at all costs. It is NOT natural to be in a hollow metal tube, flying miles above the earth, piloted by a complete stranger. Nope, not natural at all! :-)

  3. Wow, that is one large Team Ortho running group! It looks like so much fun....maybe next year. You had a great time for running 20 miles:) Your running route looks beautiful. Great pictures! I would to love those dirt trails around Fort Snelling:)

    I will have to try the ice bath and see how it works for me. I hope that you have a wonderful week:)

  4. 20miles!! WOW you go Girl!!
    Love your Pictures, looks like a great place to run.
    Not liking the idea of an ice bath