Sunday, February 28, 2010

That Girl

I frequently see people in clothing that's wildly inappropiate for this climate: Girls waiting for buses in bright tights when it's below 0; guys on the U of M campus wearing cargo shorts in the dead of winter; I even had a roommate in college who wore flip flops year round.

Today, as the temperature soared to a near 40 degrees and the sun brightly blinded us from above, I decided I was going to be that person. I wanted to intentionally dress like it was warmer than it really was, because warm weather is worth celebrating at this point.

Gearing up in a long-sleeve t-shirt, knee-high capris, and a skull cap, I headed out for a quick 6-mile regular-paced run. I ended up doing my run too quickly because it was so nice out! I feed off of the energy around me, and there were so many people out enjoying today.

Is this greening grass I see?
Are those baby buds on this tree?
Hello to all my fellow crazies!
Why did I cover my knees? (I was out of good rhymes.)
And yes, I'm proud to admit I even acquired my first tanlines of the year. :) Granted, they are lame capri tanlines, but they are tanlines nonetheless.

I hope your weekends were just as beautiful!

6.2mi splits: 8:38, 8:51, 8:23, 8:22, 8:42, 8:37, 1:43
Air Temp: 39F!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Training Run No. 2

My training group met this morning, but instead of it just being Team Ortho runners, we met at a Life Time Fitness with some other running clubs. By my best guess, I would say there were 150+ people, and we were all running at different speeds and different distances.

Team Ortho and the Life Time Fitness running club offered a supported 6.5-mile route, while a Boston Marathon training group had a 20-miler in store. There were a number of people from neighboring running clubs who were along for a run but weren't specifically training for anything.

My pre-run prep: my awesome Minneapolis Marathon skull cap and an apple for afterward, a waiver saying the gym wasn't responsible if I die, a map because I was planning on making up my own route and wasn't sure if I'd find my way back, Sports Beans, lip gloss, Cupcake (my iPod), a headband, Road ID, Mr. Anastos (Garmin), Brooks ID running hat, Cascadia 6s, water-wicking socks, and ample Brooks clothing to keep me dry on this sunny, wonderful day.
I am used to my itty-bitty fitness center, which has three treadmills, a stair step machine, a couple elliptical machines, three bikes, weights, resistance bands, and balance balls. I walked into this gym and gasped. Looking at it from the outside, I couldn't even tell it was this huge!
Other than that enormous workout room, I saw a saloon/massage/spa, a snack bar, a golf store, two yoga studios, three kickboxing/other group workout rooms, an Olympic-size pool, a store to buy apparel and supplies, an indoor track, basketball courts, locker rooms, and I KNOW there was more on different levels. Serious madness. I've never seen anything like that in my life. I'm not so sure I'd like it.

The top center lake in the map below is Cedar Lake, the awkard-shaped lake with the finger is Lake of the Isles, and the (mostly covered) round lake is Lake Calhoun. The starting point was Life Time Fitness, and they were going to run between the lakes, make a turn around, and come back for an easy 6.5-miler.
Because I know these lakes really well, I figured out that if I split off and ran two of the lakes clockwise, I would hit 10.3 miles. Because my training plan had me running 11 miles today, I'd need to run a few extra blocks at the gym. Turns out that a few people also had the same idea for extending their route, so I had about 15 people I ran with today.
I didn't bring my camera with me because I was carrying my Amphipod handheld and wanted the free hand in case I slipped on ice. It was really fun and sunny though, so I kind of started regretting leaving it in my drop bag. I stuck toward the back of the group where I was free to stay away from conversation and blow as many snot rockets as I wanted without hitting anyone.

It was really interesting running behind a cluster of people. My job was to yell "runner back left" or "runner back right" when a runner was passing our pace group. Ahead of me they yelled "runner/walker left" or "runner/walker right" or "ICE!". It was pretty military, but kind of cool. It was hard to see the route ahead of me because all I could see where shoes and legs, so those kind of warnings were nice.

All of us who decided to run the 10.3-mile route kept with a 9:15-9:30 pace. I felt like I could have gone a little bit faster during the first 8 miles, but I did my best to slow my pace and stay with them. For the most part, I felt really strong and not tired. For a while I questioned whether I broke a sweat.

At mile 4 I got hungry. Not a gurgly stomach, not water sloshing around, nothing. I felt like I had skipped breakfast and my stomach was letting me know. At mile 5 I decided to eat half of my Sports Beans to shut up my stomach up and start refueling since I must have burned breakfast off. Apparently I ate breakfast too early -- and I also had oatmeal instead of my regular English muffin/peanut butter/banana combo -- so this is something I need to watch for.

At mile 6 we took a water/Powerade stop, and some dude turned to me and said, "Your nose is bleeding." I was like, "Really? Thanks for saying something!" (Really ... no one else said anything, those jerks!) I looked in the Team Ortho truck's side mirror and sure enough, I pulled a Mirai Nagasu. There was blood all over my nose. I had no idea it was even bleeding (though I have a good idea why: my nose piercing + snot rockets don't really get along). Then I really wished I had my camera, but I'm not sure you'd want to see my crusty, bloody nose.

Instead, I'll show you Mirai Nagasu's bloody nose. (If you're unfamiliar, her nose started bleeding during her Olympic short program earlier this week and it basically killed her routine. I made certain my nose bleed was not going to distract me.)
At mile 9 I had a terrible mental block. I kept thinking about how I got too hungry earlier, and how this was going to haunt me for the remainder of my run. I was sure that I was going to pass out. I felt like I was crawling, and I thought I was feeling dizzy. My legs got heavy and I wanted to stop to sit down for just a minute. I ate the rest of my Sports Beans, chugged the last of my water, and tried to tell myself that this was a mental game and I had to power through it. I had to seriously fight my subconscious and convince her that I had enough fuel in me to make it the last mile. If I needed to chop off my final mile I intended to add on my own, I would ... but I just had to make it back before I could decide that.

And then people around me started dropping like flies. Two guys ahead of me decided they were going to stop and walk back. Then I passed two women who were also in my pace group as they slowed to a walk. I jogged by a few people on a pedestrian bridge that also needed to walk.

Part of me felt a lot better that it wasn't just me ... who knows what happened. Maybe we encountered some weird air bubbles that threw off our balance and brains. :P Or maybe it was just from running on ice and hitting some hills we weren't used to. I told myself it would be fine to walk if I had to, but I ended up powering through it. (Later, I learned, this mile was one of my faster splits.)

By the time the gym was in sight, I felt completely fine, and even added on the last .7 miles to round out an 11-mile run.

It's weird to have your mind turn on you. How do you deal with mental blocks?

I made my way to the upstairs indoor track and found my pace group stretching out. Post-run stretching is so foreign to me. Hell, even pre-run stretching is foreign to me! I never do it. I joined in for a few core exercises since we had the equipment at our disposal, otherwise, I sat back and observed.
This crazy grass is also foreign to me.
Also, the mini race expo was nothing. It was two tables selling socks and promoting their shoes. I am not in the market to buy apparel, so I skipped it. And I'm still not sure what the appearance by Team USA was! I couldn't find Shaun anywhere!

11mi splits:
1: 9:10
2: 9:13
3: 9:18
4: 8:57
5: 9:46
6: 9:32
7: 9:39
8: 9:26
9: 9:15**
10: 9:16
11: 9:14

Air Temp: 32F and super sunny

**The mile I felt like walking. It's amazing to see that my splits were basically the same although my mind was telling me I was barely moving and should stop.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Milestones

I can't believe I missed this! Yesterday was the 100-day mark to my very first marathon. Team Ortho keeps a nice little countdown on their Web site, and I totally missed the monumental day to the Minneapolis Marathon.

Oh well. 99 days remaining is still a cool number right?
It blows my mind that I should be able to condition my body to run 26.2 miles in 99 more days. And it also blows my mind that in 99 more days, our temperature will go up between 40 to 50 degrees (or more!). Crazy number fun!

I've got another run with the training group tomorrow, only I'll be branching off and doing my own thing for a very significant portion of it. I am heading to a mini marathon expo of sorts after the run, where apparently there will be a guest appearance from Team USA. I don't actually know what that means ... but I'm hoping it means Shaun White will be there. :)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Go! And Stop. And Go!

I needed to cover 6 miles for my marathon training tonight, but for some reason I think in terms of distance instead of time. I can't figure out if this is a good or a bad thing yet.

If I liked running on treadmills, I knew it'd equate to approximately 53 minutes of running in place, which is totally doable regardless of when I decide to do it. But because I'd rather go out in the cold than watch myself run at my reflection for an hour, I instead think, Oh man, I have to [insert landmarks, such as: make it down to the lake, run around, and get back] -- all while it's still relatively light out.

And that's when I start to panic about whether or not I'll be able to do it -- and that's when the dark part of my mind gets very good at talking myself out of things because I'd rather not fail.

I left work early enough where I'd be able to fit in a 6-mile run before the sun went completely down. That is, I left early enough assuming I wouldn't hit a crapload of stop-and-go traffic. Yesterday a house exploded right off the highway, and today there were a bunch of firetrucks still monitoring the area because of the gas leak. You know, regular everyday stuff. And you also know how traffic gets when they see big trucks and lights. They had to stop and gawk when they should have been going 65 mph instead.

So I got going a little bit late for my run ... but I got going.

I headed off down the Midtown Greenway, sneaking in between Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun, and fitting in a few extra blocks of running from my regular 5.25-mile route to the lake and back. I ran (quite literally) into a guy who had some kind of complex about running behind a girl. Imagine I'm running on a path and Mr. Inferiority is running on a different path, and the paths converge into a Y shape. The intersection of those three points is where he and I meet shoulder to shoulder, and he immediate took off sprinting because he's scared of me being ahead of him.

Keeping my natural pace, I eventually caught up to him, got in front of him for about three steps, and he took off sprinting to get ahead of me.

This happens -- no joke -- four times. I don't think it's cute, I don't know what he's trying to prove, and finally, I had had enough of his insecurity and decide to skOOl his ass. I picked up my pace to a hair slower than short-race pace, and left him in the dust to cry like a little bitch. I kept up my pace for a good mile or so, just to be sure he had ample time to realize that he was "losing" to a girl.

I turned off the lake trail back onto the Greenway (noticing that Mr. Inferiority was very far back) and I heard what I thought was a plow behind me. The Greenway was unusually slushy because it's been above freezing almost every day as of late, and it would make sense that there be a plow attempting to keep the path clear like usual. I turned back around and realized there wasn't a plow heading my way ... there was a TRAIN heading my way.

There are two points at which I cross the tracks on the Greenway, and I sprinted until my cold little heart was pounding in order to beat the train to the first crossing. I felt like a daredevil, jumping in front of that beast. He blared his horn at me.

Here I am, laughing at the train, because he was my second slaughter of the night.
But then, silly me, I still had to cross back over the tracks at crossing #2 ... so I waited for the train.
And I waited.
And I waited.

I think that really was the longest train in the history of the world. I am pretty sure my heart rate wound down to that of a slow-moving shark, because I felt completely refreshed to finish my run.

Seriously fun run tonight! I need to find more insecure men and long cargo trains on my longer weekday runs.

6.1mi splits: 8:48, 8:50, 8:41, 7:52, 8:34, 8:52, :46
Windchill: 6F (Air Temp 17F)

Monday, February 22, 2010

2010 Brooks ID Elite Uniform (or "You Won't Miss This")

The Brooks ID uniforms from past years have been beautiful. (I found these pictures on the Internet. Sorry I'm not giving proper thanks where thanks are due, but they put themselves on the tangled Webs.)

Last year the uniforms were red and white.
They have also been gold and navy.
And a really beautiful bright blue.
The Hanson-Brooks team wears a combo of these colors.
HiBrianSellLoveyouBye.
I was super geeked to gawk at the uniform this year. I knew chances were slim-to-none that I would be disappointed in the sleek, powerful Brooks design. I knew I'd be able to wear the best brand ever proudly at all my races.

My uniform came today. And... well ... Brooks is always one step ahead for getting noticed!

Brooks is getting a lot of visibility (pun entirely intended) for their NightLife gear. It's a highly visibility, very fluorescent, 3M Scotchlite retro-reflective material that practically glows in the dark when any amount of light touches it. It's a brilliant and very smart invention ... for running in morning/dusk/night.

Allow me to reiterate: It's great for running when it's not entirely light out.

That said, it looks like I should start looking for some nighttime races!
You seriously won't miss any of us at any races this year. ;) Run happy! Run bright and happy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Ghetto Fab!

Disclaimer: Sorry to be ghetto about this video (i.e., recording it off a screen and re-uploading here). I have my reasons.

The first Minneapolis Marathon training group promo video! More to come later.
video

Our weather has been so awesome here lately! February sun is always really strong, and that combined with the absence of the arctic air we had all January has made for some very pleasant days this weekend. It's chilly in the morning, but afternoon is heavenly. I'm still running on a lot of ice, but it's fun to see water running down the sidewalks as the slush melts away. I actually saw a few patches of dry sidewalk out today! It was looking pretty foreign...

5.38mi splits: 8:39, 9:06, 8:34, 9:24, 9:01, 3:32
Air Temp: 35F

Saturday, February 20, 2010

On a Non-Running Note...

I keep up with the bloggers who take the time to read my blog, and I noticed that Kathleen from HappyTrails seems to be oohing and aahing at Shaun White.

I have seen a good amount of the Olympics this winter, but after watching Shaun White's crazy Double McTwist 1260 or whatever they are calling it, I don't think I really need to see much more. He has proven to me that he's the ultimate athlete...

...worth marrying. :)

So sorry Kathleen, but Shaun's now taken. :P

Friday, February 19, 2010

I Kept Up With a Kona Ironman Finisher!

The Team Ortho marathon training group run this morning was completely awesome! I drove around lost for about 10 minutes, but still made it early enough for my "interview." Which, of course, I TOTALLY flubbed, by the way. Caleb, the Minneapolis Marathon race director, put me in front of a camera, showed me the questions, took the questions away, and then started asking them to me while he filmed.

The super official filming area.
The mind-blowing question sheet I had 2 minutes to familiarize myself with (30 seconds of which I spent pulling out my camera and taking a picture).
Naturally, they weren't questions that I should have been able to mess up: What does running mean to me? What's my most memorable race experience? Who can run? What inspires me? What's my goal for the Minneapolis Marathon? But, in my true fashion, I still found a way to mess them up. In the middle of one of my responses, I actually said, "Should I took at you or the camera?" ... He told me to look at the camera. I finished answering the question while looking at the ground.

Caleb interviewing me. Again, I should be a back model.
We'll see if I actually make the cut for the promo video they are making. Oh well! I tried. I also got a Minneapolis Marathon hat for doing the interview. We all know how valuable free stuff is to me. :) I even wore it on the run today.
Here is the entire group that ran this morning. A pretty big turnout for an 8a.m. Saturday call!
This is Pablo, my pacer for the first three-quarters of a mile, until I needed to go around him. :( I'll let him pace me for some of the longer runs, but for now I have a hard time slowing down for shorter distances. Notice the fun running conditions were are on: Nothing but ice!
I guess I'm the only one smart enough to cover my face. Who wants windburned skin?! They do, they do!
We started off heading north-ish on West River Parkway, running the last miles of the actual Minneapolis Marathon course. We then turned on the Broadway St. bridge, and ran down Marshall St. beyond Nicollet Island, crossed over the Stone Arch bridge, and headed back into beautiful, beautiful downtown Minneapolis.

Looking across the Mississippi to Nicollet Island. One of many prides of the cities ... Grain Belt! Have you ever had that beer? It's tasty.
Gold Medal Flour is from here, as is Pillsbury. We apparently like our wheat products. This vintage sign has been standing for more than 100 years, and it even withstood the fire, massive explosion, and deconstruction of the Gold Medal Flour building (the demolished building in the foreground). That sign will always stand, as I'm sure will the Pillsbury's Best Flour sign and the North Star Blankets sign. I think the history of these vintage signs amongst the urban downtown setting is pretty cool. Here is more info.
Pablo was pacing the 9-minute mile group, and a few unofficial people were pacing an 8-minute mile ahead of us. I sort of settled somewhere in between the two groups ... until we got to the Broadway St. bridge. (Also notice the sweet running conditions. Hope no one slips on that and falls into the road!)
The view from the Broadway St. Bridge. So nice!
The group in front me was just out of my line of vision (you can kind of see the last person in the pace group ahead of me on the bridge above), and the group behind me was pretty far back. I didn't know which street I was supposed to turn on, and was feeling a little lost. I knew I would be able to stop and wait for the 9-minute group, or I always just could have headed back on the route I came on ... until out of nowhere comes race director Caleb, running straight at me!

He said something to me like, "Be careful on the ice!" or "You look really nice!" I don't know -- Cupcake was turned up pretty loud. I asked him if he could quickly tell me the roads to turn on and he pointed the way. I settled back into my stride, and 3 or 4 minutes later he's running right behind me. With two miles to go (and him probably sensing my complete unawareness with this area of town), he asked if he could join me.

I paused Cupcake and decided I would attempt conversation. This is a huge deal because: 1.) I hate awkward conversation with newbs. 2.) I don't really like talking when I'm running. 3.) Making awkward conversation WHILE running just sounded painful.

But, he was really great! We talked for a while about Team Ortho and the races they put on, we talked about some of our favorite local races, we talked about traveling, the English language, why Mr. Anastos kept beeping, how we got into running, and other lame get-to-know-you questions. I asked him how many marathons he's done, and he told me he's officially done none. "But how can a marathon race director not have any marathon experience?" That's when he shyly told me that he's never paid entry into a race for just a marathon, but instead he's an Ironman. He's done a number of Ironman competitions around the country, but he really just wanted to do the most difficult one.

"You ran Kona?!" I gasped. (Kona: Site of the Ironman World Championships; only 1,800 qualify to swim/run/bike the choppiest, hilliest, and hottest course in the world -- the bike portion is on a Hawai'ian lava field that reached an air temp of 114F last fall! I am obsessed with watching the insane 9-hour pro competition every year. It's madness.)

"I did." he responded quietly.

I asked for a moment of silence. From there on out, I realized I was the newb.

BUT, how many people can say they ran with a rare Kona Ironman finisher for 2 miles?! I'm sure he slowed his pace to match mine, but I can pretend I kept up with him, right?

Crossing the Stone Arch Bridge, a former railroad bridge that has a bunch of significance to historical Minneapolis in terms of moving goods and people across the river. Here's the lock and dam.
Remember when the 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis back in August of 2007? The white bridge, the one closest to the camera, is the new 35W Bridge. Verrrrynice. Taken from the Stone Arch Bridge.
The crazy new Guthrie theater. My best friend is a photographer and she frequently takes pictures up in that yellow-pane glass walkout. The views of the city and the river up there are spectacular, though I have never been up there.
Crossing the Stone Arch Bridge (for the third time) back into downtown Minneapolis. I ran this bridge 3 times total so I could get in some extra mileage.
Overall, I'm comforted to know that the last few miles of the marathon course will be relatively easy. Other than the crappy ice we're dealing with right now, that'll all be melted in a month or two, so come June it'll be smooth sailing. There were no huge hills, just a few cobblestone/brick roads I needed to watch my footing on, and plenty of nice views that will distract me from the I-want-to-die feeling I'll have by mile 20 of the actual race.

As I mentioned, the marathon training group has fixed distances they will be running every Saturday up until the marathon. My training plan has me running a few additional miles beyond what they are doing, but I'm excited to still have people near me for the majority of my runs. It'll be fun to explore this historic part of Minneapolis a little more, too.

6.26mi splits: 8:38, 8:35, 8:29, 8:41, 8:47, 8:29, 2:06
Air Temp: 22F

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Hearts

Happy belated Valentine's Day!

I took this nerdy picture at the Marathon Sports-sponsored TC 5k race this past weekend, but didn't have access to the photos until today. Pretend I'm going back in time and I'm giving this to you on Sunday. (No, that is not me dancing to YMCA; that's me attempting to make a heart.)
I hope your Valentine's Day was great!

I've been trying to take it easier on my foot lately, so I did some cycling yesterday and went out for a run today, but made sure to really pad up the back of my foot. I think it's an issue of my shoe rubbing in the wrong place because thick socks and Bandaids seem to be doing the trick during activity. It is still pretty sore when I press on it or rub it after a run, but there is no visible bruising or swelling. I have no idea what it could be, so I'll continue to convince myself it's the heel collar of my shoe.

I don't have a whole lot to update on for right now, but I've got some exciting things coming up:

First, I finally ordered a Road ID tag. I know, I know... I carry my phone with me (sometimes), but it definitely has occurred to me that something could happen while I'm running and I won't be able to use a phone, or even speak for myself. If any of you are interested in ordering a Road ID tag, they sent me a coupon to pass along and I'd be happy to share it with you. Get the code from me, go to www.RoadId.com anytime in the next 30 days, and order away/potentially save your life. A Road ID tag is really is a smart, no-hassle product, and I'm ashamed it's taken me this long to get one. They did not pay me to say that. Also, it comes in pink. :)

Next, I joined a marathon training group. Every Saturday up until my marathon I'll be running with a group of people for a set distance. Supposedly the official marathon pacers will be leading these group runs, so I'm going to meet my pacer(s) and hopefully learn how to slow down for longer distances. We also will be running on the course, so keep checking back for group run updates and a sneak peak of my marathon route.

My first group run is this Saturday and the Team Ortho race director is putting together a video about these training runs. And guess who he asked to interview for the video? Yup, that would be me. Do I want to do it? Not entirely, but it sounds like it could be fun. No one's ever asked to interview me about running before, so I'm taking it as a compliment and not a I'd-rather-die-than-speak-in-public situation. Let's hope I don't embarrass myself too much or scare people away from joining the training group.

I was also asked to do another wear test for Brooks. I'll be reviewing one of their new sockliners (the removable insert in the bottom of the shoe), and luckily I will have a little more than a few days to test it this time. It sounds like I'll be given a month, so for all of you interested in sockliners -- come on, admit it; you know you are -- I'll be throwing together a few words for that.

What did I hear you say? You want another terrible race picture? I don't know how these guys make any money taking hideous pictures like this, but they somehow do. Thanks for taking the time to photograph the race, Action Sports International! I like laughing at how bad I look, but I will not be ordering this, thanks.

So much for my perfect forefoot strike, huh? Coming in for an 11th-place finish last weekend... THE RUNNING NINJA!
Finally, today was my first above-freezing run in a while! Seeing the sun melt the snow under my eyes made my heart very happy.
5.3mi splits: 8:50, 8:42, 8:36, 8:47, 9:06, 2:27
Air Temp: 35F! Spring is almost here.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Curses!

This afternoon was supposed to be my cross-training day, but I was having a hard time motivating myself to head to the gym or hop on a bike. Working out indoors seems so unproductive these days!

A friend and I have a tradition of trying new restaurants in the cities that openly advertise their vegan options. We try to go every week to support these smaller businesses, but it ends up being more like twice a month. If neither he nor I have time to research a new place, we'll meet in the middle of our two apartments at our "staple" restaurant. He called early this afternoon asking if I wanted to meet there, and of course I agreed. Only I decided to run there, because running is a good cross-training break from running, right?

Bad move #1. I understand why there are cross-training days ... it's to give our bodies a break from all the pounding we do to it. It's good to work different joints and ease a few muscles. But what are you supposed to do when you don't want to do anything besides run? My left achilles started bothering me about a half mile into my run. I thought maybe my sock was folded over or I tied my shoe too tight, but when I stopped to look and readjust, there was nothing. I feel like my heel is bruised deep under my skin, because there's nothing sticking out of my shoe that should be irritating that area. I ended up taking my shoe off at the restaurant (I'm sure it's sanitary, don't panic), and gimping out of the restaurant when I had to put it back on.

After I stuffed my belly with tofu, peanuts, and peppers, I realized I had to run back to my place on a full stomach. Have you ever tried running on a full stomach? Bad move #2. My stomach was cramped the entire way back, so much where I couldn't even take a deep breath without feeling like I was being stabbed. I ended up running with a pain in my foot and pain in my stomach. Seriously bad times.

I got back to my place and logged my workout, and this is the magic number I see:

66.66 miles this month so far! I think this day is meant to be cursed.

3mi splits: 8:01, 8:26, 9:50
Air Temp: 30F

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Race Recap: Valentine's Day TC 5K

The Marathon Sports-sponsored Valentine's Day TC 5k was so much fun this morning! It would have been even more fun if my NYC-traveling friend could have made it, but I still had a blast, and somehow, set a new 5k PR.

I woke up this morning to a strange site. I'm sure this looks just like snow to the camera's eye, but we only got a few flurries overnight. Instead, it's been very foggy lately (lots of accidents happening because of such low visibility!), and the fog more or less froze last night, leaving a very thick layer of frost on everything. Frost is unusual compared to the ice and snow we normally get this time of year, but it was really pretty. This is what I woke up to in my backyard.
I saw a lot of photographers out by the lake this morning, and now I wish I had a better camera to show you what they were photographing. It's hard to see here, but all of the trees across the lake have that thick frost and it looks really pretty from a distance. I tried uploading the full-size image, so clicking this picture might give you a more zoomed-in view.
Come on, really? I live here! So beautiful.
I sort of made it a little late to the start ... not "late" late, but I did hear the announcer give a 3-minute warning while I was still walking to the start line. Naturally, there are snow plow emergency laws in Minneapolis and when we get large snowfalls, it is unlawful to park on certain sides of the streets (marked with signs) on the odd/even days. This happens so plows can get through to make sure the streets stay wide and there is not a lot of snow pileup on the curbs. I guess there has been enough snow piling up this winter where fire trucks and ambulances can no longer safely pass through when there are cars parked on both sides of the street. The city of Minneapolis has declared a snow emergency for all of the even sides of the street, so no car can park there ... for the rest of the winter! I left uber early thinking that with all of the parking spots now cut in half, I would be more than a mile away from the start line. As I imagined, the snow emergency was in effect over by the race, and although I parked relatively close, I didn't want to get out of my warm car. :) So I sat in my car until the very last minute, then briskly walked to the start line.

Look at all those running fools! (Are you looking at the tall guy in blue giving my camera a doofy look? Yeah, me too.)
As a result of me getting there at the last minute, I actually cut ahead to the start of the pack instead of lining up in the back. I like starting in the front because I don't like tripping over the people with strollers and dogs, and those that just generally want to keep a slower pace. It's not a big deal as everyone is welcome to do their own business and have fun, but I want to run fast for shorter races. As much as I don't want to be pushing anyone aside to get through, I am sure they don't want to be pushed either. I think I was about 3 "rows" back from the start car.

I took this around Mile 1. I stayed with the front of the pack for what felt like a long time. Notice the gap between me and the next person behind me. :) I'm proud of this.
Another site along the lake. We were running on the street around Lake Harriet because the path is still slick and not very clear. The roads were much more clear and safe, and they were completely blocked off to traffic.
These guys are the true winners. It takes major balls to stand out in 11-degree weather for that long. And they are even standing in the snow! All of the supporters at races make it really fun. And it's really, really fun when there are just a few cheerleaders. They give it their all, and in return, the runners end up cheering for them.I love that you can still see all of these volunteers smiling, even though the picture is so blurry.Miles 1 and 2 breezed by, but right around Mile 2.5 I started feeling sick. I was dealing with a side stitch and it was making me pretty nauseous. I slowed down my pace to where I was able to get some deep breaths, and I felt a little better. I knew I wasn't going to be sprinting to the finish line or else my breakfast would have been revisiting me, and meeting the sidewalk and everyone around me. I kept my eye on Mr. Anastos and I knew I was still making good time to set a new personal record.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 23:10, which is 15 seconds faster than my last PR in January. I grabbed a bottle of water from the race organizers, and after gagging a few times in a snowbank (don't worry -- I said I didn't run fast enough where I WOULD puke, but I definitely scared a few people into thinking I was going to), I took off running again. I decided to run the course backwards to cheer on the rest of the people who were out there.
Isn't her hat SO CUTE?? And don't worry, little lady, races make everyone tired.There was lots of red and pink, but I only saw a few costumes. I can't complain though; I didn't wear one either. After I ran the 5k route backward and when I had the finish line in site (want to keep count? I ran 3.1 for the race, then added on 2.8, leaving me at 5.9 miles.), I turned around and ran the remaining portion of the 5k route again and then back to where my car was parked, finishing at 9.02 miles.

While I was running the final 3.1, the fog began to burn off, leaving blue skies for everyone. You may be able to see some of the frost layer on the trees better since the contrast for the camera is different. It was still right around 15 degrees, but when I get to look at beautiful things like this, the temperature hardly registers.Initially I was going to run to the race and back to get in those additional 6 miles for my marathon training, but the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to give the race my full effort. I also didn't want to run with my food-shelf donations. Doing the race first and the 6 miles after appeared to pay off. I collected these icicles after finishing three laps around the course.
5k splits: 7:33, 7:35, 7:38, :24 (total time: 23:10, average speed: 7.95mph)
5.92mi splits after the race: 8:54, 8:52, 9:14, 9:14, 9:18, 8:37
total 9.02mi time: 1:17:20
Air Temp: 11F