Saturday, April 30, 2011

Father - Daughter Dance

After another Chiro appointment yesterday, I was given the OK for an easy run today. I waited until mid morning and Melissa & I headed out for an easy 4 miles. She just started running again since track practices began and I worked her and her teammates pretty hard on Thursday but she was feeling OK today. It was good to run with her since I needed to take it slow.

We started out with a first mile of 9:20 and my back was twinging some. After a small walk break at mile 1, mile 2 was slightly slower and my back was still a bit sore but not too bad. Melissa was getting tired for the last 2 miles and walked a bit more but she was a trooper and finished with a pace of a little over 10:15 per mile. Not too bad for 9 years old. I did pick up the pace a lot for the last 1/3 of a mile. I wanted to see how the back would feel going fast since I really want to run the 5K I am signed up for next Saturday. It did OK, not good, not bad.

The special part of the day today was the Father - Daughter Dance at the girl's school. This year I had the pleasure of taking all 3 princesses with me. They sure had fun running all around and dancing with their friends and having a few with me too. It is true, they grow up so fast!

Katelynn is on the left, Melissa in the middle, and Megan on the right.

The theme of the dance was Candyland. Megan had a lot fo fun.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Temporarily Out of Commission

Yep, I am out, but hopefully just for a few days. My back has been pretty bad since I reached for air off the grocery store shelf and has spasmed quite a bit almost flooring me a few times.

I went to the Chiropractor on Monday afternoon and had a good adjustment but today, it was very stiff and I still had problems with the muscle spasms. So I am going back for another adjustment Wednesday morning. I am hoping this will put it all back into place and I can get back to running in a couple days. I may need to go back again before I get the OK to run again. If things go according to the way they did in the past, I should be able to run on Thursday but will need to go a few more times for adjustments. It is absolutely amazing how just a little reach for nothing can mess me up so much.

I am a bit concerned about the 5K I am signed up for on May 7th but if I am back running soon, it should not be a problem. My goal is to run faster than the 20:59 I ran a little over a week ago. I will most likely miss my hard interval workout this week but maybe rest is better.

Today was the first time I was able to do any coaching of the kids at my daughter's school. The last practice was pouring rain and the kids just did a circuit around the gym. Today it was raining pretty hard and was windy but slowed enough to go outside to finally run. the first meet in a week and a half away so not much time left. I had the boys today, 8 of them. So I marked off a 200 meter sort of oval in the parking lot (no track available) and I had them do some 400 meter intervals. I paired them up into teams of 2 and had them run 5x400 each as a a person relay. After a water break, they did 3 more 400 meter intervals all together. Most of them seemed to enjoy it (as much as one can enjoy intervals) and some surprised me at how well they did. It was definitely a rewarding day for coaching.

Keep on Running!!!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

A New Trail to Run

This weekend was a planned long run. Since I had decided to go long on Saturday, I skipped my run on Friday. Well, not because of that, but because I was waiting at home for the new refrigerator to show up. The delivery crew gave me a window of between 4 and 7 but 7 came and went. Finally about 9:15PM, they arrived (long day for them). After getting it in the door and all hooked up, I was able to get to bed closer to 10:30 to 11. Oh well, up by 5:30 to run.

I decided to try a new bike trail run that starts in Pewaukee and goes out toward Delafield. I saw in on some mapping websites I go to and just was curious how it was. It is called the Lake Country Recreational Trail. I got to the trail head at about 6:30 and was surprised to see that is was paved. Nice for bikers but disappointing for a runner but it will do. I took off toward Delafield at an easy pace and enjoyed the new scenery.

After 4 miles, the trail went to crushed limestone for awhile and it went through NAG-Waukee Golf Course. Up until this point, I thought this would be a good trail to bike on with my girls but along the edge of the golf course, the trail was just gravel and seemed poor for biking and just OK for running. A large hill was through the gold course to add to the challenge.

After NAGA-Waukee Park, the trail was paved again all the way to Delafield. I got to the end of the trail at 7.3 miles in. I didn't want to run only 14.6 miles so I had planned more miles. I ran to Genessee St. and across I-94 toward Lapham Peak Park. This is the park where the Trailbreaker Marathon turns around right at the top of the observation tower. Sounds like a good place for me to turn around this time so up the road I ran and climbed the 250 feet to the tower and then the 40 feet to the top. It was just over 10 miles to the tower.

After a minute of looking at the views from the highest point in the area and the local lakes all around, I was off back to my car. I was at 9:16 average pace at the tower, most gained in the last 250 feet climb in the last mile but I picked it up a little on the way back. It was cloudy so the temps stayed around 45 to 50 without the sun. With 4 miles to go, i picked it up more and was able to end the run at an average of 9:03, an under 4 hour marathon pace for just over 20 miles. I was good with this.

So the morning was good and the run was good. The afternoon was not as good. I was grocery shopping when I reached for something on the shelf. I hadn't even touched it yet when my back twinged and tightened up. UUGGHH!!! For no reason (that I know of) my back just goes out. I wasn't even lifting anything, just reaching a little over and BAM! Since this was Saturday, my Chiropractor was not in. I stretched and iced but still no luck. What a pain in the . . . well . . .back side.

Funny how someone can run 20 miles in the morning and then simply reach for something and that is what takes him out.

No improvement this Sunday morning or evening so I will call early Monday for an appointment, hopefully the Dr. is in. Most likely a couple days off of running for this but I have gone through it before and after a couple adjustments and I will be fine.

I also passed 500 miles for the year during the run, coincidentally right about half way in the run near the tower.

Keep on Running!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Improvised Intervals

I had planned on running intervals of 6x800 after work today on the track in town. Only problem was that when I got there, a track meet was going on. Time for plan B. I had mapped out a 1/2 mile route next to the track along the road so I could do my intervals. this may have made them better as one way was into the wind and both ways had a downhill portion and an uphill portion. It was like running into a valley and ending back up a hill to finish. It is only about 35 feet of total elevation change per interval but it sure made a difference.

The first, third, and fifth intervals were with the wind and the second, fourth, and sixth were into the wind for an added challenge. All were pretty close in time to each other and I only took between 1:05 and 1:20 rest between each one. I left the watch going the whole time and with warm up, cool down, intervals, and jogs between intervals, I ended up with 5.75 miles for the workout and averaged 7:50 pace. It sure felt good to get some more speed in again. I have another 5K in a little over 2 weeks so the more speed, the better.

Now a change of subject. Did you see the Boston Marathon? I was trying to keep track of it from my desk at work but only could read twitter updates from Runner's World. I sure wish I could have watched in online or maybe heard someone giving a play by play (run by run, step by step) of the race. I was rooting for Desi Devila to pull it off. So close! Ans then the Men's race ending with a World's Best Marathon time and Ryan Hall with an American Best time too! Amazing!

A lot of people are wondering why it isn't a World Record or an American Record. Well, it doesn't qualify for either of those for 2 main reasons and I agree with those. The first reason is that the course drops 3.1 meters per Kilometer. the larges allowable elevation change from start to finish is 1 meter per Kilometer. This is to make sure they don't stage races on big time downhill course with the sole purpose of breaking world records.

The second reason the Boston Marathon course does not qualify for a world record is that the straight line distance from the start line to the finish line is something close to 25 miles. The largest allowable distance is half of the race distance, in this case 13.1 miles. This is to not create a race that predominantly run with the wind, thus giving it a wind aided time. Similar to a 100 meter race where there is a 2.0 meters per second allowable wind. I read that the wind at Boston was at the runner's back at 16 MPH. I think that would qualify as wind aided. So that is the reason, in case you were interested.

This doesn't mean I don't want to run Boston someday. I would love to qualify someday. Time will tell, I still need to drop a ton of time. Close to 25 minutes and maybe even more with the new qualifying rules starting next year. Perhaps I will just have to get older without slowing.

By the way, I did wake up early the other day and ran 4 miles before work.

I hope you all have a very Happy Easter.

Keep on Running!!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

More Snow?

This is what I woke up to this morning. We only got about an inch or 2 but I've had about enough of snow for the year. It was over 80F just a little over a week ago, but that is Wisconsin weather for ya!

By the time work was done, the snow was completely gone. I went for a 7 mile run along a bike trail and felt very good. I ended up running it in 59 minutes and could have gone for many more miles at that pace. I have to coach after work tomorrow so I am going to attempt to get up before work and get a few in. Chances of me getting up? Probably slim but I will still set the alarm and hope for the best.

The last 2 weeks or so have been a little problematic when it comes to unplanned purchases. First it was the van and overheating problems. That was about $700 I didn't need to fork over. The very next weekend the battery in the car died. Doesn't sound too bad until you find out that the only way to get to the battery is to take the driver front wheel off and take off a panel in the wheel well just to access it. Not to mention how on earth you get it out then. I wasn't about to attempt it myself. Another $200 I didn't plan for. Then this week, my refrigerator decided to slowly warm up. It is sort of cold in there but it is suppose to be colder than 45F and 20F. So now another crap load of $$ needs to be spent. Uuugghh. I needed to go into the Disney Fund to help pay for these things. Oh well, just going to have to start to save more (if possible).

Good thing I run to keep the stress down.

Keep on Running!!!

Race Report - Gary's Gallop 5K

Saturday morning was the Gary's Gallop 5K held at Wisconsin Lutheran College's Raabe Stadium. I have run this race 3 years in a row now and really like the small race feel and how well it is organized. My friend and fellow Icebreaker Indoor Marathon committee member Brian Volkman is the race director and even with a few unexpected snags this year, did an excellent job for a 5K race.

One thing Brian could not control was the weather. It as in the mid to upper 30's and it was misting rain along with some wind. Sound like good weather? It didn't seem to dampen spirits though as there were still 252 finishers in the 5K along with 63 walkers. Another thing Brian could not control was the construction crew. Seems that the construction crew beginning to build new stadium seating and locker facilities cut power to the sound system to all announcement were made by yelling (no bullhorn was available either as the sound system was expected to be used). The national anthem was sung by a member of the recording group Koine` but turns out we all sang together. That was a nice touch.

As with past years, we were all given a nice cotton long sleeve shirt. Same design as previous years, just a different color. I now have Green, Orange and now, Red!

The race started right on time and we headed for the parkway and down a hill toward the 1st mile mark. I was trying to relax as much as I could but it felt a little fast and I hoped to maintain knowing we would have to run back up the hill. Mile 1 was 6:34 which is about where I wanted to be. About a quarter mile later was the turn around and we headed back. I was somewhere near 30th place but at least in or near quite a few other guys which helped going up the hill. My mile 2 split was 7:08 as the hill took its toll on me. I was able to pass a few guys as we headed back to the stadium and past it before entering the baseball field area. About a half mile to go and I saw a few more guys ahead of me that I thought I could catch so I kept the pressure up. This race ends with a full lap on the track and then running to the 50 yard line of the football field. Again I was able to pass 2 guys on the track and 1 more right as we hit the football field for the final 50 yards. My finishing time was 20:59 and 23rd place overall.

I am not unhappy with my time and also not ecstatic. Considering the weather and the course, it was about where I expected. It was only 20 to 30 seconds slower than the last 2 years. After the race, I ran an additional 5 miles while the kids race was going on. The kids race it so much fun to watch. About 20 kids between 2 and 10 ran 1 lap around the track and all received a ribbon. That is pretty cool for a race to do, make the kids feel a part of the fun.

As I finished the 5 mile 'cool down', the awards were being given out and I was surprised to learn that I took 2nd in my age group. I received a medal for my efforts. In a nice gesture, as I went up to get my medal, Brian told all the other runners about the WELS Kids Marathon that I organize and hold the final mile at the same location. That was really cool.

Even on my cool down, a lady stopped me and asked if she could get her school involved in the Kids Marathon. I will have to tell you more about that as we are beginning our 3rd year.

Thumbs up to Brian on putting on another great race and I plan on running this one yet again next year. Now 3 weeks more and I will try a 5K once again up in Door County.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Wanted to Run but ...

I had planned on running today but I only was able to get a half mile in. You see, today was the first day of track practice at my daughters school. I volunteered this year to be the distance coach for the boys and girls. I was going to run with the kids but today they were doing time trials so all of them did a 1 mile trial and I timed them. My half mile came during the warm up. After practice, there was no more time to get any miles in and I needed to get my daughter home.

Practices are Tuesdays and Thursdays so I think I will just have to run before work on those days. No worries, the track is close and the port-o-lets are out for the summer. The biggest problem will be getting my butt out of bed early enough to get 5 miles in before work.

I was able to get 5 miles in yesterday and have a special 45 minutes with my youngest daughter. I was able to push her in the jog stroller for what may be one of the last time. She is now 5 years old and getting pretty big and heavy for the stroller. She is much more active than in the past when she used to either go to sleep during the run or just be quiet and look around. We talked most of the run pointing out what we saw and what we did all day. She even sang a few songs for me along the way. After 5 miles, I could tell she had about enough and was ready to get out. Won't be too many more of these runs so I will cherish the times we still have.

Keep on Running!!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Now Some Rest

A couple more good runs and now a little needed rest. On Wednesday, I ran on the track with Melissa. She ran on and off while I ran 4x800 with 200 meter jog between. I was happy that my times for the first 2 were at 3:20 and the second 2 were at about 3:10 all with only 1:20 jog rest. I had to dodge a few middle school kids as there were 2 different schools on the track practicing. I was able to talk to each of the head coaches though and invite their schools to the WELS Kids Marathon. I have not heard yet if they do want in though I have emailed them.

I didn't run yesterday as 2 of my daughters were Munchkins. Yes, their school was producing the musical The Wizard of Oz and their classes were all cast as Munchkins. They were so cute and sang really well. And as usual, I forgot the camera, GGRRRRrrrrrrrr.

I don't have a chance on Saturday to run so I decided to do my long run today after work. I ended up running 14 miles and surprised myself by doing it at 8:53 pace. I wanted to take it easy and for the most part, it was. But my right knee was really acting up some and my left was a little sore. Now I plan on taking the weekend off and really resting the legs. After last weekends marathon and the good workouts this week, I am going to try hard to not do much. Not sure it will happen.

The weather is starting to get warmer here and more and more runners are venturing out. Welcome Back!

Keep on Running!!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

A Little Help Please

If you have seen my last couple blog posts, you may have noticed I am having a little trouble. Seems that every paragraph I write is all mashed up into one large paragraph. Same thing happened to the right of the screen when I updated Races List. I didn't do anything different (at least I don't think I did) with the way I post or any settings so if you know what I may have done, please drop me a note. (NEW PARAGRAPH) Another thing I need help with is my new Garmin 305. I have it set to record and alarm at every mile split. It does do this just fine but it does not show the split on the screen at all. My old Garmin showed the split for a few seconds before it went back to the timer. Anyone know how to set this? (NEW PARAGRAPH) I was able to get on the roads right away after this past weekend's training marathon. Monday I ran 4 miles and today I ran 5 miles and both felt good and easy at an under 9:00 pace. I may hit the track tomorrow for a few 800 repeats as I am thinking of running a 5K in 10 days and haven't run any speed in a long time. We'll see. (NEW PARAGRAPH) Keep on Running!!!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Race Report - Trailbreaker Marathon

Yesterday was the Trailbreaker Marathon in Waukesha, WI, about 12 miles from my house. This isn't one of your huge or glamorous marathons, it is a low key, no frills marathon. It is also a tough marathon as far as a course. It is for this reason that I like to run it as a trailing run, and not as a race.

Here are some of the Pros from this years race: The registration fee is quite small. I signed up the morning of the race and it was only $55. By signing up the day of, I also saved on the Active fees. The race is quite small with only 120 finishers this year. The staff is very friendly and helpful. Again this year, they had the "Bag Drop" option which allowed you to fill a bag with whatever you wanted to have and they would bring to the 11 & 16 mile mark of the race. This came in handy this year for me. Also, they again had a medal for marathon finishers, something they just started last year. The return of the bell as well.

The Cons were that while the mile markers were accurate for the first 11 miles, after that, they were off about 1/4 mile each. They used a come to mark the miles on the way out and on the opposite side of the cone was suppose to be the mile marker for the way back, but it was off 1/4 mile. Another con is that they have too few mater stops. In the entire race, there are only 7 and some about 3 1/2 miles apart. Quite a few years ago, this race was ranked in the top 25 of the toughest marathons in North America. While it is a tough race, I am not sure it is a top 25. The course is actually not hard at all for 21 of the miles, it is the middle 5 that are quite tough, especially if you are not a trail runner as it is off road, on grass and wet slippery rocks, and this year, a ton of mud. Also unique to this marathon, at 13.5 miles, you climb a 40 foot observation tower at the top of a hill that is the highest elevation in the entire county. That is where you ring a bell and head back the way you came, more mud!

This year, I had a few friends joining me in running. Mike, Paul, and Chris came out for good training runs. The weather turned out to be really good as it was in the mid 30's for the start, overcast, and a touch of wind, but not too bad. I knew Mike and Chris would be running faster so Paul and I stayed together for the first 2 miles until he took off. I would be able to see these guys again on the off road trail since the course is almost a complete out and back.

Paul running along the bike trail. As you can see some snow is still around.

A mile in the race, suddenly I realized I forgot to put on my band aids to protect my nips. I was suddenly worried and hoping there would not be a problem. Luckily I did not have any issues.

Chris is in his final few miles of the race.

Paul took off at mile 2 just when I was joined by a guy named Jay who just wanted someone to run with. He was on a training run as well and we paced good together. I found out he was a principal of a local school and even invited his school to join the WELS Kids Marathon. He said to email him after the race and he would see what he could do but was interested. We clipped mile after mile off at an easy pace. Experience of running this race told me to take it easy until after the off road trail as that can really zap all your energy if you run it wrong or too fast.

Jay and I ran about 15 miles of the race together talking and helping each other out.

Before the off road trail, the course climbs a little more than 200 feet in a 2 1/2 mile stretch on the bike trail that used to be a rail bed so it was gradual but your legs start to notice. By the time Jay and I got the the start of the off road portion, we were averaging just over 9:15 per mile. We hit the grass and the first part feels OK. There is a notorious spot early on the trail that is always muddy and you can't go around it was it is surrounded by thorny bushes. This year, it wasn't too bad here so the shoes were not too heavy yet. Once in the woods, the trail gets very hard to run. Not only do you have to watch for rocks that are wet, but this year, the course was super muddy with a couple spots where snow/ice were still on the trail. Also, the trail is very narrow so single file is the only way to run and now other runners were on their way back from the tower going the other way.

This is where I saw that Mike was in 3rd place over all. After a high five, he was on his way back. The trail slows us down A LOT as not only our shoes are full of heavy mud now, but we begin to climb in elevation toward the tower. I get to see Chris and Paul and high fives again and I finally see the tower. But before we get the privilege of running up the tower, the trail climbs about 75 feet of steps first. Once up those, you have to climb the 40 foot tower to ring the bell before heading back to Waukesha.

Mike was running extremely well the entire race.

Jay and I are still running together pointing out muddy areas and trying to avoid the pitfalls of the dangerous course. The tower is at about 13 1/2 miles into the race and since I had my new garmin on, I was able to see my 13 to 14 mile split. This mile 14 split was a whopping 15:25! That as the mud, hills, and tons of steps and that back down all that. By this time, it was extremely difficult to run the steps so in order to conserve energy, most walk them. And then it is wet and slippery, so most end up walking down them too. The trail is just as hard on the way back to the bike trail.

Jay and I get back to the bike trail and 1/4 mile later, we were at the bag drop. I planned ahead and had a fresh pair of shoes in my bag so I stopped and changed into clean, light, non muddy shoes. Jay's parents were there cheering him on so he talked to them some as I said he could catch up to me. By this time, I looked at the garmin and the average pace went from 9:15 going into the mud, to 10:20 when back on dry pavement.

With new shoes on foot and a portion of a PB & J sandwich in me, I am able to really pick up my pace. It helps that now I get to run the 2 1/2 miles of railroad grade downhill to get me moving. It feels fast as I clip off an 8:37 & 8:48. I finish the gradual downhill with an 8:15 and know that my legs are tired but not enough for me to slow down. I look back and see Jay behind me by not too much and gradually catching up. He has changed to a 5 minute run/1 minute walk but he is running 7:30 pace when running. I am also passing a few runners who are now struggling from the muddy trail & hills. This is where I like to see a few runners ahead of me that I can use as goals to try to pass. I am also passing a few half marathon walkers who are still on the course as their race started a hour later.

A Gu or 2 keeps me going as I continue with an 8:46 & 8:17. I am trying to calculate what I would need to run to beat my time from last year which was a 4:16. I think I need to run 9:00's the rest of the way so I try to keep the pace. Jay now has caught up to me for a bit but takes his break and I don't see him again.

With only 2 miles to go, I was still feeling strong.

I keep the pressure on my pace and while tired, feel like this can only help me in later races giving me confidence later in future races. Mile 25 was a 8:19 and mile 26 was 8:08. the final 0.2 at a 7:30 pace and I finish the fasted I have ever run the last 9 miles of a marathon averaging an 8:30. My finishing time was 4:13:37 good for 57th out of 120. Considering this was only a training run and the course was extremely muddy in spots, I am very happy with that time. It was a great training run!

I feel like I could have kept going another few miles, but I didn't.

Shortly after I finish and see Jay finish, I find Paul and Mike. Turns out Mike ended up in 4th overall and was the first Master Finisher. He somehow ran 3:24:45 even after running 20 miles with me last weekend and doing a good hill workout on Tuesday. He was extremely please with his race. Paul ran pretty good finishing is 3:55:13. We found Chris who also ran this as a training run in 3:35:46. In a month, he will be running his first trail 50K.

Paul ran pretty well as well.

After the race, Mike, Paul, and I partake in another big Pro for this race. The free beer for runner! We watch the awards for the half marathon and hope that the full marathon awards are right after so Mike can pick up his Masters Winner award. Now a Con, we waited and waited and waited and finally, 6 hours after the start, the give out the awards. Why did they have to wait so long???? In fact, they gave out awards for the top 3 in all age groups and the only female still there, was the overall winner. Now they will have to mail out all the certificates, they could have saved close to $20 in postage if they just had done the awards earlier plus made the winners more appreciative.

All in all, this race has improved over the years (I have run the full 4 times, and the half and 5K once each) but there are still some simple improvements that can be done. But for only $55, I can't complain too much and do like the race. I'll probably run this again, but only as a training run.

Keep on Running!!!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Back to Running?

My oldest daughter, Melissa, is back in the running game! Yesterday, we took her to InStep Running and Walking Center to buy her a new pair of running shoes. She still had a $50 gift certificate that she won at the WELS Kids Marathon so with that and the 30% off the shoes were discounted at, the price came to just under $30. Yeah, this place is pretty expensive but they have great service in getting the right shoe. Later that day, we ran over to the high school track about a 1/4 mile away and did some laps. She ended up doing a little over 2 miles. Not bad since this was her first run since last fall. There are a few 5K's she wants to do this spring so she is going to try to get back in shape. As for me, I didn't run today. Tomorrow I will be running the Trailbreaker Marathon in Waukesha, WI. As I said before, I am only running this as a training run. It rained a little today which means the off road portion of the race will be wet, and in some areas, muddy. uugghh. And since it is an out and back, we will run past it twice. So, nothing like a good long run to start the weekend tomorrow morning. Keep on Running!!!