Saturday, July 31, 2010

5 Miles with St. Croix Valley Runners

I ran with the St. Croix Valley Runners again on Saturday.  We had about 20 people.  This was my 3rd time running with them and I''m beginning to know the regulars.  I ran with two other guys and we finished at about an 8:20 per mile pace.  After we finished three of the runners took off for an additional 15-ish miles up to the Gateway Trail and back.  I decided to take my long run Sunday as planned along the Gopher to Badger 1/2 Marathon route.  The race is in two weeks so I want to get a feel for the course. 

Follow this link to the 5 mile route the St. Croix Valley Runners follow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

500 miles so far

I was looking at my monthly mileage and decided to add it up.  Over 500 miles so far this year!  I can't believe it.  I really enjoy my runs and the planning that goes along with signing up for a race.  My pace is also improving and I am getting comfortable with running the ChiRunning way. 

I'm also excited to be back in the pool.  University of Minnesota has a few races in early 2011 that I'd like to swim.  I plan to take it easy with 2-3 days a week in the pool, then ramp things up each month with Nov/Dec being serious swim time. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Stillwater Lumberjack Days

Today was the Lumberjack Days 10 mile, 5k, and kids races.  It was a lot of fun for me because I didn't run, but watched with my kids while my wife ran the 5k.  It was her first race and she did great!  My daughter ran the kids 1 mile and surprised me by running the entire way, and even picked up the pace at the end!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ankle Issues

I was in the attic installing a bath fan exhaust when I somehow stressed my left ankle.  It was uncomfortable to walk, so I took a few days off running (Sun - Tue).  Today I did a short 2 mile run, but I did it fast.  I actually surprised myself by going 7:46 and 6:51.  I don't think I've ever gone under 7 for a mile before. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hammer Nutrition

Since I'm getting low on gels and the weather has been getting hotter (and my mileage is increasing) I began researching fueling ideas.  The Hammer Nutrition website has a section called "Knowledge", and it is full of information.  I started reading Endurance Athlete's Guide to Success (over 100 pages).  It provides the reason behind the products and how best to use them.  It was good information and I look forward to reading more on endurance nutrition, but this gives me a good place to start.  Unfortunately the Washington County library system has a limited selection of sport nutrition books.  I've requested two of them, Vegetarian Sports Nutrition and Advanced Sports Nutrition

On my last order from Great Race Nutrition they sent a 15% off coupon.  With this in hand I went to the website and got some Hammer products:
  • Premium Insurance Caps for daily use
  • Gels for calories 
  • Endurolyte Capsules for longer runs
  • Recoverite Drink Mix for post running
  • and Free shipping (if you spend over $49 on Hammer products)

St. Croix Valley Runners

Today I ran with the St. Croix Valley Runners for 5 miles, the usual Saturday run.  It was a good group with about 12 people. 

The group was talking about the Red Wing River City Ramble (Aug 8).  Seems this is a popular race and many people are doing it.  I've got a full racing schedule so will pass, but will keep my ears open to what else is a popular run. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

Get Ready to Rock; Sept 11

I signed up for Get Ready to Rock, a 20 mile race in White Bear Township, MN.  This will be my longest race ever!  This is another race with pacers, which I will take advantage of.  It is also a small race, with about 500 expected.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Rochester and Mankato; Half Marathon

After a good run at Afton I've decided to add two more races. 

Rochester Half Marathon on August 28
Mankato Half Marathon on October 23

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Afton Trail Run - 25k Race Report

I woke up to use the bathroom and since it was 4:30, figured I might as well stay up.  And so the day began.  After adding sunscreen, band-aids and anti-chaffing lotion I was ready to eat.  My prefered pre-race meal is Oatmeal Squares (with kiwi, banana, and blueberries) and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (on one slice of bread, and the peanut butter/jelly had no added sugar).  I grabbed my bag and was at Afton State Park in no time.  The sun was coming up and looked like a ball of fire just over the horizon.  The weather was great with overcast sky and a slight breeze.  Packet pickup was easy to find and the bathrooms had a short line (when I went). 

Race Strategy:  Every 10 minutes take a sip of water (I wore my fuel belt) and every 25 minutes take a gel, alternating Hammer and Powerbar gels.  Since they had HEED, I would do the first hour with water and then refill my bottles with HEED. 

At 7:30 the 25k group lined up and the Race Director said a few words.  The park thanked us for raising over 25 thousand dollars since the Afton Trail Races began, this being the 17th race.  Race Director talking again...."Orange flag, green flag, stay left.....GO!".  The trail starts off downhill and my backpacking experience really paid off as I found my footing easily and didn't slow much.  Everyone quickly settled into a nice pace with plenty of room for passing as we sorted out positions.  Then we hit the first hill, and it wasn't steep, but I was using my calf muscles more than I'm used to and had to settle myself into a slower run. 

The course was beautiful and had many spots to enjoy the view while still making sure your feet would land safely.  They must have cut the grass along the trials for us because it seemed well maintained, the fire roads too.  Even the single track didn't seem to technical.  Overall the course was great with good transitions from uphill to flat and then downhill.

My drinking/gel strategy was working really well and I was feeling good.  After a long stretch of flat running along the St. Croix River we turned uphill onto the section called the "Meat Grinder" (map).  It was the hardest section for me.  It wasn't that steep, but it came at a point in the race when I was most tired and needed my second wind.  After the grinder was an aid station and I took a chocolate Hammer gel.  The trail turned slightly downhill and I got my running form back, and it was a good thing because we started "Snowshoe Loop".  This section was the most technical with grass on the trail hiding what was below.  The trail passes under a bridge and then the LAST uphill.  The guy running with me says about a minute more once we clear the trees.  I take off and check the watch, I could be under 2:45!!  My goal was under 3 hours so this is GREAT.  Four minutes later I finish in 2:43, per my watch.

Times are now posted: 2:43:51 (10:34 pace), 112 out of 245

Other Afton posts:
Live Life. Be Passionate  Afton Trail Race 2010
Run. Race. Repeat.  "Hey, I Know That Guy!"
Westy's Running  Afton 25k?
...mostly just running  Afton Trail Run 25K 2010
North Woods Trail Running  Afton 25K 2010
Dances with Dirt  Some Like it Hot = Afton 50k
Running Injury Free  Afton Trail Run
Afton Runner  Afton Trail Race 2010

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Shoes!

My Brooks Trance 7 are in need of replacement, but the latest, version 9,  has an MSRP of $140, so I was looking for something cheaper.  I originally got them from Sierra Trading Post, a great place to buy shoes at a discount, but they don't always have my size.  So I am going to try the Adrenaline GTS 10.  Brooks puts them in the same catagory but notes the Adrenaline is different (see article here) in that it has less cushion, cheaper materials, and a snugger feel.  I got free shipping from Holabird Sports and should see them next week.  I'll get $15 off my next order too.

July has arrived...

... and for the month of June I ran over 100 miles, with a training run of 15 miles (my longest run ever).  The 15 mile was a challenge; hilly and hot, but I still managed to hit 13 miles in under 2 hours!  That is great for me and a real confidence booster for the Afton 25k on Saturday!

Also in June I had a great backpacking trip and family vacation.  I've also been doing Core Performance Endurance, but think I like the original workout in Core Performance better. 

Family Vacation

The last two weeks were family vacation time.  My sister and her family came from Ohio to visit, along with my parents.  We had a great week visiting local attractions like Teddy Bear Park in Stillwater, University of Minnesota, Interstate State Park, and Como Zoo.  When she left my parents stayed and we hit the road to Pete's Retreat on Mille Lacs Lake.  Great place for camping, and the kids loved the pools.  Afterwards we headed further north to the Iron Range for a few nights at a very cool cabin.  We stayed near the city of Virginia, and visited Mineview in the Sky and the Hull Rust Mahoning Mine View.  Both were very informative since I didn't know anything about the mining history of northern Minnesota (and the kids loved the big trucks). 

I still managed to run, but mostly on time and not a know distance.  It was nice to have a change of scenery.

Teddy Bear Park, Stillwater                Interstate State Park      

Beach on Mille Lacs Lake
Mineview in the Sky truck, "King of the Lode"