Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stillwater Half Marathon Race Report

The Stillwater Half Marathon was today.  It was a perfect day with overcast skies and temperatures in the upper 50's.  My race gear was laid out the night before so I was ready.  For this race I went with the 2010 Stillwater Marathon shirt, which looks exactly like the 2011 shirt, but the 2011 shirt is HUGE.  They gave me a shirt with a "Large" label but said it was really an Extra Large.  Whatever size the shirt is supposed to be, it is still very big.  This, and the fact they started to accept race day registration leads me to believe the race may be having some difficulties.  In 2010 they had 941 in the half, this year 619.  For the full in 2010 they had 374, this year 244.  Overall I heard they had a decline of 1,000 runners over 2010. 

Packet pickup was held on Friday or Saturday.  With the help of a babysitter I was able to go on Friday (with my wife who ran the 10k).  It was held at the Water Street Inn in downtown Stillwater, MN. 

Historic Picture of the Water Street Inn
The Water Street Inn was a nice place to have the Expo, and the perfect size.  It was also located on the Saint Croix River, so we had an opportunity to see the river and watch the Stillwater Lift Bridge in action.  They had the usual stuff, including a healthy eating trivia wheel.  If you got the correct answer you got a coffee mug.  They had chewy fruit snacks for kids and said it was just like eating real fruit (so why not just eat real fruit?).  Two vendors selling clothing and chiropractors.  Instead of speakers they had a fashion show, but we didn't stay for it. 

Race morning arrived and I awoke at 4:30 (my alarm was set for 5:30).  With an extra hour to kill I did some Yoga with Rodney Yee.  Feeling more flexible, I put together my Hammer Nutrition supplements for before, during, and after the race.  I don't do anything special before the race, but during the race I take Anti-Fatigue Caps and Endurance Amino.  This was the second time I have done this and both times I felt an ability to run better.  The first time was an hour into a Half Marathon and shortly after I noticed my form was much better, and I didn't even realize it had gotten easier to run.  This time I was prepared to feel better so I took them before the final descent into Stillwater and the flat mile into town.  I wanted to run this section especially fast.

Once my supplements were together we were ready to go.  I dropped my wife at the start of the 10k, and it was completely deserted.  Not a single person around.  We sat in the car for about 10 minutes before we saw other people.  I didn't want to be late to my race so we said goodbye.  Just in time, because she barely beat a busload of people to the porta potties.  As luck would have it, the one she choose had NO TOILET PAPER!!  Brand new and no TP.  This was not starting good.

Last year I dropped my car at the High School and road a bus to the start.  When it was time to take a bus back to the car it was an hour wait.  They only had one bus running.  To avoid that, this year I drove and had no problem parking downtown.  With a short walk to the start I was in good spirits. 

The Half and Full both had pacers from Minnesota Pacers.  They were busy pacing 3 different races this weekend (Stillwater, Med City, and State Capitol).  At the Stillwater Half they had a 1:45 pacer and I planned to stick with her.  The skies were still overcast and the temperature cool, so we had great weather for the start.  I skipped the first few water stops, met Tom at mile 6, went to the bathroom at mile 7 (lost 30 seconds), felt great miles 8-10, pushed hard on the downhill at mile 11, pushed harder on the flat mile 12, out kicked a few people, and heard my wife cheer as I sprinted to the finish.  A new PR at 1:41:51.

1.  7:50
2.  7:58
3.  7:53
4.  8:05
5.  7:49
6.  8:27
7.  7:38
8.  7:37
9.  7:47
10.  8:06
11.  7:44
12.  7:12
13.  6:56
.2.  0:51(5:35 pace)

7:47 overall pace
70 out of 619
8 out of 41 in my age group

After the race I found my wife who did much better than she expected.  It was her first ever 10k and the farthest she has EVER run.  I am very proud and impressed.  After such great races we headed to the car for a Hammer Recoverite drink (two scoops mixed with Almond Milk).  I really shouldn't drink these, they are good for recovery but have a huge amount of cards and afterwards I am always starving (Primal or Paleo readers will know what I mean).

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Jump to It 10K

The weather was perfect for the Jump to It 10K.  We had a slight breeze coming from White Bear Lake and it was sunny.  After a winter of overcast skies it feels great every time the sun shines.  The race started at West Park/ Optimist Beach in White Bear Lake, Minnesota.  The shirt is orange, and will be perfect for walking or running during hunting season. 

The course is out and back and advertised as "flat and fast and has seen state records in its long history."  It was flat for most of it, but a few hills at the turnaround slowed me down.  However, I managed to keep a very steady pace during the race and finished in 44:29 (7:10 pace).  My Garmin said about the same thing with a distance of 3.16 miles on the way out, and 3.1 on the way back.  I guess I ran the tangents better on the way back with fewer people to maneuver around.  Race results were delayed because they had problems with the computer.  Many people were upset about this and it took away from an otherwise great event.

126 total runners in the 10K.  My time got me 20 overall and 2 in my age group.  This was the second 10K of the year for me (and second 10K ever), last time I ran 50:21 (8:07 pace).

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Afton Trail Run 25K

I signed up for the Afton Trail Run today.  The race takes place on July 2 at Afton State Park in Minnesota.  I ran the 25K last year as my first ever trail run and loved it. Now that the snow is melted and the ground is starting to dry I should be able to get to the park and do some training runs.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

2011 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

I just got an email that my credit card was charged for the Grandma's Half Marathon.  I guess this June I will be running a Half Marathon in Duluth.  This will be the 35th anniversary, so runners in both the full and half get a water bottle with the 35 Years logo and a "cinch backpack".  It should be fun, except for the part when I have to wake up the morning of the race (because the race starts at 6:30am).  

Saturday, February 26, 2011

White Bear Winter Frolic 5K

This morning was the White Bear Winter Frolic 5K (put on by Vacation Sports).  We had a lot of snow last weekend in our area of Minnesota, this creates uneven surfaces and slick spots.  This morning as I got out of the car I checked the temperature, 2 degrees.  It had began to snow, making the slick spots hard to identify.  Even with the cold and snow everyone at the start was in a festive mood. 

Packet Pickup was Indoors
The race started and for a short time you have the option of running on the road or a sidewalk.  I didn't have much choice since I was running in a crowd and ended up on the sidewalk.  The surface was very tricky as some parts were not shoveled very good.  But soon I was able to get back on the road and settle into a nice pace.  The course follows the frozen White Bear Lake.  Not much of a view, except for snow, but since footing was an issue it was better not to look around.

I wanted to run fast, but lately I have not been running much.  I really noticed it after the turnaround.  I was actually out of breath, but my leg muscles felt fine.  This was a change from my past races.  I guess the lack of cardio finally caught up with me, while the increase in weights has helped.

Setting up the Finish Line
Near the end I found myself running alone, with the nearest person about 20 seconds ahead of me.  Then with about a mile to go someone caught up and passed.  I stayed with them and near the finish they choose the sidewalk instead of the road.  This time I took the road and while they slowed for the rough sections I was able to pass.  I ran hard at the end and finished in front of them. 

Long Sleeve Cotton

34 overall
6 out of 15 in age group
22:13 time for 7:09 pace
My Garmin data says 3 miles at 22:15 for a pace of 7:25

Monday, February 14, 2011

May 29; Stillwater Half Marathon

The Stillwater Half Marathon is officially on my schedule.  The route is new this year and will be challenging in terms of hills and sun exposure, but the area is beautiful and it should be a good run.

Lottery registration for the 2011 Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon

Lottery registration for Grandma's Half Marathon started today (it is officially called the Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon).  Entry into the lottery runs till Friday, February 25.  Only 5,700 runners are selected.  I put my name in (and credit card details) and should know on Monday, February 28 if I was selected.

Run for Others 5K and 10K; April 16

While at the Sweetheart Run a member of the St. Andrew's Running club made an announcement about a race in April.  The Run for Others raises money to support Habitat for Humanity, which builds homes for families in need.  The cost is $20 and includes a shirt.  I will consider adding this race to my schedule.

Sweetheart Run 10K

This past weekend was the Sweetheart Run, put on by Vacation Sports.  The event took place in Mahtomedi, Minnesota at St. Andrew's Lutheran Church.  The church has a running club that meets on Saturdays, and they are a sponsor of the event.  Runners had access to the warm church for packet pickup, bathrooms, and after the event.  Having a warm place is reason enough to run this race.  In addition to the 10K, they had 10 mile and 5K races. 

A few minutes before the start I made my way to the starting line.  The 10 mile and 10K started together with about 100 runners.  It was an out and back course with only a few turns.  We did cross one major road, but they had volunteers posted to stop traffic.  The run was about half on paved roads and half on dirt roads.  The dirt roads were tricky because of snow and ice, but what you would expect for Minnesota in February.

I was planning to run easy since I haven't been running much (only 7 miles total in February).  I went out with a group of about 5 others, but when I turned for the 10K they kept going for the 10 mile turnaround.  I was alone at this point.  A few minutes later I dropped my glove and looked behind me as I picked it up.  I didn't even see anyone running my way.  The runner in front of me was wearing a neon green jacket that I focused on, but he was to far for me to catch.  So I spent the last half of the race running by myself. 

I was happy with the effort and thought I might be in the top 10.  When results were posted I was 6th overall!!  My time was 50:21 (8:07 pace, but I think the course was short).  I was 2nd in my age group and received a medal.  Runners were very appreciative we could use the church, and many said they would do this race again.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Polar Dash 5k Results; Age Group Winner!

I was really surprised to see the results.  I knew a 7-something pace was possible, but didn't think low 7's.  The Age Group win is a big surprise too.  

2011 Polar Dash

Polar Dash 5k

Packet pickup was Thursday or Friday only.  So Thursday I got a fleece jacket, bib, chip, and my wife surprised me with a parking garage pass.  This was a great idea and I am thankful she got it.  The fleece is very nice with reflective highlights and the Polar Dash logo.

Saturday 1-1-2011 at 11am was the Team Ortho Polar Dash 5k.  I usually don't eat before I run, but with such a late start I decided to have a bowl of apple, orange, and kiwi, with cinnamon and a bit of Greek yogurt on top.  I was also able to fit in 20 min of yoga with Rodney Yee.  I felt great and was ready for the drive to St. Paul.

It was near zero degrees at 8am, but by the start of the race it warmed up to 7.  Parking was incredibly easy, and after talking on the phone for a bit I was ready for the 1 mile warm up run to the start.  I arrived just in time to take the customary stop at the bathroom and make my way to the start.  I REALLY liked the start.  They used half the road and then funneled everyone down to about 5 people wide.  This slowed everyone down to squeeze in, but then it opened up at the timing pads and left everyone with plenty of room to run.  I started in the 8-9 min mile group but should have been closer to 7 as I passed a LOT of people. 

The race was out and back, and slightly uphill on the way out.  At the 5k turnaround the 10k racers split off.  This gave me more elbow room as about half the people were doing the 5k.  The next section was slightly downhill and it felt like getting a second wind.  I focused on my breathing, not slipping on ice, and form (in that order).  With about a mile to go I really focused on form and this kept my finish strong.  After crossing the line I got my medal and had hot coco.  They gave out a food bag and I headed over to the warming tents for a snack before running back to the car.  I felt really positive about the run and am eager to get the results

Polar Dash Fleece Jacket Logo

Nov and Dec

What have I been doing for the last few months?  Not much running.  November 57 miles and December 54 miles.  The miles in December were of better quality with more speed work, but mostly I kept it easy.  

With all the free time, and after reading a few books on nutrition, I made a few things of note in the kitchen.  I love pizza, so a Primal approved Eggplant Pizza was perfect (and this link is for another favorite Primal Pizza recipe).  I also am a fan of the omelet, so why not try the Omelet Muffin.  A huge hit with the kids.

Primal Eggplant Pizza
Primal Egg Muffins