Mark's Badgerland Blog
Greetings from my hometown of Saxon, WI! I'm going to write about running events throughout Wisconsin and the Western U.P. of Michigan; many of these events you may have never heard of but aren't too far away from the Twin Ports. I look forward to share my thoughts and experiences with you as both a recreational runner and race organizer.
July 31, 2008: Marathon Build-Up Run and a Tailgate Party!
Hi fellow runners! I'm back after a two-week hiatis. Briefly, I keep my personal computer at my parents' house in Saxon. Although I work for a great company (I write Oshkosh Corporation manuals for an independent company), I'm not allowed to blog at work. Therefore, I have to wait until I get to Saxon before I can continue my "Badgerland Blog."
This past Sunday I ran a 16 mile marathon build-up training run in Menasha, WI sponsored by the Fox Cities Marathon and the PaceSetters running club. The training run begins at the marathon start line at the UW-Fox Valley campus. The course goes two miles from Midway Road to Telluah Avenue, and then we take a left on Telluah and over a bridge where the first water station is located. At the four mile mark, we take a right turn to College Avenue (Appleton's equivalent to Superior Street). We then take the CE biking and hiking trail which parallels College Avenue until we reach the turn around point. Although the runners enjoy the CE trail a lot, the only drawback is there is very little shade on the trail. However, the trail is very safe to run on and there are additional water stations on the trail. Also, the trail has some hills on it, and I needed the additional hill training to get ready for the Paavo Nurmi Marathon on August 9.
The man who organizes the Fox Cities Marathon training runs is Ron Goudreau, who has finished all 17 Fox Cities Marathons. Ron has a good sense of where everyone is during the training runs and remains on the course until the last runner returns safely to UW-Fox Valley. Not only Ron sets up the water stations, he also serves as a "cheerleader," always cheerful and encouraging. Let me know if you know of someone like Ron in the Duluth area.
On Tuesday, 7/29, I went to Fox Cities Stadium in Appleton for a tailgate party hosted by the PaceSetters' Running Club. The party was pot luck (I brought salsa and chips) with the club providing soda, water, and beer. We had a picnic area reserved for us on the west end of the stadium. About 50 to 60 people attended with a mix of runners, spouses, kids, and friends. Conversations varied from the Packers and Brewers to the next big run or triathlon. After the tailgate party, we went inside the stadium to watch the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers play the Lansing Lugnuts in a Midwest League baseball game. It's a good way to get to know club members better in a setting away from running.
I am kind of curious to hear what runners in the Twin Ports do to socialize away from running. Do you go to a baseball game, go to a concert, or, heaven forbid, go to Superior Speedway on a Friday night? I like to hear from you guys on that.
Finally, I'm going on my last long run (maybe 10 miles or so) this coming Saturday before next week's Paavo. My next blog will be shortly after that run when I will talk about the 40th Paavo Nurmi Marathon in Hurley. Good running (and partying) to you!
July 19, 2008: Festival Ironwood Walk, Run, and Roll
This morning I ran in the 16th annual Festival Ironwood Walk, Run, and Roll at the old Ironwood, MI, depot building. Chris Berquist has been the only race director in the event's existence, and she has made the Festival Ironwood into one of the U.P.'s premiere running events with entries consistently between 170 and 200 runners and walkers.
The Festival Ironwood consists of a five mile and two mile run. The 5 mile run is especially demanding, usually used as a tune-up for major area events such as the Paavo Nurmi Marathon and Whistlestop Marathon. The five mile course has major hills between miles 1 and 2, miles 2 and 3, and miles 4 and 5. The last hill goes past the famous Hiawatha statue once christened in the sixties by First Lady Lady Byrd Johnson. Although the last part of the course is a gradual, fast downhill, I never seem to make up the distance and time lost going up the last hill.
The five mile course also has two time splits and two well-staffed water stations. Chris does a great job with her awards ceremony, with plenty of door prizes and special awards for youngest participant, oldest participant, long distance participant, and earliest participant.
How slow did I go? I finished with a time of 43:18, about thirty seconds slower from last year's time. I set a pre-race goal of finishing faster than my Dragin' Tail time of 43:01. Didn't quite do it, but I still had a lot of fun which is always most important to me.
Finally, good luck to all of you at upcoming events such as the Voyageur 50 Mile Run and other runs both big and small. Good running to you!
July 18, 2008: Brief Intro and Two 4th of July Weekend Runs
Welcome to Mark's Badgerland Blog! I'm Mark Massoglia, and I've had two careers as a runner. The first career was between 1978 and 1980 when I competed in high school track and field at Hurley (WI) High School and one year of track and field at UW-Platteville. I also finished two Paavo Nurmi marathons (the second one was a P.R. of 3:23:25). However, I burnt out and quit for 12 years. When I returned to running in 1992, I made a vow to run strictly for fun and not worry about P.Rs. and awards. Since 1992, I've finished an additional 24 marathons, 36 half marathons, and countless smaller races. I'm glad to say my second career has been a fun ride!
As I mentioned in my intro, I'm also a race organizer. Since 1998, I've been race director of the Dogwood 5K Run and 2 Mile Walk in my hometown of Saxon, WI (between Hurley and Ashland). Also, I've been the points director of the five-event "Run the Range" Series in the Hurley/Ironwood, MI area since its start in 2002. I'll get into more detail about this series in a future post, but basically it's running equivalent to local stock car racing's AMSOIL and COMO Oil Series. Quite a comparison, hmmm!
I also said in my intro that I was going to write about many running events in both Wisconsin and Michigan. I'll make this promise right now that I won't critique these events like a movie or food critic for a major newspaper. There's no need for that. I'll be glad to describe the courses and talk about my own performances, but I won't criticize an event unless there is something really blatant. Being a race director myself, I know how hard it is to organize a run/walk and the pitfalls that are involved.
I am going to write about two events I attended two weeks ago. The first one is the Sunday Lake Run in Wakefield, MI and was held on the 4th of July. It has the distinction of being one of the oldest running events in the U.P. with this year's run the 31st edition. The course is relatively flat, encompassing the entire lake in 2.8 miles. I always look forward to this event because it's usually the first event after my Dogwood run and I'm usually chomping at the bit to be just a runner again! Since it is such a short run and on a flat course, my pace is usually faster that it would normally be for a 5K or 10K run. Conversely, a lot of my fellow runners who usually finish behind me in those 5Ks and 10Ks find a way to finish ahead of me at Sunday Lake. But that's what makes running so fun!
This year's event had over 350 participants. The Fire on Ice Women's Hockey Team presents the event, and they did a fine job getting everyone registered on time and made sure there were plenty of goodies at the finish line. This year's champions were Wakefield native Ryan Holm (who finished Grandma's under 2:30) and Jamie Badour of Ewen, MI. Oh, by the way, I finished under 22 minutes for the first time (21:45). A great way to spend the 4th of July!
The very next day I made the nearly 80 mile trek from my parents' house in Saxon (I actually live in Omro, WI, just west of Oshkosh) to Lake Nebagamon for the Dragin' Tail 5 Mile Run. This was my first trip to the Dragin' Tail since 2003 because of conflicts with other runs. It's too bad because the Dragin' Tail is one event I really enjoy. The course is fair with one hill and incline between miles 1 and 2 and then becomes relatively flat for the remainder of the run. There are two water stations on the course, a time split at the first mile, and the course is well-marked.
I saw something very unique for a 5 mile run: a 5K marker! For the many serious runners in the race, the 5K marker was perfect for them to gauge their pace to that point to see if they should push harder or not. The one thing I'm serious about when I'm running is my MPM, otherwise known as minutes per mile. If you ever get to visit with me at a run, you will usually see me with a bottle of water or food in one hand and my Runner's World Pace Chart in the other hand. I think I have about a dozen of those pace charts in my duffle bag.
Jim Becker and the Lake Nebagamon Volunteer Fire Department do a great job organizing the event every year. The goodies bags are exceptional for a shorter distance race, complete with pencils, chewing gum, and a snack bar. The post-race buffet had plenty of water and fruit for everyone. The race has grown so much that chip timing was used this year, which freed up the volunteers for other duties. Kudos go to this year's champions: Lake Nebagamon's Dane Moreland, who won my Dogwood Run back in 2003, and Duluth's Rochelle Wurth. I know Rochelle has won plenty of events over the years, and I was very happy to meet her and her husband before the race.
How did I do? My chip time was 43:01, about a 8:36 clip per mile. Speaking of that 5K marker I was bragging about earlier, I got there at 26:10. If I could have kept that pace, I would have finished around 42:30. Well, that will give me incentive for my next Dragin' Tail!
Whew, I sure was gabby for my my first blog. In my next blog, I'll write about the Festival Ironwood Walk, Run, and Roll, which will be held tomorrow (Saturday, 7/20) and maybe go into more detail about the "Run the Range" Series and its crazy correllation to local stock car racing. Good running to you!