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.
August 29, 2009: From a Bummer August to a Very Busy September
As promised, I'm writing another blog to talk about running in Badgerland. I'm here in Saxon this weekend to celebrate the birthdays of my brother Greg (yesterday, 8/28) and my mother Lorene (Monday, 8/31). I was hoping to go for my weekend long run this morning. However, with the very heavy and cold rainfall we're having in the Hurley area right now, I'm going to postpone it until tomorrow.
This latest setback has basically summed up my month of August. Other than running in the first Paavo half marathon three weeks ago, I've had no weekend races in August. Although I've been able to get a couple of 11-mile runs in the last two weekends, I had to cut short some of my weekday runs because of other commitments. To cut to the chase, my August has been a real bummer.
The good news is I should be able to make up for my disappointing August with a real good and busy September. On Labor Day weekend, I'm going for an 11 mile run with the Fox Cities Marathon training group on Saturday followed with a 13.1 solo training run on Labor Day (I got my course all marked already). On Saturday, 9/12, I will be in Waupun, WI (25 miles southeast of Oshkosh) to run in the Wild Goose Chase 10K. The following weekend I will be running both the 5K and the 1/2 marathon at Fox Cities. On Saturday, 9/26, I may do the 5K trail run on the Birkie Trail. So my September schedule should get me out of the doldrums!
If I decide to do the Birkie run, will I be OK if I run with my regular running shoes or an older pair of shoes? I don't have trail running shoes since I do little trail running. Any sugguestions would be appreciated.
Finally, since September and October are big months in the silent sports world, go luck to all of you in your upcoming events. My next blog will be the weekend of 9/26 where I'll hopefully discuss a happy and successful month of running. Take care!
August 9, 2009: 41st Paavo Nurmi Marathon
Hi Northland Runner readers. I ran in the first Paavo Nurmi Half Marathon yesterday with a field 38 men and 26 women. My finishing time was 2:23:59, but I was thrilled that I completed my 40th half marathon at the Paavo.
In the full marathon, a major upset occurred when 25 year old Anja Jokela of Minneapolis won with a time of 3:08:06, besting eight time defending champion Ann Heaslett of Madison. I was able to meet Anja at Friday night's spaghetti feed, and she really enjoyed visiting with all the runners. She was even gracious enough to have my picture taken with her after her finish. Another classy, gracious person is Ann Heaslett who's a wonderful ambassador for our sport. Another class act is now four-time men's champion Ben Schneider of Rockford, IL. As he approached the finish line, he enthusiastically waved to the crowd as they gave him a well-deserved ovation. This year's full Paavo had 169 men and 60 women. Congratulations to everyone involved with this year's Paavo!
Finally, my next blog will be the weekend of August 29th. Take care!
July 31, 2009: Hodge-Podge of Topics
I can't believe it's the last day of July already! Hi Northland Runner readers, and I'm back on the computer after another two week "vacation." Like the title states, I'm going to discuss a variety of topics including my own training for the first of my two upcoming half marathons, an update of two upcoming runs in Northern Wisconsin in the next week, and, finally, a book "review" about a true-story homicide involving a running group in Green Bay.
First of all, my training is going OK but not great. I was able to sandwich two 10-mile runs between my Festival Ironwood 5 Mile race in the last two weeks. The good news is I was able to run 5 seconds a minute faster on my second 10-mile run. Tomorrow, I will try to get my last long run in before next Saturday's inaugural Paavo Nurmi Half Marathon. As of now, I have no idea on how many people have entered or about the quality of the field. I'm hoping there will be a good cross-section of runners from across the Upper Midwest, and I'm crossing my fingers that the Twin Ports will bring a good contingent. I'm not making any predictions about my own race because the course will be run on the second half of the full Paavo course, including the notorious hills of County Trunk C. If I'm able to run a 9:30 to 9:45 pace on my training run tomorrow, I think I might have a shot at finishing around two hours. I'll tell you how I finish next Saturday afternoon!
The other race I want to discuss will be held tomorrow in Park Falls, WI, which is 55 miles south of Ashland. The race is the 31st Evergreen 5K Road Run, and it's in conjunction with the city's Flambeau Rama celebration. I've been lucky to run the race three times, and the course is perfect for a strong hill runner. The course starts at the city hall and goes down and up a hill. Then you make a right hand turn and go up and down another hill. Then you make another right hand turn and go and down two more hills before the course flattens out. I remembered finishing 24:10 in 1998 (which is really good for me) and being surprised as heck when I was announced an age group winner. Although I wish this race would get more exposure in running publications and web sites because it is such a good race, the Evergreen 5K still gets a solid field of 150 to 200 participants every year (many with ties to the Park Falls area). Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend this year's event because I'm attending the Iron County Fair in my hometown of Saxon.
Finally, I bought a book today called "Run at Destruction" and hopefully will be available in Duluth area bookstores. The author is Lynda Drews, and she tells the story of a love triangle between three of her running partners in the Green Bay area which ends in the homicide of her best friend. The editor of "Silent Sports" magazine gave a detailed review of the book, and the book includes quotes from Cellcom Green Bay Marathon Race Director Sean Ryan, Boston Marathon Race Director Dave McGillivray, and Track & Field News correspondent Sean Hartnett. On one last note, Lynda and her husband Jim helped to establish the Bellin 10K Run in the late seventies, and this year's Bellin field had well over 15,000 participants.
Like I said, this blog was really a "hodge-podge" of different subjects. Have a great week, and I will talk to you next Saturday!
July 18, 2009: Festival Ironwood Walk, Run, and Roll
Hi everyone! As I said yesterday, this blog will be devoted to the 18th running of the Festival Ironwood Walk, Run, and Roll. Chris Bergquist has been the only race director in the event's history, and I had learned a lot from both her and retired Bessemer Hometown Run's race director Paulette Schwartz on how to organize a run and tried to model my Dogwood run after their events. This year's Festival Ironwood run had something in common with last month's Hometown Run: unusually cool, wet weather. Chris even commented to some of her volunteers that this year's event was the first time she had to wear jeans instead of shorts!
The Festival Ironwood consists of a 2 mile and 5 mile run. I usually use the 5 mile run as a training run for the Paavo Nurmi marathon and other upcoming half or full marathon events. Like the Hometown 10K Run, the Festival Ironwood 5 mile run is very challenging with major hills between miles 1 and 2, 2 and 3, and 4 and 5. The course is very well supported with two water stations at miles 3 and 4 and time splits at miles 1 and 3. The last hill is especially tough for me because you actually turn into it halfway up instead of the bottom of the hill. I've always had problems accelerating up that hill and is one of the toughest I face all running season.
I told Chris before the run how beautiful this year's t-shirt is: yellow background with blue and red lettering. There were plenty of goodies for both finish line food and door prizes. Per tradition, the Festival Ironwood has additional, special awards such as earliest entrant, first entrant, oldest entrant, etc. I'm just guessing here, but I think the turnout was between 150 and 175 people.
My finishing time was 44:35, about a minute slower from last year's time, but there's definitely a silver lining. My first mile split was 8:20, but my pace slowed down to 26:45 at mile 3. After calculating my minute-per-mile pace at mile 3 and my finish, I ran consistent 8:52 minute miles for the last two miles. If I can run at this pace for the rest of my training, I should be in decent shape for my upcoming two half marathons.
Finally, I want to share a quote that definitely applies to me from past Boston Marathon runner-up Kim Jones, "Don't force your workouts. Run in the present, not how you ran 10 years ago or how you expect to run 3 months from now." In other words, I can't keep comparing my times for events from one year to the next; just focus on the here and now. Good running to you, and I'll write another blog from Badgerland in two weeks!
July 17, 2009: Fox Cities Marathon Training Run (Volunteer Work)
I'm back again after a two week "vacation" to bring you more running news from Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan. I really enjoyed reading the stories and looking at the photos from the Half Voyageur Trail Marathon, and I'm glad the runners were able to run in comfortable temperatures. In my almost 20 years of running, I've never done a trail marathon or an ultra-marathon.
On the same day as the Half Voyageur, I volunteered to man a water station for a Fox Cities Marathon (FCM) training run. I wrote a blog last year about the FCM training runs, but a lot of things have changed since then. First of all, long-time training run coordinator Ron Goodreau has retired; the duties are now ably handled by PaceSetters' running club president Kathy Jankowski and Sara Drierer. The training routes have also changed to an extent. The courses are now run on a major portion of the marathon course itself instead of the CE biking trail. Taking a cue from the Cellcom Green Bay Marathon, the FCM gave the runners key chain "pull-outs" of the training routes for both the full and half marathons. The start/finish lines of the training runs have changed as well.
Another change from the past is that the water stations are individually manned instead of "self-serve" stations. I manned the first water station at the mile 2 mark. Each volunteer was given two Igloo coolers (water and gatorade), a garage can, a fold-up table, two garbage bags, and a package of cups. We were also given directions to our stations with ETAs (estimated time of arrivals) for the runners. To say the least, I couldn't have been more prepared.
The first runners arrived to my station at 7:15 a.m. for the first go-around with the last runners from the first wave arriving around 7:30 a.m. The half marathoners came back about 30 to 45 minutes later. The marathoners started to come back around 9:00 a.m. The last full marathoner came to my station at 10:15 a.m. There were approximately 60 runners on the course that day; the full marathoners ran 16 miles while the half marathoners did 8 miles. The highlight of my day was when one of the residents loaned me his lawn chair!
In closing, I had a great time but was yearning to be out there with my fellow runners. I got my chance the very next day when I ran 10 miles around Omro at about a 9:50 mpm clip. Hopefully, I will be able to participate in one of the FCM runs in August. My next blog will be tomorrow afternoon when I do a recap of one of my favorite events: the Festival Ironwood Walk, Run, & Roll. Good running to you!