Hi, I am Randy from the flatlands of Superior, WI. Back in the day just might be an appropriate title for this. For my 30+ seasons of running I hope to share some regional running history, trail running information, and observations about our sport / activity / pastime.
Happy trails or roads,
October 29, 2009: Whistlestop 09,.. before, during and after
I had this entry ready to go some time ago...but life got busy again...enjoy!
I though it might be fun to do a marathon training, run, and post race blog entry to share how much or little some of us long time runners might actually do.
Here is my Whistlestop story.
With 90+ marathons or longer in the books I decided to give another road..ish one a try. At one point recently I nearly swore off the marathon distance entirely back in 2007 after a very miserable 27th Grandma’s (4:32) and an even worse 1/2 Voyager (5:45) that year. For the most part since 2001 I have been in the woods doing trail races and ultras. I am also relatively new to sprint triathlons. I don't do road race or marathon training anymore.
My running compass was directed from a family vacation to Chicago over the summer. During the trip I started to recall how much fun it was to run big city marathons. Back in 98,99 & 2001 I had run three Chicago marathons and a Boston. I had a blast in-spite of blowing-up (often) while trying to go back under three hours during those events. Fast forward to late August of this year and the marathon bug has bitten me again. So I put a seven week plan in writing to do a build-up for the Whistlestop.
My average base mileage for the year had been about a 25 miles per week. My plan was to build up from a 13 mile week to 20 or 21 miles for my long runs and add an 8-10 mile run at my planned marathon pace within three days of my long run. When planning for 50 mile and 100 mile ultras I found that doing two longer runs within a few days worked for me. How about trying that concept for a marathon? The rest of my running would be 3-5 mile runs including NMTC trail races and some road races.
Training highlights or low points:
Week 1 - Long run of 13 miles to be averaged at potential marathon pace (8:09mm) on Gma's course (hwy 61). The result ... I walked in the last two miles after running my first two miles at 14:00mm at what felt like really easy pace. I ran the tank out early and learned to run much slower at the start. Welcome back to the roads! I found that Superior Hiking Trail & Voyager trail pace are drastically different. When I did the math for the pace on sections that I know on the trails that I run, I found that they can differ by as much as 3-5 minutes per mile compared to the road. My follow-up run for the week was 8 road miles at potential marathon pace (this went well).
Week 2 - Long run of 15 miles trying to average 8:09 pace. Not so bad! The pace dropped to 9:00mm for the last few ...I had a little extra in the tank that day so I took it to 17 miles (felt encouraged). My weekly follow-up of 8 miles at marathon pace (really good).
Week 3 - Long run of 19 miles planned...called it at 18 miles (not so bad, not so good...took a hot day in stride ) My weekly 8 mile at marathon pace (was very easy to do).
Week 4, - Long run of 20 miles with Shane on the Osaugi trail... after mile 11 or 12 my pace went away and it became death march from miles 15-18. I did lots of walking. Hydrated at the fish cleaning station by the ore dock just off of the trail and ran the final two mile comfortably (not so sure about the marathon now). My 8 mile day at marathon pace (really good)
Week 5 - Long run 18 miles, Ran strong until 16 miles then the pace slipped to 9 &10 mm (I'm getting a little concerned about the marathon). My follow-up 8 mile run (spot on "strong")
Week 6- My final pace workout pre-marathon is 13 by 1 mile on the track at marathon pace with a 1/4 mile recovery jog. With a warm-up and cool down it's a total of 16 miles. This workout was a little tough at times due to he rain, cold, and darkness. Years ago this workout would be 17mile repeats with 1/4 rest 14 days before a marathon. I was concerned that it might be little too close to WS. The next day was eight miles at marathon pace (felt great).
Week 7 - Marathon week, rec'd a call from Dan Conway to do a SHS CC alumni race. Ran fast enough to be respectable, but not an all out max effort (ran smart) NMTC run at Hawk Ridge. The plan here was to observe a firm 8:00mm speed limit. I take my truck and find the mile markers on the pavement to set my pace. I run my plan nearly perfectly, just slightly under 8:00mm pace. Going into the WS I was feeling confident, somewhat rested, and planning for a pace of 8:09mm. It's time to re-learn how to marathon and to find a something that will actually work for me to build from for future marathons.
Go figure...snow on the course and soft conditions. Experience tells me that 8:09 pace will likely be 8:30s at a similar effort. Adjust for the day and run. I ran my 1st three miles no faster than 9:00mm. I went out easy as planned and marked time.
Miles 3-13 (8-8:40mm) I ran well back from Shane and closed a gap over many miles to do some running with him. I was feeling really good and enjoying the experience.
Miles 13-17 I started kicking up lots of stones while I'm running, but still feel super...the stone thing wasn't a good sign. In hindsight, I suspect that the soft conditions were working on my hip flexors, reducing my stride and leg lift.
Miles 17-19 I have slowed a bit, but can still maintain (I can see more road marathons in my future, cruising along in the groups of runners was kind of fun)
Miles 19-23 I wished I was doing something else...my hip flexors had given-up nearly instantly. Randy the "Stickman" had found the Tri County Trail. I run a string of 12 minute miles and give about ten (or more) minutes back to the course in three + miles...ouch!
23-26 the course starts to firm up and my hip flexors start to loosen up. I run an 11mm then a 10mm...back on pavement...I changed up my stride the hip flexors unlock and I run a about a 9:00mm to the finish. I'm glad to finish upright with a 4:03. Overall I really had positive experience too!
Sunday, no run just a light swim. Monday off. Tuesday, 8 miles at marathon pace ...sub 8:00mm (no problem) held pace with ease. Thursday, 4 loops of the UMD Bagley NMTC route before my daughters swim meet 15:28, 14:45, 14:37 & 14:15 ran faster with each loop, this is very unlike me! Something has changed in the last seven weeks. I wonder?
So marathon or longer # 93 was a 4:03. I can see returning to road marathons again is in the cards. I learned what I need to do to approach marathon differently than I have in the past. For starters, a seven week plan sort of felt like doing the Birkie with a no snow year, rushed and under trained. Seven weeks isn't enough time to adjustt from the trails to the roads. Ten to twelve weeks is the absolute minimum I can envision for a proper prep time. Doing slower long ROAD runs or a fwe 21-23 mile runs will help me to develop a sustainable pace. I'll definitely keep the 8-10 mile workouts at planned marathon pace within a few days of my long runs. I'll learn to be comfortable with my new mindset about the marathon. That will be to approach my training goals off of the slowest possible time I can afford to run to be a seeded as a 50 year old runner at Chicago or to qualify for Boston again (3:35). I won't gauge my training from fastest possible time that I could potentially run based upon my most recent 5K, 8K or 1/2 marathon performances. I almost forgot about lap swimming on a regular basis for recovery. I couldn't do that nine years ago, because I just started swimming a little more than four years ago. The benefit of the pool work was that I had very little in the way of aches and pains from pavement training and increased pace workouts. I'm not sure about what’s next on the marathon landscape, but I'll be training and looking. Feedback is welcomed! Can you teach an old dog some new tricks?
September 27, 2009: Open CC meet at Nemadji 4 P.M. Tuesday
SHS CC coach Dan Conway contacted me and asked me to inform folks that Tuesday afternoon there will be an open ( community division ) and SHS alumni team race at the Nemadji Golf course. The races start for the males at 4 P.M. with females to follow. IT'S A NO COST EVENT ....so no awards. Dan didn't elaborate on the distances. I would guess they would be ( high school distances for CC ) about 3 miles or 5k for males and 2 miles or 3K for females. Just find him at the golf course before the race and tell him you want to run. What a great opportunity to run on the Nemadji CC meet course. Come join us, I'll be there. If you have a question Dan Conway is the contact person, he hosts the Mini-meets at the UWS track so you can find his contact info on the NR race calendar under July & August events.
August 18, 2009: 3M & some running history
3M as in ... mismeasured, mismarketed and miscoordinated events.
Here are a few events over the years that could have benefited from GPS technology.
Check NMTC history and you will discover that the MN Voyager was a 48 mile event...except that you were allowed to enjoy Jarrow's Beach twice during one day. The current course no longer has that section as part of the fifty mile and is an accurate 50 miles. The difference then to now is that it was measured as 48 and ran like 52+. Every other year those in the 1/2 Voyager can experience the difficulty of the Jarrow's Beach section.
The Shell Lake 15K always had me wondering. This event is no longer on the running calendar. Back in the day I would run it every now and then. Each year the finish line was in the same place at the park next to lake and the start line seemed to change significantly. My big tip off that the course may have been way short was at last year of the event around 2004. The race had a start on main street downtown Shell Lake and ran the same course around the lake. A considerable amount of of distance was added by that particular change. What stood as a 15K PR during my early 20's was probably not. My all time 15K PR still stands from the Proctor Hoghead. With Bill and Jarrow involved in that race I'm confident the distance is accurate.
The Syttende Mai 17 mile run in Grantsburg, WI was organized years ago to celebrate Norwegian Independence Day on or around May 17th. Opps! The actual distance would be accurately measured and certified to 16.2 miles. The ever creative race event organizers kept the same course and adjusted the marketing. The Syttende Mai became know as the race that was 10 miles plus 10k. It a was a race that was enDEERing to all. That's another story!
I actually ran a 10.2 mile marathon once! A long time ago (not long, long...time ago) some event organizers didn't understand that a marathon actually had to be 26.2 mile. The event: The 1980 Manney's Shopper 10.2 mile marathon in Hibbing, MN. I still have the t-shirt, it's a keepsake now. This marathon thing sounds a little familiar today with some events being marketed as 13.1 marathons. To me it kind of feels like a 26.3 mile ultramarathon
...sort of, but not really!
The very first year of Superior's Autumn Splash 1/2 marathon back in 1995 involved a route that started at the Mariner Mall, ran around the Itasca area and back to the Mall via the streets of the east end of Superior. Two things didn't work too well during the first year. The first was having the route passed directly through a closed a street and a community wide rummage sale. East 5th in Superior is closed on an annual basis for this reason. Picture this... a full on running event intermingling with rummage sale folk on a closed city street in and around sales tables. The second part of the fun that day occurred was when the race course markings suddenly ended on the north side of the Mariner Mall and none us having a clue exactly where the finish line was on the south side. Pat Susnik was clearly the fastest on that day winning the event while showing us his urban adventure racing and navigation skills. Watching people run to the finish line from any number of different directions also added an element entertainment value too. The Autumn Splash would move to rural Douglas County for a few years with a very accurate downhill course and solid organization.
Feel free to share a story. Be kind! I have organized events and helped with others. I really appreciate that most folks volunteer and try to do their best to put events on for us the running community. I put this out as a bit of blog fodder to see what others folk may have encountered over the years.
Enjoy & share,
August 10, 2009: Back to school or what I did on my summer vacation
What I did on my summer vacation.
Or more correctly, what I didn't do. My plans for 09 included the Voyager 50 mile and Brewhouse Sprint Tri, neither happened. A wonderful family vacation to Chicago occurred with two follow-up weekends in the Minneapolis area. When the opportunity to have four other work schedules align for a vacation happens...run with it. So I broke from tradition and opted out of the Voyager and did the Carlton Daze 5K. Overall I had a respectable race running 20:42 while trying to keep team Lepisto in sight. Hopefully, Amanda and Gary can take me in tow to a sub 20 minute 5K somewhere this year. I'll keep working at it.
Next on the agenda was a vacation in Chicago as a non-running tourist. We managed to do lots of walking and sightseeing. As it turned out if I would have left one day later and did the 50 mile ... I would have been in a serious world of hurt. The "Magnificent Mile" would have been the "Miracle Mile." I think I'm in reasonable shape as a runner but in comparison with three daughters 20-16 in ultra-shopping and sightseeing mode, I'm absolute rookie...they put me in a world of hurt without the run. Getting back to Chicago after running the marathon in 98,99 & 01 was great ... oh the memories ...I'll have to put the marathon back on the schedule of events to do again or adjust and do the Chicago Triathlon, what a great city to visit. "Bean there done that".... @ Millennium park.
The Brewhouse came and I went to Mpls. with two of my daughters. I traded the Brewhouse for the Hennepin-Lake 5K. My goal for 5K this year is to run under 20 minutes or 6:24 per mile...simple...no...just when I thought I was gaining on that goal I ran 21:10. This may go back to how I approached my race. I was shooting for even splits. I hit the 1st mile at 6:24 with what seemed like an easy effort. Mile 2, 13:10... way off pace... and I thought I held my pace and effort. Making back 22+ seconds or running close to sub- six for a third mile just wasn't’t going to happen. Overall it was a big improvement from last years HL classic, but not trending in the same direction from my recent efforts at 3 mile and 5K. On a re-do I'd push harder for the opening mile...I might have hit 2 miles in under 13:00 to 12:45ish with the needed motivation to push for the final mile. The remainder of my Mpls adventure involved 5 1/2 hours of casual cycling around most of the lakes and parkways while my daughters were busy. The Twin Cities are an absolute joy for a tourist on a day tour, great sightseeing and cycling pathways.
Event #3 was the UWS mini-meet. I predict a 6:10 mile and ran a 6:10 mile. How do you do that? Just remember your previous actual mile time from a predicted mile and put that time down for your next prediction... no guess work involved. Watching the 4:17 mile by Jeremy Polson was impressive...that just might be a mini-meet record. It's been nice to see the numbers at the meets rising and some new faces… Shane even made it ...he made me work really hard at the 3.? (place GPS distance here) mile CC. A big thanks to Dan Conway for doing them!
Finally, this past Sunday was the Wingman Tri in Redwing, MN. My youngest daughter (the swimmer) and I (biker & runner) teamed up. We resurrected the old Team Superior name from back in the day (the 80's) and did the 3 person team event with 2. We missed winning the mixed team by four minutes but placed third of 14 teams entered. One mixed and one all male bested our time. I think she may have been bitten by the solo tri bug for next year. On a sour note, the return trip involved car problems and a $400.00 repair bill and more. My take on it ...$80 tri team entry fee, $400.00 repairs, $90.00 towing bill, $45.00 in gas ... and the opportunity to do a triathlon with my daughter "priceless".
...and that's how I spent my summer vacation.
July 20, 2009: Mini Meets = fun @ UWS
Master's running icon Dan Conway is hosting his summer mini meets this Tuesday evening. To locate the UWS track, find the intersection of 28th street and Catlin Avenue...and look for a running track.
If you love the NMTC Spring and Fall series, you'll love the mini meets...the price is the same as it was back in the day...50 cents.
Sprints, 400, 800, competitive mile and predicted mile ... again...all for only 50 cents.
All abilities are welcome...some use the CC as a cool down or conversational run. Come join us for an evening of running.
Happy Track....doesn't seem have the same ring to it as Happy Trails...join us anyway.