From the Back of the Pack
I might always be in the back of the running pack, but I'm addicted to it! When I miss more than a day it affects my energy, attitude, and the rest of life in general! I have had a lot of "character" building runs in the deep snow, extreme nose hair freezing cold, ankle high rain, and gale force winds over the past twenty five years and find some of those days to be the most peaceful rewarding outings of all! I'm one of those runners who is slow and steady, but goes forever and ever without ever getting tired.
September 29, 2007: Morgan Park Run rocks!
Steve did an outstanding job as the race director of the Morgan Park Run today! He even made sure the rain and lightning did not begin until after we were all safely back inside the community center too!
At the race start, Steve announced that if people wanted to follow the green arrows, they could figure the course out on their own. Then he let people know that if they wanted to run more slowly than he did, they could follow him. Once we began, he used his own "special touch" out on the course loudly announcing the first few turns as he ran! Unfortunately for the leader of the pack, he missed the arrows and lost his 3 block lead...bummer, major bummer but Jonas felt badly, but didn't mind too much as I believe it was his first winning trophy!
What a great flat or downhill course this was...a nice compliment to the torturous hills of last weekend's Birkie 1/2 !! There was even water in two places for this quaint 4 mile running/2 mile walking event! The pavement was a bit hard on the legs, but for that minimal distance it was tolerable.
Laambeaux ran the race with me and helped me the first lap, but the second lap, she was a hinderance...unless a squirrel popped out in front of us! We had to stop when she got a quick drink of water at the water stop during the second lap too...I think she just likes trail running better!
Despite the doggy drink...I still ran this race at a significantly faster pace, a pace that I have attempted to avoid for the past six years or so! Those who know me, are aware of my "slug like" pace of 10-11 minute miles or even slower on the trails. I like to enjoy the experience, have fun, be able to breathe, stop and smell the roses, and stuff like that. Today I just got done faster without enjoying the scenery...much faster than I normally do....about 8 minutes or so quicker than I had set out to do!
One awesome thing about "quaint" races is that those of us who normally just watch others come up to claim their prizes, actually get to get a prize! I am not sure who else if anyone was even in my age group, but I ended up being first in it! I'm just glad I earned the medal with a faster pace than I normally run, so I at least somewhat feel like I deserved it! Had I run it in 40 and still been first, that would have been quite embarassing!
The next superb thing Mr. Steve the great race director of Morgan Park did was give out oodles and oodles of door prizes and then he had even more raffle prizes!!! I think everyone got something if not a few things! I won a carwash and traded for a Mc Donald's value meal since my very rusty bike rack/weapon for those at the right height probably wouldn't fare well in a regular car wash...heck if you have witnessed my car, it is apparent that it rarely even makes it to the car wash! After a long run, there is nothing like a Big Mac, fries, and a shake to cleanse the system: )
Purchasing only $5 in $1 raffle tickets I made out like a bandit! I won $25 in cash...which basically covered my race entry and the price of the raffle tickets plus some! Some very nice woman gave me her prize too because she already had one at home...it was a signed copy of the Vikings verses Packer's book...which I will love since I'm a die hard Packer fan and so is the author of it!
In addition to the prizes, there was a yummy bake sale that I of course took part in once I won some money!
Yet another added bonus to this already magnificent experience...on the way home, I happened upon Advantage Sports where they were having one heck of a clearance sale on Grandma's Marathon merchandise! Not only were they having a sale, they had great free food inside, drawings for prizes, and if you took a tour, they also gave you a free tshirt...with either a MN or WI thingy on the front. I of course took the Wisconsin one!
Can't beat $4.50 for a Grandma's sweatshirt! Anyone who is interested...they are trying to sell it all! It's 50% off on everything without the year and 75% off on stuff with the year...they even had mugs with the course on it for $1 and free posters of Grandma's!
Ok...enough said...if YOU chose to sleep in, or do something else...YOU MISSED OUT today! Kris...you shoulda put off those new house chores...!
Thanks again Steve for a wonderful experience with many, many perks!
September 25, 2007: Random Running thoughts... don't be a wimp!
I might not be a fast runner...but I am a consistent one! Excuses for why a person does not run just don't cut it with me! Unless I have a fever, I'm out there!
Some random thoughts and beliefs:
1. RUNNING CURES ALL!
2. RUNNING WAKES ME UP!
3. RUNNING FIXES THE HEADACHES!
4. I HAVE HAD DOUBLE KNEE SURGERY AND STILL RUN!
5. I HAVE CHRONIC BACK PAIN AND STILL RUN!
6. I HAVE ASTHMA AND STILL RUN!
7. IF I THINK I'M GETTING A COLD, I RUN TO SEE IF IT WILL GO AWAY OR IF I'M REALLY SICK!
8. RUNNING RID'S NERVOUSNESS!
9. THE ONLY TIME MY PAINS ARE GONE IS WHEN I'M RUNNING, UNLESS IT'S LIKE REALLY FAR!
10. RUNNING KEEPS YOU LOOKING YOUNG!
11. RUNNING MAKES YOU SMILE MORE!
12. RUNNING ALLOWS YOU TO SEE THINGS OTHERS NEVER WILL!
13. KEEP ON RUNNING OUTSIDE EVEN WHEN IT IS -50 WINDCHILL, IT'S KINDA FUN TO SEE WHAT FREEZES, (JUST REMEMBER TO PUT THE VASELINE OR DERMATONE RIGHT BELOW YOUR BOTTOM EYELASHES)
14. IF IT HURTS, DON'T GIVE UP, JUST SEE MALCOM, HE'LL TEACH YOU HOW TO BUILD IT UP SO IT DOESN'T HURT ANYMORE!
When I hear an excuse from a non runner...it's so frustrating...why don't they just say they don't like it? When someone says they "can't" run...? If they have legs they can run!
Ok...that's just my opinion...I am addicted and think that in moderation trail running can be some of the most theraputic times in a person's life!
September 22, 2007: Beautiful Birkie Running --- after the ominous beginning!!!
A bunch of us had an interesting beginning to our day as we headed over to Hayward for the Birkie running events! The beginning was quite ominous and we began to wonder if it was a "sign"! Our original plan was to leave at 7:15am for our 10:00am start, I changed it to 7:30 to get a few more minutes of rest for the big hilly event. Being the directionally illiterate person I am, I accidentally took the incorrect bridge over to meet the others and was almost ten minutes late. I had envisioned all the others sitting in a car that was all packed and ready to go, that wasn't the case! As we quickly loaded the car up, I accidentally knocked over the critical cup of extra strong special coffee Staci had carefully brewed and brought along for her morning ritual...she had set it on the ground amongst our feet and I never saw it! Then when we thought we were leaving, Jeanne realized her purse was not in the car. Once we finally got on our way at 7:50 am we were on a new mission to get Staci that crucial cup of coffee! I was in the front seat and suggested to the driver that he maybe go to the gas station on the right from the left lane we were in to get the coffee. This normally very extremely careful, meticulous driver quickly attempted to move to the right until all of us screamed ...because there was a car there! Oops! We did get that caffeine safely at the next one on the left. My hydration level was so incredibly high from the various cranberry juice, water, Coke, and Gatorade I had consumed that morning so we had to make yet another pit stop! Being the polite Iowan Staci is, she was able to contain her nervousness at the thought of getting there too late to warm up! Staci's husband was able to drive out of his comfort zone so we got there by 9:15 am.
The absolutely perfect 60-70' temps and beautiful sunshine made for outstanding fall views while suffering through the never ending hills the 1/2 marathon trail presented us with! I was fortunate to find someone else who prefers to run at the "back of the pack" and our chatting helped to make the first 10 miles of the race fly by! As we walked up even the slightest of inclines and ran the flats, and enjoyed the views, we were in constant wonderment as to how much further we had to go! When we got to the first water stop, we asked them how far we had gone and they said we had 15k to go...we knew that wasn't the case! We had a tough time seeing the k markers provided for the snowy birkie and asked people where we were when we saw them. We got a multitude of answers and very frustrated! I was also happy to have a running partner because there were 30-45 minute stretches where we did not see another sole! I thought maybe we'd see a biker patrol just making sure we were safe!
We made it all the way, quite a bit faster than I had planned on despite all the walking we did. It really did seem like there were more uphills than downhills...I'd love to run this course backwards next year! Staci won by almost 5 minutes, placing 9th overall, for the women and set a course record since it was the first year of the 1/2. Her prize for winning her age group was a great wicking Birkie shirt and for being first for women she got a really cool rock runner statue thingy and a coupon for free Salomon shoes! The people with us who did the 5k had a short burst of pain and enjoyed the rest of their day.
Despite the gobs of extraordinary door prizes, only one person in our group had a lucky ticket. I'd have to say there were some of the best prizes here I've seen in a long time...and lots of them! Gift certificates, coupons for free shoes, Birkie stuff, and more! The finish area was an amazing sight as can be seen in some of the photos I have posted. We were treated to some very tasty post race food too! Sub sandwiches, chips, fruit, cookies, beverages, and more!
I much prefer skiing the trail to running it...it's a MUCH less painful experience, but I'll probably suffer through it again next year!
We went on to the Hayward Fall Fest to enjoy the rest of our afternoon! On the way home, Staci noticed that the gigantic inflatable Green Bay Packer Player and Inflatable Bucky Badger I was admiring on the way over were both deflated...she thought it was another omen...since I'm such a HUGE Packer and Badger fan and she is an Iowa fan...we'll just see about that one!
This was a great accomplishment..I'm hoping my legs work tomorrow!
September 13, 2007: Perfect running weather!
In my opinion the chilly weather this past week has made running even more of a treat! As I set off for a run with the Thursday night "women's" group at Lester Park, it was nice to feel the cool crisp air! Our fairly short, very slow run of the Duathlon loop was a mostly dry pleasant experience. We did find a few giant trees across portions of the trail that must have blown down during one of the recent high wind storms, but were able to maneuver around them.
Yesterday's trail run, (not a race for me because I just go to enjoy the experience of a marked route in a new place) at Zapp's loop was a great experience for me! I managed to dodge the killer bees a few others irritated and were visciously stung by while running. I always start early so I can take it nice and slowly and enjoy the somtimes challenging courses safely. Even though the first portion of Zapps seemed to go uphill for endless miles, it was a beautiful course and very gradual. At my slug-like pace, it was not painful in the least, just pleasing to gaze at! We were thankful for the low water conditions as we carefully navigated the rocks across the various creeks we crossed on the course. With the chilly temps, wet feet may have been a bit unwelcomed!
The next section on the Munger was boring and flat but thankfully short. When we moved into the woods again, it was like a mirage. As we continued, the beautiful, large, green, ferns made it seem like we were in Washington State in the Olympic National forest! Even though the trail was quite washed out in portions and the rocks made for careful foot planting, we still enjoyed the scenery! The many final downhill portions of the run were a super treat!
To me, this seemed to be one of the flatter runs we do in comparison to the other courses. I really enjoyed it, but with my complete lack of any sense of direction I'd need a rescue team if I tried to replicate it on my own without the markings!
One question for any of you readers who were there...did anyone see the spiny porquipine my pooch tangled with on the course? She had quills in her chin on the ride home! I'm guessing it was still alive because if it were dead, she would have rolled in it and the quills would have been lodged in her shoulder too!
September 11, 2007: From the Back of the Pack
Hello! I'm the incredibly slowly trotting person that gives you an ego boost as you whiz past me while participating in various races. I'm the one who finishes so incredibly late that all that is left of the food are a few pieces of those multi grain bread chunks runners have all grown to know and love. It's not that I can't run faster, it's just that I like to enjoy my "race" experience and be able to breathe and see straight when I finish.
For years when I lived in the Twin Cities, I coached adults in the Northwest Club Run training groups in mid distance and beginning groups. I have done some high school track distance track coaching in the past also. For fifteen years or so, I used to run as many races a year as I could find! 5k, 10k and half marathons made up most of my free weekend time. Now I just time the 5k and 10k non trail runs and participate in very few of the longer distance ones, spending most of my running time with my pooch enjoying the experience without the pressure of a ticking timer.
My favorite running event distance was always the half marathon until last year when I participated in the Noodelini 15k in Green Bay, Wisconsin, which I will avoid in the future due to the leg pounding concrete surface. In my opinion, 15k's are just the perfect length for a running event! I'm hoping that many more races will have this distance as an option soon!
I'm excited that Kris is giving me the opportunity to share my running experiences with all of you! In the winter I frequently post entries on skinny ski for the various ski trails in town, this will give me something to do all year round!