January 28, 2011: Viva Las Vegas
2010 race number 38, my last race of 2010, was the Rock and Roll Las Vegas half marathon. I had intended to run the full marathon, however, injuries kept me from training enough to enjoy running the full. This fall I developed a mild case of tendonitis. Not wanting it to become a full-blown case of tendonitis and risk rupturing my Achilles tendon, I have been taking it easy. Since the Whistlestop half marathon, I have run about 5-6 miles per week.
Back in June at the Grandma’s marathon Expo, I had the bright idea of signing up for the Vegas marathon at the Rock and Roll marathon booth. There was a $20 cost savings for signing up at a race expo, $20 that was easily lost in less than five minutes in a casino or buying a drink in Vegas. I decided to fly the discount allegiant air flight from Duluth. They fly on Friday and Monday once a week direct from Duluth to Las Vegas.
I got to my hotel, checked in and then went over to the race expo to pick up my race packet and see about switching races from the full to the half. When I asked about switching races, the volunteer told me, “No problem, just finish at the half-marathon finish line”. The races all start at the same start line and there is an extra loop for the full marathon. Because of my projected finish time, I started in corral 3 of 33. Wow almost at the front!Saturday I spent time looking at the various things in Las Vegas. I also stopped back at the expo because I wanted to say hello to Scott Jurek. He was signing autographs for people. There was a line of devoted fans waiting for autographs. I said hello, but did not have him sign anything, seemed odd to me, as he is good friends with my brother.
Later on Saturday, I had dinner with Jersey, a friend from college, who was running the half marathon. He had started running in the last year and this was his third half marathon. Race morning, I met Jersey and his wife in the hotel lobby and we walked down to the start of the race. The race started at the Mandalay bay casino. There was a Cher impersonator signing the Star spangled banner, could have been a drag queen, the whole thing was a bit of a spectacle. A lot of runners were dressed as Elvis. I wanted to get a pair of Elvis sunglasses to wear for the race, but was unable to find a suitable pair. The ones I found were quite nice, but had metal frames were heavy and would not have worked well for running.
I started the race a little fast, ended up running with the 3:15 pace group for a couple of miles. It was fun to run down the strip and see all of the casinos. Mile 5 I decided that there was, no way I was going to run the full as my legs were starting to feel my lack of training. About this time I was talking with a guy running his first marathon, his goal was to break 4 hours and he was running with the 3:15 group. I mentioned that if his goal was 4 hours, he might be going a little fast and gave him the advice of taking it easy until mile 20. I chattered on a bit about my various marathons and how pacing yourself through the first 20 miles is key to finishing strong and not hitting the wall. A runner made a comment about my incessant babbling and that I should just run the race, so I stopped talking and sprinted ahead, I do not remember him passing me. Miles 7-11 were somewhat tough, my pace slowed a bit and a number of people went past me. Mile 11, I got my wind back and started to speed up and passing people again.
I finished in 1:38:20 a new best for a half marathon. Amazingly, I was 547 overall out of 19,000 runners finishing the half. I later noticed in the results that I was a few minutes ahead of Scot Jurek, who was running the race for fun. The evening after the marathon I went to the post marathon party in a club at the Wynn. It was a fun time as they even had a open bar for a period of time. I saw many of the various sites in Vegas and managed to not lose too much money.
October 12, 2010: Whistlestop Half Marathon
Less than a week after running the Twin Cities marathon, I decided it would be fun to do Whistlestop. Luckily I was sane enough to sign up for the half instead of attempting to do the full. I have been dealing with an inflamed plantar tendon. It is one of those annoying injuries that do not seem to want to heal fast enough. Usually I can run ok, but walking after a race or run is painful. Most of the people from the Duluth Running Company’s marathon training group were doing the Whistlestop and I wanted to join them in the fun.
I woke up at 3:30 am, got dressed and went out the door to meet Nick and Paul. Traveling with a couple of fellow runners to a race is always more fun than driving alone. The traffic to the race seemed quite light along the trip; turns out we were plenty early driving into the parking spot at 5:45. The warm weather this year was quite nice, sure beats the snow from last year.
We picked up our race packets, found a flush toilet to use and boarded a bus to the start.After we got to the start I found out that I had left my wallet in my jacket pocket, instead of leaving it in the car. I have never lost a drop bag at a race, but there is always a first time. I was fortunate to run into Coach Tony, who was a spectator this time around. Tony was kind enough to take my bag for me.
Starting the race, I ended up getting stuck in the porta-potty line a bit too long and was in the middle of the pack. I started passing people trying to find the people running the same pace as me. I ended up starting the first mile a little fast, a quick look at my watch showed a 7:20 pace. I had the goal of seeing if I could run 7:30s. I slowed a tad. My foot started to hurt and I had to slow a bit more. After 4 miles I settled into a 7:36 pace. I decided to see if I could keep that up.
One thing about running half marathons vs. a full, is doing a half, I can push myself for the entire race without really hitting the wall. By the time I got to 9 miles I was feeling tired, but there only being 4 miles left I kept pushing on trying to not let my average pace drop. I thought maybe I could kick the last 2 miles if I had anything left.
I suppose that there are always challenges to putting on any race. The finish line of the Whistlestop is a bit cramped. The twisting around of the course the last couple of hundred meters is not ideal; however, it is nice to be able to run on the paved trail through most of town. I finished the race with a time of 1:41:01.2. Not what I had been hoping for, but pretty good.
After the race we went over to the Black Cat coffee shop for lunch. Paul wanted to get something other than a bratwurst or chili for lunch. It was a few blocks away; my foot was bothering me on the walk over. I was excited to see their shiny new La Marzocco espresso machine. We ordered our food and Nick went back to get the car, so I wouldn’t have to walk back, while lunch was being prepared. I had the broccoli cheese pepper soup and a slice of quiche. The food was quite tasty and well worth it.
October 5, 2010: Twin Cities Marathon
This year I decided to run the Twin Cities Marathon instead of the Whistlestop full, as I had not run the TCM before and I wanted to do it once. I have been dealing with a sore tendon in my foot and I needed to run the Twin Cities marathon just to finish. I don’t quite have plantar fasciitis, but it is close. I have been working on stretching and loosening up my legs, which seems to be helping.
My Dad dropped me off near the Metrodome and I followed the line of runners toward the building. They had a security check going through the door; my empty plastic bag did not concern them too much. I started walking around looking for a restroom, long lines for the men’s room, seems the Metrodome men’s bathrooms only have 2 stalls in each one. I ran into Brian, the one other Duluth Running Training Group person who was running the marathon. What are the odds of that? We made our way over to the starting corrals. I have to say that I like the 2 corral system used at the TCM, of course I was in corral 1. Corral 2 looked pretty crowded when we were walking by it.
I wished Brian a good race; he was going up to the 3:10 area. I started just behind the 3:30 pace group, I wanted run a pace where I was not pushing myself and was able to chat with my fellow runners. Hopefully I was not delving too far into the waters of babbling incessantly. Talking helped keep my mind off of the pain in my foot. 30 seconds before the gun went off; a guy next to me looked down and said, “Your chip is on the wrong foot.” A brief feeling of panic flashed in my mind and the guy started laughing. “Just Kidding”, he said. I will have to remember that one, a good way to lighten the mood in the starting area.
Somewhere around three or four miles, a high school classmate ran up alongside me and we talked for a while. He was shooting for a 3:20. We got lost at a water stop and I did not see him pass me later in the race. At the end of the race I saw him again and he had gotten a 3:25
Keeping my mind off of my sore foot was proving to be difficult. The crowd was helpful, giving word of encouragement. “Looking good” was a common phrase. My reply was “Great! I don’t feel good”. My left foot was really sore and I could not put any weight on my left heel. I felt like my form was not so good and I felt like I was limping. From the 10k mark to mile 20, my pace seemed to slow down a bit
For a while I ran with a lady, who looked like a veteran runner, she had a singlet with her name, Patty, printed on it. I mentioned the foot pain that I was having and she agreed that talking to fellow runners can help. She went on ahead, but I later caught up and passed her on Summit Avenue.
Running a marathon in a costume; I ponder the idea from time to time. A person would have to either be ridiculously fast or just not care, all the people just behind the costume are saying to themselves “I’m not going to get beaten by a guy in a costume”. There was a twenty something looking woman wearing a princess outfit consisting of a pink singlet, tights, tutu and a pink foam crown running ahead of me for a bit. As I passed her, someone yelled out “It’s Lady Gaga!” she said “That’s not what I was going for, if I was trying for Lady Gaga, I would have worn meat.” A meat running singlet might have had some interesting smells after 26 miles. I pushed ahead; I was not going to let a girl in a costume finish ahead of me.
There is an often used marathon runner’s adage that states, ‘The race begins at 20 miles’. I have been trying to run my marathons with that in mind. If I can keep a good pace until mile 20, I can let myself run all out the last 6. I ran up the steep section of the hill yelling ‘Attack the hill!’ The yelling and generally acting obnoxious about charging the hill helped to keep my mind off of my pain. I did seem to pass a few people on the hill. Looking at my splits, I passed 281 people after the 20 mile timing mat.
Going down Summit Ave, I started to catch the 3:30 Clif pace group. The crowd along Summit was great, the encouraged the runners going by. I heard people call out “Go Duluth Running”; I was wearing a Duluth Running jersey. I always seem to get positive reactions when I am wearing a shirt that says Duluth on it in a race in the ‘Cities. I was trying to judge just how far away the finish line was, my Garmin said 26.34 at that point, h ’mm I guess that I did not run the tangents close enough. I made the corner on Summit and then saw the finish line, I sprinted as best I could into the finish line. 3:31:27 is what I saw when running across. My official chip time is 3:30:39.
The finish line area was well organized and there was a lot of food. I was too tired to check out all of the tents. I probably should have gotten a massage, but I ran into some friends who were nice enough to give me a ride back to my car.
September 22, 2010: Sunglasses
Lately I have taken to wearing my prescription Ray-ban Wayfarer sunglasses. I don't have to deal with my contact lens, which has fallen out in races before. I have an odd prescription and only require a lens in my right eye, makes my buying contacts half price. This past Grandma's I ran from Knife river on with no contact lens. I could run ok, but it made recognizing people I knew in the crowd a bit difficult.
My next big race is the Twin Cities marathon, it should be a fun time, even though I don't feel properly trained.
July 19, 2010: race reports
I have not done a blog entry for a couple of weeks, so I thought I would do a quick report on my recent running events. Since Grandma's I have done 3 5ks, a 10k, a 5 miler and a trail marathon.
This past weekend I ran the Park point 5 miler on Friday evening and then ran the Hermantown summerfest 5k in the morning. I was not the only person to do so, fellow blogger Connie was at both races too. Kris was there as well as Lindsay, running her first race in Minnesota. I did my best to keep up with the Great One, but my kick was not present at the finish, must have been the run the previous evening.
The Half voyageur trail marathon was a bit humbling, even though I tried to start slow, the heat that day got to me and I ended up finishing slower than previous years. Come to think of it, I had a similar experience at the Tofte trek, h'mm perhaps I am running too much?
The midnight sun run was a fun time, my fastest 5k time ever! However, I personally feel an asterik needs to be applied as the course was short.
I have the Brewhouse Triathlon coming up in a couple of weeks and a couple of 5ks in August. I am looking forward to the Festival 5.1k, it is a fun race and well organized.