Site Header Picture

2016 Afton Trail Run 50K

Posted Sunday, July 3rd, 2016 01:46 pm GMT -5 in Running at 1:46 PM
img_5919.jpg

Founded in 1994, the Afton Trail Run 50K is one of the premier trail races around, held annually on the Fourth of July weekend over the (very) hilly trails of Afton State Park. Part of John Storkamp’s excellent Rock Steady Racing series, I decided to add this one to the list for 2016 after handing out finisher medals there last year with Megan. Talked with John at the finish Saturday, but I never knew his full story – so inspiring (and makes me want to support his races even more).

Couldn’t ask for better weather for this race – it was around 60F at the start and never broke 80F. The sun was an issue towards the end, but a lot of this course is in the trees, so my sunburn wasn’t too bad. It did feel warm when I finished, but I know I was very, very lucky compared to prior years. The old “wet sponge tucked in my shirt” trick was quite handy and many thanks to the volunteer at the final aid station who poured ice water on my shoulders. Low humidity and a light, cool breeze also helped things immensely.

This course is quite challenging: two loops of 15.5 miles, 11 aid stations, a net elevation change of 9,340 feet and a 9 hour time limit to finish. Afton State Park wraps around Afton Alps ski area and borders the St. Croix River (both of which I know well), but I was constantly getting confused as to where I was during the race. The race map shows we ran all over the place – up and down the river valley, around the Highlands and Alps areas of the ski area and along two different stretches of the river.

I love race day packet pick-up: saves time (and fuel) and is just way more convenient all the way around. The race started at 6:30am and I got there around 5:30 to check in and pick up my number, the beautiful T-shirt and a race swag bag. Ran into WeRunMpls co-founder Kaitlyn, who was running the 50K with her dad. Hung out in the car for a bit, then we were off and running (one hour before the 25K start).

Completed the first loop in 3:15:35 (12:36 Minute Miles) and was passed by a million 25K runners towards the end. Since I decided to walk every hill on both loops, I was OK with that split. In my mind, I decided that even if the second loop took four fours, I’d still be way under 8. It took me 4:22 to complete that second lap, but I’m still fine overall with that time – I hadn’t run at all since Grandma’s and the weather was definitely warmer the second time through.

Speaking of two loops – I really prefer the out and back style of the Superior Spring 50K compared to this format. At Superior, each half seems different, since you are running up one way and down the other (even if it’s the same trail). At Afton, you get to the end of the first loop and all of the 25K runners are finishing right there, while you have to start all over again. Mentally, a tough image to process. John and I talked about the other differences between the two courses: Superior being much more technical and Afton usually having brutal weather.

Many props to 50K winner Kurt Keiser of Jordan, who at age 42 managed an overall pace of 7:14 over those hills to finish with a 3:44:27 (full results here). My pokey 7:37 was good for 191st out of 210 overall and 30th out of 33 in my age group. I know ultra trail racing isn’t all about the times for most people, but it would be nice to be a little closer to my road marathon performances. Still, this was a 52 minute PR at 50K, so there’s plenty of room for future improvement.

Big thanks to the wonderful group of volunteers, many of them trail runners themselves. The aid stations were delightful – just like a full service filling station. Every time I hit one, someone would run up and take my water bottle to refill while I visited the food table. My most frequent items: peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pretzels, gummy bears, Coke and multiple salt tablets (I had recurring cramps in all four leg sections all day). The burger picnic at the end was very nice too (although I couldn’t manage to down the whole thing so soon after finishing).

Next up: State Fair Milk Run 5K

All checked-in

Posted Saturday, July 2nd, 2016 05:31 am GMT -5 in Running at 5:31 AM
img_5907.jpg

Afton 50K

Carbo load, Mucci-style

Posted Friday, July 1st, 2016 07:58 pm GMT -5 in Food,Running at 7:58 PM
img_5837.jpg

One seat left at the bar, walk right in

40th Annual Grandma’s Marathon

Posted Sunday, June 19th, 2016 03:41 pm GMT -5 in Marathons,Running,Travel at 3:41 PM
img_5452.jpg

When the good people at Grandma’s Marathon announced plans for the 40th anniversary of the race, I perked up when they said runners who registered early would get a special jacket. When they published a picture of the medal, I signed up right away.

Guess I’m still a sucker for nice bling.

Lots of other people were apparently excited by this year too, with 9,100 runners selling out the race for the first time in quite a while. This was my eighth Grandma’s (and 26th marathon), but I hadn’t been up there to run since 2011. Love the race and how the city embraces the weekend, so I’m not sure why I waited so long to return again.

With my work schedule completely out of control right now, I was not nearly as prepared for this race as I would’ve liked to be. I did get in long runs of 17.5, 21.5 and 15 miles in the weeks leading up to the race, but there wasn’t much in the way of short weekday runs (or any cross-training or speed work). Add in my Garmin dying the week of the race and a forecast for hot and humid weather and my time expectations for this race went out the window.

My A, B, C and D goals were all very low-key: get an official finish under seven hours to get the damn medal, beat my worst Grandma’s time (5:26:54), keep it in the fours and, finally, try to beat my Des Moines time (4:37:23). Three out of four was pretty good on a day when the weather warning flags went from green to yellow to red to black as the day went on.

We stayed at my sister’s apartment again and I got dropped off downtown to catch the train to the start. I thought getting there at 4:50 was plenty of time, but the line to board was already down the street. Capacity must be way higher than it seems, though, as everyone in line before me only filled the front half of the train. Talked with three other runners on the way to Two Harbors, including a friendly woman from Colorado and a sixty-year-old gentleman who is a fan of the Galloway run-walk method.

We arrived at the starting line just before seven and I actually waited in line for a port-o-potty (which I think is a first for me). Maybe I missed it, but I don’t think they did the flyover before the start (which was always a highlight for me). Looked around a bit to see if I could find anybody I knew, but decided to head to the chute when it got crowded. No real announcement to start this year either – everyone just started moving slowly to the line and we were off.

Running without a Garmin was strangely liberating. I just wanted to take it slow and let my muscles take over instead of my brain. The only anxiety I had was due to the 4:15 pacer, who I traded places with twice. This race doesn’t have many clocks on course, so I knew I hit the halfway mark around 2:10. After that I had no idea until mile 25, but I knew I was going slower the second half because of walk breaks through each water stop to rehydrate, take on ice and sponges and pour water over my head (all tricks I learned the last time it was too hot).

As I’ve said before, this race takes on a whole new feel when you enter Duluth city limits after mile 18. The crowd support is amazing and they helped me run non-stop from the last water stop at mile 25 to the finish line, where I finished in 4:47:36 (10:59 Minute Miles). Full results can be found here, including my official splits (10K – 59:02, 13.1M – 2:10:22, 20M – 3:30:47 and 25M – 4:34:45).

Next up: Afton Trail Run 50K on July 2

Anniversary bling acquired

Posted Sunday, June 19th, 2016 12:24 am GMT -5 in Marathons,Running,Travel at 12:24 AM
img_5448.jpg

Grandma’s Marathon 40th Anniversary Medal

2016 TC 1 Mile

Posted Tuesday, May 17th, 2016 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Food,Friends,Running,Work at 10:20 PM
img_2607.jpg

As I likely wrote the first three times I ran this race, the TC 1 Mile is one of the hardest distances I run every year. Even the Superior 50K was a different kind of pain than I experience when trying to run 5,280 feet as fast as I can. My arms feel oxygen deprived, breathing is a challenge throughout, I never seem to have a kick at the end and I usually want to double over after crossing the finish line. Strangely enough, I’m always back to normal in about ten minutes.

This year was unique in a lot of ways. First off, they changed the course again because of the Nicollet Mall construction, moving to a riverfront course near the Mill City Museum and the Guthrie. Second, I was captain of a Corporate Team Challenge group representing U.S. Bank Stadium. Lastly, I’m three years older than the last time I ran this distance (and much, much slower).

The new course was extremely convenient to our office, so our team of eight just walked over for the start. The CTC wave was the very first one at 6:30pm and we made the rookie mistake of standing at the back of the corral. When the race started, our faster runners had to dodge and dart around people for the first quarter mile. Special shout-out to Jordan for being the group photographer, cheering squad and boot storeroom all rolled up in one.

I wanted to run four equal 90-second splits, but only did the first one at that pace, hitting the half-way mark ten seconds over the goal. I’ll admit I basically threw in the towel at that point and didn’t look at my watch again until I crossed the finish line at 6:47, a full 37 seconds slower than 2013. I’d say maybe 10 seconds of that was due to poor positioning at the start, but it was still disappointing.

The team, though, did great – I’m very proud of everyone. Shannon broke seven minutes, Marlon won the overall crown and we all talked about coming back next year prepared to take it to the next level. The post-race party at Day Block Brewing was very nice and several members of our team won door prizes. We ended up getting a table downstairs for drinks and dinner – quite a fun way to spend a beautiful spring Thursday in Minneapolis.

Official 2016 Results

2016 Lake Minnetonka Half

Posted Friday, May 13th, 2016 09:00 pm GMT -5 in Running at 9:00 PM
img_1587.jpg

Ever since moving back to the metro area, I’ve been working my way through lots of things on the list of lists page. The Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon has been on my race list for a long time and 2016 was finally my year to try it out. Founded in 1980, this is a race that my friends Jeff and Deb have run many times and raved about, so I was excited to try it out (even though they were out of the country this year). Part of the MN Run Series, the race is produced by the same people who do Goldy’s Run, which I also crossed off the list this year.

Got to tour half of the Wayzata school district during the registration process and on race day: packet pick-up was at Wayzata West Middle School, while primary race day parking was at Wayzata Central Middle School. They had the same odd bib assignment process as Goldy’s, but the line moved much faster this time. The parking lot at the school on race morning was a mess – all the spots were full, but they didn’t put up closed barricades until about a hundred cars cycled through. I parked on a nearby side street and walked over to the shuttle buses, which dropped us off near the starting line in downtown Wayzata.

The course was very scenic, but much hillier than I expected. Weather that day was very pleasant for May 1, although it was a little chilly waiting for the start in the shade and wind. They had a four wave start, which really helped spread out the masses. I was hoping to stay under two hours and ended up with a 1:54:33 (8:45 pace). That was good for 832nd out of 2,525 total finishers and 64th in my age group of 132 (full results here).

Watch splits: 8:24, 8:06, 8:27, 8:23, 8:20, 8:40, 8:35, 9:02, 8:54, 9:04, 9:16, 9:12

The finish line area in Excelsior was very nice and the shuttle busses back to the school were easy to find and left promptly when full. It would’ve been nice to hang out at sponsor Jake O’Connor’s Public House for a while, but that was not in the cards, unfortunately.

It’s easy to see why this is a popular race that’s been around a long time – add it to your list and you too can purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka… 💜

The 2016 TC 1 Mile Crew

Posted Thursday, May 12th, 2016 09:44 pm GMT -5 in Friends,Running,Work at 9:44 PM
img_2608.jpg

U.S. Bank Stadium corporate team challenge 

Carb mission accomplished 

Posted Thursday, May 12th, 2016 01:32 pm GMT -5 in Food,Running at 1:32 PM
img_2600.jpg

Carbonara at Sea Change before the TC 1 Mile  

First time visitor

Posted Thursday, May 5th, 2016 09:37 pm GMT -5 in Food,Friends,Running at 9:37 PM
img_2265.jpg

Never been to Bryn Mawr until today

2016 Get in Gear 10K

Posted Monday, May 2nd, 2016 11:01 pm GMT -5 in Running at 11:01 PM
img_1588.jpg

Saturday marked my 15th straight Get in Gear 10K in Minnehaha Park. Last year broke my streak of six years under 50 minutes (52:23) and I was really hoping to get back under that threshold. When I passed the five mile mark right at forty minutes, I thought I had it made. Of course, I also forgot how long that last 0.2 can take…

The weather this year was perfect for running: sunny, low 40s and a light wind. Started off a little too fast, but stayed relatively consistent after that (watch splits of 7:22, 7:49, 8:22, 8:26, 8:21 and 8:14). The official results page seems to be broken, only displaying gun time and not chip time. My watch showed an unofficial time of 50:28, so I’m getting closer to the old days. That was good for 568th out of 2336 (and 46th in my age group).

Not much else to report from this year’s event. Dropped off three pairs of old shoes before the race that I had tried to donate at REI a few weeks back, which was nice. Took off right after I finished so I could get to the packet pick-up for the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon, followed by golf at Valleywood with Brad. Walking the hills of Apple Valley carrying a heavy golf bag was surprisingly easy, so that was a good training sign for the rest of the 2016 racing calendar.

William Shakespeare

Posted Tuesday, April 19th, 2016 08:02 pm GMT -5 in Quotes,Reading,Running at 8:02 PM

Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast…

I Deuxnut Run

Posted Sunday, April 17th, 2016 04:18 pm GMT -5 in Food,Friends,Running at 4:18 PM
img_0866.jpg

My stomach couldn’t keep up with the pace, but still managed to retain donut royalty status

2016 Goldy’s Run 10 Mile

Posted Tuesday, April 12th, 2016 11:10 pm GMT -5 in Running at 11:10 PM
img_0538.jpg

Last Saturday was my first race of 2016 and one that I’ve wanted to try for a few years now: Goldy’s Run 10 Mile. Part of the Minnesota Running Series, Goldy’s Run is produced by Podium Sports Marketing, which was kind enough to provide me with a complimentary entry to this race (and also one to their Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon next month).

The course starts outside TCF Bank Stadium and finishes inside the stadium on the 50 yard line, which was quite fun (similar to the Fargo Marathon finish). There is a reported 825 feet of gain, as you cross the Mississippi River four times and climb up and down the river valley. The course also included the Stone Arch Bridge, St. Anthony Main, Nicollet Island, the Broadway Avenue bridge, Mill City Museum and the Guthrie – very scenic overall.

Wasn’t really sure what kind of time I’d have for this one, since my most recent training runs have been on the slow side. When I lined up for the start (in the sunny 18F weather), there was a pacer in front of me with an 8:30/mile sign. I decided I’d try to keep up with her and ran with their group for the first two miles or so. Feeling pretty good, I decided to jump ahead of them and see if I could maintain that to the end. They almost caught me at mile nine, but I had just enough left in the tank to stay in front, finishing in 1:25:27 (searchable results). Congrats to my friend Jenn, who also ran this race for the first time and finished in 1:32:56.

Watch splits: 8:32, 8:07, 8:27, 8:31, 8:23, 8:24, 8:27, 8:34, 8:53, 8:30

The packet pick-up at Sports Authority in Roseville was a disaster (waited in line for more than an hour), but overall I thought this was a very nice event. Race day was great – they started on time, the course was beautiful (and challenging), the on-field finish line was thrilling and they had great refreshments waiting at the end. The Goldy medal was well-designed and the tech shirts seemed fine (haven’t worn mine yet).

Go Gophers!

Up next: Get in Gear 10K

Happy birthday WeRunMpls

Posted Thursday, April 7th, 2016 08:59 pm GMT -5 in Food,Friends,Running at 8:59 PM
img_0459.jpg

Celebrating two years of running – congrats Kaitlyn and Jen!

Running for chicken

Posted Thursday, March 24th, 2016 08:51 pm GMT -5 in Food,Friends,Running at 8:51 PM
img_0071.jpg

…and bourbon. WeRunMpls hits 4Bells

February in Minneapolis

Posted Saturday, February 27th, 2016 06:10 pm GMT -5 in Nature,Running,Weather at 6:10 PM
img_9132.jpg

Almost hit 60F on 2/27/2016 – crazy

This kept me going

Posted Saturday, February 27th, 2016 04:11 pm GMT -5 in Food,Running at 4:11 PM
img_9131.jpg

It’s easier to keep moving when there is Mel-O-Glaze and Coke at the finish line

WeRunMpls hits the Aster

Posted Thursday, February 25th, 2016 09:36 pm GMT -5 in Food,Friends,Running at 9:36 PM
img_8926.jpg

Good food and good company (plus running)

Shreds

Posted Saturday, February 20th, 2016 11:02 am GMT -5 in Music,Quotes,Running at 11:02 AM

I’m a long distance runner, sucker, I’m in it for length…

Melt, damn you, melt

Posted Saturday, February 20th, 2016 10:53 am GMT -5 in Running,Weather at 10:53 AM
img_8684.jpg

Warm, but still lots of ice in Eagan

Pizza Pictures

Posted Thursday, February 11th, 2016 10:31 pm GMT -5 in Food,Friends,Running at 10:31 PM
img_8540.jpg

WeRunMpls @ Lola

Better start training soon

Posted Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 01:58 pm GMT -5 in Fashion,Marathons,Running at 1:58 PM
img_8512.jpg

The Grandma’s jacket has arrived

Embrace the North

Posted Friday, January 15th, 2016 09:31 am GMT -5 in Links,Running,Weather at 9:31 AM

http://www.startribune.com/why-i-love-running-outside-in-the-winter/365183881/

WeRunMPLS January Poster Boy

Posted Saturday, January 9th, 2016 07:36 pm GMT -5 in Friends,Links,Running at 7:36 PM

Meet David | January WeRunMPLSer

It’s about Badgers

Posted Sunday, January 3rd, 2016 08:28 pm GMT -5 in Reading,Running,Sports at 8:28 PM
img_7196.jpeg

Sad story of undiagnosed mental illness among my people

Last run of 2015

Posted Friday, January 1st, 2016 02:16 pm GMT -5 in Friends,Running at 2:16 PM
img_7158.jpeg

We Run Mpls group run along the river

Such a sucker for bling

Posted Tuesday, December 29th, 2015 03:35 pm GMT -5 in Marathons,Running at 3:35 PM
img_7116.jpeg

40th anniversary of Grandma’s Marathon

Isn’t that cheating?

Posted Sunday, December 13th, 2015 12:33 pm GMT -5 in Fashion,Marathons,Running,Shopping at 12:33 PM
IMG_6389.JPG

$50 for a 2015 Boston Marathon jacket @ Marshalls Mall of America

Scenes from a run

Posted Wednesday, December 9th, 2015 11:28 am GMT -5 in Running,Travel at 11:28 AM
IMG_6235.JPG

Pier 1 to Fishermans Wharf

Donut Royalty

Posted Sunday, November 29th, 2015 04:26 pm GMT -5 in Food,Running at 4:26 PM
IMG_5459.JPG

Fun morning – thanks to Mill City Running and all four donut stops

More of these please

Posted Sunday, November 15th, 2015 12:27 pm GMT -5 in Running,Weather at 12:27 PM
IMG_5274

Lake Harriet on 11/15/15, about 60F

Jingle Bells in November 

Posted Saturday, November 14th, 2015 11:37 am GMT -5 in Charities,Family,Running at 11:37 AM
IMG_5261

The finish line, Minnesota State Fairgrounds 

Hello, Minneapolis 

Posted Thursday, October 29th, 2015 08:37 pm GMT -5 in Running at 8:37 PM
IMG_4995

This town is beautiful 

The more, the merrier

Posted Monday, October 26th, 2015 02:00 pm GMT -5 in Links,Marathons,Running at 2:00 PM

http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-best-training-for-a-marathon-a-marathon-1445873867

2015 Des Moines Marathon

Posted Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 09:39 pm GMT -5 in Family,Food,Marathons,Running,Travel at 9:39 PM
DesMoines2015

Last weekend, 75% of the Kingsbury clan headed down I-35 to the Iowa state capital for the 14th running of the IMT Des Moines Marathon. I picked this race as part of the Fifty States quest, with Iowa and South Dakota being the closest ones to Minnesota that I hadn’t knocked off yet. Combine that with a very reasonable rate at the Downtown Marriott ($130 + tax) and what I thought was a rather flat state overall, it was a no-brainer pick for marathon number 25.

The hotel turned out to be great – within walking distance of the start and finish area, no forced two night minimum and a 2pm late check-out for runners to return and shower after the race. The room was your typical downtown business hotel as far as furnishings go and the staff was very friendly. Just like most business-class hotel chains, though, they still charge extra for wireless internet and a 30-second phone call I made from the room to Colleen’s mobile phone was billed at $5.75. Ouch.

As for the race, I was disappointed with my performance (4:37:23 – 10:36 pace, 895th overall, 77 out of 106 in my age division). I could blame lots of things, but it was mainly just a lack of faster training miles during this cycle that blew it for me at the end. Turns out this part of Iowa is far from flat – the course map shows a rise of “just” 150 feet, but the hills between miles three and eight were substantial. Not Superior Hiking Trail bad, but still very trying. Ironically enough, that part of the race was also my fastest (first 10K in 55:00 for an 8:52 pace).

The weather was really cold at the start – about 35F with clear, sunny skies and a light wind that picked up substantially as the morning went on. I had packed a “cold” outfit and a “warm” outfit and completely picked the wrong items to start with. It was great before the race, but once things started, I was too hot. Colleen and MK drove to around mile 16 and I was extremely thankful they had brought part of the other outfit with them.

One of my favorite parts of this course was the loop around the famous blue oval that is home to the Drake Relays. First held in 1910, this track has hosted a who’s who of the running world: Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, Michael Johnson, Carl Lewis, Jesse Owens, Wilma Rudolph, Frank Shorter, Gwen Torrence and several hundred other Olympic athletes. My lap was probably one of the slowest ever recorded there, but it’s fun to think of Randy Wilson setting the 800m record (my high school event) on April 28, 1978 – a blazing 1:45.86!

I hit the halfway mark right at two hours and was hoping to stay in the 4:00 – 4:20 range, but I started to cramp up and had to take longer and longer walk breaks during the water stations. The sections around Waterworks Park and Grays Lake Park were not my favorite – you could see the huge loops around those areas and both felt like forever to complete (even though they were only about two miles long each). I saw Colleen and MK again around mile 25, then headed to the finish line, which was in the same spot where we started (Locust Street bridge). Running the second half 37 minutes slower than the first was just sad, but it’s over, it wasn’t my slowest marathon and it still counts as a finish.

My Garmin said I ran 26.4 miles, so I guess I took the tangents poorly. Here are the watch splits: 8:45, 8:53, 8:49, 9:01, 8:33, 9:03, 8:52, 9:05, 9:01, 9:04, 9:26, 9:34, 10:05, 10:14, 10:37, 11:56, 10:46, 11:35, 12:28, 12:01, 12:25, 12:25, 14:00, 12:08, 12:28 and 11:47. The official reported splits were: 10K – 55:00 (8:52), Half – 2:00:15 (9:11), 20 miles – 3:19:05 (9:58) and last 10K – 1:18:19. Nice food options at the end, which I also thought was organized very nicely. Still couldn’t find the family, but that my fault for not telling them where to meet ahead of time.

The expo was small, but nice. We saw our friend Kris Jessee, who ran the half in an impressive 1:43:58. You could tell this is really more of a half marathon event – there were just a couple of spots for marathon bib pick-up and a whole wall full of spots for the half. With just 1,392 people in the full, there was plenty of elbow room once we split from the half runners around mile three. The full marathon course was well supported throughout, but there weren’t a whole lot of spectators. They gave out the shirts at the expo and not at the finish (one of my minor pet peeves), but they are very nice. Cool medal design too.

The rest of trip was short, but fun. MK had a school project based on planning trips, so she practiced on this one. Based on her research, we stopped at the very cool Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and drove by the pretty state capital building. We also hit up locally-owned Zombie Burger + Drink Lab for lunch, where I ordered the huge double “Dead Moines” burger (smoked gouda, prosciutto, ham and truffle mayo). It was great, but trust me when I say a single is more than enough. RAYGUN, the Greatest Store in the Universe, was just down the street, so we of course had to stop in and do a little shopping there.

We didn’t stick around too long after the race on Sunday, breaking our locals-only food rule with a quick stop at Noodles and Company before hitting the road back north. The road construction on I-35 once we passed back into Minnesota was completely ridiculous. MNDOT really needs to study ways to improve that whole situation. The Iowa DOT runs some pretty awesome “modern” rest stops – perhaps they can give MNDOT a call and lend a helping hand…

Joe Friel

Posted Wednesday, October 21st, 2015 09:58 am GMT -5 in Quotes,Running at 9:58 AM

To be fast, one needs to train fast…

Another state about to fall

Posted Friday, October 16th, 2015 05:59 pm GMT -5 in Marathons,Running,Travel at 5:59 PM
IMG_4630

Des Moines Marathon this weekend 

Tyler’s TC 10 Mile Report

Posted Wednesday, October 7th, 2015 06:08 pm GMT -5 in Links,Running at 6:08 PM

http://www.tylerpennelrunning.com/2015/10/07/tc-10-mile/

Then orange

Posted Sunday, October 4th, 2015 07:29 am GMT -5 in Marathons,Running at 7:29 AM
IMG_4396

Twin Cities Marathon medals

Green first

Posted Sunday, October 4th, 2015 07:28 am GMT -5 in Marathons,Running at 7:28 AM
IMG_4395

TC 10 Mile medals

Good luck next week

Posted Sunday, September 27th, 2015 11:58 am GMT -5 in Marathons,Running at 11:58 AM
IMG_3881

I’ll see you all at the finish line

New marathon pacer

Posted Friday, September 25th, 2015 04:00 pm GMT -5 in Marathons,Nature,Running at 4:00 PM
IMG_3854

Seriously, how’d I get so slow?

Donut Dash 5K

Posted Wednesday, September 23rd, 2015 04:59 pm GMT -5 in Running at 4:59 PM
IMG_3823

Not sure what I think about the cops part…

Three hours of running = donuts

Posted Sunday, September 20th, 2015 11:25 am GMT -5 in Food,Running at 11:25 AM
IMG_3785

Right, Megan?

State Fair Milk Run 2015

Posted Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 09:45 pm GMT -5 in Family,Food,Running at 9:45 PM
IMG_3033

Wasn’t expecting much from my ninth straight running of the Minnesota State Fair Milk Run 5K – back issues prompted a three-week break from running in August, so the run log looks pretty thin. I even asked Kid Two if I could just run with her at whatever pace she wanted (Kid One has completely dropped the Milk Run Tradition™). But alas, I ended up trying to complete my quest for an age group ribbon anyways and came up short again. My official chip time was 24:48 (8:00 pace), with watch splits of 7:27, 8:31 and 7:50. This was 38 seconds slower than last year, but still good enough for 8th in my age group (out of 53) and 100th overall.

The top three ribbon winners still are flying, with the first place guy smoking almost everyone. Thomas Tisell, 48, of Saint Paul, ran an amazing 5:46 average pace to finish with a 17:55 (third overall). The important time to beat was the third place finisher (Piet Hansel, 46, also of Saint Paul), who had a chip time of 22:02. If I could just set a new PR for this distance, I would’ve had it this year. Oh well, still in the realm of possibility is enough to get me to keep coming back (and maybe even train a little).

One family member did set a PR this year – MK broke her old best time by nearly a minute (43:07 chip time). She too has declared that she’s done with this whole Milk Run business, however. There is one other runner that deserves some major props this year: Gloria Jansen of White Bear Lake set a new age group record that had held for 16 years. Her chip time of 25:00 gives her the fastest 5K time in Minnesota history for a 68-year-old woman. Way to go Gloria!

The course was changed again this year, with the start and finish line moved way over to Machinery Hill. The fair also decided to eliminate the option of paying for parking with an advanced purchase entry ticket, so managing traffic, finding a parking spot and getting to the starting line on time were extra stressful this year. The race organizers suggested entering at Snelling and Hoyt (which we did), but I think I’ll find an alternate way next year. We ended up with a spot near the West End entrance, but had to walk back to the starting line.

The new route basically added two new hills, one of which was right at the end (no fair, fair). I started out OK, but as usual, had trouble with that middle mile. Stopped at the midway water station (just like last year), which caused that ugly 8:31 middle split. Felt OK for the last mile, but it too was slower than I need for a ribbon. Kicked it in at the end to stay in front of this really short kid, but payed for it by nearly puking just beyond the finish line. Serves me right for sticking it to the kid, I guess.

We both picked up our shirts, got a chocolate milk from the Princess Kay crew, then headed back to the car to change. It was really weird starting the rest of our fair day on that end of the fairgrounds – all our past traditions involved starting by the old Heritage Square (RIP). Oh yeah, no door prizes yet again for either of us. WTH?

But enough with the complaining. This was my 46th straight year at the Great Minnesota Get-Together and I will always love it no matter what. In fact, we ended up staying for twelve hours Sunday and plan to go back Saturday for the Avett Brothers in the Grandstand and maybe again on Labor Day to see Merle Haggard, Kris Kristofferson and Sturgill Simpson.

Kid one is returning to work at the fair, but she is switching from the Corn Roast to the Taste of Midtown Global Market spot in the International Bazaar that is being split between Hot Indian Foods and The Rabbit Hole. Hot Indian had it the first half and their Tikka On-a-Stikka was the only new fair food I tried. Two pieces for $6, they described it as “chicken marinated in spices and yogurt, chargrilled and smothered in tikka sauce.” Colleen didn’t care for it, but I’d order it again for sure.

Our friends Thomas and Kat own The Rabbit Hole and we ran into them on Sunday (with their adorable daughter). They will be serving from the new spot September 2 through Labor Day with a mini menu of Kimchi ‘n’ Curry Poutine, Hot Tail and a Salad Named Soo (along with iced green tea). Can’t wait to stop back there and try it out.

As for other food, it was back to basics most of the day. Started with a Pronto Pup (of course, plus another one later), then 1919 root beer, cheese curds, corn roast, Danielson onion rings, Sweet Martha’s cookies and a frozen cider pop from Minnesota Apples. The free malt coupon from the Milk Run was again valid at the Dairy Building and I actually tried something other than plain vanilla – the new salted caramel puff flavor. The corn puffs were a little stale, but the flavor combination was genius.

We really seemed to walk all over during the course of the day. There were no birds in the poultry building this year due to the avian flu, but we did get to see some rather large horses. Our efforts to see the sheep, cows and pigs, however, were thwarted by an early 3pm barn closing time. We also missed all the shows in the Coliseum, but sat in there anyway, just to get away from the crowds and sit in front of the large fans. Speaking of crowds, it seemed jammed everywhere, but the official count for the day was “only” 179,724 – more than the last two years, but far from the all-time record set in 1994 of 209,969.

Let’s see, what else? Ye Old Mill is celebrating their 100th year of operation, so we of course had to go on that. We visited the Minnesota State Lottery booth again and purchased the $10 worth of tickets needed to get a “free” T-shirt. Colleen did the same and we won a grand total of $5 from our four tickets, so it was basically $15 for two shirts. Our friend’s band The Shiny Lights played a set on the new tpt stage outside the 4-H building at 6pm, which was the last thing we did before heading for the gates. Excellent job, Chris!

Sign me up – Grandma’s 40th

Posted Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015 04:56 pm GMT -5 in Links,Marathons,Running,Video at 4:56 PM

Milk Run 2015

Posted Sunday, August 30th, 2015 07:33 am GMT -5 in Family,Running at 7:33 AM
IMG_2918

MK and me pre-race @ the Fair

More cowbell in Afton

Posted Saturday, July 4th, 2015 11:26 am GMT -5 in Friends,Running at 11:26 AM
IMG_1009.JPG

2015 Afton Trail Run

Des Moines Marathon Planning

Posted Wednesday, July 1st, 2015 10:36 pm GMT -5 in Marathons,Running,Travel at 10:36 PM
DesMoinesMarathon

It’s been a few weeks since I signed up to run the 2015 IMT Des Moines Marathon and I really should come up with a formal training plan and get serious about running again. As my running log chart can attest, this has been a down year so far – less than 350 total miles in 2015 (and we’re already half done). Plus I now have the added pressure of a work colleague threatening to start a BQ challenge. Actually, that’s probably just what I need to get motivated again. Watch out, 3:25, I’m gunning for you again…

OK, maybe not. It would, however, be nice to PR on Sunday, October 18th. The race starts at 8am on the Locust Street Bridge in downtown Des Moines and has a course map that reminds me a little of Fargo (see above). There is roughly 150 feet of elevation change, though, so it’s not a completely flat course like one would expect to find in the great state of Iowa. Packet pickup is only open on Friday and Saturday, so I booked a room at the downtown Marriott on Saturday night. It’s close to the start/finish area and will have showers available afterwards, which sounded like a good plan.

Des Moines is a smaller race than I expected. Marathon weekend last year had about 9,000 total runners, which includes the marathon relay, half marathon and 5K events. Looks like they had just under 1600 marathon finishers, so it might seem a little more like Eau Claire than Fargo. I generally prefer larger races, but it will be interesting to see what I can do these days with fewer people on course.

Not sure what kind of training plan I’ll follow for this race – definitely need to pick up the mileage and continue cross-training. I still haven’t started my Wolverine workout plan due to travel/commute limitations, but I’d like to start adding in at least some of those new exercises. My weight is hovering a good 20 pounds higher than I want, but I’ve decided that I just don’t want to give up the things I like on the eating and drinking side of the equation. For now I’ll try the “increase workouts and practice restraint” method of weight control and see how that goes.

Step 1: 10K @ 5am – go!

 

DK Avatar
DK on Twitter DK on Facebook DK on Instagram DK on LinkedIn Email DK 7 Minute Miles RSS Feed
612.224.5422
Husband, dad and stadium IT director

Personal Records & Mileage

  • Mile - 6:10
  • 5K - 21:42
  • 10K - 44:40
  • Half - 1:38:40
  • Marathon - 3:43:32
  • 2016 Mileage: 411.6

Search 7 Minute Miles