2014 JNUC 5K
Running along Minnehaha Creek
It’s funny, I just read my 2013 Milk Run post and this year was similar in a lot of ways: it was very hot for the race (making a PR unlikely), it got a lot hotter as the day went on, I got my free shake at the Dairy Building and I tried a bunch of new foods afterwards. MK joined me for her fourth year in a row, while SK said she was sick and stayed home (breaking her streak of seven years). Former Olympian Carrie Tollefson was also there, chatting with us afterwards and posing for a group photo.
The quest for a state fair age group ribbon continues. My watch time of 24:10 showed splits of 7:10, 8:35 and 7:30, which barely kept me in the seven minute range (7:47 pace). That was good enough for 85th out of 549 male finishers, though, and 8th in my age group (which had 44 finishers this year). The top four guys in my category finished with times of 17:47, 20:34, 20:41 and 23:16, so it’s still in the realm of possibility. My middle mile was slow this year primarily because I stopped to get water in order to prevent premature death. I also decided easing up was a smarter plan than getting injured before New York.
Changes this year included a slightly altered course that started and ended outside the new West End Market and very different early morning access to that entire part of the fairgrounds (the gate near the start is now closed to pedestrians and cars). I’ll write more about my West End opinions in another post – I was opposed to the removal of Heritage Square, but it’s turned out different than I expected. The new course is probably a little faster than before, with a bigger downhill in the last mile.
MK walked most of the course this year, finishing in 45:36 (a bit slower than her 43:55 PR last year). SK’s name was actually announced during the awards ceremony as winning third place in the under 20 age group, but that was obviously a technical glitch. Carrie Tollefson won the women’s race in 18:27 (5:56 pace), which must be just like winning the NCAA 5000m championship, no?
My three new foods were the chicken in a waffle cone from the Blue Barn, walleye mac and cheese from Giggles and the pizza tots from Green Mill. All three were OK, but nothing I’d add to the regular rota. Foods in that category that I did eat on Sunday included Sweet Martha’s cookies, a Pronto Pup, a frozen cider pop from Minnesota Apples and a small order of Fresh French Fries.
We return again on Saturday for Minnesota Music on a Stick and on Monday for the Journey/Joan Jett concert. I’m sure there will be more food involved somewhere in there too…
Some of the stuff floating around my head during last night’s run:
That was a lot of stuff for a relatively short run…
Yesterday was the 100 day warning for the 2014 New York City Marathon. Last week was also the start of the 16 week training programs for that race, which starts at 9:40 a.m. on November 2 (wave 1). As I found out earlier this year, I was picked again during the lottery (which worked out so well in 2012). I should be getting super excited and motivated to go back and try again, but it’s been a rough go so far.
First off, I really want to take the whole family, but airfare and hotel costs are ruling that out. In fact, I don’t know if I can afford for me to go solo. I’m working a few angles, though – there are a couple friends that offered up couches and I’m about 2,000 Delta SkyMiles away from a free ticket (anybody have any extra they’d like to gift?).
Second, the Minnesota weather hasn’t exactly been cooperating. Spring took forever to arrive, then lasted about four days. Summer has consisted of trail-flooding rains, high dew points and way too many flying bugs. That has translated into lots of summer treadmill time, which also unfortunately means a reduction in miles. I’ve kept up the 100-mile per month goal so far, but a few of those were cutting it close.
Lastly, I’ve just haven’t been motivated to run the past few months. I think part of that is due to general aches and pains that I’m assuming are due to aging (since I’ve been training continuously). It’s tough going out when every time feels like I’m starting over from scratch. I’ve been reading a little bit on hip flexors and wonder if the new pain I’m feeling there is caused by that. My running partner also moved across town, which makes it harder to get off the couch (especially with less-than-prefect weather).
There are a couple of things in play that could help change course on motivation. First, I need to get my weight back in check. It’s been inching up for months and really needs to drop at least ten pounds. Distance running isn’t generally a weight loss tool for most, but it has been for me as I build mileage and cross-train.
Second, I’d really like to get that BQ before I jump to the next age group in four years. That means a 3:25:00 (7:49 pace) if I want a mid-April trip to Boston (April 20, 2015; April 18, 2016; April 17, 2017 or April 16, 2018). This would be an aggressive goal – I need to cut about 18 minutes from my marathon PR – but it might be exactly what I need this year. Plus, how cool would it be to BQ at NY?
My next confirmed race is the Minnesota State Fair Milk Run 5K (7:45 a.m. on Sunday, Aug. 24). It would do wonders for my confidence if I can PR at that race and get an age group ribbon (need to beat 21:42 to be in contention).
Thinking ahead to 2015, I’d love to do the spring 50K Superior Trail Race in Lutsen and then run the 50 mile in the fall (I need the former to qualify for the latter). The spring race is May 16th and the fall date is TBD (September). I had that dream about running at BQ at Grandma’s, so I feel like I just *have* to run that in 2015 (7:45 a.m. on Saturday, June 20). I also still want to run the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon (June) and Des Moines (October), but those will probably have to wait at least another year.
Now I just need my body to cooperate and hold on for a few more years…
Last Sunday Colleen and I attended the Get Your Rear in Gear 5K run/walk in Edina. This event is a fundraiser organized by the Colon Cancer Coalition, so we decided to participate in memory of Denise. My aunt also mentioned that my grandmother had colon cancer, which I don’t think I knew.
The course started and finished outside Southdale Mall and had a large area set up with informational tents from various organizations. The weather was perfect and the announcer said there were 5,000 people participating. Reg Chapman from WCCO was one of the emcees and did an excellent job.
I hadn’t done much running this month, so I really had no idea what to expect. The course was supposed to be certified, but my Garmin measured it as 2.88 miles. I loved seeing the 21:10 at the finish, but unfortunately the 6:49 pace the official results claimed was nowhere near what I actually ran. I will take the fourth place finish in my old guy age group, however.
Colleen walked the course in under an hour and they had a great food tent set up with all the usual suspects. Oh, and a giant inflatable colon. Get tested, people…
Section 3AA Boys and Girls Track and Field Prelims, May 27, 1986
The 2014 edition of the TC 1 Mile was cancelled due to severe weather
Thirteen years in a row! Minnesota’s Annual Rite of Spring, the Get in Gear races at Minnehaha Park, just keep getting better and better – well organized, the best running value of the year, a scenic course and believe it or not, decent weather for two years straight. Well, OK, today’s easterly 17MPH wind was not so nice coming across the Lake Street Bridge (and up the dreaded hill near St. Thomas), but otherwise it was pretty great running weather – especially compared to the rest of 2014.
After setting a PR last year of 44:40, I was really nervous about trying to repeat anything close to that time. I’m at least ten pounds heavier and another year into the masters category, so there were two strikes against me right off the bat. Throw in the crappy winter for outdoor training and I had no idea what would happen. I started the race with a 6:55 first split, which seemed way too fast and made me panic a little about finishing without having to stop and walk. I was breathing harder than normal and my calf muscles were very sore. The rest of the splits were all in the sevens – 7:23, 7:41, 7:41, 7:37 and 7:32.
My Garmin said the first mile was way off from where the sign was located, but the rest of the course was pretty much spot on. I felt pretty good coming across the Ford Bridge, but knew my final time wasn’t going to be close to last year. The final stretch went OK, but I finished with a watch time of 46:34 (almost two minutes slower than last year).
Some other stats from the results page:
The finish area had water and Gatorade this year and the food was back in the main pavilion again. Does it get any better than Great Harvest raisin bread, salted nut rolls, bananas and chocolate milk? There was also a yogurt vendor with peanut butter spread samples, but my hands were full by the time I made it to their table. The shirt was technical again (cotton is dead and gone forever, it seems) and the bags were super nice (with an innovative design).
Up next: TC 1 Mile on May 8 (guessing that PR will be tough to beat too)
Passed the lottery, now need to find the money and hope for good weather…
All these crazy Arrowhead 135 athletes have me inspired to set some goals for 2014 and start to seriously decide on races for the year. I’m currently only registered for one race right now – the Get in Gear 10K on April 26th. I’m also in the New York City Marathon lottery, but will likely email them to take my name out (no money for a full-blown New York trip this year).
So what do I want to do? Registration for the TC 1 Mile opens Saturday and I’ll sign up and try to make it four in a row versus Megan. I’ve got the ultra bug and probably should’ve signed up for the Superior 50K, but that race just filled. Both of their fall races (the 50 and 100) require a previous trail ultra, so those will have to wait. I’m seriously considering the Zumbro 50 that Megan did last year, but it’s coming up soon (April 12th) and I’m not sure I really want to run much outside the next few weeks. Oh, I’d like to do this sometime too…
I still really want to run the Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon in South Dakota on June 1st, but that would require at least one hotel night expense. I really missed Grandma’s last year and have a place to stay for that race (June 21st). The other benefit to that race is that since it usually doesn’t fill, I can wait until the last minute and still register.
With New York likely out, my fall marathon spot opens up and I’d kinda like to check Iowa off the 50-state list by running the Des Moines Marathon on October 19th. I’d miss Twin Cities, but those two races are always too close together, so maybe I’ll take a year off from the hometown race.
When runDisney announced the inaugural Dopey Challenge, I was intrigued. The “old” Goofy Challenge of running the half marathon Saturday and the full marathon Sunday was on my bucket list, but I was just too nervous to pull the trigger and try it (even though both my brother Brian and my running partner Megan had Goofy medals in their collections). The new Dopey would add a 5K on Thursday and a new 10K race on Friday, for a grand total of 48.6 miles in four days. Sold!
This was an expensive race entry ($495 early bird), but a lucky slot machine in Kansas justified a one-time splurge (at least in my running-deranged mind). The 7000 Dopey slots filled rather quickly and both Megan and Brian missed out. My brother decided to go Goofy again for the second time, while Megan signed up for the full (her tenth).
The expo opened at 10am on Wednesday and was expanded this year to include the baseball stadium (in addition to the HP Field House and the Jostens Center). There was a separate line just for people who wanted to buy the limited edition New Balance runDisney shoes, which I heard started to form at 4:30am. The Field House had the usual packet pickup, along with most of the race shirts and a new runDisney merchandise shop. Jostens Center held all the rest, including the runDisney booth where I stood by Jeff Galloway again and listened in on a few conversations. With all of the shirts, I left Wide World of Sports with a pretty heavy race bag.
The Family Fun 5K event on Thursday had the latest start of the week, with the fireworks going off at 6:15am. It was fairly warm and humid for the first three races, with a wonderful cold front moving through on Saturday night before the marathon on Sunday. The last three races all started at 5:30am and I’d say getting up so early four days in a row was probably the hardest part of the challenge for me (2:45am on Sunday was just brutal).
I ended up semi-racing the 5K and 10K and dialed down the pace for the last two. Given my relative lack of training the previous month, I was very happy with all of the times:
My brother helped me pick out the cool Pirates of the Caribbean costume for Sunday, while the giant mouse hands and ears made a return appearance in the half. Megan ordered a Duffy costume from an Etsy vendor online and the crowd response was awesome (especially from cast members) – pretty sure she was the only Duffy in the field too.
Spent a little time in all four parks while I was down there, but for the most part, I just hung out with Brian and his wife Patti while soaking in the non-Minnesota winter weather. Thanks for the kind hospitality you two!
Only one other confirmed and registered race entry right now in 2014 – the Get in Gear 10K on April 26th. Lots of others I’d like to do, but we’ll see how much I can budget for entry fees this year…