Wisely and slow; they stumble that run fast…
My stomach couldn’t keep up with the pace, but still managed to retain donut royalty status
My stomach couldn’t keep up with the pace, but still managed to retain donut royalty status
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).
Up next: Get in Gear 10K
It’s easier to keep moving when there is Mel-O-Glaze and Coke at the finish line
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…
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!
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!
My wife and I both think that the half-marathon should be called Grandpa’s Marathon because she tells me every day that men do half the work that women do….
One week after running John Storkamp’s wonderful Superior Spring 50K in Lutsen, a friend and colleague talked me into doing his race, the Stillwater Half Marathon. Starting at 8AM on May 23rd, this was a very different experience from the last time I ran a half in Stillwater. Ryan bought the race two years ago and has tweaked the course both years. It turns out that was a popular choice – the number of participants nearly doubled this year to around 1100 people (5K and half combined).
Full disclosure: Ryan provided me with a complimentary entry in exchange for feedback on the race. Thankfully, I don’t have to make up nice things to say – this was a fun, well-organized race that a vast improvement on my 2009 experience. The new course runs along the Gateway Trail for the first nine miles or so, which was nice and flat (with no real road traffic to deal with). There are some short, nasty hills at miles 10 and 11, but the finish is all downhill (including a steep drop at the actual finish line just in front of Pioneer Park).
Race day morning was low stress and easier than I expected. Race headquarters was located at the Water Street Inn in downtown Stillwater and runners were instructed to park nearby. I found a spot in a city ramp a few blocks over (on Second between Mulberry and Myrtle) and walked over to registration to get my shirt, bib and timing chip. The room had many helpful staffers, race numbers were posted on the wall if you didn’t know yours and there were lots of extra large safety pins to attach your bib. That whole process took me about 45 seconds, so I walked back to my car and dropped off the extra stuff.
The start to the half marathon was located just off highway 36, almost all the way back to I-694. There were two rows of busses parked on north Water Street – one side for 5K participants and the other side for the half marathon. I boarded the first bus to leave for the start and our driver got a little lost. There were people that knew where we should be going, though, so he turned the school bus around and got us to the start with plenty of time to spare.
The starting line was near the Gateway Trail bridge under highway 36, which quickly filled up with busload after busload of runners. There were about eight portable toilets set up to the side of the trail, but they were on the wrong side of the starting line. This basically meant that everyone who was still in line when the gun went off needed to backtrack to trigger the timing chip. Not a big deal, but it’s something I’d change in the future. I also wasn’t wild about having a prayer said before the race (and no national anthem). It was cool to have Minnesota race legend Gaylen Morse announce the start and finish of the race, however – he is such a big part of the Get in Gear and Twin Cities Marathon experience.
If you sign up early enough, you get a personalized race bib (like many other races are doing now) and the gender specific tech shirts were very nice (with a cool design). I’m not big on finisher medals for shorter races, but Ryan was very proud of the interlocking design of his medals. If you run the half along with the two other races he produces (the Lift Bridge 10 Mile on July 25th and the Log Run 10 Mile on September 19th), you will have three medals that all snap together.
Water stops were fairly spaced, well-staffed and didn’t run out of liquids (unlike some other smaller races I’ve done). I found out these stops are staffed by volunteers, but each person is also paid an hourly wage that goes to whatever charity they are supporting. Not sure if that is common at other races, but I thought it was a cool idea. At the end, Pioneer Park had a number of tables and tents set up for finishers, including a food tent that had water, bananas and pretzels. I missed the usual Minnesota race staples of salted nut rolls, Old Dutch potato chips and Great Harvest Bread, but this is a smaller race than some of the others I run (and it doesn’t cost as much either).
Overall, this is a nice race that I’d recommend for those interesting in the half marathon distance. Ryan reports they may tweak the course again next year to deal with the late hills, but I’m not sure how much of that can be done within the confines of Stillwater proper. I do like the Pioneer Park finish area and the walk back down the hill to the parking ramp wasn’t nearly as bad as I remembered. I think they also offered a free beer back at the Water Street Inn, but I’m just never going to be a beer drinker – especially after running a race. Many others will love this little touch, though.
As for my actual race performance, I knew I wasn’t going to break any records this time around. My “A” goal was simply to break two hours and my chip time was 1:56:26. Didn’t think to get my splits off the Garmin, but that averaged out to an 8:54 pace. Most of the early splits were decent – the only bad ones were during the hills. I was 181st out of 521 finishers and placed about in the middle of the pack for my age group. Fine by me.
Up next: State Fair Milk Run 5K (unless I pick up a summer race)
UPDATE: My Garmin still had the splits in memory – 9:03, 8:47, 8:46, 8:55, 8:41, 8:43, 8:51, 8:49, 8:50, 8:55, 9:01, 9:23 & 8:44
Wisconsin mac and cheese with grilled chicken, Eagan Noodles and Company
I’d been warned by Jean that this was a hard race. I had joked with the people at the Arrowhead 135 that I was planning to run a “baby ultra” as my first trail race (and first race longer than a marathon). They all laughed at me and said there is nothing “baby” about Superior.
Were they ever right.
The 50K event starts at my old haunt, Lutsen Mountains ski resort. I’ve been there so many times growing up – skiing in the winter, alpine slide and Moguls in the summer. Hell, I even had brochures to buy one of those condos when they were first built. This made everything feel very comfortable before the race. I had stayed at my sister’s apartment in Duluth the night before (with awesome marathon spaghetti from Grandma’s), woke up at 3:30am and pulled into the parking lot around 5:45.
The race organizers, Rock Steady Running, had an efficient check-in center where the gift shop used to be. I got my bib (#105) and waited for Megan and Yaniha. When I signed up for this race, I didn’t know Yaniha had already registered. When Megan found out we were both running, she got one of the last spots in the 50K. This, of course, came with the added benefit of the world-class Menning Support Team. Joan and Tom are just wonderful – hauling bags between aid stations, taking pictures, providing motivation when we want to drop out and offering a seemingly endless supply of Coke.
Minnesota has been in a drought the first part of the year. The week before the race, it rained just about every day. Saturday turned out to be the only sunny day of the week, but the trail was a mess. I’ve never seen so much mud in my life. There is still dirt on my feet now (and I’ve taken multiple showers). I threw away my socks and don’t know if my Mizunos will ever be usable again. The temperature at the start of the race was in the lower 40Fs, but quickly climbed as the day went on. It never seemed too hot, though, and there was a light breeze most of the day.
I went into this race thinking it “just” a marathon plus an extra five miles. The 4200 feet of elevation change that everyone talks about didn’t really register in my mind, but I’ll never forget those six climbs now: Mystery Mountain, Moose Mountain, Oberg Mountain, Levaux Mountain, Britton Peak and Carlton Peak. From a snobby skier standpoint, these aren’t “real” mountains, but as part of a trail race? Oh my. I honestly thought the return back up Moose Mountain was going to kill me – it was hard to even walk it slowly.
The aid stations are spaced nicely – 7.75, 13.3, 17.7 and 23.25 miles. The volunteers were amazing everywhere, but especially at those stops. You could tell a lot of them were trail runners themselves and knew exactly how I was feeling. They gave me salt tablets at the last one when I told them I was getting leg cramps and someone was always there right away to refill my water bottle. The selection of food and beverages was perfect.
I tried to run with Megan and Yaniha at the start, but we ended up getting separated a bit by the crowd of people on the single track course. They never got too far ahead at this point, though, and we reunited at the Oberg aid station. We stayed together from there to Britton and Carlton and back to Britton. The hike up Carlton was really intense, but the view at the top was amazing (along with the greetings from Chuck and his offer of free beer). I started to fall behind between the two aid stations and ended up about 35 minutes behind by the end.
My primary problems during that time were mud, fear of falling and/or twisting an ankle and the leg cramps, which strangely moved from one leg to the other (and back again). I did fall once when my right thigh cramped up, but thankfully it wasn’t into the mud. Tom gave me a great pep talk at the last aid station and asked one of the volunteers if I was clear of the cutoff. Normally, if you don’t finish within eight hours, it’s not official and the finish line closes. With the muddy conditions this year, they announced at the start that we had nine hours. The volunteer said I could walk it in from there and still be fine, which is close to what I ended up doing.
That last 7.75 miles was just brutal. I didn’t see many other people the entire time, climbing Moose was horrible, Mystery Mountain seemed to never end and the all of the downhills that I wanted to run down were incredibly muddy from all the traffic from the 25K runners. The mud was so thick and unpredictable, I didn’t want to risk injury by trying to run through it. It wasn’t all walking, but the run/walk ratio dropped significantly compared to the rest of the day. I was so happy to finally cross the Poplar River again and get back on the chalet road, where I found Tom with more words of encouragement. It was easy to run the rest of the way after that.
The finish line sits right next to the old condo pool, which was great. The party was still going when I crossed the line after nearly 8.5 hours. They announced my name and placed the tree stump around my neck. Success! I headed for the hoses to wash off some of the mud, got a Coke and clean shoes from the Mennings, posed for pictures with Megan and Yaniha, then hopped in the car to drive back to Minneapolis for the Kids in the Hall concert at the State (that I thought I’d easily make when I bought the tickets).
My official time was 8:29:06 (16:24 Minute Miles), which was good for 169th out of 186 overall, 128th of 136 men and 53rd out of 56 male masters. As Megan said, the time and rankings aren’t what it’s all about, but my goal time of seven hours was overly optimistic. I’d like to blame the muddy conditions, but most others didn’t seem to have a problem. Hell, the winner ran a 4:08 (8:00 Minute Miles) and was totally flying through the mud when he passed us on the return loop – ten whole miles in front of our pace.
Still, happy to finish at all and check off the first “baby ultra” and trail race. It was an incredible experience in a beautiful part of Minnesota with a bunch of amazing people. When I checked this morning, there was one spot left in the fall 50 miler (which Megan and Yaniha are both running – Megan for the second time). I thought about it briefly, but opted to wait. I’d like to try that distance on a course that isn’t quite that brutal before heading back north. Perhaps next year for that one.
So now I need to decide what comes next. The only race I’m currently registered for is the State Fair Milk Run 5K in August, so it’s probably time to commit to something for the fall. I’m still leaning towards the Des Moines Marathon on October 18th. It’s relatively inexpensive and would help with the 50 States goal. The I-35 Challenge is intriguing too: you run the Kansas City Marathon on Saturday and Des Moines on Sunday. Of course, this would be significantly more expensive and logistically difficult – not to mention running 52.4 miles in two days. Surf the Murph at the end of October would be an “easier” 50 mile course (and one that I’ve already run one loop of with Megan), so maybe Des Moines and that?
Had a few more thoughts after publishing the original post: