…but just barely with that cold wind and snow!
Fortune Bay Resort Casino, Tower, Minnesota
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…
The typical “year-in-review” posts might be cliche, but they can also be insightful as one reflects and moves forward. I initially wasn’t going to write one, as the year ended on such a low note with the passing of my grandfather (and all of the moving drama at the beginning of the year). But I starting thinking about 2013 golf, running, music and food and decided it was worth hitting a few keystrokes…
The year started off with my otherworldly visit to Streamsong in Florida (Blue #7 above). Walking 36 holes after a marathon isn’t probably something I want to do again, but what a spectacular golf experience. The rest of the golf year was low key, as I played 11 fewer rounds overall (24 versus 35 in 2012) and half as many rounds on The Wilderness (7 versus 15). Scores were all over the map – I had a low round of 84 on Streamsong Blue and a couple of 99s (Streamsong Red and the tips at The Wilderness).
Running didn’t seem all that strong in 2013, but it was my second highest mileage total in the past six years (1029.9 miles) and as I’ve written previously, I set personal records at almost every distance. The cold weather in December really put a damper on things at the end, but I’m excited to return to Disney next week to repeat the marathon experience with Megan and Brian. My personal “Ragnar Ultra” with a great team of people was also a highlight of the year.
When I started researching 2013 music and food, I guess it’s easy to see why I never get ahead financially. I attended 37 concerts and visited 54 restaurants for the first time. I saw three Cirque shows this year, several comedians and a ton of great concerts, both big and small. Tom Petty, Pearl Jam, Macklemore, Mumford and Sons, Bob Dylan and Norah Jones were the biggest names, but I also loved seeing people like Charlie Parr, John Mark Nelson and Bomba de Luz. Several new venues for me too: the Cedar Cultural Center, Triple Rock and the Turf Club all got checked off the list in 2013.
In the food world, the Twin Cities really hit the jackpot with new places this year: The Rabbit Hole, Sandcastle, Buttered Tin, Cossetta’s (remodel), Smack Shack, Borough, Pig Ate My Pizza, World Street Kitchen, Burch Steak, Red Cow and FireLake. I hit up all of these in 2013 (some multiple times) and I can’t wait to continue visiting more new places (Parka, Gray House, Lake and Irving). This was the year of The Lowry for us and I finally made it to a few places I had on the short list (Piccolo, Zen Box, Buffalo Tap, Hello Pizza, Icehouse, Joan’s in the Park, Mystic Steakhouse, Scott Ja-Mama’s).
Aside from the Florida trip, most of my 2013 travel was for business. Sensi at Bellagio was a highlight, as was Bachi Burger off the Strip. I also really liked the Arrogant Butcher in Phoenix, the Calderone Club in Milwaukee, Three Fires Steakhouse in Kansas and the Kitchen Buffet in Iowa. Back in Florida, the new Be Our Guest restaurant at the Magic Kingdom is worth the long lines and the sandwiches at Wawa really earned their northeast legend status.
Happy New Year!
When I signed up for the 2013 Monster Dash half marathon, it was with the intent of running fast enough to keep my corral one option for Twin Cities, since my last Monster time in 2009 was about to expire. Turns out I qualified for corral one with my last marathon time (and again this year), so I didn’t really need to run it after all. I did want to see the new St. Paul course, though, and the weather turned out to be very nice for late October.
For a course that supposedly has a 400-foot net drop, it seemed pretty hilly in spots. Going backwards on Summit is pretty cool, but I’m still not wild about that stretch along Shepard Road. Parking worked out well for me and was just like going to a Wild game. Too bad so many others got stuck in traffic, causing the 10 minute delay in the start. The race is chip-timed, though, so I don’t really think they had to do that (especially with the cold wind making people who got there on time suffer).
I really didn’t think I was in any condition to run a PR, given the lack of mileage since TCM. My half PR from 2009 seemed too fast to beat, but I found the 1:40 pacer and started the race with her. After a mile or two, I found the pace comfortable and pushed ahead of that group (hoping I wouldn’t get caught later). I did OK with splits for most of the race, trying to keep them around 7:30:
That twelfth mile almost did me in and I really had to push hard on mile thirteen to get the 35 second PR. I’m not really sure what happened that mile either – no big hills and just a little headwind. In any case, very happy I didn’t lose it.
Physically, this was a tough race, as I felt something in my right leg around mile six and felt pretty sore the next day. It all seems better now that I finally got some rest. Hoping to get in a few light treadmill workouts this week, as I try not to do a two month taper leading into Disney.
This has been a great running year for me. As I tweeted earlier, the run log shows PRs in every distance except for the 5K (which I missed by 45 seconds). The one mile, 10K, half and marathon marks all got updated in 2013 – hurray for aging! And the best part is I feel like there is still room for improvement across the board.
Onward to 2014…
Last long training run before the Monster Half – Minnehaha Creek, Minneapolis
Well, that was fun. Marathon number 22 is in the books (ninth TCM) and it was the fastest one for me yet. I’m terrible at calculating times, but Google says I actually ran my first reverse split in a marathon. Here are the main stats:
I’m not entirely sure how accurate those watch splits are, as the Garmin was off at almost every mile marker. It also said I ran 26.38 miles – I know I’m sometimes bad at running the tangents, but that seemed like a lot.
This was a great social day. My former neighbor Tim stopped and visited at the Metrodome before the race, where I also met Megan and her dad. We walked with Yaniha to the start and I ran the first seven miles with Megan. She was diagnosed with asthma earlier in the week, but still finished under 4:15. Congrats to all of the people I knew running the full:
Congrats also to Twitter friends Kat (@kljwm) and Kristi (@lifeisfunner), who had great runs during the TC 10 Mile today too. And big shout outs to my only spectator Renee (@twindependent), as well as finish line security volunteer Marc (@WDWGolfer).
Overall, I felt pretty decent right after the race and walked down to United Hospital to get a ride back to my car at the Fort Snelling park and ride. Since I got home, the main pains have been my left ankle and (strangely enough), my neck. Not a big deal, though – should be fine by tomorrow.
While I’m very happy with the PR (which knocked nearly two and a half minutes off the old time), it still highlighted just how hard qualifying for Boston will be. Even with the extra time for getting older, I’m still more than 18 and a half minutes away.
Dang, now that’s fast.
Eight miler on Echo Point, Fortune Bay Resort Casino, Tower, Minnesota
It was a warm 80F degrees when I woke up for the 2013 edition of the Minnesota State Fair Milk Run 5K today, with sunny skies and a bit of humidity. This was the sixth year in a row I’ve made kid one run (much to her chagrin) and the third where the kids wanted to run at their own pace.
I wasn’t expected a PR opportunity in this weather, but was hoping to beat last year’s time of 23:53. According to the Garmin, my splits were 6:54, 7:32 (damn those hills) and 7:08, for a final watch time of 22:27 (7:14 pace). It also said there was 102 feet of elevation gain, but it felt like more. That time was good enough for 67th overall and 5th in my age group.
For the first time, we stuck around for part of the awards ceremony, where I learned the top three people in each age group get ribbons. I’ll switch from M40 to M45 next year, which actually might make it harder to get a ribbon: third place needed a 21:05 this year for M40, 20:13 for M45 and 20:29 for M50. Lots of fast old guys!
Kid one kicked it in and beat kid two this year, 41:49 vs. 43:55. Congrats to both of them – so proud (even if they hate doing it).
Today was going to be new food day for me, as we are also going next Saturday for the Macklemore & Ryan Lewis concert at the Grandstand and I figured I’d save the favorites for then. Turned out I started with Sweet Martha’s Cookies, a Pronto Pup and the Corn Roast, so that didn’t exactly pan out.
I did end up hitting French Meadow for the dough-sant, Cinnie Smiths mini cinnamon rolls, Gizmo sandwich, honey lemonade and honey sticks at the Horticulture Building and Comet Corn from Blue Moon Dine-In Theater. All were OK, but nothing really to add to the classics list. I also had a frozen cider pop from Minnesota Apples and my free vanilla malt at the Dairy Building, both of which felt great in the 96F afternoon sunshine.
On the agenda for next time: another Pronto Pup, Fresh French Fries, Danielson Onion Rings, Ball Park Cafe onion rings, Izzy’s mini donut ice cream, Duke’s Poutine and mac and cheese on a stick from Axel’s Bonfire.