Back to the winter grind in the resort exercise room
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.
When Bois Forte decided to put together a team for the 2013 Ragnar Great River relay, I was asked to be the Fortune Bay representative. This was partly due to my reputation for running and partly because no one else volunteered. Rae Villebrun was the captain and organizer of team Running Wild Through the Wilderness and did an excellent job of logistics and communication throughout.
We had some turnover on our roster in the weeks leading up to the race, including one person who dropped out the week of the race. This lead to me taking both the 8th and 9th runner positions, effectively turning it into a Ragnar Ultra. I decided to just do the back-to-backs three times (see the segment maps after the jump), for a grand total of 36.6 miles. I was a little worried when the Ragnar guide listed the segments as very hard, very hard, very hard, very hard, easy and moderate (which should have been “hard” in my opinion).
My Garmin had all kinds of cool stats from this event:
As you can see from the elevation chart, this course had some serious hills. I had to walk for part of the last hill in segment 9 (my slowest split) and the long downhill after the peak was almost as painful (in a different way). I also walked part of the hill at the end of segment 33, which was my least favorite part of the entire relay. Thankfully Megan was there with me for that part – many, many thanks to her teammate Yaniha for the surprise water bottles too.
Even though this was my first Ragnar, I could tell right away that people are what make this event what it is. I hadn’t met any of my teammates in real life before Friday, but we had an awesome team. I really appreciate all the work that Rae and John put into organizing our group and thanks to my van two partners Amy, Melissa, Nikki and John for sharing their Target snacks, driving us everywhere and providing support throughout the relay. And cheers to all of the van one runners too – you did great. Running Wild Through the Wilderness kicked ass!
2013 Ragnar Great River, East River Flats, Minneapolis
Rae Villebrun, John Villebrun, David Kingsbury, Amy Blair Galatz, Nikki Irving, Billie Mason, Melissa Morrison, Tara Sue, Michelle Nelson Metzig, Kayla Chapman and Kristen Strong.
Tonight’s race felt different than the past two years – I think I’ve finally learned that the distance isn’t really meant to be a full-out sprint (at least for my desired times). I still felt tired halfway through (which I passed right at 3:00), but I didn’t get hurt and I actually had a small kick at the end. The wind helped, although it was too cold for my shorts and T-shirt.
My official chip time was 6:10.6, which was a ten second PR. I also achieved my other goals of beating Megan (6:58.7), not re-injuring my knee and having a beer afterwards at The News Room. Lots of fast runners this year, as I was 441 out of 2528 finishers.
Megan had a rough night and sounded like she was going to cough up a lung afterwards. She also had the added weight of my phone in her pack, which was really my secret plan to slow her down and retain a perfect 3-0 record. I’m convinced my days are numbered, though, and a 100-mile gauntlet was thrown down too. Hmm…
It was really nice meeting new people tonight. We visited with a bunch of people from Allina and Medtronic and I finally got to meet Kat (@kljwm) in real life before the race. Minnesota Twitter runners are the greatest – sorry I didn’t get to meet more of them before or after.
I think my goal for 2014 will be a sub-6. It was so great to see fives on the timer when I turned the corner and I was a little disappointed I wasn’t closer this year. But as Megan said, don’t be “that guy” who just got a PR and is still upset. Very, very happy with things overall.
Next registered race is the State Fair Milk Run 5K, although it looks like our Ragnar team is coming together. TCM and Disney after that, but I’m sure something else will pop up before then too.