Originally published by DK on August 31, 2022 at 5:29 pm
https://www.tcmevents.org/events/get-in-gear-2023Originally published by DK on August 17, 2022 at 10:09 am
Probably just as well, to be honestOriginally published by DK on March 14, 2022 at 7:09 am
Treadmill arriving next week 🏋️♀️ 🏃♂️ 🎉Originally published by DK on December 30, 2021 at 3:30 pm
Started out running around the outside of the golf courseOriginally published by DK on December 18, 2021 at 6:39 pm
Originally published by DK on October 6, 2021 at 8:07 am
It’s a little crazy to look back at the post I wrote from the last time I ran the Milk Run 5K at the Minnesota State Fair. Back in 2015, I was on a streak to get closer to actually winning an age group ribbon (awarded to the top three in each category) and was disappointed to run an eight minute mile. This year, my C goal was to finish, my B goal was to run the whole thing without stopping to walk and my A goal was to finish faster than my previous slowest time (39:09). Considering I haven’t really run at all since the Get in Gear, it was a minor miracle I hit all three goals (finishing in 32:55).
That 10:36 pace was good enough for 20th in my age group (out of 30) and 399th out of 911 total finishers. My age group leaderboard is still full of fast old guys, with the winner running a 20:11 (6:30 pace). My Milk Run PR of 21:42 would’ve put me just two seconds out of the third place ribbon, though, so there’s still hope. I’m not sure that I will ever get back to distance races, but I could see myself trying to get better at 5K and 10K runs. It was really fun to be back out on a real course again (with a few spectators even). Probably could’ve shaved a few more seconds off if I didn’t wait to start in the back of the pack – there was quite a slow logjam for the first half mile or so. The watch says my mile splits were 10:32, 10:11 and 9:43, so that’s a positive. Hopefully there will be no football game again in 2022 (which is the reason I’ve missed the last four pre-pandemic years).
The course was the same as the last time I ran, starting on Machinery Hill and running through Saint Anthony Park and the University of Minnesota Saint Paul campus. I waved at the old Vince Fan house on Dudley and was amused by the milk protesters halfway through the race. The start and finish were at the intersection of Randall and Underwood, a block over from Giggles’ Campfire Grill, which was kind enough to give all runners a free breakfast sandwich, a slice of watermelon, some blueberries and a bottle of water after the race. I also used my free malt coupon at the Dairy Building (which thankfully wasn’t closed, contrary to a rumor we had heard). Picked up my shirt after the race and went back to the car to change, which was really refreshing. Getting in to park at Snelling and Hoyt was also much less stressful than last time, but leaving that way at 1:30pm was a hot mess.
Colleen went to get Sweet Martha’s cookies while I went to change, and the new(ish) location on Machinery Hill gave her a huge pile of extra cookies. We shared some with the people at the Kemp’s booth, who surprisingly enough asked me about the milk protesters on the 5K course. We found the Wyatt & Ethan bench near the tiny farm and both of us had our first Pronto Pups of 2021. Thankfully, they tasted back to normal (after having mixed experiences during the drive-through events of 2020).
We headed down to the Agriculture Horticulture Building next so that I could finally cross The Peg off my list. Billed as the fair’s only full-service restaurant, it’s been open for 37 years now and I’d never stopped to eat there (until today). Ordered a large lemonade, the breakfast sandwich and a side of hash browns – all of which were solid, offering good value, seats in the shade and great service from a friendly server. We stopped inside the building (masks on) to see the crop art and the bees before heading across the street to the Dairy Building for my free malt (and a stop at Fresh French Fries). Lots of interesting crop art – including my office amongst the nearby scarecrow section.
Along this path, we discovered that the old Senior Center is now called the Ramberg Center and hosts a Music Cafe lineup that included Steve Roehm from the New Standards playing a solo set. We talked to him afterwards and mentioned it was so nice to see him play recently at Mears Park (and up at Lutsen last March – our first post-pandemic concert). He said he was originally booked to play with his other trio – The Neighborhood Trio – but that the other two bandmates had conflicts and the fair booking agent said he could just play by himself. What a nice surprise!
We struck out on two things we were looking forward to: the Minnesota Lottery booth wasn’t selling any scratchers this year (they just had a contest you could enter) and the Poultry Barn was closed for cleaning. We did stop and listen to a band from Ecuador on the DNR Stage while I got some Spring Grove black cherry soda. There was also a giant Adam Turman chair that we look ridiculous in, but of course had to get a photo. Colleen then visited the Turkey-To-Go stand for one of Rich Wang’s favorites. The DNR fire tower was closed and it was sad to see the sign that basically said all staff are gone fighting fires.
We then dropped in at Steichen’s, the “complete food market” that opened in 1933. Colleen said she had been in there before, but I’m pretty sure that was my first time. After that, we headed to the West End to visit I Like You and Lulu’s Public House, where I bought my usual bull bites, mac and cheese on a stick and Mt. Dew. It was getting hot and crowded, so we checked out the latest Blue Barn menu on the way back to the car, then headed home. Back again on Tuesday for the Doobie Brothers at the Grandstand, so more to come…
Will be so great to be back at the Milk Run (for multiple reasons)Originally published by DK on July 16, 2021 at 4:42 pm
Rocksteady Running events are the best eventsOriginally published by DK on June 10, 2021 at 7:42 pm
Better late than never – here is my very brief race report from the 2021 Get in Gear 10K. It was great to be back to running in-person again, even if it wasn’t completely normal. This was my 21st Get in Gear (and 20th in a row, if you count last year’s virtual race). It’s still my favorite 10K and I hope to continue running it every spring as long as I’m mobile.
The 2021 edition was shortened to 5.5 miles, as the start and finish were located in the parking lot near the entrance to the lock and dam on West River Parkway. The sign-in and T-shirt tables were located under the Ford Parkway bridge, which were only available on race day (none of the usual spots in Minnehaha Park were used this year). The streets were not closed, so the entire route was on the pathways. We even had to use the stairs on the St. Paul side of the Lake Street bridge.
The field was limited to 250 people, with two waves starting at 8:30am and 9:30am. Pods of ten runners were spaced two minutes apart – I started in pod one of wave two and had a nice bike escort for the first few miles. I don’t know why they let me set the pace in my pod for the first mile, but it was a cool feeling to be in the “lead” briefly. Finished with a 58:32 chip time (10:39 Minute Miles), good for 187th out of 240 and 12th in my age group. First time with peanut butter at a race finish – thanks, Old Home!
Up next: State Fair Milk Run 5K.
Trail race = Gordy and donutsOriginally published by DK on May 23, 2021 at 11:45 am
Sometimes it’s just fun to do something without being obsessed over how good you are at it…Originally published by DK on May 21, 2021 at 12:26 pm
Originally published by DK on March 24, 2021 at 4:06 pm
As the clock inched closer to midnight at the end of this extraordinary year, I realized I was only 10K away from 300 miles on my run chart. This was already the highest annual total for the last four years, but I couldn’t end with 293.8 miles, right? Two treadmill sessions later (while watching season two of Dark), 2020 officially ends up with 300.1 miles. This, unfortunately, is mostly hill walking on a treadmill and not running outside on trails. Given the circumstances, though, I’m fine with just having a trend going in the right direction again.
With the lack of a bike challenge at work this year, my overall bike miles dropped significantly from 2019 (634.1 versus 1074.2). Part of that was also due to Erik the Bike Man being massively overwhelmed with business during the pandemic, forcing me to leave my bike at the Highland Store for three prime summer riding weeks for a needed repair. I imagine mileage will go up again in 2021, with more commuting and single track miles, along with a trip or two to outstate trails like Root River.
I can’t imagine how golf could get better in 2021. I played more rounds last season than any other year I’ve kept records. By a lot. We started a little later than normal because of the initial lockdowns (first round: April 23 at Willingers), but the weather was good all season and we played all the way into the beginning of December. My handicap dropped quite a bit this year, so there is definitely something to be said for more practice (even if I did it all on actual courses).
Grateful (in so many ways) to get to do these things. Now on to programming for the new year…Originally published by DK on January 1, 2021 at 12:35 am
$90 off list is a damn good deal, BezosOriginally published by DK on October 25, 2020 at 10:41 am
Access to the Rayette workout room has finally returnedOriginally published by DK on June 27, 2020 at 12:08 am
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Welsh_3000sOriginally published by DK on May 24, 2020 at 10:17 pm
Please let August be normalOriginally published by DK on April 7, 2020 at 10:04 am
https://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/frog-and-toad-are-self-quarantined-friendsOriginally published by DK on April 5, 2020 at 9:22 pm
Still love the British phrasing, thoughOriginally published by DK on October 9, 2019 at 7:09 am
Race Day 2019 could snow (again)Originally published by DK on April 26, 2019 at 1:18 pm
- My mom (and her dad and brother)
- 20/20 vision
- Prince, Petty and Bowie
- Running (and My People)
- Marathon-level fitness
- Mountain skiing
- Warm weather
- Disneyland (and World)
- Happy Hour (with no happy)
Keeping a positive outlook and all, but this is still truth…Originally published by DK on February 16, 2019 at 10:19 am
I’ve never been big on year-end lists or goal summaries here, but I’ve always done a fair amount of goal-setting privately. This past year has put a different spin on my perspective, so I thought it might be useful to share a few things as 2019 gets started. In hindsight, a lot of my previous health goals seem rather vain compared to plain old recovery. And how fortunate was I in the past to just want to run faster, bike farther or finish another marathon? Now, regaining my normal vision (without prism lenses) is goal #1, followed closely by getting cleared to resume driving and riding a bike. I’m very thankful that the outlook for all of these things is good – much of this might happen by the middle of March.
Since Dr. Tummala gave me the OK to resume treadmill running, I’ve felt good the past week, with three slowish runs totaling 7.1 miles. I also did one nine mile ride on a stationary bike and resumed doing light dumbbell repeats. Not really sure what workout goals to set for 2019 – the only race I’m registered for is the Get in Gear 10K in April and I’d really like to participate in the Bike to Work challenge again in May. Beyond that, I just want to stay consistent all year and not have any big gaps in my charts (which happened twice in 2018). It would be nice to return to regular weekly runs with WeRunMpls once the ice melts and I’d love to reschedule a ski trip for next season (Banff, Colorado or Schweitzer). Lots of golf outings to schedule with people too.
The doctors cleared a return to air travel already, but money and time will be limited. The original plan was to give each person in our family a trip for their respective milestone birthday in 2019, but all of those plans are on hold for the time being. Most likely options? A quick Las Vegas trip after the Final Four and maybe a work trip to the annual Cisco conference, which is in San Diego this year (June 9-13). And of course Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opens in both Florida and California this year, but that will likely fall in the Tokyo/Lanai/Switzerland dream trip category for the time being.
With the Vikings season over, my job shifts focus to the Final Four on April 6th and 8th. We have four large events before then (two trade shows and two dirt shows), but there is a lot to do before “the road ends” in Minneapolis. Then we get to break down that setup for Garth Brooks and his sold-out stadium tour before prepping for Summer X Games (version 3.0). Since X Games moves to early August, there won’t be a lot of time between that and football pre-season. With all that work to do, maybe I should start daydreaming again about building a tiny cabin on the North Shore to escape to with the family…
Wow, how lucky am I to be writing this post? Happy New Year to all of you – may 2019 be full of love, health and prosperity!Originally published by DK on January 1, 2019 at 6:04 pm
Never thought I’d ever say that – first two miles backOriginally published by DK on December 22, 2018 at 10:32 am
Before I get to the big post, let’s look at the day before. My friend and colleague Katie decided that we would take advantage of not having a football game on marathon Sunday for the first time since the stadium opened by entering the TC 10 Mile lottery. I’ve done this race once before (2003) and knew it was a fairly tough entry to get. Amazingly, we were both selected and placed in corral C. We were thinking about a ten minute mile goal and set about creating a brief training schedule of short runs during the week and a longer run on weekends that we would increase each week.
Since I’m now a terrible training partner, we only managed two long weekend runs: one rainy seven miler around the lakes in Minneapolis and one eight miler along the Mississippi. Combined with some bike cross training, I was OK with this and felt fine with our prep on race morning. The four corral setup was different than 2003 and was really nice – we basically started right in the middle of the Commons before heading towards the river. It was also interesting to see how they used the Vikings Longhouse for VIP runners.
The weather and the race itself were both very nice. We ran a leisurely 10:49 pace, finishing right around the 1:48 mark (Katie results, DK results). The medals this year were very nice and the finish line food was excellent, as usual. We both felt fine after the race and walked back down the hill to our brunch reservations at Parlour St. Paul. Colleen picked us up afterwards and we dropped off Katie at her house. I remember watching the Vikings beat the Eagles and getting up for work the next day, but then I basically don’t remember anything that happened the next three days (more on that coming soon). A few race day pics after the jump.
Hoping for a triumphant return to racing at the TC10Originally published by DK on October 3, 2018 at 10:48 pm
Ready or not, TC10 up nextOriginally published by DK on September 30, 2018 at 12:05 pm
Congrats to Kaitlyn (50 miles) and all the other amazing Superior fall trail racersOriginally published by DK on September 8, 2018 at 11:13 pm
First time running the lakes in almost two years – six miles with KatieOriginally published by DK on September 2, 2018 at 2:43 pm
Knees still hurt, but the social support is greatOriginally published by DK on August 3, 2018 at 5:05 pm
For my first mini post, I’ve decided to look at my current relationship with running. The 2017 Grandma’s was my last marathon and it was a disaster. I never did get my right knee looked at and I haven’t attempted a double-digit run since then. With the bike challenge last month, I boosted my riding mileage, but still felt some knee pain from time to time. Guess I will break down and make a doctor’s appointment after I post this.
Bigger picture, though, something else seems off. It used to be tough when I started training from scratch, but things would get better after a few weeks. This year, it seems like no matter how many miles I ride, golf rounds I walk or miles I do on the treadmill, I never seem to move on to the “feeling fit” stage. My legs always feel sore, I’m still retaining water in them (based on the indentations my socks make), I have a general sense of fatigue most of the time and I’m not losing any more weight (I lost ten pounds during the bike challenge, but three of those pounds have come back this month).
My Apple watch does provide good insight into how much I move daily and I did have a 60+ day streak of closing all three rings at one point. My current move goal just dropped down to 1080 calories, after peaking at 1180 (which I only hit three times last week). Haven’t changed my diet or nutritional balance much at all, which I guess I’ll have to consider at some point. Also not taking any vitamins right now – only pills are one daily aspirin and losartan for regulating blood pressure.
There are still a number of longer bucket list races I’d like to do, but the physical side is slowly starting to impact my mental approach to running. I liked running Get in Gear this year, but I was really slow. The 2019 Get in Gear is the only race I’ve signed up for right now and don’t want to waste money on longer races I can’t finish in a respectable amount of time.
Alright, where is that link to my doctor?Originally published by DK on June 25, 2018 at 12:36 pm
Can’t believe she’s 5’1”Originally published by DK on April 16, 2018 at 12:24 pm
Two miles along the mighty MississippiOriginally published by DK on March 12, 2018 at 9:59 pm
Outside Zantigo, of all placesOriginally published by DK on March 5, 2018 at 5:08 pm
https://www.tcmevents.org/memorialOriginally published by DK on August 31, 2017 at 9:52 am
My stomach hates this event, but the stickers (and people) are coolOriginally published by DK on August 19, 2017 at 11:09 am
With my lack of miles this spring, I wasn’t expecting much from Grandma’s this year. What happened last Saturday, though, was really something else. Talked into this race by my colleague Shannon, I was hoping to keep up with her for at least the first half. She followed a real training plan, though, and I had only one long run in the last month (and only 162 miles for the year).
The forecast looked warm (again), with clouds and a strong chance of rain. We rode the train to the start, which amazingly had no line to board this year. One last bathroom line wait and we were off. We stayed in front of the 4:15 pacer for a few miles, then I told her to take off (which she did, finishing in a strong 4:17). I crossed the 10K mark in 1:02:29 and was hoping to hold on to a ten minute pace. Unfortunately, a mile later I experienced a pain behind my right knee that I had never felt before. I tried the walk/run thing several times, but ended up basically walking the next 19 miles to the finish.
I believe last year was the first year they expanded the official race limit from six to seven hours, so I kept doing the math in my head to make sure I could walk and still get an official finish. When I finally got downtown, I asked a police officer when the streets re-opened and found out I had 30 minutes left to walk the last mile. No problem, right? I hobbled on and crossed the finish line after 6 hours and 36 minutes (nearly three hours slower than my PR – full stats here).
During that time, the green flags turned to yellow, the sun came out (frying my neck and face), it rained twice and the temp surged past 72F. Walking that long created large blisters on both feet, which caused me to walk crooked (and hurt my ankles). Most of the food was gone at the finish line, but I still got the coveted finisher shirt and medal. The music tent had a nice merchandise stand, so I was able to keep the race poster tradition alive too. The long walk from Canal Park up the hillside to the car was a struggle, as was the shower at my sister’s apartment. Hopped in the car and drove back to the metro right away to get to the Pantages for the Seu Jorge Bowie tribute show (which was amazing – story to come).
Not really sure what my running future holds now. I did sign up for the Donut Run in August (and am still registered for the Get in Gear next year). I’ll leave my name in the London lottery (since I didn’t have to pay anything and there’s like a 2% chance I’ll get picked). To be honest, it’s rather nice to not have any pressure to train right now – plenty of other stressors these days…Originally published by DK on June 22, 2017 at 8:45 pm
http://www.millcityrunning.com/donutrunOriginally published by DK on June 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm
4:17 in her first Grandma’s (and it was hot again)Originally published by DK on June 17, 2017 at 11:21 pm
Not the greatest decision, but here we goOriginally published by DK on June 16, 2017 at 9:20 am
A week ago Thursday was my fifth TC 1 Mile (and second as a captain in the Corporate Team Challenge). We had a small team this year, but I found it funny that the U.S. Bank Stadium team was larger than the U.S. Bank team (we also had more people than Best Buy, Cargill, Medica, Buffalo Wild Wings and HealthEast). This qualified us for the fastest team competition, which required a minimum of five participants (with at least one woman and one person 40 or older). Our combined time of 1:02:46 was good for second to last place, but I’m extremely happy with our group. The winning team from 3M was amazing: a blazing 25:30, which included a 4:38 by a 46-year-old (!).
Our two fastest runners from last year did not return to defend, so I was just trying to stay in the sixes (while not getting injured before Grandma’s). My PR was set in 2013 (6:10) and I’ve been all over the map (6:20, 6:28 and 6:47) before trotting to a 6:58.4 this year. This was good for 726th out of 1,962 overall and 52nd out of 103 in my age group. I still really like the new route by the Guthrie, but could’ve swore we turned left at Izzy’s and not one block further down. That was a tough one mentally, but the bigger problems were my lack of training and the extra weight my doctor wants me to shed.
Thanks to Shelly, Liz, Erin and Sarah for joining me this year – well done!Originally published by DK on May 24, 2017 at 12:04 am
The 2017 edition of the Get in Gear 10K is in the books and I knew it was going to be a slow one for me. I’m not really sure how to explain it, though. I’m usually undertrained every year for this race, but had been able to turn in decent times the past seven years. This was my 16th in a row (17th overall) and GiG remains one of my favorite running events on the Minnesota race calendar: very well organized, beautiful course and huge turnout of “my people.”
The weather this year was a bit brisk, with a cold wind at the start. The sun came out, though, and I felt OK during the second half. I decided to start towards the back this year, so my first mile was slower as I wove through people. If I could throw out that mile, I would’ve just barely been at a sub-9:00 pace (far, far from my PR pace of 7:12). The rest of the race was fairly consistent, as I really didn’t want to force anything after all my heart tests. Here are the Apple Watch splits: 9:22, 8:43, 8:56, 8:55, 8:59, 9:04 (55:57 chip time – 9:01 Minute Miles). The results page showed me at 950 out of 2530 overall, 609 out of 1117 males and 70th out of 130 in my age group.
Seemed like there were a lot more half marathoners this year. Found out at the Lake Street bridge that they had a new course, so that probably explained the renewed interest. Looks nice, but Get in Gear will always be a 10K event for me.
A few other random notes:
- Took the train from our new house, transferring at the stadium from green line to blue. Took an hour overall and worked out fine.
- Great Harvest raisin bread and Pearson’s salted nut rolls both made a return appearance this year.
- It looked like they were giving medals to finishers of all four events (2K, 5K, 10K and half). Hoping this was just for the 40th anniversary and that they don’t go overboard with bling expense like some people in town.
Up next: TC 1 Mile on May 11thOriginally published by DK on April 30, 2017 at 11:20 am
As seen on this week’s We Run Mpls route through NEOriginally published by DK on April 27, 2017 at 8:29 pm
Don’t blink or you’ll miss this viewOriginally published by DK on April 22, 2017 at 6:18 pm
Downtown St. Paul is small, but scenicOriginally published by DK on April 22, 2017 at 6:17 pm
Someday (right, cardiologist?)Originally published by DK on April 17, 2017 at 10:52 am
Now to turn up the temps a littleOriginally published by DK on April 6, 2017 at 9:48 am
Sorry I brought down the pace averageOriginally published by DK on February 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm
Mizuno Wave Rider 20s from Run N Fun St. PaulOriginally published by DK on February 9, 2017 at 10:36 pm
Applies to both (old) me and the iPodOriginally published by DK on February 6, 2017 at 3:56 pm
First from Eagan, first of those born on 1/19 – my results sheet and bib from the 1996 Bloomsday 12K in SpokaneOriginally published by DK on February 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm
When the first Apple Watch came out, it didn’t appeal to me due to the lack of built-in GPS. The only way I could really justify spending that much on a watch would be if I was replacing my Garmin for running. The thought of requiring your iPhone to be close in order to get accurate mileage defeated the whole purpose of having a watch, in my mind. Then Apple announced the Apple Watch Nike+ right around the same time my Forerunner 610 died. A colleague offered to pick one up for me to try and I’ve been wearing it daily ever since.
- The animated Mickey Mouse watch face makes me smile (every single time).
- Battery life is better than expected – I recharge nightly, but have never used more than 25% in a day.
- Unlocking my laptop when the watch is nearby works well and saves time.
- The personal tracking features (pulse, daily “circles”) are handy and should help me improve overall health.
- Once fine-tuned, the notifications between the phone and the watch are generally useful and reliable.
- The Nike+ watch band is easy to put on and is more comfortable than my old Garmin.
- Just don’t like wearing watches every day (but don’t want to lose tracking data).
- Haven’t had a lot of outdoor runs yet, but the Nike run club app doesn’t seem very accurate for pace, sometimes doesn’t draw the on-screen route and has had issues synching with the Nike website.
- Indoor treadmill runs are way off – I manually add miles to my run log and just wear the watch to earn the exercise circle time.
- Speaking of the circles, right now it just creates anxiety about filling or not filling all three daily – don’t really need something new to remind me all the time about how I’m falling behind in my health goals.
- The special exercise awards are a great idea, but when you fail to award them when earned, people will get pissed off (looking at you, Thanksgiving award that is still missing).
- The watchOS seems to be a little flakey, restarting at odd times.
- Siri is Siri – I’d even take 50% accuracy at this point.
Looking at the latest Garmin products, I probably would’ve spent more and had less in terms of total features and future growth options. The reduction in features might actually be a good thing, but the Apple Watch should get better over time via software updates. I don’t really use any third-party apps right now (outside of the Nike app), but new ones get released all the time. Once I start running and biking outside again, I’ll report back…Originally published by DK on January 7, 2017 at 8:27 pm
Mississippi riverfront before the JNUC 5KOriginally published by DK on October 19, 2016 at 6:09 pm
The 2016 edition of the JNUC 5KOriginally published by DK on October 19, 2016 at 6:08 pm
Megan in MinneapolisOriginally published by DK on October 16, 2016 at 2:06 pm
The (not so) new job has wreaked havoc with my running plans this year. My overall year-to-date mileage is the lowest it has been since I started the run log (barely 450 miles), work meetings have conflicted with almost all the weekly WeRunMpls runs and the first Vikings game meant I had to break my streak of nine straight Milk Runs at the Minnesota State Fair. It’s a minor miracle I finished Grandma’s Marathon in June and the Afton 50K in July with semi-decent times. Unfortunately, those two races gave me false hope that I could still run the Superior Fall 50 while being significantly undertrained.
While I have lots of experience with marathons and two difficult 50K trail races under my belt, this jump to 50 miles was a much bigger challenge than I expected. I mean, really, look at this course elevation graphic – 25,000 feet of total elevation change. Portions of the trail are more like rock climbing than running. The winner had a pace of 10:22 Minute Miles. Only 75 people out of 174 starters finished the 50.
So on top of my work/training issues and one of the toughest courses in the country, I had logistical problems, rain and a whole lot of mud to make it even more challenging. Since I neglected to reserve a room closer to Lutsen, I stayed with my sister in Duluth. This meant a 1:30am alarm to get on the road by two so I could catch the 4am bus to the starting line. It rained that entire time, peaking just when we arrived in Finland. I checked in, pinned on my number and waited for the always excellent John Storkamp to lead us out to the start.
This was my first race that required a headlamp, so I picked up one of these from Mill City. We started in the rain at 5:30am, running down a gravel road to the actual Superior Hiking Trail. Once there, it was a big bottleneck and many people walked for quite a while. The first aid station, Sonju Lake, is 7.5 miles in and it seemed to take forever to arrive. My stomach felt terrible and I was experiencing some extreme G-I pain (thankfully not the usual disgusting runner problem you always hear about, though). When I got to the aid station, my heart sank when they said there were no bathrooms until the next one (in 4.2 miles).
I filled up my hand-held water bottle and headed off to the Crosby Manitou checkpoint. The trail was extremely muddy in spots – just like last year’s Spring 50K race. My shoes nearly got sucked off when my right leg sank a foot and a half into the muck. My left ankle got twisted (and still feels off now). At several points, I had to stop and nearly doubled over from the stomach pain. Don’t think I’ve ever been so happy to see an aid station. Visited the bathroom, cleaned up some unexpected bleeding, restocked on water and felt a lot better.
The third checkpoint, Sugarloaf, was 9.4 miles away and had a cutoff time of 11:45am. Since my Garmin died, I haven’t been running with any timing devices and didn’t know how long I had been on course. I knew there were a lot of people going slow because of the mud, but I really didn’t think I was close to getting swept so early in the race.
The rain stopped and the sun came out, revealing some amazing views of Lake Superior and the beautiful Minnesota Northwoods. The Caribou River brought big elevation changes and I quickly used up my water supply. This, of course, started dehydration problems that lead to cramping in both legs and stretched that 9.4 miles for what seemed like forever.
As I trudged to Sugarloaf, I was already trying to decide if I would drop out there or attempt to make it to one more checkpoint (Cramer Road, the halfway point and start of the marathon). When I finally got there, the volunteers had already broken down most of the food and I was asked to turn in my timing chip.
Too slow. No options. First-ever DNF.
Disappointed, but it just wasn’t meant to be this year. Mark it down as a learning experience:
- Spend the money and buy a Camelbak
- Spend some more money and get a new watch
- Rent a room near the start
- Do the miles
The DNF experience was harder without a support crew – there are no shuttles back to the finish, so you are on your own to find a ride. I had a race official take me to the next aid station, then found another group that offered to drive me back to Lutsen. It felt terrible going to the finish line to pick up my bag – everyone there was so happy, while I just felt…out of place.
So what’s next? I need to take a little time to recover, then make running a priority again. Get back to the running club, get back to runs with Megan. Run in the stadium this winter. Do more cross-training. Ski. Bike. Golf. Run Get in Gear 2017. Maybe run Zumbro.
And the Superior 50? Definitely…Originally published by DK on September 12, 2016 at 12:42 am
Duluth’s best ItalianOriginally published by DK on September 9, 2016 at 9:04 pm
We Run Mpls Saturday long runOriginally published by DK on August 6, 2016 at 10:49 am
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 5KOriginally published by DK on July 3, 2016 at 1:46 pm
Afton 50KOriginally published by DK on July 2, 2016 at 5:31 am
One seat left at the bar, walk right inOriginally published by DK on July 1, 2016 at 7:58 pm
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 2Originally published by DK on June 19, 2016 at 3:41 pm
Grandma’s Marathon 40th Anniversary MedalOriginally published by DK on June 19, 2016 at 12:24 am
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.
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…Originally published by DK on May 13, 2016 at 9:00 pm
U.S. Bank Stadium corporate team challengeOriginally published by DK on May 12, 2016 at 9:44 pm
Carbonara at Sea Change before the TC 1 MileOriginally published by DK on May 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm
Never been to Bryn Mawr until todayOriginally published by DK on May 5, 2016 at 9:37 pm
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.Originally published by DK on May 2, 2016 at 11:01 pm