Saturday, October 31, 2009

Team Ortho Monster Dash 5k - Race Recap

Katie and I ran the Monster Dash 5k today.  This was Katie's first stand-alone 5k ever, and her first race since the tri.  It was my first 5k since the Haiti Hustle a few years ago.  I signed up for the race as a way to end my post-marathon recovery period.  (Oddly enough, I'm 70% sure I saw Hal Higdon running the 5k).

Katie and I headed over a little early, not knowing how far away we would have to park.  We had a little walk from the car to the Lake Harriet Bandshell, but it wasn't too bad.  We marveled at all the crazy costumes, including a whole set of Legos, farm animals, the cast from the Wizard of Oz, and a dinosaur.  

We warmed up and stretched, and then had the big surprise of the day: no bag check!  I understand not offering a bag check for a race like a 5k, but the race website just said "bag check", and we assumed it was for everyone.  Turns out it was only for the 10 mile and half marathon.  So, with about 4 minutes to the start, we had to scramble to find a place for our bags.  We shoved them in some bushes and hoped for the best [they were fine].

I bid farewell to Katie, and we each found a spot at the start.  I was hoping for a faster race and was able to get a spot about 10 feet behind the line.  There were a lot of people, so I knew it would be tough to get moving.  Nonetheless, a sub-25 was my goal.

The race starts, and most of the people between me and the starting line were all people who should have been much farther back.  It was a tough obstacle course, but within a half mile I was able to get moving pretty well.  The 1st mile marker wasn't out, so I had no way to check my splits.  I just kept pushing and tried to gauge my position based on how far around the lake I was.  We merged in with the half marathon finish, so that required a lot more weaving and wasn't great for time.

I finished in 19:35.  Just kidding.  The first clock I saw ended up being for the 5K-9 (with dogs), and they started about 4 minutes after we did.  As excited as I was about a sub-20 finish, I'm happy with my actual 23:16 finish.  I was beat by a chicken, but no vegetables, so I count this as a major victory.

Katie had a great race too—right around 32 minutes.  We stretched, snapped a picture, and headed home.  Good race overall, but there were too many people for the venue.  Next year I'll need to look into the 10 mile or the half.

Team Ortho Monster Dash 5k - Race Preview

A great thing about doing these larger races is that they're featured on Fox 9 news before I head off to the race.

Katie and I are heading to Lake Harriet for the Monster Dash 5k.  My goal is the low 20s, although if there are too many people, my goal is to not run over anyone.  Race recap to come later.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Morning vs. Afternoon Runners

While I was training for the marathon, I ran in the mornings.  I did this for two reasons: first, I'm a morning person, and I like to start my day off with a run.  Second, I wanted to avoid the summer heat.  So, I ran in the mornings.  Lately, though, I've been running when I get home in the afternoon.  It doesn't get light until about 7:45 now, and I've been getting to the U earlier, so I've squeezed out my morning run.  Should be no big deal, right?  Sunshiny afternoons and a good way to wind down the day—just like cross country practice.  Well, I don't enjoy running in the afternoons for one major reason:

Afternoon runners aren't nearly as friendly as morning runners.

I'm a waver.  It's a gesture from one runner to another that we acknowledge each other's trials and tribulations and that point in time.  It's a simple wave.  Sometimes it's accompanied by a "good morning" or a "keep it up".  80% of morning runners return the gesture.  In the afternoon, only about 10% wave back.  And since there are considerably more runners in the afternoon than the morning, I look like some sea mammal whose flipper is going into spasm constantly because I keep waving for seemingly no reason.  I'm not sure of the reason for this phenomenon, but I posit that it has something to do with the passive-aggressive nature of all Minnesotans.  They're nice enough to be outside with other humans, but when it comes to interacting, they're much too busy.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

At some point, I would have thought this was madness

First, read this story.  Gross, right?

It is gross, but to dismiss it is right away is unfair.  These people are solving a major problem that they have, and the solution works for them.  The fact that we just don't get it isn't their problem.  Years ago, I thought runners were crazy—then I became one.  I then thought marathoners were crazy—well, we are, but I appreciate it now.  Are ultrarunners crazy?  Sure, but that's their thing.  If they want to surgically remove their toenails, so be it.  And they have the ability to really creep people out—always a fun thing.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Wider is Better

My blog was getting dreary and boring, so it's time for a big announcement...


New template, new widescreen layout, more posts, more pictures (coming soon), and more crazy thoughts from your slightly eccentric editor-in-chief.  The goal is to turn this into an interesting running blog, containing my thoughts on running, my thoughts on other things tangentially related to running, and probably some things not related to running.  (I'll keep that last one to a minimum--I promise).  I'll also share works from other blogs, sites, and a variety of other sources. 

I encourage you to become a follower in the box on the right side of the page.  It will keep you up to date with this blog, and it makes me look cooler if I have more followers.  Seriously, that's all I care about.  Really.  Stop laughing...

Hope you enjoy the re-launch and make sure to comment often!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Ahhh! Real germs!

Wow, I totally did this. All of this. On occasion, I would stop breathing in Chem class while people were sneezing and coughing around me.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Upcoming Race

Have any plans for Halloween?  If not, check out the Team Ortho Monster Dash.  I'm running the 5k, but there is also a 10 mile distance open.  The 5k does a loop of Lake Harriet, so it will be nice and scenic.  Consider this race as a good way to end the season.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Feet back to the pavement

Great news! I felt pretty good when I woke up this morning, and went for my first run since the marathon. It was only a 2-miler, but I felt good. I'm looking at a 5k for October 31st around Lake Harriet. It's the Team Ortho Monster Dash. There are half marathon, 10 mile, and 5k distances. I think it would be a good way to end my recovery plan, eh?

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


It has now been 2 days since the marathon. Sunday afternoon I was pretty exhausted, but not too sore. Yesterday, I was in a bit more pain, but I think the "runner's high" caused me to ignore a lot of the pain. I had a massage. I don't think it helped that much, and it kinda hurt.
Since I had class yesterday, I had to go to campus. All of the walking (to the bus, around campus, back home, grocery store later in the day) turned out to be a bit too much for me. I wish I would have been able to take it easier yesterday, but sometimes you can't control those things. Today, though, I'm taking as a rest day. My quads are still really sore, so I think a rest day will be very beneficial. I'm working from home, and I'm avoiding stairs completely.
It was great to wear my finisher's shirt and medal all day yesterday, no matter how cheesy it may have looked. I saw others with shirts and medals, and it was great when we could say things like "Mile 22, that was a killer" or "Stairs are rough today" and totally understand each other.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

We do 26.2

Wow, what a race! I've never experienced anything like this—not the pain, not the fatigue, not the awesome support from hundreds of thousands of spectators. Here's the recap.

Before the Start
My super spectator (Katie) dropped me off at the Dome around 6:30. I hung out there for a while, stretched, and downed Gu #1. I lined up at the start around some cool people (actually, all the runners are cool), and we all noticed the same thing: SAUSAGE! Really, an intense smell of sausage was wafting over the start. It was pure torment!

Mile 1
About 5 minutes after the gun, I crossed the starting line. Everyone was pumped. I was passed by so many people. I started around the 4:45 runners, and ended up actually running a perfect 4:30 pace the first mile. So let's just say that these people don't believe in negative/even splits. Also, are people so unprepared that they have to use the port-o-johns on mile 1? Really?

Mile 2
The Basillica of St. Mary had the loudest and most fantastic 3 bell peal ever! The first water stop was chaos, but I got my Powerade and Water. I then dumped half a cup of Powerade on my shirt. Super.

Mile 3
Alan Page, a Minnesota Supreme Court justice, was playing his Tuba. It was cool.

Mile 5
Mishap #1. In prepping my Gu, my hand decided to open. Gu on ground. Too many people for me to stop and grab it. Thankfully, I had 1 extra, so it didn't hurt me later.

Mile 9
I did the YMCA while running. Of this I am not ashamed. An interesting aspect of the race is all of the spectators offering food. They had Jolly Ranchers, donuts, pretzels, orange slices, champagne, bananas, and a host of other things. Each time I saw this, I was reminded of something I read: You're in a marathon, not a buffet line.

Mile 10
Mishap #2. The water stop at the 9 mile marker was right at the mile marker. So I didn't see it. When my watched showed my time for mile 9 approaching 18 minutes, I caught on. Going under Nicollet Ave. on Minnehaha Pkwy, there was a percussion troupe. They were really good, and their positioning under the bridge created the most amazing reverberation I have ever heard.

Mile 12
To the woman who shouted: "You're halfway there!" No, mile 11.4 is NOT halfway there. Thank you.

Half Marathon
At this point I was still feeling great. My splits were dead on for a 4:30 finish. I was cautious not to go too fast, and I was getting optimistic at this point.

Mile 14
My first spectators! Thanks to Kelli and Eric for cheering me on! What a boost that was!

Mile 16
My second spectator! Katie is awesome!

Mile 19
The wheels start to come off here. My right quad was not happy. It tensed up, forcing me to stop about every half mile at some sturdy vertical object and stretch it. Also at this point, I will tell you the story of one of the more inspirational people I was running with. I don't remember his name, but he is a Marine. He was in combat fatigues, and carried at giant American Flag and POW/MIA flag. To top it off, he loaded 50 lbs into his gear pack because he raised a certain amount of money for Toys for Tots. I can imagine the agony that his hands and arms were feeling from that flag, but he ended up finishing about 40 secs ahead of me. On Mile 19, when my quad started acting up, I slowed down considerably. He hollered at me to keep pushing. If only we could all be a bit more like him.

Mile 20
While on the the incline up to the Franklin Ave. bridge, I turned to my left and saw Katie. There were so many people at this bottleneck, so she didn't see me, but it gave me a good boost.
Mishap #3. Missed a mile marker because of the water stop again.

Mile 21
Gu! This made up for my lost one. They were passing it out. I pointed at a volunteer, and yelled: Orange? He gave one to me, and then exclaimed: "Why doesn't anybody want espresso?"

Mile 22
The hill. It actually wasn't too bad. 2 people dressed up as nuns were cheering. Nun pajamas! The rest of this mile, and the next, were a gradual uphill.

Mile 23
More up hill. But spectators too! Thanks Kevin and Renee! I did't have time (or the mental capacity) to read your sign, but it looked great!
From this point, it should have been easy. I run this route 4 times a week. If it weren't for my quad, it would have been easy. Alas.

Mile 26
Coming around the corner and seeing the Cathedral and Capitol was the best thing I have ever seen. I blame it on the previous 25ish miles. I'll also admit that I got a little emotional seeing the finish and the GIGANTIC American Flag over the course.

I did it! Crossed the line at 4:49:13 (chip time). I was elated, tired, thankful, in pain, and so many other things, but it felt great. I needed help getting my medal and putting my heat sheet on. There was food, and official pictures, and picking up my sweats. I found Katie, and we went home.

Thanks to everyone for the support. Whether it was cheering for me on the course, encouraging Facebook messages, emails, thoughts, and prayers, thank you. And thanks to the people who had to listen to Eye of the Tiger on loop for 6 hours. I wouldn't wish that on my enemies.

Now I recover. I'm really sore and really tired. Would I do it again? Totally.

To your mom and beyond!

It all comes down to this

It's a little surreal that 6 months after I decided to run a marathon, today is the day. 6 months of early mornings, hot runs, and more carbs than I care to recount (I actually dreamt last night about a giant milkshake covered in M&M's). All the training and planning leads me to this morning. I'm nervous, but also confident that I'll do this. It will be tough, but I'm ready. So I leave myself with all the motivational tools I can think of:

~ To your mom, and beyond!
~ Feel the rhythm, feel the rhyme, let's go Eagles, it's Cross Country time!
~ 35 comes after 34
~ Just keep running, just keep running.

TC Marathon Countdown: 2 hours, 47 minutes

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Be a Spectator Around the World

**Shameless Plug Alert**

If you're in the Twin Cities, I strongly encourage you to head down to the course on Sunday morning and cheer us runners on. You wouldn't believe how much the cheering actually helps you get through the long and grueling race.

If you're not in the Twin Cities, you can follow my progress too! Starting at 8am (Central) on Sunday, October 4, you can go to and click on the link to track runners. Enter my race number, 2315, and you'll see live runner tracking. It will update my position at each mile when I touch the tracking mat, and extrapolate my position until the next checkpoint.

And that's the ballgame...

Today was it—my last training run. It was an easy 2 miler. I barely broke a sweat and I wasn't even running long enough for it to get light out. Strange to think about where I started this endeavour, and now, just 3 days away, where I'll end it.

TC Marathon Countdown: 3 days
Related Posts with Thumbnails