Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010: The Year in Reverse

By virtue of our use of a Gregorian calendar, we've reached an arbitrary point in time which causes countless people and organization to publish lists reviewing everything significant and not-so-significant since the last arbitrary point in time.  You know, things like "Top 10 Uses of Canned Foods in 2010", or "The 10 Worst Ways to Stub Your Toe in 2010".  I don't have a "Top 10" of anything, well, unless it's "Top 10 Ways to Almost Drown".  What I do have, however, is too much time on my hands the desire to look at 2010 in reverse.

Before doing that, however, I want to say that one of the biggest things to happen this year has been the discovery of the running community in Minnesota.  In 2009, I was on my own.  This year, via blogs, Dailymile, Facebook, Twitter, etc..., I've found so many great people that just get out and run.  It's been great running/racing with you.  Sometimes it's really nice to have someone to run with.  And to all the people who have read my blog over the past year, thanks--I hope you'll stick around for another year!


Running: 940.9 miles
Swimming: 12.2 miles
Biking: 146.1 miles

(I started keeping a log in March, although Jan-March mileage was fairly insignificant.  It is possible, though, that I ran enough in those months to break the 1000 mile barrier.)

Mileage for the year was really good, and I got in a lot more cross training this year (I swam 34 times!).  Not only did I get in the miles this year, but I varied my training a lot more compared to 2009.  I consistently included repeats, hills, tempo runs, fartleks, LSDs, and easy runs.  Not only did this improve my running ability, but it kept me from getting bored!


Mileage: 56.4 miles

December was mostly defined by a return to running.  After Runner's Knee issues in November, I eased back into running in December.  Mother Nature didn't help, though, and gave us a lot of this:

So. Much. Snow.


Mileage: 26.9 miles

November was my lowest mileage month of the year.  I started with high hopes of some 5ks and a 10 mile after recovering from the marathon, but my knee had other ideas.  I sorta did a 5k (which I won), and a 6.23k race in the snow.  After realizing that my knee wasn't getting any better, I took up competitive TV watching imposed a 2 week rest period on myself.  The rest period helped my knee heal up, and I was back in business.


Mileage: 91.8 miles

The highlight of October was a major PR at the Twin Cities Marathon.  My goal time was 3:45, and I finished in 3:42:01.  With everything combined--the weather, pacing, fueling, the course, spectators--I decided that I couldn't have asked for a better race.  Months of training paid off in spades, and it managed to put the Boston bug in me.  I raced, then I analyzed, and figured out that in the next two years, I'm going to get faster--much faster.


Mileage: 156.8

In September, I tapered, but also logged my 2nd highest mileage month of the year.  I also joined the first TCiM Flash Run, which helped us find our 15 seconds of fame on the news.  Another highlight of the year was a trip to Boston for a conference, and I got to run around the city and see some exciting things:


Mileage: 193.4 miles

August was, in many ways, the pinnacle of my training.  It was my highest mileage month of all time.  I did 2 of the 3 twenty milers in August.  Oh, and I didn't drown.  Yes, August was my first (and, to date, only) triathlon.  Lakefront Days was a fun experience, and while my swimming and cycling legs were pretty slow, my run was great.  Doing the race with friends made it even more fun.


Mileage: 139 miles

More new things in July.  After a quick trip to Baltimore where I learned that the best way to see a new city is via a good, long run, I ran my first ever half-marathon, Pikermi, Fun-Size Marathon.  I ran the inaugural Red, White, and Boom! TC Half Marathon on Independence Day.  It was hot, humid, and wet.  Really wet.  And, as a friend remarked, "Who knew Minneapolis had a mountain?".  My time was slower than what I was capable of, but with all the conditions as they were, I'm ok with that.  Katie and I also check out the local pro-triathlon scene at the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon.

Uh, yeah, that's not me.  I'm much, much faster...


Mileage: 100 miles

June was a hot month.  I celebrated by beginning my marathon training, yet I didn't expire.  I did perspire though.  Probably aspired too.  Maybe even inspired.  Beyond some open water swimming, I was involved with Katie's first triathlon of the season: Croixathlon.  I volunteered as a parking lot attendant and course marshal and found myself drenched in sweat and sunscreen.  I really got into the the course marshaling part and was maybe a bit too over-exuberant with my "Turn Left".  I had a great time--so much so that I'm considering doing Croixathlon this year as a participant.  I'm also pretty intrigued by this beach path...

Me at Cleary Lake pretending not to hear Katie


Mileage: 60 miles

Three big things happened in May: I set a 5k PR, I swam, and I raced with Katie at the Falls Duathlon.  The month began with the Duathlon, and Katie got the short end of the stick by having to ride her bike in gale-force winds.  I just ran.  We did good, and we're probably going to do the race again in 2011 (maybe not as a team, though).  

I added a new discipline to my training--swimming.  I was awful at it, and still am.  But I didn't drown.  I worked with a coach, and that helped a lot.  I'm still convinced that humans weren't meant to swim, but it's a skill I semi-possess now.  Later in the month, Katie and I had a pretty tough workout trying on wetsuits at Gear West, but emerged victorious and tried them out in a lake.  This was my first OWS, and while there's no chance of me being mistaken for a fish, I didn't drown and I count that as a victory.  (If you haven't noticed, "not drowning" has been a theme for the year).  The month ended with a great race at the Brian Kraft 5k.  I PR'd, and even managed some nice blisters.

Katie at the Duathlon

Me at the Duathlon

One of Katie's fantastically awkward photos of me


Mileage: 70 miles

I was in "spring training mode" in April, acted like my normal self dressed in a semi-ridiculous manner to win a contest, and decided to put myself in danger of drowning by signing up for a triathlon.  Over at Steve in a Speedo's blog, Katie entered me into a "worst dressed" contest, and I came in third place with my overly-geeky entry:

I'm running at the speed of light.  No, really--I'm blue-shifted.

I also "Ran the Valley" and put up a respectable 5k time:

Serious heel-strikeage going on there


Mileage: 45 miles

In March, I sold my soul to Hal.  I started his Spring Training plan, which would lead into his Marathon Training Plan in June, meaning that from March to October, I would be training under Hal's direction.  I was ok with that.


Mileage: unknown

After waffling for a few months, I did what everyone was expecting and signed up for Twin Cities again.  At that early stage, I decided to shoot for a sub 4 hour time.  I'm glad that changed  :)


Mileage: unknown

Dome Running!  I discovered that the best way to spend a dollar in Minnesota is to save up for a ticket to a warmer climate was to run at the Metrodome.  In January, I started going every Thursday night, and David even joined me a few times.  With the Dome deflated now, I've learned to cherish the ability to run in such an ugly building while I can.

It's been a super 2010, see you all after the arbitrary time division that is a product of the Gregorian calendar!  (And remember, "Knee High by the Fourth of July" doesn't make any sense in a non-Gregorian calendar.)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Same Great Taste, 50% Less Winter

Minnesota can be...trying during the winter.  Lately, I've dealt with this:

and this:

and this:

and, putting a damper on Dome Running, this:

So, when it came time to head to Michigan for the holidays, I wasn't exactly going to miss Minnesota weather.  Now, I'm not saying that Michigan is like Florida, but at least Michigan doesn't have so much snow that it doesn't know where to put it.

This past summer, my folks moved.  Instead of driving to Lake St. Clair to run, I can just go right from their house.  There aren't many trails and parks in Metro Detroit that are good for running, but there is one right in front of my parents' house--the Metro Parkway Bike Path:

It's a little tough to see, but I took this photo from the front door of the house.  There's a snow covered path/bike trail just 20 feet from the mailbox.  If you go left, you'll eventually get to Freedom Hill.  If you go right, you'll get to Metro Beach.  Not a bad place for running.

There was a dusting of snow, so Yaktrax were necessary

Snow, but not so bad as Minnesota

The bridge going over Groesbeck was a bit more snowy because they don't plow it.  Nice "hill" though.

It started to melt by the time I headed back

A sad thing is that in my 6ish miles, I saw one other runner.  In Minnesota, no matter how bad the conditions, you'll see other crazy people out running.  Oh well, at least it was a good run.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A Video of My Marathon Story

I've always said that I've sold my soul to Google.  Here's more proof.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

(S)Now I'm Running!

I'm now ready to deem my 2 weeks sans running a success.  I eased back into running this week making sure I didn't do any speedwork.  I was a little scared the first few runs thinking that any weird feeling in my knee was the return of Runner's Knee.  On Thursday morning, I did a run in some pretty cold temps on one of my extra hilly routes.  It was good.  I was planning a 40-50 minute run for Friday, put with the impending snowstorm, I moved that run to Thursday evening so I could return to one of my favorite winter running events…

Dome Running!*

I ran two laps, then ran into Steve and Pharmie.  I did two laps with Steve, then ran the rest of the time with Pharmie and we were joined later by Steve Q.  Even though I had planned to run for 40 minutes, we were having a wonderful conversation and next thing I know, it's been and hour.  And I'm ok with that because I ran for an hour on the hard surface with no knee pain!  Victory!

Then winter came.  Again.

Last night it snowed, and my normal 20 minute commute took 1.5 hours in part because my bus was 40 minutes late.  This morning, I awoke and it was sunny with 4-5 inches of fresh, fluffy snow—perfect time for a run.  So I strapped on my Yaktrax and grabbed my camera and off I went.

My foot with Yaktrax.

The first few block were pretty treacherous, but once I got to the golf course near the river, the paths were cleared:

The sidewalk you see in this photo is new.  It used to be a wonderful tree lined, grassy, trail-like path heading down to the river.  Then the city decided that no one was allowed to have fun anymore and they took out a bunch of trees and put this concrete in.

The path was already cleared along the river in St. Paul...

…and in Minneapolis

A magnificent view from the Franklin Ave bridge 

Me, afterwards.  It looks like there is a spear going through my head.

So, take that, winter!  Between Yaktrax and Dome Running, there's no reason to forego running in the winter.

*Every Tuesday and Thursday from 5-8pm, the Metrodome is open for runners on the upper concourse.  It only costs $1, and parking is free in the lot on the east side of the Dome.  Go here for more details.
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