Sunday, October 10, 2010

2010 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Race Report

I did it. I finally broke the four hour barrier and smashed my pr to smithereens. I am so happy. I trained hard this summer for this race. I lost lots of weight. I stressed in the last month about my injuries that I thought would take me out of the race. But all the stars aligned just right for an awesome Twin Cities Marathon!

The weekend was amazing from the start. We arrived at the Holiday Inn around 10:00 in evening on Friday and unwound in the room with a glass of wine. On Saturday morning I lounged in bed while Lisa went down to the capitol to watch our friends Rebecca and her son finish the 10K. Afterwards we met up in the hotel restaurant for a late breakfast. The restaurant service left a lot to be desired. It was more than an hour before we were served. I don't know why they don't plan for having cooks there on the weekend. Anyway, we finally ate. I had some oatmeal and a poached egg.

After breakfast Lisa, Spencer and I headed across the street to the Xcel center to pick up my race packet. The TCM has a pretty darn good expo and we did spend an hour or so passing by all the booths. We didn't want to stay too long because Saturday was the day we planned to go to the Mall of America. Lisa and Spencer picked up some free ride tickets for the amusement park there during the 10k race and Spencer was anxious to get going. After relaxing for a little be we headed on over to MOA. Spencer lucked out and one of his ticket coupons was good for 100 tickets which set him up for free rides the entire day. While Spencer and Lisa were having fun in the amusement park I had to spend some time doing some reading for work so I parked myself on a comfy chair across from the Apple Store. We also had a genius bar appointment to look at Spencer's ipod touch. Turns out it was broken and they replaced it on the spot.

We met up with our friends and looked for some dinner. We ended up at Bubba Gumps in the MOA. Since we waited so long for a table they actually ordered appetizers for us for free and they were delivered to the table as soon as we sat down. The service was night and day compared to breakfast at the hotel. I tried to eat light and had salmon with some pasta and vegetables. I did drink a bit of wine. Ok, a bottle of wine. But that is not unusual for me. We got back to the hotel around 9:00 and I went straight to bed.

Sunday morning at 4:45 am my ipod alarm went off. I slept really well - better than I had in a while. I felt rested and ready for the race. My back felt great and my foot had no pain at all. I had a banana and a south beach protein bar for breakfast and started to wake my body up. I checked the weather - 36 degrees with sunshine and a high in the low 60's expected. What a perfect day for a race! At about 5:45 I laced up my shoes and headed on over to the Crown Plaza to catch the bus to Minneapolis. I arrived at the Metrodome at about 6:15. Plenty of time to hit the bathrooms about 6 times before the race. I don't know what it is but my bladder tends to be overactive before every race. Since I usually end up having to use the facilities in the beginning after a race starts I tried to line up at the portapotties just prior to the start.

At 7:45 I was still looking ahead at a long line waiting. People were getting antsy and it was getting close to start time. People were cheering on the pee-ers. I finally made it into the john and out with just a few minutes to spare. I sprinted on over to the starting corral (number 2 for me). It was so crowded with thousands of people. As I was pushing my way forward I bumped into a friend from Washington, DC. Funny that I bumped into him in almost exactly the same spot at last year's race. Completely unexpected. Anyway, I was way in the back and I wanted to start closer to the beginning of the corral so I jumped over the fence onto the sidewalk and made my way forward. I jumped back into the crowded chute near the 4:30 pacer thinking I was further ahead but the gun was going off and I had no more time to find my place. And then I was off.

The start was great! I was feeling really strong and it was nice and cool out. My plan was to start out at about an 8:45 pace and see how I felt midway through the race. But with my hectic start I wanted to get up near the 4:00 pacer so I could gauge my run a little better. So I started out fast the first mile passing everyone I could. I edged my way forward and at about the 1 mile mark I saw the balloons for my target. I quickly caught up to the pacer and told him the rules - he was not allowed to pass me during the race. The adrenalin was pumping and the first mile was faster than I planned (7:50 pace). My Garmin was about 0.1 miles short of the 1 mile marker and about .25 miles short by the end of the race. Anyway, after that first mile I eased my pace down to a more comfortable one and continued ahead of the pacer. As it turns out I never saw him again.

Running through Minneapolis was gorgeous. I was feeling really good int hose first few miles through the city. There was good crowd support and I was going at a good pace (mile 2 - 8:47, mile 3 - 9:03). Once south of the city and getting into the residential and lakes areas I started to focus more on keeping a consistent pace. I did REALLY well on this race with miles betweein 8:30-8:45 all the way up through mile 18. I was feeling good on the gentle hills and enjoyed Lake Calhoun and Lake Harriet. And the people racing were as awesome as the crowds cheering us on. Around mile 5 I talked to a gentleman who was running his 73rd marathon. His 13 year old daughter is going to run with on when she turns 18 and he plans that to be his 100th race. How inspiring is that? And then there was the Cherry and Spoon lady. Yes, someone was running in a Cherry and Spoon costume. You know the famous cherry and spoon sculpture in Minneapolis. It turns out she wasn't even from here. She works and is going to school in Fayetteville, Arkansas. I thought it was great she was celebrating Minneapolis art this way. I ran near her for most of the race until the last 6 miles or so when she pulled ahead of me.

I have to say I felt pretty darn good during this race. I did start to feel some aches in my left hip around mile 12 but it was minor. I was going strong and did not slow down until mile 18 or so. As a matter of fact I never slowed down to a walk until somewhere in mile 18 - the longest I have ever run non-stop. When I did I thought my legs would fail. I didn't realize what different muscles you use when walking and it was clear they were going to sleep on me. I was starting to feel the fatigue but I kept going. Mile 19 my pace slowed a little bit to 8:54 and after that I could no longer maintain a pace less than 9 minutes. I was starting to feel my quads pretty bad when I passed the wall at mile 20 (9:20 pace). At this time I knew I would probably make my 4 hour goal but I didn't want to let up. But I was beginning to really tire and had to walk a bit through the water stops. I focussed on trying to maintain a 9:30 pace and used the inspiration from the Wall at 20 miles to speed up a little bit.

Mile 21 - 9:17, Mile 22 - 9:35, Mile 23 - 9:45. I was trying to tell myself that it was only a few more miles but my energy was draining fast and my muscles were screaming at me - "What more do you want from us?" I pushed onward and pulled out a 9:31 pace for mile 24 and it was then that I really hit the wall. My right quad started cramping. I slowed to a walk for a brief moment to try to stretch it out and then I sped back up. I gritted my teeth and ran through the pain and managed to push through mile 25 at a 9:55 pace. I kept telling myself - don't slip past a 10 minute mile! Keep going. You're almost done!. I should say there are a lot of hills from mile 20 to 26 and I was proud of myself for keeping it going through the pain. I was starting to feel something in my left foot around mile 21 and that was getting worse too. I was afraid to look.

The last mile was awesome. I dug down really deep and pushed all the pain out of my mind. I managed to push through mile 26 at a faster 9:27 pace and when I came up the hill and rounded the corner by the cathedral I knew I had this one in the bag. I looked downhill to the finish and started sprinting. As I was coming down to the finish chute I saw my wife and son there cheering me on. I looked up and saw the clock above the finish line - 3:59:53 . . .3:59:54 . . . 3:59:55 . . . I pushed harder and crossed the line just as it showed 4:00:00. What a finish! I did it. I made my goal. My official chip time was 3:55:35 - a new PR for me. I don't think it gets better than this.

Later in the hotel when I took my shoes off I found out why my foot was starting to hurt. I had one big blister. Fortunately it was just a sack of fluid and it really wasn't too torn up. As a matter of fact there was no pain after a couple hours. It was worth it!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I'm back!

Good news - I'm back on the road and have resumed my training. I did a quick 4.4 miles yesterday and the foot felt fine. So I did my scheduled 12 miles this morning at a 9:00 pace. The foot feels great. I think I am good to go! YAY! TCM here I come!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The verdict - no stress fracture, just stress

Great news - I do not have a stress fracture. There is a small spot on my foot that looks like some stress on the cuboid bones. I was literally on the verge of a stress fracture but it didn't go that far. Word to the wise - pay attention to pain and listen to your body. I will be cross training this week. My plan is to try to ramp up running next week slowly and then taper to the race. Hopefully I can still eek out a sub-4:00 marathon. I'm asking for a lot but I am hopeful.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The PR that wasn't

Well, the Dick Beardsley half marathon just started a few minutes ago. It is an absolutely perfect day for a race - 53 degrees and beautiful blue skies. I have been training all summer and am in better conditioning than ever before. I was hoping to run a new PR today in Detroit Lakes. But here I am sitting at home sulking because of my damn foot. It still hurts. It hurts to walk. I know I can't run on it, though I was so tempted to go anyway. I think I will go crazy if I have to lay off the running for long. *sigh*

Thursday, September 9, 2010


After a really great 12 mile run on sunday and a 5 mile run on Monday, I was feeling great. I was looking forward to a new PR at the Dick Beardsley half marathon this Saturday and blowing away my marathon PR in the Twin Cities next month. But all that may be lost. My right foot has been aching for the last couple of days. I went to the clinic this morning and the Doc thinks a stress fracture is most likely in the cuboid bones. I have a bone scan scheduled for Tuesday and will find out the results on Wednesday. Looks like no more running for me in 2010.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fitness and Training

It's only a month until the Twin Cities marathon. I completed my 4th 20 mile run last Sunday. Training has been going really really well. You can see from my 8 mile run this morning (details below) that my pace is improving. Most importantly my heart rate is remaining lower. It used to jump up to about 175 or so when I was pushing this hard but now I can barely break 160. I think the chances of me blowing away my PR next month are very good. I have the Dick Beardsley half marathon on September 11 and I'm looking forward to a fast time.

Intervals (GPS Interval)
TypeDistanceTimeTotal TimePaceAvg HRMax HR

Interval1 Mi7:54.2116:47.347:55146153
Interval1 Mi7:57.2824:44.627:58147156
Interval1 Mi7:55.0332:39.657:56144157
Interval1 Mi7:54.8240:34.477:55153160
Interval1 Mi7:55.4548:29.927:56155158
Interval1 Mi7:36.0656:05.987:37155161
Interval1 Mi8:03.141:04:09.128:04153158
Interval0.02 Mi0:09.591:04:18.718:00157158

On the fitness front I have been working out a lot and really building my core. I feel a lot stronger and tighter though my weight loss has slowed significantly in the last month. I'm now down to about 215 pounds and I don't know if I'll hit 200 before the marathon. But that's ok. My body is still shrinking and I'm building muscle.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Effortless Running

What a difference a month makes. My training has been improving so much and in the last week or so my body has just exploded with energy. A couple weeks ago I did my first 20 mile run of the year. It went great. I was able to complete the 20 miles and still had some gas in the tank. Last weekend I took time off of running and focussed more on strength and core training. This has done wonders for me this week. My times have improved and my energy levels are through the roof.

This morning I had a great run. The weather was perfect - 65 degrees, low humidity and a nice easy breeze. I planned to do a relatively easy 10 miles at a 9:00 min pace but I just couldn't slow my body down. I tried but I just settled into an 8:30 min/mile groove that carried me through all ten miles and change. It felt great. I am planning to do another 10 mile run on Saturday and 20 miles on Sunday. If I feel good I'll go even further. This will be my highest mileage week for the year.

Intervals (GPS Interval)
TypeDistanceTimeTotal TimePaceAvg HRMax HRNotes
Interval1 Mi8:43.588:43.588:44133145
Interval1 Mi8:46.4217:30.008:47141146
Interval1 Mi8:40.0626:10.068:41145151
Interval1 Mi8:27.8134:37.878:28150154
Interval1 Mi8:25.6443:03.518:26151157
Interval1 Mi8:23.1451:26.658:24154160
Interval1 Mi8:30.259:56.858:31157160
Interval1 Mi8:23.131:08:19.988:24158161
Interval1 Mi8:29.361:16:49.348:30151159
Interval1 Mi8:29.781:25:19.128:30158162
Interval0.25 Mi2:06.231:27:25.358:25163165

Sunday, July 4, 2010

MSUM 4th of July 10K

I got it done. It wasn't a perfect race by any means but I am overall pretty happy with my performance.

I finished in 51:33. I had a goal to beat my PR of 48:48 but it wasn't to be. The first half was right on target at an 8:00 pace but I had a bit of stomach distress in the second half and I was fatigued. It could have been the fact that I ate a banana and a gu gel before the race or it could have been all of the wine I drank last night. I also had a bit of a cough which didn't help the breathing at all. Anyway, here is how it shook out. Here is the breakdown according to my garmin 405. I'll update with the official stats once they publish the results.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

An easy 5?

I am really looking forward to the 4th of July 10K race tomorrow at MSUM. I thought I would get out for a nice easy 5 miles today. But as you can see, the oppressive heat and humidity has reared it's ugly head. I did get 5.4 miles done but it was a very very sweaty 5. My pace slowed throughout but I finished with a 9:44 average.

I snapped a photo when I got back. I ran shirtless today. I am happy that I finally feel comfortable enough to run without a shirt. I know I ain't pretty, but I'm working on my body. The slobs passing me in their pickups, chewing on their big macs, yapping on their cell phones and laughing at ME can just go to hell. I don't care any more. If you don't like what you see, don't look.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

it's a HIIT

Yes, I'm talking about high intensity interval training. I tried to do a little bit of HIIT on the treadmill a couple months ago. I have never really incorporated HIIT into my training routines but I know there are lots of benefits to it including greater fat burning and increased performance. I want to increase my speed for the Twin Cities marathon in October.

Well, since the last time I did any HIIT I've dropped a lot of weight and I've worked on increasing my core strength and upper body strength. A thunderstorm rolled in this morning thwarting my plans to go for a run outside so I headed to the gym. I spent about a half hour working my shoulders and back. I decided to give HIIT another try so I jumped onto the treadmill. To say I was shocked at how readily able I was to do HIIT without dying is an understatement. After a few minutes warmup I set my intervals to run at a 9.5 mph pace for the high intensity and 4 mph walk for the recovery interval. Before I could barely do this for 1 minute at high intensity (or less) followed by 3-4 minutes recovery walking. When I hit my first high intensity interval, it seemed too easy! I managed to run fast for the full minute I planned. When I dropped down to the recovery speed it was too slow so I upped it to a 6.0 mph jog. I managed to keep this up for 30 minutes alternating 1 minute high intensity followed by 2 minutes of recovery jogging. At the end I was sweaty and tired but I felt I could actually do more. Next time I'll go longer.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Weight Loss Progress

It is about time I updated you on my progress. I have been increasing my miles, increasing my speed and working out at the gym a lot. I have moved up from 20 pound weights for my bicep curls to 35 pounds and from 30 pound dumbells for chest presses to 55 pounds. I generally work my upper body and back 3 times a week. I have dropped from about 265 pounds to below 227 pounds as of this morning. The progress definitely shows! Take a look.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Weight Loss Update

It's been about nine weeks since I refocused my eating and exercise and it is paying off with big time results! I have dutifully tracked every calorie, good and bad, on I have resisted temptation and have eaten cleanly for the last two months. And I am happy with the results! over 30 pounds have melted away. My clothes fit better and I feel much stronger. My running has been improving and I am on top of the world. I have a ways to go but it is so encouraging to finally be back on track.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Ten point Two

Whew! Nice run today. It was a gorgeous sunny day but still a cool 45 degrees. Perfect running weather. I was thinking I might feel good to go 10 miles today and I was right. Feels great.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Turkey Trot

I had an AWESOME 4.1 mile run this morning in the cool 40 degree weather with the sun just rising on the horizon. I ran into some wild turkeys in the cemetery by the river strutting their stuff with full plumage. A great way to start the day. My weight continues to drop and I am so proud of myself for not pigging out on pizza at my meeting last night. I had only one piece and managed to keep yesterday's calories below 1500. Today I can eat more as I ran this morning and I'm heading to the gym this afternoon.

I am stoked for the marathon in October! My official 18 week training schedule starts May 31. I'm ahead of the game. I will be 4o pounds lighter before the marathon! Looking forward to an awesome PR.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Back in the marathon training saddle

I signed up for the Twin Cities marathon, October 3. I know now that my commitment to my diet and activity will let me do well by October. I plan for a PR - a sub 4 marathon. I know I can do it.

Speaking of training, I input all my training runs for my 18 week Hal Higdon Intermediate II training plan into my calendar. This starts in a few short weeks. Today I did get out for a wonderful 8.6 miles in the cool drizzle.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Making Progress

Well, it did take me a little while to really get started but I have been making progress. Since my post in January, I didn't really get serious until the end of March. But since then I have dutifully tracked every calorie and increased my activity. I am going to the gym about 5 days a week to do free weights and cardio on the elliptical machine. I'm also gearing up my running and have been able to manage long runs over 10 miles for each of the last 3 weekends.

The thing about losing weight is that it really is about calorie balance - what you eat vs what you burn. And it's a simple formula. You have to burn about 3500 more calories than you eat every week to lose one pound a week. I've managed to maintain about and average 1300 calorie deficit for the last four weeks and it is showing the exact results one would expect with the math. I have lost about 3 pounds a week.

Compared to my photos from January, you can definitely see the difference1 2 pounds makes.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First run of 2010

Today is almost 40 degrees warmer than yesterday. Yes, it's true. Above zero feels like a heat wave after the last couple weeks. Anyway, I did it. I got my feet into my shoes and got out the door for a very nice 3.4 miles in the sunshine. It's been more than a month and the body can feel it. The joints are stiff and the muscles are complaining but it feels so good to be back in the saddle.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Time to be accountable

It's a new year and here I am at a place I never thought I would see myself at again. Even with two marathons and several other half marathons in 2009 I seem to have used every excuse in the book to slack off. And look where it has gotten me! I've gained 40 pounds over the last couple of years! That is half the weight I lost in 2002/2003. I have no one to blame but myself. I realize that I gained weight during training for every one of the 5 marathons I have run in the last couple years. Running gave me an excuse to overeat. I stopped tracking my calories and keeping the carbs in check. Well, it's time to face the mirror. That's why I have my pictures below. I need to see what everyone else is seeing.

It isn't pretty and I feel terrible. Time to change things. Even though it is below zero outside I have to get my feet back into my running shoes and my fat ass back out on the streets. I haven't run in more than a month. Today starts a new day and a new attitude. I started back on fitday to track my calories and I will be out the door first thing tomorrow morning.

Wish me luck.