Monday, August 29, 2011

Woodbury Country Mile half marathon race report

So this weekend I ran the Woodbury Country Mile half. Without being too snide, they got through putting the race on for 30 years somehow, so take this worth a grain of salt. Also, "running" wasn't exactly what I did, but we'll get to that later.

The race was Sunday morning, so I picked up some packets on Friday. The website just said packet pickup was at Woodbury Lakes, which is a shopping mall, so I was a little bit on my own for that one. I also wanted to pick up a couple friend's packets and nowhere on the website did I see if I needed their ID's to pick them up. Turns out, I didn't. Also, it took me a while to find where packet pickup was; the signage wasn't very good at all, but maybe thats because I came in from the back of the mall and not where I was supposed to.

Sunday morning, we left burgerrunner race HQ (aka my house) at 6:00 for the 7:00 start. We got to the mall at 6:30, and like clockwork I had to go to the bathroom. I saw no porta johns. Zero. Luckily I saw a john around the back of the mall and ran to that one. I have no idea where anyone else went to the bathroom. Turns out that was a common theme. As we moved to the start, I had no idea where we were going. We moved out of the mall, and downhill down some road. We went halfway down that hill, and I passed a "5k start here" sign. I thought we had missed the start line somewhere, but that sign actually was the actual line. We lined up about 15 yards after that line, in front of the PA announcer- seemed like no rhyme or reason to where people started.

As the mayor was making announcements, I moved up to the lead pack. I figured there was a fat guy up there, so why not. The gun went off behind us, and we were off. There was a gentile hill in front of us, so I thought I was good to go. This was my first mistake. I didn't look at the course map- at all, so I had no idea where we were going. We made a sharp left into a neighborhood for a half mile, then up a hill. I was sweating ridiculous, and we were doing sub 6's. Here was my second mistake. I had ran a 8 mile progression run that Saturday, going from 7:30's to 6:20's. We went up another hill, and another. I was thinking that we would have to go downhill at some point, right? nope. We'd level off for less than a mile, then climb again.

Since I hadn't looked at the course map, I hadn't done that much hill training yet, so by mile 2 and a half I was hurting. We were going around a lake, and I had fallen back to running 6:40's and fading fast. I wasn't feeling good. I took off into the woods and threw up. Like I said, I wasn't feeling good. More of the same took its toll, and I took a lot off. I was jogging 8:45's, and it didn't make much difference. I threw up again shortly after mile 3, and thankfully hit a water stop shortly after. I ran with a pace group for a while after that for about a mile or so. It was fairly flat, and I could handle the flat pretty well still, so I passed a handful of people, always keeping the next group in my sights so I didn't get lost.

I was feeling good enough until mile 7 when we hit just an amazingly big hill, or at least it seemed like it. From then on, I had an urge to use the bathroom. I put it off until I was climbing out of the basin of the 2nd lake we went around, around mile 9. I didn't know what to do, since I had to take a poop. I had quite a dilemma on my hands and, pardon the bad pun, but it was about to get messy real quick. I had just climbed out of the woods and was in a neighborhood, so I could either (a) double back and poop in the woods which I had already done once, or (b) hope I could knock on some doors and use someone's bathroom. At this point time was out the window, so either option was viable. I went with option b, and luckily found a nice lady out gardening who let me use her bathroom.

I was dripping sweat and looked like hell, so I felt really bad for her. But whatever, I did my business and was out. What really held me up was her dog though. I stopped to pet the dog, and that woman took a picture of me holding the dog somewhere. I think I spent 5 minutes or so playing with the dog, but like I said time was out the window; I was seriously considering throwing my watch in the lake. So I kind of stood by the side of the course and waited for someone to come by who either would know the course, or told me to quit. Luckily, the 2:20 pace group passed me just then, and I jumped in. Actually it was just me, the pacer, and another guy who was running his first half. He also served a tour in Afghanistan.

Thats kind of where the story ends. The last 4 miles were more of the same: hills and hills and hills. It left me asking if there was anywhere in Woodbury that was flat. So we were just going along and talking, and it turns out that my pacer, Krystal, won her age group in the Paavo Nurmi marathon in Wisco. Candice Schnieder (who has a great blog at ended upwinning the race, and since they were in the same age group, the age group winner ended up being Krystal because she finished second and you can't place overall and win your age group.

So that was kind of cool, I also saw Jim Parry, who's a fellow Brooks ID member, albeit just briefly. I ran with him for a couple minutes, but then I ended up losing him when I went to the bathroom in that woman's house. So that was pretty much it, lots of hills would have been the death of me even if I hadn't have fallen apart physically- which actually might have been a good thing because I definitely would have crashed hard if I had tried to keep up with the leaders. I mean, at least I'm prepared for the hills at Twin Cities, right?

In summary, there is a lot the race director could do to make this a better race. More communication would be nice, both through email and through their website, there was almost no information there. The course is what it is, I guess, but it would be nice to get an elevation chart before I got blindsided by the hills- and I don't think it was me who got mad at the hills

For anyone running this race in future years- here's the elevation chart and course map- which is more than their web site gives:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Bekele drops out of 10k, doubtful for 5k


Sounds like he's not competing at all this year, he probably re- injured his calf. Or maybe he wasn't 100% to start with. Either way, I told you so. You've got to feel bad for the guy, he's 29- thats old man status in track 5k terms.

Just to add, "doubtful for the 5k" is my words not anyone else's

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Running through

"When you are beaten by an athlete running through, it means you are owned by him body and soul. The Fixed Order will have been established in a most definitive way, to be altered only by some kind of felonious conduct, possibly involving Claymore mines."- Once A Runner

So I have a race tomorrow, the Woodbury Country Mile half. As its in the middle of a training cycle, I'll be running through, meaning I won't alter my training at all in order to run it. Normally I'd take a day off two days before the race (so the race is Sunday, I would have taken Friday off). Instead, I havent taken a day off since Tuesday the 27th, and since then I've gone 10, 14, 7, and 8 later today. I'm pretty exhausted, but that might be for the better since I always seem to go out too fast and then crash and burn late. If you happen to be running that race, get at me. I'll be wearing a wisco XC kit and my compression socks.

So yesterday I went to pick up packets. I picked up mine as well as my roommates that I'm running with. I got lost. Like actually really lost and I thought I would have to call a taxi or my parents to get home. I took the afternoon off from work and took a bus toward oakdale, which is next to woodbury. Even though I was going to a mall, there was no bus stop there,so I had to walk the mile to get to the shopping center. That took me like 20 minutes because I was going the wrong way for a while. The weird thing is woodbury has no sidewalks, or at least not where I needed them. Google maps had me cross a highway, which was fine because there was an overpass, and then cross another highway which was super scary because not only was there no crosswalk or light that tells you to walk, there was a huge DO NOT WALK sign. I was thinking about turning around, but I didn't, because I didn't know how to get home.

Once I got across the highway, I got on this road that split into an onramp and a one way road to the mall a quarter of a mile in or so. That was kind of traumatizing because cars were just flying, but I made it. After picking up the packet, I had the same traumatizing experience walking out of the mall, but this time I had to go to a different street to take a different bus to get back to St. Paul. I was late, so I had to run the 1.2 miles to the bus stop in (in 7:18). I made it, and from that bus I took another to get home. Bottom line is, I need a car, badly. I left Minneapolis at 3:00p, and got back to my house at 6:30. Ridiculousness.

I bought the IAAF world championship pack for all the days from Universal Sports this morning. Right now I'm watching the marathon on replay, since I don't care about much except that and the womens 10k today. And yes, I already know what happens, and I don't really care. Mens 10k tomorrow though, its going to be an amazing field (
start list here). For the record, my pick is Mo Farrah. A lot of people are picking Belke, and I don't know why. I don't think he'll show up at all, I don't think he's raced yet this year. Want to hear something crazy? Trey Hardee us the defending world champion in the Decathalon for America, but he isnt even #1 in his own country, Ashton Eaton is.

Thursday, August 25, 2011


So yesterday I went for a run. Big news, right? Well, let me tell you something you have different types of runs, and you go through all of them in a given training cycle, or even a month. I'm not talking speed, tempo, recovery, whatever runs. Over a given period, you're going to have runs that serve as landmarks, for better or worse, and serve as a measuring stick if you will. For examle, you might say "remember that long run after a tempo a few weeks back where my legs felt like bricks? Well now I can do it without being laid up in bed for the entire day." That kind of thing- the kind of thing that keep you coming back as a runner, kind of like a hole in one in golf after an otherwise terrible round.

Well, I had one of those runs. It was a 14 mile tempo after an off day. I didn't do anytrhing spectacular that day, in fact I thought I would just bomb it. I had a bottle of lienie's honey weiss and three hot dogs for lunch, and another honey weiss and some cajun tots from the Blue Door after work. And I got our waitress' number. That was a key right there. Point is, I wasn't really thinking about the run, which is both good and bad. Anyways, I get home from Blue Door, crush a nap, and wake up at 8, shoot a Gu, pop on my flats and am out the door by 8:30. I go through the first mile in 6:54. Okay, I was shooting for 7:01's, but whatever. The first mile is always the hardest, so I figure I'm in good shape. This is the exciting part- I didn't get stopped by a stoplight once. By mile 7, I hit the turnaround. I ran to St. Thomas minneapolis campus which I think helped a little because I could run that route with my eyes closed walking backwards.

I looped around the school, and picked it up around Gold Medal Park and the stone arch bridge, by far my favorite part of the run. It crossed my mind that since mile 4 I hadn't looked at my watch at all, and fought off the urge to because doing so would make me worry about my pace, and probably mean slowing down, which wasn't an option brecause once I slow down its hard to will myself to go fast again. After the bridge, I got the runner's high or whatever- its been a while since that's happened. And then I was like three blocks from my house. 6 miles down, and I don't remember a step of it, which is fine with me.

I pass my house, click my watch instinctively but don't look down. I don't look at my watch for about an hour after my run, but I was pretty pleased with what I saw: 14.09 miles in 1:33:48. Damn. That's not luck folks, thats three months of training paying dividends. If you need proof that there are no secrets in this sport, there it is. Doing it in training and a race are two verry different things. I'm racing this weekend, but I'm doing it with my roommates, so I probably won't bust my ass over going fast; I'm shooting for 1:45-1:50, having that kind of speed in your back pocket is kind of cool though.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Nowhere, Wisconsin

Some might argue that all of Wisconsin outside of Mad Town and maybe Green Bay is nowhere, WI, but I'm talking really nowhere. Like, 8 miles to the nearest town with a population in the double digits nowhere. Anyways, what I was setting up there was my recent trip to my fraternity brother and housemate's cabin in northern Wisconsin. Its like two and a half hours from the cities, though we ended up making it up there in 4 and a bit coming up. We took three cars and one ended up getting lost (it wasn't me) plus we had to stop at a grocery store to get supplies for breakfast and other shenanigans, one too many liquor stores, and a fireworks shop.

We finally got up there and pretty much went to bed right away. That was Friday. Saturday I got up at 7:30 for a 10 miler, except I only went 6. This cabin was so far out of the way it was a good mile or two to a paved road. That, and they had a 3/4 of a mile long unpaved driveway which seemed like it never ended. This kid actually has two cabins, although the one we were staying at was pretty much a shed with a bunch of beds in it. The other one, three miles away or so, was furnished and was where the rest of his family was staying. I woke up at 7:30 Saturday and was pretty sure I was the only person awake within 10 miles or so. It was pretty cool. I could hear a bunch of animals in the distance, thank God. Wolves, bears, that sort of stuff that I'd been warned about because honestly, if a bear got me while I was running I was pretty much a sitting duck.

So I run to this guy's other cabin, only about two or three miles being on paved roads and didn't see a soul. It was the most relaxing thing ever. I had thought I could do the whole thing in road running shoes- my synchrofuels- but was sorely mistaken. After 8 miles my feet were bleeding and felt like bricks. In fact, the all- yellow upper of the shoes is now all brownish with dried blood. But its all good because when I got back to our cabin I jumped in the Chippewa River (which was freezing) and then threw a couple fireworks in the cabin to wake everyone up. After yet another trip to the liquor store in Winter, we went rafting down the river.

We stopped midway down (actually more like a half hour into our float) to this dumpy old place called the Wannegan in Ojibwa for some pizza. I'm pretty sure- no, I'm certain- that it was just frozen pizza thrown in a pizza oven, but at that point I wasn't complaining. After the pit stop we all left, beer coolers in tow for Dave's other cabin (I said his name, he's probably going to be pissed), which was a good hour and a half down the river more. Nobody passed out, no casualties, although we had a ton of beer left over, which was okay since we were going to have a beer pong tournament that night. I'd resolved not to drink until I got done with my running, and because I've had a grand total of 1 beer before that weekend. So once we beached our crafts we went in to warm up (it had started raining before we got to our destination).

Dave's mom, grandma, and two brothers were at that cabin, and man, I haven't had that kind of hospitality in a while. She cooked us hamburgers, beer brats, and corn on the cob fresh from the co- op in Winter, and it was delicious. I was in a food coma. After a good three hours of playing cards and helping out around the cabin, we headed back to our cabin in "the truck" which was an ancient pick up truck with monster truck tires. Most of us climbed in the pick- up part of the truck and almost died a few times. Dave's a really bad driver. Most everyone went to sleep right away, which was kind of a bummer. I didn't, and stayed up talking by the fire until midnight or so, then set my alarm for Sunday's run.

Sunday was supposed to be 10 miles, but I decided to loop around Winter for a 16 mile loop. Luckily I brought my Cascadia 6's with me so I threw those on, as well as a Wisco XC singlet I got at the Griak invite last year. It was a pretty cool run. The town wasn't all that hard to find from the cabin, and I was able to take fire roads all the way into town. When I got there it was pretty cool. It goes without saying, everyone loved the singlet and it seemed like the whole town yelled something to me- they love their bucky up there. I was thinking the whole time about Once A Runner. You know how Quenton Cassidy goes to train at Bruce Denton's cabin for a couple months? thats exactly what I felt like. I should do that, just go up to that cabin and just run and run and run some more. That would be awesome. After I got back, I chilled in the river for a while, and then packed up my stuff feeling much more of a runner.

On the way back our car stopped by the leinenkugel's brewery in Chippewa Falls. Pretty cool stuff actually, plus we got 4 free 8 ounce glasses of whatever we wanted. We each had two glasses before the tour and two after and we were set, or at least I was. I'm actually surprised I was able to handle that much beer. I know I'm a lightweight, but I don't know how light, and I don't really want to find out. But whatever, that was good stuff.

Okay, well its getting close to 2:00 A.M. and I have to get up for work at 8, so I should probably stop writing.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hipster alert!- and some running

I think I'm becoming a hipster. Someone save me from myself. So I fell in love with farmers markets, and it so happens that there are two pretty good ones within 7 miles of me. One is in St. Paul on East Lake Street Tuesdays and Saturdays, and the other is on Nicollet Mall in Minneapolis on Thursdays. I've also fallen in love with those food trucks, you know those trucks that just post up on a corner and start cooking food. Sounds kind of shady, but by shady I mean delicious. So, I work Thursdays at 1:00 in Minneapolis, which coincides with both the farmers market and the food trucks setting up shop. There's two trucks that post up near our office, and one serves seafood that's delicious. Like lobster and stuff. Always a solid choice. Sometimes I get to work real early and grab my co worker and go to the farmers market. He's a hipster, despite not admitting to it, so he knows what to get. You know how I know he's a hipster? he plays ultimate Frisbee competitively. Like in a league and he goes to out of state tournaments and stuff. I played with him once. It was pretty awesome, although I'm pretty sure they had some intense plays set up and I was just running down the field like a maniac. At least I could beat everyone down the field for an easy score. ALL DAY BAYBE.

Also, 7 weeks until Twin Cities so I better start training or something. This week I went to the Red Sox- Twins series so I had to run in the morning Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. I wouldn't recommend it. I got up at 6 and got 6 or 7 miles in before work, but I ended up blowing off my workouts because I just got too worn down. I usually got back from the games around midnight, even though they ended around 10:30 because I had to take the train and then the bus home. So that was that. And I finally got gels so I can run over 15 miles for a long run this weekend. But im going to sleep first because I was literally up all day and all night yesterday. Trap shooting and playing video games with a co worker (but not the hipster one). Sweet life.

Also, Team USA was named for the World Championships in Daegu and it looks like this:
2011 World Outdoor Championships Team USA
*denotes 2009 World Champion
Men’s 100m: Walter Dix, Justin Gatlin, Michael Rodgers
Men’s 200m: Dix, Darvis Patton, Jeremy Dodson
Men’s 400m: Tony McQuay, Greg Nixon, Jamaal Torrence, LaShawn Merritt*
Men’s 110mH: David Oliver, Aries Merritt, Jason Richardson
Men’s 400mH: Jeshua Anderson, Bershawn Jackson, Angelo Taylor, Kerron Clement*
Men’s 800m: Nicholas Symmonds, Khadevis Robinson, Charles Jock
Men’s 1500m: Matthew Centrowitz, Leonel Manzano, Andrew Wheating
Men’s 3000m SC: William Nelson, Daniel Huling, Benjamin Bruce
Men’s 5000m: Bernard Lagat, Chris Solinsky, Galen Rupp
Men’s 10,000m: Rupp, Matt Tegenkamp, Scott Bauhs
Men’s 20km RW: Trevor Barron
Men’s HT: Kibwe Johnson, Michael Mai
Men’s DT: Jarred Rome, Jason Young, Lance Brooks
Men’s JT: Mike Hazle
Men’s SP: Adam Nelson, Christian Cantwell*, Reese Hoffa, Ryan Whiting
Men’s PV: Derek Miles, Jeremy Scott, Mark Hollis
Men’s HJ: Jesse Williams, Dustin Jonas, Erik Kynard
Men’s TJ: Christian Taylor, William Claye, Walter Davis
Men’s LJ: Marquise Goodwin, Claye, Trevell Quinley, Dwight Phillips*
Men’s Dec: Ashton Eaton, Ryan Harlan, Bryan Clay, Trey Hardee*
Men’s marathon: Nicholas Arciniaga, Michael Morgan, Sergio Reyes, Jeffrey Eggleston, Mike Sayenko
Men’s 4x100m: Dix, Gatlin, Rodgers, Kimmons, Ivory Williams, Travis Padgett
Men’s 4x400m: Merritt, McQuay, Nixon, Torrence, Michael Berry, Miles Smith

Women’s 100m: Carmelita Jeter, Marshavet Myers, Miki Barber
Women’s 200m: Shalonda Solomon, Jeter, Jeneba Tarmoh, Allyson Felix*
Women’s 400m: Felix, Francena McCorory, Debbie Dunn, Sanya Richards-Ross*
Women’s 100mH: Kellie Wells, Danielle Carruthers, Dawn Harper
Women’s 400mH: Lashinda Demus, Queen Harrison, Jasmine Chaney
Women’s 800m: Alysia Montano, Maggie Vessey, Alice Schmidt
Women’s 1500m: Morgan Uceny, Jennifer Simpson, Shannon Rowbury
Women’s 3000m SC: Emma Coburn, Bridget Franek, Delilah DiCrescenzo
Women’s 5000m: Molly Huddle, Amy Hastings, Lauren Fleshman
Women’s 10000m: Shalane Flanagan, Kara Goucher, Jennifer Rhines
Women’s 20km RW: Maria Michta
Women’s HT: Jessica Cosby, Amber Campbell, Jeneva McCall
Women’s DT: Stephanie Brown-Trafton, Aretha Thurmond, Gia Lewis-Smallwood
Women’s JT: Kara Patterson, Rachel Yurkovich
Women’s SP: Michelle Carter, Jillian Camarena-Williams, Sarah Stevens-Walker
Women’s PV: Kylie Hutson, Jenn Suhr, Lacy Janson
Women’s HJ: Brigetta Barrett, Inika McPherson
Women’s TJ: Amanda Smock
Women’s LJ: Brittney Reese*, Janay DeLoach, Funmi Jimoh, Tori Polk
Women’s Hep: Sharon Day, Hyleas Fountain
Women’s Marathon: Katherine Newberry, Alissa McKaig, Colleen DeRuck, Tera Moody, Zoila Gomez
Women’s 4x100m: Jeter, Myers, Barber, LaShaunte’a Moore, Alexandria Anderson, Bianca Knight
Women’s 4x400m: Richards-Ross, Felix, McCorory, Dunn, Beard, Natasha Hastings
Uhh, USATF, what are you doing? Without going on a full blown rant (because I'm saving that for another post) why bother having an A qualifying standard if you're not going to follow it? They threw non- qualifying athletes in there for no reason. I mean I love Lauren Fleshman. She's a good, sometimes great- when she isn't injured which isnt often- runner. That doesn't really matter though, because she didn't hit the A or B standard; they're letting her in on last year's times. Come on now, a rule is a rule. USATF is really hurting for respect, and this isn't helping their case at all. What a joke.

Also, Rupp doubling up? hmm.... I'm a Galen Rupp hater if you haven't guessed, and here's why:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Lukas Verzbicas gets into crash

Via his twitter just now:"Got into quite the bike crash. Waiting on medical results, Praying for no broken bones."

I won't lie, I thought that was a woman when I first saw it. For real though, dude is like everything I wish I could be. I said it once on the USATF facebook page and got hammered for it, but I'll say it again: I hope he turns out to be a better future of US running than Galen Rupp was said to be. Also, if you haven't read this story about his last tri before he goes to U of O, you should.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Guys... I need my beauty sleep

I was supposed to run a half marathon today, but never did. Please don't hit me with those cliche "inspirational" quotes like 'DNF is better than DNS' or any of that bullshit. First of all, thats wrong because unless my legs are going to fall off, I'm going to finish a race, but I might be lazy and not start one, like I did today. Now, you hear "Did not start" and you think "this guy just got psyched out by the distance" or at least I do. Again, not the case.

So, the Urban Wildland Half was slated to take off at 7, which means I wanted to get to the start by 6:30, which meant I had to catch the city bus at 5:30 in order to get there, so I set my alarm at 4:30. I went to bed at 9, and after I was woke up by drunk roommates a couple times, fell asleep and ended up not waking up until 7:45 today. I was pretty pissed. My phone must have gone dead overnight, so I ended up missing the race. Oh well, stuff happens I guess. Its not really that big of a deal because I was supposed to do 14 today anyways, so now I just won't have a race to do it in. And I guess this means that I can run with my group tomorrow morning, because I won't be a giant ball of lactic acid. We're running the first 15 miles of the Twin Cities marathon course. Its going to be awesome. Assuming I wake up in time.