Archive for October, 2009



I’m A Runner

I’ve been talking a lot lately about how stay-at-home parents are always “on the run” with carting kids to and from activities. SAHDs & SAHMs always seem to be going here or there.

But, talk about irony, in my spare time, I enjoy long distance running!

I took up the sport several years ago and I have to admit, I’m a bit “addicted” to it! I like to rise early in the morning, put on my gear, grab my I-Pod and head out the door for a run. I enjoy the solitude of running, along with watching some beautiful sunrises. My early morning run gives me a chance to think through the coming activities for the day and it gets my batteries charged for dealing with the kids!

I have completed four marathons and several other shorter distance races since 2003. I enjoy the challenge of running a marathon and more importantly, the challenge of training for a marathon, which I consider to be more difficult.

If you can get through sixteen to eighteen weeks of training, you can run 26.2 miles!

I like having a race as a goal and for motivation to do the training. I think it would be too easy for me to hit the “snooze” button in the morning unless, I knew I was training for a race.

It also keeps me from gaining weight!

Being a SAHD, one of the challenges I face is, fighting the urge to snack! I admit it, I like to snack and sometimes my “will power” isn’t as strong as it should be!

It’s hard not to snack when you are within feet of the fridge and pantry most of the day!

Around 3:00 PM is the hardest time for me, long past lunch and still some time to go until dinner. A real easy time to let my guard down!

So if my “will power” needs a boast, I just picture how much harder it will be to run the last 6 miles of a marathon while lugging an extra twenty pounds on my body!

As for the actual races…

I like the adrenaline rush of being on the starting line, when the gun goes off! (The “rush” from getting the kids out the door in the morning is good, but it just isn’t the same!)

I also like the thrill of coming down to the finish line, while people are cheering you on! (So what if you’re a couple of hours behind the winner, they’re still yelling encouragement!)

I am reminded of the Billy Crystal line from the movie, “City Slickers”, “There’s nothing like bringing in a herd!” -I agree!

I like the sense of accomplishment. The setting of a goal, working hard for it and finally reaching it! Being a SAHD, it is sometimes difficult to have such tangible goals.

Injuries? You bet!

I’ve had “Runner’s Knee”, “Hip Bursitis”, a stress fracture above my ankle and “Plantar Fasciitis”, although, I originally got that from my “day job” and not wearing shoes around the house! (Lesson learned with that one!)

Even with all of that, I still enjoy running! (I think this where the “addiction” part may be applicable, at least my wife and kids think so!)

I was scheduled to run the Des Moines Marathon on October 18th. On July 9th I had a quadricep injury in my right leg (I’ll have to add it to the list). I didn’t run for six weeks and even after I started back running, it was still painful and I wasn’t anywhere near full strength. I still held out hope that I would be able to run the full marathon on the 18th, but in early September I realized that wasn’t going to happen. I thought, maybe I would be back in shape enough to complete a half marathon, so I switched my registration from the full to the half.

Since I do have a propensity for injury, I have made adjustments to my training schedule. I run less days, rest some days and I do more cross training, such as, bike riding.

I stuck with the training and gradually increased my miles, I am almost back to full strength and on Sunday I’m running the Twin Cities 10 Mile Race and in two weeks I’ll be lined up to run the Des Moines Half Marathon. Not really shooting for any “personal best” time in either race, but rather, I’ll enjoy the experience of running with some buddies and the scenery.

Just happy to be back doing something I really enjoy!

Good Luck to all runners in “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon In America” and of course, The Twin Cities 10 Mile Race!

Check back to see how I fared!



Monday Morning Dad

It was a busy weekend for me with Twin Cities 10 Mile activities.

Saturday was packet pick-up day at the race expo in St. Paul. It is always fun hanging out at the expo. It gets you fired up for the race and it gives you a chance to waste some money on running gear that you probably really don’t need!

However, my race packet pick-up hit a little glitch.

A friend of mine, who works for one of the race’s sponsors had given me a “pass” to enter the race. There was some miscommunication and for awhile it looked like I might not be able to get in.

Following a nervous hour, things got worked out and I was “officially” in the race!

A big “thank you” goes out to a volunteer by the name of Sue, who was working at the “Help” desk. She was very understanding and handled things for me. From my point of view, she was certainly the right person to be working that station!

So, my 1,868th place finish is dedicated to Sue!

As for race day…

It was an early 4:00 AM wake-up call for me Sunday morning. I got up, had a pre-race meal that consisted of a bagel with cream cheese, a couple of pieces of turkey bacon and some strawberry yogurt.

I left my house at 5:30, picked up my neighbor, who was also running the 10 miler and we headed to downtown Minneapolis for the start.

It was a cool morning, the temp was around 40 degrees.

One of the nice things about running Twin Cities is the Metrodome is open prior to the race. It gives you place to stay warm, stretch out and it has restrooms, which is VERY important before a race!

We hung out in the Dome for about forty minutes.

We met a nice man from southern Minnesota, who was running the full marathon. It was his first Twins Cities Marathon and only his second one overall. He indicated to us that he was a little nervous about the race. My friend & I gave him a few pointers about the race course, some sites to be on the lookout for, we wished him well and left for the start of the 10 Miler.

The weather was ideal for running!

As I mentioned, the temperature was cool and there was very little wind. The race started at 7:05, so the sun was just beginning to rise.

There were approximately 6,000 registered for the race and they had us assigned to different “corrals” for a staggered start.

I could have gone in the first corral, but my friend was assigned to the fourth, so I decided to drop back with him. It just meant about an extra ten minute wait until the other corrals went ahead of us.

The race was “chip” timed so starting farther back was no big deal.

I have spent the past two months recovering from a quadricep injury and have just recently felt like I was getting back to full strength. So I was a little hesitant heading into the race about what pace I would be able to run.

I had completed a 10 mile training run the week prior, so my confidence was getting better.

Understandably, it was pretty crowded starting off, I ran my first two miles in about 19 minutes. Before mile 3, I felt like I got into a groove and more importantly, felt pretty strong.

With the good weather conditions and feeling good I was able to pick up the pace and maintain it to the end of the race.

My finishing time was 1 hour and 24 minutes, which was good for 1,868 place out of 5,797 finishers. I was very happy with my time and was energized about running the Des Moines Half Marathon in two weeks.

A special “thanks” goes out to all of the wonderful race volunteers, who gave up their Sunday morning, worked the starting and finishing areas, water stations, etc, etc…they helped make the race a great experience!

Following a “rest day”, I’ll be back at it, getting ready for Des Moines!




TGIF

Another busy week in our household is mercifully coming to an end!

My wife returned at midnight on Wednesday from a business trip to Orlando. The funny part was I thought she had gone to Phoenix! She has been traveling more lately and I had gotten itineraries for this week’s trip mixed up with next week’s trip.

It was a funny phone conservation when she called from “Downtown Disney” in Orlando and I thought she had gone to Phoenix!

When had Disney expanded into the “Valley of the Sun”, I wondered?

Sorry, Mickey, it was me that screwed up!

In fairness, she did leave REALLY, REALLY early Monday morning and as I recall, I hadn’t had any coffee yet!

I am quite sure she leaves for Phoenix this Sunday morning, just don’t ask me what airline or flight number!

If her travel schedule wasn’t confussing enough, two of our three kids had school conferences this week. Not a big deal, but…our two boys were off from school on Thursday & Friday, but our daughter was only off on Friday!

Okay, who has to get up and who gets to sleep in?

One of my pet peeves about our school district is the elementary schools follows one academic calendar, while the middle school and high school follow another. It simply means they’ll have different days off from time to time throughout the school year. It sure would make things simpler if they were all on the same page!

But at least I got the right one on the school bus Thursday morning and I didn’t receive a call later wondering why our fourth grader was at the high school!

So I am looking forward to this weekend, when I know everyone is going to be home!

Oh yeah, expect for my wife, who is working a church youth lock-in VERY EARLY Saturday morning, one son being gone on a scout trip, the other son working and my wife’s trip to San Diego on Sunday.

Oops! Did I say, San Diego? I mean, Phoenix!

See, I’ve got it straight!



Monday Morning Dad

Okay, for the record, I POSITIVELY know that my wife left for Phoenix yesterday morning!

As you may recall, I was a little “itinerary challenged” last week with my wife’s travel schedule.

But, not this week!

I am one hundred percent sure that when I speak to her I won’t find out she’s at “Fisherman’s Wharf” in San Francisco instead of Phoenix!

I know this because she is heading to Arizona State University in Tempe to do some recruiting for her company.

She has made this trip several times and really enjoys visiting that beautiful campus. She gets to spend three WARM days in the “Valley of the Sun” all the while looking for the “right person” for the job.

I imagine her job has become a bit more difficult if any of those students and potential employees have heard about our “wonderful” weather back here in good ‘ol upper midwest!

In case you aren’t from Minnesota or aren’t a “Weather Channel” junkie (and by the way, is there such a thing as a “Weather Channel” junkie?), it’s gotten REALLY cold here!

In fact, it even SNOWED here over the weekend and the forecast calls for the possibility of even more!

Saturday morning, we woke-up with the ground covered with the white stuff and a temperature of 25 degrees!

That’s cold for the beginning of October!

I mean, late October you can expect that, heck, if it happens in January, we’re breaking out the sunscreen and heading to the beach!

But in early October, our average high is still 62 degrees!

We’re still golfing, fishing and using the barbeque, not looking for winter coats, gloves and hats!

So early Saturday morning, I went to my thermostat to turn up the furnace and after I hit the command to “Give Me All You Got”, I could’ve sworn the touchpad flashed back, “Are You Kidding Me?”

It was like the furnace was telling me, “Hey, it’s only October, I not required to crank out those kind of BTU’s at least until December!”

But, it FEELS like December!

Many people are saying we are skipping fall and heading straight to winter, I say, we had a “fall”, unfortunately, it came in July!

What we didn’t have was a summer!

So, it makes sense that we are now heading to the start of ice fishing by the end of October!

I spent three hours of my Sunday preparing for our next blast of winter!

Raking leaves (there are still plenty on the trees), storing deck furniture, putting away garden hoses and applying one last treatment of fertilizer.

The forecast for the week ahead doesn’t look too promising, but here’s hoping we still have a few more nice autumn days left before the snow sticks around for good!

Let’s also hope my wife can convince some well tanned students that wearing a stylish winter coat six months a year is cool!