Archive for October, 2010

It’s Not A Sprint…

…It’s A Marathon!

Bright and early this Sunday morning I will remind myself of that very saying when I line up to run the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon.

Or as they like to call it, “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon In America”!

Judging from our bursting fall colors and very nice weather forecast, they may be right!

This will be my sixth time I have run 26.2 miles in order to claim a t-shirt at the end of the day. I have collected four of the “Twin Cities” finisher’s shirts over the years and one from Green Bay last spring.

Ahh, Green Bay!

That was where my attempt to qualify for the Boston Marathon fell short and I spent a half hour in the medical tent, nursing a sore right leg, after crossing the finish line!

The problem was my Iliotibial Band or “I-T Band”, as it is commonly referred. It runs from one’s hip, down the side of the leg, to the outside of the knee. When it becomes inflammed, as mine did at mile 20.5 in Green Bay, it is very painful.

Once it becomes inflammed, it also takes quite awhile to recover from it and there is always that uncertainty of it recurring at some point. So following the Green Bay Marathon and a 20K race in Iowa that followed shortly after, I decided I needed to take a break from running and heal up. That decision was made easier due to my summer schedule of Boy Scout trips that I was to go on. Running on a sailboat or in the mountains wasn’t an option and so it was a perfect time to let my “I-T Band” heal. Unfortunately, as I painfully discovered, speading a week, sitting a floating hunk of fiberglass wasn’t good for an old hip injury that I had a couple of years prior! (Not from running, but from a late-night game of “dodgeball” with scouts.)

So with the nagging hip injury and another week spent away from running while backpacking in Wyoming, I had pretty much lost my “mojo” to train for Twin Cities.

Almost, but not quite!

One day I WASN’T running Twin Cities and the next day I WAS!

One day, hit the snooze button, the next, get up and hit the road!

Very Brett Favre like!

So about a month and a half ago, it was decision time!

I was starting to feel better and began running regularly again. I knew my “training” schedule would have to be figured out “on the fly” since I was already several weeks behind! But I also knew since I never completely stopped running and if I was able to get up to a 20 mile training run, (which I completed a couple of weeks ago), I would be able to pull it off!

So I was officially back in!

But I am going to test the theory of “less is better than more”!

Less training instead of more and hopefully, a better race!

Funny, as of this morning’s final training run, I actually felt stronger than in previous years. But I will still need to watch my pace early in the race, in order to avoid a flare-up of “Mr. IT Band” later on down the road!

So, come Sunday morning, I will remind myself, “It’s not a sprint, stupid!”

Slow(er) and steady will be my plan to keep my IT Band happy!

Also, if all goes right, around noon on Sunday, I’ll be able to add to my t-shirt collection!

Happy Weekend!

Marathon Weekend

It’s called, “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon In America” and yesterday, the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon certainly lived up to that and then some.

With clear skies, no wind and a temperature in the upper thirties, I lined up for the fifth time to run a TCM.

Runners could not have asked for more ideal conditions and the fall colors looked like they came right from a painting.

The gun went off at 8:00 AM and we were off on our 26.2 mile trip from the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis to the State Capitol in St. Paul.

With my limited training prior to this race, I had set a realistic goal of finishing in four hours, with hopes of maybe shaving a couple of minutes off for a sub-four hour performance. I was watching my pace pretty carefully the first few miles as I didn’t want to start off too fast and risk having my “IT Band” flare-up on me later on.

I was also enjoying the run and soaking in all of the atmosphere.

With the Minnesota Vikings not playing and with the beautiful weather, the crowd support was incredible!

I have not seen better crowds in my previous TCM’s. There were people cheering us along virtually every mile of the way. There were also places along the way were the crowds were so big it was like running through a tunnel of loud, cheering people!

Talk about a shot of adrenaline!

I was able to hold my pace pretty well throughout the first half of the race. I was at 1 hour and forty seven minutes at the halfway mark and still feeling good.

Hopes of a sub-four were alive!

Things began to change around mile 21 when I began to experience cramping in my legs, while climbing a pretty steep hill. From that point on the race slowed for me and finishing under four hours became unlikely.

The final four miles became a struggle with sore feet and leg cramps.

The good news was my “IT Band” was holding up, which was a positive!

I finished my fifth TCM in four hours and twelve minutes. A little slower than I hoped for, but all in all, not bad, considering the amount of serious training I had put in.

Another positive…

Unlike Green Bay, I avoided a trip to the medical tent yesterday!

I was upright and mobile.

After collecting my medal, finisher’s shirt and some free grub, it was time to get on a shuttle bus and head back to Minneapolis to get my car.

This proved to be worse than the last four miles of the race!

With the large crowds, there was a lot of traffic around the capitol. Getting to the freeway took extra time and once on it, we were greeted with bumper to bumper traffic.

The trip took us about an hour and to top things off, there was a person sitting in the seat next to me having some serious stomach issues.

He was vomiting!

Luckily for us sitting near him, he had a bag to do it in!

The shuttle bus dropped off us off at the dome and after setting on a bus for an hour, the seven block walk back to my car went a little slow!

I made it back to my car and took off for home with a short trip through a McDonald’s drive-thru planned!

I got on another freeway only to find more bumper to bumper traffic!

It was almost another hour to get home!

After chowing down on my drive-thru purchase, it was time to soak in the tub for awhile.

Unlike some previous marathons, my recovery is going fine.

My legs are feeling good and I should be ready to run the Des Moines Half Marathon in two weeks!

That’s when the stakes are big!

My niece’s “much younger” husband is also running it, so family bragging rights will be on the line!

Stayed tuned!

Schedules, Recovery, Etc…

In Wednesday’s strip, Dave was confronted with the potential problem of last minute changes to his family’s schedule of activities.

Wanna know the funny thing about this strip?

It was written by me at about three o’clock in the morning this past Monday!

Curious thing about “inspiration”, it can happen anytime of the day or night!

Of course, the idea for the strip was probably made easier for yours truly, due to the fact I was awake thinking about my own scheduling dilemma!

Yeah, it was one of those weeks!

The kind in which you can just tear up the regular, steady, routine schedule and start from scratch!

First, it was Monday, while still feeling the effects of running a marathon the previous day, I thought my son had a cross-country meet. Before I DROVE him to school, so he could get an early dismissal pass for his meet, I made sure he had his jersey, running shoes, Gatorade and a snack. Turns out the meet wasn’t last Monday, but is this coming Monday!


Well, at least I had the Monday part right!

This week has also been conference week at school for two-thirds of our kids. That meant the boys were off from school yesterday and today, while our daughter had school yesterday, BUT is off today!

Yesterday was a bit of challenge in trying to remember who got to sleep in and who had to be on a bus at 7:20! And of course this morning, they all got to sleep in!

Except…child number two decided late yesterday to sleep over at a friend’s house. That is the same kid who is attending an all night “lock-in” at our church tonight! (My wife is working the 3:00 AM to 6:30 AM shift.)

My oldest son needs to be at work later today. (He is on his own getting there on time!)

My daughter has an afternoon Girl Scout event, followed by a sleepover of her own!

Okay, remind me, who is sleeping where?

So this past week shows how some ideas for strips can come pretty easily!

Here’s hoping for a return to “normal” next week!

Something I learned about my performance in last week’s Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon…I need to work on improving my time the last six miles of the race!

One of the cool things about the results page of the TCM website this year was how a runner’s performance and place was shown throughout various points in the race.

I finished in 4,022nd place out of 8,212 finishers.

The middle of the pack.

Average finishing time of the race was 4:15, I was 4:12.

But for most of the race I was running in the top fourth of the field. At the halfway point, I was in 2,282nd place and at the 20 mile mark I had slipped a little to 2,782nd.

Here was the telling statistic…

According to the data, from the 20 mile mark to the finish, I PASSED a total of 15 runners.


I was PASSED by 1,145 runners, OUCH!

At the time I knew I was getting overtaken by a lot of people, but I had no idea the population of a small town in Minnesota or a “big” town in North Dakota was running past me!

I know my training for this race wasn’t the best and there were a couple of big hills after twenty miles, but I definately need to find a way to improve my time for the last five or six miles of a marathon!


With a forecast calling for temps near 80 today and tomorrow in our “neck of the woods”, this weekend will give me one last chance for a round of golf and spending time on the boat.

I hope it helps me to forget the last two Twins-Yankees playoff games!

Happy Weekend!