Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summer So Far

Well, it seems like forever since I posted anything. Since the Buffalo River Trail Run I really haven't been able to get in many miles each week. Work has been crazy. I've been getting home late every night, and I'm just too tired to get up early. It seems that these long days are coming to an end so I should be able to get back to a regular running schedule. I plan on doing some runs with the Fargo Running Company's running groups. This will give me the additional motivation I need until I start training for the FM Mini Marathon in the fall. I'll be running a 5K in Moorhead on July 4th. I'd like to really push it and see how fast I can run it. It should be a good time.

I am finally posting the things I did right for the marathon and the things I would do differently.

Things I'll Do Differently Next Marathon
  •  I really need to do a better job of planning my race: when and what to eat, when to take Endurolytes (an electrolyte replacement capsule), etc. Thankfully I ran with Erin for most of the race. She did a great job of keeping to her schedule, and she would remind me when it was time to eat or take a couple of Endurolytes.
  •  I really got overheated during the race. I believe part of my problem was caused by wearing a compression shirt under my technical tee. I wore it to prevent chafing as I had done on many runs before. Next year I will practice running with only a tee shirt. I'll try band aids or Nip Guards if chafing becomes an issue.
  • Next race I'll make sure to try out all of the equipment I plan to use. I ran with a Nathan waist pack with a water bottle and gel flask. I had run with this before but had never used the flask. Just a half mile into the marathon I reached for my water bottle and accidentally turned off my GPS when I tried to put the bottle back in the holder. I had to use both hands behind my back in order to move the flask out of the way and hit the button on the GPS. I lost track of my time and distance which left me clueless about the eating/Endurolyte schedule.
Things I Did Well and Will Do Again
  • I don't believe I would have even completed the training let alone finish the race if it wasn't for the training group. Having a group of supportive people is an absolute must in my opinion.
  • I bought my shoes from the Fargo Running Company after having my stride, feet, etc. analyzed by the salesperson. Having the proper shoes and getting them fitted correctly is also at the top of the list of necessities. Running hundreds of miles in the wrong shoes can lead to unnecessary injuries.
  • I did a pretty good job of staying on top of my intake of fluids -- both water and Powerade. Our trainers Rick and Jon really stressed the need to carry your own liquids in order to accurately measure your consumption. It is impossible to measure how much you're drinking when relying solely on the aid stations. Most people spill so much trying to drink from the paper cups used at the aid stations they end up drinking too much or too little. I carry water with me even on short runs in order to reinforce the habit.
  • I enjoyed (at least for the first eighteen miles) interacting with the crowds and the bands that lined the route. I left the iPod at home which allowed me to enjoy being a part of this great community event.
Hopefully I can start racking up some miles and running some races before summer is over. I definitely will be running some more trails. Maybe I'll try running some of the trails in the Sheyenne National Grasslands which are about an hour out of Fargo. That will at least give me something to write about.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Buffalo River Trail Run

Yesterday was the my first trail race -- the first annual Buffalo River Trail Run, and it was great! They offered both a 5K and a 10K run. Our whole group had opted for the 10K. The weather was perfect -- low 60's, sunny with a light breeze. A group of us met at the Fargo K-mart parking lot at 5:30 a.m. so we could car pool to the race. It turned out that Rick and Kristy were taking us all in their motorhome "Eunice." That's what I call travelling in style! It was fun to be able to visit with everyone along the way. The group included the people I've been running with: Rick, Kristy, Jon, Erin, and Maria, and I was introduced to Penny and Rachel who also rode with us.

Jon had said that almost every runner he knew was going to be at this race. He seemed to be right! The last I heard there were about three hundred runners. Once we arrived I met more new people -- Heather and Doug. Doug wasn't going to be running because of an injury, so he agreed to take some photos of the group.

Kristy, Maria, Penny, Me, Rachel, Erin, Jon, Heather, Rick
The race started and ended at the Minnesota State University Moorhead science center which is right next to Buffalo River State Park. Most of the trails meandered through tall prairie grasses and wildflowers. The wooded sections were shorter, but even a little bit of shade felt wonderful.

Prairie trails

Heading back into the woods
 I ran the whole race with Kristy and Erin. Rick ran with us for the first mile before kicking it into a higher gear. We started at the back and enjoyed a comfortable pace. Less than a mile into the race we had a deer bolt across the trail just in front of Kristy. I don't know who was more startled, the deer or us! The trail wound around toward the state park and we could see the line of runners ahead of us. I thought it was a pretty cool sight.

The line of runners ahead of us

Planks across one of the muddy sections

While most of the trails were dry, there were a few muddy sections. There were planks across the worst of them, but I was a little concerned that the boards would be slippery. I stayed off of the planks at the first "mud hole" but used them at the remaining muddy sections (I know, I know. It's a trail race. You're supposed to get dirty! Next time I'll run the mud, I promise). This part of Minnesota has a little more roll to the terrain, but much of the course was pretty easy running. The race director had us running up a couple of hills right at the end. Of course you put the hills at the end. Now usually when you run up a hill you can look forward to the corresponding downhill. I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't been there, but I swear to God that these hills were just uphill! There was no noticeble downhill on the other side!

Rick, Jon, Penny, Heather, and Rachel finished ahead of us and were cheering for us at the finish. Rachel placed second in the women's division while running the thing barefoot (notice she is sans shoes in the group photo). Kristy, Erin, and I crossed the finish line together in 1:11 and some change. Maria came in shortly afterward and kept saying how much fun she had. It really was a fantastic race and a great way to start a beautiful weekend.

The organizers did an amazing job of putting together their first race. The course was well marked. They had volunteers keeping us on course and handing out water at the aid stations. The Red River Radio Amateurs were spread out along the course and could radio for help in case of any emergencies. All-in-all it was a great race, and everyone plans on running it again next year.