Sunday, February 19, 2012

Gettin' Closer to 20 Miles

I had another good week of running. Although I missed one run early in the week due to work, I was able to get some really good miles in the rest of the week. I was able to get 3 extra miles on Thursday morning's group run from the store and 6 extra on Saturday.

I got to the store early and had planned on meeting up with Jon before the group run. His vehicle wasn't in the parking lot which meant he was running from home. I forgot to check my email and didn't know which route he was taking. I set off running the direction I thought he might be coming from but still didn't see him by the time I hit the turn around point. When I got back to the store I saw Jon was already there. He had taken a different route. Oh well, next week we can get our miles in together.

We left the store and soon Jon had to turn around because he just couldn't warm up. Erin, Heather, and I went 5 miles at a pace that was pretty fast for me. They finished very strong, and I struggled to keep up. My legs were definitely tired after this run.

Saturday morning our group ran from the store. Lamont was nice enough to open it up for us. The group was scheduled to run 12 miles, but Jon, Heather, and I wanted to go 18 miles. The three of us got to the store very early and took off for the first 6 miles of the day. Jon's legs were giving him some problems and he really struggled for the first 5 miles or so. The pace was relaxed and Heather and I had a nice conversation. It was the first time I had run that far with her; she usually runs quite a bit faster. I'm glad she was willing to slow down to my long run pace for this part of the run.

The three of us made it back to the store in time to grab a quick snack and then we were off again. It was a rather small turnout for the run, but there was at least one new face in the crowd. The 12 miles were divided between a 4 mile loop followed by an 8 mile loop in a different direction. Erin, Rick and I ran together for the first 4 mile loop. It went by very quickly.

My legs felt stiff and sore as we started the 8 mile loop. Erin and I ran together and the conversation really helped keep my mind off of my discomfort. I soon got into the groove and things went well until we got to the last few miles. Erin has been fighting through some ankle tendinitis and has gone through some very painful treatments. I was struggling to keep my feet moving. We were both looking forward to the end of this run. The last few miles felt slow, awkward, and painful but we made it.

One thing that kept me going was the meal I knew waited for me that evening -- potato dumplings! One of my favorite foods! My sister-in-law was making the dumplings and Lynette was making bacon and side pork. There was a huge roaster filled with dumplings. I actually restrained myself and only ate a dozen of these delicious lumps of starchy goodness. I figured my 18 mile run in the morning justified my gluttony. I guess I truly do "run to eat."

Mmmmm! That's right, potato dumplings covered in butter and dark Karo syrup with bacon and side pork.
This morning Jon and I went out for a recovery run. We actually stuck to our plan of a rather slow 4 miles. My legs felt good for the whole run. I'm glad Jon urged me to get out there and get moving. I need to keep racking up the miles. Jon and Rachel are celebrating their birthdays next month. Rachel came up with the idea of a 25 mile run on the hilly gravel roads around Hawley/Rollag to commemorate the event. It has now become a 31 mile training run. I really want to try for all 31 miles, but I don't want to jeopardize my Trail Mix training. It looks like I'll be doing longer and longer runs for a while. I LOVE the long runs!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mmmmm Pancakes!

This week my running has gone very well. I was able to rack up a weekly total of 41 miles. That really boosts my confidence as I get ready for my first 50K ultra-marathon. My weekday runs were good and the weekend was even better. Our group run on Saturday started and ended at the Fargodome. Coincidentally, the local Kiwanis pancake feed was taking place at the dome. Nothing like capping off a long run with all you can eat pancakes.

Tuesday evening I went out for 6 miles and really pushed my pace. My legs didn't want to cooperate, so I had to force them to move quicker whenever they started to slow down. In the end it was a very solid run and I felt pleased with it.

Thursday morning was the group run from the store. Several of us wanted to get in some "bonus" miles, so we got up extra early (4:00 a.m. arghhh). Jon and Connie ran from their houses and met at the Dairy Queen. From there they made their way to the running store. At the same time Erin and I met at the running store and took off in the direction Jon and Connie were running from. We met them after 1.5 miles and together the four of us ran another 2 miles. We got to the running store just in time to run with the group. Connie had to cut her run short due to cramping in her legs, but Jon, Erin, and I went another 4.5 miles for a grand total of 8 miles that morning.

Saturday morning I got to the dome early. Jon had a route consisting of two out and back legs. The first leg was 5 miles and the second was 6 miles. I planned on running the first leg twice to get some extra miles in. I Strapped on my iPod and took off at an easy pace for the first 5 miles of the day. The temperature was something like -7 with a light breeze which puts the wind chill at somewhere around -20. My clothing choices worked out well and I was quite comfortable as I ran. I got back to the dome a little before the rest of the group arrived and ate some Gu and a Honey Stinger waffle ( a tasty new snack I'm trying out).
Honey Stinger Waffle
The group was rather small with only about eight of us. I think the small turnout was due to the cold. We took off and quickly settled into our smaller groups according to our pace. I ran with Erin, Penny, and Jerry for the first loop. When we got back to the dome we all grabbed some Gu or Shotblocks (kind of like gummy bears but with electrolytes). We snapped a couple of photos because we were all very frosted up.
John, Maggie (with headlamp), Penny, Jerry, & Erin
Maggie, Erin, and Me
We didn't stand around long afraid we would freeze in place. After about a mile Jerry split and went back to the dome. He hadn't planned on running the full 11 miles. Penny thought about going with him but talked herself into trying for the full distance. She overcame the bitter cold and some nagging doubts to finish all 11 miles! It was great! John and Maggie are a lot faster than our group so they would run a ways ahead then circle back to us and keep us company for awhile. It was very enjoyable to spend some time running with them. The last 3 miles were hard. My legs were screaming like crazy, but I had no choice but to keep on trucking.

We finally made it back to the dome. Everyone in the group who planned on running the full route got their 11 miles in and I got my 16 miles. Jon, Erin, Rick, and I had brought some clean clothes along so we could go have some pancakes without smelling up the joint. Lynette met us there and we all had a nice breakfast of all you can eat pancakes (buttermilk or buckwheat), sausage and juice. Erin's uncle was there and sat with us. It sounded like he was also a runner from bits of the conversation I heard. It was a fantastic way to start the weekend.

Today Jon and I ran from my house and put in a solid 10 miles. It again was a cold frosty morning. After about 3 miles my legs were definitely letting me know that they would rather be tucked into a warm bed than out running again. They realized that I wasn't about to stop running anytime soon, so they got into the groove and hung in there quite well. Jon and I were both glad when the run was over. He had run 11 miles at a very speedy pace on Saturday. A couple of weeks ago I had set a goal for this weekend of running a marathon over the two days. I reached my goal with 16 miles on Saturday and my 10.5 today! Soon I'll be running that far in just one long run. I can't wait!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Will Run For Bacon

This weeks training went quite well. Although I still couldn't force myself out of bed on Wednesday, Thursday morning's group run was really nice. I originally wanted to get to the store a little early and get an extra three miles in before the others got there. I hit the snooze one too many times so only got five miles in. On my way to the store I saw Jon and Erin out running already. It seems they had the same idea but actually got the extra miles.

Saturday our group met at Sandy's Donuts for a nine mile long run. Man, talk about motivation for getting the run over with -- fresh donuts. There were about twenty of us running. I knew most of the people, but there were some new faces as well. It's always great to meet new people with the same crazy interests. I ran the whole way with Erin, and Connie joined us for several miles. The air was thick with fog and everything was covered in a beatiful layer of frost. The scenery looked liked something from a painting. I was struggling a bit at the end of the run and was glad I hadn't tried to get more miles before the group started.

When Erin and I finished we went into Sandy's where most everyone else was already enjoying some donuts and coffee. I had been planning on eating one of their cream filled "long johns" with dark chocolate frosting -- pretty much my favorite donut. When I got to the display case, however, I saw a maple glazed long john with crumbled bacon on it. It may have been just me or maybe the lighting in the place, but I could swear a saw an ethereal nimbus radiating from this amazing pastry. The phrase "bacon donut" rushed out of my mouth. I took this fantastic combination of sweet and salty goodnes back to the table and enjoyed every bacony bite.

To illustrate how wonderful bacon is, I've attached a couple of videos. In the first one Homer Simpson proclaims the pig to be a "magical animal." The animation is something different, but the voices are from the show. In the second one Jim Gaffigan, a stand up comic, points out the ways in which bacon improves our food. We must ask ourselves if we can't learn from animated characters and stand up comedians, who can we learn from.


Today Jon and I went out for a six mile run. He wasn't at yesterday's group run because he was sick. He said he felt up to a run today, but it might be slow. Slow was fine by me. It turned out we were both wrong. We made it just over six miles at a strong pace. In fact the last mile was brutal! We pushed really hard and it felt great to be finished. I know that pushig myself through the misery will help prepare me for the difficulties I'm sure to face if I attempt an ultra marathon.