Monthly Archives: March 2016

Another “A” Corral!

My 2014 continues to pay dividends! With a 1:44:03 Half Marathon finish at the end of that season (how on earth did I do that), I find myself at the front of the line for the Disney/Star Wars Half Marathon/10k/5k races!

Of course, I will not be able to use my 2014 finish times for much longer. My spring 2015 races would have landed me in corral C. My current finish times would place me in corral F.

Sigh. The joys of aging…

So, one last time, I will get to enjoy starting at the front of the pack.

For the Disney/Star Wars races, this is actually a big deal. They have character photograph stops on course. The lines get really long and they do get cut off. Starting early makes it much easier to hit these stops (especially since the speedsters tend to be more concerned with their finish times then these photos), the lines are much shorter and are less likely to be closed.

Should be a great weekend!

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Race Report: Hot Dash 10 Miler

March 18, 2016
Minneapolis, MN
Event #94

When I signed up for this race, I figured that it would be one of those “throwaway” events. I needed an early spring event to keep me doing some training during those cold winter months. This seemed like a decent one. I had never run this race before, but they had introduced chip timing and medals this year. It is also a part of a year long running series that I am doing (bonus jacket, bonus bling). I figured that 10 miles would be easy.

I was wrong.

This would be a tough one. Until about a week ago, I was laid out with bronchitis for seven weeks (right at the end of my “off-season”). During that time, I ran only one time…the TC Valentines Day 5k. I ran a few times over the last 1-2 week due to the early spring we have had…and I had a very hard time getting through 10k. Ten miles would be tough. It would be a catered training run, and a test for my stamina with three upcoming half marathons.

The other issue was the weather. We had a long stretch of beautiful weather this month (61F and sunny last weekend). This weekend was the only dip in temps we have had in several weeks. It snowed overnight, along with freezing rain. The tempurature was below freezing for the drive to the venue…and it was slick and treturous. The  start time was after 9am, and I hoped that the late start would allow the roads to go from icy to wet. For the most part, that is exactly what happened. But it was cold, and windy, and gloomy, and damp. The run would involve strategic layering, and adjusting the number of layers as the race progressed.

Overall, the race was uneventful. It was flat. The course was well known to me, and would have been scenic with nicer weather. At mile 4, in an urban/industrial area next to some urban parkland, a clearly terrified deer came running along the shoulder of the course in the wrong direction. It was clearly not used to a couple of thousand runners invading his home on a quiet Saturday morning. Glad there was a grassy shoulder…people could have been hurt if it ran down the middle of the road as we were still densely packed together. I remember marveling at its speed which contrasted my own. I was slow, and was hurting by the end (feet, ankles, knees, quads, calves, hamstrings), with nothing left in the tank by the finish line.  The only consolation is that I ran the whole thing (except for aid stations). It was a partially reassuring test for the races ahead. I could do the distance, but not quickly or enjoyably. Part of me felt like I no longer belong at these events.

Finish Time – 1:45:43

To put this finish time in perspective, my PR for the Half Marathon is about 5 minutes faster then this. Even when fully trained, my speed had vanished last season. This year, untrained, I feel like I am going through the motions, shuffling from point A to point B. This is not satisfying or rewarding to me in any way.

For our efforts, we received a very nice bamboo long sleeve quarter zip running shirt, a cheesy finishers medal of an oven mitt, the typical post race food, and a scoop of “hot dish” (what Minnesotans call a casserole). The name of the race is a play on “Hot Dish” and is supposed to celebrate all things Minnesotan (runners are encouraged to wear plaid and to sport a real or fake beard). It’s a theme. My next races will have a much better theme. One I can really get excited about!

Next up…Disney Star Wars 5k/10k/HM. Should be a blast, and a little warmer…



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Looking Ahead To My Spring Races…

Compared to previous years, my spring calendar is sparsely populated. This is a good thing since I was waylaid in my training for SEVEN WEEKS with a bronchitis that just would not go away.

I got sick right after the DisneyLand Star Wars HM. I am just now feeling about 100%. During those 7 weeks, I did some infrequent spinning on the stationary bike, and I went for just…ONE…run. That was the Valentine Day 5k…and it kicked my butt. It was on one of the coldest days of the winter and my lungs were not up for the challenge.

In the last week, we got some early warm weather, and I decided that I would go out for an easy 10k. Well, when you have done a total of 5k in 7 weeks, the words “easy” and “10k” should not be used in the same sentence. I was slow. I also managed to (slightly) injure myself. My hip was throbbing by the end of the run, and I felt a little bit of plantar fasciitis setting into my foot the next morning. Since then, I have limited my runs to 5k, and something aches after every one of them.

This does not bode well for my next race. It’s a 10 miler, and it’s this Saturday. I have never been worried about such a short distance (at least, not since I started running in 2012), but my run fitness is just not there. Unfortunately, the weather will be miserable as well (mid 30’s and rain). It is a part of the race series that I am running this year and I don’t want to sacrifice it. So, I will go into it as a long training run and focus of not doing myself any harm.

After that, I have a string of 3 Half Marathons at about monthly intervals before I start my summer triathlon season. I am not too worried about these. If I can pull off the ten miler, I should have little trouble adding an extra 5k over the next several weeks.

First up is the Walt Disney World/Star Wars 5k/10k/HM weekend. That should be a blast. A month later is the Fargo Marathon Weekend. I am scheduled to run the 5k and HM. I had strongly considered bumping it up to one last Full Marathon but the lack of training (and how I was feeling after running a 10k) would make this incredibly stupid. Pity, since the race is supposed to be great, it’s a pancake flat course, and has great bling (they even have a medal for the post race pub crawl!), it would also have added one more state to my marathon list, and they allow a full seven hours to finish the race.


Love this bottle opener “medal”!!!

Finally, I have the Red, White and Boom Half Marathon on July 4th (annual tradition race for me, and the third race of my series). After that, my long races are done for the year. I have a few sprint triathlons over the summer, then a 5k/10k/10 miler combo at the Twin Cities Marathon Weekend to finish the season.

Once I finish my last HM of the season, I will have to re-evaluate my future in running races. I have the start of plantar fasciitis and IT band issues. My chronic ankle injury is misbehaving, my knees are not happy with my runs, and my motivation isn’t there. The next few races will likely help me decide my running future. But one thing is certain, Disney and Fargo will be my final destination races for the foreseeable future. To much time and money to keep up all of this traveling. Knowing that these will be the final trip actually has me looking forward to these instead of dreading these events. But, for now, I have to get through this weekend’s 10 miler. Hopefully the cold rain clears out a little earlier then predicted…

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The 2016 Season Is Already Falling Apart.

Well, so far, this year has been a disaster. Fortunately, I had already decided to cut back, but I am just tired of having one setback after another.

For starters, I have been dealing with a few health issues. I was diagnosed with osteoporosis last year, and I have to see my Endocrinologist periodically and get some injections for it. I also have been getting a lot of tests for suspected Myesthenia Gravis. It looks like I have a mild form of the condition and may have to try some medications in the near future.

I lost my dog to illness just days before my Star Wars DisneyLand trip (which was devastating to me…I have no kids, and this was my baby), so I was just going through the motions in California (it did help me get my mind off of things). We then got a new puppy which needs 24/7 supervision.

My mother (now 91) is getting more frail and needs me around more then in the past. Hard to do when she lives hundreds of miles away (and in another country).

To add to this mess, I have finally recovered from a bronchitis that lasted for SEVEN WEEKS! I never get sick, but this thing would just not go away. Running in the cold was next to impossible (running on the treadmill was almost as bad). So for seven weeks, I did no running AT ALL. I did get on my bike trainer a couple of times a week, but I could only handle it for 30-45 minutes per workout.

During that stretch, I only completed one run…a 5k run that I needed to finish for my year long “Summit Challenge”. It was awful. I could barely breath, and likely set back my recovery by 1-2 weeks.

Yesterday, I finally felt good, and the weather was beautiful, so I went out for my first outdoor training run OF THE YEAR. I had a very modest goal of completing 10k. I did it…

…and injured myself in the process.

When I got home, I noticed that my right upper inner thigh was tight and the arch of my right foot was in pain. This morning, I am quite certain that I have a groin strain and the start of plantar fasciitis.


To put it bluntly, all of these setback have me re-evaluating my future in the sport.


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