Your pace or mine..

In my mind I am running 9 minute and 55 second miles.  I am the model of consistency, mile after mile the same pace the same form.  In my mind “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode is probably the best song from the 90’s and is keeping me right on track to finish the 8th and final mile at exactly 9 minutes and 55 seconds just like all the other miles that came before……….

My body has a different idea.  After two weeks of taking it relatively easy it is primed for action.  The cool weather and low humidity make for perfect conditions to go fast.  “Personal Jesus” by Depeche Mode is a great song to knock out sub 9 minutes miles (the Johnny Cash version is also fantastic, but maybe not for running), and my mind was an absentee landlord on what is shaping up to be a gorgeous fall day in Minnesota.

So once again my body won the battle.  As my mind wandered off, it picked up the pace.  I would think about the places I need to eat this week on my work trip to Seattle (Cedar River BBQ, Teriyaki Box and perhaps Little Chinooks top the list) my legs would kick it up a notch.  When I pondered what Tight End to start on my Fantasy football team my body seized the opportunity to open it up.  When my watch alerted me that I had finished each mile and my mind came back to focus on running, it always the same, I was going faster than I thought.  The model of consistency was more like a weighed down Ford Focus going through the mountains.  Slowwwwww uphil (my mind willing my body to slow down) and then much faster downhill (as my mind contemplated whether Chocolate Raspberry or Vanilla Bean Gu is my favorite – I decided Vanilla Bean).

On an 8 mile run that is fine, a year and a half of running has my body in a condition that it can handle an 8 – 12 mile run on its own without much need for mental intervention.  Unfortunately on a 26.2 mile run I am going to need my mind to take over at some point and will my body to keep going.  If that is at mile 20- 22, we should be good.  If that is at mile 13-15, well then we are in for a long day.  There is a great line in ‘Top Gun’ that captures this situation perfectly “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash.” In my case my body is running a pace my mind can’t keep.  Check out the awesome trailer for ‘Top Gun’ here: http://popwatch.ew.com/2008/12/17/top-gun/.  At the 2:08 mark you even get to the quote I just used above.

This should be an easy problem to overcome, I just need to run slower.  I figured it out for the half marathon this June and ran a textbook negative split.  So there is hope for me yet!  Only a week to go (two more runs! two more runs!) until Twin Cities Marathon.  You can follow along with me via text message here: http://athletetracker.cloudapp.net/.  I am the only “Tristen” out of 15,000+ runners, so I am easy to find (“en” not “an”).

Anybody want to dispute the “Personal Jesus” is the best song of the 90’s?  I am open to other suggestions.

“Your pace or mine” was an awesome team name that I noticed during the Ragnar that I did this summer and probably comes from other awesome sources as well.  I am glad I was able to work it in as a blog title but didn’t want anybody to think it was my original content :).  If you are wondering, I prefer my pace.  Nothing personal, I just feel more comfortable there.

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You can’t control the weather, but you can worry about it.

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I checked the temp this morning before heading out the door.  Weather.com reported it was 41 degrees (fahrenheit) in Bloomington.  It also add the handy stat that it “felt like” 41 degrees…..  Liars!  It felt like my ears were going to freeze to my head, it felt like somebody was rolling ice balls down my face (yes even in the cold I am able to sweat at a profuse rate – lucky me!) and my hands were numb by the end of my 5 mile run.  I can officially report it did not “feel like” 41 degrees, thanks for guessing though Weather.com.

I could have dressed more appropriately for the occasion, and the breeze did not help. But, I am always afraid of getting “hot” on my runs.  So I tend to under-dress and tough out the cold (“tough” is a relative term). As opposed to getting “hot” in a hat or too many layers, I get cold in a long sleeve t-shirt and shorts.  Definitely a mental challenge for me here.  My wife has pointed this out previously (in an effort to help); my attitude about running in heat and the sun is poor.  So guess what, when it is hot or sunny I end up having a bad run (you didn’t see that coming did you? you did! wow!).  Which brings us to tomorrow (September 28th).

Tomorrow we will be 10 days out from the Twin Cities Marathon, and October 7th will make it’s first appearance on the 10 day forecast (mental, yes).  Here is what it looks like for Friday and Saturday right now:

Yes please!  I will take the exact same weather on Sunday as we may be  getting on Saturday (sorry spectators, you wear a hat and gloves and you will be fine).  So today I am worrying about what Weather.com’s guess about October 7th’s weather will be tomorrow.  You follow that?

The run itself was good; legs feel great, feet feel great.  Knocked out 5 miles   and ticked another run off a long list of runs (really I filled it in yellow on my spreadsheet – to give you the true visual).  Three left.

Anybody else get crazy about the weather forecast for race day?  How about ideas on how to not be mental about the weather forecast for race day?

But should I bring my fanny pack?

The fanny pack has seen an incredible resurgence the past few years.  From a fashion accessory of the clueless tourist in the 80’s to a fitness accessory that people spend big bucks on, the fanny pack makeover is complete.  Adding water bottles to the fanny pack suddenly makes it a “hydration belt”, code for expensive fanny pack.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my fan.. er “hydration belt”.  I wear it on basically all my runs over 10 miles at this point.  It holds two 10 ounce bottles of water (with space for more) my cell phone and I attach my supplement dispenser to it (one run in with hyponatremia is all you need).  It also has 4 loops for gu on the cell phone pocket.  It’s kind of like the belt/holsters from the Westerns you watched as a kid.  Two water bottles replace the six shooters, Gu packets replace the extra ammo (look out Deer I am packing Gu – all 6 returning readers may have gotten that joke) and my running shoes replace the cowboy boots.  You sold on this yet?  You can be a sweatier, less leather wearing cowboy on the trail, fastest draw in the west (at least fastest in Southwest Bloomington for me).  If you have a fanny, sorry “hydration belt” take a break and go put it on, give those water bottles a couple draws in front of the mirror for practice, we will wait for you……………………………………

Good times huh?

Ready to keep going?  Ok!

Back to my question.  I know my fann.. I mean “hydration belt” is awesome, but should I wear it for the Marathon?  I spent my 5k run this morning debating this.  So far this is what I got:

Pros:  I am used to wearing it – I can keep my same pacing of Gu and supplement caps that I have been using in long runs – extra water when you want it can’t be a bad thing – most spectators love a good fanny pack and will cheer extra loud for those wearing them –  I really have no other good option for carrying the supplement dispenser I use – “I’m Batman” while wearing it (thanks allseasonrunner for this addition)

Cons:  You don’t need it, they already have water every couple of miles- one extra thing to keep track of on race morning – I look amazing in this thing I don’t want others to be jealous – it always feels great to take that thing off after a run, why not just feel free of it the whole time?

Anybody have any thoughts/experience on running in an organized race with the fanny pack?  If you want to brag about how awesome your pack is I am all for that as well.

Random tangent:  I got my friend Mike in trouble today.  I had a craving for white rice (not the best carb choice I know) so I convinced him to hit Leann Chin (local Asian restaurant).  Apparently he has turned down going to Leann Chin twice recently with his wife and this did not go over well…  Oops, my craving for white rice is having a negative impact all throughout the Twin Cities area.

Only 4 runs to go until the Twin Cities Marathon!

Do your running shoes get jealous?

Today was the last hurrah for my first pair of Brooks Trance 11 running shoes.  After 332 miles (yes I keep track) they just aren’t the same anymore.  Not as mush bounce, not as soft a landing and most importantly I feel it in my feet and knees when I run in them now.  We went out for an eight mile race pace run (much better this time, thanks for asking) and by mile three it was clear we were on our last non rainy day run together.

After eight months of training, including a couple 20+ mile runs, they are being replaced just 2 weeks out from the big day (Twin Cities Marathon in 14 days!).  I suppose they knew it would happen eventually.  I would get suckered in by some newer fancy shoes.  All the goods times we had just couldn’t compete with the younger, flashier, and more cushy shoe.  Today was that day.

Maybe I should feel bad about the whole thing, I mean two weeks away and I am dumping my shoes.  I thought about it and am rationalizing the decision in four parts:

1)  We had some good times together, including a PR in the Half Marathon. (the Half Marathon portion of Grandma’s Marathon in Duluth, MN)

2)  They are the pair of shoes most prominent in my header photo

3)  We both knew this would happen eventually, dragging it out for a painful (especially for my feet and knees) 26.2 miles wouldn’t solve anything

4)  Running shoes don’t actually have feelings

Before you get to worried about my sanity, I do have a pair of the exact same shoes, with about 100 miles on them, ready to roll (Meet the new shoes, same as the old shoes).

Only five more runs to go before the big day.  I have officially entered the “was it enough” portion of Marathon training.  I know I can’t do a whole lot at this point, running wise, to increase my performance.  So was the speed work I put in during the spring enough (I use “speed” here very loosely)?  Were my long runs long enough?  Did I do enough long runs?  Will I be able to come up with clever replies for the spectators?  Until October 7th I won’t know for sure.

National run @ work day! Like right now!

Fantastic!  I wasn’t going to run or blog today but who can pass up National run @ work day?  Any excuse to get in a run is a good excuse to get in a run.  If you want more info here is the link: http://www.rrca.org/programs/run-at-work-day/.  Out and back 2 mile run coming up, just need to lace up the kicks and stretch out the hammies…

What is your best excuse to sneak out for a run?

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Are you going to join the run @ work day today?

Alright, I am immediately taking my morning break (15 minutes into the day)  I will be back before the smokers finish coffee.  (Seriously if it is ok to take smoke breaks shouldn’t it ok to take a “run” break everyday? Hmmm this is really bad good idea)

Tempo blogging…

Much like a tempo run this will be short and just slower than your 10k pace.

The weather was cold enough this morning for long sleeves!  There is really about 4 months (I would accept an answer as low as 0 but no more than 4) a year in MN that are ideal for running.  We have entered the 2 month fall window.  Low humidity, mild temperatures not cold yet. I love it.

I went out on a choose your own adventure run this morning.  I was going roughly 45 minutes but not worrying about speed, distance or the amount of snot on my sleeve (it was cold and I am getting over a cold, it happens).  I ended up running a hilly route that has an asphalt path next to a busy road.  Here is the lesson for the day: when you are running an uneven,  not perfectly straight path plus it is dark and there are lots of oncoming cars blinding you; wear a headlamp and slow down!  I couldn’t see my feet much less the black path below me.

It is amazing how much you take flat, smooth surfaces for granted when you usually run on the road.  Definitely some near misses on ankle sprains and face plants.  If you saw a runner in South Bloomington eat it at about 5:45 am it totally wasn’t me….. As far as you know.  At some point you figure I would get this kind of stuff (and you would be wrong) but it hasn’t happened yet.

Last family camping trip of the year starts tomorrow!  It’s going to be chilly for the little ones but that puts hair on their chest….  Perhaps that isn’t the expression I was going for since I have two little girls.

How is the fall running weather where you are?

Take that, Cholesterol!

There are few things better than accomplishing a goal (for me cheeseburgers, red wine and good music might be the few I can list here).  March 2011 I set out to complete my first Marathon and more importantly improve my overall health.  I was weighing in heavier than ever and was not physically active (like at all).  So I needed to do something.

My friend Darik had completed the Twin Cities Marathon in 2010 and was recruiting friends to train for 2011.  We had talked about his training the previous summer and he didn’t seem to hate it, and in fact was going to give it another go!  So against my better judgement (and the advice of most “experts”) I went from not running at all to training for a Marathon.

Along the way I ended up at the Doctor’s office for a physical. And believe it or not my no exercising, cheeseburger and wine loving self had high cholesterol.  Not so high that I needed to take medication (yet) but high enough that I agreed to change my eating habits and come back to have it checked again in just over a year.

I ended up finishing the Mankato Marathon last year in 5 hours and 14 minutes (slow and steady finishes the race!) and have been training for the Twin Cities marathon this year.  I have been eating better, most of the time (I still indulge and eat out too much) and obviously exercising.  So my Dr. appointment last week was something that I had been looking forward to for quite some time.  Did I make enough changes to see an improvement?  I had lost about 30 pounds, and felt great but I was looking for the numbers to tell me I was successful (yes, I have a need for validation issue.  But it isn’t that bad?….. don’t answer that)

My lab results came in the mail, and they were positive!  My total cholesterol had dropped into the very top of the “normal” range, my HDL (good cholesterol) was up and my LDL (bad cholesterol) also just snuck inside the “normal” range.  All those pre-lunch salads, bowls of oatmeal and runs had paid off.

If you are interested about what cholesterol is, why you should monitor it and what you can do to lower it check out the American Heart societies’ page here: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/Cholesterol_UCM_001089_SubHomePage.jsp.  There is great information here that definitely helped me get moving in the right direction.

Now, how do I stay motivated to keep at it?  Anybody have any tips, tricks, ideas to share?