Finishing a race makes you?

A)  Excited but ready for some well deserved time off!

B)  Depressed, I was looking forward to this event for weeks/months and now it is done.

C) PUMPED UP on an adrenaline high!  Let’s sign up for another race right now!  Like in three weeks!  Half Marathon, 10k, 5k – I’d do a toddler trot (and set a new PR), just sign me up!

D) None of the above

Remember the rules of multiple choice tests?  Always go with your first instinct and when in doubt answer C.  Well I am not in doubt and I will answer C, every time……. every time (my wife is somewhere nodding in agreement).  If I am in a race that means there is another race that needs to be signed up for, cue James Tolken as Stinger in Top Gun: “Son, your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash”. (yeah I used that already, it fits better here and the rules of comedy says you can use something three times, just roll with it).  Absolutely, let’s review this further.

So after the Twin Cities marathon (October 7th) I already had on my schedule to run a Half Marathon, at the Mankato Marathon on October 21st.  This is my hometown race and I like to support it, plus we go to Jake’s Stadium pizza afterwards, my personal favorite pizza.  I have never found a place that I thought “yeah this is just likes Jake’s”, so when I get a chance to go, I take it and get a large (you  should go, and can thank me later).  Last year after completing the full Mankato Marathon I ate a full large by myself.   Really it happened!  There is video footage and everything.  This year since I am only running a half, I think I will only eat a full large by myself :).

To this I have also added the Monster Dash, Half Marathon on Saturday October 27th!  Why not!  You don’t need to be able to feel your legs in November!  Oh, did I mention I get on a plane to Iceland October 30th?  I didn’t.  Wait, who agreed to this?!?!  I did?  Really?  You don’t say, but have you seen the awesomely fantastic Monster dash half jacket you get?  Well, yeah I still need to finish……

The good news is my wife will be joining me for the Monster Dash half!  She has been training for a 10k and was not only crazy enough to let me sign up for a half, a week after a half, two weeks after a full (stay with me now, I got cookies in the oven I need to check on) but also crazy enough to agree to run it with me (thank you).  Also, costumes are encouraged for the Halloween themed Monster Dash so running crazy slow is no big deal if you have a reasonable costume to blame it on!  So I need a good costume idea, you have one for me?

And back to the top, finishing a race makes you?

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I fought the Marathon, and it was a push….

Great fall day out on the course!  It was literally below freezing at the start (31 F).  But the sun was shinning, the trees were in full autumn colors and I finished the Twin Cities Marathon with a new personal record!

I could probably write 5,000 words right here, but I will spare you.  Partly because I am tired and partly because I won’t be running the rest of this week and will need topics to cover.  Tonight I will focus on the new big thing I learned today.

When the temperature is low, and there is a breeze keeping you cool, you don’t sweat as much (duh!).  This isn’t the issue.  If you really work on hydrating (say by wearing a fancy fann.. er hydration belt) then you need to get that liquid out of your body somehow (not breaking any new ground here either).  If you drink water at the same rate you did during your summer runs, except you aren’t really sweating much; the water has to come back out another way while you are Marathoning (right this seems obvious to me now too)!  So I spent a lot of time during the “Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in America” in line for, or using a, port-a-potty.

Still an incredible day!  I finished in 4:47:58, which was 27 minutes faster than my previous best!  I was 25 minutes (almost a mile a minute) slower then my plan.  But we finished the race! I got lot’s of support from my friends and family along the way.  My wife Jenn, Mother in law Linda and two little girls (Elise and Harper) met me out on the course multiple times to take items of clothing I no longer needed, provide moral support and chapstick (Elise was all about making sure I had chapstick to use on my run today).  I saw my coworker Mike a couple of times as he was out supporting his wife (great job on your first Marathon Jessika!) and my friend Darik as he was out supporting his wife (awesome job Joy!  you totally killed me today).  Congrats to all of the finishers out there!

26.2 miles is a long way, but I can’t wait until the next go around Twin cities marathon. You are a worthy opponent.  Today I added another medal and shirt to the collection, and tons of memories to my life………

Finishers medal and shirt. Feeling good spectators!

It’s Scary…

It’s my second straight blog written at altitude, which should count as altitude training.  Even though I am just sitting on a plane it certainly feels more strenuous to write this evening. I am happy to be headed home,  nothing like a quick two-day work trip to Seattle to get you through the last week of tapering (this is the rare statement that is both true and sarcastic at the same time, wait is that possible?).  I always have a good time visiting Seattle because it is a great place and I know some awesome people there that I don’t get to see nearly as often as I would like.

I completed my final marathon training run this morning, a nice easy 5k through the mean streets of Renton, WA.  Well they weren’t really “mean”, but the sidewalk kept switching sides of the road every couple blocks, so they were inconvenient (I ran the inconvenient streets of Renton, WA – doesn’t have the same ring to it).  It was a herky jerky run as I slowed for traffic or sprinted to cross the street to avoid getting smacked by a truck.  I also scared the crap out of a woman waiting for a bus.  Sorry!

I was running against traffic on the sidewalk and this woman was standing next to a bus stop and looking down the road away from me (I assume to see if the bus was approaching).  I had just crossed a street and come back onto the sidewalk directly under a street light about 10 feet behind her, when she glanced back over her shoulder.  What followed was the classic, get startled – jump a foot in the air – make a goofy noise and stumble backward that we all do in our own graceful way.  Luckily she did not fall down or mistake me for an attacker and pull out the pepper spray (or demonstrate her black belt Judo skills that I know she had).  I always feel bad when I startle people like this, it happens to me frequently on the trails near my house when bikers decide to wiz by as close to me as possible even though there is a 10 foot wide trail and no oncoming traffic.  So I yelled “sorry!” over my shoulder and kept going  to avoid the karate chop to the neck that I am sure was coming had I stopped to confirm everything was ok (since bikers buzz people on purpose I never get a “sorry”from them, come on bikers!).

Quick follow ups on recent blogs that people have (shockingly) asked me about.  I will be running with my fanny pack.  Showing off that incredible piece of equipment to 300,000 plus spectators is just too good an opportunity to pass up.  The weather looks a little chilly actually for the run on Sunday.  Depending on your source the high is going to be about 57 (F) with partly cloudy skies.  This means the temp at the 8:00 am start time will most likely be in the 30’s!  I love it, and will be in full 10:00 minute pace reverse spilt mode.  No weather excuses will be tolerated.

Carbo loading started in earnest today, lot’s of rice, potatoes and pancakes for me over the next 60 hours.  What is your favorite carb to load up with?  And any tips for getting some sleep the night before a big run?

Milestones

I hit a couple of milestones on my running journey this past week.  My run on Sunday pushed me over 100 miles for September (102 if you’re scoring at home, or even if you’re alone*).  I averaged 3.4 miles a day for the month.  Last April when I started this running stuff I couldn’t go much more than a mile without a walk break.  It really is incredible what you can achieve with a good training plan (thanks Jeff Galloway!) dedication and the support of your friends and family.  My wife and friend Darik get big props for listening to me whine about the heat, plantar fasciitis and every other annoying running issue you can have (mentioning this in my blog automatically repays both of you for your time right?  Awesome let’s call it good.)

My 5k run this morning put me just over 1000 miles since I started keeping track last May.  I have been looking forward to that for a while.  I use Nike+ website and they have all sorts of goofy color levels to track your progress (I have been “blue” forever, and if I keep running I can totally hit purple!  Which turns my screen background purple and umm well, see it’s purple!) but I have been more focused on the numbers that make sense to me like 500 miles, 1000 miles etc.  I felt good eating my oatmeal this morning knowing I got there.

The timing of these two items could not have been better.  I mentioned before that I am fully entrenched in the “was it enough?” portion of my training.  I have been questioning the strategies that I followed so carefully just last month.  I have replayed my failed attempt to finish the Twin Cities marathon last year (I did get back up and finish the Mankato Marathon 3 weeks later, using my struggles to guide me and help me avoid the pitfalls from my first marathon attempt) and contemplated how it will be different this time.

The captain just reported that all electronics need to be turned off for landing, which means we are in Seattle!

1 run and my favorite part of running, carbo loading, left.

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.

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

Image

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!