Thursday, October 30, 2008

Indian Summer?

The weatherman on NPR this morning was having a debate (with himself) about whether or not this week's temperatures could be defined as an 'Indian Summer.' I don't care what you call it - I'm lovin' it! Today was GLORIOUS. This is absolutely my favourite kind of weather. The only bad thing about autumn is that it means winter is right around the corner...

So I was delighted to be able to take a few hours off this afternoon and get out biking. Finally! 65 miles in the 60's. Sweet. Well, my glute/sciatic/hamstring started to bug me after about an hour but it wasn't what I'd call painful and tomorrow evening's massage should help sort it out. Temporary solution of course but that might just have to do. Until I stop eating crap (working on it - only 2 donuts so far this week) and starting strenghtening my core I'm going to have problems. My right leg is about a half inch shorter than my left (which is not that unusual) resulting in an unbalanced pelvis. The only answer is to have a very strong support system and of course those muscles are the ones I neglect most...

But anyway, it was a good bike ride. And best of all it was enjoyable! Even with the wind. Good to catch up with Susan as always... she has a new nephew and is lacking sleep as much as me these days so we needed to encourage each other out there. Igor joined us for the first ~30. He spent the first few minutes reminding us that Florida IM is this weekend so registration for 2009 will open the next day. Yeah, right. I am looking forward to training with everyone doing an IM next year but I'll be happy to stop at 3 or 4 hours on the bike and to maybe swim oh once a week. Or once a month if I feel like it.

Foot is still a bit sore and now I am having pain in my left heel. I was reading up on Achilles Tendonitis and the early symptoms sound horribly familiar. So I am stretching my calves like crazy!! But still I run... a short one Monday morning to wake me up. I woke up at 6am having been in bed for 2.5hrs after dragging myself away from the laptop in the early hours. So my choice was a 4 mile run or another 40 minutes in bed. I knew the run would sustain me better throughout the day so off I went. I slept well that night. Tuesday ran with Bronwyn around Harriet and then carried on over to Calhoun. Was planning around 10 but then decided I'd head over to Isles aswell. I love running that lake and used to run there all the time when I lived downtown. Watched a beautiful sunrise on the way back around Calhoun. Ended up with 14.

Then last night met Kami and Eric at Luce Line. We'd talked about mile repeats but Kami couldn't stay for long so we did an out and back to get around 5 with her and then headed out again. Did 2 fast miles with a break in between and then turned around and took it easy enough back. Well, 8:00's felt easy after a 6:45 and a 6:35!! We have a 6K race at work next week - around Rice Lake. I ran it 2 years ago at 6:45 min pace so I'm hoping to do sub 6:40's this time.

Really looking forward to catching up with folk at the UMTR fest this weekend. Hope everyone has fun at Surf the Murph! Would be there only I need to be at work for the afternoon so I'm going to bike in the morning. Will get in my long run Sunday morning on the Luce Line... before brunch at Tanya's in honor of Carrie (who recently kicked ass at IM Hawaii)! Will be great to catch up with the gals. Then work again for the rest of the day. Project should all be wrapped up next week though so it's not so bad. And you know averaging 4 hours a night ain't so bad. It's amazing how many hours there are in the day when you spend so few sleeping :)

Now, time for my daily dose of Election Mania... looks like Joe ain't doing much plumbing these days. Which reminds me I'm having sink drainage issues these days. I guess I can call Joe next week. He should be a little less busy...

End of post.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Excuses, excuses...

IM is 4 weeks today. What's my strongest sport? Running. Which one is going to make the biggest difference for me at IM? Biking. So naturally, I ran 55 miles this week and biked zeroooooooooo. Missed both Mon & Thurs night 2hr spin classes due to work. Fair enough excuse though I really could have managed one of the classes if I'd tried... And yesterday I totally knew there was every chance we'd have to cancel today's bike with the weather conditions but still I would not give up my run at Afton and bike instead! Of course, I also had the excuse of having told Kami I'd bike with her today since she could not make it yesterday. Ah yes, the good friend excuse. Works every time.

We exchanged texts last night and unenthusiastically planned for a 12pm start. After the best nights sleep in weeks - I had no idea I could sleep for 8 hours straight! - I started into a few hours work around 7am glancing out the window every now and then watching the wind pick up. Kami called around 11. It took all of 30 seconds for us to decide neither of us cared all that much about IM so why suffer 5hrs on the bike? Not to mention that it would be kinda dangerous.

So as not to feel like a complete waster I made it to the pool later in the day and swam 3000 yards with Susan. Swimming has become no. 2 in the list of favourite triathlon sports. And then a yoga class to finish off the week. And now it's back to the grind for a few hours. Weather should be decent this week so I'm hoping one of the days I can get out of work early and get a few hours of biking in. And there's always spin classes. Unless of course I find a good excuse...

Congrats to Nic for an awesome job in his first 50 miler at the Fall 50 today! Looking forward to seeing how John did also... so if anyone knows, let me know!

End of post.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


How appropriate to find this in my inbox this morning as's Word of the Day. I was checking email this morning before leaving to meet the guys for the drive out to Afton knowing well I shouldn't be heading off for a run at all but biking instead. Though it wasn't much of a quandary to be honest. Despite my foot not feeling the best after last evening's run and the weather being promised better for today than tomorrow I was happy to put off the bike as long as possible. Of course I had the grand excuse of telling Kami I'd leave the bike until tomorrow as she just gets back from Cincinnati tonight. Seemed like a good idea at the time but I suspect after 5hrs in 23mph winds and snow flurries I won't be so sure.

In any case, we had a lovely run this morning. Ended up just myself and Eric as Igor x 2 and Cathy had to give it a miss due to sore backs, colds... recover well! It was pretty chilly starting out but shorts and a longsleeves felt about right. Decided to wear the Montrails for extra support and I think it was a smart choice. I love the flexibility of the Asics but they definitely offer less support. Jeffrey was starting out just before us for a reverse 25K loop so we ended up running into him a few times as we first headed over to the ski hill singletrack via the snowshoe loop and then back for some more hills and managed to find a few of the 'secret' trails John had taken me on last Saturday. Ran into Tom - great to see him running again! - and a few others but it was pretty quiet overall. Finished up at just under 3hrs for about 17 miles. Delighted to see that Jeffrey, Tom and Nancy were hanging out in the visitor's centre (with fire lit!) so we chatted to them for while - enjoying some delicious goodies courtesy of Nancy. And then it was back to Plymouth for a shower and off to work for the afternoon. More of the same tomorrow. Though I think we'll bike later in the day so will probably work in the morning. Badly need to clean up around the house but that will have to wait...

10pm update: oh dear... latest weather forcast for tomorrow is sustained winds of 30mph with gusts of up to 40mph. Should be fun.

End of post.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Weekend again

Where did that week go? Having spent far too much of it in work or sat at my desk at home I badly needed fresh air this evening. I had planned a long swim but after 20 minutes in the pool I knew I just needed to get outside. Got home, changed into my run gear and out the door for a fast lap of Calhoun and a few miles easy. It was long dark by the time I got home but perfect running temps.

So much for taking care of the foot. 38 miles this week and a long run at Afton yet to come... it feels pretty much the same when I run. No better, no worse. Though it does kinda hurt a lot right now. I should have ran less and mixed it up but it was impossible to plan around work. Missed spin last night. I am so screwed for the bike at IM. One long bike a week is not close to enough. But nonetheless will head out for 5hrs Sunday - in the wind again by the sounds of things.

Funny how things go - last week I was all over the Presidential campaign. Now I am amused by Michelle Bachman trying to dig her way out of a pretty deep hole. Her latest ad makes me just about puke. I don't know which female politician annoys me more these days.

Good Luck to John & Nic in the Fall 50!

End of post.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What to do when you shouldn't run?

Run anyway. I should at least be icing my foot as I'm writing this but it's turning into one of these weeks when I am not doing anything I should be. My diet the past 2 days has consisted of donuts, coffee, more donuts and more coffee. Seriously, I have zero self discipline when it comes to donuts. I have yet to meet one I didn't like. Light and fluffy sugar coated, jam filled, custard filled, chocolate covered, old-fashioned, cake donuts. They are all good. I pray that Dunkin' Donuts doesn't make it to Mpls. There are no locations within 50 miles (yes, I checked). The reason I am suddenly having donuts for breakfast and lunch is that we're holed up in a war room all day working on a project and of course being a healthcare company we order in donuts and coffee from the cafeteria to sustain us. Ok, there's a very large plate of fruit as well but I figure why waste good calories on pineapple chunks...

So to balance this unhealthy diet I ran 9 with Bronywn and the girls around the Lakes this morning. It's always so good catching up and these days we usually end up discussing the campaign which generally turns into a broader discussion on how and why we think as we do. I love it. Having lived on 3 continents and visited a few others I am more and more interested in figuring out what makes people think the way they do. What shapes our lives most. The big world around us or the small world of our families and close friends. Are we more different than alike. Will we ever live in harmony. Ha, one minute I'm talking donuts and the next it's a deep dive into the human psyche.

Of course this morning's run was to remedy yesterday's intake. So after another bad day I decided to run again this evening. I had planned to take a yoga class but after a day cooped up in the conference room I needed fresh air. No time for debate on this run... 6 fast miles on the Luce Line with Igor and his nephew (who's name I won't try to write as I will screw it up). Out in 21:30 and back in 21:00. It's a while since I've run that fast in training. It was fun. Did my foot hurt. Well, yes, a little. It's sort of the same all the time so this is why I am not so worried. But I will get the ice pack out now. I have a few hours work to do so I may as well be working on the foot at the same time.

End of post.

Monday, October 20, 2008


According to Wikipedia... Denial is a defense mechanism postulated by Sigmund Freud, in which a person is faced with a fact that is too uncomfortable to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence.

My right foot started to hurt during my first long training run on the SHT back in mid-July. It hurt a little during Voyageur. Specific PT work seemed to help and I didn't have any problems at Sawtooth. Case closed.

Towards the end of TCM my right foot started to hurt. I complained for several days afterwards and lots of people asked if it was the same foot that was bothering me before. No, I think that was my left one. Took a few days off running after TCM, iced the foot, taped the foot. Ran several times last week in DC but at a slower pace so the foot felt fine. And by Saturday I thought I was in the clear.

Along comes a hard (but oh-so-fun) run at Afton Sunday morning. Sore foot. Not awful. Not bad enough to stop me running 6 miles on the Luce Line this evening with Cathy and Igor. But sore enough to know it's not recovered. And guess what... I re-read my blogs from July and discover that yes, of course it was my right foot that hurt back then. It was more towards the forefoot whereas the pain now is more on the bridge of my foot. But I am sure it's all related.

I should be resting it. Focus on biking and swimming and feel confident that I've done enough already to have a good IM marathon. But it's Fall... I love running in the Fall! The next few weekends at Afton promise to be some of the best runs all year. And I have Hellgate to think about.

Denial. Right up there with stubbornness.

End of post.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

When is a weekend not a weekend?

When all you do is work? Ok, so about half the 'work' was working out which resembles most weekends. But spending both afternoon/evenings at the office doesn't. Thankfully. But it did change my mind about something. The yard is getting nicely covered in leaves and looking very neglected and I am likely to be working the next few weekends... SO, screw my good intentions of doing the yardwork myself again this year... time to make a few calls!

Ran at Afton this morning with John and Kevin. It was great fun catching up with the guys. And John was so sweet to give me a framed photo of me crossing the finish line at Sawtooth - nicely touched up with clock time and everything! Very neat. Then he kicked my butt for 2.5 hours...

I had planned a longer run but was totally wrecked after this tour of many Afton trails I'd never been on before that I decided to call it a day. I guess the legs were not so fresh after yesterday's bike ride. We spent the first hour over on the mountain bike singletrack and then made our way back over and up onto the prairie. Kevin headed back, having finished 7th at Glacial 50 last weekend! And John (warming up for the Fall 50 next weekend) and I did a loop through the 'off-trail' trails which are quite a bit rougher than the main routes. Yes, of course I fell... what's one more scar on my knee.

The foot felt great for the first hour but not so good by the end. I had taped it which I think helps. But I suppose it just needs more rest. And no, it won't get it. I do need to be careful though. Whatever about the swim and bike I need to have a good marathon at IM!

End of post.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

2 down, 1 to go

Long swim, check; long bike, check. So that just leaves the long run tomorrow - which of course I am looking forward to... especially since my foot has been feeling great the last few days.

Biked 93 miles with the girls this morning... afternoon. Not quite the century but good enough. It was pretty rough biking into headwinds out around Winsted and Lester Prairie but it warmed up nicely and on the way back we had some wind behind us. And the great thing was I got to catch up properly with Kami, between work and training schedules it's been ages since we had a good chat so over the course of 6+ hours we had plenty of time to get up to date!

Pretty wrecked by the time we got done but a delightful soy cappucchino and s'bucks new 'Fruit Stella' (yummy oats and berries, and yes, probably high fructose corn syrup to hold it all together...) and I felt like a new person. Almost. And then it was off to work for the evening. Not quite what I had in mind for a Saturday evening but it's likely to be like this for a while. At least it's interesting stuff and there's a whole team of us in it together.

I did have time to skim the paper quickly... (reproduced without permission)

Joe The Plumber
Maybe he's ready to be vice president
What's the difference between a plumber and a hockey mom? One is willing to answer the media's questions about John McCain's positions on issues, and the other is running for vice president.
Eric Ferguson, Minneapolis

End of post.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Training Peak

As opposed to Peak Training - which is not where I am at for this upcoming IM! But this weekend is the L-O-N-G one. Tonight I swam with Kami and covered the 2.4M in 1:28. Happy enough with that. No breaks. Sure, it's pool swimming with a lane to myself (as opposed to constant fighting for your space the entire IM swim), with a kick-off every 25 yards. But that'll be balanced out by wearing a wetsuit! Or at least that's my theory. And I won't be swimming immediately after a pretty rough massage. Boy, did Sue find some tender spots this evening. My glute has never screamed quite so loudly. Biking tomorrow will be fun. 6hrs/100 miles is the plan. Pam, Kami and I are starting out at 8am (I don't even want to think how chilly it will be) and I think Susan will join us later. The Tri club are doing a ride over in Prescott but it's brutally hilly over there and considering the course in Arizona is relatively flat with one big climb (loop course so we do it 3 times), I need more time in aero position on flat, open, windy conditions. So we'll head west from Plymouth, out to Watertown and beyond. Then a short run afterwards. And Sunday morning a long run. Of course that will be the fun part of the weekend. Might head out to Afton. Or Hyland. Hoping to do ~4hrs. The foot feels really good today so I'm happy all the running in DC didn't seem to do any harm. It was so lovely running there but will be nice to get back on trails again.

While I think of it... I ran around all the monuments and memorials numerous times this week (and never tired of it) but my favourite run-by was The Newsuem on Pennsylvania & 7th - I wonder has anyone visited inside? I really must do so on my next trip. I LOVE newspapers. So I stopped for a few minutes to read the headlines... they have these long display cases on the sidewalk in front of the building and each morning by 6am they are filled with the front page of a newspaper from each of the 50 states. I just think it's such a cool concept. Thursday morning the MN choice was the Duluth News Tribune. It was fun seeing what made the front page in everything from a small town in Alabama to the Washington Post. Especially the morning after 'The Final Debate' - which I watched for all of 10 minutes before falling sound asleep. At least I got to hear about Joe the Plumber...

End of post

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Debate Night

And it's the final one. Should be good. I hope it is anyway. Just in from an easy 5.5 mile run. Very easy - just wanted to stretch the legs a bit and get some fresh air. I will sleep well tonight. It has been over 36 hours. I don't know how or why but I actually feel pretty good! The conference was well worth it today - some interesting perspectives from FDA this morning and the chance to chat with some of my reviewers. And then I had lunch with an old colleague. When I first started in Galway I would spend hours on the phone to Doug every day. He was based in Boston and taught me so much in those early days. He's since moved on so it had been a few years since we met though we keep in touch on a semi-regular basis.

OK, the boys are on. Time to sign off and tune in.

End of post.

A long day

And it's about to get a whole lot longer. After working way late Monday night I slept in until 8:30am yesterday and then headed out for a nice easy 6 miles. Spent the rest of the day at the conference, with some meetings in between, getting back to the hotel around 4pm. Worked a few hours and then headed out again. These double-runs are quite addicting. It was even warmer than Monday evening - still well in the 70's and a beautiful full moon. It was very pretty indeed running around the well-lit monuments. And no fear of having to worry about running after dark in this city - there are cops and security guards on every corner!

Another easy run ending up at around 8.5 miles. Swung by Whole Foods to get dinner and walked back to the hotel. Started into work around 9:30pm and let's just say I seem to do my best work after midnight... things are a little crazy right now with a number of big submissions on the horizon so I knew this would be a busy week rather than a case of a few days at a conference and come back to work and get caught up. No, the catching up is being done real time! Or rather late at night. Very late. With the result that I am writing this post having not slept. I do this from time to time. I seem to be able to manage but I might not be so confident in a few hours. Today is an all-day session with FDA so at least I'll be interested in it. But first, time for more coffee... and a cold shower...

End of post.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Running in DC...

... is beautiful!! What a great day for running. It was in the 70's this morning when I ran 10 miles and after getting much warmer in the afternoon it was back in the 70's this evening when I ran 8 miles! The foot is not 100% but I discovered it feels just fine if I run nine minute miles. I also discovered that running this pace allows me to think so much more. Less doing, more thinking. Did it take a little restraint to hold back when people passed me along the path? Sure it did, but then I got back to my day-dreaming and all was well :)

After the worst nights sleep in a long time... allow me to rant a little here... So, I arrived into Regan at 6pm. My luggage didn't make it but was on the next flight due to land at 8pm. No big deal. Except that when I got to the hotel I realized my laptop was nearly dead having worked on the plane and that my cord was in my suitcase. Figured I'd have it by 10 or 11pm so I'd wait up as I really needed to email some files so they'd be in Ireland their morning time. Called the 'helpline' several times between 11pm and midnight to be told - by the automated response system - that it had arrived and was enroute to me. Gave up and went to bed after calling reception to ask could they hold my luggage when it arrived and I'd get it in the morning. Received an automated phone call soon after 2am telling me they couldn't deliver my luggage until I confirmed my location so I needed to "press # and speak with customer service". So I pressed # and got the dreaded music. Eventually hung up. This process was repeated twice more at 30 minute intervals (if I didn't like my cell phone so much it would need replacing today). Called the original help line to be told customer service hours were 6am to midnight. Customer service indeed. Decided to call reception... just in case... my luggage had been there since 1am. As a final nail in the coffin - I accepted their offer to bring it up to my room, assuming that meant, like, immediately... no sign of it TEN minutes later so I got dressed and went down. The pair of clowns at reception were WATCHING TV. Jesus if I didn't lose it then. I didn't. But I did ask them if they'd been to the NWA school of customer service. No I didn't really. I was far too tired and cranky to attempt sarcasm. Not that it would have been understood anyway.

So, after all that I slept in, worked a bit, ran, and then headed over to the conference for the afternoon and evening sessions. Interesting stuff, I really enjoy hearing about the new technologies out there and seeing the early clinical results. Less and less invasive products that have the capability to work faster with longer lasting results. Neat. Now, can we buy some of the start-ups so I get to work on these cool projects?

Tomorrow's agenda is pretty full and the day promises to be even warmer so I think I'll try to get out quite early for a few more easy miles. Likely just head down along the Mall again. My run this morning took me over the bridge to Arlington National Cemetry. I'd never been over there before. It's huge.

It's crazy but after the past few days, Saturday's long bike and Sunday's 4200 yard swim (which amazingly was not that bad), and today's double, I feel more energized that I have since before Sawtooth. Let's hope it keeps up for a few more weeks!

Now, back to the grindstone. With foot in bucket of ice.

End of post.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Wiped out

That is how I feel right now. Completely spent. Long bike rides just do that to me. If I had ran 50 miles today I don't think I'd feel as knackered. It would be ok if I could lie on the couch for the evening but the point of opening up the laptop in the first place was to start into a few hours work that needs to get done tonight. Blogging is just so much more fun...

After deciding my foot wasn't up to running I abandoned plans for Wild Duluth and joined Kami and Pam for an 80 mile bike ride this morning. In the wind. Holy crap did it burn. As always my saddle gave me issues from about mile 20. This is my 4th saddle in about 2 years so I don't think changing it again will help any. Suck it up and ignore the pain is a much better plan. My glute didn't feel the best from about halfway (unrelated to said saddle) but I figured that was going to happen. It will take more than PT the day before a long bike to cure me. I could feel it all the way down my hamstring and calf though not as severe as it has been. I'm planning another few hours on the bike tomorrow morning so that should be interesting.

Off to DC later in the day where I'm hoping to get in a few nice early morning runs. Though I did a short run off the bike today and my foot was bothering me. I think I will try taping it and see how it is Monday morning for a 6-7 miler. Also on the agenda for tomorrow morning is a long swim. I have to say I enjoyed Friday's swim so I'm hoping tomorrow feels the same. Next weekend will be another big one with a longer bike Saturday and a long run Sunday and then a little shorter the next weekend and that's the hard training done for IM!!! Yeah, it's not quite what the training plans call for but it'll be enough to get me around on the day. I won't get close to my 11:22 goal that I set many months ago but I'm still clinging to the hope of a sub-12. We'll see.

Speaking of IM, Carrie is out on the course in Kona as I write this! World Championship day. Carrie qualified at Madison last year and is an amazing athlete. Her background is swimming and her bike is equally strong. She claims not to be a runner but I think a 3:50 IM marathon would argue otherwise! I've been tracking her online the past few hours. She had an incredible swim (1:02) and is keeping a great pace on the bike. It's a serious accomplishment to make it to Hawaii in the first place and to be having such a good race on a tough course says it all.

End of post.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Good Day

And nothing to do with running for a change! It began with good news at work. This tiny mesh of stainless steel has been my baby for the past 4 years. Seeing it (finally!) get to market is pretty cool. I hope you never need one but if you do, take my word for it, this is a good one! It's the reason I moved to the US in the first place. So of course reaching this milestone resulted in a few moments of reflection on my time here. No question I've grown professionally and life outside of work has been equally rewarding. It really has been an incredibly fulfilling couple of years. I won't overdo the company loyalty blurb but of all our buzz words and taglines there is one that I am in complete agreement with: Every positive outcome can inspire a million more. We may mean this in terms of positive clinical outcomes but I fully believe it applies across the board. Yeah, I am quite the happy camper tonight :)

Ended the day with a great (post-celebration) swim - got in 3500yds - the longest since IM last year! Took me a good 90 minutes with some rest and chatting to Susan and Tanya who joined me halfway through. But I am not too concerned about time for the swim. I just need to be able to get through it and not be completely exhausted!

As for weekend plans... after waking up with a still sore foot I decided to stay put tomorrow and not take part in the Wild Duluth run. I am bummed as I was really looking forward to running a new trail. But I just don't know how the foot would feel after a few miles. Maybe ok on the softer trail surface but it'd be a long drive if it only held up for a few miles. And of course at the back of my mind I knew I should really be biking this weekend. I'm flying to DC Sunday afternoon so tomorrow is my only chance for a long ride. So myself and the ladies are planning 5+. Ugh. Not looking forward to seeing how my butt feels after it. I woke up this morning after spin class last night knowing for sure it's the biking that really causes my hamstring issues. Naomi, the angel that she is, worked wonders on it this afternoon, as she did last Friday pre-TCM. A cutaneous branch of the femoral nerve appears to be the culprit. And I get some pretty nasty bone bruising on the sacro-iliac joint that is all related. It was crazy how my leg was burning up as she was releasing it with just a very light touch - Neurofascial Process (NFP). Pretty cool stuff. Simple - but it seems to work.

End of post.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Moms for Caribou Barbie

I know I said no more political posts but if you're in need of a laugh please check out this blog. Though, of course, it's not funny at all...

My favorite insight: Did you know that Sarah Palin did most of her speech last night from memory when the teleprompter guy messed up during the applause?

Definitely VP material.

Another classic: If Sarah Palin can raise 5 children then she certainly is qualified to run the country!

My head hurts.

End of post.


I love my job (really I do, and yes, I know how lucky I am to be able to say that) but man it just gets in the way sometimes... it's been a while since I've had a week like this where I am sat in the office until 8, 9, 10pm... I don't mind working in the evenings but usually I can login from home and get a bit done while watching TV, eating etc... the essentials! But this week the afternoons just seemed to roll straight into the evenings and before I know it the office is empty but my 'To Do' list isn't any shorter.

Anyway, I guess it's good that it happened right after the marathon when I should be recovering. But by tonight I just had to get out and do something. Though my foot has been sore since Sunday. My right one, as opposed to my left one that was bothering me after Voyaguer. It's my first metatarsel that seems a little bruised. So I'm unsure about the Wild Duluth run on Saturday. I really want to head up there and check out some new trail but it won't be much fun if I can only run a few miles. Not to mention that I should be out doing a long bike... but I feel like I need to get in my car and chill out for a few hours. I picked up both CDs after the Ray Lamontagne concert last Saturday night (perfect pre-marathon gig) and am loving them. If I do head north then I'll have to get in a long bike Sunday morning so I am hoping the forecast improves. Biking in wind and rain is just not fun.

Now, better get back to that work idea before bedtime. I left 'early' to get to spin class tonight. I have not been to Johnny J's 2hr spin since April! And boy did I feel it... the classes are now every Monday and Thursday so I guess that's where I'll be for the next few weeks. Though next week work takes over again with a trip to DC. At least the conference is downtown so I get to run along the National Mall which I never tire of. I hope none of 'my people' are reading this. I haven't given up my passport yet but there is something very cool about running by all those monuments, the museums, down to the Capitol building...

End of post

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Road Running

Amazing what a good run does for the mind. I am really happy I decided to run TCM. I was worried it was a bad idea given I wasn't fully recovered from Sawtooth and knew I should be focused on getting in more bike training for IM. But the idea of running Twin Cities again after experiencing my only really bad race on this course in 2005 was just too appealing to turn down. And now that it's over and I feel like it didn't take that much out of me I am wondering if I should train for a PR next year...

If I do, it will be a spring marathon, and then switch to trails for the rest of the year. I think it is difficult to peak for a fall marathon and I know I wouldn't be able to resist ultras over the summer anyway... but I could fit Chippewa into a spring marathon training plan! We'll see. I'm having one of those weeks where my mind is working overtime. I should be channeling it into work but running plans are so much more fun.

TCM has also got me looking forward to the marathon at IM. It will feel different of course but in a way running on Sunday with legs that didn't exactly feel fresh might not be that different to running after a 112 mile bike ride. It is definitely a good thing for me that triathlons are structured in this way - save the best 'til last! As for biking - I have 4 weekends of LONG rides ahead. This Sunday will be a bit rough after a jaunt up north on Saturday to check out the Wild Duluth course. I'm not sure how much I'll run but the weather is promised nice so it should be beautiful up there. And then there's the swimming... long slow one yesterday evening to flush out the legs a bit. Well, long for me but still way short of the 2.4M race length. Ugh, it will be a different story from Madison that's for sure. But that's what I get for loading too much on my calendar. It will still be a really fun trip. There's a great group of my training pals doing it and my Mum will be over also. Though I think she's planning to take herself off the Grand Canyon for the day! We'll have to see about that...

End of post.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Hero's Perspective

Alberto Salazar talks with the Pioneer Press October 5, 2008. Running legend Alberto Salazar slows his pace after heart attack: Since heart attack, he's a fast jogger

When one of the greatest distance runners in American history suffers a heart attack and nearly dies at age 48, it gets people's attention. But not to worry: Alberto Salazar beat death. Again. And today, 15 months after his heart stopped beating for 14 minutes, Salazar will serve as honorary captain of the Medtronic Global Heroes when he participates in the TC 10-mile road race, which is held in conjunction with the 27th annual Twin Cities Marathon. Salazar, who turned 50 on Aug. 7, is a legendary runner turned running coach who oversees the Nike Project in Portland, Ore. He still runs every day but declines invitations to almost all races. "Doctors have told me they want me to be a jogger, not a runner," he says. Even that is relative. Salazar, who received last rites of the Catholic Church after his body temperature skyrocketed to 108 degrees after the Falmouth (Mass.) 7.1-mile road race in 1978, still jogs faster than many people run. He expects his pace today to be a hair faster than 7 minutes a mile. More important in his mind than his time, however, is his presence in an event that has Medtronic as the title sponsor. He had a stent and a Medtronic defibrillator implanted into his chest after his heart attack, and he's reminded of it when he sees the device's bulge "every day when I look in the mirror," he says. It's a change; before the heart attack, "I don't think I even knew what Medtronic was," he says. That's not all that has changed. The heart attack, Salazar says, "was the best thing that ever could have happened to me. How often do you get a warning shot across the bow? That teaches you that you had better get your life in order." Most would say Salazar's life already was pretty much "in order." His longtime affiliation with Nike led him to become one of the country's most recognized running coaches, even though anyone with an awareness of the sport's history knows his name and some of his feats. Talk to him, however, and his several sterling marathon races - even the two-second victory over Minnesotan Dick Beardsley at Boston in 1982 - hardly merit a mention. Former Minnesotan Kara Goucher, one of his prized running students, recounts with a laugh how a cab driver in Europe turned around last summer and asked Salazar for an autograph. "He's so modest," she says. "I kind of forget what a 'rock star' he is." After arriving in the Twin Cities the other day, among the first things on Salazar's agenda was a speech to 200 Medtronic employees. He told them how fortunate he has been to suffer no long-term problems from his heart attack. "I thank God every day," he says. Death has been in Salazar's consciousness for nearly 40 years.

A native of Cuba who moved to the United States when he was 2, he still remembers when he was at a birthday party at age 10 and a boy who was not attending the party drowned in a neighborhood pond near the celebration. He watched wide-eyed as the body was pulled from the pond, the first time he had "seen death up close," he recalls. After that, he prayed every night that if he died, he would be taken straight to heaven. At Falmouth, he remembers a vague feeling of doctors working on him, and thinking, " 'I'm dying now.' I accepted it and said, 'Lord, here I come.' I wasn't scared." He has no real memories of the heart attack that interrupted a coaching session in Portland on June 30, 2007, but said there is no amount of money that would lure him away from his home and his wife, Molly, to give a speech or appear at a race. It's another change; in the 1980s he went anywhere for a good race. Salazar hopes his new perspective rubs off on the athletes he coaches. Coaching, he says, is "more fulfilling" than competing because it's an unselfish pastime, and he loves to watch his athletes improve. "But the main thing to me," he says, "is that they have a good experience, and have happy lives, somehow. I try to get across to them, 'Hey, this is just an inconsequential little hobby. Some day your running career is going to be over.' " This is no longer the Alberto Salazar who drove himself to the limit, and the difference is more than the 10 pounds he has added since his prime. He says he's wiser now. "I look at it that I was certainly somebody who pushed himself hard," he explains. "It's a good talent to have, but a good race horse can run himself into the ground and kill himself." Since his heart attack, he says, he has become extra careful to not allow the runners he coaches to repeat his mistakes. Goucher says Salazar, once sometimes known to have a prickly temperament, is truly "fun to be around. I ran 23 miles on Monday and he biked with me the whole way. We just talked." With a wife and three grown children, life is good for Salazar. He runs easily, four or five miles a day, and keeps his heart rate at 140 or below because "I don't care what the pace is, I love it and enjoy it," he says. Death is also no longer a fear. "I can honestly say, when it's my time, I don't think I'm going to be scared," he says. "I've kind of been there twice now, and I feel that God will be there for me. I want to hang around for my kids and my wife, but you know, I'm ready."

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Good TCM

As opposed to a bad one which is what I had the last time I ran this marathon in 2005. Back then I was every bit as stubborn as I am today but was undertrained and therefore trying for a 3:30 that time was really not a good idea. Today was a different story. I wasn't exactly 'trained' for the marathon but clearly had enough miles in this season. My biggest concern was that I would hurt myself. I am pretty sure if I had felt pain (other than normal 26.2-miles-on-road-pain) that I would have slowed down a lot or stopped but thankfully I didn't have to think about that. Other than one twinge in my right glute at mile 24 I felt remarkably better than I expected. I could tell my core was nowhere near as strong as when I ran my PR last year but I never felt like I was risking injury in the way I did in 2005. That year I ended up walking a lot from mile 16 and enjoyed sharp shooting pain in my lower back at around mile 20. Followed by several months of recovery...

The odd thing was that even though all sense of freshness was gone from my legs by mile 12 they still felt really strong and I was able to keep a 7:45-ish pace. I crossed halfway in just over 1:44 and carried on at that pace until around mile 18 I think. I was debating slowing a bit until mile 21/22 but seemed to do okay continuing on. Once I hit Summit I picked it up nicely and had a smile on my face the whole way home. It is one fantastic feeling to be strong at that stage of a race and especially with all the great support. I saw loads of people I knew - both running and spectating. Adam was somewhere on Nokomis I think and later Steve and then Matt and family at mile 24 or so. Kate Havlin was out there and several others I recognize from the trails. Art was at the MN Tri club post and I saw loads of folks from the run club including Debbie and Jennifer at mile 25. Susan and Marta at mile 20 - great buzz running with Susan for a few hundred yards until she was politely told to leave the course! A few others called my name but I was gone past them. I was delighted that loads of people recognized the Afton shirt I was wearing! I even saw 2 other runners along the way with it.

On the downside I did a pretty crap job of pacing Igor though I suspect he knew that might be the case... from running a lot more trails this summer my sense of pace is way off and I knew I was going out faster than we had planned. But he ran well and PR'd. As did Eric. Paul almost did. Tons of other Plymouth runners out there today. Met Anthony at the start and saw Jodee (PR!!) and John along the way. Val ran strong though her hamstrings started to cramp early enough. Sounds like Molly was having a great day - after running 50 on the Ice Age Trail yesterday! Jim & Heidi both qualified for Boston! It was so cute seeing them at the finish - they were thrilled and how cool to both qualify at the same race. And Julie - awesome PR and BQ! WooHoo!! Saw Jim at the start and he ran a great race - another PR I believe? Also got to witness a marriage proposal at around mile 17!! - it was a busy day out there - the guy was running the marathon and his bride to be was cheering. As you can imagine he was pretty happy with himself! Oh and I met Joel at the start with food and coke - Joel ran 50 on the IAT yesterday also. AND then got up at some crazy hour this morning and ran 13 to the start of the marathon! I was looking out for him at the drop bag area but it was getting late and I thought I'd missed him. So I was glad when we spotted each other. Didn't get to meet Scott at the start but ran into him in the Corporate tent afterwards which was kind of funny. Discovered he works for the competition :) Which reminds me I must find out how our team did... I'm not even sure how many from work were running but I saw Jan at the end, he was looking very fresh. Todd R had a good race but missed BQ by a minute. Bummer or what. Met Todd W in the tent and just saw he ran 3:22 - solid run for him I expect some way off his PR though I'm not sure.
And I finally met Theresa who also works for BSC and was volunteering at sweats pick-up. She is Joann Fallis' daughter and it's funny as I just recently talked to Joann at a race and then had an email from Theresa but never got to meet her at work as she is at the other campus. But she just heard me ask for my sweats bag and caught my accent!

Also in the Corp tent were Shelley and Paula - both volunteering today as they are running Chicago next weekend (which I still am signed up for now that I think about it... don't worry, I ain't that silly...). Shelley ran the 10 miler this morning - as did Pam - both had a good run. Paula is having foot issues so I really hope she is ok for Chicago she has trained so well this year and is in shape for a sub-3:00 but she's smart enough to listen to her body if it's not happening on the day. Kami was working the event as she has the past several years - got to see her at the finish. They do such an amount of work over the weekend on very little sleep. One of her less glamorous tasks today was gathering the castaways along the course - she reckoned there was about 3 times the normal amount as so many people had started out with multiple layers given the sub-50F starting temps. And I'm sure with all the rain the layers got pretty heavy so people were dumping stuff right throughout the course and not just a few miles in. Cathy was volunteering also and was at the finish line. A great job by all the volunteers - I found the aid stations very well organized and easy to navigate.

A great day overall. But how about the weather - talk about opposite from last year. At first it was nice to have some rain but running along Calhoun with the wind coming off the lake was just nasty! After a while there was no point trying to aovid the bigger puddles as my shoes were soaked through. It did dry up eventually and my shoes stopped squelching around mile 25.

Now, time for more HOT coffee and an ICE bath. Let the fun begin...

Before I finish - huge congrats to Joe Z who ran 2:54 today!! A PR I believe. 4 weeks after a sub-24 at Sawtooth. I am thrilled with how good I felt today but that is something else. And to John Storkamp - 2:55 today - not a PR but a very nice run!

Chip Time--5K-----10K----13.1------20M----Pace

End of post.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

More wise words...

Do Not Resist The Taper

by Sean Ryan
(published in UltraRunning Sept 2008)

Here at the precipice, at the end of all things
With the miles under your belt and the finish line in sight
The most difficult of all times in your training arrives -
The taper.

Do not resist the taper

This is the time for the body to rest, to relax, to recover.
Like a prize fighter catching his breath before going in for the final round,
Like Mother Nature reaching utter stillness before her impending fury,
Like a gentle backrub before, well, use your imagination.

Do not resist the taper

Ah, but YOU, oh great and mighty distance runner,
YOU are prone to resist.
You have become consumed by your own power, your own endurance
Dare I say it, by your own INVINCIBILITY!

Do not resist the taper

Like an addict, you rationalize and you bargain.
"The schedule says 8 miles but I'm just going to do an easy 16,"
You tell your co-workers or spouse nonchalantly as you walk out the door
Unaware of them shaking their heads and muttering "Freak!" under their breath

Do not resist the taper

Race day is nearly upon us,
The finish line and its hoards of spectators beckon to you,
Calling for you to go the distance and claim your prize.
Do not be anxious, do not be hasty,

Do not resist the taper

End of post.

Friday, October 3, 2008


If only I listened to it! I'm having quite a lot of discomfort with my right sciatic area this week. I know it is mostly from biking. Hence the reason I biked for 90 minutes yesterday evening. And have plans to do same tomorrow morning. For a somewhat smart person I can be awfully stupid sometimes. And then I'll head over to the Expo and sit on a panel for first time marathoners and give out all sorts of sensible advice. At least I don't need to get into a discussion on tapering given it's the day before the race.

As I was swimming this evening, having run 7 miles this morning and planning to go to yoga on the way home later, I decided I was (sub-c) deliberately loading on workouts this week so that I'd have an excuse when things don't go so well on Sunday! Might be some truth in that. But really I am just getting very nervous about my lack of long bikes with 7 weeks to IM. Not going to worry so much about the swim. I swam 3 times a week from Jan to Jun and had a crap swim at Liberty half IM so I just think I am doomed there no matter what.

Oh well, that's what I get for loading up the calendar. Will I learn from this for next year? Do pigs fly?

p.s. I heard Sarah Palin say in an interview today that she reads the NY Times and The Economist. Phew. All is well.

End of post.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Running for a reason...

I have a boatload of work to do tonight but am having far too much fun watching the VP 'debate'. I don't have a vote. But if I did... Obama-Palin would get mine. She's funny. In a way that doesn't make you laugh. At all. And she can talk. Usually completely off point. And boy can she smile. Oh yeah Palin would off-set Obama nicely. He is critized for being an elitist. And she is anything but that. Quote of the night: "I'm only just at this 5 weeks". No kidding.

All will be revealed come Nov 4th. The whole process is at times exciting, depressing, fun, pathetic, and plain confusing. Whoever comes out on top is going to have one hell of a job on their hands. Like your worst ultra experience times a million.

Me, I'd sooner just run...

End of post.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Dreaded Treadmill

I ran on a treadmill last night for the first time in a long time. I think since January or February - that really bad weekend where running outside was just too dangerous (at least in my mind). I remember it well as Pam, Tanya and I did 17 miles!! No wonder I have avoided it for so many months... But when I got to the hotel in DC last night it was pretty stormy outside and I was in the sticks as opposed to downtown so I figured the hotel gym was a safer option. Only managed 4 miles but it was a nice enough workout to get some short intervals in. I had planned to venture outside this morning but the warm bed was much more inviting. And this evening a warm house... anyway I suppose a few rest days should be on the cards before TCM.

Onto much more exciting news - I got into HELLGATE!!! I was so happy to get the email from r.d. David Horton today. I've heard so much about this race and have had such a blast running other races in the series in south western Virginia. No doubt it'll be the toughest one yet - which of course is what makes it so appealing. 12.01am start on the Friday night so that everyone has to run in the dark! And very unpredictable conditions. Frozen body parts a few years ago though last year was pretty mild. The race filled a few weeks back but the website said entries would be accepted until Sept 30th and then about 20 runners would be drawn. Lottery? Hmmm I don't think so. I have no doubt Dr. Horton looked at each and every application form and decided who he wanted in his race. As well he should! The application form asked for Best 100K time. Since I haven't done one yet I decided to jot down my Voyageur & Sawtooth times. And placing. There's a time and a place for modesty but this ain't it! And I guess it worked...

So now I am no longer training for boring IM. I am training for a 100K trail race - with a ton of biking (and a little swimming) for cross-training :)

End of post.