Monthly Archives: September 2008

Spirit of the Marathon at Twin Cities Marathon

If you are traveling to the Twin Cities for this fall’s Twin Cities Marathon you must go see Spirit of the Marathon while you are here.

“But I’ve already seen it?” you say.  Did you see it at a 1950’s style movie theater?

I didn’t think so.  Spirit of the Marathon is being played at the Riverview Theater in South Minneapolis.

Riverview Theater

Riverview Theater

We saw the movie when it first came out this winter and I enjoyed it.  My wife liked it too, but not as much as me!

To refresh your memory a bit, here is an excerpt from the website about the movie

[A] first ever non-fiction feature film to capture the drama and essence of the famed 26.2 mile running event. Filmed on four continents, the production brings together a diverse cast of amateur athletes and marathon luminaries. As six unique stories unfold, each runner prepares for and ultimately faces the challenge of the Chicago Marathon. More than a sports program, Spirit of the Marathon is an inspirational journey of perseverance and personal triumph; a spectacle that will be embraced by runners and non-runners alike.

Along with citizen athletes, the movie features Deanna Kastor and Daniel Njenga.

DVD Release

A DVD with the movie and other goodies will be available after October 7.  If you order now you can get an autographed copy of the DVD.  Visit the store to find out more information.  While there you can also purchase a variety of other paraphenila.

[tags] Spirit of the Marathon, Marathon, Twin Cities Marathon [/tags]

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Marathon Training: Week 17

Img from flickr.

This was the first full week of taper.  I haven’t felt too much taper madeness, yet. This could be because life has been so busy.  I had to work late 2x’s and went to a community fair on Saturday. Yuck!! But I can’t really complain at all.  The morning temps were all great and I got rained on the one afternoon run – perfect!

Monday: 4-6 easy miles. I ran 5 miles this morning on a humid an overcast Monday.  I extended my downtown 4 mile loop to get closer to 5 and finished 5.1 miles in 38:47.  The run was pretty unexciting overall.  A good start to the week.

Tuesday: 5-7 miles at Marathon Pace. I had to miss the training class this evening because the PTA wanted me to talk about one of the programs I run at the school.  I had just enough time in between school and the meeting to sneak in a run, go home, shower, grab some food, and be at the meeting.  The sky looked pretty ominous as I left the school and headed to the river to run.  I made a big circle using the Ford Parkway bridge and Lake Street.  As I crossed the bridge about 2 miles in it started sprinkling. It wasn’t too much longer until I was completely soaked from the rain and it only got worse! The lightening started coming and I was one of few crazy people out there running/biking around.  I didn’t really like the prospect of running over an exposed bridge for 1/4 of a mile, but didn’t have much of a choice.  I got pelted hard on the bridge, having to keep one eye closed and just waiting to  get back to the West side. I made it back to the school safely and finished the 6.3 mile run in 45:40 (7:14) so pretty much right on for a marathon pace workout! As I was walking to my car, lightening hit the school and I later learned blew out our phone system.  I felt the electricity in the air and the subsequent BANG made me jump.  I didn’t waste anytime and jumped in my car. I really enjoyed this run in the rain and through muddle puddles – it was quite fun!

Wednesday: 4-6 miles easy. I felt pretty good for this easy 4 miler around Powderhorn Park. I finished right at 32 minutes so I stayed just under 8 minute pace! It was a very cool morning and felt great.

Thursday: Rest day. I enjoyed another great rest day!

Friday: Four miles. Another run downtown, this time I used my old 3 mile loop and extended it into 4 finishing in 31:12. It was another cool yet humid start to the day.

Saturday: 8-10 miles. I was able to make it to the group run today.  We met at Parade stadium to run some of the early miles of the marathon course around the lakes. A pretty perfect morning, except for some headwinds.  We finished a 9.45 mile loop in 1:13:04.  I think we all enjoyed the slower, no pressure run and had lots of conversation.  Our group got separated on the southwest end of Calhoun as a few of us stayed on the bike trail while the rest went on the running trail.  The bike trail makes a much wider arc and we got behind the others.  Someone decided we needed to pick up the pace and catch-up to the other group.  When we caught them I looked at my watch and we were at 6:22 pace.  That mile was the fastest of the day at 7:04 and it felt pretty controlled and almost comfortable for that short interval.  It was probably in the low-60’s and on the ride home I was riding through misty almost drizzle.  A great day for a run.

Sunday:Cross-training or off. I’m taking the day off!

Mileage Total

Running – 29 miles

Biking – 29.5 miles

Hal’s Tip of the Week: As you get into the final weeks of your marathon preparation, the most important thing you can do is rest, rest and rest. The hard work is over. You need to do some training, but not too much. My approach has always been to cut mileage, but maintain intensity. Continue to run somewhat fast on the “hard” days, but not so far. For inspiration, rent a video of the classic English movie, The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner.

Week 17

[tags] Hal Higdon, Marathon Training [/tags]

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Spell Check Doesn’t Always Work

I subscribe to a lot of different blogs including some about triathlons.  Recently posted an article on training recovery so I decided to check it out.

It started out well, talking about stretching.  Then the author said that “Message” was the second big thing.  Ok, maybe he’s talking about sending positive messages to yourself.  Then he went on and it became clear, that it wasn’t a message we should get, but a massage!

Here is the exact quote:

2) Message.

They feel good and help to keep your muscles nice and relaxed. They are a great way to keep the blood flow going in your legs which in turn may help you recover quicker.

In addition it is a great way to break up adhesions in the muscle and loosen tight spots via trigger points.

Top professional athletes in many types of sports get messages daily.

The rest of the article is pretty good.  His other tips are recovery rides and swims, getting lots of sleep, elevating your legs, taking ice baths, and wearing compression socks.

I had never heard of wearing compression socks before but he says that it can help reduce swelling and he’s felt a difference while traveling.

Now, I know I’m not perfect – but I thought this was a good example of why it is important to review your writing several times and not just relying on spell check.  My generation is especially bad about this part!

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First Impressions and Reactions in Ghana

Homemade Cargo Bike

Homemade Cargo Bike

Below is a journal entry from my first day in the rural village in Ghana where I spent my eight-week Master’s internship. A quick background on what I was doing – my internship was working with a Multi-purpose Community Telecentre (basically a community center with a technology focus).  I was mostly helping them with program evaluation and did some teaching. A lot of my time ended up being about experiencing the culture and learning about village life.

The below excerpt was my first day in the village but also a major event for the Telecentre.  One of their projects is teaching bicylce repair and selling new and used bicycles.  I’ll try to insert relevant links if I can find them if I can.  Johnny is running the bike program, Osei was my supervisor, Samson was a news reporter from Ghana TV and John represented ITDP.

June 4, 2003

Today is a big day for the center. I didn’t realize how big until later. Today was the big bike show, the chance for the center to showcase the converted bikes as well as the new bikes being sold. A whole bunch of us began by putting together 20 of the new bikes so that they could be ridden. Johnny had done a great job training his students and they made the process go very quickly if not haphazardly because of the lack of tools. Many people were arriving and they bike ride began.

Homemade Tall Bike

Homemade Tall Bike

I rode, it was funny because almost everyone took off like a bullet! I took it slower and began passing people, especially up the hills! Ghana Information Services (a Land Rover with a microphone) proceeded us down the road so many people were near the road! Many started cheering Obruni [Twi for White Man] when they saw me so I would wave and say hello. Also some of the groups would cheer m on to pass someone while others would cheer for the guy I was passing.  We rode to Konongo which is about 8 miles round trip with some good hills.

I did take my time, letting people pass me until they would look back and smile! When we got back I was very hot and very sweaty! The show began with a prayer in Twi. John, Johnny, and Osei all spoke. Osei was very powerful and inspiring. Also the Deputy Minister of Roads and Transport spoke as well as some other officials from the national government. All praised the program as innovative and an example to the rest of the country. The program was recorded for a segment on Ghana TV next week.

Also during the program a group of girls did some traditional dances which were interesting, they were poetic. Also the chief and his elders were present wearing full traditional garb. A single piece of cloth wrapped toga like around the body and was held together by the left hand. Each was unique but the chief’s was very intricate looking and it had some gold pieces and very colorful. Also there was an umbrella that was held over him.  I learned later that the size of it represented his power. Chiefs have authority over the land and are to be respected in the community. It runs parallel to the state government. Samson wants me to write about about the psyche of development to understand the people working in development and also to understand what development does to the people being affected. After the program

ITDPs Bike by Trek

ITDP's Bike by Trek

I did a little dance with some of the girls who laughed hysterically!

I met one of Osei’s students who lives in Konongo. He will be working at the centre as well so that will be a great learning experience. Unfortunately, I forgot his name. I also met Effa, one of Johnny’s good friends who offered to show me around the area and also to help understand the culture better. I am a little concerned that he is more financially motivated than truly wanting to getting know me and show me his culture. Samson and I continue to have great talks. He is very interested in using his TV skills to help his country develop. I gave him some ideas of things to look into such as micro-credit lending and also Mister Rodger’s Neighborhood to interact with the kids. We had a brief talk about the transforming power of Christ and how we can be joyful despite suffering.  Later John, Johnny, and I did some welding. We just messed around with some of the steel tubing but it was an interesting way to spend part of an evening. I’m beginning to feel tired of being the only one not drinking, while I know I can I feel it is a conviction I must hold on to.

Pa ni (sp?) = respected elder

Nsu = water

I also realized that while water inside a satchel [plastic bag like container] is filtered, there are probably plenty of germs on the satchel itself as you squeeze the water into your mouth. There are lots of little lizards running around. Also there were a lot of crows this morning. All black with a little white stripe just behind the neck. Also something I never thought about before today’s bike ride was having to watch out for wandering goats on the road!

Galatians 2:10: Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Thank you for taking the time to read some of my rambling thoughts on one of my first days in Ghana. This is also a good insight into some of the great things that are happening across Africa.

Team World Vision

Team World Vision is a fund raising arm of the organization which uses ordinary people like me, to get ordinary people like you involved in ending poverty and injustice across the world. I have decided to commit the 26.2 miles of my first marathon to the memory of and in honor of the children I have met during my international travels. I can’t remember all of their names, but I have many pictures and stories.

On the right side of my blog there is a widget that will allow you to support me during this race or you can visit this secure page. I have set a goal of raising $2,000 which will help children have a chance at living to become adults across Africa.

[tags]  World Vision, Team World Vision, Ghana, Telecentre [/tags]

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Twin Cities Marathon Course Preview

The entire course in 2.62 minutes.

Here is how the producer described the video at YouTube:

Here is a preview of the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon course. Music by Blue Man Group – Drumbone. (The last 10K or so of the vid, from the river crossover on – is better quality. Had to tape it in two sections as my vid cam battery hit the wall at around Mile 19!)

If the video didn’t make you a little dizzy and maybe a little sick, well I’m not sure what would! That is definitely a humerous look at the course.  At this point my training group has made sure that we have run pretty much the entire course.  I think the only part we haven’t run is the first mile to mile and a half leaving downtown Minneapolis.

At one point they even made us get off the trails and run on the roads so we could experience the hills that the road threw at us but the trails didn’t.  Today I feel confident that while it will be tough my training has prepared me to run a solid marathon – maybe not in 2.62 minutes, but definietly at my goal of 3:10.

[tags] Twin Cities Marathon, Marathon, Twin Cities[tags]

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Marathon Training: Week 16

Img from stock.xchn

Another week in the bag and only a few more to go.  This was a pretty good week, the weather really warmed up which was a little surprising after last week but it still wasn’t really hot.

Monday: 5 easy miles. 3 miles on a modified Powderhorn Loop.  I had some intestinal problems if you know what I mean that severely interrupted the run.  My legs felt pretty good though.  It was a cool and gorgeous morning too.

Tuesday: Yasso 800’s (8-10 miles). Happy Anniversary! Today marked our 2nd Anniversary so I opted not to run with the training class.  Instead I did the 800’s on my own. I did them right after work so that we were able to go out and enjoy our evening.  It was about 80 degrees when I ran these on the track at the University of St Thomas.  I had to dodge the football team and women’s cross-country team who were both taking up large portions of the track.  I did just over a mile warm-up before completing 6×800.  The plan was to do 8-10×800 but my times were dropping and I was hot, tired, and wanted to get on with the evening.  My Garmin says that I was actually running 0.54 which is probably accurate since I had to run in lane 8, swerve around a cart into lane 6 and then back to the outside around the circle of xc runners.  I hoped to make up the difference by cutting each of the intervals short, but guess I didn’t accomplish that! My splits were: 2:55, 3:11, 3:20, 3:23, 3:21, and 3:16.  So I started out a little too fast! I did approximately a 400 very slow in between each interval to about the 3:00 minute mark and finished the workout with 1.5 miles back to my car.  The run was 7.7 miles long and took 1:00:22 to finish.

Wednesday: 5 easy miles. I was a little tired and sore from the track workout and opted for an evening run again.  I ran along the Midtown Greenway and kept trying to slow myself down but I ran the 5 miles in 38:23 which is 7:34 pace.  It felt pretty good despite the temps being up at 80 again.  The Greenway gets pretty busy at this time of day (evening rush hour) and I passed a guy who was playing his trumpet while riding his bike!

Thursday: Rest Day. I successfuly rested today and actually got a massage. It had been awhile and this was my last pre-race massage.  It felt good and my body seems to be holding up pretty well.

Friday: 4 miles at marathon pace. Friday and Saturday’s workouts are pretty much interchangeable as scheduling goes and since we were going out of town it seemed like a good idea to get the longer run done.  So I ran 12 miles along a modified downtown loop.  With the 35W bridge and related roadways opening up yesterday it meant that some of the running trails re-opened and so I was one of the first runners to run underneath the East side of the bridge.  It is a pretty nice bridge with some green stone for decoration/memorial(?) underneath.  It was a very uneventful with temps in the mid-60’s. It felt really good until the sun started coming up and then it seemed to feel pretty hot. I ran 12 miles in 1:38:13, not the best showing of the season but a pretty nice easy run!

Saturday: 12 miles. Obviously I did the 4 miles at marathon pace today! We were celebrating our anniversary in Lanseboro, MN which is the heart of Bluff Country. I did a mile warm-up before starting the marathon pace. I ran along the Root River State Trail, which was quite empty at the 7:00am hour.  The temperature was probably in the mid-60’s and it was just me and the cows – chewing their cud. I ran the 4 miles in 29:34 which was 7:24 a little off marathon pace. The Garmin was acting up a bit during my warm-up saying I was running 14-min pace – I don’t think so! The overall run was 5.5 miles in 42:04.

Sunday: Cross-training. We rode our bikes along the trail and ended up doing just under 24 miles of easy cruising. We had a grand time, the leaves are just starting to change and everything – perfect!

Weekly Mileage:

Running – 33.3 miles

Biking – 48 miles

Hal’s Tip of the Week: Research suggests that runners often catch a cold or the flu the final week before the marathon, or the week after the marathon. That’s because in building to a mileage peak, they often overdo it and temporarily suppress their immune systems. Marathoners thus are more vulnerable to any viruses they might encounter. To avoid colds, try to avoid people who have them. And get plenty of rest.

Week 16

[tags] Hal Higdon, Marathon Training, Taper[/tags]

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