Monthly Archives: February 2009

Google Earth – Enhanced Features Free

You can do some great things with Google Earth if you spend some time getting to know the program.  It can be fun to zoom around the world and look at different city and countries.   Lots of organizations have created mashups using Google Earth, like this one about the genocide in Darfur.

I wasn’t convinved about Google Earth until I found the feature that allows you to add your GPS “tracks” and create an image of your run.  Most recently I did this for the Securian Frozen Half course.  Here is what it looked like:

You can spin it, zoom in on the image, add the 3D skyscrapers, add landmarks, and a lot more. Last year I paid a whopping $20 to have the privilege of adding GPS technology to my free Google Earth software. I thought it was a small price to pay for some cool images.

I recently received an e-mail saying that the latest upgrade to Google Earth 5.0 will now include free GPS data imports. Err they took my money and now offer it for free. If you still want to pay you can get a Google Earth Pro account which offers some excellent features (but not ones I need).

The latest version of Google Earth lets customers import and track global positioning system (GPS) data. Our Google Earth Plus customers told us GPS tracking is one of the main reasons they choose Google Earth Plus. Now, since you can use this feature for free in Google Earth 5.0, there’s little separation between Plus and the free product. In order to simplify the decision of which version of Google Earth best meets our customers’ needs, we decided it no longer made sense to continue Google Earth Plus.

So if you’d like some new images and a different look at your running routes via GPS download Google Earth 5.0, for free!

[tags] Google Earth, Earth, Google, GPS, Garmin [/tags]

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Week 2: Half Marathon Training

3 m run + strength
7 x 400
5-K pace
3 m run + strength
45 min tempo
3 m pace
90 min run

Monday was President’s Day and I didn’t have to work so I took some extra time to go to Fort Snelling for a run on Pike Island. I knew it would be pretty icy so I took my new Yaks Tracks along for the ride. Good thing since the trails were solid sheets of ice. They worked pretty well and I never really slipped too much. It wasn’t the easiest 3 mile run due to the choppy conditions of the ice. It was 23 above and 12 wind chill. The Garmin battery malfunctioned again so I didn’t get an exact time or distance.

Tuesday was a nice morning for a speed workout! It was 23 with the wind chill around 15 and sunny!  I ran 6 miles out and back on the Greenway using my Garmin to clock the 7 x 400m intervals at 5k pace.  I set the plan for today of running sub-90 second intervals and nailed it.  1:23, 1:30, 1:29, 1:29, 1:28, 1:30, 1:29 I did 400m rest after each interval as programed in the Garmin. There were still small patches of ice on the trail but none that really hindered my running.   The wind was also in the face on the way back. I finished the 6 miles in 47:42 and felt pretty good about it.

Wednesday brought a much needed 3.25 mile recovery run on my Metrodome loop.  My legs were pretty tired and I ran it in 27:09 which is well over 8 minute miles.  We had just gotten a dusting of snow and the temp was 27 with a 15 degree wind chill, so not too bad!

Thursday was a well deserved day off! It was like 4 above when I woke up so I was doubly glad not to have to run.

Friday was supposed to be a tempo run but my legs felt very sluggish. It was 9f without any wind so that didn’t really have too much of an impact.  I think it was mainly just my tired legs.  I barely even made it under 7 minute pace and my tempos should be at 6:30.  Oh well.  I ran 6 miles in 47 minutes.

Saturday we had planned to meet at Theodore Wirth park and run on some different trails.  We got 5 inches of snow overnight and the Park Board hadn’t plowed any of the roads or paths yet along that stretch so we opted to go down to Cedar Lake and run some of the lakes because they had been plowed.  We got 11.5 miles in 1:33:00 for the morning.  It was around 18f with a pretty rough wind chill.  When we were running on the east side of Calhoun it was quite brutal.  Some places still had significant snow but for the most part there was decent footing.

Sunday we met at the falls again.  We ran west on the Minnehaha Parkway and ran around Nokomis.  The paths were pretty clear except for a few parts that had drifted back onto the trail.  Mike even brought Poncho along, who did quite well for the 6.25 mile run. The temp was 2 and the wind chill was back down to -12 which wasn’t too pleasant, but it was a good run at a relaxed pace.  We finished in 54:44.

Weekly Total:

Running -36 miles

Biking – 9 miles

Last Year

Run: 28.8 Miles
Bike: 12.5 Miles

Week 3 of Half Marathon training last year included supersets as part of the Running Planet training program.  The plan also included hill repeats, much like I did last week.   Foto Friday was a caution sign posted on the hill at Fort Snelling.

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Indulgence: Ultra Running

That was a clip from Indulgence: 1000 miles under the Colorado Sun.

From their website:

Indulgence: 1000 Miles Under the Colorado Sky features ultra-marathon phenom Anton Krupicka in a high-definition running film inspired by mountain ski and bike films. The film will offer the viewer a first-hand look at Anton’s life as he trains in the mountains of Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California during the summer of 2007. The film’s presentation will reflect Anton’s simple approach to life and running and his continued pursuit of this minimalist ideal amidst the expectations of modern society.

It looks pretty good.  Anyone seen it yet?

[tags] Indulgence, Ultra-running, movies [/tags]

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Week 1: Half Marathon Training

This begins my first week of half-marathon training for the Lake Minnetonka Half-Marathon.  I decided to do something a little different, yes I want a PR but I also want a “fun” race with maybe some scenery. Running part way around Lake Minnetonka seems to fit that bill!  As far as a training plan goes, I really enjoyed Hal Higdon’s marathon schedule that I used last fall so I thought I’d give him another try with his Advanced Half-Marathon program.  It is a 12 week program that begins NOW!

3 m run + strength
6 x hill
3 m run + strength
40 min tempo
3 m run
90 min run (3/1)

Monday I did my standard loop around the Metrodome for 3.14 miles in 27:14.  It was 33 but 24 wind chill. I was a little overdressed for pretty much the whole run.  Most of the sidewalks were clear with only small patches of ice to be found.  Oddly my Garmin said it’s battery was low and didn’t even last long enough to find a signal.  That was frustrating since it was fully charged yesterday when I unplugged it from the computer.

Tuesday I ran to the West River Road so that I could do hill repeats going south up the the Franklin St Bridge.  The sidewalks were still a mixture of slush and ice thanks to the warmer weather we’d been having.  It was actually 40 with off and on drizzle for this particular workout.  I finally got off the sidewalks to run on the road because they were so dangerous.  About 2 miles into the run I had hopped back on the sidewalks and fell.  I didn’t just fall, somehow I fell and rolled.  I got up shook myself off and kept running.  My knee hurt a little bit but I felt fine.  I continued on to the road and did my 6 hill repeats.   I did 3 up the southbound ramp to Franklin’s eastbound.  They are approximately .15 of a mile or 264 yards.  They were in 1:10, 1:15, and 1:11.  The next 3 were straight up the River Road towards Franklin and approximately .23 miles or 400 yards.  I ran them in 1:37, 1:35, 1:36.  They were longer but not as steep. Total mileage was 7 miles in 60 minutes.

Wednesday was a nice easy 3 miles in 25:02.  It was a good recovery run with the temp above freezing again at 33 though the wind chill was 25.  Most of the run was on dry pavement which was a very nice change in pace!

Thursday I took off.  I deliberated back and forth about this but my schedule makes Friday a better morning to do the Tempo run, even though it would be before Saturday’s long run.  I think I’ll plan on doing it this way unless I have something else on Friday morning.  Basically I’ll do the tempo run on which ever day is more convenient!

Friday I set off for a 40 minute tempo run along the Greenway.  The plan was 20 minutes out and 20 minutes back. There was light flurries and it was 18 with the wind chill at 8.  It was a headwind on the way out.  I ended up running 5.13 miles in 38:32. Close enough right?  There were little patches of ice here and there. Unfortunately my pace chart shows that I didn’t do a very good job of making it a tempo run.  I hit my 10k pace 2x’s but didn’t sustain it for very long. Some of the spikes in the chart are due to icey patches.

Saturday morning the Polar Bear group met at the Longfellow Grille/Dunn Brothers and set out for a nice long run on the River Roads.  We went south crossed Ford Bridge and then went north crossing the pedestrian bridge just south of Washington Ave for 11.37 miles in 1:27:37.  It was 10 but the wind chill of -1 made it kinda chilly.  You could see the frozen mist again which actually turned to snow for the latter portions of the run.  I waxed and waned throughout the run but the hills in the middle wore me out by the end.

Sunday we met at Minnehaha Falls again and ran the Get in Gear loop, again.   This was actually the fastest we’d run the course on a Sunday morning this year.  These Sunday runs are usually a recovery run for most of us.  It was 5 above with no wind chill so a pretty nice morning to run. We ran it in 54:04.  As the weather has warmed a bit and we are also getting into spring training cycles I’ve seen more and more people out on the trails.

Total Mileage:

Running – 35.9 miles

Biking – 7 miles

Last Year

Mileage –

Run: 28.2 Miles
Bike: 14.0 Miles

The week began with a look back at Week Two of my half-marathon training.  The Complete Running Network created a Facebook group for their members to use as another way to connect. I’m a member of both CRN and the group but I’m not really active in either community. Former Governor and then Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee is an avid runner and ran last year’s Boston Marathon.  I like measuring my training and numbers, so I offered 3 reasons why  I like to bike.  I biked a lot last year getting over a 1,000 miles on the two wheel machine! Last year’s Foto Friday was an ice sculpture of the sinking Titanic.

More Products Being Recalled

General Mills announced additional snack bar items are being recalled.

The recall applies to Cascadian Farm Peanut Butter Chip Chewy Granola Bars, Cascadian Farm Sweet & Salty Mixed Nut Chewy Granola Bars and Cascadian Farm Sweet & Salty Peanut Pretzel Chewy Granola Bars.

Source Mpls/St Paul Business Journal

The specific products in this recall include:

Cascadian Farm Peanut Butter Chip Chewy Granola Bars

Individual Bar UPC 0 21908-40802 6 (Not Sold Individually)
Carton (6 Bars) UPC 0 21908-14631 7

cascadian farm mixed nut thumb

Cascadian Farm Sweet & Salty Mixed Nuts Chewy Granola Bars

Individual Bar UPC 0 21908 50442 1 (Not Sold Individually)
Carton (5 bars) UPC 0 21908 40774 6

cascadian farm peanut pretzel thumb

Cascadian Farm Sweet & Salty Peanut Pretzel Chewy Granola Bars

Individual Bar UPC 0 21908-50443 8 (Not Sold Individually)
Carton (5 bars) UPC 0 21908 40775 3

I have continued to update my list of Energy Bars being recalled with new items.

[tags] Salmonella, General Mills, Cascadian [/tags]

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