Monthly Archives: March 2009

Week 7: Half Marathon Training

Last Year

Running – 39 miles

This was Easter week last year and between the Human Race 8k and traveling home for Easter my Week 8 training was a little messed up.  I discovered how to create “blog bling” or the little picture of me in the address bar.  Being back in Indiana and having easy access to dirt trails made me long for trail running.  I think I’m at that point again this year, I think in part because it is a long wait for trails to clear and not be a complete muddy mess.  Even before the 100 push-up craze hit the blogosphere I was extolling the benefits of the push-up for all around physical fitness.  Last year’s Foto Friday was a terrible picture of me finishing at the Human Race.

3 m run + strength
4 x 800
10-K pace
3 m run + strength
45 min tempo
4 m pace
1:45 run (3/1)

Monday I ran the Metrodome 3.25 mile loop in 25 minutes.  It was a nice 42 outside with a wind chill of 38.  It had rained earlier in the morning, but didn’t while I was out.  I was sore from the Human Race but loosened up by the end of the run.

Tuesday was another great morning for a workout.  Today was 4 x800 meters in around 6:30 pace (or 3:15). It was 51 with a little wind and overcast.  I did the intervals on the Greenway, heading East.  My splits were 3:04, 3:04, 2:59, 3:00.  Obviously I was quite pleased to have all the intervals under goal pace – even with the wind.  This workout made me feel a lot better about where my running is.

Wednesday I did a nice easy run around Powderhorn.  This time I actually ran my old two lap route around the lake. it was 3.3 miles in 27 minutes. The temp was a nice 38 but the gusty winds brought the wind chill down to 14.  It was also flurrying and starting to stick – though it never accumulated.

Thursday was a nice day of rest!

Friday I went looking for a different place to run and decided to head to Wirth Beach and run around Theodore Wirth Park.  I haven’t run there very often and stuck mostly to the Grand Rounds Parkway before.  I could clearly see some of the trails and decided to take them.  I didn’t really know where they went or anything, but soon found a map that showed some general directions.  I was a little disappointed because I was on the paved trail section but they went North and caught the parkway and that’s what I decided to do.  After catching the parkway I was presented with a dirt trail option or staying on the paved trail – obviously I took the dirt path and eventually found myself back on the road – but not where I expected, nor did it have anything to offer besides sidewalk running so I turned around.  I retraced my steps and stayed on the parkway heading back south.  I got back to the beach area with about 10 minutes left so I kept running and found another little trail near the Bird Sanctuary and ran the dirt paths for a little bit.  It was a good run – didn’t really hit tempo pace but I pushed the pace when I could and felt solid with it. It ended up being 5.77 miles in 43 minutes on the sunny and windy morning – 24 with 14 wind chill.

Saturday we met at Jensen Lake in Lebanon Hills which was a great change of pace and scenery.  The plan was to run between 90 minutes and 2 hours but after arriving back at our cars after 90 minutes most of us were ready to be done.  We had logged a tough 12 miles on the rolling hills around the park.  It was a sunny and brisk morning in the mid-20’s when we started and into the 30’s by the end.  It took us about 94 minutes and I was feeling it more in my legs than anywhere else.  If you want a tough hill workout this is the place to go!  The trail was virtually ice free with some small remnants here and there.  One nice thing about the freezing temps was that the trail wasn’t muddy at all.

Sunday my foot was hurting last night so I opted to go for a swim again this morning.  I managed to get 400 yards out of the morning before becoming worn out.  I did a mixture of freestyle and using the kickboard.  It was nice to finish off with a sit in the hottub!!

Total Mileage:

Running – 29.6 miles

Swimming -400 yards

Biking – 7.8 miles

Race Review: 2009 Human Race 8K

It was a gorgeous morning to go for a run, the afternoon was excellent as well.  54 and sunny are pretty nice conditions for a race.  The Human Race 8k is excellently managed by The Sporting Life (TSL) Events, a local race management company.  This year’s event featured biodegradable water cups and lots of compost trash receptacles.  The University of St Thomas makes a pretty nice staging area as well, headquarters are in the fieldhouse and the campus is pretty to walk through.

The starting line is on Summit Ave, home of the famous Twin Cities Marathon hills.  The Human Race starts around the 22 mile mark and goes out about 2 miles makes a square around the William Mitchell College of Law and heads back down Summit.  Summit Ave is split on two sides of a grass boulevard for much of the race.  The start is split with the male and female on two different sides of the boulevard joining together about 1/2 mile or so into the race.

I started a few rows back and planned to take it fairly easy out of the start, especially given that the whole first mile is uphill.  My pace seemed pretty solid without being overly fast.  Blogger Chad Austin ran by me and for some reason I thought it might be a good idea to try and pace off him – he’s definitely faster than me, even coming off ski season! I came through the first mile in 6:35.

The second mile is pretty much all downhill.  It doesn’t really feel like it though.  I was just trying to stay relaxed and using people to help block the wind.  Nothing too exciting happened during this mile.  I was still passing people and getting passed.  Was pleasantly pleased to see an even split time of 6:35.

The third mile includes the little square part around the Law school.  It is a one block square with a water stop on the Summit Ave side.  This square is an easy way to make a fast turn-around on an out and back course. Much preferred to the traditional cone in the road method, especially with this sized event!  I saw the leaders coming back by at this point too.  This is an up and down mile and I was starting to feel pretty tired.  Somewhere in the last half of the race my upper body got really tight and I kept dropping my hands to try and relax it.  I went through mile 3 in 6:49.

The fourth mile is all uphill again, but knowing that the final mile is all downhill makes it a little better!  I really started struggling and was getting passed a lot more.  Thinking back though I recall that my breathing wasn’t labored but that my legs really hurt and I just felt bad overall.  Somewhere around here I got a cramp on my right side.  I came through in 6:53.  Glad to keep it under 7.

The last mile is all downhill with 80 feet of elevation loss at a -4% grade (see chart below).  Before the race started I thought downhill with the wind at your back you can fly to the finish.  I tried turning it on, but that didn’t work too well.  Some people passed me and I tried to stay with them and they pulled away a little bit.  It is a little deceiving because the road makes a quick little jog and so you can’t see the finish line, but then you see it for a really long time.   You also run past the starting line.  Finally with about 1/4 mile left I realized that I had to pass all these people and dropped the gears down.  My final 1/4 was 1:21 (which was almost 10 seconds faster than the previous).  The Garmin records your fastest pace (you only have to hit it for a second) and today’s fastest was a 4:24 pace! The final mile was 6:07.

Overall race pace was 6:35 for a 33:02 overall time.  Which was a little disappointing.  Everyone was pretty encouraging and reminded me that this is the first race of the year, so not too put much weight on it.

You can see the 2008 review here.

Comparison Chart 2008 2009
1 6:20 6:35
2 6:12 6:35
3 6:25 6:49
4 6:34 6:53
5 5:51 6:07
Final 31:27 33:02

[tags] Human Race, 8k, Race Review, The Sporting Life [/tags]

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Week 6: Half Marathon Training

Last Year

After a tough week of training including to speed workouts I raced for the first time in 2008 and Minnesota at the Human Race 8k. I was pleased with my race so that was good.  I detailed the information provided from Ryan Shay’s autopsy and the tragedy of his death.   My wife and I have been long time supporters of the ONE Campaign and its efforts to end global poverty.  Last year Mesert Defer won the 3000m World Indoor Championships while wearing a ONE Campaign wristband.  Do you stretch or not? That seems to be an ongoing controversy. I didn’t provide any great insights but just some “expert” opinions. Finally, Foto Friday was some more memorabilia.


Run: 34.0 Miles
Bike: 7.0 Miles

3 m run + strength
8 x 400
5-K pace
3 m run + strength
30 min tempo
Rest or easy run
10-K Race

Monday was an easy 3.25 miles around the Metrodome loop in my new Mizuno shoes! It was 38 with a 35 wind chill, I wore shorts but was a little cold!  There was still plenty of ice around as the snow melt refroze overnight.  26:42. I biked to work and to SALT in the evening for about 10 miles total.

Tuesday was a 8x400m workout.  This time the Garmin functioned properly. It was 45 with a wind chill of 37 which made for pretty decent weather for an interval workout on the Greenway.  It took a little bit to warm-up.  The first 4 were into the wind and the final 4 was with the wind at my back.  The intervals were: 1:32, 1:35, 1:35, 1:31, 1:28, 1:29, 1:30, 1:26. I wasn’t really sore or anything but biking 7 miles (roundtrip) to work helped.

Wednesday I ran a new random route from my house towards Uptown making a square.  It was 3.2 miles in 26:41. It was 31 with no wind which is a nice change.  The sunrise on downtown was beautiful as I crossed over 35-W. I was a little  sore but nothing major and it worked out pretty well.  My foot felt good as well.

Thursday no running for me.

Friday was a rough tempo run.  I felt tired and a little sore when I set out and never really got into a good groove.  I think I hit tempo pace (maybe on a downhill) but couldn’t really sustain it.  It was 30 with a 23 wind chill and a fresh dusting of snow – which probably didn’t help much especially since it was the first day of spring!

Saturday a rare two days of rest in one week… I decided that given the fact that I’m still trying to fight off plantar fascitits, I should take the day off instead of an easy run.  I was on my feet for 3 hours Friday night and my leg was really hurting afterwards.  Ugh.

Sunday afternoon races are a little weird, you have all morning to relax but what to you do about food?  It ws a gorgeous day about 54 around the start.  There was a pretty strong headwind on the way out during the Human Race 8k.  So uphill and headwind aren’t a good combination and downhill and a tailwind when you are exhausted helps a little.  I ran 1:30 slower than last year in 33:02.  I got a cramp at about the 4 mile mark but the downhill helped!

Weekly Mileage

Running 21.7 miles

Biking 20.7 miles

Race Plan: Human Race 8K

This weekend is my first race for 2009.  I ran the Human Race 8k last year, see my review.  I actually wrote a little preview about it last year as well.

The Human Race 8k is put on my TSL Events and has become the annual spring opener.

Last year I finished in 31:27. My goal going into last year was breaking 32 minutes which was a fairly arbitrary number but was based on my goal 10k time.  That also represents my post-college PR.  There aren’t many 8k around.  I don’t actually remember my collegiate 8k PR, but I never broke 30 minutes, but it was below 31 minutes.

The Human Race course is nicely designed for setting PR’s because the last half is downhill.

I think my goal for this year will be to set a new PR – it would be nice to break 31 minutes but that might be stretching it.  To PR would require running a 6:19 pace.  That might be stretching it since I’ve  not run that fast very often this training cylce.

We’ll see what happens.

This post was inspired by this one.

Updated: Be sure to check out how it went!

[tags] Human Race 8k, St Paul, 8k [/tags]

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Thoughts on Running Shoes

I have really enjoyed my Mizuno Wave Inspire running shoes.  I started with the 3 and am now on my third pair of the 4’s.  They came out with a 5, but the 4 is cheaper so that’s what I went for.  Oddly, I first picked up the 3 because it was on the clearance rack at a running shoe store.

I know, that is dangerous.  But I did due diligence and talked with the staff to make sure that the Wave Inspire was the correct shoe for me based on my wearing of the Brooks Adrenaline GTS 7.  Later I found this great chart that shows all of the different major brands and which shoe you should wear based on your current one.

I’m not sure that last sentance makes sense so based on the fact that I wore the Adrenaline GTS it recommends Mizuno’s Wave Inspire and Asics GT-2140, etc… I wish there was a good chart that could help you pick out trail running shoes based on your road shoe, without making a trip to the store.

It is a fun little chart and I recommend looking at it.  A lot of people say that you should never change shoes after you find one that you like, but there is a lot of anecdotal information out there that every now and then it is good to switch brands – each one is a little different and that will help your foot and body.  Obviously, I have changed brands a few times.  I wore Adidas in college, Asics for a few years, then Brooks, and now Mizuno.  I can attest that they are all a little different and my feet have enjoyed pretty much all of them.


I started writing this post to highlight some of the “care instructions” and a “Caution” that came with my most recent Mizuno purchase.  I find them a little humorous.

– None of the Mizuno range shoes are suitable for machine washing.  This may destroy or damage the technical fibers used on the shoes.  We had a freshman one year in college who washed his shoes occasionally (in the washing machine).  One time he washed them and then the next day we ran on some muddy trails.  He complained the whole time about getting his clean shoes muddy.

-Your shoes should be regularly cleaned and maintained.  Generally this can be done by hand washing in soapy water, however you should not use chemically enhanced powders or detergents. Does running through puddles count? I’ve never washed my shoes with soap.  Does it add extra mileage to them?

– Do not force or artificially dry your shoes. This may damage or destroy the materials or substances used in production. Well talk about confusing – don’t wash, then wash them but you can’t dry them.  Actually the best way to dry your shoes is to stuff them with old newspapers and lean them up against a wall so the toes are pointing down.  They’ll usually be dry overnight.

– You should regularly check your shoes to ensure that the necessary components are still suitable for performance as deteriorated midsoles or outsoles may cause injuries.  Components? Are the shoes little widgets? Shoes only last for about 300 – 500 miles depending on your build and gait.  The soles will start to break down and show wear.  Even if they don’t it is a good idea to purchase new ones.


– This product has been designed and manufactured for the sport running. Use of this product for other activities limits the warranty for this product. I didn’t realize shoes had a warranty, except for Nike which would replace any shoe whose air pocket burst.  So if I walk around in my shoes does that void the warranty?  That doesn’t bode well for all of the Jeff Galloway fans out there.  Not to mention the grammatical error!

[tags] Running Shoes, Nike, Asics, Mizuno, Brooks, Adidas, Shoe Care [/tags]

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