Monthly Archives: April 2009

Race Plan: Lake Minnetonka Half-Marathon

The time has come.  Twelve weeks of training is about to pay off on what should be a beautiful morning to race around beautiful Lake Minnetonka.

Yesterday I published a course preview and I must say that I think it is a pretty ideal course.  Point to point, a few hills, and nice scenery.

My goal is to break 1:30:00 in the half-marathon.  This equals a 6:52 pace for 13.1 miles.  I always say this – but my plan is to go out slow and finish faster.  I’d like to go through the first mile in about 7:15 and then slowly pick up the pace throughout.  I don’t often do this part successfully (although I did it too successfully at the Mid-South Half Marathon, going out 8:05 which was a little too slow!).

I’ve been able to nudge my times down.  My official PR is 1:33:22 set at the Rochester Half Marathon last year.  However, during the City of Lakes 25k I came through the half-marathon in 1:31 something.

I just need to relax, go out slow, and not get over-psyched about the race and I’ll let my training speak for itself.  A Sunday morning race, will make for a pretty low-key Saturday (hopefully) and I should be able to get and stay hydrated and eat good pre-race foods.

About the Race

The 2009 Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon in its 29th year of running filled and closed again this year.  As suspected this is NOT a closed course (if you look at the map you’ll see that some of these roads are the only way in and out of the area) but you are allowed to wear headphones!  They are offering awards in 10 year age groups.  There isn’t much race history to be found on the website.  Wells Fargo is the “title” sponsor for the event starting in downtown Wayzata and finishing in downtown Excelsior.

About Lake Minnetonka

From the Lake Minnetonka website:

Lake Minnetonka (meaning “Big Waters” in the native Dakota language), is located twenty miles due West of Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota. Formed by glacial melting following the last Ice Age, Lake Minnetonka is one of the largest lakes in the state, boasting 110 miles of shoreline (officially). Other estimates have placed the figure closer to 350 miles, but any way you slice it, it’s a BIG lake.

Various Native American tribes inhabited the area for centuries before the lake was discovered by portagers in 1822. Ancient Indian burial mounds are visible in many locations along the shoreline, and one village on the western end of the lake was originally christened “Mound City” for this reason (known today simply as Mound).

In 1852, a dam was built on Minnehaha Creek and a logger’s settlement grew into the village of Minnetonka Mills. That same year, a fellow from New York City by the name of George Bertram, after a brief visit to the lake, returned to the east coast and recruited a number of his friends, establishing the “Excelsior Pioneer Association”. They returned to Lake Minnetonka in 1853 and founded the town of Excelsior on the southern side of the lower lake.

Wayzata (Dakota for “North Shore”), was founded in 1854, followed by Deephaven, Orono, and nearly a dozen other townships and municipalities.

[tags] Lake Minnetonka, Half Marathon, Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon [/tags]

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Course Preview: Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon

In preparation for this weekend’s Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon, today I’ll look at the race course.

This is a Map My Run Map of the course provided by the race directors.

And their elevation chart – which is kind of weird looking. It says there is a total elevation gain of 17 feet over the entire course.  With a minimum elevation of 912 and a maximum of 1,004feet.  My driving of the course and the picture makes them seem like at most rolling.

Awhile back I drove the course with my video camera.  You can watch a high-speed version (13 minutes) of the video below or a longer (26 minutes) video here.

Below are a couple of pictures from taken along the course (click to enlarge).

Updated: In a pre-race e-mail from the director, there are a few course changes:

Race Course Modification
Just so you are all aware, there are three course changes this year that you should be aware of and pay attention to:

1. START LINE: Moved 300 feet toward Rice Street, away from Wayzata Blvd.
2. 10K MARK: Please follow the arrows and cones as you approach the 10K mark on the course. As you come off of Northview Drive, instead of turning onto Lake Rd where the 3rd Water Stop is located, proceed onto the trail and follow the signs on the course.
3. FINISH LINE: The Finish line has moved 300 feet closer to the LRT Trail exit in Excelsior. Instead of heading across Water Street over to the Wells Fargo Bank parking lot, everything is going to be staged in the main parking lot near the finish line. The school buses will be waiting on George Street after the race to return you to Wayzata.

[tags] Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon, Half Marathon, Lake Minnetonka [/tags]

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World No Tobacco Day 5K

Want to help low-income children who suffer from persistent asthma? While running a fast 5k?

Check out the World No Tobacco Day 5K Run to be held on May 31, 2009.  Smoke Free Dakota County is hosting this first-year event that will run along the Big Rivers Regional Trail starting in Lilydale.  The 5k starts at 8am or take part in the group stretching event at 7:40.  Registration begins at $15 before May 1 and tops out at $20 for race day entry.

Their will be prizes for the top 3 male and female finishers along with a Sprint cellphone give-away that is open to all runners.

Diane Tran, race director, summarized her thoughts about the race for me:

We’re so excited to celebrate World No Tobacco Day 2009 with a 5K race on a beautiful trail in northern Dakota County! The course overlooks the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota rivers and will be a lot of fun for the runners. Also, our t-shirts are pretty rad!

From their website:

Join Smoke-Free Dakota for the World No Tobacco Day 5K Run on Sunday, May 31, 2009! The run will benefit low-income children with persistent asthma to attend Camp SuperKids 2009, a weeklong summer camp sponsored by the American Lung Association in Minnesota. Asthma is the leading serious chronic illness in children in the U.S. and is the number one cause of student absences related to chronic conditions. Campers will learn to better manage their asthma and gain confidence through building relationships with their peers to ensure a future of better health!

The USATF-certified 5K Run (Certification # MN-09010-RR) will start at the eastern end (in Lilydale) of the Big Rivers Regional Trail, a nearly flat paved trail built on an abandoned railroad bed overlooking the confluence of the Minnesota and Mississppi Rivers.

Check out their “rad” t-shirt design:

[tags] Dakota County, Smoke Free, 5k, Asthma, USATF [/tags]

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Week 11: Half Marathon Training

Last Year

I was a little disappointed with my race at the 2008 Earth Day Half Marathon and Week 12 of training.  I also registered for my first marathon – Twin Cities while Chicago filled up. I started a new series which lasted for awhile posting up various race numbers on Wednesday.  I highlighted a new report on running being a prevention for dementia.   Foto Friday was a glamor shot of me from the half-marathon.

Mileage:

Running – 26.2 (ironic eh?)

3 m run + strength
6 x 800
10-K pace
3 m run + strength
60 min tempo
Rest
3 m pace
2:00 run

Monday I did an easy 3.28 mile run past Powderhorn.  It felt good and the weather was nice – 38 and overcast. I ran it in 25:46.

Tuesday was an interval day.  I wanted something different than the Greenway so I did my Riverfront loop – not sure how it would work out with my 6 x800 at 10k pace – 6:26 or 3:12 for an 800.  My warm-up time ended right before hitting the River Rd so I stopped the timer until I got there and began my first interval down the hill to the river.  I felt pretty good on most of them, some had more wind and hills than others but this workout was more like race conditions due to the varying terrain than on the Greenway. My splits with 400 meters rest were 3:03, 3:07, 3:19, 3:23, 3:16, 3:08.  So on average pretty good.  The total run was 7.14 miles in 54:10.  It was 38 and sunny with a 28 wind chill (so that says a little something about the wind).

Wednesday on a very sunny morning I went for a 3.25 mile run.  I’ve really enjoyed the change in pace of my runs through the neighborhoods – going out about 1.5 miles turning and coming back.  Today I went east towards Seward on 26th St – crossing Hiawatha at the light.  Turning on 29th Ave and heading back on 24th St.  It was 41 with a 35 wind chill.  About a mile into the run I saw a bicyclist get hit by a car.  Luckily the car was stopped and just started to roll forward.  I’m not sure what the idiot was doing since all 5 lanes of traffic were stopped and 3 bikes were crossing in a bike crossing lane.  She was fine and the driver and other cyclists were helping her so I continued on.  Everything felt pretty loose except for my heel for the first 1/2 mile or so.  I didn’t wear any tape on the run today.  I finished in 24:35.

Thursday was absolutely gorgeous – but I rested.

Friday was a beautiful day.  Sunny. Mid 60’s.  But a little too warm for my body.  I planned on the 60 minute tempo run but had to cut it short at 7 miles (52:45) because I could feel that I was overheating.  The run started out well on the Sibley trail but about 3 miles in things started falling apart – I went “exploring” a bit which was stupid and then struggled to get back into a groove.  I did get down into the 10k goal pace range for a little bit.  I could feel my breakfast sitting in my stomach, then my shoulder got really tight, and finally I could feel my face burning up and getting really hot.  I decided to just quit at mile 7 and walk the last 3/4 mile in.  I felt really hot the rest of the day.

Saturday morning I met Nathan and we along with a friend of his ran about 9 total miles.  We went from his house near Minnehaha Falls and ran to Pike Island at a nice easy pace and then watched the start of the 2009 Get in Gear 10k.  We didn’t see many people we knew but cheered them on anyways.  It was a pretty perfect day for a race – lower 40’s with a slight breeze.  We had an enjoyable – slow run about 80 total minutes (including our really slow jog back to Nathan’s house after the start of the race).  Looking at my map – the Garmin did a really weird thing while out on Pike Island – but the distances seem pretty close.

Sunday I did my now usual swim and rest in the hot tub at the YWCA.  I only did a couple of laps – 250 yards since I’m tapering.  No need to wear yourself out!  It was kind of a rainy morning too so it was nice to be inside.

Weekly Mileage

Running  -29.4 miles

Biking -29.8 miles

Swimming – 250 yards

Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis
Image via Wikipedia

This post is popular, but I also wanted to point out an updated 18 steps to get rid of Plantar Fasciitis.

I’ve been enduring the pain of Plantar Fasciitis in my heel for most of this training cycle.  When  I first started feeling the pain I took almost a week off.  While the pain has never gone away it does ebb and flow.  It hurts the most in the mornings and then kind of tapers off throughout the day, likewise at the beginning of a run it hurts and then loosens itself up. Some days the pain is worse than others.  I’ve been icing and popping pills throughout.

As the weather has gotten nicer and I’ve been biking, I decided to see what the research said about biking and Plantar Fasciitis.  I didn’t want to make it worse by biking.  Fortunately, biking seems to be okay – but running and walking aren’t.

One thing that the resources I present below don’t talk about is checking your shoes – ensuring that your shoes haven’t been overused, in mileage or showing excessive wear.  I also found previously that I needed to check all my shoes – even casual and business ones.  A few years ago my work shoes were really worn down in the heels and I couldn’t figure out why my heels hurt so much.  I switched shoes and the pain quickly went away.  We spend a lot of time in our casual/work shoes – ensure they are working properly as well.

I love some of the simplicity of these ideas and the humor as well.  There are plenty of good tips though.

I found a website called Heel Spurs that lists a few simple treatments for Plantar Fasciitis:

  1. Stretching,
  2. Ice,
  3. Tape,
  4. Rest,
  5. Arch support, and
  6. Losing weight

Another website for North Coast Foot Care provides some more in-depth ideas:

  1. Stop running, jogging or walking. Swim or bike instead.
  2. If you work out on a treadmill, stop! This is the worst activity for your heels.
  3. Avoid the stair stepper. The stair stepper puts a lot of stress through your arch.
  4. If you are up and down at work a lot, try to limit it, and get up only once an hour, or once every 2 hours.
  5. At home, avoid going up and down the stairs multiple times. Have your spouse, significant other or child run up or down for you.
  6. Try to avoid steep hills. Stairs are better than hills. Walking up the stairs sideways will help take the stress off your feet.
  7. Do not lift or carry heavy items. This adds to the total amount of force that goes through your feet. This also increases the total impact on your heel.
  8. Do not lift your kids and carry them. Use a stroller, have them walk, or let your spouse/significant other carry them.
  9. Don’t lift weights. If you do, make sure you are seated
  10. The EFX (elliptical) machine at the gym can also aggravate plantar fasciitis. If you must exercise with this, lower the platform adjustment to it’s lowest level.

As well as some specific ideas for athletes:

  1. The best approach is to rest the foot for 10-14 days.
  2. Cross train by road or mountain biking, swimming or weight lifting.
  3. Do all the therapy outlined on the about heel pain page.
  4. Be aggressive about this treatment, stretching as much as possible throughout the day and
  5. Icing or contrasting between hot and cold as much as your schedule allows.
  6. Swim for exercise, or bike at low resistance at the gym and avoid the recumbent bike. If you bike outside, spin up the hills (use the lowest gears). Of course it is better to avoid hills if possible. Do not drop your heel while cycling, this puts excess stress through the Achilles tendon and the arch. Wear cycling shoes, or rigid shoes while cycling.
  7. Consider weight lifting. Avoid standing while lifting weights. Avoid squats, calf lifts and quad bench presses. There are many areas that we tend to avoid when we focus on specific training, especially the upper body. Try to readjust your focus for a few weeks.
  8. If you have pain at any time during the return, taper your routine accordingly. If you have a small amount of pain, then don’t increase the mileage or intensity, or give it a day’s break to rest and ice and stretch. If you have a lot of pain when you return, then you should take a full two weeks off from the activity and see your physician to consider more aggressive therapy. Physical therapy and orthotics would be good treatments to add.

I will say I’ve felt the best on Monday’s after swimming and sitting in the hot tub on Sunday mornings and any day after resting.  I’ve continued to stretch and ice, occasionally taking some ibuprofen, but other than that I’ve not done a good job of taking care of my heel!  After the half-marathon I plan on taking some time off and letting it heel some more!!

What have you done to treat Plantar Fasciitis?

[tags] Plantar Fasciitis, Heel, Injuries, Running [/tags]

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Week 10: Half Marathon Training

Last Year

Week 11 and the taper began.  You might recall that a group of runners were attacked by a swarm of bees and a suicide bomber last year.  Two incidents – one story.  Last year I began looking forward to by goal of racing my first marathon with this contemplative post.  Another compilation post of two great lists that every runner should read at least once.   Foto Friday was a picture of the infamous Grandma’s Saloon & Grill sign of Grandma’s Marathon Fame.

Mileage:

Running – 28.3 miles

3 m run + strength

4 x 1600
Race pace

3 m run + strength
55 min tempo
Rest
5 m pace
2:00 run (3/1)

Monday an easy 3.25 miles on the Metrodome loop.  I was very tight and sore for the first 1/2 mile or so then it seemed everything loosened up.  It was 43 with a 38 wind chill so not too shabby!  A pretty uneventful run and some core work afterwards.  I finished in 25:00.

Tuesday was a 4 x 1600 at race pace or 6:52. It was 40 and sunny when I set out along the Greenway for the interval workout.  I did a 5 minute warm-up (10 is better I’ve decided) and then the workout with 1/4 mile rest between each. The 4 intervals were 6:45, 6:46, 6:39, and 6:42.  Not too bad, though the purpose of the workout is to help your body remember what goal pace is – so on that note I failed!

Wednesday was a new random route through the Whittier neighborhood.  I just took off down 24th Street and made a left turn at about 1.5 miles and came back along 26th Street to my house.  There aren’t many options to cross over 35-W so I’ve got to be a little careful that I don’t mess one of these up! It was 40 and sunny.  My legs felt a little tight from yesterday’s workout.  I finished in 23:48.

Thursday was a nice day off.

Friday I ran my 55 minute tempo run along the Minnesota River on the Sibley trail.  This is a nice flat trail that meanders along next to the river through different scenery.  The out and back tempo was about 7.5 miles and I felt pretty good for most of it – the last few miles were pretty tired.  I kept trying to push the pace and got pretty close to tempo pace.  It was in the low 50’s and overcast for the run. When I woke up my Plantar didn’t hurt which was a nice change – too bad it didn’t last.

Saturday we met at Lebanon Hills again for a nice easy long run.  It was in the low-50’s with the sun starting to peak through the clouds and we did about 12 miles in 1:36:26 on the east side of the park.  This side is flatter but still has plenty of hills to make you tougher! It felt like a pretty relaxed pace for most of the run which was a nice change!

Sunday I did a nice easy 300 yards at the YWCA pool.  It was empty so I had a lane to myself and I actually swam most of it continously which is a good change.

Total Mileage:

Run: 32.2 Miles
Bike: 22.0 Miles
Swim: 300 Yards