Monthly Archives: December 2009

2009 Numbers

2009 Running Mileage

863.89 miles of running
580 miles of biking
250 logged workouts
40 degrees – average temperature
12.61 miles of elliptical
12 weight workouts
10 physical therapy sessions
8 pairs of shoes
5k of cross-country skiing
4.6 miles of swimming
3 miles of snow shoeing
1 annoying foot

Plantar Fasciitis did everything it could to ruin my running year.  Including not running since October 4.

Happy 2010!!

Best of 2009

It is the time of year to look back on the previous 12 months and reflect on the good, the bad, and the ugly.  A lot happens in 12 months.  Much of what happens isn’t planned.   For example, who would plan to have Plantar Fasciitis for 10 months and counting? This time last year I had no idea I’d be typing this post from the comfort of my own house or that I’d be enjoying a two week vacation because I’m still working at a school.

I did know that I’d have completed my second marathon, though I was hoping to be heading to Boston. I also knew that Team Cross would have some great adventures and fun throughout the year and we did! Each year we make a book and/or calendar from MyPublisher with pictures from the past year.  It is a great way to reflect back on some of the great times of the year.

I’ve written a variety of “Best Of” posts in past years.  This is going to be a tamed down version! The two most objective things are race performance (based on time) and most read blog posts (based on page views).

I think the only race I ran this year without being injured was the Securian Winter Carnival Half Marathon, but it was cut in half and really, really cold.  The most scenic race was the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon. I only ran 8 races this year (last year I ran 14).  My best three races were all in the spring (which isn’t too surprising).

#3 Human Race 8k

#2 Brian Kraft 5k

and…

#1  TC 1 Mile

Now for the most read blog posts…  I use Google Analytics for these numbers.  So far in 2009 I’ve had 12,964 visits and 18,136 pageviews. The best day at Team Cross Runs was on February 3 (during Salmonella outbreak). For my top 5 posts I took out the obvious one of people landing at my home page (1,835 views) and the obscure Merry Christmas 2007 post which still amazes me (1,160 views).

#5 Running the Minneapolis Riverfront – 445 views

#4 Caffeine: A Banned Substance – 488 views

#3 Treatments for Plantar Fasciitis – 719 views

#2 Stillwater Marathon Has Problems – 767 views  (this actually sat above the Stillwater Marathon site                                 for awhile in Google)

#1 Salmonella and Powerbars – 1,999 views

My craziest adventure in 2009 was winter camping in February at Afton State Park.  But probably the craziest run I did in 2009 was when the temperature was -21 and the windchill was -34.

* I used the McMillian Calculator to pick my best races.

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One more Week

We only have one more week of 2009, where did it go? Hopefully it was a good year for you and you’ve begun reflecting on 2009 and looking forward to 2010. That is the topic for another post, this is just a look back at the week that was.

It started out really well, since I didn’t have to go to work! Monday was nice and relaxing. Vegging out and catching up on e-mail and other stuff on the computer. I did make it to the gym and the elliptical and weight machines. It is a different feel in the middle of the day. It is really funny to see the old women and some men dressed up in nice clothes but lifting weights or using the elliptical. 30 minutes and 2.9 miles.

Tuesday I hit the pool and did 10 x 50 yards with 45 seconds in between. I found this swimming workout for beginner triathletes. I’m still not planning on doing a tri, but I thought it would give me some motivation and something to actually focus on in the pool, instead of just swimming.  I also found this 9 Good Reasons Why You Should Get in the Pool.  I actually started feeling sick on Tuesday, mostly just sinus related.  So I didn’t do anything else until repeating the swim workout on Saturday.  Unless of course you count shoveling at least 3 times for the 9.8 official inches of snow we got that doesn’t really count the icy mix that ended the Christmas storm covering 3 or 4 days.  So I got quite a workout! Not being up and down on my feet all day has really helped my foot heal.

We had a great Christmas by ourselves.  While it is nice not to have the stress of travelling, it is really weird and hard not to be with family on Christmas.  Thanks to Skype we were able to video chat with some of the family and that made it better.

Previous Posts

I finished my Best of 2007 series with a look at National Performances and my Top 5 ArticlesFoto Friday was all of my race “hardware” and numbers from 2007.   In 2008, I discussed Running and Meditation.  In the 2008 Best of Series  I displayed my favorite race number: TC 1 Mile race number.  Foto Friday was of the Best Foto from 2008.

Happy Trails!

Have I mentioned that I really miss running?

Full Disclosure

Team Cross is an Amazon affiliate. We receive a percentage of the purchase price on anything you buy through one of our Amazon links, including purchases you make while on Amazon that we did not link directly to.

While ensuring we comply with the new FTC requirements this is also a friendly reminder to support Team Cross by starting all your Amazon shopping at http://www.teamcrossworld.com/amazon.

Up to this point Team Cross hasn’t received any free or reduced price products or race entries for reviewing on this blog. If that happens in the future I’ll be sure to mention it somewhere in the post and they aren’t guaranteed a good review!

Feel free to start shopping at our wish list!

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Safety Pin & Preparation

Here is a guest post from my friend, the great Mike Nawrocki.  It is an interesting story about how even “experienced runners” make big mistakes!  Enjoy!

I helped coach the MDRA Fall Marathon Program this year.  During the week leading up to the Medtronic TCM, I e-mailed the members of the training group about 262 inspirational quotes to ponder in the days leading up to the marathon.  Or better yet, as they trudged up Summit Avenue for four miles.  And I opened the list with one of my all-time favorite quotes, this one by Roger Bannister.

“Sport is not about being wrapped up in cotton wool. Sport is about adapting to the unexpected and being able to modify plans at the last minute. Sport, like all life, is about taking risks.”

Little did I know just how much this quote and all the people who I helped “coach” (I use that term loosely) this summer would pull me through my own race: the TC10.

My goal for the TC10 was two-fold: finish in under an hour, but also finish with a smile on my face.  I got to the Metrodome about 90 minutes before my race.  Every time I got up to walk somewhere, I noticed my sock was sticky.

And here is a typical conversation I had with myself every time I re-discovered my sock was sticky.  “That’s weird,” I thought, “And kind of gross.  Feels like peanut butter.  Yum I like peanut butter.  Especially peanut butter cookies.  Oh and peanut brittle.  Not really made of peanut butter.  But brittle and butter sound the same.  Hey!  Which one do I like better?  Peanut brittle or peanut butter cookies.  Gotta go with the latter.  Easier to eat in mass quantities.  Eating in mass quantities.  Awesome.  I like fried cheese sticks….”  As you can see it didn’t take me long to forget “The Mystery of the Sticky Sock.”

Image from wickamoo

For years I have had a reputation for being somewhat of a flake.  The fact that I kept forgetting to investigate “The Mystery of the Sticky Sock” has done little to dispel this reputation.

In fact, I forgot all about my sticky sock until about a mile and a half into the TC10, when my sock became conspicuously “unsticky.”  I had started my race beautifully.  I went through mile one in 5:45, which admittedly was 20 to 30 seconds faster than I had planned.  But given my track record of going out 200 to 300 seconds too fast in races, who was I too complain?

Well, me.  I began to complain once I realized what was now “unsticky” in my sock.  And by “complain” I mean “curse a blue streak that would make a sailor turned red.”  I had cracked the case of “The Mystery of the Sticky Sock.”  That sticky thing in my sock was now a very loose, but closed, safety pin bouncing around the inside of my sock and the bottom of my foot.  So now I had a new mystery:  “The Mystery of How the *%#$@#!$! That Safety Pin Got in My Sock.”

But I had had more urgent matters to address.  We are all familiar with the “five stages of grief” we supposedly go through after a loss.  And in the thirty seconds it took me to realize there was a safety pin in my sock to finally deciding to sacrifice seconds and take the pin out of my sock, I hit all five stages.  I had to accept the possible loss of my goal: breaking 60:00 in this race.  So much for debating cheese sticks vs. peanut brittle!  Instead this is what I said to myself…

“What the *&%^$#@! is bouncing in my shoe?  It feels like a safety pin.  No way.  How the *&%^$#@! did a safety pin get in there!?  I’m still sleep-walking in the Metrodome.  I’m dreaming this. Seriously, how the *&%^$#@! did a safety pin get in my sock?!?! (stage 1: Denial)…

…*&%^$#@! That really is a safety pin!  I mean seriously! How does a safety pin get in my sock!!! &%^$#@!*&%^$#@!*&%^$#@!*&%^$#@! *%#$@#!$! (stage 2: Anger)…

Image from ~k~

There’s no way I can stop.  Every second is precious.  Here’s the deal.  If I move the pin around a bit, I’ll find just the right spot for it—a safe little nook for the pin to be where it won’t bother any toes.  And if I run just right, who’s to say it will ever open?  … (stage 3: Bargaining)…

…You know what?  That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever told myself.  And I’ve told myself some dumb things.  Wow a lot of dumb things now that I think about it.  Seriously how the *&%^$#@! did a safety pin get in my sock?!?! What kind of a rookie error is this?  I’m an idiot (stage 4: Depression).”

And of course the final stage is Acceptance.  I came to accept that the prospect of a pin stuck in my big toe was quite a bit worse than the prospect of not reaching my goal-time.  So it took me about a minute to get my shoe and sock off, shake the pin out, and finally get the sock and shoe back on.

As I hopped back up and started running again, I debriefed a little. I took stock of where I was at. Unable to answer the burning question of the moment (how the *&%^$#@! a pin got in my sock), I tackled bigger issues.  I thought about how I had a built-in alibi.  If I didn’t break 60 minutes, I could explain away any seconds over the one hour threshold to “The Mystery of How the *%#$@#!$! That Safety Pin Got in My Sock.”

But I thought about it a little more.  Part of racing is preparation.  Some of us take it for granted.  I have learned I can’t.  If I can’t get my socks on without endangering myself, that has to be factored into my time.  I thought about many of the e-mails and spoken advice I preached to the training class.  And they all had two central themes: 1) Prepare for every possibility, as much as you can, logistically and mentally, and 2) what you cannot prepare for, adapt to it quickly and smartly.

Not only had I preached this to the people in the MDRA training program, but I had seen them practice it.  I needed to be like them.  I had failed myself in terms of the first half of the message (preparing logistically), and it was now up to me to follow-through on the second-half and adapt.

I made it to the two mile mark in just over twelve minutes.  Close to where I wanted to be.

My mind went back to both the Bannister quote and to so many runners in our training program who had talked with me about how to train through injury, illness, and personal setbacks.  And I saw so many of those same people that morning in the Metrodome ready to toe the line for the marathon.  And thanks to them, I was able to put “The Mystery of How the *%#$@#!$! That Safety Pin Got in My Sock” behind me, and adapt to a new plan.  I could have quit my goal.  I had the alibi.  But I told myself I had to factor my own carelessness and distractibility into my time.  The risk was to go for my goal, even though less than two miles into the race, my entire plan blew up in my face.

And like Sir Roger Bannister said, isn’t that sport is all about?  Learning to take risks and adapt to adversity?  So I did it.  I finished in under an hour, and with a smile on my face.   But I do not believe I could have done if I didn’t spend all summer with the people in the training program.  I saw people adapting and taking risks on a regular basis at our practices.  So I just want to say thank you to everyone in the class for that.  You guys did a great job just by signing up and taking the risk that is training for a marathon.  You were the inspiration I needed at mile 1.5 of my own race.

It seems silly to think that preparing and running in a race will help me for life’s bigger challenges.  To quote the Mighty Mighty Bosstones: “I’m not a coward; I’ve just never been tested.  I’d like to that if I was I would pass.” But every day we lace up our running shoes to train for a race.  And every race we run, where there are no guarantees, we are training ourselves to step up to the bigger challenges life will throw at us.  And that is why I run.

But seriously, how the *%#$@#!$! did that a safety pin get in my sock?  Some mysteries, I have come to accept, go unsolved.

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Winter Break

The beauty of working for a school is winter break! Two weeks without work!!  Which started on Friday!

Throughout the past week I didn’t make it to the gym except on Saturday for 30 minutes on the elliptical and the weight machines.  I’m pretty much getting anxious to run again and ready to cut off my foot!  Though I don’t think that will help the process much.   I haven’t written any Best of 2009 posts yet and the year is almost over.  Maybe I’ll do it in January, or maybe I won’t do it at all.

Best of 2007

It was this week in 2007 that I switched sites from Run Central Indiana to Team Cross Runs.  I really liked the concept of RCI and was sad that no one wanted to continue its work.   Foto Friday was of snow covered leaves at Mounds.

My first running video was a Snowcast at Powderhorn Park.  The next chapter of the Sacred Art of Running was Running Prayers. Yummy cookies were featured in this Foto Friday