Category Archives: Half Marathon

08262018 – Run

Today was so humid that at the end of my run my fingers were starting to prune up a little bit.  At least it was relatively cool through the whole run!  I picked a route that I’ve ridden before but never run and when I’ve ridden it is been 12 miles.  So I thought it would work for 13.1.  I was quite off and needed to add a good amount of trails at Wirth to get there.

I started out running from my house and ran to the Mississippi River.  I haven’t run along the river in a long time. Especially this section.  The run was a Time Trial, so I wanted to find the balance of going fast, but surviving the entire 13 miles.  I set my Virtual Pacer for 9 minute miles and thought that would be good.  I was a little shocked when I came through the first mile in 8:13. Ok, no problem slow down a little bit… Crap.  I came through the 2nd mile in 7:52.  That was not going to be a sustainable pace for the whole thing. I turned off the River onto Cedar Lake Trail and my pace finally slowed down to 8:37.  I haven’t run on such flat easy places for awhile and my body wanted to move!  The Cedar Lake Trail is pretty straight forward urban trail that turns into a prairie trail.. I did 8:15 and then 8:34 for mile 5.

I wanted to run the dirt trails on the East side of Cedar Lake and to add some distance I ran all the way to where they actually start on the southside and ran back around the lake.  I never ran these trails enough to know what the best routes are or an easy way to add a nice loop.  One time in there I had to backtrack quite a bit.  I ended up running less than a mile in the dirt trail section.  Mile 6 was 8:48.  Running on the paved trails around Cedar Lake are so nice with the sun coming over the trees and downtown sparkling. I ran past all the beaches and extended the run by going out onto the points when possible.  Mile 7 was 9:25, 8 was 10:23, and 9 was 9:38.  I was definitely feeling tired at this point.  I had been drinking some, but the food I brought wasn’t very good and was hard to eat.

It was right before mile 9 that I turned off the pavement and was on trails for most of the rest of the run.  I knew that from Cedar Point beach home it would be about 3 miles on the Parkways. So when I ran past it before hitting 8 miles I would need to make up a lot of miles somewhere.  I’ve not run around Brownie Lake, but I probably should have tried today!

Obviously being back on the trails at Wirth was going to slow down my pace unless I tried to pick it up. Feeling tried at that point wasn’t ideal, but I kept pushing on.  I ended up walking some of the uphills. Mile 10 was 12:55, 11 was 12:19, and 12 was 11:20.  Mile 11 was the end of the dirt trails and back on the parkway.  I went past the Trailhead at around 11.5 miles.  The Trailhead is only a half mile from home, so I had to keep going!  It is always sad to pass my road and know I need to keep running!  I hit Mile 13 at the top of the hill on Golden Valley Road in 13:31 and then knew it was all downhill from there on out!  I stopped about 1/4 mile down the road and hit 8:33 pace again.  I decided to stop my watch and walk the last few blocks home (uphill).

My plantar fasciitis foot was really hurting at the front of the arch.  Hopefully it recovers quickly.  I also need to get my nutrition figured out for the race.  I did order some gel packets and will bring a bar or two to have during the race.

Just a few more weeks to go!

08182018 – Run

This was the first of two half marathons that I will run.  I had looked at trying to do a race for one of them and actually almost signed up for the Bluff Tuff race or the Mendota Bottoms 10 miler.  I probably should have but it was also nice to save the money and get to sleep in a little bit!

I’m actually writing this a week later so I won’t remember the details…  I started out with the event trails at Wirth.  I ran North first to get some distance in and then ran down to the starting point of Karate Monkey trails. And then did them, skipping the spaghetti loop. After exiting the Karate Monkey trails I ran along the cart path up the sledding hill and turned and kept going up to the upper stadium and jumped onto the trails there.  From there I finished out the Area 36 loop with the shortcut through the Quarry and then ran the entire Area 36 loop with The Tube.  This actually earned me the 8th overall time for the loop!  The 2.5 mile loop has 80ft of elevation gain and took me 28:38 to complete.

After completing the loop I grabbed some water at the Trailhead fountains and then did my normal Wirth loop backwards through the Bog.  I had to get a little creative on the Butler side of the park to get more miles in.  I knew that when I left the park by Xerxes I’d have a mile to go straight home.  I ended up hitting that point with about a mile and a half left.  So I added on some extra sections and kept heading towards home.  I passed all my normal cut thru’s and hit 13 miles just north of the main parking lot and finished out the run completing 13.28 miles in 2:23:07.  I got about 1,000 feet of elevation gain for the entire run.

There were only a few flat sections so my pace never really got close to where my “goal” pace should have been.  My mile splits were really all over the place with mile 10 being the slowest.  I did walk some of the hills after the halfway point and I didn’t really take on much nutrition throughout.

Race Review: MN Half Marathon

9330_1406813551 This was probably one of my best executed races that I’ve ever run.  Probably in large part because I wasn’t concerned about my time.  My training wasn’t consistent or really at any level where I could set expectations.  I decided I wanted to finish under 2 hours and run a negative split.

The MN Half Marathon was the official race for Team World Vision this year.  I wasn’t 100% sure if I was going to race it, even though I’m our team captain,  as the date fell during the few weeks my wife had scheduled vacation.  We decided on a staycation and I signed up a few weeks before.  I had been training as if I was racing it so that wasn’t a big deal.  There were over 200 Team World Vision runners participating raising money for clean water in Africa.  The final stats have been released, but you can bet that a lot of people got will receive access to clean water thanks to the fundraising efforts.  You can donate to me here.

The event was a good size, not huge but not super tiny.  Packet pickup went smoothly at Union Depot the night before.  I arrived in plenty of time to park, relax, get our team picture, take a dump and race!  This event had a roller blade race, duathlon (roller blade and running), and several running distances.  I’ve never participated in an event with roller bladers before and I’m pleased to say that I beat some!!

The start was along Shepherd Road in St. Paul.  After taking my dump, I walked up and was at the very back of the pack.  I wanted to start out slow, but I didn’t want 11:30 pace slow and knew that it would be a lot of work to run through the crowd from the back. As I was walking, I saw one of my teammates and told him he needed to move up with me.  I wasn’t sure what he could for the half, but knew from the times we had trained together that he needed to start further up.  I did worry later that I might have ruined his race, but even at the end he was happy that I did that!!
I started with the 9:30 pace group and we took off heading East.  It was flat for most of this 3 mile leg, with one decent hill that you climbed two times maybe a mile or so apart.  As long as you didn’t blaze up it, there shouldn’t have been a problem.  This stretch was super sunny as there was not a single tree.  Running along the more “industrial” part of the river was interesting.

By the time we passed the starting area I was already between the 9:15-9:00 pace groups.  I was feeling pretty good and happy with my race so far!  The second out and back portion of the race was a little more scenic and had 2 hills that we ran up on the way out and of course on the way back!  I passed the half way mark right around an hour and knew that I was either going to hit both goals or neither goal!

By mile 8 I was starting to see Team World Vision runners that I knew from training and would wish them well as I passed.  Oh, I haven’t mentioned that the temp for the race start was in the 60’s but the humidity was pretty high and by the end of the race it was almost 80.  So it wasn’t a stellar day and many people were suffering from the heat.  There weren’t a ton of aid stations, but I think there was a good amount.  They had trouble keeping the supply of cups ready, but I was able to get water and Gatorade as I needed it.  I was also taking a shot blok every 3 miles.  We passed a runner down as we slipped under 35E and that’s where I ran into Scott and Erin.

We exchanged pleasantries and luck and I continued on my way.  A few minutes later Erin caught up with me.  We ran together chit-chatting for the next few miles.   I think having someone to chat with helped distract through some of the middle miles.  We were both trying to stay in the shade (what little was available) and finish strong.  I would say that we separated around mile 10, she really needed salt, but the aid stations nor medical stops had any salt.  Medical stops also didn’t have vaseline (I didn’t need it but a guy near me kept asking them for it).

At one point in mile 11 as we were coming upon the hill, I realized that everyone was following the curve of the road to stay in the shade, but that created a much longer way to travel.  I knew it was a little bit of a gamble to choose the shorter course over the shade, but I took the chance.  I think I ended up doing that twice.   I was still feeling pretty good and knew that if I kept pushing myself I’d finish well.  At a couple points I mentally checked myself so that I wouldn’t get over excited or ahead of myself before I actually finished.  In the last set of hills my glute and foot started hurting, but not in a way that impacted me too much.

CAM05278Most World Vision runners wore the bright orange jersey (t-shirt, a few of us wear the singlet).  During the picture time I had seen a guy wearing a t-shirt with the World Vision logo and pictures of kids on the back of his shirt.  I assumed the kids were kids he sponsored and thought it was great that he improvised a way to honor them in the race. At some point in these later miles I saw the pictures of the kids laying on the ground and scooped them up and handed them back to him as I ran past.  He was super amazed and appreciative.  I didn’t realize it but he was really struggling to finish and that really motivated him and helped him remember his purpose in running.  After the race this random guy comes up to me in the World Vision tent and said I want to give you a sweaty man hug.  Awkward!  Then I saw the pictures in his hand and realized who he was.  We talked a bit about the race, etc.  And he was wearing a crossfit shirt so we of course talked about that! We exchanged info and he e-mailed me a story that he hope his box will publish.  I couldn’t find it posted yet.  It is a powerful story of an ex-runner, but someone engaged in fitness who felt compelled by the need for clean water to run again!

In the last mile I knew that if nothing major happened I would be successful in my goals and kept pushing myself to finish strong. There was an ambulance near the finish line picking up a runner which was a little freaky and not something you want to see.  As I crossed the finish line I was relieved to see that the clock and my watch both read 1:5x:xx YES!!  I had done it.  I had executed the perfect race!   My tweet post race summed up my feelings:

Here is the data from Strava:

Final Official Results:


Trail Half Tomorrow

Tomorrow I run the Surly Trail Loppet Half Marathon.  This is a fun/tough course that I ran last year in 1:55:18.  I didn’t write much of a review last year, but it is pretty much all hills!

Last year I did a 10k training plan as part of my training for the Square Lake Triathlon.   I feel pretty good about tomorrow even though I’ve run a lot less hills – having 2 kids make slipping out for runs at Wirth harder.  My plan is to go out conservative and see where I’m at around the half way mark and pick it up from there.

I think that means going out between 8:30 and 9 minute pace.

Wish me luck!


I’m racing as part of Team World Vision raising funds for clean water projects in the Congo! $50 provides clean water for life for one person.

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Trail Loppet Half Marathon Results

I feel pretty good about these given the course.  Everyone seemed about 20 minutes slower than a “normal” half so that was encouraging.



Race Time Time of Day Pace Between Overall Place Division Place Sex Place Age Graded Place
Time 1:55:18 10:55:28 8:58 110/600 60/181 92/311 203/600
10 Mile 1:27:32 10:27:42 9:08 108/595 60/181 90/310 201/595
5 Mile 41:55 9:42:04 8:28 72/599 46/181 63/310 168/599
1 Mile 8:05 9:08:14 8:05 79/599 49/181 67/310 168/599
ChipStart 0:08 9:00:10 78/600 45/181 67/311 67/600
GunStart 00:00 9:00:02


Here is a pic I stole off SkinnySki’s website. From their Mile 4 album!