Tag Archives: Mississippi River

Snowshoeing at Pike Island

We got snow shoes for Christmas.  Here is a video from the Mississippi River taken a week or so ago starting at Pike Island.  It was fun to wander around the island and the rivers.


See the map here.

[tags] snowshoeing, pike island, fort snelling, mississippi river[/tags]

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Twin Cities Marathon Pictoral Preview

The Twin Cities Marathon course has been quite busy this summer, just like every summer (actually year round).  This is because the course takes in some of the coolest recreation spots in the metro – or at least Minneapolis.  Beginning in downtown Minneapolis the 26.2 mile course  makes a big circle before ending up in downtown St Paul.  Leaving the sports capital of Minnesota (the Metrodome) runners take in some amazing views before arriving at the state capital of Minnesota.  What a course.   Here’s last year’s course preview.

Below are 26 pictures from the course itself (though they don’t come from all 26 miles of the course).

A picture of the map…
The Hurbert H Humphrey Metrodome – aka staging area and starting line.
A random wall downtown along Hennepin Ave.  I know some of the symbols are Adrinka symbols of West Africa, but I don’t know their history here.
The Basillica of St Mary is on Hennepin as well. Don’t let the old architecture fool you, they are on Twitter.
This is WAC, the Walker Art Center.  On the right is the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  I’ve heard tell that some people use it as a quick potty stop. (I don’t recommend it) Watch this hill.  If we ran on the sidewalks we’d actually get to run under the Walker.
TCM isn’t called “The Most Beautiful Urban Marathon in American” for nothing.  This is Lake of the Isles, the first among several lakes we’ll travel around.  We won’t run by the most expensive house in Minneapolis, but it is located on the Isles.
Here’s another shot of the Isles.
Dean Parkway going underneath the Midtown Greenway.
Lake #2 Lake Calhoun.  On the south end there will be a cool view of the downtown skyline with the lake in the foreground.
The third lake is Lake Harriet which has a cool band shell and yacht club.
Running under the Niollet Ave bridge (I think).   A local marching band stands under one of these bridges and plays.
The 7ft bronze rabbit at the intersection of Portland and Minnehaha Parkway.  I can’t figure out where it came from.
We run a long ways on this parkway. Here is wikipedia’s take on who Minnehaha was…
The Grand Rounds is a great way to see the major sites in the city. A road, trail system, and scenic destination itself, much of the marathon is actually run along the Grand Rounds.
West River Parkway has been under construction all summer, but it won’t affect the race.  This is where I started to fall apart during the 2008 marathon.
The Mississippi River is a national park.  This is crossing the Franklin Ave bridge.
A bad shot of the river!
This is now on East River Road getting ready to go under a rail bridge which will one day connect to the Greenway.
University of St Thomas sits atop a nice hill and is around the 21 mile mark!
A nice long look up Summit Ave. A nice long uphill. And is the longest remaining stretch of residential Victorian architecture in the United States.
Bridge crossing Ayd Mill Rd.
A cool church on the corner of Lexington Parkway and Summit Ave.
One of many cool houses. If you aren’t in complete agony, be sure to check them out! They are on both sides.
This is a great sign!! You are atop the hill and getting ready to turn left into the final stretch.  I always felt a little let down that we turn here instead of just going down the hill!
The Cathedral of St Paul. When you see the steeple it is almost over!
The Minnesota State Capital building and the finish line!!!  Congratulations you’ve finished.

[tags] Twin Cities Marathon, TCM, Marathon, Twin Cities [/tags]

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Race Review: Frozen Half Marathon

You know the race will be interesting when the website offers this warning:

Extreme Weather

This is a cold weather race! Temperatures have been at or below zero for this race in the past. Hypothermia could be a definite concern. Make certain that you are dressed properly for conditions on the day of the race. In case of extreme weather conditions this race could be canceled or shortened. All entry fees are nonrefundable. An accurately measured 1/4 marathon course may be used as a short course option. Check with active.com for up-to-date weather information and changes in the race schedule.

The Securian Frozen 5K and Half Marathon is a part of St Paul’s Annual Winter Carnival.  Well sadly, we had those “extreme” weather conditions and the 1,200 pre-registrants got the following e-mail from Mary Anderson, race director.

Hi All,Just a note to let you know that the half marathon course has been shortened to approximately 6.5 miles (or half of the marathon distance) for tomorrow. The start time will remain the same at 9:00am.

The 5K race will go on as scheduled and start at 9:15.

The half marathon turnaround is just East of 35E on Sheppard Road and will be at the break in the median there so that runners can go westbound on the way out and eastbound (or with traffic ) on their way back.  We will move the water stop to this point and will be serving individual bottles to the runners. This should make it easier for volunteers.

Thank you participating in the 2009 Securian Frozen 5K and Half Marathon!

A wise decision given the fact that the actual temp was officially -15 with a wind chill in the -20’s. The morning broke with a clear blue sky and lots of shining sun, so that helped make the race bearable!  There was some confusion about the actual course distance.  The e-mail clearly says 6.5 (6.55 would actually be a half of a half) but the announcements coming over the PA system in the registration area kept calling it a 10k (which is obviously 0.35 miles shorter than half of a half).  My Garmin called it 6.46.

Attire? Yes how in the world do you dress to race at those temps? Well ultimately the same as you would to run in those temps!  Unlike warmer weather where you could wear less layers, it was vital to keep everything nice and warm. I actually wore the attire mentioned here, minus the silk balaclava and adding a pair of goggles.  I wore mid-weight smart wool socks, duct-taped shoes, tights, wind breaker pants, a singlet, long-sleeve dry-fit, long-sleeve cotton, under a wind breaker jacket, gloves, an ear band, and fleece balaclava.  I got a new pair of “fog-proof” goggles, but I steamed them up within the first mile.

Pre-Race We were able to park in the Securian building’s parking lot for $2 in downtown St Paul, which was great.  Take the skyway over to another building for packet pickup and then stand around and wait. Unfortunately all of the indoor restroom facilities were closed to the public so you had to venture out to the porta-potties lined up on the street.  We did a little warm-up jog and then waited for the race to start.  The directors were nice to wait until all the runners lined up, but it was a chip race so they should have just started instead of punishing those of us who followed directions!

The Race Almost immediately you go down a hill (about 200 feet in 1/4 mile) from downtown to the river. The race is an out and back along the Mississippi River on Shepherd Road.  The first mile came up pretty quickly and I came through in 6:35.  I tried keeping my goggles on because the wind was extremely bitey at this point and hurt my face, but I couldn’t really see out of them so I shoved them up on my face.  I tried to settle into a pace that would work for the whole race and picked some people to try to stay with.  A guy was reading splits at the 5k turn around, which was a little weird but I came through mile 2 at 7:08.  The course was a little hillier than I had expected since it was on the river flat.  They weren’t anything monstrous, but definitely steep enough to tire you out a bit.  I wasn’t really cold anymore at this point although the layers were making it hard to keep up a fast pace.  I came through mile 3 at 7:23.  The turn around point came pretty quickly after mile 3 and there was the race’s only aid station.  Dedicated volunteers passed out bottles of water – caps already off.  People were taking them, I did not.  Maybe I should have, but I didn’t feel like messing with my balaclava or spilling on myself! 22:34 at the turnaround.

I was actually starting to get tired at this point.  I was also getting really hot and raised up the balaclava and un-zipped my jacket a little.  This helped regulate the temps as the wind was solidly at my back.  Sadly I don’t think the added push of the wind helped my times too much and I came through mile 4 at 7:03.  Now I was beginning to get really tired and couldn’t wait for the finish line to arrive.  I was a little disappointed when I looked at my watch and saw that we were only at 4.5, yuck 2 miles to go.  Around the 5 mile mark we saw the 5k runners.  Fortunately we were on a divided road so they weren’t in our way yet (this usually isn’t a problem due to the half-marathon being farther and the 5k starting 15 minutes after us).  I came through mile 5 at 6:58.  I tried to pick up the pace because I was tired of getting passed, but I was also plain tired!  One of the 5k runners was wearing capri tights and the bottoms of her legs were bright red, looked painful.  I actually took my gloves off because my hands were sweating, my feet too but nothing you can do about that! I came through mile 6 at 7:25.  The last bit was straight back up the hill.  We joined the 5k runners.  I stayed way off to the side so as to not get stuck behind them and passed a lot of people up the hill which was a nice feeling! I may have passed a couple of half-marathoners on the way too and finished hard into the biting wind for the finish. 3:02 for the last 0.46 miles.

My official time was 45:31 (7:02 pace) [the website said 7:21 pace, but my Garmin and weblog both said 7:02] and good enough for 96th out of 661.  (Official results)  Evidently the 5k isn’t scored so I don’t know what the total turnout was.

Post-Race I hadn’t heard my teammates cheering me into the finish and I didn’t immediately see them so I wandered back into the buildings to get my post-race food and finisher’s mug! Then I wandered back out and got some pictures of people, including this great one of Mark Deters! I finally caught up with Nathan and we headed home.

A pretty crazy race day!!  Did you run it, what were your thoughts?

Local  News pieces:

Pioneer Press

[tags] Half Marathon, Race Review, Securian, Winter Carnival, St Paul, Frozen 5k [/tags]

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Week in Review

Another week in the book.  It seemed to go by super-fast, without a lot happening either…

I didn’t run on Monday and belted out my Week 4 push ups. I completed a total of 97 push ups.  My core workout for today included Prehab: Core, Hip, and Elasticity.

Tuesday I ran about 4.25 miles from my house downtown and back.  It was a little cold (20) and windy.  Running into the wind wasn’t exactly pleasant but not unbearable either! Since I’m not doing all of the Core Performance workouts, I didn’t have any core work to do today!

On Wednesday though it was even colder with a wind chill of 3, which I didn’t realize until I got home.  The weather app on my phone said it was in the 20’s, but didn’t show a wind chill.  Learned the hard way! I ran 3.25 miles around a snow covered Powderhorn Park. The required 113 push ups really started hurting by the last 2 sets.  It was painful but I also don’t want to fail! Today was a physioball workout.  I also bike commuted to work which takes a bit longer when there is snow on the ground, not only riding but also the whole layering system takes time.  I didn’t slip or get too cold so that was good!

By Thursday I was exhausted and didn’t run.  I almost ran in the evening to blow off some stress but opted to just relax at home.  I did my Prehab:Core, Hip, and Elasticity core workouts though.

Friday morning was the coldest yet with a wind chill of 0.  I wore 4 layers on my upper body and felt comfortable, except for not wearing my face mask! It was a very uneventful 3.1 mile run.  On days like this it is hard to keep the body temp comfortable, when I was running into the wind my body was on the cold side and with my back to the wind it was on the warm side.  The joys of winter running! I also completed the required push ups – 140 to be exact. I almost couldn’t get the last set of 33 out – I had to pause a few times, but I made it!

Saturday was the weekly Polar Bear runs and it finally lived up to its name! We woke up with an inch or two of fresh snow on the ground and the temp was in the mid-teens with a harsh -3 windchill.  We ran a loop around the Mississippi River from Lake Street to Plymouth Ave which is just under 11 miles total.  The run out was brutal because of the wind and the River Road’s trails hadn’t been plowed yet for most of the run.  That made for a tough workout, between the poor footing and losing some of the normal return it required more energy to complete the same workout from 2 weeks ago.  We finished right at 1:26:00 for about 11.78 10.78 miles.  I did my push-up exhaustion test, completing 36, which keeps me in the middle column going into Week 5.

It was bitter cold on Sunday for the 7.25 miles that we put in.  It was an interesting morning though – Rob and I were followed by a weird stalker guy while driving to Fort Snelling.  He started tailgating us and honking his horn, matching our every turn and then passing us on the right when we entered the parking lot.  Rob called 911 to report him and we followed him around the parking lot before parking.  Then he pulled into the spot right next to us (on my side) and just sat there with a weird look staring at us.  He would also randomly just honk his horn. Rob got out and talked to some of the guys to tell them what was up and then when the whole group showed up we got out.  Nathan tried talking to him, but I don’t even think he rolled down his window.  Paul told him we had already called the cops and he finally left – we thought maybe he’d try and run us over but everything seemed fine once he left.   After that adventure the run was really good.  We ran on the snow covered trails of Pike Island.  Down on the island the windchill doesn’t feel as fierce but the temp was about 4 degrees with a -3 wind chill.  We didn’t see any deer until we got into the middle of the island and then they were everywhere.  It was a good run!

Weekly Mileage

Running – 28.6 miles

Biking – 7 miles

This Week Last Year

I posted a guest review of the Monster Mash Dash in Indianapolis and completed the third part of my training analysis which was for my Mid-South Half-Marathon.  And of course Foto Friday!  Last year’s mileage was 9.5 miles on the (indoor) bike, 1.2 miles on the elliptical, and 15 minutes on the rower.

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Week in Review

This was an interesting week.  It went by fast and I had a few random meetings and stuff along the way. It was a pretty solid week of running with my highest mileage since the marathon, both in weekly mileage and long run. I also started core and push ups. I forgot to write in last week’s review, but I did my initial exhaustion test and pumped out 20.  That seems pretty weak compared to some of the women’s team who did over 30.

Monday was a needed rest day after hitting 14 miles total over the weekend! I also restarted the 100 Push up Challenge getting out the required 36 and doing 11 for the max out section for a total for 47 pushups.  I also started The Core Performance book today. Some time I’ll talk more about it, but today was a “Movement Prep” day.

Tuesday I found I was a little sore from the Movement Prep activities, but still went out for an easy 5 mile run along the Greenway in 38:55.  It was a chilly 26 with wind blowing from the West.  Nothing too exciting except for a view squirrels that ran with me for a little bit on their fence highways.  Today’s core workout was movement prep and physioball. I should say this is the first of a 3 week core foundation period.

It snowed Tuesday night and there was a layer of snow on Wednesday morning.  This was heavier than a dusting but melted mostly off the roads and sidewalks.  I ran 3.5 miles around Powderhorn and ran in the soft snow.  It was a nice change of pace. The temps were a little above freezing so it was also a little slushy in some places.  Today’s push up workout included the required 38 and 13 on the max out.  Regeneration was the core workout for today, my legs were still a little sore from the movement prep sessions the last two days.

I took Thursday off from running but still did my Prehab 1, 2, & 3 workouts for the core strength.

On Friday I ran a brisk 3.25 mile run on my Metrodome loop. I ran in shorts because the temperature I saw said 39.  When I got home the temp was at 31.  My legs did get a little cold out there, but it was fine.  I did my 44 required push ups and barely squeeked out the 13 in the max out section.  I skipped the core workout because it is “Strength” and requires a gym and I didn’t feel like going!

Saturday was the first Polar Bear run for me of the year.  It was an excellent run, I got to catch up with some guys I hadn’t seen in awhile plus meet some new ones.  We ended up running 10.66 miles along the Mississippi River.  On the way out there was a fairly strong headwind that made the 30 degrees feel a lot colder but on the way back I took of my ear muff and gloves. There was a dusting of snow on the ground but it went away.

Having church on Friday nights frees up Sunday morning to go on the group run. We met at Jensen Lake in the Lebanon Hills Regional Park we skipped out on some of the major hills (at least that I remember from last time) and had a really nice run making two big loops. For most of the run I had no idea where we were! It was 27 degrees with a dusting of snow on the ground and it snowed off and on during the run.  We ran about 10 miles in just over 80 minutes, all on trails.  The trails alternated between single track hiking and wider horse trails.  A good way to finish off the week.

Mileage Totals:

Running – 32.4

Biking – 14

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