Tag Archives: Mississippi River

Post Marathon Thoughts


Image by crossn81 via Flickr

One of the main reasons I run is to race, I really enjoy racing and the feeling that comes with it, even when I place 700 and something!  When I have a goal race or races it gives me something to look forward to and to be motivated by.  So after completing my goal race, no matter the distance, the next week or so is always a little like a slump.

Things are no different for the marathon.  It has been a week and a half since I conquered the beast and for the first few days I was so stiff and sore that running never really crossed my mind. But as the pain and fatigue wore off I started to get a little bit of an itch to go running.  I scratched the itch by biking to work and that helped a little…  My schedule wasn’t really conducive to running without getting up really early (and I was tired) so I didn’t worry too much about running.

One week after the marathon I went for a 5k run, I made it a little more special by running on trails and enjoying the fall beauty of the Mississippi River.  This was great and after the first little bit I felt pretty good.  A few days later on Wednesday I went for another short run and it felt pretty good too. But I am severely unmotivated.  This is maybe the best time of year to run, the temps are cool, scenery is amazing and I lack motivation.  That is a little frustrating.

I know that running a marathon takes a lot out of you and things have been extremely busy since the marathon.  I’m sure that hasn’t helped.  Neither has the fact that the sun doesn’t come up as early anymore. I’ve been eating a ton of food at each meal and sometimes walk away hungry and my sleep schedule hasn’t been the best either.  All of this to say that while I was so extremely focused before the marathon to make sure I was taking excellent care of my body, that isn’t the case now.  In fact I should be sleeping instead of writing this post and last night I played around on Delicious for hours instead of getting some needed sleep.

I think if was taking care of myself better I might not be feeling as unmotivated and fatigued.  What do you think?? Have you experienced similar thoughts and feelings?

Ok enough ramblings from me… I’m going to put my thoughts into action and get some sleep..

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Marathon Training: Week 15

Image from stock.xchn.
Taken by phelle

This is it… the last hard week of marathon training. And I felt it! 53 miles of running and last week’s 25K race to help start the week! Good times! I felt pretty solid all the way through but was humbled by the 22 miler – which may be a good thing!

Monday: 4-6 easy miles. A 6.2 mile recovery run downtown in 50:23. Most definitely a little tired and I took it easy on this overcast morning with 51 degree temps. I ran part of the riverfront loop on top of my normal 4 mile downtown loop.

Tuesday: 10 mile fartlek. We met at Fort Snelling to run these on dirt trails in the park. My group ended up running 9.12 miles including 11 hard intervals and finished in 1:10:54. It was perfect weather in the mid-60’s and shady down by the river (didn’t see any vans though). These fartleks were more like what a fartlek should be. 1 person set the pace and distance, and they were the only one that knew how far it was going to be. Each fartlek was supposed to range between 1-3 minutes. Recovery was supposed to be equal to the interval time. This was a lot of fun overall. It was interesting that the intervals I was leading were a lot easier than the ones where I wasn’t – quite the mental game. I won’t bore you with all the details of each interval! It was a good time.

Wednesday: 5-7 easy miles. There was no way I was going to wake up and run after last night’s work out. So I ran in the evening with my wife. We rode our bikes downtown and each did our own variation of the riverfront loop. I ran 5.8 miles in 45:55 and felt pretty good despite the windy weather and 67 temps. We had fun “running together”.

Thursday: Rest Day! I was quite ready for this rest day and my legs were too! They were starting to feel a little banged up I think. I’ve also been dealing with some sinus drainage since Tues or Weds so was glad for the chance to rest-up.

Friday: 10 miles at marathon pace. Some how I missed that this was a MP run, but I think since I raced last weekend that its ok to miss the MP part! No reason to do anything stupid at this point. I ran 9.7 miles and didn’t feel like tacking on the extra .3 on a pretty nice morning, and ran it in 1:16:56. It was 58 and like 90% humidity. I ran down the Midtown Greenway and around the Mississippi River crossing both the Lake and Franklin bridges. I felt pretty good and was happy to run it under 8 minute pace.

Saturday: 20 miles. The last long run of the training cycle!! We met at the finish line of the TC Marathon course and ran out and back on it. I guess it is also a tradition that my pace group tacks a little extra on and makes it a 22 mile run. So I ran 22.2 miles in 2:52:40 (7:46 pace)!! I’ll be honest this was not an easy run to finish and I was ready to be done a few times! My slowest mile (excluding the first) was 8:07 and was mile 21. From there it was cruising to the finish and it was a thrill to come around and know that the finish was just up ahead! I can only image how it will feel right there in a few weeks. My fastest mile was a 7:26 for mile 13. It was a great day to run with temps around the 60 mark and a slight drizzle for the last 10k.

Sunday: Cross-training. I woke up pretty tired and a little sore. Today Higdon said you could cross-train or take the day off… I opted for the latter!

Weekly Mileage:

Running – 53 miles

Biking – 25 miles

Hal’s Tip of the Week: What you do in any one workout doesn’t matter. The most important point of any training program is the totality of that program, and the results it brings. A flash speed workout with quick splits may look good in your training diary, but it could bring you to the edge of overtraining. The same with running the long runs too hard. Your time in the final 20-miler won’t count three weeks later. Your success will be measured by, 1) finishing the marathon, if you’re a beginner, or 2) finishing it in a time that reflects your current capabilities, if you’re an experienced runner. What you did while getting there doesn’t count.

[tags] Marathon Training, Hal Higdon [/tags]

Week 15

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Running the Minneapolis Riverfront

One of my newer favorite places to run is along the Minneapolis Riverfront. It is about 1.5 miles from my house which makes it a good place to run for any distance run, plenty of scenery with the Mississippi River, cobblestone streets, dirt trails, mill ruins, and much more.  From my house I also get to run by the Metrodome – where the Vikings and Twins play.

The official riverfront website describes the area:

The Minneapolis Riverfront District is many things to many people. To some, it’s a giant archaeological dig. To others, its a playground of dining and nightlife. And to yet others, it is a maze of beautiful parks and trails.

The picture is from a recent 10 mile run and you can see a more detailed map of the area. I often run this route in the other direction crossing over the Stone Arch Bridge first.  On this particular run I never actually crossed the bridge since I extended it and ran through the University of Minnesota.

Surface Type Before I take you on a tour of the above route a quick note about running surface.  Most of the run is on some type of hard surface – road or sidewalk. Along much of the West River Parkway you can find a single track cow path that has been worn into the dirt between the walking and biking trails.  There is a section on the west side of the river there is a short section of dirt trail that follows a small cove. Crossing the bridges provides some elevation change, otherwise it is mostly flat.  After crossing over the river you can run on grass and dirt trails for awhile as you jump onto Boom Island and cross over onto Nicollet Island.  After a short period of dirt trails at the beginning and end of the Island the rest of the run is on sidewalks or roads.  This might be one of the best runs from my house for getting off the hard surfaces.

Step-by-Step Guide to the Sights and Trails There are a ton of things to see along the way. The downtown skyline is always present in your view. But my route mostly skirts the downtown area running by the Metrodome, before turning onto West River Parkway. From here the trail splits, you can go straight down to the river (and come back up later) or stay up on the top of the bluff.  Either way you see the Guthrie Theater and Mill City Museum. You can cross the pedestrian/bicycle only Stone Arch Bridge or continue on the West side as we will do here. You are now running along the St Anthony Falls Heritage Trail, which takes you into First Bridge Park before the trail crosses the Hennepin Ave Bridge.  We’ll stay on the West River Parkway and run past the Federal Reserve Building and through a stretch of turtle trail.  Lots of turtles are scored into the sidewalk on this stretch. From here you begin to run under a lot of trees and a more natural scenery.  You can stay on the paved trail or take a short detour on a dirt trail that follows the little inlet with two bridge to choose from (I prefer the shorter one because it makes a better loop) and can continue along the trail until it forces you back up into a little park area.  A nice benefit of running the Riverfront is the ample supply of water and occasional port-a-potties! Both have come in handy. Finally, we get to cross the river via the Plymouth Ave Bridge which drops you onto Boom Island.

Unfortunately, Boom Island is no longer an island, but hosts a nice park which includes a lighthouse and access to several riverboats. There is a paved trail that cuts through the park, but I prefer running in the grass along the river, this adds distance and also keeps you on softer surfaces longer.  You’ll eventually get to the Boom-Nicollet Island Pedestrian Bridge which is a cool old-school bridge onto Nicollet Island. Follow this dirt trail until it comes out on the road.  Here you can complete the short side of the island or double backon the road to get a longer and more scenic section. Running along Island Ave will take you along the river but also through some very nice residential sections before going under the Hennepin Ave Bridge and into Nicollet Island Park. I recommend continuing along the river’s edge around the tip of the island and crossing over the wooden Merriam St Bridge. As you cross over this bridge you almost enter another time period as you enter the cobblestone streets of Historic St Anthony Main. Running along this bridge also puts you back onto the St Anthony Falls Heritage Trail. If you want you can go explore the Hennepin Island Hydro-electric plant, but I’d save it for another day.  I’ve never noticed signs for Pillsbury Park, but it is on the map, Father Hennepin Park is well marked and takes you back away from the road.  Somewhere along this stretch you have the option of following the “Lower Trail” section which takes a lot of stairs down to the river. (I wouldn’t recommend taking the lower trail, it is a bunch of steps that lead down to the river – it is neat, but not really worth the effort on a run). As you come up to the Bandstand grab a quick drink of water and make an important decision.  You can cross over the Stone Arch Bridge and complete the loop or head up 6th Ave SE and do some other running. I’ve seen runners do multiple loops along the Riverfront so give that a thought too.  As of this writing you can see the finishing touches being put on the new 35W Bridge from the Stone Arch Bridge or by running up to the 10th Ave Bridge which is just south of where you are currently contemplating.

Whatever you end up deciding this is a fun run to do and gives you a good taste of Minneapolis.  The route as I’ve described it is approximately 4.5 miles long starting at 11th Ave S and W River Parkway and ending at the parking lot on the West end of the Stone Arch Bridge.

All of this is also part of the Mississippi National River Park and Recreation Area.

I should give credit to AEngelsrud for pointing this loop out to me via Twitter.

[tags] Minneapolis, Riverfront, Minneapolis Riverfront, Mississippi River, Tourism, Running [/tags]

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