Tag Archives: Pike Island

Pike Island’s Trails

I would take a nice trail run any day over running the roads.  Trails are my friend as this picture so elegantly shows! It is a little hard for me to hit the trails very often since we only have 1 car and I prefer to run in the mornings.  However, Pike Island is easy to get to via public transportation and even via bike.

Part of Fort Snelling State Park, Pike Island sits at the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers just south of Minneapolis and Saint Paul.  On Pike Island itself you have a variety of options for running. See the maps here.  The easiest is a 5k loop around the outer edge of the Island – but there are little cut through trails to make 1 and 2 mile loops.

It is pretty scenic as you run along the rivers.  I think every time I’ve run there I’ve seen some wild animals – deers, squirrels, rabbits, but no pine martens! The trail is very flat and actually pretty wide too.  It might narrow down in places but is wide enough to mostly run 3-4 wide throughout. The trail is a mix of soft surfaces but is pretty safe for the ankles and has no technical elements to it.

Another great thing about this run is that it can easily be extended.  Want to go really long? You can head north up to Minnehaha Falls and connect into a variety of trails from there, although this is a paved trail.  More of a mid-distance run, you can run around Picnic Island and Snelling Lake.  Part of this segment is on pavement, but most is still trails and Picnic Island has grass stretches. You can also connect with bridges (with pedestrian lanes) that cross either river and connect with trails on the other side.

I enjoy running at Pike Island and have used it in the past to recover and reconnect with my reasons for running.  The worst thing about running here is that it is so close the MSP Airport, with almost continual flights over-head.

Parking Note: You must pay to park if you enter through Fort Snelling State Park. It costs $5 to enter the park or a valid State Park Permit. Then follow the main road to the Visitor’s Center.  However, if you enter from Historic Fort Snelling on top of the bluff there is no charge for parking.  Park in the main lot and run towards the fort and then follow the trail down the hill to Pike Island.

There is also some interesting history associated with this area:

To the Dakota [Native American tribe], Pike Island in Fort Snelling State Park was and is a sacred place. It is where the waters of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers meet and the Dakota believe it is the very center of the earth and arguably the place where Minnesota began.  WCCO

During this time[Dakota War of 1862], more than 1600 Dakota women, children, and old men were held in an internment camp on Pike Island. Living conditions were poor, and disease struck the camp, killing more than three hundred. Wikipedia

Despite the mixed history I enjoy running here, what do you think?

[tags] Pike Island, Fort Snelling, Minneapolis, Running Routes  [/tags]

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Marathon Training: Week 12

What a roller coaster of a week.  After a terrible run on Tuesday I was able to come back and PR in the half-marathon distance on Saturday.  I’m glad this week is over and looking forward to more good weeks of training.

Monday: 4-6 easy miles. I extended my downtown-Park Ave 4 mile loop to make it close to 5 miles and ended up running 4.83 miles in 40:21.  It was 66 which felt great even with the higher humidity.  I took it nice and easy for my first run after 20+ miles on Saturday!  I was a little tired and sore but felt pretty good.

Tuesday: 8-10 mile threshold workout. This ended up being a downright brutal workout due to the heat and humidity. I think it was in the mid-80’s with near 100% humidity. It was raining north and south of us but not on us.  They gave us a progression workout for a 10 mile run.  The plan was 2.5 easy, hydrate, then 2.5 at Marathon Pace, turning around and running 2.5 at Half-Marathon pace, water stop and then recover for awhile do a mile at 10K pace and recover to the start.  No one in my pace group did the 10K pace section.  We ran along the East River Parkway, next to the Mississippi River, but the scenery didn’t help the run any.  Also the East side of the river is significantly hillier than the west, so our downhills out made for some tough uphills towards the end of the half-marathon pace.  I should note that I was outside most of the afternoon, but tried to stay hydrated.  We ran the first section in 20:21 (8:01 pace) and completed the marathon pace section in 17:46 (7:12 pace).  So far so good –  MP for me is 7:15. I ran the half-marathon pace section in 17:21 (7:03 pace Goal Pace would be 6:54), during this section our group of 5 got strung out pretty good.  We stopped for water and I hit the porta-pot.  When I came out the group had a small lead, but I was never able to catch back up – which I think hurt mentally for me.  I finished the last leg in 20:05 (8:13 pace) and was glad to be finished.  We commiserated about how bad we felt and went our separate ways.  I got home, showered, ate a quick dinner, and was asleep by 9pm.

Wednesday: 5-7 easy miles. I didn’t wake up until 7:30am which is really sleeping in for me.  I still felt really drained and all around terrible.  I finally managed to drag myself to work, thankful I was going in late due to working later than normal yesterday. I drank a lot of water and by the evening felt like I should give running a try.  I wanted a little motivation so I went to Pike Island and ran on the scenic dirt trails around the island that marks the confluence of the Mississippi and Minnesota Rivers.  I wanted to take it easy and just run how I felt. I ended up running 4.3 miles in 34:10 and felt really good.  I picked up the pace for a little bit when a group of college runners went by, but kept reminding myself to slow down! I’m glad I motivated myself to go and it was nice to just run and enjoy the scenery.

Thursday: Rest Day. A much needed rest day, even though I bike commuted it felt good.

Friday: 6 miles at marathon pace. An unscheduled (kinda) rest day.  I was still back and forth about racing over the weekend so I knew that if I ran it wouldn’t be the scheduled workout.  I had to go to work earlier than normal and thought I’d be able to run in the early afternoon.  That ended up not working out, but taking the day off shouldn’t hurt too much since it is a stepback week.

Saturday: 10-12 miles In his notes Hal Higdon says this would be a good week for racing a half-marathon.  A group of people from my team were racing a half-marathon so I went with them.  Am I glad I did. If you read the introduction then you know that I set a new PR.  Breaking my 3 year old PR by about a minute and a half! Quite an exciting race.  I felt terrible for the middle – last part of the race so I was delighted to see the clock showing a PR!! It was a perfect day to race – temps in the mid-60’s, low humidity, a fairly shady and flat course.  My watch had me at 1:33:22, which was also my official chip time.

Sunday: Cross-Train. We rode our bikes to church and the Minnesota State Fair for a total of 13.3 miles on the bike and several miles wandering around with the hoards of people at the fair.

Weekly Mileage

Running – 32.1 miles

Biking – 53.4 miles

Hal’s Tip of the Week: There is no such thing as “bad food,” only bad choices. There’s even a place for burgers, fries and shakes in your diet. You just need to balance everything you eat. If you eat a well-balanced diet, that includes ample fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, you can avoid expensive supplements. Tape these words to your refrigerator: “Eat a wide variety of lightly processed foods.”

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

Week 12

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