Tag Archives: Sports

Minnesota Marathons


Want to complete 26.2 miles in Minnesota?  Below is a list of races throughout the state and surrounding states.  Some well known ones and some you’ve probably never heard of.  The list is compiled from the MarathonGuide.com.

The link on the name of the race points to the official homepage, the link on MG points to the Marathon Guide page so you can read past reviews, etc.


May 8 – Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon St. Joseph, MN MG

May 30 – Med-City Marathon & Half Marathon, Relay, 20 Mile Rochester, MN MG

May 30 – Stillwater Marathon & 20 Mile, Half Marathon, 12K Stillwater, MN MG

June 6 – Minneapolis Marathon & Half Marathon, 5K, 5K-9 Minneapolis, MN MG

June 19 – Grandma’s Marathon & Half Marathon, 5K, Kid’s Races Duluth, MN MG

July 11 – Half Voyageur Trail Marathon Carlton, MN MG

September 12 – Moose Mountain Marathon & 50 mile, 100 mile Lutsen, MN MG

September 19 – Walker/North Country Races & 2 Person Relay, 1/2 Marathon, 10K Walker, MN MG

October 3 – Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon & 10 Mile, 5K Minneapolis/St.Paul, MN MG

January 2011 – St. Olaf College Women’s Track & Field Team Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon Northfield, MN MG

Surrounding States

January 24 – InStep Running & Walking Centers InStep Icebreaker Indoor Marathon & Half Marathon

Milwaukee, WI  MG

April 4 (2009 date) – Re/Max, Children’s Miracle Network Trailbreaker Marathon & Half Marathon, 5K

Waukesha, WI MG

April 24 – Pine Line Trail Marathon & Half Marathon, 26.3 Mile Relay, 5K Run/Walk

Medford, WI MG

April 25 (2009 date) ING Trestle Valley Marathon & Marathon, Half Marathon, ND Distance Relay Championship

Minot, ND MG

May 1 – Wisconsin Marathon & Half Marathon Kenosha, WI MG

May 2 – Eau Claire Marathon & Half Marathon, 1 Mile Fun Run Eau Claire, WI MG

May 2 – La Crosse Fitness Festival & Half Marathon, Relay, 5K La Crosse, WI MG

May 8 – Journeys Marathon & Half Marathon, 5K, 13.1 mile Power Walk Eagle River, WI MG

May 8 – Lake Geneva Marathon & Half-Marathon, Relay, Walk, 10K, 5K, Adventure Race Lake Geneva, WI MG

May 10 (2009 date) – Central States Marathon & 50K, 11 Miler Ames, IA MG

May 16 – Cellcom Green Bay Marathon & Marathon, Relay, Half Marathon, 5K, WPS Kids’ Run Green Bay, WI MG

May 30 – Madison Marathon (Mad City Marathon) & Marathon, Half Marathon, Quarter Marathon Madison, WI MG

June 6 – Deadwood-Mickelson Trail Marathon & Half Marathon, Relay, 5K, 1K Deadwood, SD MG

June 12 – Marathon-to-Marathon & Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, 5K Marathon, IA MG

June 13 – Swan Lake Marathon & 1/2 marathon, Sunfish 5.3 Viborg, SD MG

July 18 – University of Okoboji Marathon & Half Marathon, Triathlon, 10K Okoboji, IA MG

August 8 – Paavo Nurmi Marathon Paavo Nurmi Marathon (USA) & Relay Hurley, WI MG

August 15 – LEADING LADIES’ MARATHON & Half Marathon Spearfish, SD MG

September 18 – Kroll’s Diner YMCA Bismarck Marathon/Half Marathon and Footfest 5k & Half Marathon, Marathon Relay Bismarck, ND MG

October 3 – Lakefront Marathon Milwaukee, WI MG

October 9 – WhistleStop Marathon & Half Marathon, 10K, 5K Ashland, WI MG

October 17 – Des Moines Marathon & Half Marathon, Marathon Relay, 5K Road Race, Kids Run Des Moines, IA MG

October 25 – On the Road for Education & Half-Marathon, 10K & 5K Mason City, IA MG

November 7 – Rails to Trails Marathon Norwalk, WI MG

That is quite a few choices.  Did I leave any out?

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TCM 2009

TCM Expo
TCM Expo

I finished my second marathon. Pretty worse for the wear, but I finished. I had pretty modest expectations going into the race based on my training over the last year. I felt that 3:30 was pretty reasonable since most of my longer runs had been at 8 minute pace.

A friend from college, Pez, was debuting this year and he’s a pretty smart guy and decided to run with me for the first 3 miles around 8 minute pace and slowly build up. He had an excellent race finishing in 3:19. I felt really good during the first 5k, I did stop for a quick bathroom break and had to force myself to not try to catch back up.

I passed fellow classmate Kevin on the north side of Lake of the Isles. Staying pretty consistent at 8 minute pace. The 3:30 pace group was pretty far ahead now, because of my potty break – but they did take it out fairly fast from the start. I passed Deb on the north side of Lake Calhoun and the ran with Anne and her friend for awhile on the south side of the lake. I probably should have stayed with any of them and continued running at an easier pace. But I was hitting my splits pretty accurately.

At some point early on the Minnehaha Parkway part of the course I started catching up to the 3:30 pace group. At which point it got really crowded. Marty was towards the front of the group and we slowly came together as we went through the rolling hills stretch. I was taking it easy and hitting 8 minute pace. Marty and I ran together for a couple of miles. He said he was struggling and right before Cedar he said he would see me at the finish and dropped off.

I maintained my pace through 13 but started to hurt around 12. It started in my hips and throughout the race slowly worked its way down my legs. Mostly on the left side (where I have plantar fasciitis). I got through the half in 1:44 so pretty much right where I wanted to be. I slowed down a bit and I think I stopped to stretch it out before leaving Nokomis. From here my splits slowly slowed down as I struggled with trying to loosen up my legs, staying mentally tough, and not bonking.

As my paces show I quickly deteriorated and never really recovered. Part of me wanted to quit, part of me wanted to walk, part of me knew I had to fight to the finish. I made a mental decision that I would finish, even if I had to walk the rest of the way, but also made the decision that I would run for at least a mile in between walk breaks. I started just trying to walk through water stops, but then gave up on that and just started walking when I didn’t feel like going any farther.

I saw my wife and friend at mile 16 and gave them the thumbs down. I think they knew I was off pace but the thumbs down was a clear sign that I was struggling. I heard a couple of my students cheer for me and a former student gave me a needed/welcome Gu pack around mile 17.

Blood Filled Blister!

Blood Filled Blister!

The rest of the race is a blur of struggle and pain but I finished. And I was running at the finish. I finished in 3:56:00 officially. Deb and I passed each other back and forth throughout the last 8 miles. She served as much needed motivation to keep on pushing. A first time marathoner chatted with me a bit as we were getting ready to go up the St Thomas hill. I told him I was doing terrible but he kept talking. As we started up the hill he asked, “Is this the big hill.” I replied, “One of them.” He was caught of guard by that, and I felt a little bad, but I was out of it and didn’t really want to chit chat about the intricacies of the last 6 miles.

One high point of the final stretch was my wife and friend were just in front of the Target Cheer Zone. Summit Ave is already pretty packed with people and can be very encouraging. So I passed them and they were really cheering and the whole block or two was extremely uplifting, especially as you pass through the Cheer Zone. I got a boost in my step, which didn’t last near as long as I was hoping!

Seeing the cathedral top made me happy because I knew it was almost over. Then slowly making the turn and seeing the capital. I dug deep and found something and pushed hard. The crowd roared and I finished. Then I shuffled through the chute getting water, fruit, chips, a banana, a heat sheet, vegetable broth, and finally a finisher’s shirt. Marty and I hobbled and talked for a bit before I tried to find my wife and friends to go home.

It is amazing how much pain you can be in after running that far. My body hurt during the run, but hurt even worse right after it was over and for the rest of the day! When I peeled off my sock I found a nice blood filled blister pictured above!

Thank you to the thousands of people who cheered!! Those who knew my name, those who cheered for “MDRA” (my jersey), my race number, and even those who yelled for “MORA” (because evidently the D looks like an O). Each and every one of you and all of the volunteers helped make this race successful.













































































































































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

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Book Review: Once a Runner

Once a Runner Cover

John L Parker’s Once a Runner is a cult classic for runners.  And I would throw my hat into the ring on this one.  The worst thing about this book is that it made me want to run more than I could at the time.  Don’t read this book while you are recovering from an injury or you might try to sneak in for a run.

Parker bring his imaginary runner, Quentin Cassidy, to life.  It brought back many memories of college life.  Our antics were different, but we had plenty of weird traditions and antics.  I roomed with 3 other guys from the cross-country team senior year and we had a great time – those bonds are amazing and long-lasting.

This book sat on my Amazon Wish-List for quite awhile until my wife got it for me for my birthday.  I quickly finished this book which intermixes fictional characters and stories with real life hero’s such as Frank Shorter.  Quasi-villian John Walton was based off of John Walker (according to Wikipedia).

I’m sure many of us dream of running a sub-4 minute mile but Cassidy is actually really close before, stupid southern small town politics get in the way and almost ruin his career.  I won’t give anything away but he puts in some killer miles and some killer workouts – 60 x 400 with 200m rest.  The Trials of Miles is brutal, even for an elite athlete like him.

I highly recommend reading this book and getting re-inspired to “pound the pavement” and reach your goals.  I’ve not heard a bad word about this book.  What do you think of it?

[tags] Book Review, Once a Runner, John Parker, Running [/tags]

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Resting: 3 Variations

Sleeping cat
Image via Wikipedia

Many runners think that taking a day off is a bad thing.  The thought of not running any miles on a given day is ridiculous.  There is the saying that when you are running 3 miles someone else is running 4, this type of thinking leads into the “no rest” mentality.

Every training program that I’ve followed includes some form of rest/recovery in it.  Resting is an important part of allowing your body, especially your muscles the chance to heal and repair themselves.  To improve, muscles need a chance to create new fibers and generally get stronger.  Running – even an easy jog will tear muscle fibers that need healed.

Resting can mean a lot of different things though.  Below are several types of rest:

1) Doing nothing. This is generally what we think of when using the word rest.  Doing no strenous physical activity.

2) Cross-training.  Biking, Swimming, Rowing, Elipticating  – doing some type of physical exercise that isn’t running and doesn’t use your main running muscles.  Elipticating might actually be a bad form of cross-training but it is a fun word to write.

3) Active Rest. I think of this as doing nothing strenous but maybe doing something moderate or different than normal.  Going for a longer walk than normal, doing more yard work than normal. Basically doing something that isn’t necessarily strenuous but isn’t sitting around on the coach.

I would advocate that doing absolutely nothing every now and then is a good thing.  I am a huge proponent of cross-training at least one day a week.  Most types of cross-training will actually help your running.

One thing I’m learning more and more is that it is important to understand your body and what you need to stay healthy and fit.  A few days off in any given week isn’t going to kill your training plan.  But a well thought out resting strategy can be crucial to race-day success.

Bonus Tip: There is a way to get 24 hours of rest and still run every day.  If you run in the morning on Monday and then in the evening on Tuesday, you have given your body 24 hours of rest in between runs.  What you do on Wednesday is tricky, but you still got a “rest day” without writing down a zero.  If you run Wednesday morning prepare for it to be a crappy run (especially if Tuesday was a hard workout).  You could mitigate this by doing a lunch-time run.

[tags] running, resting, rest [/tags]

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Twin Cities Marathon Weekend

It is still 3 months away but it is never to early to plan for race weekend.  For 11,000 runners the Twin Cities Marathon will be the culmination of many miles of pavement (and dirt) pounded throughout the summer.

The 26.2 mile race begins at 8am on Sunday, October 4th.  Earlier that morning at 7:05am 6,500 runners will take the “shortcut to the capitol” by running the TC 10 Mile.   Registration for this “shortcut” is via a lottery system that is currently open.  Registration for the 10 Mile lottery goes from Monday, July 6 to Wednesday July 15 at 10pm.  1,000 lucky runners of May’s TC 1 Mile event (including me) won a guarenteed entry into the 10 Mile.  I obviously chose not to use it. This is the 11th annual 10 mile race and is again the USA 10 Mile Championship event.

New this year to race weekend is a 10k event.  Held on Saturday, October 3 at 7:30am this will be an out and back along the last 3 miles of the marathon course (starting and finishing at the marathon finish area).  It appears that there is no limit to the number of 10k participants and offers race day entry.  This also is the first event of the 2009 race weekend.

The TC 5k is on Saturday as well  starting at 9am.  It is an out and back course along the last 1.5 miles of the marathon course, finishing at the marathon finish.  It too appears to have no limit to race entries and offers race morning entry.  Both the 10k and 5k events will be run on USATF certified courses and are chip timed.

Other family friendly events are scheduled throughout the day on Saturday.  All events offer pre- and race day registration. They include:

  • Diana Pierce Family Mile which starts at 10m and is an out and back course finishing on the marathon finish line.
  • Half Mile which starts at 10:30 am and is an out and back course finishing at the marathon finish line.
  • Diaper Dash starts at 11am. Participants crawl from an inner circle to an outer circle, it seems obvious this is for the littlest of “runners” in the family. It doesn’t sound like this one finishes on the marathon finish line but does take place in the same area.
  • Harry & Shelly’s Mascot Invitational starts at 11:15am and is a race amongst your favorite mascots.  I’m not sure which ones will be there, but I’m sure Brutus the Buckeye won’t be.   Harry and Shelly are the TCM mascots (in case you were wondering).
  • Toddler Trot starts at 11:30 and is a 50 yard dash on the capital lawn.

Race fees start at $7 for the Toddler Trot and Diaper Dash and go up to $100 for the now closed marathon.

Last year I was quite happy to visit the Expo, pickup my number and chip, walk quickly through, purchase a shirt, and head home – less time on the feet the better! Some of my non-runner friends have taken their kids to the family events and had a blast.

If you’ll be here for marathon weekend, what event are you doing?  Me – I’ll be knocking out the 26.2.

[tags] Twin Cities, Marathon, Twin Cities Marathon, 10 Mile, TC 10 Mile [/tags]

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