Thursday, June 23, 2011


As I was driving to Sweetwater Creek State Park this morning, it occurred to me that a lot has changed in my running. Not that long ago, I went out of my way to avoid running hills and this morning I was driving specifically to go up and down hills.

My goal this morning was to do an Afton Trail Run simulation so I climbed and ran down Jack's Hill a total of seven times.

Here is the profile of one half of the Afton Trail Run:

Here is the profile of the run I did:

I had a great time. It wasn't too hot, but it was very humid and rained for about half the time I was out there. It rained just enough to keep the trail soft, but not enough to make it sloppy.

I was happy with my effort, just nine more days until the Afton Trail Run 50K!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

FANS 24 Hour Race Report

What a great weekend. As the race director wrote in an email, they don't know if they are planning a running event or a family reunion. This was my second year doing this, and I feel like I'm part of the family and will be back for many more. The ages of the participants ranged from pre-teen kids to 70+ year old veterans. There were world class runners and some who had never run farther than a 5K or 10K. There were even families out there participating together including a woman walking with her daughter and granddaughter. There were many stories out there and 24 hours in which to share them. Here is my story. One word of caution, though, the blister picture is at the very end, so don't scroll all the way down if you are squeamish, I will provide another warning.

The race is run around Lake Nokomis just outside the MSP airport in Minnesota. The course is just over 2.4 miles long and starts with an out-and-back section so that the 50 mile and 100K splits are at the timing tent. After the timing tent, medical tent, aid station tent, and big tent for tentless runners is "Tent City". Many runners have crew that set up tents. My sister-in-law was my crew and had this tent set up for me.

My great-nephew was also there to help out for much of the afternoon.

Here are some pictures of the course. It is a public park area and the weather was great, so lots of people were out enjoying the day, swimming, catching rays on the beach, and cooking out.

There was one section that crossed a bridge next to a busy road. This got very hot during the day and everyone except the front-runners called this the walking bridge.

Two airplanes taking off from the MSP airport.

On the backside of the lake was this weird looking monstery sculpture thing. I just hoped it wouldn't start moving and talking to me at 2 AM.

Finally there was Mt Nokomis. Not so daunting in the beginning, but it grew as the day progressed.

I started out great and my knee lasted for about 15 miles. With aid station stops, I was averaging about 12-13 minute miles. Then the knee decided it had had enough and I was reduced to walking. Walking was great even with the temperature rising to about 85 degrees and I was averaging 16-17 minute miles. However, I think my foot moves differently in my shoe while walking vs running and I started developing blisters on the balls of my feet at about the 40 mile point. I wasn't about to quit however because they ring a cowbell for you when you hit 50 miles and I wanted to hear that cowbell. So, I kept moving, but at a much slower pace. We're talking 20-25 minute miles. I finally heard the cowbell around midnight and there were still 8 hours to go. I couldn't quit now. Besides, they also ring the cowbell at 100K, that was "only" five more times around the lake. So, I kept going, feeling the blisters getting larger and finally popping, and then growing some more, eventually starting to move up the side of my foot. Around 4 AM I hit 62 miles and called it a day. I napped in the tent for a couple of hours until my nephew and his girlfriend arrived to pack things up. We then went up to the Community Center for an awesome breakfast of eggs, sausage, hash browns, pineapple, strawberries, etc. There were lots of awards handed out and the overall winners of both the 12 hour and the 24 hour runs were women! Connie Gardner from Ohio won the 24 hour with 127.95 miles and Carolyn Smith won the 12 hour with 83.19 miles!

FINAL WARNING, here is the promised blister picture. Thankfully it is a little bit blurry, but do not scroll down if you are squeamish.

Yes, it is covering about 1/3 of my foot, but it feels fine now, just a little tender. I'm planning on a short 3 mile recovery run later today.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Preliminary FANS 24 Hour Report

I finished with 62 miles. Had to stop at 20 hours for blisters. Full report to follow with blister pics. (As a teaser, it took me 6 hours to work up the courage to take off my shoes and socks.)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon Rant

Yesterday I got an invitation to pay $140 to run the Las Vegas Rock N Roll Marathon in December. If you look at the times though, you see that they shortened the cutoff time from the 5:30 they had last year. This year the cutoff time is 4 hours and 30 minutes. My fastest marathon time is 4:58. In just eight short years, 4:30 will be my Boston Marathon Qualifying time. If they had used this cutoff time last year, 47% of last year's finishers would not have finished. Never mind that half of the course is run through the industrial park section of town with lots of boring out and back sections. Oh, and I almost forgot, this quote is from the website: "The marathon and half marathon courses are as flat and festive as they come – perfect for runners and walkers of all ability levels."

I think I'll decline this invitation.