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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

My new camera; Ask and Ye shall receive

I bought a digital camera tonight. I'm WAY too tired to play with it right now, but I hope to finally be able to post some pictures, not only on this site but at other times as well.

This morning (earlier this week?) I was a little bummed because I'd like to do more races this year, but money is very tight and I wasn't sure how I was going to finance all I wanted to do. Part of me was thinking to play it safe and just not spend, but another part was thinking that since I don't do anything in these long MN winters I should just use my credit card or something and then tighten up come next winter.

At work I just had a review and received a raise last week: enough to help a little bit on a weekly basis, but nothing huge. Today I found out that there was a problem... instead of a raise I'd get the same percentage but as a lump sum bonus... Friday. Now I can register for some races.

Replying to comments

A cry for help to any fellow bloggers:

What's the proper etiquette when replying to a comment that someone leaves on a post? Is it accepted to just "comment reply" in the comment section? Is there a way to find a person's email address and contact them back directly?

Heart Rate experiment

5.5 hrs from when I went to bed until I woke up. Took atleast 1/2hr to fall asleep, so really it was 5 hours sleeping.

Average heart rate 61
Max heart rate 110

I wish it showed me Minimum heart rate--I'd be curious.

Summer schedule released

...and when I say "released" I mean my friends and I sat down the other night and wrote all our weekend sporting trips onto the calendar.

The highlight is the backpacking/mountain climbing trip to Wyoming from June 28 - July 13th. We'll hit the Wind River Range and the Bighorns (Cloud Peak Wilderness Area). We did two trips there last year, but due to gas prices we'll just spend the gas on one LONG trip.

We also have planned two water-skiing/tubing weekends, 3 weekends of more "general State Park camping" with mountain bikes, a trip to Lost Lake over Memorial Day (up near the Lost 40), a trip out to Wisconsin mountain biking over Labor Day, and the State Fair. I also have a dirt bike I need to learn how to ride more comfortably. Outside of these "Fab 4" trips (my pack of single/unmarried friends) I am also doing the MS150 bike ride.

How do these weekend plans affect my possible trail race schedule?

I'll probably do:
Superior 50K
Voyageur 50mile
Superior 100mile
Other little trail runs as I feel like it

I'd like to do, but should I skip my other plans?:
Ice Age 50mile
Lean Horse 50/100mile

Money is awfully tight for me now, so I'm not sure if I can even afford to do all these races. I'm still undecided. I have until 5/4 to register for Ice Age.

No running the last two days. Also haven't slept much. Maybe tomorrow I'll do both.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Lazy Day

There were a few snowflakes falling as I walked to Oasis Market to buy some Diet Dew. But the weather in my garage was comfortable for running 20 miles (6mph).

I am not very "green" if when I am running I have a treadmill, garage lights, and television all sucking electricity. And I might buy a fan, too, because it sometimes gets quite warm in there.

Oh, and today's a lazy day because I'm not planning on doing much else but lounge around my house in comfy clothes, watch t.v., and read. This post is not an indictment against anyone who does not run 20 miles today.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


My treadmill moves backwards 6 feet per hour (.0011 miles). Substitute this figure into the formula from yesterday to get the more accurate result.

Did [8 min@7.5mph and 2 min@4mph] x 10 this morning. Sold some jewelry and then had friends with kids over to the house for some pizza and a marathon of DIY t.v. My friends don't have t.v., so my 42" sucked them right in.

Windy and snowy outside, kind of chilly. I'd like for it to be in the 60's and sunny. I want to take the dirt bikes out.

Friday, April 25, 2008

"24" Season 5

I did about 20 miles today while watching the first 5 episodes or so of Season 5 of "24". I've seen this season, but not the next one which I received for X-mas. I am anxious all of a sudden to get to it, so I'm re-watching this season to get me into it.

I did 9 minutes running (6.7mph), 2 minutes walking (4mph) x 18.

My treadmill moves backwards, about 4 feet an hour, so I must stop and push it forward every now and again. I wonder if I need to work that measurement into mileage calculations. I enjoy math, so I might have to consider doing that.

Darn it, I shouldn't have thought of that. <...math being done...>

Average running speed 6.19 mph on the treadmill moves me forward 0 miles.
Today's run of 20.52 miles took 3.32 hrs.
4' = 0.000758 miles of backwards movement per hour.

So running forwards 20.52 miles on my treadmill over 3.32hrs of time means that my physical body actually moved backwards 0.0025miles. Bummer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Really really really long runs

I got to thinking today about how I define runs and how different people from different points of view might define a run. "Long run" sure can be ambiguous can't it?

The ambiguity is nice when I am speaking to other people about a run. I am sometimes weary of telling people exactly how long a run is. For the 100 miler I did I referred to it most of the time as my "long trail run". Some people already knew how long it was. Others were prompted to ask "how long?" Others just make some assumption in their heads and don't speak of it. They're probably thinking that long is 10 miles. That's fine with me.

I've done two 50k's this year and I refer to both of them with non-runners as "trail runs". If a non-runner wants more detail, they can ask and I'll certainly go into more detail.

For people who think long distance running (whatever THAT means) is going to break my body down and leave me sick I am always ready to point out that I only do one marathon a year. And that's true. I'll just leave the 50k's and all that out of the conversation.

But how do I define running lengths during training to myself? A long run is about 18-20 miles. 16 miles just doesn't seem like a "long" run. And 22 miles seems like a waste of time. If I'm going to run more than 20, I'm going to go for 26.2 so I can say a ran a marathon. What's the point of 22 miles now really?! A 30 mile run would be a really long run. If I were to do a 40 mile run I'd consider that really really long. A really really really long run (like this post's title)? I guess that'd have to be a 50 miler.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

My new trail treadmill

I've often acknowledged that my treadmill does not prepare me quite adequately for trail runs as I have yet to find a treadmill that has roots and rocks on the belt. Well, I may have inadvertently solved that problem.

My treadmill is in my garage--my unheated garage. My garage is tucked under the house, which is a twin home, so even in the dead of winter it stays fairly warm (30 degrees), so I don't feel too bad. My treadmill also has a LOT of miles on it and is nearing the end of its life.

This winter my garage was turned into a workshop as I had new trim installed throughout the house and a few new windows installed. The treadmill for awhile became the place where the windows sat. I tried to brush the sawdust off weekly.

Sometime mid-February the treadmill died--an electronic problem that I've had previously. I was not too concerned as it is still under warranty (and no, warranty people, I don't think the unheated garage and sawdust voids the warranty). About two weeks ago it was finally fixed and I ran on it for the first time Monday night.

Electronics are good now, but I can't deny that the belt is, well, bumpy. There's definitely a cant to the belt. I tried loosening it up, but that didn't help much. To have any sort of smoothness I have to run on it off-center. If I run straight up the middle I have to compensate for the unevenness, kind of like a trail. Who woulda thought? Should I have Mr. Repair Man come back out?

HIV facts

One of the blogs I read is written by a mother who has two children who are HIV+. Here are some facts about HIV:

- HIV can NOT be spread through causal/household contact. HIV is not spread through hugging, kissing, shaking hands, sharing toys, sneezing, coughing, sharing food, sharing drinks, bathing, swimming or any other causal way. It has been proven that HIV and AIDS can only be spread through sexual contact, birth, breastfeeding and blood to blood contact (such as sharing needles).
- HIV is now considered a chronic but manageable disease. With treatment, people who are HIV+ can live indefinitely without developing AIDS and can live long and full lives.

- People who are HIV+ deserve to be treated with love, respect, support and acceptance as all people do.

If anyone wants more info on transmission, there is great info on the Center for Disease Control website at

Monday, April 21, 2008

Just to make it clear...

I would be hesitant to call myself a trail-runner. I'm more of a trail racer, but even that's not really accurate. I'm not a road-racer or road-runner, either. I'm a treadmill runner. Yes, I am. I do 99.5% of my running on the treadmill. No, I don't get board. Yes, I have a treadmill at my house. I have a T.V. with a VCR mounted in my garage. I trained to qualify for Boston while watching Seasons 1-4 of "24". Tonight I ran 11 miles while watching "Flatliners".

My first trail run was when I lived in Washington D.C. and I went out on an 18 mile trail run in January 2005 with the Virginia Happy Trails Running Club. I had a blast with all the people I met, and was thoroughly impressed by them all. I credit them (or blame them, depending on the situation) with my ultra and trail running history and future. They were making big plans for the upcoming Bull Run Run 50 miler and Massanutten 100miler. This was the first time it occurred to me that I could do something like that, too.

Back in MN I impulsively, without much training or thought, decided to register for the Superior 50 miler (2005). I finished, and I'll have to come up with a belated race report. I have never before or after been as sore the day after finishing a race.

So for those keeping track, 2005 trail miles: 68 miles. (Did Grandma's, so outdoor running miles is 94.2).

2006 I attempted Superior 100. Again, I didn't really know what I was getting into, didn't really train much, and wasn't really prepared. I folded after 58 miles. But I did do about 30 more miles of trail running in the 2 months after that. So, 2006 trail miles: 88 miles. (Did Fargo Marathon, so outdoor running miles is 114.2).

2007 I returned to Superior 100. Again, didn't really train, but this time I was training for backpacking and mountain climbing in the Bighorn mountains. I did a lot of walking on the treadmill at an incline. (Why did I train for backpacking and not a 100 mile trail run? Well, mainly because after doing the Boston marathon in the spring I really had no desire to run at all, so I didn't). I finished SS100, walking it all. 2007 gives me 102.6 trail miles (plus Boston marathon is 128.8 outdoor miles).

2008: Well, here we are and I've ventured outside twice. Two 50K's, which means I'm well ahead of where I've been in past years. Depending on what more I choose to do this year, I think it likely I'll at least keep the same upswing of miles. If I go wild with trail running, maybe the graph plot for 2008 will show exponential growth. We'll see; no guarantees.

Trail Mix 50K 2008

For those who don't know, Trail Mix is a trail run at Hyland Park in Bloomington, MN. The 50K race is 4 loops of 7.75 miles each. There is also a 25K (2 loops) and a relay (4 people running 1 loop each). This year due to late snow melt on the ski-hill a section of the trail was re-routed and the course was a mile or so short of the full 50K (30 miles instead of 31 miles).

Well, I can't say that I went into this race very well prepared. I had not run more than 2 miles since I did a pair of 12-milers mid-March as I had been spending my gym time with weights and short interval running. But what the heck, said I.

I grabbed my trail shoes from the laundry room floor where I'd tossed them back at the beginning of February after the Psycho Wyco 50K in Kansas City. That race was a mud-bath, and I knew my shoes were pretty dirty, but I thought why wash them just to do a trail run and get them muddy again? Ahhh... I know why: they were caked with a solid 1/2 inch of dried hard as rock mud. Into the wash they went at midnight, and I went to bed.

The weather was good enough for me, with reasonable temperatures and no precipitation. I ran in my long pants, my long sleeved Psycho Wyco shirt, and my cheap-o gloves. It was warm enough that I could have removed the gloves and pants once I was moving, but as I wasn't overheated I didn't bother. Also a point to consider was EForce had set in motion events that caused his 250lb dirt bike to tip into me while we were on the bed of his truck. I was thrown off the side of the truck backwards. The only reason I didn't land flat on my back on my driveway was because his bike pinned my calves between itself and the sidewall. The swelling went down by Friday, but I have some nasty looking bruises across both upper calves and lower thighs. I figured wearing shorts might cause some rumors to start flying.

Back to the race: At the start I met Steve Q. (1st pl. men's finisher-- now that I've met him I don't have to feel like a stalker when I read his blog). Also chatted with Wayne about the good times at Psycho Wyco. And then we were off.

1st loop: Sucked. I felt like my heart rate was 10bpm higher than it should be for the pace I was moving (which wasn't fast). I was sucking wind and when I got to the aid station around 4 miles I couldn't imagine finishing. I started coming up with excuses in my head to justify dropping after 2 loops (or even 1): my legs must still be swollen... I ate too much last night... I'm not well-trained, so 7.75 miles is good enough. I made it to the 2nd aid station and was surprised and pleased to see Londell, who picked me out of the crowd with my Psycho Wyco shirt. He'd been there, too, and has the shirt. Next surprise was Les, another Psycho-Wycoian passing by. I caught up with him and we chatted and ran the rest of that loop and most of the 2nd. We figured out that I've run parts of all my trail runs in 2007-8 with him. Sounds impressive, but remember this was race #3 for those years. I think finished loop 1 in 1:40, but I didn't pay much attention.

2nd loop: Continued chatting with Les through most of this loop and started feeling both mentally and physically better. Picked up some speed by the end of the loop. Finished at 2:50. Set the goal of finishing under 6 (finishing lap 3 by 4:30).

3rd loop: Felt great. Chugged along. Got the guys at aid station #1 to take my picture as I struck a pose with my beautiful hair; I need an updated picture for an online dating site. Kidding. Kind of. Finished at 4:15. New goal is 5:45 to end.

4th loop: Still feeling good. Ironically enough I pulled into the first aid station with a young man hot on my heels, leading the aid station volunteers to point out that the online photo must have worked! Finished in 5:37:30.

I carried my 20oz handheld water bottle and refilled it once. Drank a cup of Poweraid at each station. Ate two mini-clif bars throughout the race. Felt fine, but food isn't an ultra issue with me. I was not properly hydrated, as my stomach was way bloated the rest of the day. I probably should have drank more water, but for only a 50K this wasn't a race-breaker.

Thanks to all the volunteers out on the course!

My first blog; my first post

I've decided to start my own blog. I actually decided that I would start my blog last Saturday so I could post a race report for Trail Mix 50K, but I didn't get it off the ground in time; I guess I was too busy, umm, running?

This is a blog of my life and all that I do: sports, books, thoughts, friends, etc. This blog will serve as a record and resource to myself for the future, and could conceivably be a resource for others who stumble upon it. I've learned things reading others blogs--who am I to say that no one could learn from me?

This blog will also update friends and family who may care about my life.

Other than that this blog serves no purpose. I do not promise to update this consistently. I'm not going to promise to be reveal everything and be completely honest about all aspects of my life like this is some diary. How's that for a start?