May 31, 2008

Go Discovery!

Photo courtesy of NASA TV

Space shuttle Discovery blasted off to a picture perfect launch this afternoon, carrying the large Japanese research laboratory named Kibo to the International Space Station. Among the seven astronaut crew is Minnesota native (and runner) Karen Nyberg. Karen will be the first astronaut to operate 3 different robotic arms during a single space flight.

It's difficult to comprehend travelling at 17,500 miles per hour!

Photo courtesy of NASA.

Getting ready to line up for the start of the 2007 Boston Marathon.

May 29, 2008

History of the Marathon

Finally. Someone tells the history of the marathon the way it really happened.


May 26, 2008

Treadmill Test Trot

Since our last episode, I've been nursing a sore left foot as a result of tendonitis of the extensor digitorum longus muscle (self diagnosis) after a short barefoot run last Thursday. The ice and NSAIDs seem to have helped tremendously, and after 3 days of biking, strength training, and planting flowers, I went for a test trot on the treadmill today. Decided on the treadmill simply because it would be easy to bail out at any time if things didn't go well.

Foot is still a little sore and stiff, especially first thing in the morning. I could feel it slightly when I first started running, but it wasn't painful and I didn't take any meds this morning (which could mask any discomfort). Went 3 easy miles with no problems. Now I'll just have to wait and see how it responds later.

Good sign :)

PS> Thanks to those who sacrificed for our country.

EDIT: Foot's getting sore again a few hours after running. More ice.

May 23, 2008

Ice and Aleve

After running on the rocks and roots of the Superior Hiking Trail last Saturday, my feet and ankles were a little sore. Not injury sore - more like mild DOMS soreness in the intrinsic muscles that don't normally get worked when running on smoother terrain. The same kind of DOMS sore I get after running a couple of miles barefoot (or actually, in Vibram Five Fingers KSO's). So I decided I needed to do a little more barefoot running to strengthen up my feet since I'll be doing a marathon on that same trail in September.

Shoulda waited a little longer for the lingering stiffness in my left foot to go away before setting the piggies free.

Sat: Superior 25K race on SHT
Sun: very short strength training + biking
Mon: busy work day - off
Tues: strength training
Weds: 6 miles easy - felt great, but feet still a little tender.
Thurs: 2 miles barefoot - riled up the extensor digitorum longus tendons in my left foot.
Fri: very sore left foot. Aleve. Ice. More Aleve. More ice. Strength training - open chain exercises only for the lower body :( Went to garden store and bought $100 worth of flowers to plant.

Hope to nip this tendonitis in the bud, but realize that poor blood supply to tendons can result in even minor injuries taking weeks to heal - especially if I try to rush it. Was really hoping to get a 15-16 miler in tomorrow, but that's not gonna fly.

I'll have to take this one day at a time. I hope I have the patience to do what I know I need to do.

May 18, 2008

Superior 25K Race Report

Since the Superior Hiking Trail is one of my favorite places on Earth, I was really looking forward to this race. Drove up from the Twin Cities Friday afternoon with temps in the mid-70's, then got to Duluth where the Lake Superior Air Conditioning effect takes place and the temps were suddenly in the upper 40's. Set up camp lakeside at Temperance River during a brief rain storm, then was treated to the double rainbow in my last post. Went to the pre-race meeting at Caribou Highlands in Lutsen and got to meet up with some fellow trail runners. Saw Larry, RD of the Superior fall races (there are going to be a few changes to the 50 & 100 mile this fall), Kate, Phillip, Matt, Carl, Maria, and Keith. Met Alicia from the MN Dead Runners list, and (sorry who I'm missing - I'm sure there were others).

Race morning, the big dilema for me is always what to wear. I am notorious for over dressing, and almost pulled it off again. Temps started out in the 40's, but with the sun out things were warming up fast. Also figuring in to the equation were the windy conditions and forecast for afternoon rain. I must have changed clothes 3 times before finally getting it right! It turned out to be a beautiful day for running, and the trail was in great condition. A few wet spots and some downed trees (especially on the top of Moose Mtn), but in great shape for May. No bugs :)

At the start of the race, there was a 0.6 mile road trot into the wind until we crossed the bridge over the roaring Poplar River gorge and reached the single track. As soon as we were in the woods, the wind was a non-issue. Mystery mountain is nice for running; gradual inclines and declines through maple, birch, and spruce forest. Just the usual cast of characters on the SHT: lots of roots and rocks. A small unmarked overlook provided a view of Lutsen Mountains ski area, which still has patches of snow! Then the real work began: the steep rocky ascent of Moose Mountain. Quad and calf burner deluxe. Had to go over, under, or around several blown down trees, which left me with a few "tree bites". I didn't really take time to enjoy the views from the ridge top, since anyone who knows about this trail realizes that taking your eyes off the ground while your feet are moving is an invitation to disaster. (Side note: this can leave one vulnerable to not noticing tree branches at forehead height. Ask Matt or Carl about attempting to move trees with one's forehead).

By the time I passed Rollins Creek, the front runners were starting their return to the finish on this out and back course. I didn't recognize the first few leaders, but noticed that Wynn was leading the 50K. I'm pretty sure I saw Gregg pass through soon afterwards, and Keith seemed to be having a great run too. Felt great at the Oberg (only) aid station which was also the turn around. I took my second Endurolytes cap there, had a gel, and headed back. Was feeling great!

Started back up the steep rocky climb to the top of Moose Mountain and started to notice my right calf getting tight. Made it to the top and started all over again going over, under, or around the downed trees. Then - it happened. Climbed over a fallen tree and my calf completely seized up. Tried to slide over the tree onto my other foot when that calf also cramped. So, there I was, straddling the log, neither foot on the ground, with both legs in complete tetany. Crap! (Actually, I do recall saying something out loud. It was four letters. It wasn't "crap"). I finally managed to get off the tree, but my legs were continuing to cramp even just walking. Took my last 2 E-caps and pretty much stumbled along the trail. This was frustrating because it's a nice stretch for running. The cramping seemed to come and go and I made it down the steep descent of Moose Mountain. Shortly afterwards, Matt caught up to me as he was finishing the 50K. He gave me some S-caps, which helped immensely. Thanks Matt!! They took a while to kick in, but I was able to start running again for the last 1.5 miles and didn't have any further problems after the race.

Post race, I finally got to meet Julie, who had finished the 50K and was planning on doing hill repeats up and down Moose Mountain the next day. Also met Wynn, who did in fact win the 50K (he also won the Sawtooth 100 mile last fall), and Diane who has some light reading to do after getting Kate's copy of Running Lore by Tim Noakes. Steve made it to the finish line, having run on a severely sprained ankle at Runnin' in the Ruff 10K two weeks ago, Ice Age 50 mile last weekend, and the 50K at Superior yesterday. And he's going to do FANS in 3 weeks. With what turns out to be a busted ankle.

Finishers were awarded a hunter's orange bandana (to match our hunter's orange race shirts), so we can now run in the woods during hunting season to train for next year.

It reads, "I kicked the snot out of the Superior Hiking Trail at the 2008 Superior Trail Race."

Special thanks to RD's Mike and Gretchen, as well as all of the volunteers who helped to support us while we enjoyed our romp through the woods. I will definately be back!

May 17, 2008


Race report to follow as I'm pooped after running on my favorite trail and then driving home in driving rain and high winds. In the meantime, enjoy the view of a double rainbow over Lake Superior Friday evening (the second rainbow is tough to see, but you may be able to spot it faintly on the right side of the photo. I took this from my campsite at Temperance River.

May 12, 2008

Goofy Week

I was hoping to get more hills and long runs in after Runnin' in the Ruff to prepare for Superior this coming Saturday, but no joy. A goofy work schedule left me squeezing short workouts in here and there.

Sun: strength training + hike
Mon: 2 mile barefoot run at Bredesen
Wed: strength training
Fri: 4 miles steady pace at Bredesen
Sat: strength training
Sun: indoor biking and emergency shopping for a TV after my 3 year old flat screen LCD unexpectedly went belly up.
Mon: 6 miles at Bredesen. Planned on 8, but kept getting foot cramps and pulled the plug. For a short, slow run, this one felt harder than it should have. Perhaps because I didn't sleep well, and my training has sucked.

Found an easy new recipe that is pretty good: Baked pollock (or any mild, white fish) with Red Grape Salsa.

1 cup seedless red grapes
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped sweet bell pepper
1 Tbsp balsamic vinaigrette
1 lb fish fillets, cut into 4 oz pieces
1 Tbsp Greek vinaigrette (I use the Kraft salad dressing, which is basically olive oil + seasoning)
Lemon Pepper to taste.

For Red Grape Salsa, mix grapes, onion, bell pepper, and balsamic vinaigrette. Chill until ready to serve.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, spray olive oil Pam onto baking pan. Place fish fillets in pan and drizzle with Greek vinaigrette and lemon pepper. Bake for about 10 minutes (depending on thickness of fillets).

To serve, spoon red grape salsa over fish.

Had it with asparagus spears, brown rice, and a frosty Summit Extra Pale Ale.

May 5, 2008

Runnin' in the Ruff 10K

Mud! Mud! Mud!

Fun! Fun! Fun!

I was kinda dreading this race on Saturday given the weather forecast (rain/snow mix with high winds) and the driving rain/sleet pelting my windows all night long on Friday evening. The sound of the sleet and rain kept waking me up, and I kept thinking "I've gotta get up and run in this stuff in a few hours." I was pleasantly surprised to see sunshine on Saturday morning! Drove up to Milaca and got there in plenty of time for the 10 am start. Ended up sitting in my car for a little bit just to stay out of the cold wind. Ran into Bryan, Wayne and Kate before the start, and learned that we have another taker or two for the Minnesota Trail Race Series!

I'd never run this race before, so I was listening intently to the race director give incredibly detailed descriptions about the course. Basically, tie your shoes tight so you don't lose them in the mud, there is some deep water in places (should I have brought a snorkel?), tight switchbacks, etc. His descriptions were spot on! We were led across a bridge over the Rum River to the start on a dirt road before heading up a short, steep, muddy bank into single track in the woods. Not terribly technical, but there were a few roots and rocks tripping people up. The tight turns made it difficult to run very fast, but I was just enjoying my romp through the woods.

A jump over a small stream (I didn't quite make it), flat trek around the reservoir, and back into more single track in the woods for some serious....and I mean serious....shoe stealing mud. Noticed a pair of abandoned sneakers laying to the side of the trail shortly after a bridge crossing. More mud. Knee deep water on top of the mud. Pretty tough to run at all in this slop. Noticed an occupied bald eagle nest at the half way point - very cool. More tight turns in ankle deep mud. This was fun - like being a kid again! Eventually we came out into a pine forest and then a clearing along the Rum River where Wayne had come back to cheer us on after finishing himself. Over another bridge and into the finish.

In addition to Bryan, Wayne, and Kate, I ran into Steve and Keith after the race. We were all huddled trying to stay out of the wind as the race director announced winners for each age group and distributed door prizes. Keith scored some home made pecan chocolate bark, Wayne got a martini mix, and Kate got the coveted pink garden hose. Unfortunately, Steve rolled his ankle pretty bad and will be forced to taper for next weeks 50 miler at Ice Age Trail - hope he is a fast healer. Jean won awards for men, women, and door prizes but must have bailed before the post race festivities got started. He has a picture of his socks after the race on his blog - that's what my socks looked like AFTER I did laundry (did I mention it was muddy?).

The volunteers were top notch and well prepared. This was really a fun little race and I will definately be back! Congratulations to RD John O and his crew for a great Runnin' in the Ruff!

May 1, 2008


The world needs more people like Liz Wallace and Mallory Holtman.

"Central Washington offers the ultimate act of sportsmanship"


I've been tagged by Keith to write my six word memoir.

My six word memoir is:

All things in moderation, including moderation.

I'm tagging Carl, Cindi, Mindi, Jim (Chester Woods RD), Don, and Wayne.