Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Diet plans

I have thought long and hard about my diet and how I self destruct myself on occasion. My weaknesses would be pizza and then basically just eating too much for the amount of running I do. Meaning when I am injured and/or don't get my runs in my weight creeps up and when I do get runs in it meanders down. For the last 2 or so years, it has been floating between 210 and 220 which on my 6'1" body is about 30 pounds too much. So the long term goal is to work my weight down this year at least 20 pounds.

So, I have been reading a lot of diet books to figure out what I should do. They all pretty much agreed on a few things, eat veggies and fruits and reduce processed foods.

I have also been thinking for years about becoming a vegetarian but that seems so like it will take a lot of work. So I have pretty much been stalled out on this, the meats that I do enjoy are hot dogs, bacon and brats which probably sums up a few other issues. Beyond those three, I do eat hamburgers on occasion, chicken, tuna and turkey more often (none more than 1 or 2 a week). As to fish, I only like tuna, shrimp and lobster and I despise any visible fat on meat.

A few weeks back I was listening to the Run Vegan Run podcast (episode 9 - good discussion, take a listen) where Megan was interviewing Adam who writes the blog Lone Wolf Runner. And what did they discuss but vegetarian eating and how to get started so after the show I dropped Adam an email asking a few questions about it and he was kind enough to get back to me. His advice made a lot of sense, start by logging all food. So I did it for awhile and I ate fruit (bananas, strawberries, grapes, apples), veggies (broccoli, carrots, green beans), salads, almonds, cashews, peanuts, energy bars, instant oatmeal, string cheese, peanut butter, bread, veggie and cheese pizza. Over this period of time I didn't eat any red meat but I did eat tuna once and when I had training at work I ate a small piece of chicken. That's one of my concerns about going vegetarian, figuring out how to eat when I don't have control over anything. Since then I have eaten a little more meat but it's no more than every 2 or 3 days or longer.

If I ever do decide to formally drop all meat I think I would make the attempt to follow the Lacto-ovo vegetarianism. Which means I will eat dairy and eggs and honey as giving up cheese would be really, really difficult.

First, though I will follow Adam's advice and start keeping a log and see how I do and I will look to avoid processed foods and increase the fruits and veggies as I have some weight to lose.

For those like me who don't know everything about different versions of vegetarianism here is the definition table from wikipedia.

Foods in the main vegetarian diets
Diet name Meat, poultry, fish Eggs Dairy Honey
Lacto-ovo vegetarianism
Yes Yes Yes
Lacto vegetarianism
No Yes Yes
Ovo vegetarianism
Yes No Yes
No No No[11][12][13]

11. Vegan Action FAQ: Is Honey Vegan?
12. Why Honey is Not Vegan
13. What is Vegan?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lebanon Hills Center Section - BIM vs Garmin difference

When I looked at my running info from yesterday, I was puzzled by my mile 3 split time. The groin issue happened after mile 3, yet my pace had already slowed down.

I think I know the reason, this morning I uploaded my runs into Garmin Connect and noticed that my overall time and my mile splits were different and that my Garmin data matches what I remembered, I slowed a bit in mile 3 as it was more uphill and then slowed even more in mile 4 because of the injury. Here are the mile splits from Garmin:
Why the difference, well I had a rock in my shoe and during mile 3 I stopped and removed it. When I did so, I pushed the stop button on my Garmin, after I removed it, I hit the start button and was underway. So just a minor difference to note between BIM and Garmin. BIM looks like it reflects total time. In this case, I like the Garmin data as it reflects my run, yes in a race, the total clock time trumps but for training I like to see the reality of what is happening on a per mile basis.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Lebanon Hills - Center Section

I decided today to run the center section of Lebanon Hills. It is an often overlooked section (at least by me) as it's more of a pass through from the east section of the park to the west. I was planning on running 4-6 miles depending how I felt. Initially, I felt ok, I was going at an easy pace, after two miles I decided to go ahead and try and hit every trail in the center section as I was enjoying the run. I do like running in the center section, it's a bit hillier than the eastern section, most of the trails are horse trails with a couple of miles of hiking trails. Since I don't run it quite as often, some of the trails I have forgotten but as I re-discover them its like visiting an old friend you haven't seen in a while and picking up where you left off. I knew that running every spur would get me up to 6 miles or more but it seemed like a good idea and I was in kind of a cruise mode. I figured a Garmin map of the park with every spur would be kind of neat to have. My thinking was today, the center, then I would do a long run and click off every trail on the eastern side and finally run the western section.

I was just plodding along kind of enjoying myself as I headed towards one of the exits when as I was slowly going up a hill, I felt a muscle pain in the groin. I kind of thought to myself I wonder if that is what a groin pull feels like. I have never had one before so it was kind of interesting, it was like I could feel it getting stretched beyond what it should. I took a few more steps and stopped. I thought to myself, just what I need. I decided to walk the rest of the hill, tried to run the downhill and I had pain. Great. I then decided the smart thing to do was just walk it out and if it eased up, resume running but if it didn't head home and ice it and hope that it's nothing serious. I wish I had been pounding up the hill and that caused the strain, I was hardly moving, oh well, it's hell getting old. The nice thing was that after it hurt I no longer worried about my ankle or my achilles, proving the hammer theory once again.

I ended up walking it in and icing which left a few trails undiscovered, I guess that will get me back real soon, as of now I am sure the strain is a minor issue, just another distraction for this summer.

Route:--Elev. Avg:989 ft
Location:Eagan, MNElev. Gain:-3 ft
Date:07/25/09Up/Downhill: [+649/-652]
Time:03:06 PMDifficulty:3.7 / 5.0

Weather:Mostly Cloudy

77 F temp; 46% humidity

78 F heat index; winds NW 16 G 26
Distance: 4.96 miles
Speed:4.1 mph
Pace:14' 29 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
112' 52-1' 374.7+0.5+53 ft
212' 57-1' 324.6+0.5-79 ft
314' 27-0' 024.2+0.0+46 ft
414' 31+0' 024.1-0.0-36 ft
end17' 41+3' 123.4-0.8+13 ft
Versus average of 14' 29 min/mile

Posted from

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lebanon Hills - Wayne & Karen

Ran with Wayne and Karen. It was interesting to run with people as I normally don't. I figured it was worth posting the info from BIM.

I did struggle more with the pace than I expected which was not a complete surprise. I felt good early, just ran out of gas after a few miles maybe it was the heat or my conditioning or the pace for me with the heat and my conditioning or the fact that I knew I had to play two softball games.

It was nice to see Wayne and catch up with his plans and to meet Karen and hear her plans. They both have some nice events ahead. For me it's all about the Surf the Murph.

Route:--Elev. Avg:931 ft
Location:Rosemount, MNElev. Gain:+10 ft
Date:07/23/09Up/Downhill: [+554/-544]
Time:03:37 PMDifficulty:3.7 / 5.0


83 F temp; 30% humidity

81 F heat index; winds NW 9
Distance: 6.33 miles
Speed:4.7 mph
Pace:12' 44 /mi
Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
111' 15-1' 295.3+0.6+63 ft
211' 25-1' 195.2+0.5-23 ft
311' 33-1' 115.2+0.5-10 ft
412' 52+0' 084.7-0.1+33 ft
513' 16+0' 324.5-0.2-13 ft
613' 53+1' 094.3-0.4-42 ft
end19' 06+6' 223.1-1.6+3 ft
Versus average of 12' 44 min/mile

Posted from

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

BIM vs Garmin clarification

Wayne made a comment on my post yesterday about the elevation data in BIM. I commented back that I thought it was just part of the file exported from Garmin or Sport Tracks. Since I was wrong, I figured it would be worthwhile clarifying.

First, when I exported the data from Garmin I did so as a TCX file not a GPX file as I thought which is what I export data from Sport Tracks to. BIM will import either data file. You can also export from Garmin or Sport Tracks to Google Earth for what it's worth. I haven't tried that but it might be interesting. Now as to the file on BIM I had forgotten that you get this message when you look at your activity

So I assume that is where they get their elevation data and you can see the file imported from Garmin is the same as I the one from posted yesterday except the mileage was different. Sport Tracks had it at 5.89 miles and Garmin had it at 5.88.

Garmin data plotted on BIM

Sport Tracks data plotted on BIM

Latest run - BIM vs. Garmin

I ran in Lebanon Hills yesterday evening after dinner and was dismayed to see that the Jensen lake south section is still closed. I sure hope they aren't planning on putting in blacktop. The bugs weren't terrible and the park wasn't too wet from the rain. It is interesting to see how low the various ponds (I mean lakes) are from the lack of rain. Hopefully we will get a bit more rain and a lot more heat in the coming weeks.

As to this run, I tried to run harder but it just didn't seem too happen at least based on my times, although I do think this time the Garmin may be shorting my distance :-).

OK, I just couldn't help myself as I had to compare BIM with Garmin Connect. There is a bit of a difference with the charts and I had to select multiple tabs on the Garmin website to see the charts. From the BIM website, it's all in front of you and it was easy to export to my blog, one button click and it was published. From the Garmin website, I printed each chart to pdf, captured the image, saved it as a jpg and then imported into my blog. Kind of a hassle but the elevation chart looks more like a reason to run slower. One last thing, with Garmin you only get the splits if you turn on the auto lap feature with 1 mile selected, with BIM and Sport Tracks they will give you splits regardless of the lap setting.

Route:--Elev. Avg:927 ft
Location:Eagan, MNElev. Gain:-36 ft
Date:07/21/09Up/Downhill: [+479/-515]
Time:07:25 PMDifficulty:2.9 / 5.0

Weather:Partly Cloudy

68 F temp; 60% humidity

68 F heat index; winds S 7

Distance: 5.89 miles

Speed:4.8 mph

Pace:12' 27 /mi


Elevation (ft)
Elevation profile from BIM Active

Elevation profile from Garmin Connect

Pace (min/mile)
Pace chart from BIM Active
Pace chart from Garmin Connect

MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
112' 11-0' 164.9+0.1-36 ft
212' 23-0' 044.8+0.0+29 ft
312' 17-0' 104.9+0.1-36 ft
412' 42+0' 154.7-0.10 ft
512' 45+0' 184.7-0.1+20 ft
end12' 17-0' 104.9+0.1-13 ft
Versus average of 12' 27 min/mile

Posted from

Monday, July 20, 2009

Garmin Sites

Since I got the Garmin a few weeks ago, I have had fun learning about it and the websites or programs that I can view the data with. I have used Garmin Connect (web based), Garmin Training Center (local to my PC) and Sport Tracks (local to my PC). All of these are free to use. Of the three the one I use the most is Sport Tracks and I do like it as I can sync the data to Buckeye Outdoors where I like to keep my web based running log. All of these have been ok but none have brought the data to life.

I was reading a blog I follow called "On the trails with Ed" and he mentioned using BIM Active to look at his Garmin data, his data looked interesting so I gave it a shot. For those that might wonder, I follow his blog as he lives in Kentucky and runs races in Kentucky as well as my beloved Southern Indiana like the Gnaw Bone 50 (his 2008 race report) and the Tecumseh Trail Marathon (his 2008 race report). Gnaw Bone is about 10 miles from where I grew up and the Tecumseh trail marathon takes place just northwest of Nashville which is just 6 miles from Gnaw Bone, can you guess which events I am looking at doing in Indiana?

Here is the BIM active display of data from my recent race at Afton, it was exported from BIM directly into my blog, I just added the commentary above and below. (It does look a little prettier through the BIM webpage, but it looks ok here still). In order to get my Garmin data into BIM, I did have to export the data from Sport Tracks to a GPX file and then import it into bim.

Route:--Elev. Avg:835 ft
Location:Afton Alps Ski Area, MNElev. Gain:+6 ft
Date:07/04/09Up/Downhill: [+2181/-2175]
Time:06:32 AMDifficulty:4.3 / 5.0

Distance: 15.58 miles

Speed:4.3 mph

Pace:13' 57 /mi


Elevation (ft)
Pace (min/mile)
MilePace (min/mile)Speed (mph)Elevation
actual+/- avgactual+/- avg
112' 57-1' 004.6+0.3-42 ft
213' 34-0' 234.4+0.1+122 ft
312' 13-1' 444.9+0.6-128 ft
413' 07-0' 504.6+0.3-9 ft
513' 18-0' 394.5+0.2+138 ft
611' 25-2' 325.2+0.9-246 ft
714' 55+0' 584.0-0.3+279 ft
810' 58-2' 595.5+1.2-256 ft
915' 44+1' 473.8-0.5+253 ft
1011' 37-2' 205.2+0.9-262 ft
1112' 14-1' 434.9+0.6-23 ft
1214' 51+0' 544.0-0.3+197 ft
1313' 32-0' 254.4+0.1-3 ft
1416' 00+2' 033.8-0.6+55 ft
1515' 37+1' 403.8-0.5-76 ft
end25' 58+12' 012.3-2.0+10 ft
Versus average of 13' 57 min/mile

Posted from

Now for my race analysis, in looking at my data it makes sense up to mile 12, before that my pace slowed on the hills which is what I did. But after mile 12 my pace no longer matched the course which is pretty much what happened. I couldn't manage the terrain and maintain my pace with my injuries.

So if you want another Garmin data site, give BIM a try, it's free to register and for me it's a site I may use as it allows me to analyze my data a little more easier than the other sites, if only it had a direct interface to my Garmin or could sync with Buckeye, it would be even better.

So even though I like it, I still like Sport Tracks better as it has both of those, the data just isn't quite as pretty to look at.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Turtle Trot Race Report

First, I have to comment on the weather it is July 18th, it's supposed to be hot. At 9am the temp was 59° F and it was overcast. At 10 am it had gotten up to 61° F and was still overcast. This is summer not spring, not fall, 60° F is not summer even in Minnesota.

As to the day, we kept the normal Turtle Trot rotation, 5k run, 1/2 mile swim and 10 mile bike. This marked Karyn's and my fourth year participating in it. Ben kept the same agenda, course debrief, national anthem and a prayer. It is the right way to start things off.

The run went better than in the past. I ran a 27:12 5k, not anywhere near my best 5k time but it was my best Turtle Trot 5k time and it was my best 5k in over 5 years. Granted I only run one 5k a year but it still was nice to run at least a bit faster. I did have some ankle pain about 2 miles in which seemed to affect my push-off and I know it slowed me down in the last mile (along with just being tired). The achilles did not bother me which was very good. The course is an out and back with no real hills just a few gentle ups. I went out fairly hard and I hit the turnaround in 13:15 so no negative split but overall not a bad effort.

Next up was the swim, the lake water was down which wasn't a problem but the air temp was and I can say that the water temp did take my breath away. It took me a few minutes to deal with it, after that it was ok, I do think the water temp was close to the air temp, I figure it was a swimming ice bath. The nice thing with the Turtle Trot swim is that you can touch bottom, which allows you to walk and swim your way through the 1/2 mile. I tried to swim but probably only swam about 1/2 of it. It was a bit choppy and the return loop was against some small waves which made it a bit more difficult as they kept crashing into my head. I came out of the water at 45:09 and proceeded to get the shoes on for the bike.

I had used my Garmin for the run but I didn't think it would be good to take it into the lake. I put it back on for the bike and it was nice to see the mileage during the bike as my bike speedometer-odometer battery was dead. I headed out on the bike, adjusted my gloves and then sped my mountain bike around the course. I did have my cross tires on which helped but an investment in or rental of a road bike would be a big plus. I don't think I ever will get one but I do know it would help. I got done in something like 1 hour and 35 minutes, my Garmin had the bike at 47:01 and it had the distance at 11 miles. So I lost 3 minutes in the last transition which is probably about right as I had to dry off, get my shoes on, grab my bike and go and to be honest I didn't rush it.

So overall not a bad day, our thanks to Ben and Kirsten for asking us back one more year and all of the volunteers for again making it a great event. It is always a lot of fun.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Turtle Trot on Saturday, thoughts beyond........

Our annual triathlon, the Turtle Trot is coming up in just a couple of days. I was hoping this would be the PR year for me, where my 5k time would be back to the mid 20's (or lower where they once were), my 1/2 mile swim would be faster (can't remember how long it took in the past year), my 10 mile bike would be faster too (same recollection as to the swim). But injuries, lack of training and poor diet will probably take most of my attention resulting in just enjoying the day with some really nice folks.

After this event, my focus will be on training for the Surf the Murph 50, I have signed up, I am committed and I need to do it for myself.

This year has been a mixed year, I finished some events but I did not make the progress I expected. Now I know I have some reasons and I still have many months to get back on track but the bottom line is that at Run Toto Run the footing and lack of enough training did me in. At Chippewa, I thought it was the same issue, my training, in hindsight it was dehydration and injuries. The injuries that I sustained at Chippewa which I was able to ignore during the event as the dehydration had my focus have been a big part of my underachieving since. The reality is that I didn't think anything of the ankle rolls until afterward as yes I had some pain but I thought it was just my lack of will power and basic fitness that were the root cause of my poor time at Chippewa. I have learned since that I have an issue with my push-off that probably was the cause of some of my slow down there. But at Chippewa I was really questioning myself, so it does feel a bit better to know that I had some other issues going on. At Swan Lake the injuries were still an issue but I made it to the finish and then at Afton, the injuries allowed me the opportunity to drop at the 25k point. I hate a DNF and my guess is I am not alone with that thought but I do know it was the right call at Afton but I still didn't like dropping.

Which leads me back to the Turtle Trot, it will be fun, no matter what. I will do my best, enjoy the day and use it as a turnaround for the year.

As to Surf the Murph, the goal is simple train enough to maintain some fitness in the coming weeks, heal the injuries, get the diet going and then train, train, train and enjoy completing my first 50. I can't believe I am going to make the attempt. My hope is that it rejuvenates me to become focused on training and diet to where I can show the discipline again that I once had in training for marathons. If I do, it will be a far more successful day in terms of time but for this one, faster would be better but I just want to finish as I am not sure I can.

I love the thought of the mental battle I will have to go through to complete this event, let's hope I am up to it. Because if I do, then even I will have to consider myself an ultrarunner. Now that is a cool thought.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

The week in review

I took Monday through Wednesday off of running, did self massage and had the left ankle wrapped all week with the hope of recovering quickly.

I tried to run before softball on Thursday, my thinking was that it would provide a way to stretch out before the games and I really did want to run. I only went a mile as I still had some pain. On Friday I figured I better be smart so I didn't run which was hard to miss another day as it was a beautiful day.

Although I did get some good news on Friday, my new pair of shoes arrived. New shoes when injured? Of course, it's what I do as I am usually convinced my shoes are aggravating my injury or the root cause as it can't be my training. Occasionally I have been right, usually I am not as the injuries stick around. I ordered a pair of Salomon XA Comp 3's from Sierra Trading Post.They were priced fairly inexpensively ($49.95) and I got an additional 20% since my order was over $75. So with the additional discount the Salomon's ended up costing just $39.95. I also ordered a pair of Sugio Ready running shorts and a Laken Futura aluminum water bottle. The Ready shorts are my second pair, I love the first pair and have worn them for a few months. They are long (~9 inseam) and softer than normal running shorts, they don't rub or cling which is nice. As to the water bottle, I normally refill "the single use" plastic bottles 10, 20 or 30 times. Probably not wise based on the research.

Saturday, I decided I needed to feel ok as I had new shoes and I had to give them a go. So I grabbed the Garmin and headed to Lebanon Hills. The Garmin synced with the satellites and then I noticed the low battery warning. When was the last time I charged it? I figured it would last as this was going to be a fairly short run somewhere between 4-7 miles depending on how I felt, the Garmin died almost right away. I ran a trail I know well that didn't feature hills and it was fairly smooth so as to not aggravate anything. The shoes felt great, my left ankle seemed to like them, my achilles was tight but the good news was no jolts from either so I ended up running the 6 mile loop. I can already say that based on this first run, the speed laces on these shoes I really like, not sure how they will wear but they sure make it easy to get the shoes on and adjusted.

Today, I ran the river bottoms with Karyn, we did our normal 12.5 mile loop. I again wore the Salomon's. Great news, the ankle was good for 8 or 9 miles and not terrible for the last 3 or so miles. The achilles held together and was manageable for most of the run but was definitely tightening up over the last few miles. So maybe the shoes helped, maybe it was the rest, the shorter distance, the level ground or maybe it's all in my head. I even soaked both feet in cold water when we got home and now I have both feet wrapped up again so I am trying to take care of these injuries.

I am pretty sure that my left foot is improving and my achilles is manageable. Of course, it's what I want to believe but I really do think I am making progress.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Changes at Lebanon Hills

Things change, sometimes for the better, sometimes not and most times it's all about whose perspective you view the change in. Take the changes in Lebanon Hills, over the years they have been mostly favorable at least in my eyes, the mountain bike folks taught them how to cut good singletrack trails that held up over time. Which led to some great mountain bike trails and eventually spilled over into other sections of the park which led to improved and more single or double track trails for runners and hikers. So for the last few years, I have really enjoyed these new trails to run on however their most recent change is decidedly not a good one, at least from my perspective.

They have changed one of my most favorite loops in Lebanon Hills, the Jensen Lake south loop. It's only a mile and change but it is a section that I almost always started and ended with. What have they done, well, they brought in the bulldozer and they have smoothed it out, the rocks are covered, the roots aren't exposed, some bridges have been added where I used to be able to get my feet wet or at least muddy. I loved this section as portions of it demanded your attention or you would roll the ankle and go down or clip a root and play superman.
Now if you are a family out for a leisurely stroll, these changes are great. Oh well the damage is done, the trail has been smoothed and it will get more use from the general public, some would say this is good, I would say that I liked my trail before. Here is a picture I took with my phone last year while on this loop. This was from one of the smooth sections, when they open the loop again I will take another picture and post it again with the before and after and you will see how the path has been changed.

On a different note, I got the email from Cindy and Les, Surf the Murph (25k, Marathon, 50k and 50 miler) registration is now open. You can sign up on the Surf the Murph website.


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