Sunday, July 31, 2011

Lebanon Hills Virtual Running Group?

I was out for my run this morning and I had one of those moments that occasionally occur where a few thoughts come floating through my head and evolve into a new idea.

First some background, earlier this year when we were running in Lebanon Hills, Wayne, Karen and I discussed how we need to have a south metro club that could rival the Duluthian's - Northern Minnesotan Track Club series of races. Now our motives weren't entirely pure of heart which may be why we did nothing with it. The discussion was based around Rick B. and Wayne's 2011 race mileage contest. You see Rick is shooting for 1000 miles of race mileage this year in celebration of becoming a Senior Master and Wayne kind of decided to see if he could keep up with and maybe even run more race miles than Rick. Our discussion was all about the fact that Rick has the advantage of the NMTC series and Wayne has nothing similar to add on the extra race mileage. So we chose a name - Southern Minnesota Trail Club, I volunteered to set up a blog which I did but I did nothing more (if you go to the link you will see what I mean about not doing much with it :-). I think what held us back, ok me, was the time and commitment of organizing, just too much work and I am not always a group kind of person.

Then today, it all came together, as I thought about that idea and then thought about a blog that I have been part of called "Whats a Few Miles Among Friends". This blog tracked our high mileage day for the weekend and was intended to allow a virtual group to encourage each other as we got our runs in.  I have to admit it that occasionally I would get out the door to get in my run as I didn't want to post a 0. This worked especially well for me during our winter months but alas that virtual group appears to have run out of gas.

I had a few more ideas pop into this thought thread, does anyone else ever have these kind of mental threads? You know, when disconnected ideas and thoughts keep colliding with one another, merging, separating, etc.. and turning into really neat ideas, usually I forget the result but today I think I have remembered it.

During today's run I was really struggling to muddle my way through as it was hot and humid but I also knew it was because I have no race in my near future to force me to run with a purpose, usually I sign up for a marathon, check the calendar, say "oh xxxx" and then force myself to get in the mileage as I only have x weeks to get in shape. I thought to myself that I need to find a race to give me some focus to my running.

My last thought in the thread was around a conversation I had with John K. (a member of the Upper Midwest Trail Runners board) at the end of my run in Lebanon Hills yesterday and his. He passed me on the short hill out of Jensen Lake and we introduced ourselves. He said he reads my blog and that he liked all of my Garmin data from Lebanon Hills.

So as all of these random thoughts converged in my head it became clear I should create a virtual running race series for the south metro. I will post a route and anyone who wants to join me for the race can simply send me their time when they complete it.

Granted this virtual series will require you to run my route or at least say you did but since there is no prize money or awards, I think it will work. This also avoids needing to get permission from the park as we can all run when our schedule allows. We can worry about all of the other details later as I realize I could be the only one to do these virtual races but heck that's ok, as it still might motivate me to put in a harder workout. We could also have routes from the River Bottoms, Hyland, Murphy, Afton, Terrace Oaks, well I think those on the south side get my drift. If anyone wants to run it together, no issue they will just need to organize themselves to do so. Now this series may not help out Wayne but something tells me he will be doing every race in the series.

If you like the idea, let me know. I plan to map out the first race with a few basic rules later this week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

It all comes back.........

I was having some cellphone issues which forced me to go back to an old phone. After I got it activated, I was checking out my ringtone and realized that I had an Eagles song on it and after I listened to it, I decided to keep it as my ringtone. The song is called "How Long" and it was on the Eagles 2007 album called "Long Road out of Eden", this song has always bugged me as it sounded so familiar and I now know why.

First though, here is the lyric that I like:
Like a blue bird with his heart removed, lonely as a train
I've run just as far as I can run
If I never see the good old days shinin' in the sun
I'll be doin' fine and then some

When I heard it in 2007, I thought that it was a new song and I really liked it as it reminded me of the songs the Eagles did in the 70's. So as I looked into it tonight, I saw it was written by J. D. Souther and I figured that they must have had him write a song or two for the new album and since it was a Souther song that must be why it seemed like a song from the 70's. If you want to watch or listen to the song, here are the Eagles performing it at the 2007 CMA awards.

As I continued my looking around You Tube, I  found this version and it all made sense.

I am pretty sure that I had heard the song when I saw the Eagles back in the 70's as the above version seemed right to me, while the new version always seemed familiar but just a bit off and that's probably because it was missing some of the harmonies of the early Eagles which you can hear in this version.

Here is some additional info from Wikipedia on the "Long Road out of Eden" Album and Tour.

On August 20, 2007, the song "How Long," written by J.D. Souther — who had previously worked with the Eagles co-writing some of their biggest hits including "Best of My Love," "Victim of Love," "Heartache Tonight" and "New Kid in Town" — was released as a single to radio with an accompanying online video at Yahoo! Music and debuted on television on CMT during the Top 20 Countdown on August 23, 2007. The band performed the song as part of their live sets in the early to mid 1970s, but did not record it at the time due to J.D. Souther's desire to use it on his first solo album.

And if you want to hear the original, here is a copy of J. D. Souther's version

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Great run in Lebanon Hills

Ran in the far western section of Lebanon Hills tonight, it was a deer fly free run, sweet!!!!!. I always run this section of the park when the deer flies come out, the hiking trail is only about 2.5 miles around the outer loop but it is the hilliest section of the park and fairly enjoyable to run an out and back loop. I never do run on the mt. bike trails as the park is a single use trail system and besides  there are too many bikes to mess with.
And for me it was a great run. No, not my physical effort that was fairly pathetic based on time but the mental aspect was fabulous, it was around 92 when I went out and still a bit humid and if felt absolutely wonderful to be sweating with no concern about it freezing to my clothing. I will take 90 over -10 any day of the year. I could live with this weather for a few more weeks, no make that a month or two and to have no deer flies attacking me, now that was a nice bonus.

I also had no calf pain, unbelievable that one ART treatment has helped that much. What's funny though is that earlier today I noticed some ankle pain, nothing to be worried about just another sign that the calf is doing better and my mind moves to the points of my body that have pain. On tonight's run it was my knee that had some twinges, what a wonderful type of pain.

So I think it is almost time to try to get myself back in running shape by easing my way back into becoming a long distance runner again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Calf update

This morning, I had an appointment for my ankle, it was supposed to be a 3 week check up. I debated cancelling the appointment as my ankle is doing great, no pain and seems to be getting stronger each day. On the other hand, my calf has been a huge nuisance so I kept the appointment and had the Doctor examine the calf.

I now completely and fully understand the pain that Active Release Technique (ART) can bring to someone. I was in tears as he worked on the calf, he isolated my injured area almost immediately (think caused me pain). After the initial injury isolation he continued to work on it he caused me major pain, as in the tears I mentioned above. He then continued to work on it even more and he said I should be at a 5 or 6 on the pain scale but if I get to an 8 (on a 10 point scale) to let him know. He blew through my 8 and hit a 10, all I could do was let out a groan. He backed off a bit, then finished the treatment and said I should come back for one more next week so I headed into work. What a great way to start the day.

After work, I ran with Wayne and Karen, we went almost 6 miles and I had no pain from the calf, some tightness but no pain, it is the first time since Superior that I felt like a real bona fide runner, so I am very hopeful.. So perhaps after 9+ months of hobbling my way through runs my pain can soon be over, I sure hope so.

So if someone tells you ART can hurt they would be right but with a healthy ankle and a calf that seems to have responded, suffice to say I am a believer in it and hopefully soon, I will truly feel and actually be a real runner again..

Monday, July 11, 2011

Minimalist Running Update

As I continue my path to adding miles with a more minimalist shoe, I have of course been doing a bit of research to find out what is out there on the subject.

First though, for me, I am easing into minimalist running with a once a week run of 3 miles (or at least every 10 days for sure) in my Saucony Peregrines. I have noticed no issues but with my calf still hurting it's hard to tell for sure but it seems that when on trails I land pretty much mid or flat footed since I have yet to notice my heel hitting. I am hopeful that soon the calf issue will be behind me and I can get a better test of the shoes. One thing that I should mention is that the calf doesn't bug me anymore with the minimalist shoes, not sure what if anything that means. For those not familiar with the Peregrines they are a like a beginners guide to minimalist running so they aren't that extreme.

If you are looking for information on minimalist running here are couple of links I came across. The first link is to website called "The Minimalist Runner", lots of good info, mostly shoe reviews with a handful of other articles. I also found this website called ZeroDrop, it's fairly good as well. If you want shoe info check out this link on "Minimalist and Barefoot shoe guide" or this link from the minimalist runner, "Shoe Matrix and Shopping Guide".

Here is a link to really good review from The Minimalist Runner on the Saucony Peregrines or take a listen to the short video from an iRunFar review of the Saucony Peregrines

Along with a video on comparing minimalist shoes with "standard" shoes.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Motivation downer - Not much of note going on for my running, I am struggling to get over a recurrence of a calf strain. The calf issue has me continuing to have to walk during every run, when I first started running after the ankle rehab I walked then as a preventative not because I had to. For the ankle it was to keep from overdoing it and even with my taking it easy I still re-strained the calf somehow. Last fall when I had both looked at, my Doctor told me the torn calf would bug me longer than the sprained ankle. I thought he was wrong since the ankle took almost 9 months, now it appears he may be right. I must have tightened up after the 5 weeks off of no running and PT for the ankle. 

Motivation upper - I volunteered at Afton Saturday, what a tough looking course. I am sooooooooo glad that I didn't try to do the 25k, it would have probably ended my season. For all those that participated great work, for John and all of the volunteers (the ones who did all of the work, not me), wow, an impressive recovery from an unfortunate venue change. (The state is shut down thanks to the inability of a Governor to lead and the legislature's ability to do their job, you can see my Independent streak, I blame all of them but last time I checked I expect the most from the chief executive to provide the leadership).

Motivation future - After Afton I was thinking I needed to do something to get my act training towards something when I received this email:

I'm reaching out to you and other bloggers for a different reason and yes, it's related to the upcoming 13.1 Minneapolis race on August 21st.  

In fact, I'm contacting you for two reasons: The first one is awesome, but the second reason really rocks! Ok, first:  I have discount codes for race entries that you can give to friends, family, blogger readers, etc. for both the 5k and the half. Additionally, for mentioning the race on your blog or writing about your experience, I have a FREE entry for you and one additional freebie to give away as you see fit.

Let me get this right, a free entry to a 1/2 marathon that starts in Minneapolis and finishes at Lake Nokomis?

So I have around 7 1/2 weeks to get myself healthy enough to enjoy a course I love (even if it's on the roads :-). Safe to say that I am now a little more motivated to get myself back in the game.

So stay tuned for additional details on the upcoming race and potentially a free entry for someone else.


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