Saturday, November 23, 2013

2014 Race Schedule

Well I have given it a bit more thought and I think I am ready to commit, I checked with Karyn on our run this morning and she was ok with it and thought it sounded like a fun goal, so here goes, this is my 2014 race schedule:

Date Event Days between
01/12/14 Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor MarathonZoom! 50
04/26/14 Brainerd Jaycees Run for the Lakes 104
05/10/14 Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon 14
05/25/14 Med-City Marathon 15
06/01/14 Minneapolis Marathon 7
06/21/14 Grandmas Marathon 20
07/12/14 Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon 21
09/06/14 Moose Mountain Marathon 56
09/20/14 Walker/North Country Races 14
10/05/14 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon 15
10/11/14 Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon 6
10/19/14 Mankato Marathon 8
10/26/14 Surf the Murph 50k 7

I like it, run every outdoor Minnesota marathon in the same year and if I add in the 50k at Surf the Murph it will also move me up a level in the Maniacs from gold to:

And I have decided to go ahead and submit my entry for the Zoom! Yah! Yah! which if I get into it, would get me every Minnesota marathon be it indoor and outdoor in the same calendar year but I will be on the wait list and probably won't get in but at least I have tried. If it doesn't work out that's ok as I am not in even marginal marathon shape and if it does, well it's 49 days away so that will force me out the door as the winter descends which is the motivation I need. If I don't get in though I will try for the 2015 event as that would get me all of the marathons in a year time period.

So to sum it up, I really like the race schedule as I needed a new challenge in my running. My thinking is running the roads for a year will get me healthy and then in 2015 I can either resume my 50 state quest or head back to doing ultras or both ;-).

Monday, November 18, 2013

Running Shoe Companies

Those that know me, know I love my running shoes and I do have a lot of pairs of shoes in my current rotation. I am running in Skechers, Altras, Sauconys, Brooks, New Balance, Merrell, Inov-8s, Vibram FiveFingers and my most recent acquisition Hoka Mafate 3's. More on all of these later. This post is about the shoe companies, no not the names above but the real owners.

HOKA ONE ONETake Hokas, they were acquired by Deckers Outdoors, they also own Teva and UGG's. You can read more if you like at Runners World or Competitor.

Brooks.svgWhat about my Brooks shoes? Brooks owns Brooks right, wrong, Brooks is owned by Berkshire Hathaway. Per the wikipedia post they were acquired first by Russell in 2004 and then Berkshire in 2006. Interesting, I guess Warren Buffett must be a runner at heart.
Altra ZeroDrop
Ok what about Altras? They are a start up right and owned by the founders, right? Wrong, again per wikipedia they were acquired by Icon Health & Fitness in 2011, funny I have never heard them mention this. Oh well. Still good shoes.

Skecherslogo.gifAnd Skechers? Hey again in reading their history, they appear to be owned by their founders still. Oh by the way I do like their shoes. I found I really like the bionic trails but not for long trail runs. They don't offer me quite enough protection.for runs longer than 10 miles, it's more my issue than theirs, more about this later.

New Balance logo.svgNew Balance? They appear to be their own company and still make some of their shoes in the US and some in the UK, checkout Wikipedia for more info, so if buying American is your preference then they are your best choice.

Saucony-brand.svgNext up, Saucony? Although they were acquired by StrideRite (makers of Keds), per Wikipedia they are now owned by Wolverine World Wde. Think Wolverine boots and Hush Puppies and a few others.

Merrell Logo.pngOh did I mention a few others, well guess who owns Merrell's? That's right Wolverine World Wide. Although (again per wikipedia) to be technically accurate they are a wholly owned subsidiary
Next up, Inov-8? It appears they are owned by Inov-8. They are a UK based company and I have found that they make some of the best trail shoes out there.
Vibram Five Fingers
And Vibram FiveFingers, it appears they are still owned by Vibram and of all my shoes I have neglected these most of all.

Did I mention that Montrail is owned by Columbia SportsWear, Vasque is owned by Red Wing Shoes, Pearl Izumi is a subsidiary of Shimano (think cycling), Newton owns Newton but they did try to sell their technology to Nike, Saucony and Adidas but were turned down so they started their own company. And last but not least I think Nike owns Nike and Adidas owns Adidas and Asics owns Asics, I think that covers the brands I normally think about.

So does any of this matter, no but I found it interesting and I thought a few others might too.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

2014 Plan - Minnesota Marathons - Cost Analysis

I wanted to follow-up the my previous post on running all of the Minnesota Marathons with my cost breakdown analysis for doing the events. The first expense is the cost of the races.
DATE: NAME: Cost Sign-up Dates
01/12/14 Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor MarathonZoom! $75.00 By 8/31
04/26/14 Brainerd Jaycees Run for the Lakes $55.00 By 12/31

$65.00 By 2/28

$75.00 After 3/1
05/10/14 Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon $55.00 By 12/31

$70.00 By 3/31

$85.00 After 3/31
05/25/14 Med-City Marathon $55.00 By 10/20

$65.00 By 12/31

$70.00 By 2/28

$75.00 By 4/15

$80.00 After 4/15
06/01/14 Minneapolis Marathon $79.99 No date?
06/21/14 Grandmas Marathon $90.00 By 1/31

$95.00 By 3/31

$110.00 By 5/31
07/12/14 Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon $25.00 By 6/1

$35.00 By 7/1

$45.00 After 7/1
09/06/14 Moose Mountain Marathon $75.00 Registration opens 3/15th
09/20/14 Walker/North Country Races $60.00 By 4/1

$65.00 By 9/1

$70.00 After 9/1
10/05/14 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon $105.00 Registration opens 2/1st
10/11/14 Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon $70.00 By 5/1

$80.00 By 7/1

$90.00 After 7/1
10/19/14 Mankato Marathon $40.00 Between 1/1 and 1/10

$60.00 By 3/31

$65.00 By 6/30

$80.00 By 8/31

$85.00 After 9/1
Turns out the cost for early sign-up would be approximately $795, I say approximately as I am guesstimating on a few of the races. If I signed up by the second entry cutoff period it would add another $80 and if I wait until the last entry it would add an additional $180 over early entry.

Delta Cost

So signing up early would get me 3 marathons for free,more or less.

The other costs associated with the races would be hotel or camping and travel expenses. For the hotel costs, I used $100/night with 3 of 6 events requiring us to stay for 2 nights. For camping, I assumed we would camp 2 nights for all 6 events at a cost of $25/night. For travel, I assumed 25 mpg at $3.50/gallon.

Gas Hotel Camping
$420.00 $900.00 $300.00

So the cost to run all of the marathons with gas and either camping or staying in a hotel would be between $1515 and $2295. Which works out to $126 to $191 per event. 

For some folks this would seem like a lot of money to spend on running events and it might be but speaking for myself, I don't hunt, fish snowmobile, nor do we have a cabin so in many ways it isn't too expensive a hobby, all things considered.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Surf the Murph 2013

I went into this years Surf the Murph feeling like it would be a good test of the progress I have made on getting my legs healthy. The biggest concern was had I gotten enough mileage in over the last few weeks to be able to get through a 50k. My weekly mileage never got to where I expected it to go, my long runs were only 13 to 17 miles heading into the race.

After Grandmas, I stepped back and made a decision to really work to get the legs healthy. I used stretching, ice, and tape to get the foot pain eliminated as I had figured out that the calf was the root cause. I worked on the calf but up until I went in to see Dr. Kevin I had not made much progress. The one trip to Lyn Lake seemed to help get the tightness reduced but I was still struggling with long runs as the calf would tighten up causing pain, it seemed like running longer than 10 miles especially on trails causing the tightness but the pain was gone. Then, about a month ago I made a strategy change. I had been doing my runs in shoes that ranged from 0 drop to 4 mil drop and it occurred to me if I am dealing with a calf issue, then maybe a greater heel drop would take the pressure off so I pulled out all of my older shoes. I have kept a couple pair of Inov-8's that didn't have a lot of miles and started to wear them. They worked and I was able to get my long runs over 13 miles, then 15, then 17, except for whatever reason Inov-8's irritate my right achilles. I wore my 330's for my last run in Murphy before the race and the achilles was hurting so much that I knew I shouldn't wear them. I had a decision to make gamble that I could endure the Achilles pain, go back to lower drop shoes and risk the calf causing pain or figure out another option.

I went into race morning with no idea of what I was going to do for shoes but I had added another option, I had pulled out of the donate pile a couple of old pairs of Montrails, Sabino Controls and RockRidges. I had retired them both a year earlier with just under 400 miles and decided to try them for one more run. As I waited for the race to start I went back and forth, run in my Inov-8's, no make that my Pure Grits, no my Lone Peaks but I finally opted for the Sabino's

I started out the 25k loop with Rick and we stayed together throughout the loop. It was great chatting with Rick and he showed me how to do longer races. He is able to walk a very quick pace,with all the leg issues I had gotten real slow at both my runs and walks. I was thinking that with his coaching I was in good shape for the day. I felt no lower leg pain during the first loop which had me almost giddy. As we ended the first loop we joked that maybe we should quit while we were ahead. The truth was, I felt good and had no intention of stopping. I wanted to get over my recent issue with dropping out of 50k's and I told myself that I had plenty of time to do it.

As we left the aid station at the turn around I had a gagging-coughing response which didn't feel good and caused a twinge in the back from the coughing. I thought, from feeling good to almost throwing up, what a quick turn of events but the coughing and gagging subsided. As we continued on I was struggling on the hills and to keep up with Rick. I was just out of gas and struggling to catch my breath, I was thinking what the heck is going on. I decided that maybe fueling was the issue and ate some clif shot bloks. I was thinking get to the aid station, grab some additional food and keep going, then as I was slugging my way down a hill, I slipped a bit and felt something else in my back. I also had been dealing with a left hamstring which had tightened up and an increasingly sore right knee. So between torquing the back, the hamstring and the knee, my pace was slowing and Rick was starting to disappear in front of me. My pace had fallen to something like a 20 to 22 min pace so I was thinking I might be in trouble.

I got to the aid station knowing I still had 13+ miles but told myself that I had all day and to stick with the plan. The aid station volunteers told me that Rick had told them to not let me stop. That caused a smile and got me thinking, refuel, regroup and get going. So I got some chicken soup and coffee and sat down and tried to stretch things out. After 5 minutes or so, I was feeling better and got up to begin trying to catch Rick knowing he was going to be hard to catch but I was going to give it a try. I quickly discovered that although I mentally felt better the back and other things were still hurting and my walking pace was even slower. I made it up the hills past the 3 mile point and had to face the reality that I couldn't run or walk the downhills or flats without pain. It was one of those, oh crap it hurts more going down the hill than up and isn't getting better. Since my goal was to not injure myself no matter what, I decided to turn right versus left and walk my way out. I kept thinking I had made the wrong choice and pulled the plug prematurely except I was moving at a 25 min/mile pace and hurting.

As I was walking in, I was feeling bad for not gutting it out and finding a way to finish and pretty much decided that I was done as an ultra runner, heck I was thinking I am done as a runner. I was thinking happy thoughts like I just can't do it anymore, I am a wimp, I am too old, too fat, too weak minded and many more negative thoughts. Then it occurred to me that I had no lower leg pain and my dark cloud lifted as this was the first time in 3 years that I had run a race without foot, ankle or calf pain. Yes my back was killing me but I had no lower leg pain, what a wonderful feeling. So maybe I am not done after all. I got to the finish area, told them I was dropping, talked to Jim W. and John T. for awhile and then headed home.

A couple of days later, the back is sore but starting to feel better and the other aches and pains are starting to dwindle, I am curious if the back and knee issue might be related to running in worn out shoes or maybe it was just the misstep combined with the training. One thing that did work is I didn't have Achilles pain.

The good news is we are entering the off season for running and I can work on getting everything working this winter and hit 2014 healthy, what a wonderful thought.

Friday, October 18, 2013

2014 Plan - Minnesota Marathons?

It hit me, the perfect running plan for next year. One that would help me rebuild both my marathon and ultra legs and provide me a goal that is a perfect maniac goal. What is it? Simple, run every marathon in Minnesota.

So here is the potential schedule and travel times:
DATE: NAME: CITY: Travel – Miles:
01/12/14 Zoom! Yah! Yah! Indoor Marathon   Northfield ~½ hr ~20 miles
04/26/14 Brainerd Jaycees Run for the Lakes Nisswa -3 hrs ~165 miles
05/10/14 Lake Wobegon Trail Marathon St. Joseph -1 ½ hrs ~90 miles
05/25/14 Med-City Marathon Rochester -1 hrs ~65 miles
06/01/14 Minneapolis Marathon Minneapolis ~½ hr ~20 miles
06/21/14 Grandmas Marathon Duluth ~2 ½ hrs ~175 miles
07/12/14 Eugene Curnow Trail Marathon Carlton ~2 ½ hrs ~150 miles
09/06/14 Moose Mountain Marathon Lutsen ~5 hrs ~265 miles
09/20/14 Walker/North Country Races Walker ~4 hrs ~210 miles
10/05/14 Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon Mpls/St.Paul ~½ hr ~20 miles
10/11/14 Bemidji Blue Ox Marathon Bemidji ~4 ½ hrs ~240 miles
10/19/14 Mankato Marathon Mankato ~1 ½ hrs ~80 miles

One problem with the schedule is the first marathon only has 44 participants and the entry is closed. I have emailed the race director to see if he has an opening but thinking realistically and maybe a little legalistically, it is an indoor marathon. So maybe I should amend my goal to run all of the outdoor Minnesota marathons.

It would only be 11 marathons and if I add in Surf the Murph 50k or 50 miler in late October, well it would make a nice round number of events and a decent year of running. And with the exception of Twin Cities and Bemidji being 6 days apart none of the rest are even a concern as there is plenty of time to recover between events. The good news is that with the exception of the two trail events, I wouldn't have to worry about long runs, I could just go event to event.

The other thing I really like about this concept is that I would have from Surf the Murph until the end of April to get totally healthy and prepared (assuming, Zoom Yah Yah is a no). Granted I have squandered this time in the past but I think this is the type of focus I could use. The only negative is it would mean no additional states would get done nor would it let me run a longer ultra but it might get me healthy and I do think it would be cool to say I have run every outdoor marathon in Minnesota and to do it the same year only makes sense. Plus if I commit to doing it soon, then I can save a bit of money on entry fees.

So now it's time to clear the schedule with the family to see if they are ok with the plan as 6 of the events would require us (or I guess technically me but I know my wife would like to do some of these too) to drive more than a few hours meaning weekends either camping or in a hotel. Or I could think about running all of the Minnesota trail events, many of which I have yet to do, I wonder what that would look like? Or maybe I should focus again on clicking off marathons in other states. It is a lot of fun to plan those out of state events but it does get expensive depending on the states. So time to get the family view on the potential plans, the good news is that whichever way it goes, all the ideas sound like fun. 


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