Friday, December 31, 2010

Cheers to 2010

It seems like everyone's been thinking about 2011 plans as of late (myself included).  But before we get the cart before the horse here, I think we must pay all due respect to 2010 before tomorrow when it will be long gone and forgotten about.

It seems like it all went by fast, but thinking back to all the great stories along the way, it’s hard to believe it was all crammed into one year. There are many more, but here are 10 of the greatest memories from races and training runs that stand out:
  • Psycho Wyco TCRV Road Trip – Seven of us made the first trip in the TCRC RV to trudge through 31 miles of mud in Kansas. Here I may have become the slowest guy ever to win money at a race I didn't even win - $75 for a 50K in 4:58…yeah I know it doesn’t make any sense. 
Yeah that's a good looking RV...definitely turned some heads.
  • 'Groundhog Day' Run – This was actually in April…had to be there. It was a rainy 24 miles of the lakes, river roads, trails, greenway, etc., complete with the Seaton stair climb and Nick ending up in Cedar Lake. 
  • MDRA 7 Mile – This one started with 7 miles and a photo shoot for Joe before the race, then the 7 mile race during which I only got lost once, and a 7 mile cool-down. Great spring race! 
  • Olathe Marathon – This trip already has a couple top 10 lists of its own…several months of trash-talking, Erik eating about 4 pounds of pasta before the race, Nick’s practical jokes, Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ, a great race, and a big group of Minnesotans taking most of the top spots! 
  • Afton 40 Miler – Great training run with Tony, Jeff, and Chris…until Tony and I were stopped dead in our tracks at about mile 37 by a HUGE snake. Luckily we made it out alive. 
  • Kettle Trip – Positive part is I ran a great 50K! Downside is the race was a 100K and by about mile 47 I was a complete disaster and falling asleep on a chair at an aid station…and don’t really remember much of the last 15 miles.  All in all, many lessons learned a great road trip with Paul.
  • Western States Trip – Incredible five days in CA with Tony, Laurie and Chris (and Dylan on race day) to crew/pace for Tony. Luckily, we weren't replaced as pacers after Lundo and I spent the two days before the race in a constant state of getting lost.  I’ll never forget all of us running through Auburn with Tony for the last mile and a half…so great to see someone train like crazy for a race , and then have it all come together when it counts. 
  • Superior Sawtooth – Will always have a soft spot for the Superior Trail Races.  It was a great experience and I will always be thankful for Joe, Arley, and Dylan for getting me through it all. 
  • Fall Trail Series: Friday Night Edition – For probably 99% of people, this doesn't sound like fun. But for about a dozen or so runners, 15 miles of night trail running followed by good food and beer is about as close to a real party as some of us get. 
  • Snowpocalypse Run – 22 miles through the middle of the snowstorm that brought down the dome…epic MN winter run.
And I’m sort of addicted to keeping track of numbers…this is the wrap for the year:
  • 4,597 miles 
  • 634 hours, 41 minutes 
  • 449 runs
  • 9 races 
  • 373 miles of racing 
  • 9 days off (all between Sep 12 and Oct 7) 
  • 11 pairs of shoes 
  • About 67 loops of Hyland 
I wonder how many fewer miles I will have to run next year to just maybe have a shot at getting a girlfriend...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

That One Was Memorable

It seems like about 97 runs out of a hundred are more or less just another run.  Don't get me wrong, it's all a good time...but how many training runs really stand out above the rest as unique?  

Today was a little different though.  Today was memorable.  This winter it seems like it snows all the time in Minneapolis...but this is a whole other level.  So far I think we're at like 13 inches and counting, and the winds are howling...quite the winter wonderland to say the least.  

Six of us were crazy enough for the epic adventure this morning.  It actually started out not too bad, but kept snowing harder and getting windier as we went.  I think this one can be summed up with a list of firsts:
  • First time trudging through 8 inches of snow on the Greenway.
  • First time making a snow angel on a run...I'm more of a snow man guy but it was too fluffy.
  • First time running down Hiawatha Avenue...not sure if that was legal.
  • Possibly the first time ever six guys ran down the middle of Lake Street for 4 miles...we only got honked at a couple times.
  • First time anyone in our group helped a car get unstuck on a run...good work Dylan!
  • First time trying to do any sort of pick-up in a blizzard.  Yeah that one failed miserably.
  • First time I ran the vast majority of the last two miles of a run with my eyes closed.
  • First time I ever got my car stuck.  I was just three blocks from my house and some real nice people who were helping someone else get unstuck gave me a little push.
All in all ended up with 22 miles and some good memories.  Now I am snowed in at my house...time to start shoveling, then maybe another movie and some pancakes!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The results are in...

So after all the statistical analysis of our chances of getting into the Western States 100...we finally found out the only stat that matters yesterday.  Just as expected, I unfortunately won't be running Western States next year.  But hey, there's always next year and whatever I end of doing will be just as fun..  The good news is that my good buddy Arley got in and will be representing us Minnesotans at Western States!  I'm excited for him...he will do well.

I guess now its time to figure out what races I am going to do next year. I'm leaning towards doing a 100 miler in late August or early September...thinking for now that maybe Cascade Crest might be the best option.  I love Washington, have heard good things about the race, looks like a beautiful mountain course, and elevation isn't really an issue with the highest point under 6,000 ft.  There are so many other really intriguing options though too.  It's like going to a restaurant that has a really big menu...I never know what to get.

Training and Winter in MN
In the meantime, I am pretty dialed in these days on the Mardi Gras Marathon. Training has been good so far and I'm mostly optimistic, but all this Minnesota winter stuff makes me a little nervous.  I've never really tried to run many fast miles on bad footing like this before, so not sure how the times will translate to good conditions and fewer layers of clothing.  Yesterday was a good test on a 20 miler around the snowy Minneapolis lakes with 10 as close to marathon pace as possible.  It was tough going and kept wanting to cut it short, but made it through the 10 miles averaging 6:02 per mile...not quite my goal pace, but I am thinking just as good all things considered.  I guess I'll find out in 10 weeks now.

And as for the Minnesota winter, it is too soon to be complaining quite will still get a whole lot colder over the next couple months.  Besides, it only makes us tougher, right?

A Parting Fun Fact:
Did you know there are approximately 300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars in the universe?  That is crazy!  I highly recommend you go see Hubble 3D.  I have been completely mind-boggled now for three days and counting.  I wonder if its too late to become an astronaut?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Western States 100 Odds!


  • The good news is I heard from my old man that all this math is indeed correct.
  • Bad news is I heard from the email the WS 100 folks sent out this afternoon that my assumption of 280 available spots was way overestimated.  Sounds more like 230 instead.  The numbers below are updated with this latest info.
_ _ _ _
So I just took a little break to do some math. Sounds really exciting I know…hang with me though, there’s a chance a small number of you might be very interested in this!

Before I get to what I know you all are waiting for, I am dedicating this post to my Dad – he’s been a math professor at U of M – Crookston for over 40 years…taught me everything I know.

Hold on to your boot straps…here we go: 
Before we get to the real exciting part, we first need to lay out some of the facts. Most of these important details are on the site provides quite a bit of these important details for us:
  • One-time lottery entrants: 1,115 
  • Two-time lottery entrants: 498 (Note: two-time entrants get two names in the hat) 
  • Total lottery entrants: 1,613
  • Total names in the lottery hat: 2,111 (1,115 + 498*2 = 2,111) 
  • Number of people selected in lottery: 230 spots (approximately) 
Now we get to do some math! 
Let’s start with the easy one – the chances of a one-time lottery entrant getting selected. Pretty basic, it’s just 230/2,111, which is 10.8953%. Good luck to you guys…you’ll need it.

Now for all you people with two names in the hat, pay attention! We start by figuring the odds that you are not selected with your first chance. With 2,111 names in the hat and 230 pulls, that equals 1,881/2,111 – or 89.1047%. Now the odds of not being selected with your second name are a very tiny bit more favorable at 1,880/2,111 – or 89.0995%. Now to find the odds that one of your two names is selected, we multiply both and subtract from 1. So, since .891047 * .890995 = .793919, after you subtract that from 1, that means all of us two-time entrants have a whopping 20.6081% chance of getting selected! Better than you thought, huh?
Now this guy's good at math!
Let’s take it to the next level… 
I know you all are wondering to yourself by now, “Since there are 21 Minnesotans in the lottery (including honorary Minnesotan Joe Z), what are the odds that at least one can get in?” Now that one’s a piece of cake. So of these 21 Minnesotans, 14 are two-time lottery entrants, and 7 are one-time entrants. This gives us a total of 35 Minnesotan chances to get drawn. Now we can use the same concept as for the two-time entrants, but since the odds of not get drawn are almost the same each time, let’s just take a little shortcut and do 1,881/2,111 to the 35th power and subtract from 1. That gives us a 98.2359% of having at least one Minnesotan selected! 

How about Joe’s Crew? 
There are seven of us in a little group of TCRC runners who train together in the lottery…so for the handful of you guys out there, here are the odds that at least one will get selected. Same concept as for the Minnesotans, but here we have 5 two-time entrants and 2 one-time entrants, which gives us 12 chances total. So we just take 1,881/2,111 to the 12th power and subtract from 1, and we’ve got a 74.9501% chance of at least one getting in! 

And for the odds that all seven of us get in? That would be .0004412%...I think. So I’m telling you there’s a chance.  Good luck to all in the lottery on Saturday!

Oh, and thanks Dad! Sorry if it’s all completely wrong.