Friday, April 8, 2011

Easiest 6 miles of my life...

I've covered a lot of ground in the past few years on the paths around the Minneapolis Riverfront area, but I can safely say that none have been more memorable than last Wednesday afternoon.  I went with all my co-workers on a Segway Tour!  I'm pretty sure the hardest work I did the whole time was to step on and off the Segway when we stopped for breaks and some history lessons.

I learned a few fun facts about Segways from Bill the owner when we were there.  First of all, I was quite impressed by their top pace of 5:00 per mile!  Secondly, I guess they really really struggle after about mile 22...I mean really struggle.  Lastly, they wouldn't be very good on technical trail.  Bottom line here is they're fast, but they wouldn't stand a chance against an ultra runner.

This cast of characters in the video is the 8-person full time staff of Students Today Leaders Forever (STLF).  Our staff is sort of a spectacle when we go anywhere together anyway, but I'm sure that was escalated by the fact we were scooting around on these Segways.  Believe it or not, this year alone we will work with 500 student volunteer leaders who will organize cross-country service trips called Pay it Forward Tours and Leadership Camps for 4,000 student participants!  I loved how the Segway Tour guide couldn't believe how we were the whole staff since we were all so young.  You can probably tell that I have one of the greatest jobs in the world...

I've since resorted back to running as my means of logging miles.  Even had the first real trail run of the year at Hyland this morning...good to be back!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spring Training

Well, it's taken a while to arrive, but the warmer weather is just making me want to run more.  I've never been one to take anything for granted, but I'm hoping a good spring of training will be a solid foundation for some good races this summer - that is as long as I don't screw it all up and injure myself or anything. 

I've been working pretty hard the past five or so weeks and legs feel really good.  It's been mostly just a whole lot of miles, but this year I'm also trying to hang on to enough speed not to slip into a rut.  The last four weeks I've been alternating weekend long runs between steady ultra distance one weekend, and 20+ with a road race in the middle the next weekend.  Seems to have been a good variety of training so far and keeps the legs fresh.

Today was so much fun!
This morning was one of the most fun times I've had on a run in a really long time, and it was my longest run in almost 6 months.  I set out to get to at least 40 miles on this one, although I was feeling pretty sluggish mid-week so wasn't sure how it would go.  Turned out it was just a great day and ended up with about 41.5.  The weather was perfect, and I think the aid station I brought in my car helped too, in particular these bite sized chocolate chip cookies from Target.  I'm pretty sure I consumed at least 2,000 calories by 11:30 in the morning...don't worry, not all in cookies but I had my fair share!

Most of the run was a pretty steady pace around 7:50s (give or take 30 seconds or so), with some hill repeats at the U and on 50th Street thrown in to mix it up a bit.  Then I got through mile 36 and found myself on my own since the other guys either called it good or didn't have the decided to pick it up a notch.  Ended up hitting miles 37 - 41 around Calhoun and the Isles at 6:52, 6:57, 6:36, 6:19, and 5:55 pace.  It was so much fun to be feeling good enough to tick off some faster miles that deep into a run.  Definitely encouraging for now...just have to keep it rolling.

Coolest thing about today is that I was pretty lucky to have run with several guys on the longest run of their lives!  So cool to see guys still feeling good after running more miles than they ever have...definitely remember that feeling not very long ago when I was first getting into ultras...every extra mile is sort of a new accomplishment!  Only thing that could have made today better was if it were on the trails out at Afton, but that would have been a pretty slow slog through snow and mud more week I think.

MDRA 7 Mile Recap
Last weekend was the annual rite of spring at the MDRA 7 Mile.  Nick, Joe, and I did this one last year as part of our long run with around 7 before and 7 after.  So since Joe was back in town we did it again, but had a bunch more guys from the group out there this time.  It's a good hilly course and just a good spring test of fitness.

A 7 mile road race probably isn't my strongest event, but all things considered I think I ran the race about the best I am capable of.  The course was a bit short and had 6.85 miles on the Garmin...finished in 38:01, which was a little over a minute faster than last year (although not taking any wrong turns this year helped greatly).  It's a really informal race that no one took very seriously at all, but was fun and a great workout on a long run.

I am now longing for the trails...very soon!