Sunday, May 29, 2011


Two weeks ago I ran 28 at Lester.  Things went well with that run, as well as 28 miles can go.  But afterwards, I got pretty sick.  I lost a full week of training to a nasty virus that kept me from running, and kept me out of work for a bit.  I think that 28 probably depleted my immune system a bit and the virus had free reign to move in and put up a couple of hotels.  The rent was high.

So finally, earlier this week, I started feeling better and was anxious to get back into running again.  So what did I do today?  Another 28 in Lester.  What the hell is wrong with me?  Shouldn't I be getting wiser with my rapidly advancing age?  More and more stubborn seems to be the case.

So today's run started out okay.  I knew I didn't have the bounce in my legs that I like to feel, so I tried to keep it casual for the first lap or two, but on the second loop, I kinda had a feeling that it was going to be a rough day.  Schuney joined my for my third loop and that lifted my spirits again and we ran a bit quicker than what I'd previously been running.

Then Schuney had to go and I was staring into the face of two more loops.  Solo.  This was not going to be pretty.  Today's fourth loop felt like last time's fifth loop and I knew that was a bad omen.  I was able to gut that one out without too much trouble.  The ultimate loop saw my demise.  Within a mile I was reduced to a walk, followed by a shuffle, followed by a walk.  I would repeat this slow dance for the next 4 miles until the last, downhill mile when I had finally had enough suffering and just had to get home.

I had mostly suffered from glycogen depletion, I think.  I probably didn't eat enough the night before the run and I think that effected me.  Plus, I think not having ran very much for the past week and my illness caused me to lose some fitness, certainly some strength.

So lesson learned.  And anyway, it's just a training run.  Bonking isn't a helluva lot of fun but it's better to do it in a training run than it is in a race.  So tonight it's ice cream and compression socks!  That'll fix whatever ails ya!  But man, I could sure use a massage, and a Cadbury Creme Egg.

Why do I do this?! by tsrun26 at Garmin Connect - Details

Why do I do this?! by tsrun26 at Garmin Connect - Details

Monday, May 16, 2011

SHTn' in the woods and Gettin' Loopy in Lester

What a weekend of running!  My Saturday was pretty much consumed by running-related activities from sun up to sun down.  In the morning, Clint and I led our training group on their long run along Highway 61.  That took me until a little after 10am.  After that I went to the store and worked a busy day until 5pm.  Clint, Schuney and I followed that up with an amazing 8 mile trail run on the Superior Hiking Trail.

We started at the Beck's Road and headed west, getting almost to the Grand Portage trailhead before turning around.  The trail out there was, hmmm...what's the word?  Perfect!  It was perfect trail running.  The trail itself was nice and tacky, there was enough mud and water in spots to keep it interesting, the up hills were challenging and the down hills were fast.  There was still enough flat surface that, if you wanted, you could open up a bit and run quickly.  We didn't though as it wasn't about that kind of running, mostly we just wanted to get some trail miles in.

Another thing that I really like about those single track trails is that they require a little bit of athleticism.  With the sharp turns and obstacles to hop over, those trails test your agility and your eye-foot coordination. You have to be good with your whole body and stay balanced as you navigate the terrain.  Having quick, nimble feet is a bonus on those trails.

A little after the run, we met at the Brewhouse for some burgers and beers.  A great day, indeed.

Sunday, was a whole other animal.  And when I say that, it's not to say that I didn't have fun.  I most certainly did, but Sunday was about moving forward.  It was about distance and time on my feet.

Lester Park has always been my favorite park in town.  It was the first park I ran in when I first moved to Duluth and I continue to enjoy it every time I'm there.  Even though the ski trails that I run on out there are "easier" then the SHT single track trails, I still am challenged out there and find a lot of benefits from running them.  What I really like about that park is it's mix of the long up hill on one side and the long down hill on the other side.  What I get out of that, is the steady climb which helps build strength in my legs and keeps me from beating myself up too much and the with the long down hill, I get a chance to push my leg turnover.

So on Sunday, I got that opportunity for 28 miles.  5 loops of 5.62 miles.  Around and around, again and again.  Sounds fun, eh?  I gotta say, it was fun!  Good ole' Schuney (that guy is always up for doing something crazy!) joined me for a good loop and a half.  It was great to have him there, to run along with me.  All in all, everything went really well.  I felt pretty solid the whole time, only the last, long climb was a bit difficult, but I think I handled it just fine.  The only sour spot was the watermelon flavored vomit/burp I experienced at mile 25.  Blech!  GU Chomps are just fine the first time, thank you!

So not only was this run a bit of an experiment in terms of looping Lester park for 4 hours, but also for my shoes.  I wore 3 different pairs of shoes for this run, to see how I liked each and if I'd maybe prefer one over the others.

I started with one loop with Vibram TrekSports.  This was the very first time I've ever worn them for anything other than a quick little treadmill jaunt and I have to say that I rather liked them.  They performed really well in the mud and on the soft trails and grass.  They drain water very quickly and of course are very light.  My two complaints are the toe separation, and the lack of cushioning under the foot.  Both of these are more symptoms of not wearing them enough.  I will use them more often for trail running, so I'm sure that I'll toughen up a bit.  What I do like the most about them is that they almost make you run properly.  With tougher feet, I got the feeling that I could run for a long time in them.

My second pair of shoes I wore for 2 loops.  They are a pair of Brooks cross country spikes, the Mach 12.  They are very narrow and after having my toes spread out in the Vibrams, my feet at first felt very constricted in them.  However, I really like running in them because of their narrowness and their flexibility.  They offer you great agility when needed and I felt like I could come out of deep mud very quickly and easily because of the narrowness.  They also drain water very quickly, which is a necessity.

For the final 2 loops I wore my all time favorites, the Inov8 x-talon 212s.  They simply are the best trail shoe I've ever worn.  Very light, very flexible with perfect traction.  The outsold is aggressive but sheds mud very quickly, which is important.  Though the x-talons are pretty narrow by trail shoe standards, they were by far wider than the Mach 12s and my feet needed that room to spread out.  I had planned it that way, to save them for last, thinking that the extra width would feel good, and I was right.

Looking back on the day and wondering if I'll do something like that again, I think I would.  I really had a good time, I learned a few things and got some great training in.  Now I get to take a day off and recover, I wish I had another Cadbury Creme Egg!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Trials of Trails

Today was a challenging but fun trail run with Gregg out on the Superior Hiking Trail.  Gregg and I started at Magney Snively and headed west for a little over an hour before turning back and heading home.  The trails were in great shape, but as anyone who has ran on the SHT knows, there are some very challenging sections and as we approached Ely's Peak, we were in one of those challenging sections.

Steep ups and downs with continuous rocks to watch for and tip toe around makes for some very difficult running, especially on the downhills where it becomes important to control your speed as those jagged rocks, like teeth, lie waiting to take a bite out of your feet and ankles.

Gregg headed home after 2 hours but I was planning on going farther, so I took off again from Magney to try to add on some more miles.  Yeah, that didn't really happen.  I was pretty drained from the hills and more or less running on empty anyway, so I called it a day soon after.  Even though we weren't running very hard, it was a real effort and that will be some great training ground for Voyageur and other races, but not every week.

So upon coming home, after a nice, warm shower, I discovered one of the great post run recovery foods; a Cadbury Creme Egg.  It was delicious!

Monday, May 2, 2011


I headed out to Jay Cooke yesterday for some trails and time with myself, with my thoughts.  Both were much needed.

I started in Carlton, basically at the start of the Voyageur 50 and ran along most of the trails of the course.  The rain has certainly made for a lot of mud and wet areas along the trails, my shoes were pretty much covered in mud by the time I got back.  My socks were soaked, my feet were cold and wet.  My legs were sore and I was HUNGRY!  But at the same time, I felt great.

It was a lot of fun being out there, the trails are beautiful, the St. Louis river was quite a site to see as I crossed the swinging bridge.  I kept thinking what it would've been like to discover that area.  To be one of the first humans to lay eyes on that gorgeous river.

So I headed out for about 11.5 miles, getting out along the Grand Portage trail, which was awesome, before turning back and essentially retracing my route.  It was a great day of running and seeing.  Thinking and being.