Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day Meander and a Battle of the GPS Watches!

Today I went out for a 3 hour long run that I've been planning for a bit.  I was hoping to join the boys yesterday for their respective run, but alas, my retail job meant I had to work on the 24th.  So, I ventured out on my own.

I had a good run, overall.  Starting at Lester, as I usually do, I headed up and started exploring.  The weather was perfect for running long, mid 30's with some wind, though I didn't feel that in the trials.  The trails themselves were in pretty good shape to run on.  With the snow we received the other day, it packed down nicely and covered up the ice that had made many of the single track trails virtually un-runnable.

I wore both my Garmin 405 and my new Nike SportWatch, hoping to see which one was more accurate.  I've displayed my Nike results for reasons I'll state below.  (you will probably need to use Firefox as your browser to fully open the link, it doesn't seem to fully open with Safari)

I'll start this off by stating that GPS watches are not 100% accurate and sometimes they're not even close.  But usually, they're pretty darn good and it's a nice, though not necessary technology to use.  Both Garmin and Nike, I'm told by my Nike rep, use the EXACT SAME satellites for their respective watches.  I find this to be interesting, but I suppose it makes sense.  I assume the Garmin and Tomtom (the system that Nike uses) simply pay for the rights to use the satellites that probably someone else owns.  That being said, it would seem that both watches would display pretty similar information while on a simultaneous run.  That was not the case.

A few minutes after starting, my Nike watch beeped.  I had hit one mile.  I looked over at my Garmin (I had the Nike on my right wrist and the Garmin on my left) and it read .87 miles.  I felt like that was marginally acceptable difference, especially if I had been doing a shorter run, but I knew that I was going to be pushing 20 miles so that .13 difference over 20 miles would could be rather substantial.  Was I really going to run 18.4 miles or 20 miles or 22.6 miles?  Truthfully, I'm not the kind of person that gets too obsessed about that kind of thing, (you wonder why I even went through this whole experiment then?  Honestly I was just curious) so I didn't worry about it.

I felt like the big difference, though, was in what the two watches said about my current pace.  THAT was vastly different, as well.  (It's to be expected, since the Nike watch had me reaching a mile before the Garmin watch did)  The Nike watch said that I was running at a much faster pace, I believe it was nearly a minute per mile faster!  To me, that's drastic because on these long runs, I want to make sure my pace isn't too fast, especially at the start.

So after a mile, I knew it'd be REALLY interesting to see the differences at the end of the run.  And about a mile later, it all ended.

I nearly reached the top of Skyline, right at Hawk's Ridge, when I ran to the edge to check out the view from an overlook that I'd never been on.  I looked down at my Garmin to check my elapsed time (The Nike watch only displays 2 bits of information at a time and I had chosen to view pace and distance and forgo elapsed time on that watch) and I stared down in shock at a blank screen!  WTF?  The battery had drained completely even though I had fully charged it.  Ugh.

So according to my Nike watch, I ran a little over 20 miles.  I assume that the elapsed time was accurate so I'll count the 3 hour 14 minute run as good.  And my planned little experiment will have to wait another day.  Now it's time to stuff my face with some amazingly good sugar cookies and chocolate covered peanut butter balls.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Another Great Weekend of Running

Last weekend I was able to get in back to back longish trail runs on Saturday and Sunday, this weekend I was able to do the same.  Gotta love Duluth!

Yesterday, Hypo, Ryan and I ran while Schuney biked.  We started at Lester, heading up the COGGS trails.  However, after about 5 minutes on the COGGS, it was evident that they were far too icy to run on so we hopped on to the snowmobile trails and headed up.  Up over Lester we headed to Amity and climbed that trail to Jean Duluth Road, crossed the road and took a right at Vermillion, taking that to the Martin Road where we hopped on the state snowmobile and pretty much made our way back.  Adding a couple of loops here and there, Schuney, Hypo and I got in 2.5 hours of good effort.

Today, Gregg and I ran while Schuney again biked a similar course, minus the Vermillion section.  We got in about an hour and forty minutes.  My legs were very sore from yesterday's run but they were able to loosen up well and I was feeling pretty solid for most of the run.

I'm getting all of this in because I've decided to run a 50k in Arizona in January.  We'll see how that goes, I'll be thinking of it a bit as a training run but I do want to go down there fit and prepared and hopefully put in a solid effort.

So my training continues.  With this race on the horizon and others in the future, I've got an optimistic outlook about what's to come.  Patience has always been a strength of mine and though sometimes waiting can be difficult, keeping a positive attitude is helpful and provides strength.

And speaking of strength, I want to end this post with a video of some bad ass XC running.  Jon Brown, one of the main competitors in the video is a former NCAA XC Champion from the legendary Iowa State University.  Enjoy.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Flying Monkey and a Sunday long run

What a great weekend of weather for running!

On Saturday, I put together our first annual Flying Monkey Prediction Race at Lester.  Eight hearty runners came to partake in our 3.3 mile race along the bike trails, ski trails and snowmobile trails of Lester.

For the prediction race, I had everyone predict what they would run the 3.3 miles in, given a hard effort.  The slowest prediction then got to start first, with the person with the next slowest prediction starting after and so on.  Each person would start a given time after the first person left, based on their predicted time, meaning if the first person predicted 40 minutes and the second person predicted 38:40 then the second person had to wait 1:20 before they could start.  If, say the fastest person predicted they'd run it in 27:30, then they'd have to wait 12:30 after the first person left before they could start.  The first person to cross the finish line wins.

The theory with this is that a) everyone gets a legit chance to win the race and 2) everyone should finish relatively close together.  It creates an interesting dynamic because you have the slower runners in the lead at the start, knowing there's people there chasing them down and the faster runners are in the back, trying to catch people.

I first took part in one of these events in Mason City, Ia with the legendary Curt Krieger and the McCurnins and I've been wanting to put one together up here for quite some time.

I'd say we had pretty good success with the event, mostly we all had a good time, the weather was perfect and most of us got a chance to stuff our faces at Billy's for breakfast afterwards.

On Sunday, I got together, again at Lester for a long run with Schuney, Hypo and Chris.  We got nearly 12 miles of hilly trail running in.  We climbed up Lester, hit some COGGS trails, some ski trails, some snowmobile trails.  We cruised over to Amity and ran up to Hawk's Ridge, came back down the Amity trail, wandered up to Maxwell and came back down the Lester ski trails.

It was a great day of running, with warm temps, little wind and a perfect amount of fresh snow on the ground.  I love running in weather like this and am thrilled to be able to put in some long miles on so many kinds of trails.

One of the great things about winter running is coming home and warming up with some good food and drink.  I poured myself some nice hot chocolate and got to work on some fresh loaves of Swedish Rye Bread.  Nothing like a warm, great smelling kitchen on a Sunday afternoon!

Locate. 8^)