Friday, May 8, 2009

Revised PR Analysis

OK, thanks a lot Marty. Since you're so good at math you've pretty much ruined my marathon PR that I blogged about. How is that? I ran a 2:51:55 which betters my TCM 2008 time of 2:53:02. Well, here's how.

As I blogged about previously, at TCM 2008, I stopped for 90 seconds (I looked at my watch) for a bathroom break. So take that out, I was running for 2:51:32. This past weekend I had a much shorter bathroom break at mile 18 for 20 seconds. That means I was running for 2:51:35. Slower by 3 seconds! I didn't realize that until Marty pointed it out to me. Basically, that means if I can figure out that bathroom thing, I'm sitting on a 20-ish second PR!

Since the weather was far, far worse at TCM, what this really means is that I was slightly more fit at TCM than at La Crosse. Then again, looking at the splits (look at the chart in the previous post), I see that I ran much more evenly at La Crosse, a much smarter race.

Who knows, but I'm definitely looking forward to a solid summer of training and putting it all out there at TCM this fall!

Side running note: I had a blast last night watching Kirk, Nick and all the Team Unattached ladies run the TC 1 mile last night! Congrats to Nick and Anne on their PR's!

The men's elite race was dramatic. I won't give away the ending; you can watch it for yourself.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

PR and a Podium!

(thanks, Carly, for the title of this entry)

I know the 2 people who read this blog want a race report, so here you go!

I just ran the La Crosse (WI) Marathon this past weekend. I picked it because a friend was planning on running it (before an injury) and I have a lot of family down in that area, so it made a perfect excuse to get down and visit them!

I wanted to run a spring marathon just to help keep me motivated to run over the winter and not lose the fitness I had for Twin Cities in October. My training consisted mainly of mileage. I really didn't push my pace much on any of my runs, other than the occasional race (Frozen Half, Ron Dawes 25K, Rear in Gear 5K). But I did pretty well on mileage. I averaged 60+ miles per week, with a few weeks of 80 miles. I ran about 4 or 5 18+ mile runs, including a 23-mile run at Hyland Hills. The Ron Dawes 25K I ran pretty much at marathon pace (6:30) the whole way, so that was also a great training run.

All that aside, I didn't really think of the training as sufficient for a faster race than TCM. I ran TCM in 2:53:02 (read about that race here). So my rough goal for La Crosse was to come in under 3 hours. I planned to go out at a 2:50 or 2:55 pace and see where that left me after the halfway point.

Fast forward to race day:

The course was supposed to be relatively flat, but the elevation profile missed 4 large highway overpasses late in the race. I'd say in the end it was a comparable level of difficulty to Twin Cities.

And we're off! (I'm in the front row in red)

There were only about 350 marathoners and about double that for the half marathoners and relay runners. That meant there weren't a lot of people out cheering, which also meant that those that were there were more enthusiastic and moved around a lot. There were 4 VERY enthusiastic people cheering for me: Steve, Mike, Paul and Karen. I saw them numerous times, especially Mike and Steve since they followed by bike much of the way. Having them there was invaluable, especially since the crowd support was so light after the halfway point when it was just marathoners left on the course.

The start was pretty well organized, other than a ridiculously small amount of porta-johns. At the start I was asking other marathoners what time they were hoping to get, hopeful that I would have someone to run with for a ways. I found out there were 2 guys hoping to run 2:30's, and one guy hoping to run 3 hours. No 2:50'ers for me. Once we started over the bridge (an AWESOME way to start the race, really scenic), the pack fell quickly into place. The 2 2:30 guys were long gone and it was just me and some half-marathoners. I ran with 2 half-marathoners for virtually the whole first half and we all helped pace each other at 6:30's. We came through the half in 1:25 and I said goodbye to them.

The first half of the course was very residential with a lot of turns (too many turns, frankly). The second half of the course felt like an industrial wasteland. I really liked this race and I hope they improve the 2nd half and get rid of some of the industrial feeling to it.

2 miles to go!

In the second half I kept the 6:30's going for the most part, backing off a little on the aforementioned highway overpasses. With about 2 or 3 miles to go, I started realizing that I wasn't hitting the wall as badly as I usually do! In fact, I felt downright lucid. I kept my pace up, slowing about 10-20 seconds per mile and after much encouragement from Mike and Steve, I crossed the line with a PR of 2:51:55!!

My cheesehead cheering section! (Steve and Paul)

Throughout the race people kept telling me I was in 5th place overall, but I only knew of the 2 in front, so I thought I was in 3rd place. Turns out there were 2 relay runners in front of me so I really was 3rd place. That was good enough for a trophy and my 2nd place age group award netted me a nice duffel bag. Add to that a couple delicious cans of the local brew, Kul Light, and some turkey sausage and I can say the race was quite the success!

Photo credits to Mike. Thanks!

Here are my splits from this race (the 6:55 included a very short bathroom break):

1 6:25
2 6:22
3 6:22
4 6:32
5 6:31
6 6:30
7 6:30
8 6:31
9 6:33
10 6:25
11 6:37
12 6:28
13 6:33
14 6:33
15 6:34
16 6:30
17 6:42
18 6:16
19 6:55
20 6:36
21 6:31
22 6:34
23 6:40
24 6:41
25 6:52
26 6:48
26.2 1:24

I feel I ran a much smart and even race than TCM. I think I may be a little stronger from having run all that base all winter and thus was able to hold it together longer.

Here's a graphic showing the comparison between TCM and La Crosse (click for larger version):

All in all, a really fun race. I've never felt so good that long into a marathon. I felt like I stretched myself to the limit, but never cracked. Throughout the race I felt like I was running on the edge. In fact, 8 miles in I got a side stitch, but worked it out. I never felt like I could run faster, but I also rarely felt that I HAD to run slower.

I thought La Crosse did a great job with this inaugural marathon! I would suggest they choose a different route next time. I'm not that familiar with La Crosse (other than running Ragnar Relay there twice). I DO know that La Crosse sits on the most beautiful stretch of the Mississippi River and that the race only had 2 miles within site of it. I hope they can find a route that uses the river more. Also, I don't like marathons that have a relay component. There's nothing worse than having someone with fresh legs sprint by you 20 miles into the race. But other than those minor gripes, the volunteers were AWESOME, the crowd support was great for how few people ran it, and free local beer at the finish??? Fantastic job La Crosse! Pat yourself on your back!

Friday, April 3, 2009

Want to Buy My House? (blog not included)

So as marriage is coming down the road, I am selling my house and Ashley and I are looking at moving to something perhaps a little more centrally located for both our jobs. I'm sad to be leaving my house and the neighborhood, but excited at the prospect of something new (with hopefully more room for a vegetable garden!)

My house is 2 blocks from the light rail, 2 blocks from Minnehaha Falls, and about a mile from Nokomis. There's no airplane noise due to the alignment of the runways. Odd, but true, and it makes it a quiet and quite pleasant neighborhood.

The best features of the home are the 2 enormous living rooms on the first floor, particularly the back one which has lots of sunlight and connects to a large wrap-around deck. 2 garage spaces and a spacious driveway make plenty of room for all your cars if you have 4 or 5. I've done a fair amount of work to the house. I installed heated flooring and tiles in the kitchen a couple years ago, and just recently we refinished the floors in the bedroom and living room. They look gorgeous. Take a look at the photos!

Also, last year I planted 4 paper birch trees in the front yard. As they mature, it will create a beautiful "room" in the front yard. A landscape architect at my firm designed it for me. Trust me, after I move I'll definitely be coming back to check on the progress of those trees, which I nurtured like my children last summer.

Here's the link again. There's an open house tomorrow from 2-4pm if you're interested. The property was placed online yesterday afternoon and it's already had 3 showings, so come and check it out quickly!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

TP Update from Germany

I was just going to send these photos to Ed and have him post them since TP-folding is his obsession, but that seemed like creating too much work for him. I'll just let him link to this if he so desires.

I just got back from Germany a couple days ago. Apparently folding TP is an art that is also appreciated by the Germans (or the American tourists that frequent their hotels).

I stayed at Hiltons in Berlin and Munich. As could be expected, the TP folding was nothing but classy:

Berlin TP - middle point-ish

Munich Hilton - great side point

The Berlin Hilton could work on their point, the fold wasn't quite right, but close enough. I appreciated the 45-degree angle fold at the Munich (Park) Hilton. Besides the TP, both places were phenomenal with great service.

Deeper into Bavaria, I stayed a couple nights at the Alpen Stuben under crazy Ludwig II's Schloss Neuschwanstein. Their TP folding was also nopnotch (nice point guys!), but what's up with the weird "Lady Bag" with a gun on it? I understand what the bag is for, but it was a little odd.

I'll leave you with a view from the hotel window:

If I ever have time, I'll post some more interesting photos from the hundreds that I took. No promises, however.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

My turn for a Yellow Pages rant

If you read Ed Kohler's blog (and if you live in Minnesota, like toilet paper, or hate Yellow Pages, then you should), you know all about how the Yellow Pages Menace is harming our environment, blighting our neighborhoods, and just generally pissing off everyone who uses the internet to find business listings.

So now it's my turn to throw some fuel on the inferno. I am preparing to move, and I've begun some cleaning to get the house ready. I have been constantly receiving Yellow Pages (from 3 providers) for 5 years, and I've never once used one. And I've never once thrown them away. In fact, for the past 3 years, I've left them to pile up on the screened-in front porch. Yellow Pages delivery folk just kept dropping them on top of books from previous years. My porch was getting a little crowded.

Well, no more! I took all my YP from the porch and from inside the house and deposited them in the recycling bin. With the YP from 3 sources (YP, Verizon and Dex) and a few White Pages tossed in there for fun, I had over 20 phone books and a brimming recycling bin. I present to you:

Check out the Johan Santana cover on the Verizon pages!

Wow, I've been really lazy for these last 5 years. I need to unsubscribe from these guys. Of course, we know that won't work.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I want me some free DQ!

I'm not a journalist. I'm not above being paid for content. Yes, I'm for sale, especially when it comes to ice cream!

Go check out DQ's new deals (although I hear that depending on what you get, the deal may not be all that great - check out the comments as well).

So, according to DQ's new blog, I'm supposed to:

  1. Write a blog post linking here about what deal you’d make with us to try our Sweet Deals for free.
  2. Once you’ve done this, email with a link to your post and your mailing address and we’ll ship you a gift card.
Well, what would I do? I'd compromise my blog!

Interested in reading about past content I wrote about DQ in Texas? Check it out here!

My love of DQ is pretty profound. I'd write more but I want to be one of the first 250 bloggers to submit this so I can get paid!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Obama: Taste of a New Generation?

I'm pretty late to the game to make this observation on the interwebs, but until I Googled it, I hadn't seen anyone else remark on this. So for a moment, I thought I was observant and unique. The webs are good at making me realize I'm really not that special :)

Pepsi just rolled out its new logo a month or two ago (at least, that's when I noticed it), and the first thing I thought was, "wow, that's a total rip off the Obama logo." Then there was the Pepsi ad at the Super Bowl where we are told that every generation refreshes the world, which alludes to a changing of the guard, and I think clearly is inspired by Obama's historic election.

Turns out I'm not the first one to see these parallels (not by a long shot.) Turns out an ad blogger flagged this back in October. More here.

But who copied whom first? Slate argued in August 2008 that Obama's logo looked like Pepsi's old logo. Then Pepsi turns around and pushes the design further ripping off Obama's logo. What's next? "Obama Max" (with Ginseng of course).

(Disclaimer: I voted for Obama and I drink Diet Pepsi when it's cheaper than Coke at Target. I am not an unbiased reporter.)