Friday, June 29, 2012
Monday, March 02, 2009
I tracked down a ski swap that was held in Dec. and figured I would go pick up the equipment I would need and be good to go. This would be a little tight as the Vasaloppet was in February, but since I was still in relatively good shape since the marathon I figured I would be able to at least finish.
Well, you can’t finish if you don’t start. And I am not just talking about starting the Vasaloppet; I am talking about starting cross county skiing in general.
Let me explain.
I went to the ski swapand it was an absolute nightmare. There was like a 45 minute line just to get in, then there were so many people and not enough employees that there was no way someone like me who knows absolutely was going to get the help I need. Then, even if I did, it looked like the checkout line was about an hour long. So, after 45 minutes in line, I left defeated. I did track down another sales event at Midwest Mountaineering that was going to take place a couple weeks later.
The Midwest Mountaineering was a much better shopping experience. Picked up everything I needed for a reasonable price. The package I bought included lessons that were to take place 3 weeks later at Trollhaugen, which was a major selling point, as I have no idea the mechanics of the sport. Flash forward 3 weeks later and I took the hour trek to Trollhaugen and I could find no one from Midwest Mountaineering in the lodge, and the people working there had no idea what I was talking about. I had RSVPd and arrived early and wandered around the lodge until about a half hour after the lessons were supposed to start. Then the guy at Trollhaugen gave me a pass, figuring the people were on the course. This was all well and good except for one small problem; I do not even know how to put the stupid f’n things on my feet, much less get to this magical path. After what was about 15 minutes trying to attach the shoes to the skis, I was off for my first experience on cross country skis. Do you want to know how it went? Well, if falling on your ass between the times when you are barely moving across snow while Joe Cool high schoolers are gliding by you like Tony f’n Little is considered cross country skiing, then I am as good as whatever Olympic athlete is good at cross country skiing. All of this horror and I finally took the damn things off my feet in a rage and walked back to my car, planning the scathing email I was going to write Midwest Mountaineering. The rage only worsened when I got lost on the way home.
So, as I mentioned above, I lost my cross country skiing bug until next year. Which is a relief because spell check does not recognize Vasaloppet which is a major pain in the ass.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I will start from the evening before. I met my former co-worker Jason, his wife and sisters at the Runners Expo where you have to pick up your packets. It also serves a last minute scramble to buy the crap one needs. We had the Buca sponsored pasta dinner and it was a nice way to spend the prerace, relaxing and shoving copious amounts of pasta into my face. I would have made the effort to run with other Jason, but he was shooting for 7 minute miles and I was shooting for not dropping dead, so we weren’t exactly a good running pair.
I got home and got to bed before 10. I was a little nervous about the whole thing still. I felt like although I had done the 20 miler, that I was adding damn near a 1/3 of that distance on top of the 20 and that it was possible that my body would not be able to put up with the extra strain. Plus, for the week before, I had all of the sudden developed these weird phantom pains in various parts of my legs that I was sure would do me in. Oh, and to the jerkwad that called at 11:30 from an unlisted number; Thanks for the panic attack you caused when I woke up confused as hell.
I woke up before the alarm and got ready. I was more than prepared with everything set out and ready to go. Mrs. Fatguy dropped me off near the Metrodome and it was pretty damn cold. I went inside the dome, where it appeared that I may be the only person there that was not running with someone or associated with a group, because I stood there like a lonely idiot just waiting for the fun to begin. I moved with the crowds as they began to head toward the starting line. Since I was going to run with the pace group, I followed the balloons that were bobbing through the crowd that signified that a pace group leader was below. Standing around in the vicinity of the balloons, it was now waiting time. After about fifteen minutes, the crowd started moving forward. Was there a gun, a bell, a buzzer, or some other audible indicator that we should start? I have no idea. This is the point that things became a total blur.
Mile 1-3: At some point I struck up a conversation with a man named Jeff, who lived in Maple Grove and worked in Lauderdale. He was quite a bit taller than me and it was his first marathon. We were both new to the running strategy that the pace group was employing, which was run 5 minutes walk 1 minute. I also saw my Boss’ boss around this time.
Mile 3-7: Rain. Black Sheets of Rain to quote a Minnesota music legend. I was actually pretty happy about this. One of the struggles that I had training was getting overheated. That was not going to be a problem. I also saw my wife and our friends standing under an umbrella during this point. That was pretty cool. Thank God for the IKEA umbrella that stands out.
Mile 8-10: Catch-up. I got ahead a little bit from the group because they were slowing down at water stops and I did not need water because my face was full of it. I found a Port-a-Potty and by the time I got out, I was behind and needed to catch up.
Mile 10-12: Got ahead again and was making what I thought was good time. The problem was I needed to go to the bathroom again. Since I drank so much before the race I now needed to expel it. I skipped a couple bathrooms because I did not want to break my stride, but eventually I thought that I was far enough ahead that I could stop at a row of 2 port-a-potties. Huge mistake. It took forever. There was a group of women who came up behind me and ended up peeing in the bushes if that is any indication
Why did I not just pee in the bushes? Let me tell you. I was going to do nothing to give some overzealous race official an excuse to kick me out. I had worked too damn hard at this to get kicked out because I am not civilized enough to pee in a restroom. That being said, if I run another marathon I will be peeing wherever the hell I want, including tall people with brown pants if they look enough like a tree.
So now I was well behind the pace group. I also blew my chance at doing much better on the 13.1 mile time than I did earlier this year. I ended up crossing that at 2 hours 31 minutes. I swear it would have been 2:10 had I not waited for that stupid bathroom.
Mile 12-15: Catch-up. I think this is how long it took me to catch back up to the pace group. Since I knew they were walking and running, I figured that I would get them eventually. You start to fixate on the balloons as they come into view, and as they slow down and speed up you have to hope that they are running at a slower pace than you.
Mile 16- 24: This is the 8 miles that I spent bargaining with myself. If I could just make it to 18, then it is only 8 miles left and I do 8 miles fairly often. Just get to there and then deal with it. 20 miles is only 6 miles left and that is less than 8 miles. Just get to there and then deal with it. 22 miles is only 4 miles and I do that weekly. Just get to there and then deal with it. 24 miles is only a little over 2 miles away. No problem.
Mile 24: I knew that my wife and some friends would be on Grand and Victoria, but since St. Paul might as well be Belfast, Ireland when it comes to my knowledge of the streets, I was basically running street to street at this point until I found them. My stomach was upset from the gels I had eaten because they were so damn sugary. However, when I spotted my father in law and then realized that the group in front of them was all for me, I was ultra-inspired. They cheered and held up signs that said “Go Veronica’s dad” It was at this point that I had no doubt at all that I was going to pull this off.
Mile 25 – Success:
It was at this point that the pace group leader said that she was going to have to slow it down because we were a little ahead of pace. They need to finish within 2 minutes of the time they are running. She announced to the group that if we had legs, feel free to run ahead. At first, I decided that I had come this far with these folks, might as well see it through. Then I realized that I had more energy than I ever thought I would at this point and went ahead. The route has you round a corner at the Cathedral and you can see the finish line downhill from you about a half mile from the finish line. It was at this point that I took off. I saw my Mom screaming for me, so I was happy that she witnessed my effort. I was passing people left and right. At least that is how I remember it. I probably only passed 2 people. And they were probably all on my right. Regardless, I was running as fast as I could. I came close to trying to overtake the guy that finished right before me. I think I would have needed a couple more feet to pull that off.
First thing when I crossed the finish line? Fight back tears as I looked for a place to go to the bathroom. You see, the other challenge that I had for the last ten miles was that I was pretty sure that I was going to crap my pants. It took all the intestinal fortitude I had not to stop and not to make a huge, embarrassing mess in my pants. Thank God I was successful, because I would have kept going, believe that.
I found my mom, friend Ryan, mother and father in-law, wife and adorable daughter in the family meeting area. At that point I did not know my finish time, as the clock reflected the gun time which was 5:02.
We went to a lunch and for the first time in my life; I was unable to finish a hamburger. And in March of this year I ate a 2 pound hamburger in one sitting at Flameburger on Central Ave. They better have my picture up.
I went home and took an ice bath, totally hydrated myself and tried to stay off my feet. I had to work the next day and really did not want to be hobbling around. For the most part I was OK. It would be sore when I initially got up, but once I got going I was fine. I even walked to the bus stop a ¼ mile away the next morning.
I also weighed myself pre race and post race to give everyone the final weight loss.
I almost stomped on the scale when I saw this, but then I realized that it would make me look even fatter if I did that. I realized that I had drunk a boatload of liquid and that it was afternoon weighing vs. morning so that may have caused the difference.
Please stick with me. It has been difficult to write this. I wish it was because I was going to miss the experience of running and blogging about it, but in truth it is because I am creatively drained and physically exhausted. I also needed to catch up with all the things in life that had been put on hold while I was doing this. I owe one more summary post to wrap things up and need a couple days.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
I am writing this Saturday morning. My plan is to go to the running expo at 5 with other Jason from old work, get my race packet and sign up for the Clif Bar pace team and get a spaghetti dinner. Then I am going to come some and try to sleep as early as possible.
My plan right now if to post the results immediately after the run on Sunday. Then write a more in depth analysis Monday or Tuesday.
Pray for me.
I went out right when I got home to avoid being lazy to do my three miles. Since I am writing this on Saturday, if anything interesting happened on the run it has been long forgotten. I know I ran the 3 miles in 28:42. This is great and all, but I cannot keep up that pace for any real distance which reinforces my decision to run with a pace group.
Monday, September 29, 2008
I was up at the cabin this weekend and was planning on running 9 miles on the Soo Line trail from Isle to Onamia. The logistics of doing this were way to complicated so I just set off from the cabin and was going to run to