Yet another test post

Working on embedding a youtube

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Just testing some stuff out

Testing some stuff out:

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Eau Claire Half Marathon Race Report

Time: 1:42:37 (Garmin, we’ll see what the official results show.  There were like 4 mats at the finish line, and I stopped after the last mat).

The Garmin Connect data is here.

Packet pickup was at the YMCA, which was in a part of town I don’t think I’ve ever been to before meaning I got lost.  The YMCA is a bit of a maze with the pickup in what seems to be the far back corner of the building.  I got there at about 3 pm (pickup was 11-7) and they were out of Men’s large shirts.  Huh.

I got to Carson Park at 6:50 something after the info in the race packet indicated they’d be closing the road into the park at 7.  The newspaper said 7:15, but I wasn’t going to take chances.  It seemed as if they didn’t close until after 7:15 and the parking lot was maybe 2/3rds full.  Maybe.

The start was extremely well organized with people holding signs indicating paces from 5:00/mi to 13:00 mi and I don’t think I’ve ever seen people self-sort that well.  I started just in front of the 8:00 sign and there was nobody in front of me that I found myself thinking “What are you doing here??!?”

The course starts off with a mile loop in Carson Park before heading down the hill (I know it as the non-Dairy Queen side).  There’s a pretty good sized hill around mile 3ish but it drops back down almost immediately before heading over the river on the North Crossing.

The half and the full split at this point, which was indicated by a single sign at the end of the bridge.  No volunteers yelling out “marathoners left, half marathoners right.”  Given that 1200something of the 1700something people are doing the half, there’s not that many people doing the full, but it’s not as well marked as I’ve seen from other races.

The rest of the race…well, it’s mostly on bike/running paths.  Downhill after mile 7.

And then you hit mile 12.  And turn back up the hill to Carson Park.  Mile 12 of the half, mile 25 of the full.  Evil.

The crowd support was way better than I had been expecting (helped by 60 and sunny I’m sure), many armed with cowbells or pots and pans that they clanged together.

Water stops were well organized, switching between water on the right, gatorade on the left and water first, gatorade second – but in all cases someone in front of the water stop yelling out which way they were doing it.

They were announcing the names of everyone at the finish line – which was a nice touch – and the finishing area had oranges, bananas, potato chips, and chocolate milk.

In the parking lot before the race, the guy in the car noticed my Ohio plates and we started talking.  Turns out he was Dick Daymont, the race director for the Zoom Yah Yah marathon at St. Olaf, and I went to school with his daughter.  Small world, eh?

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I love the stats of running.  Heart rate.  Split times.  Percentages.   So it’s probably not surprising that I heart my Forerunner 305 and Garmin Connect.  (I prefer another piece of software called SportTracks, but Garmin Connect has a web interface which allows me to upload from anywhere).

So I track pretty much every run here.  Allowing me to see that I ran 17 times in the last 30 days for 108 miles.  Neat.

But last week I loaned my 305 to a coworker who was competing in a 50 mile race.  He typically runs with the 405, but gets only 4 hrs of battery life compared to the 11+ with the 305.  Which meant that I went running long last week without a constant measure of speed and distance (and after digging around for a “regular” watch, I finally gave up and had only clock towers for any idea of how long I had been running, which despite what Back to the Future may tell you are not terribly useful).

It was…well it was weird at first.  Just running.  But after a couple of miles (uh…I think) I kind of settled in and just ran.  We moved in October so I knew roughly where the mile markers were, but that was about it.  I won’t go as far as to say that it was liberating – I would have preferred to at least know the time – but it was probably good for me to just run without worrying about anything.

I’ve got a 15k race coming up next Sunday – my last race in Cincinnati.  Last year I did the “two beats” a 5k, an hour break, and then a 15k all in a very chilly rain.  We – I ran with a coworker – got to the start late and rather than try to fight our way forward, we stood at the back and were among the last people to cross the start line, weaving past thousands of walkers in the 5k.  Which meant that we expended a bit more energy than we had hoped, which combined with my mild hypothermia (my lips were purple) at the start of the 15k didn’t really bode well.  This year, I’m just running the 15k.  Should be good.

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The Story Thus Far

I’ve decided I need a running blog.  I have a couple of coworkers that I talk to about running, but it’s not the same as just being able to ramble about the training I’m doing.

I did some running about a decade ago.  Nothing serious – a couple of 5ks a month during the summer, typically plodding across the finish line after about 27 minutes.  Which for a 20 year old male is pretty poor.

But after maybe 2002-2006 I did maybe 20 miles a year.  Until I found myself planning a year in New Zealand where I’d have the chance to run a half-marathon on my birthday.

So I got serious about running, cranking out the miles and finished my first half in 2:07.

And that led to my second half (1:54).  And my first marathon (4:45).  And my second (4:00).

Last year I hit about 1500 miles and PRs in the 5k (21:42), 10k (45:24), 15k (1:14:57).

But now?  Now I find myself in a no-man’s-land not sure what’s next.  More marathons?  Faster marathons?  Half-marathons?  I really don’t know.

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