May 142013

Yes, I did it.   I finished the Brookings Marathon in 4:24:00.   I did not join the DNF list.   I’m not particularly happy with the time, but all things considered, I’m satisfied.   Perhaps best of all, the shirt this year, a technical shirt again, is kind of a pale royal blue with

By the 20th mile or so, I was off pace and busy making up excuses why I didn’t finish in less than 4 hours.

So here goes a couple that I can think of

  • I didn’t sleep well in the week or two leading up to the race.   I’ve been preoccupied with other subjects that have kept me from good sleep.  Nothing that are huge worries, just general pre-occupations
  • I was unable to train as vigorously as with the last two marathons.  My circumstances last year allowed me to do two-a-days.   But that is no longer the case.
  • It was very windy in Brookings on marathon Saturday.    Some of the course is protected from the wind, but other places are not.
  • I don’t pay enough attention to my diet.   I’ve said in the past that I like to eat, so I must run.  It is true that I have a healthier diet now than 10 years ago, but I could do better.  But I will never give up spaghetti with made with hot Italian sausage.
  • I have an almost two-year-old in the house.  He’s the Prince of Cuteness right now and Mrs. Dakotabranch and I agree that the more time we put into him now, the better he’ll turn out later.   Having him around makes finding time for long runs a little more difficult.

I guess I’m proud to say I am now a three time marathon finisher.

Happy rails.

May 062013

I haven’t written much on running lately because there hasn’t been much to write about.  It seems every time I step out for a run lately, I tell myself it is the last time I’ll be wearing warm clothing.  Even in South Dakota, snow should not be allowed after May 1st.   But that’s what we had.   Perhaps in spite of it, I logged 31 miles last week.

But that’s about all I’m going to do before Brookings Marathon on May 11th.   Most marathon training plans call for a buildup to a weekly long run of around 20 miles three weeks before a race.  I’ve done that, but with as little training as I’ve gotten besides a couple insanely long runs.  My average during the week run have been varying between 5 and 7 miles a day.  Mostly seven.  I’m at 443.5 training miles since Jan 1 2013, so I feel I have it in the bank to finish the 26.2 mile run at Brookings.

This running has been evenly divided between treadmill and open road miles.   I really don’t mind either one that much.   But when it is cold, dark and icy like it was a lot this January and February, I opt to stay in and listen to podcasts and music MP3s on the treadmill.

The weather is still a little sketchy for Marathon Saturday, so I’ll have to wait a little longer to lay out my race day apparel.  I’m a firm believer in nothing new on race day, so I’ll be only choosing from stuff I’ve run long in during past runs.

BTW, does anybody know what the Brookings Marathon race shirt looks like this year?   If you know, you can tell me, but part of the fun is the suspense that exists before actually seeing it in my packet.

If you are running the 2013 edition, good luck!   And if you see me, stop me and say ‘hello’!

Mar 302013

Those of you who are familiar with Sioux Falls, SD may know that the city boasts and extensive bike trail and greenway system.   Of all the amenities in the city, my wife and I enjoy this one during good weather the best.  Perhaps what you didn’t know is that the bike trail forms a loop of 19.45 miles around the city.   There are a couple spurs also that add even more length to the trail.  The 19.45 mile loop is uninterrupted by traffic in only two places.  Additionally, since the loop essentially follows the Big Sioux River around town, it is more or less a water-line route with only one hill even worth mentioning.

Sioux-Falls-Bike-TrailThe Sioux Falls bike trail offers a place for a reasonably casual bike ride or one really nice place to train for a marathon.  During the past few years, that pleasure has been interrupted by construction on the city’s sanitary sewer infrastructure and flood control projects.   I’m happy to tell you that the trail is now in as good of shape as it has been in the past 3-4 years.

So on to my training run.  Yesterday.  I started out at 1PM and the winds were already blowing out of the southeast at 10-15MPH, which is not a lot of fun, but at least the temperature was in the low 60’s, so clothing was not really a concern.  I started out at Elmen Park Trailhead on the west side of town, heading north, under the Ellis and Eastern Railroad and over north of the airport and through Sioux Falls’ industrial park.

I was unaware that the public restrooms along the trail would be closed.   I rely on these during long training runs to refill my Amphipod water bottles.  By the time I got around to Falls Park, my bowels were in full G.I. distress mode.  Luckily, the public facilities were open at Falls Park.   But I found them closed at all the stops farther down the line.  This meant I carried a total of probably 28 ounces of water that had to last me 19.45 miles.   Didn’t happen.

I always carry my some cash in my Amphipod belt, so I was able to buy a couple two liter bottles of water at Taylor’s on  south Cliff Ave, which is right off the trail.   But by that time, it was too late and my body was already dehydrated.

That resulted in some cramping in my calves a couple more miles down the trail.  But things began to look up as I turned north.   The wind was at my back and the bottled water began to work through my system.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with my outing.   I was feeling down about the cramping, but thinking about that, those conditions won’t exist in a competitive environment, because Brookings Marathon provides water stations every few miles.

Also, a word to those in training int he Sioux Falls area.  Try the bike trail.  But verify about the facilities first.   And to those thinking about trying the Sioux Falls Marathon, you’ll get a good look at this bike trail if you enter this early fall marathon.  A healthy portion of this event is run over the bike trail in Sioux Falls.

Mar 222013

Life is a series of choices. I choose to run because it is fun, because it is healthy and because it give me a chance to reflect on what is going on around me. Training for a marathon changes that a bit. I look at it more as a hobby than probably others do. With a 20-something month-old in the house, I cannot afford for it to be anything other than a hobby.

But I’ve been running low on miles this week. And you may remember that Mrs. Dakotabranch and I are signed up for the Shamrock Run 5K in Sioux Falls this weekend. Miles are important to a marathon training regimen. a 5K is 3.1 milles. Before today, my total miles for the week stood at 7.1. Ugh. Normally for a Saturday 5K, I take Thursday and Friday off from any running at all. I can’t do that this week because I’m behind in miles for the week and the month.

So I stepped out into the dark and cold (17 degrees, winds E-6). 7.1 miles on the frozen plain around our small South Dakota town. Did I mention I cannot wait for spring to finally arrive?

I’d still like to run down that 5K goal I have, but it probably won’t happen this time.