Sunday, February 28, 2010

Minnepolis Marathon Training Run

Yesterday morning I headed off for St. Louis Park. The second training run for the Minneapolis Marathon/Half Marathon was going to begin at the St. Louis Park Lifetime Fitness. The distances going to be run were 6-10 miles.

As I approached the St. Louis Park area I realized how much it has changed since I used to live near the, 20 years ago! How can that much time have passed? How can I be old enough to say I lived near somewhere 20 years ago?

For one thing, I used to work right off Wayzata Blvd, now known as 394. The building is still there, but the Company moved downtown, where I also worked until 8 years ago.

Steve and I bought our first home in New Hope, lived there for about 5 years before selling and building out Orrock Township, 60 miles from the Minneapolis/St Paul area.

So back to the story. I'm driving around, noticing that Park Place Blvd now has much more than Park Place Hotel residing upon it's asphalt. There are now about a zillion more hotels, strip malls, townhomes, apartments .. amazing. Eventually I came across Lifetime Fitness and followed 100 other cars into the lot. I can't imagine that all of these people are here for this free training run. It's 735 so I figure there must be a popular class offering at 8 AM at the club..or something. There is plenty of parking so I find a spot and head to the club. On the way to the front door I notice the Minneapolis Marathon feathers from along the course so I know I'm at the right place.

Lifetime Fitness. OK, I have become a hick. It's huge. I sign a waiver as I am not a member, am at the club only for the free training run. I follow the arrow onto the 'turf' where we are going to meet. I pass a restaurant, a massage therapy center, a huge pool, a supplement shop..hello, this is not a mall, this is Lifetime Fitness. I see the weights area. OMG, I want to work out here. There are only a few people and hundreds upon hundreds of free weights, racks, machines..amazing. I may have to visit in a few weeks again to see what all if offered. Wow. No, this is not Anytime Fitness but I'm sure it is not $20 a month, either!

I find myself in with a mob of people, all wearing running attire, I have to be at the right location. I'm on turf. There are a bunch of cardio machines around me and a running track. Not many people using the gym but a zillion here for the training run. Posted around the turf are signs "6 miles or less" "Boston Marathon Group" "330 Marathon Goal" etc. People are milling about and I am just standing around with my jaw wide open amazed at all of these people here. I begin to notice Lifetime Fitness RunClub jackets and realize I must be at a Lifetime Fitness RunClub training run. Maybe this isn't the free training run with Team Ortho for the Mineapolis Marathon after all. Maybe I am supposed to be in a different part of the gym Oh boy.

A woman introduces herself, Lauren from Savage. She's very friendly so I begin to pepper her with questions: is this the free training run for Team Ortho of the Minneapolis Marathon? This is really FREE? There are pace leaders, coaches here, is this really FREE? There is an expo taking place after the run for cripes sake..StartLine, coaches, Garmin, etc. This is amazing. She explains to that this is the Lifetime Fitness Run Club kick off for the spring marathon training program. They meet three times a week for structured running, lectures, etc. She explains that Lifetime Fitness invited Ortho here to complete their training run with the Liftime group. Cool. I explained to her what I was doing here and asked if she knew Amy from Team Ortho, who invited me. She didn't know where she was in the sea of people at the time. We chatted a bit and I was just amazed at all of the people. There were 100's of people. Really. 100s. I realize that I have never run in a group training run as a participant before. When I first began to run I didn't realize this type of program was offered. Maybe it wasn't 12 years ago..I don't know. Not in the Big Lake area! It still isn't! I also realize that I may be an introvert...this may be to much socialization for me.

I mosied around for a few minutes, found myself approached by many others..some of which asked for an introduction of myself and then produced business cards and such. I met many people that offered services: chiro, massage therapists, trainers. There was a lot of meeting and greeting, networking going on. I was asked my blog address and if I was on facebook and linkedin. I may have been hit on a couple of times. It's been so long that I forget what that is. Strange. I went home with a pocket full of business cards.

The group was called together and an explanation was given of the route/distances. Maps were handed off, the routes consisted of the lakes, city roads, depending of the length of your run. I went off with the 6 miles or less group. It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny morning. We had one coach lead us and another at the end as sweep. The run was great, relaxed, meeting many of the runners and talking about the excitement of the first marathon with the beginners. I said over and over to enjoy the process, don't worry about next week and running 7 or 8 miles, or 13 and eventually 20. Just enjoy today! Enjoy breathing deeply, feeling the sun on your face, feeling your body move. The marathon will come, enjoy the process of getting there!

Our run was awesome. The coaches were great. The participants had a fun morning. I really had a fun time and wished I could have then tagged along with the 10 mile group. I had to be at work at 12 in St Cloud, had to stop off at home to shower so I didn't have a lot of time to hang about afterward to enjoy the Expo.

What a great way to ease into marathon training. All of the expertise is there, there are others who are matched with the runners ability and you will have someone to chat with to make the run a bit more enjoyable.

I am heading south for spring break so won't be able to make next week's run. You can get all of the details here.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Minneapolis Marathon

I've been blogging for quite a few years. As Trail Runner magazine put it "Julie Berg began blogging before everyone was blogging"; I guess that is the truth. Only recently have I noticed that bloggers are given free merchandise, services and affiliate dollars from others as an exchange in receiving publicity via the blogger. I wasn't sure how these bloggers received these freebies but I though it was pretty cool. Alas, I had never been contacted by anyone to receive anything free other than POM juice. Until this past week.

Amy of Team Ortho Foundation contacted me, asking if I was interested in a free entry to the Minneapolis Marathon as well as free shwag - fleece shirt and hat - in exchange for blogging about the training runs prior to the race. Amy read my post relating to The Polar Dash, this is how she found me. She stated that the posts I would write were not required to be positive only; that the only requirement was I would blog about them. Well, of course I agreed. I had been hoping to run the Series because as I stated earlier, I love to promote a local race and the finishing medals are top notch. Top Notch.

The Minneapolis Marathon is a new marathon which will be celebrating it's second birthday this next June. I think Minnesota really needed another marathon during the summer season.

Grandmas has been the only marathon choice for many of us in the beautiful summer months and, unfortuately, the City of Duluth has taken advantage of the runner and his/her pocketbook by price gouging. Don't get me wrong, I love Grandmas Marathon. It was my first ever marathon and I went back to run it another half dozen times. Our family would stay at the Best Western Edgewater, right on London Road. This made it so easy for for my family to watch me as I ran past. The only downfall: $$$$$. Big bucks. The hotels in the City require a three night stay. THREE NIGHTS! In 2000 it was a two night minimum. By the time I ran the race in 2006 it was three nights. Needless to say, the last time I ran Grandmas I drove up in the AM, drove back home in the PM, leaving the family behind. We easily dropped $1500 for the Grandmas weekend. It is now just too expensive for our family of four to visit Duluth during my Grandmas Marathon weekend. I now have to go solo.

So there is a new kid on the block. Team Ortho - same directors of the Polar Dash which I wrote about earlier-and was so impressed with - have put together the Minneapolis Marathon. The race is held Saturday, June 6. Early registration would get you in for $69. Price increases as time goes on.

What's real cool about the race orginaization is that they have FREE training! Yeah. FREE. Each Saturday, from tomorrow the 20th, through the end of May, you can particpate in group training runs. They will provide water, sports drink and gel. I am not kidding!

Tomorrow's run is 5 miles at 8:00. You can find directions/details here. I can't make it tomorrow but I will be there next week. I'm looking forward to it!

A coworker of mine, Rachel, ran her first marathon here last year and had a great experience. I'm looking forward to running my 40th marathon here in June.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Coaching Updates

When I began to schedule my snowshoe classes for this winter I remember wondering if there would be any snow in February as the early winter months were pretty lean on snow.

The snow base is perfect right now. We just received another 8” of beautiful fluffy snow yesterday so the trails will be perfect.

Fortunately snowshoe classes begin this Sunday at Lake Maria State Park and will run from 1-3 PM for four weeks. I have 8 signed up and can take two more. If you are interested let me know.

I will again be coaching with MDRA this spring but instead of coaching in Edina I will be coaching in Maple Grove. I will really miss my Edina group but the commute from Big Lake to Edina became unbearable! The commute was taking me at the least 90 minutes, sometimes longer. Blech. I feel very fortunate that I am able to coach in Maple Grove, a mere 30 miles away from home.

Last week I met with the Maple Grove coaches and Heidi Miler (yeah, MILER) of MDRA to hammer out the schedule of events. I’m so excited! It will be lots of fun and is such a great opportunity to give back to the sport. Beginning runners are such a fun group to coach. If you are interested in joining our group or the Edina group see the MDRA website for further information at

Oh, and Heidi is a professional in the sport of triathlon and ran the Frigid 5 in about half of my time. Sweet! I didn’t try to catch her..or Kelly Keeler for that matter. But hey, coming in after these two girls as fourth age group is pretty good company to keep.

As long as I am on the subject of coaching I must congratulate my online clients who were running Rocky Raccoon last week: Mike ran a PR at the 100 mile distance! He shaved HOURS off of his prior RR time. Woohoo and Melissa and John, both of which finished their FIRST 50’s in perfect form. Way to go! You know how excited I am for each of you. Rest up, recover and then we are off to tackle the next one!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Frigid 5K

This morning I had the Frigid 5K on my schedule as part of the MDRA Grand Prix Series. The race didn't begin until 10 AM at the State Fairgrounds in St. Paul, only an hour drive away so I had a ton of time before the race to run with Topaz.

A beautiful morning! Snow snow snow and a nice mild temperature of 19F. Topaz and I began at 5 AM. I didn't go out to the snowshoe trail as I knew that would wipe me out and figured I should at least try to race the 5K in a few hours. Instead we ran the gravel roads through the refuge. I didn't realize it was snowing until I was outside and felt it fall upon my face. The sky was pretty cloudy so there was no moon shine.

A mix of jogging and running, I ran 14 miles and circled back for home. The boys were still sleeping so I was off the hook for breakfast, I decided I'd cook a nice brunch after I returned home from St. Paul.

A quick shower - otherwise I freeze to death - dry running clothes and off to the races!

Originally Valentine 5K was scheduled as the February race for the Grand Prix, but they don't time the race, so instead they decided on The Frigid 5. It was cool being on the State Fairgrounds in the winter without a million people milling around. Parking was a breeze and we were able to use the Collesium for changing/warming up.

The route was pretty flat-inside the fairgrounds-past the Cheesecurds, French Fries and Sweet Martha's Cookies! It seemed as though Troy and I were just here but it was 7 months ago. I was suprised how WINDY it was as I felt no wind in Orrock when I was running just a few hours prior.

I finished the race in 25:15. My goal was under 30; goal achieved. Made me wonder how much faster I could have gone if I hadn't run a few hours before? Probably not faster at all. Running faster causes me to gasp and get a side ache-heaven forbid I should try to run faster!

When I returned home the boys and their friends were awake and I prepared them a brunch of Belgian waffles, sausage and cinnamon rolls. They enjoyed it immensely.

Now we are off for a day at the ski hill.

Next race: Human Race 8K

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Rocky Raccoon Shout Out!

This Saturday/Sunday is the Rocky Raccoon 100/50 Mile Race in Huntsville, TX. Rocky is a loop course that most runners rave about. Good aid, good course, good organization, great race.

This year I have THREE clients running Rocky! I'm so excited to hear how it goes for them.

Mike, Melissa and John..go get that finish and yes, that PR! I'm sending out good strong vibes for you.

Also, good fun goes out to Karen running the 100 and Wayne running the 50! Go get 'em!