How will it end?

From my Facebook news feed, it looks like there’s been some pretty amazing efforts by runners. Congratulations to all the people who have finished races, including today’s Twin Cities Marathon. Here’s the website to search for TCM results.

Also, I was reminded  about a great race every fall in north Moorhead – the Filthy 5K hosted by Beyond Running. I couldn’t quite make it this year, but this great fun run is a great way to celebrate the spirit of running and I’d highly recommend it next year if you’ve never had a chance to participate.

There was also some pretty big news in the running world lately – and I’m not referring to the marathon world record broken at the Berlin Marathon. While that’s a pretty big deal, our region saw a major move when Fargo Marathon Inc. announced it purchased the Dick Beardsley Half Marathon in Detroit Lakes, Minn. Read the story here.

That could really be a game change for the running scene as Mark Knutson announced they’ll add a marathon to the event schedule, and considering the emphasis on marketing and building a rock concert-like atmosphere, this one could draw a lot of runners who are looking for a viable option or alternative to the Twin Cities Marathon.  A race website has already been setup and it was being promoted this weekend in St. Paul.

On a personal level, there are 4 more weeks to the New York City Marathon. This past Saturday, I hammered out a grueling 18-mile run in the hills, and I am tweaking my training as I enter the final month of preparation.

But I’ve been wondering how my streak of consecutive days will end. At this point, it seems like there should be some significance to the end of The Streak, but I haven’t found a good way for it to end. Truthfully, it’s gone on much longer than I thought it would, but it likely won’t end in the next week or two because of my mileage goals.

Two streaks did come to an end this weekend, though. Since some time in July, I had run more miles than the previous week. Going back further, my weekend long run had been longer than the previous week, too. Still, I managed to pile on 60 miles in a “cut down week” before having one or two big mileage weeks.

The Streak, which I started simply to keep myself going, has to end sometime this month as I give my body time to heal and rebuild itself for the marathon challenge ahead. But how will it end?

4 years in the making

“Look, if you had one shot, one opportunity / To seize everything you ever wanted, one moment / Would you capture it or just let it slip?” – “One Shot” by Eminem

A couple weeks ago, while sorting through some gear for running in the dark, I found my first iPod – loaded with forgotten playlists that carried me through thousands of marathon training miles.

So, late last week, I plugged it in to charge in advance of the Wild Hog Half Marathon this past Saturday. After running some early morning miles, I swung home to let Coby out of the house for a few minutes before heading to the race. In my brief layover, I picked up that iPod and scrolled through the playlists. This was going to be fun as I had long forgotten the order of some of the songs.

But I couldn’t help but notice two playlists – Ragnasty 1 and Ragnasty 2 – in honor of the Great River Ragnar Relay. Lucky for me, about a mile into the half marathon, “One Shot” by Eminem came up on the playlist.

The opening lyrics are fitting considering my goal – the New York City Marathon – has been 4 years in the making. And it’s pretty certain it will be a once in a lifetime run for me because the difficulty in gaining admittance (I’ll never qualify with the tough guarantee race standards and the chances of winning the lottery are about as good as my odds of retiring early on Powerball earnings).

As September winds down, and my training undergoes some fine tuning for the final 5 weeks, I’m grateful for this marathon buildup. It’s allowed me to establish my morning running routine, the weather has been phenomenal, and injuries have melted away. Now it’s just a matter of battling through training fatigue to tweak my fitness for race day, and have some fun along the way.

As I look ahead to October, I thought it would be a good time to share some photos – one of my view at the start of the half marathon (literally at the back of the pack), a couple from a visit with Coby to College Gameday in Fargo a few weeks ago and some of the adorable Golden retriever who seems to always convince me to give him extra treats.

A grand race

The day proved to be fitting for the third annual Wild Hog Half Marathon and related races – in a word, perfect.

Among the best half marathon courses I’ve run, the weather, volunteers, spectators and overall race organization was spot on. To top it off, runners received nice race shirts (the neon orange if perfect for those runs falling outside of daylight hours, which will be quite frequent this time of year) and probably the heaviest finisher’s medal I’ve held.

Even with the swag, the course proved to be my favorite part of the Wild Hog festivities. I’ve run parts of the course during my daily miles, but I gained a new appreciation for the neighborhoods and the people who came out to cheer. Going forward, this is going to be a tough race to pass up, and ideally, a full marathon will be part of the weekend festivities next year.

Click here for an overview story from today’s Herald. There are additional links to coverage at the end of the story.

In my buildup to the New York City marathon, now 5 weeks away, the Wild Hog week appeared to be the most perplexing for training plans. Frankly, I wasn’t sure how to tackle it because I wanted to run the half marathon but not miss out on my long run.

It was the Wild Hog race director, Richard Dafoe, who actually helped solve the mystery by suggesting that I run 10 miles before the race. Until then, I was planning to “squeeze” in a 24-miler a couple days before or the day after the race, or adding mileage immediately following it.

His option made the most sense, but almost certainly took the option of racing the event out of the equation. Or so I thought.

To my surprise, I felt pretty good at the starting line with 9 miles already logged. The race, along with the run home, would put me well over the 23-mile mark for the day. And even bigger surprise was my finishing time of 1:38. My goal, set at the first mile marker, was to run 1:44, a 3-minute improvement from my effort on July 4.

After a grand race, and fun weekend, it’s time to focus on the final 5 weeks of training for the Big Apple.