Thursday, July 23, 2009


Mudonna is the name on the back of the jersey. Saints baseball promotion, in Rice Park.

And wouldn't ya know it, soon after this sighting Mr Steve Quick was spotted in Rice Park. They say correlation doesn't imply causation, but I'm not so sure in this case. :)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Half Voyageur Trail Marathon

This past weekend was the Half Voyageur Trail Marathon which runs from the Duluth Zoo to Carlton. This is the 2nd half of the Voyageur 50 mile course.

Sat was a beautiful day... sunny, not hot, some nice breezes at times... a dry course, no jarrow's beach -- I don't think it could've been any better for my first Half Voyageur! I've heard a lot of good things about this race and I'd have to say it's a keeper.

As usual it was fun to hang out and visit with folks before the race got under way (including Steve and Glenn from Rochester... hi guys!). These first pictures are all from Karen G. I managed to run with her the whole way. We started out with Craig and Rick B, and as usual crossed paths with quite a few others throughout the day.

Having some fun at the beginning.

Karen and Rick are really fast on the downhills... wow. I'd glance up and they'd have 50-60 yards on me just like that. Thankfully they were nice enough to wait up for me. Well, Karen anyway... Rick not so much. He's a pretty nice guy and was even named the Runner of the Month in the Northland Runner world. But like Ted, he doesn't like it when you try to pass him!!

Pass at your own risk!

I'm not sure when but eventually Rick B dropped us and moved on ahead. Even though she's recovering from some long, hard races... Karen could've done the same but didn't and held up whenever she gapped me (Thanks, Karen!). Eventually we made it to the world-famous Power Lines!

Here we go...

... made it through the first section!

We kept cruising along and eventually made it through the power lines and the next few sections and soon found ourselves crossing the bridge and entering the last stretch.

A quick stop and then on to the finish!

In the last section we hooked up with Rick K. I have to say it seemed like this run was awfully easy for him. I got mixed in with another group of runners and lost contact with Rick K and Karen for a little while... I had to push to catch back up and was happy I was able to do that. As you'll see in the next set of pictures, we hooked back up with Rick B too. I think he probably felt bad for ditching us so he waited for us on the Munger trail... what a guy (just don't try to pass him)!

So how about a sprint finish... after 26.2 miles. These pictures compliments of the speedy Lisa "wildknits" M. who finished in 5:01 and would've had time for a shower, a meal, and a nap before snapping these photos:

Karen makes her move and
gets a jump on the Ricks

But did she go too soon??

Yup, just barely!
The Ricks reacted well.

Me? I don't play those silly games...
I coast in for my solo photo op.

And then I look down at the key moment... doh!

This was a very fun race and went well. The 4 of us came in at 5:53 - I wasn't sure what to expect and was very happy to finish in under 6 hours. Since this was only my 2nd trail marathon and the other one was the Moose Mountain Marathon on the Superior Hiking Trail... this was a PR race. I believe Karen said this was a PR for her too. Woohooo! The results can be seen here. My Garmin Connect data can be seen here.

Thank you to the race directors and all the wonderful volunteers that put this race on! If you haven't done this race before, consider it for next year. I sure hope the weather and trail conditions are the same for the full Voyageur in a couple weeks. I just might be up there cheering and working an aid station.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Afton 25K

This weekend was the Afton Trail Races... the 25K and 50K. Another great event -- Thank You to everyone involved!! It's very fun to get out there and see lots of friends. Congrats to everyone that ran!

After some negotiations* my friend Ted and I decided we'd wear our Afton hats, Chippewa shirts, and black shorts. But I had to draw the line at the silly looking goatee. Since Londell didn't get a picture of Ted, we'll just have to wing it.

(pic from Londell)
Ted, sorta
(original pic from Londell)

ok, a real picture
(pic from Bryan Cochran Photography)

The Race: started out with Ted... eventually he dropped me. Then we ran together for awhile... eventually he dropped me. Then we ran together for awhile... eventually he dropped me. This seemed to go on forever. At one point I told him "I hate you -- drop me and then keep going, would ya? I stop chasing you when I can't see you any more...". Early on I accidentally almost got my shoulders out ahead of his and out came the arms... holding me back. And since Ted is into that crazy MMA/jiu jitsu stuff, I knew one more step and I'd probably be on the ground getting tapped out. I didn't want any of that! Then way later he switched and seemed to be threatening me again, this time making me run all-out to the finish while he figured he'd coast in and enjoy himself. What could I do but go?? So I did.

last aid station
(pic from Bryan Cochran Photography)

Going into the race I was wondering how things would go. I've been struggling a bit since FANS... seems like runs have been tougher and have taken more out of me than usual. I suppose that's normal for awhile, but how long is that supposed to last? I figured today would be a good test and hopefully indicate I was mostly recovered. Well, I came within 2 minutes of my PR: last year I ran 3:06:17 and this year 3:08:04 (close but no cigar - sorry, Londell!).

And now that I'm safely out of Ted's reach I can say... it's his fault. As in, it's his fault I was as close to PRing as I did. I'm pretty sure left to myself from the beginning I would've coasted more. So it was good to be chasing Ted to keep things moving. Thanks, man. Things held together pretty well and I don't seem overly beat up today so I'm definitely happy with the race and feeling better about my recovery from FANS.

Bring on the Half Voyageur!! :)

Thanks again to John and Alicia and everyone else involved in putting on this great race, and congratulations to everyone that toed the line and gave it a go yesterday!!

* that's a joke, there was no planning involved... but we did show up wearing pretty much the same stuff.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Vroom vroom

Welcome to First Thursdays...

The picture doesn't do justice to the scene at all... imagine a block party with hundreds of bikes and bikers milling around. Here's a description I found online:

The first Thursday of every month is Bike Night at Dulono's Pizza in Minneapolis. If it has two wheels and a motor, you're likely to see one at Dulono's. From antiques to the latest models off the showroom floor, single cylinder to eight cylinder, and everything in between.

The crowd starts showing up around 6:00. Parking in the Dulono's lot is tight and congested - don't park there if you plan on leaving early as it can be hard work winding your way through the bikes and people - but there is plenty of parking along the street.

You owe it to yourself to go at least once, but I bet you can't stop at just once!

Dulono's Pizza
607 W Lake St (Lake & Lyndale)
Minneapolis, MN 55408, US